Tuesday, August 21, 2012

To Live and Die for Religion...


The world is quickly changing from being one that is divided by race and cultures...to one that is divided by religious beliefs. Everywhere we turn we see international wars and civil conflicts over religious fervor and fundamentalism. The Arabs...primarily Muslim...want to take out the Jews. The Christians want to protect the Jews and the homeland of their religious heritage...and yet many of them also want to convert the Jews to the Christian Messiah. Meanwhile, it is all very confusing to the secularists, humanists and liberals who live among all these religious factions. What will the end of this be?

Western and Eastern Civilizations have been largely formed based on religious divides. Western Civilization is primarily marked by the religious heritage of Christianity while eastern has most of its roots in Islam. Asia is overall a whole other ballgame...and somewhat caught in the crossfire between these perspectives. As modernization, education and globalization has arisen so quickly in the last century, it should be no surprise that these ancient traditions and fundamental belief systems have been called into question by so many. It should also be no surprise that the fundamentalists of all persuasions are hunkering down in their foxholes of dogmatic delight...fighting to their last breath to defend that which in many ways is indefensible in light of reason and enlightenment.

What many people don't realize is that the three main religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are all based on ¨Abrahamic roots¨ and share more in common than all the other religions throughout the world...since all three are monotheistic. All other religions tend to be differentiated by being pantheistic. ¨Pantheism is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing immanent God...not a personal one.¨ Apart from these religious persuasions, the balance of the world are basically secularists or humanists who don't have much time or interest in contemplating the existence of God.

While I have found friendly, agreeable and reasonably bright people among all these religions...I have to admit that the longer I live and learn, the more I lean towards embracing secularism. It just makes more sense and contains more reality from my life experiences. I know, it is difficult for the average believer to give up their fundamental leap of faith to explain the mysteries of life...but if you take out that which you cannot prove from most of these religions...they end up basically being interesting stories of mythological proportions. Not something worth fighting...or worse yet dying...for.

Yet, the reality is...much of the world IS fighting and dying for their belief systems. I could quite understand wars and conflicts over usurping of borders or against tyrannous leaders and governments who try to overrun the general masses, but to fight someone just because they believe in a different god or have a different ¨world view´ than you seems quite the vacuous reason for going to battle.

Everywhere we turn, we read and hear the calls to battle. In most cases it is a battle for the mind...a battle to define what life is all about and what it means. More and more shallow heads are hearing voices and killing ¨infideles¨ or performing ¨honor killings¨ of friends or family members in their fundamentalist communities who don´t tow the line of fundamentalism. If they don´t literally kill them, they cut them off socially and create more divisions and disillusionment with life in general. As we have discussed before, hypocrisies abound with continued aggression and lack of rights towards women and children in the name of Allah or Christ. Women are still forced into marriages they don´t want while men of their faith can have multiple wives or partners. Minor children are forced into early marriages to much older men...all in the name of their ¨god¨. Religious politicos try and rationalize why women who are raped should not seek abortion or have that choice. Only men and courts do in most jurisdictions. It is truly a perverse religious world to live in.

Even Statism is turning into a religion worldwide where flags and constitutions are brandied about in another form of blind faith and adherence. If someone attacks ¨our¨ land or ¨our¨ country, we blindly react to it as a personal transgression without asking if somehow the attack was in response to our own government´s aggression or faults. Somehow we need to maintain balance of perspective if there would be any chance for global peace. A balanced global view and being slow to war would be the first step towards achieving this as individuals.

Religion and Statism are strange bedfellows...but together they seem to have billions of people subjected to the will of a few manipulative leaders. The worlds masses are growing faster than the dissemination of education and rationality. The programming in churches and schools are more often than not tainted with fabrications and half truths...designed to manipulate young minds into carrying on century old feuds and fables. Few people question their institutions...their President or their priest. The few that do usually do it very quietly or not at all...unwilling to stand up for the truth or knowledge they have gained that the masses have not. Fear of truth (by those that hear it) is what kills the messenger(s).

