Tag Archives: Religion

Pope Francis to appear on Frugal.com?

I have to say I’m starting to groove to this new Pope. The things coming out his mouth may be blasphemous to some but I think he’s got serious cohonies. Casting a sliver of light on the rights of  gays and atheists is only the beginning for this guy.

And now he’s dipping into forbidden territory by calling on his priesthood to embrace a frugal lifestyle. A few weeks ago, he made a conference call from the driver’s seat of his new (gently used) Renault asking his fellow priests to stop with the expensive cars already. The call was placed on his hands-free iPhone. Continue reading

Atheists, it’s time to remove your invisibility cloak

What follows is a post about atheists and their reluctance to shed their cloak of invisibility that I wrote quite a few Sundays ago. It was worth a rewrite and a rerun.

Have you ever watched Bill Maher’s film “Religulous?” I have and it coincided with a comment from The Byronic Man. He posted a reply to my reply to his original comment on the post: Glenn “the deal whisperer” Beck…I suppose God sent you this idea in a vision.

You should really read that post before proceeding but, hey, it’s only a suggestion. His comment struck a chord and since it followed so closely my watching the movie, it prompted a response. Here’s what he had to say:

I think the thing that pushes it over the edge into a feeling of madness is that people fall for it over and over. A lot of people. Like, Beck says he’s a small business man, you think ‘what a jackass.’ But when legions of people believe it, and you get the horrifying feeling that HE might believe it, too… that’s when it feels like the Earth is going to crack in half.

And, this was my response:

I don’t think he believes it…I KNOW he does.

I just watched Bill Maher’s film “Religulous” tonight for the first time and what really stuck me was the inability of the people he interviewed to coherently and rationally explain their beliefs. Yes, I know, belief is based on unquestioning faith. But please…most rational, sane people don’t defend an argument without study and at least some level of investigation of the facts. If someone told you that you should put all your money into ABC Inc. you don’t immediately go and deposit your life savings. You do some checking…at the very least you try to search out the “google” truth. At least, that’s what I do. Perhaps mistakenly I assume others do the same.

But I guess that’s the thing…they don’t. People don’t question anymore. They accept too many things at face value…especially if it somehow benefits them. Rather than holding to the line “if it’s too good to be true, it usually is” they go for the quick buck or the fast fix or the easy answer.

Bill Maher made an excellent point in the film.

He said that it’s funny how often God/Mohammed/Allah speak to their “prophets” one-on-one. In private. Where no one else can see or overhear.

If God is all-knowing and all-seeing and all-powerful as the believers insist then why doesn’t he just save everyone a lot of time and pick up a mic. It’s funny how many people say “God spoke to me” and use that as an excuse to do…well, pretty much whatever the hell they want.

Personally, I call all this “God spoke to me” business schizophrenia. I think there’s medication for that and I’d gladly help offset the cost of the prescription if only someone could assure me they would take the pills.

End of sermon.

I wish now that I had seen this movie when it first came out. However, it’s better late than never. But there’s late and then there’s…oops…too late.

I think it’s time atheists got up off their easy-going, rational, non judgemental, self-effacing, patient, and live and let live backsides and kicked some fundamental ass. For too long you’ve accepted things as they are and let religious leaders and their followers dictate the terms of your existence.

Did you know that atheists have a greater minority in America than African-Americans, Jews and gays?

In a Pew Forum Study, 16.1 per cent of Americans consider themselves to be atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular.  That’s compared to 12.3 per cent African-American, around 5 percent for gays over the age of 18 and approximately 2.2 per cent of the population are Jewish.

Jews, gays and African-Americans all have “defenders of the faith” so to speak. They lobby, they motivate and they defend their rights as part of living free in America. Why is it that atheists sit quietly by and do nothing in defense of their belief that there is no God? Why do they not speak out and demand equal consideration to live their lives free of religious interference?

I don’t know the answer to that. What I do believe is that someone or something needs to move this great minority to action.

You have every right to voice your objection to the god-driven policies that are quickly becoming the focus of America’s future.

To do nothing is no longer an option. It’s time to take off your pacifist cloak of invisibility and do something that does not come naturally to most athiests…just say no.

Channel your inner tag line and don’t annoy your Mother

May I ask you a very personal question?

