Saturday, April 21, 2018

One Piece of Evidence


So I have this new friend.
We met a few weeks ago and simply enjoyed one another's energy and personalities. We became fast FB friends.


Now, if you are an atheist, you know exactly what is about to happen. Everything is fine and dandy; we're laughing at one another's jokes, liking each other's pics of kids, wishing one another well, etc. Until that very moment that I wrote the first thing that identified me as a possible nonbeliever. 
I posted the meme above that reads It would only take one piece of verifiable evidence to destroy atheist. This new friend immediately starts to sound panicky and writing about faith.

You know, what I hope again and again is that new friends who are believers can handle it. My ongoing hope is that they can get to know me, can like me for the person that I am, and then, when finding out I'm an atheist, can just deal with it and maintain our friendship. But again and again I find that some people simply can't do it.

Geesh, and people wonder why I dislike religion so much.

I'm hoping this new friend can find a way to work through her issues and retain interest in our friendship, 'cuz I like her, but I can admit here that I'm not very optimistic about it. Some believers can get very uncomfortable around people who don't think as they do. I've lost any number of friends with being an open atheist.
I guess we'll see. 


April 21, 2018 addendum:
She replied something like I don't really believe in any of that so I'm not one to worry about it.
Hooray!!!!



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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Facebook and Other Social Media


For all of the people paying any attention to the Mark Zuckerburg testimonies, I feel like this is a bit of a watershed moment in history, a thing that we'll all remember in later years. It is the time when the freedom we've been experiencing on the internet is in jeopardy; it is when our freedoms will disappear into bullshit governmental regulations in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the revelations about FB’s role in the spread of Russian disinformation during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as CA's misuse of private information of FB users; it is when Zuckerberg has to answer questions about Facebook’s past, current, and future actions.

I'm not a big fan of government.
Smaller government is my preference, and not  in the Republican form of smaller government, but in the fewer rules and more freedoms form of smaller government.



But the problem with fewer regulations is this: human beings can be opportunistic, lying, scheming assholes. We can't trust some people. Our personal freedom and our personal information is all at risk because of these few baddies. But, just like in every other sphere of life, if a baddie is going to do bad stuff, regulations and rules won't stop them. 
So it's the little guys, US, who are inconvenienced by all of the new regulations that are going to be smacked down on FB and other social media.

And just like in other spheres of legislation 
(gun control and others) basic, essential, reasonable laws of operational control are fine with me, more than that is useless and overbearing. But that shit never happens.


I love the internet.
It is a vast place with access to so much information. I'm amazed by it almost every single day. I'm constantly wishing I would have access to information so easily as I was growing up. I'm not the type of person who knows much at all about the ugly places, the seamy underbelly of the internet, hate groups, so I can't speak about any of that. So, with the exception of all of that crap, even with all of the imperfections of the internet, I am in love with more access, more information, more knowledge, more connection.

How to keep that, that is the question.




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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Omnism


We have a very good friend who often says that he believes in all of the religions. That makes him an Omnist. Omni, meaning all, the belief in all. Omnists accept the truth of all religions. 
I'm thinking the Omnists would be likely to have one of those Coexist bumper stickers on their car. I'm sure most Omnists think of themselves as spiritual  rather than religious.

I'm sure there is a spectrum of Omnism, so any definition would, therefore, be incorrect. 
But let's look at it a bit anyway.

I can understand the willingness to be open to the wisdom of all belief systems; I'm sure there is at least some wisdom and knowledge available in many forms and under many guises. I get that. I can wholly appreciate the perceived equality of it all; there is no superior group or belief system. I can dig that. I'm assuming that an Omnist generally accepts the beliefs of all religions.

I can appreciate the Omnists' efforts to be equitable and accepting of all. 
I can appreciate the desire to be open to consider all things.
I can sincerely appreciate the soul searching.



HOWEVER, and maybe this is simply my own shortcoming, I see all the religions as very unworthy of devotion. Futhermore, 
I don't see how a person can accept that there are all-knowing gods, cultural gods, local gods, that we ourselves are gods, and that there are no gods...all at the same time. Not to mention the gods that are no longer worshiped. Or that these gods are knowable and unknowable...at the same time. That there are various afterlives and no afterlife...at the same time. I cannot accept the validity of any single religion, much less all of them.

In conclusion, I want to respect the Omnist.
Alas, I cannot unless that Omnist is young and searching,  as our friend is.
I don't see it as a place to stand.
It seems like a cop out to me. It is not choosing, not deciding, not 

accepting the falseness and bullshit inherent in the system. Religion is a the bathwater and Onmism seems to be unable to separate the bathwater from the baby.