I grew up in a fundamental family religion that taught me I should be prepared to sacrifice and even die for my religion. It is ironic that I now find it more painful and isolating to stand for NO religion. I am in no mood to live or die for a religion based on what I have experienced and observed. I am not into fear and guilt manipulation. Yet, I believe in coming years many people will die standing AGAINST religion. States and religions are growing hand in hand to keep individualism and freedom from overrunning their influence. Most people will not have the backbone to speak up for reason and sanity in this religion infested world. Those that do will often be spat upon, rediculed, ostracized, and yes...even killed...for not going along and ¨drinking the Koolaid¨.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Trusting in Hypocrites


The hardest and longest lesson in life is learning how not to believe in hypocritical leaders. Unfortunately that turns into a life of significant mistrust and questioning most everything that is passed down the pike.

So much of our lives are taken up with trying to figure out our positions on life's institutions...governments, religions, non-profits, NGOS...everyone seems to have hidden agendas in this world. Until we can sort it all out...if ever...we are better off being very scrutinous and paranoid about what we see and hear from media and power mongers tied to these institutions.

In light of many of my past blogs on similar subject matter, I think I should make a clarification on my take on the institution of religion in case I have not been clear before. There is a difference between ¨faith¨ and ¨religion¨. I believe every person operates in their life based on some form of faith. We believe certain things to be true not because we know exactly how or why they are...but by our experience and limited understanding of life's mysteries, we make certain fundamental decisions of what we think based on ¨feeling¨ or sentiments beyond pure reason. Some things are beyond our reasoning powers...so we all make certain fundamental judgments about what we think or feel about that which we don´t understand. This form of faith is not bad and is fundamental to our human existence...as long as we don´t lose our objectivity.

In the case of other people, we tend to relate to them based on our attraction, commonality and/or past experience with them. The longer we know them and observe their consistency or lack thereof, the more we trust or believe in them...or NOT. At the same time we realize that people are not static and are subject to change. Change can be good or bad. In some cases people make choices that make them better or more valuable humans. In the case of many the opposite is unfortunately a reality. Corruption, destitution, anxiety, depression...sh-t happens in life where people change unfortunately for the worse. Often times it is power that corrupts...and when that happens...well, ¨power corrupts absolutely¨.

Religion is primarily a way in which to institutionalize faith and/or an attempt to make our individual faiths conform to some centralized, socially acceptable way to think or feel about the unknowns in life. It is deemed heretical within religion to think or believe independently about most anything.

Fundamentally, I now see religion as one of the greatest manipulative forces in life to deceive and control the masses...and I reject being part of anything that divides and segregates mankind based on groupings of blind faith objectives. Religion is basically formed from the ego...an extreme sense of selfishness...in which humans strive to have power and dominion over other large masses of people, even within families, by sheer insistence that THEY are connected to the TRUE God. This is a heady claim.

Institutions devise dogmas and perform delusive acts of rewriting histories or worse yet fabricating emotional and ¨spiritual¨ manipulation through which we bring up children or poor, weak minded people to follow rituals and rites that have no real basis on reason to support them. This is not real ¨faith¨. This is outright deceit and delusion. It is amazing how anxious we humans are to believe what we WANT to believe when all around us is scientific and rational truths that contradict the dogma. Religions are blind...but we don`t want to see. It is too sad, and for most programmed humans impossible, to reconsider their false presuppositions. I know...I have been down that painful road.

The same manipulations and false reasoning are behind nationalism and patriotism. Just like faith...there is nothing inherently wrong with being proud about ones heritage, race or traditions. But, when that pride leads to exclusivity and delusion based on one race or nationality being superior over the other...then the ego of nationality, just like religion, has led to over-sizing the truth and creating all kinds of aberrational thinking about what it means to be part of any particular race or nationality.