Do you have a tag line for your blog? It’s usually under the title and offers a brief glimpse into the mind of the blogger. I know I’m being forward but I really want to know.  I’ve been reading (again with the reading) that, if not properly researched and street-tested, your tag line could be dragging you down.

I don’t want to be a droopy sock so I took to the Internet recently to conduct a wildly unscientific and heavily-biased poll. The results surprised me. There are some creative people out there, with interesting tag lines. They just need a little tweaking.

Subject Blog A:

Tag line: I do it for chew

You just had to pick pink. Do you even know me at all?
You just had to pick pink. Do you even know me at all?

The blog was covered with tiny smiley hearts and an overly enthusiastic use of sweetheart-rose pink. At first I thought I’d come across a blogger with a speech impediment, writing about romance.  After all, one of the most touted tips on writing is write how you speak.

Was I wrong to assume this blogger had a lisp?

Turns out the blog was about their English bulldog and his chew toy collection.

Suggestion: add an article of speech

If you don’t know which one, maybe THE bulldog can fetch THE grammar guide.

Subject Blog B:

Tag line: my life, from the rear

One guess as to what this blog is about. If you guessed a retrospective of this blogger’s life, you’d be not totally cold. More glacial really. This blogger chose a photo blog…of obese people wearing jeans. Not her rear end in jeans but complete strangers. I’m all for walking into the propeller of sarcasm, but if you’re going to photo-blog people and their muffin-top moments, don’t sugar coat it. Put it right in your tag line.

Suggestion: take photos of your own rear end in jeans and blog about your life around the time you were wearing them — especially if you’ve been on a Dr. Oz diet for what feels like forever

Subject Blog C:

God says thank you for your donation...and make sure you round up when you sign that check.
God says thank you for your donation…and make sure you round up when you sign that check.

Tag line: I angst, and God answered

As an atheist, I almost passed this blog by. If you want a broader audience (and the chance to convert the damned) consider relocating God to your sidebar. I know you’re supposed to put your god before all others but if he exists and is anything like his press, he won’t mind.

I also don’t think bitching about people who eat meat qualifies as angst. If there was a god and he didn’t want us eating meat, he would have made lettuce taste like chicken.

Suggestion: consider changing your tag line to “Thump My Bible” and maybe Joel Osteen will invite you to write a check in the amount of your entire retirement fund to help support his ungodly lifestyle

Subject Blog D:

Tag line: centimental moments

There are times when punning is precocious. This is not one of those times. Unless your blog is about how being frugal scored you a deal on your wedding dress, or anything else in life you’ve desired, and you want to savor the moments, don’t lose the “s.”

Suggestion: keep the tag line and do write about your frugal finds — readers love life-hack moments

Subject Blog E:

This is not the face of a happy Mom
This is not the face of a happy Mom

Tag line: musings about my mother

If there’s one topic that gets more attention among bloggers than mothers, I’ve yet to find it. Well, maybe kids. But the blogs about kids I found all had cute tag lines so I gave them a pass. Blogs about Mom? We all have issues with our parents and sometimes we have to write about them. If for no other reason than ranting so we don’t do something extreme that’s brought up and discussed to death at every family gathering.

But to dedicate all your posts to the good, bad, and ugly about Mom? Unless she’s totally senile and doesn’t know what a blog is, she’s probably got a blog of her own and the last thing you want is for her to focus her attention on you…like writing about the series of slackers you’ve been dating recently.

Suggestion: write about Dad instead — which will distract your Mom when you just have to write about you latest boyfriend, who thinks a job is “boring” but who wants to run Google some day

Subject Blog F:

Tag line: attention must be paid

This blogger got it almost right. While her blog header features some…interesting images…she’s a little overly fond of the ellipsis in her posts. A liberal arts blogger, she writes about anything and everything…paying attention to even the most mundane subjects.

Like tag lines on blogs.

Suggestion: stop featuring yourself in posts — your therapist cautioned you to pay attention to that little foible

What does your tag line say about you?

7 Deadly Sins: a writing contest by k8did

Lenore Diane had a thought…to send me to k8did’s blog to check out her 7 Deadly Sins writing contest. I missed out on the whole Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups group blog extravaganza so this is like she’s throwing me a bone…which I will seriously think about chewing.

