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Basing an entire belief system on what mathematics calls a statistical outlier, “miracle,” or rare event, may work for you but not for me. True logical thinking rules out religion as a waste of time in our current world for people with high intellect. Religion at its worst distracts from the now. I tweeted recently that focusing on events after your death takes your attention away from the time you are ALIVE! Maybe the present moment is too overwhelming so religion provides relief. Science isn’t afraid to admit what it doesn’t understand. Religion, on the other hand, bullies its way into grey areas no one can prove, taking claim, as their domain and non one else’s. Like a bully.
If the way you practice religion has you thinking you have eternity to develop all skills while talking with philosophers, musicians, or making love to virgins on floating clouds, you’re likely so distracted from the present you appear drugged. Anything taking you out of the present from your responsibilities I see as an addiction.
The First Amendment, was to help Americans break free of the choke hold where religion and government were inseparable. In no uncertain terms I think the republican party’s marriage to the christian-right religion could shove us into a second dark age. However every federal level congress person has to spew religious phrases to gather the vote of a huge American faction of religious people.
It’s a grotesque misuse of the first amendment as a defense where for example indoctrinated kids wear verbally abusive phrases on t-shirts or signs, practicing horrid racism, bigotry and lack of tolerance of others.
If you’ve based your life on believing a mathematical outlier, miracle, or old written stories, we won’t get along. If you think the earth is a few thousand years old you confuse me. I’m looking for people who accept change and can expand their understanding of what and who we are. I’m in the middle of religious territory and don’t share a view where all of science is tossed out the window because your book or leader says so.
I believe in a higher power due to the serenity it gives me, but I do not believe any past or current gods deserve my fear, time or money or can “DO” anything for me now besides bring peace. The last year in a group, it’s second step has helped me when stepping back from those who won’t help themselves and were accustomed to me helping them: “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity,” has helped me by letting me meditate and just observe the addicts, (or brain injured folks), as they fail around me. Part of addiction is performing the addicted behavior long past where time or money permit continuation. I have no addictions besides being attached to others and their emotional response. This no longer dominates me but did most of my life.
My higher power shows me how to relax, not ask for specific things to happen. There’s peace in not rushing out to help the world like I used to do the last 2.5 decades. This is how the addict finds their help, when they no longer have crutches (enablers) supporting them in self destructive behavior. I recently had someone die of a drug overdose who not long beforehand I was financially supporting. That’ll wake you up! I also recalled at that moment my mother was greatly attracted to addicts who often overdosed or committed suicide so I was numb to this recent drug overdose.
Delusion, I think comes in many forms and advertising, religion, social engineering and many other similar things should stop being tax deductible. Did you ever stop to contemplate that we pay to be propagandized? We are the first country in history to embed this in our policy (financially). Even hitler didn’t have this level of financial support inside popular legislative policy. Most of my life I was agnostic or atheist. My mom dragged me to church weekly from birth to 15 years old where she played piano, and used church like a baby sitter. If religion makes you a better person to others while you’re alive, great. Otherwise the farther you stray from the scientific method the less you interest me. If you stop me when I talk about the last ice age, or the last several hundred thousands years of planetary orbits, because it defies your book-belief-religion, we aren’t likely to have followup conversations. If I can’t discuss all of science with you we won’t have much to discuss. I find the hostility and bullying of zealots to be strong and almost yelling, like a rabid dog with frothing mouth.
I ceased attending my friends church when discrediting pamphlets were handed out about a popular hollywood movie. I’ve watched the censorship, name calling, bullying, basic intimidation and basic social engineering in mischievous ways to gather peoples two most precious resources, time and money, while back handing people with scare tactics so people behave certain ways, from religion today.
Scaring people about what can’t be proven to exist after death is just bullying. If you don’t act a certain way, and give money, now, then you’ll be damned forever? Seriously? Heard of Pascals Wager:
It posits that humans bet with their lives that God either exists or does not.
It seems to me since most of us will die a slow death in a hospital in WEIRD (Western Educated Industrial Rich Democracies), then just take Jesus in your heart in your last days, and you’re in, if you’re so swayed.
Most people brought back to life in hospitals are facing bright lights on an operating table, thus the single most common, “going to the light,” craze of the afterlife stories should be so debunked thusly.
I lost my dad to cancer when I was 11 and I know he didn’t want to die, nor leave his only son, me. For 27 years I was mad about how nothing happened from prayer to communicate with my dad since his death.
My recovery group showed me that prayer asking for certain actions is rarely ever fruitful. Instead asking a higher power for peace is much more helpful than asking strongly for fixes outside my control. A helpful higher power guides us to observe others without staring too long. Performing good self care must take priority, then we can help others. Leaving others engulfed in their lives to fail or do well, helps me stay healthy by giving me the time I need to keep me focused on my own self care.
Prayer should only let me be comfortable along my natural timeline so results may be what they will be without me tied up in the outcomes. There is peace in that. As for prayer “causing” any exact thing in my private perspective, like open this door now, or what the wisher wishes for, that’s narcissism, hubris, self absorbed, Western Educated Industrial Rich Democratic (WEIRD) self centered viewing which can only lead to madness if followed completely because most wishes won’t happen.