We just completed the 2012 Olympics in London...and while it was exciting to see all the pomp and circumstance and the greatest talents of each country competing against each other in so many sports...there was also for me an ugly side to these competitions. The extreme nationalism and fervor over flags and patriotic hymns for me continue to support a false sense of pride in a majority of governments and institutions that seek to destroy or take credit for the very individualized efforts and talents these athletes have achieved. Countries or religions should not be given the credit for these superhuman feats. Individual accomplishment should...the human spirit if you will. Yet...you constantly see these brainwashed yet talented performers kissing their crosses, crossing themselves to the heavens, and/or running around arenas draped in the flags of their countries. The more I understand the power of statism over our globe, the more I abhor these manifestations of statist pride.

I know...most of you probably feel it is quite OK to have national pride and to celebrate ethnicity. We all have strong attachments to our roots. Again, just like faith, I have no fundamental difference with that core value. The problem is...by buying into the institutional aspect of this hook line and sinker...we end up carrying a lot of ugly filth and hypocrisy along with us. We aren't even conscious of it.

Very few individuals in history of the Olympics have stood up against their enslaving governments and tyrannical leaders. Lets face it, a majority of these competitors are NOT free individuals. They are limited by their passports and nationalities on where they can travel, who they can associate with and what they can think or believe...at least publicly. If you think Russians and the Chinese are free to come and go as they please, you are sadly mistaken. Only the rich and privileged are allowed that luxury. And how about those poor Cubans, Venezuelans or Arab state competitors? Do you think they have a choice about which flag they will carry or which God they will worship? How can we be proud and happy with these realities for these people? Yes, it is amazing what they do in the name of their god and country...but do we really need that association with god and country to appreciate the significance?

The world is increasingly based on the existence of ¨smoke and mirrors¨. There is very little absolute truth behind how people live. Life´s meaning and lifestyles are determined by media, institutions and cultural machinations that tell people how they will think, eat and live. Even money itself is an illusion. What is REAL money? What is it worth? Who is determining its value? Markets? Think again. Most all of us are living as slaves to institutional-ism. Very few of us ever reach a point of having enough ¨money¨ or knowledge to live truly free and individually. The chains of our minds are jerked around every 2 minutes by media, TV, radio, internet, billboards and magazines that ALL lie to us every moment of every day about what is real or truly significant.

We are trusting in hypocrites all of our lives...and becoming just like them. In general none of us are truly free...and we don´t even care. We have given up pursuit of self and settled for fitting in. We have traded in our dreams for the yoke of complacency and pleasure. We refuse to stand up and be counted for in any real way on what we think and believe. We avoid conflict at all cost...even when it costs us our freedom and sovereignty as a person.

I have come to the point where I don´t believe the world deserves freedom. We are not willing to pay the cost. We are not willing to take care of ourselves. We want socialism and absolute controls over all of life`s risks. We trust in the social welfare systems of our governments more than in ourselves. We are much more comfortable trusting in the Hypocrites to take care of us. We deserve what we get...which is NOTHING.

(...a late footnote. I cant help but mention the tremendous hypocrisy happening currently in the Julian Assange Wikileaks case. While he may not be the most likable, purely motivated guy on the planet, these Western governments pursuing prosecutions of him without trial or due process based on his outing government communications FULL of proof for these hypocracies of which we speak is obviously tainted with injustice and fabrications against him. And then in turn today, the USA government has the audacity to speak out against Putin and Russia for prosecuting some girl rockers for speaking out against the Russian government? Is this not obvious hypocrisy of the first degree? )

Monday, August 6, 2012

Just another face of evil...


One more blatant slap in the face today from the news about this white supremacist sicko who fatally shot 6 people in a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin. At least the authorities this time took out the perpetrator with a dose of his own medicine. I`m sure many institutions will once again be calling for banning guns and all other sorts of useless legal reactions to this hideous crime. My answer to that would be...I thought we outlawed racism and bigotry in America a long time ago, yet millions are still living in that frame of mind.