As a full-time paid-up member of Sloth Bloggers Anonymous (copywrited by me just now), I’m not sure I have the requisite glutton for punishment gene. However, I am full of envy for k8did’s creativity in coming up with this challenge. I pride myself on not being able to turn down a challenge. I normally lust after anything that lets me put words on a page but lately Kindle has been greedy and unwilling to share me with anyone else.

This has made me angry.

7 Deadly Sins is a 600-word writing challenge and I think you get about two weeks to write down your witty bon mots before submitting it for judging. Yes, judging. Right there I’m a little intimidated. I judge not lest those who judge me find something to judge.

While I’m not sure I’m going to sign up, I thought some of you may want to toss aside your slothdom and submit some stories. It would be a sin to pass up this opportunity to be judged…worthy.

Revelation

via Online Philosophy Club

Yesterday, we had friends over for a bbq and a beach fire. They are actually friends of the Mister from way, way back…grade school days. Dick and Jane spend the summers up in our neck of the woods taking care of Jane’s Aunt, who basically raised her from a small child. Now that Aunt Sue is in her nineties, Jane is doing some paying back for all the love and affection Sue lavished on her over the years.

Dick and Jane brought along their daughter, Becky, and their four grandchildren. Sarah, Jake, Kelly and Ann. They are Becky’s kids from two different marriages. The two oldest are in their teens and the two youngest eight and nine.

They are all Christians and live in Texas.

We don’t talk religion. At all.

The subject came up once with Dick and Jane and we were blunt about our beliefs…that we don’t have any. That stopped the conversation cold. Which was a shame as I’d like to know why, and what, exactly it is that they believe. One night we’ll have to get them drunk and ask leading questions.

Last night, I had one of the most shocking conversations with a teenager. Ever.

We didn’t talk about boys, music, books, movies, fashion or sex. We talked about Jesus.

It totally scared me.

This sixteen year old girl started talking about what she wanted to be when she grew up (an OBGYN.) Bringing babies into the world is God’s work and she wanted to be part of that work. Sarah said that was in love with Jesus, he was her best friend and that she’d only marry a boy who was one of the chosen ones. Every other sentence revolved around God and/or Jesus. She had no thoughts of her own — everything she is and everything she does, is based on what God wants.

She’s not allowed on the Internet (that one I can understand…kind of) as it’s the Devil’s work. I couldn’t help but think…how the hell are you going to cope when you hit university? She’s not allowed to read Harry Potter books. Or watch television. Or date. I was reading a Stephen King book when they drove up and Becky took one look and asked me to put it away.

Becky is raising her kids as Christians. Yet she drinks, curses and wears enough makeup to fund Revlon’s annual staff Christmas parties for the next 100 years. Sarah, too, showed up with eyes black with mascarra, glitter nail polish and jeans so tight and covered with fake rhinestones, she would not have been out of place on the Vegas strip.

I kept thinking…you believe Harry Potter is the work of the Devil but you’ll let your daugther dress up like a hooker. How is that logical?

Then, I had a revelation. Religion is not logical. No faith-based terms of existence are logical. As with many “religious” individuals, you live by the rules of the good book that you like and find easy to follow and you disregard the rest.

Really? I beg to differ.

Becky is a twice-divorced mother of four kids with two ex-husbands who barely interact with their kids. She works a full-time job. She’s your typical single Mom who is using religion as a means to control her children and seriously screwing them up in the bargain.

It’s easier for her to invoke the Lord’s word and the old adage, “do as I say, not as I do” than to raise her children to think for themselves. Because raising kids to think for themselves is hard work. It’s endless questions and searching for answers and who has time for that when you’re raising four kids alone?

I say lots of people. And they are doing a damn fine job of it.

The whole conversation with Sarah was a mystery. It scared me. And it made me scared for her. While she’s still living at home and going to a Christian school, she’s safe. (I think.) But what happens when she out on her own…in the real world? People can be cruel and not very understanding. Sarah is so adamant about her beliefs that I seriously worry about her safety. She lives in a big city in a big state. Yes, it’s Texas, the heart of bible country but will she always live there? Will her current faith-based existence be able to survive outside this cocoon her Mother has created for her?