While a rich, American christian prays for their addict (relative, friend, or family) member to get better, but the flow of resources keeps flowing, enabling (giving them money, house, insurance, car, food)… The addict only offers hollow lip service when drugs run low, won’t begin to earn a living, or try for self-sufficiency, because the “living,” is off the current enabler… milking the money giver is easier than having a boss. I read that alcoholics affect 17 other people on average. Milking the enabler is easier than getting a job, or going to the unemployment office… Enablers have over developed senses of responsibility and empathetic tendencies which offer up resources so addicts self destruct. All the addict sees is they have no need to change. Addicts learn over time the enabler gives when they cry loud enough, push the right button, threaten suicide, etc. When the WEIRD christian enabler says “God” answered prayers, the addict agrees to rehab… I want to laugh… I’ve seen enough rehab to know… That only means the addict needs to run from loan sharks, or drug lords, most often… Maybe spend a few weeks thinking clearly for the first time in years. But once out of rehab, if enabled again, the addict will fall back into the comfort of addictions. This is good business in the USA right now for legal systems, counselors, and facilities catering to rehab.
While innocent people starve by the thousands in poor countries… The christian thinks god intervened forcing their hand to give the inpatient rehab facility tens of thousands of dollars. HA! Most enablers (like I was), spend many tens of thousands of dollars on expensive rehab facilities for those addicts until the addict gets back out, relapses, or kills themselves on overdose, almost never actually stopping their addiction long enough to think. The only way to actually cease addictive behavior is to actually stop. If someone is feeding your addictive behavior why would you stop taking their money to get your dopamine high? The real change comes from attraction to change, not promotion from outside.
Getting better is by attraction (from within), not promotion (from outside). This is a major rehabilitation principle. If the addict or enabler (the program helps both), goes back to their addiction, or the next meeting, is their choice. If the connection from the enabler helping the addict stays and is greater than, and foreseeably more reliable than going out to find a job, the pull towards self help won’t work, and the addict will relapse. Like the bird that never leaves the nest. Only in nature the parents finally kick the kids out, and migrate. Humans practice much more intricate manipulation and being super rich gives the free time for enablers to keep addicts super high almost constantly while paying huge fees for therapy and inpatient facilities. First world problems!
I don’t watch any reality TV shows by choice but are they full of Rich people giving their family tons of money for drugs, then rehab then drugs? Over and over again?
People need to work, to feel good about themselves, in jobs which feel worthwhile, to understand the value of money. I cleaned boilers, lifted hay bails, washed resturant dishes, served in the military, until I got through college to have a job that used my mind, not my hands. Entitlement of WEIRD people nowadays is no different than the opulence of the empires before that fell. And Fell Hard. Entitlement and enabling are current American and western diseases greatly misunderstood, avoided and only fixed on the periphery when a loved one dies. The overall problem of first world wants being mislabeled as needs so addicts live off enablers, will cause our countries demise.
I see worship of religion (if it takes you out of the present), to be no different than worship of movie stars, sports stars, the kardashians, heroin, pot, cocaine, alcohol, anything taking your precious time (or money). I feel unethical about making money off addictions. I never could invest in Marlboro or own a casino.
I remember watching as my drug addict mom would wave her hand over the tithing basket at church offering only feelings/prayers/wisdom and no money, with relief. We’d have. a meal tonight. I also remember feeling the pangs of hunger as I saw mom place cash in the tithing basket. I could never run a church, because I see it like a casino, bar or anything profiting off the shoulders of the poor. That in my mind is pure evil, running one of those places for profit, inviting the poorest, most destitute of society then taking their very limited cash, seems like the lowest of the low. In economics taxing the poor is called a regressive tax.
When I walked into an addicts house who treated their time spent discussing the kardashians (which I didn’t know of at that time), as important, it was hard not to laugh while being disgusted. I see that as no different than someone wrapped up in a two thousand year old book, volunteering away all their resources, or yanking that gambling slot machine handle, throwing away all the money they have access to. Wasting your time and life is just that. Wasting it. Pick a delusion.
I attended one church long enough that I watched three separate families come and leave as ministers. One family promoted the husband to minister and his pay came from cutting all existing children, youth, singing programs, and nearly the whole music program, to pay the husband minister to “manage” the flock, taking everyones cash, when the wife (other minister), was out of town. BULLSHIT – BUSINESS. Nothing more. I’ll have lots more to say about the tax deductible status of religion and how it is ruining our country just as fast as corporate rights are doing the same. I’ve often joked with myself that it’s time I start my own religion to get back the 5 figure (dollars), I pay in taxes annually. Our country punishes divorced single dads in many ways including financially. Churches are becoming like concert stadiums. I might post a few pictures of the worst ones I’ve naively stepped foot in only once.
Churches, ministers and “tithing” is just a business, like gambling, alcohol, drugs, video games, or Netflix. On the other end of your money (and time), is someone getting rich off your addiction. I was poor as dirt, my mom the church piano player, and when Christmas church gatherings at the ministers house happened I felt sick with nausea seeing where all the church money went. Mansions on the hill. Entitled minister kids holding their nose up toward poorly dressed Dave, wrapped up in their “kardashian like,” stories, their rich neighbors swimming pools, vacations around the world, bragging about presents or vehicle gifts to come, or whatever bullshit the rich lavishly make seem important while kids like me starved.
I was looking forward to “cheese day” at the food bank and goodwill for clothes while these people made massive wastes of life, time and money from my perspective. The appearance of importance when it’s hollow underneath frustrates me. I will now unapologetically walk away from obvious alcohol or drug addictions when I see them. I’ve wasted decades of my life already and never will give addicts even one more second of my remaining time on this earth.
Until you’ve been hungry and needed shelter and transportation you will never know what needs really are. The misuse of the word need, where its obviously only a want, makes me angry.
Here’s a video by Stephen Fry from Big Think, which I agree with.