It seems to me it is about time the human race got down to some serious reprogramming about origins of evil and understanding racism. Most rational, educated people are going to understand and embrace difference and diversity in how various customs and cultures develop over thousands of years. Our melting pot culture of the last 120 years SHOULD understand and accept the rainbow of color and perspectives by now. Yet somehow, illiterate crazy people are coming up in relatively educated countries like ours who have no perspective or rational sense about the world at large. From crib to grave, these types of people stay in their pea-brained, embryonic state of infantile dysfunction where life is ¨all about me and my ego needs¨ versus having any understanding of other people or historic cultures. The sense of insecurity and outright hate for people different than ourselves is totally irrational and unacceptable in any civilization...even the Western one. The USA needs some serious introspection about what it is that spawns so many racially divided, non-inclusive mentalities whereby ¨white people¨...or people of ANY particular shade or color...would think they have supremacy over another race or creed. Are we not tired of this routine yet? It is quite obvious to me we have hardly evolved as humans since the founding of our once great country.

I would like to think that this sicko face of evil is an anomaly...an aberration from normality. Yet, as I go about my daily life, I am amazed by how many racial jokes and intolerant statements I hear about various races or religions. Even though I have fortunately grown away from organized religion, I still have to understand and accept the fact that a large majority of humans are religious by nature and upbringing. Since we are capable of so much thinking and rationalization...we have to come up with beliefs that answer the unanswerable, even if there is little substance to our beliefs. I am convinced we do this primarily because our egos do not allow us to live comfortably with ¨I don´t know¨. And then, when OTHER people come up with more rational, scientific ways of looking at big picture questions...it is just too threatening and defeating to admit we may be wrong. The reaction is HYPER dogmatism and escaping reality into circles of hate and fear such as this madman probably came from.

I think racism and religion are closely connected. People that hold racist views often hold religious ones as well. Most of the major religions are built around race and culture...and are divided by race and culture as well. This is not a criticism...just a fact.

In Judaism, you have two main traditions, Sephardi and Ashkenazi. These traditions are basically divided down racial lines.

In Christianity you have various divisions that are bred in different racial concepts. Most churches are made up of white, black, Hispanic or Asian segregated churches. Even in the melting pot which is the USA, you see very few truly integrated churches. If they believe in the same God, the same Jesus...why the racial divide? People of faith really need to do some introspection on this one in my opinion. The silence and hypocrisy is deafening to many unbelievers.

With Islam, the Sunni make up a large majority of the followers while the Shia are from a different cultural background for the most part.

I bring this up because I believe that whatever doesn't unite us divides us. My background is plenty full of the things that divide us...and religion is one of the BIGGEST dividers. I don´t believe God is behind this kind of division...and if he were I am not sure I could go along with him in good conscience. (please take this as intended...tongue in cheek)

I am still trying to figure out where this institutionalized evil comes from. The roots are long and deep apparently.

I am not saying it is abnormal to want to be with people of your own race or culture. In fact...what I am saying is that it IS normal and should be expected behavior. Yet...what I DON`T accept as normal is this seemingly vast acceptance of racism and mentality that everyone else is inferior to ¨us¨. Where does this attitude and pressure come from that somehow ¨our race¨ has to be superior or preferred over others? Where does the societal attitude come from that looks down on interracial couples and their children? Where does the narcism and ego come from that has us continually comparing ourselves with other races? The stereotypes are huge...and they lie.

I have lived long enough to see some poor people justify their poverty and make it out to be preferable over being rich...EVIL. I have lived long enough to see rich people guilt tripped about their riches to the extent where they gave all they had to some government or church who would protect them or promised them ¨eternal life¨...EVIL. I have lived long enough to see governments funded by the people turn their courts and armies against the freewill and sovereignty of those who gave them office...EVIL. I now live a life of quiet desperation pondering the question ¨how shall we then live¨?

I guess I will have to be content to be contrarily minded and dispel evil with my traditional songs of the 70s such as ¨Puff the Magic Dragon¨, ¨We Shall Overcome¨, ¨If I had a Hammer¨ and ¨I`d Like To Teach The World To Sing¨. I am real tired of these ugly white supremacist types being the ¨poster people¨ for my country.