I don’t think so. I think Mom’s in the for shock of her life in a few years. Maybe Becky is hoping that enforcing such strict religious beliefs now while her children are young will save them when they get older. I think religion is playing the role of father figure in this family and it’s going to tear them apart.

I could be wrong. I often am. I hope this is one of those times.

(Author’s Note:  This was a serious commentary on something that mystifies me. Names have been changed to protect their privacy. If you were looking for funny…come back tomorrow.)

Why atheists need to take off their cloaks of invisibility

I’ve been busy working on an editing project and as a result, I’ve been a little preoccupied the last few days. However, tonight I took a break and watched Bill Maher’s film “Religulous” for the first time.

Then, I wandered over to my blog and checked my comments. What fortuitous timing.

I had a note from Byron MacLymont, who has been kind enough to post the occasional comment on some of my rather more irrational rantings. Tonight, he posted a reply to my reply to his original comment on the post: Glenn “the deal whisperer” Beck…I suppose God sent you this idea in a vision.

You should really read this post before proceeding but, hey, it’s only a suggestion. His comment struck a chord and since it followed so closely my watching the movie, it prompted a response. Here’s what he had to say:

I think the thing that pushes it over the edge into a feeling of madness is that people fall for it over and over. A lot of people. Like, Beck says he’s a small business man, you think ‘what a jackass.’ But when legions of people believe it, and you get the horrifying feeling that HE might believe it, too… that’s when it feels like the Earth is going to crack in half.

And, this was my response:

I don’t think he believes it…I KNOW he does.

I just watched Bill Maher’s film “Religulous” tonight for the first time and what really stuck me was the inability of the people he interviewed to coherently and rationally explain their beliefs. Yes, I know, belief is based on unquestioning faith. But please…most rational, sane people don’t defend an argument without study and at least some level of investigation of the facts. If someone told you that you should put all your money into ABC Inc. you don’t immediately go and deposit your life savings. You do some checking…at the very least you try to search out the “google” truth. At least, that’s what I do. Perhaps mistakenly I assume others do the same.

But I guess that’s the thing…they don’t. People don’t question anymore. They accept too many things at face value…especially if it somehow benefits them. Rather than holding to the line “if it’s too good to be true, it usually is” they go for the quick buck or the fast fix or the easy answer.

Bill Maher made an excellent point in the film. He said that it’s funny how often God/Mohammed/Allah speak to their “prophets” one-on-one. In private. Where no one else can see or overhear. If God is all-knowing and all-seeing and all-powerful as the believers insist then why doesn’t he just save everyone a lot of time and pick up a mic. It’s funny how many people say “God spoke to me” and use that as an excuse to do…well, pretty much whatever the hell they want.

Personally, I call all this “God spoke to me” business schizophrenia. I think there’s medication for that and I’d gladly help offset the cost of the prescription if only someone could assure me they would take the pills.

End of sermon.

I wish now that I had seen this movie when it first came out. However, it’s better late than never. But there’s late and then there’s…ooops…too late.

I think it’s time the atheists got up off their easy-going, rational, non judgemental, self-effacing, patient, and live and let live backsides and kicked some fundamental ass. For too long you’ve accepted things as they are and let religious leaders and their followers dictate the terms of your existence.

Did you know that atheists have a greater minority in America than African-Americans, Jews and gays?

In a Pew Forum Study, 16.1 per cent of Americans consider themselves to be atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular.  That’s compared to 12.3 per cent African-American, around 5 percent for gays over the age of 18 and approximately 2.2 per cent of the population are Jewish.

Jews, gays and African-Americans all have “defenders of the faith” so to speak. They lobby, they motivate and they defend their rights as part of living free in America. Why is it that atheists sit quietly by and do nothing in defense of their belief that there is no God? Why do they not speak out and demand equal consideration?

I don’t know the answer to that…at least not tonight. What I do believe is that someone or something needs to move this great minority to action. You have every right to voice your objection to the god-driven policies that are quickly becoming the focus of America’s future.

To do nothing is no longer an option. It’s time to take off your pacifist cloak of invisibility and do something that does not come naturally to most athiests…just say no.

Rapture, the sequel. Yes? No? You decide.