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Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Faithless Feminist


A few weeks ago, Karen Garst of Faithless Feminist blog included some of my writing as a guest on her blog. I've been noticing a great deal of sharing of my writing from her blog; it feels quite wonderful knowing it is being read. Karen asked me to write for her regularly, maybe weekly. I hope you consider keeping an eye open for more of my writing there.  *smile*

I've been reading some of the other writings on her blog. Wow, she has found and shared many good pieces of writing. I highly recommend checking it out of you have some lovely time to sit back and read, specifically if you have a nice cup of tea, as I do.    ☕

I, especially wanted to share a piece from Faithless Feminist that I read today called The Problem with Faith: 11 Ways Religion is Destroying Humanity written by Shanna Babilonia. I just thought most of you would enjoy the piece! I looked for more writing by Shanna and found this excellent piece called Why Organized Religion Fears Educated Women...seems Shanna and I are on the same page.

Karen Garst is always looking for guest writers.
You can submit your writing HERE.


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Thursday, March 15, 2018

No Longer Quavering


I don’t care what others think of me,
which is pretty damn liberating.
How many people worry that they’ll say or do the wrong thing
and someone—god or a friend--
will judge or dislike them?
Those are shackles we put on ourselves.
If there’s one thing I learned from being atheist,
it’s that it just doesn’t matter what others think.
I don’t need approval – from anyone.
And when I screw up, I can forgive myself.   

Kids Without Religion

I have spent decades Dec!!! Ades!!!! of my life worrying. I used to worry a great deal about what others thought, kept myself buttoned up and tamped down, kept close tabs on my emotion. I used to almost never deliver opinion publicly. Hard to believe, I know. Some of this tremulousness came from my slightly-anxious personality; some of it likely came from family-of-origin dynamics.

But those days are OVER
Never again will I tiptoe around those who bugle their voice all over the place. Never again will I tuck my chin down, lower my eyes, and demurely take it. Never again will I doubt that my thoughts and opinions have equal value to every other person in the room. Because I and YOU have value and presence.

I Will not Be Quiet


If you spout your LGBTQ hatred, I will not sit quietly and let you have the stage. If you deliver a diatribe of your racist beliefs, I will not sit still and let your bullshit stand center stage. I simply will not be tolerant of your intolerance any longer.

But why? Because I enjoy the debate, the limelight, 
the battle?
Absolutely not. SOOOO much no.


I detest debates. But I detest hatred and isms
It hurts me inside, truly, when people throw bombs at the gay or lesbian or transgender, at the atheist, at the brown or black person, at the person outside of the mainstream, at the person courageous enough to stand up honestly and with integrity, at the person from another country, 
at those living in poverty, at those marginalized in any way. It hurts me. 

My heart is wounded nearly every day from the words I read online, from the voices I hear on social media. Yeah, inside I'm no longer quavering, but I'm wounded, pained. But I promise you this, if I hear one person standing on the head of another person, whether the object of derision is present or not, 
I will not stand down. I will face the spreader of misinformation or the provocateur and I will tell them truths, point-by-point. I will stand up for the person whose voice is quavering.

I have had several times when my defense of the silent was considered rude. ME, the rude one because I had the temerity to confront the anger, hatred, prejudice. In some circles I am considered rude! But count on it, I will no longer tolerate your intolerance.
I will no longer be silent.


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Friday, March 9, 2018

The Virtue of Doubt


The beginning of wisdom
 is found in doubting; 
by doubting we come to the question, 
and by seeking 
we may come upon the truth.
Pierre Abelard
(1079-1142)

I want to give this idea some more thought, the idea that doubt is a virtue. Let's unpack it a little. I would venture to say that every single person who ever claimed to have or claims to have a religious outlook on life has had periods of doubt in their life. It is a very human thing. In fact, the church holds faith, over doubt, as one of the highest virtues one can hold. Much of the church's teaching, in fact, tells that having faith even when doubt is sucking one's mind into the unending fire is the highest virtue and is, therefore, essential to being in good graces with the Christian god.

Furthermore, doubt is considered a form of pride in the church. Another sinful thing, pride. It seems that the church wants nothing more than to save all believers from the sin of pride, the sin of doubt, by encouraging them to maintain faith in the face of doubt. What treacley goodness comes when one experiences doubt and yet chooses faith over that doubt.

Whereas I say that doubt is a human being's natural function common sense sticking its head above the water and wondering what in the world am I doing in this crazy place

A goodly amount of churchy effort goes in to the practice of encouraging adherents to maintain faith in the face of doubt. As Dieter F. Uchtorf said doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. I've got to admit, that's cute and catchy. Another cute pat on the head, Little One, is that expression Don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith

In other words, give us some time to beat your common sense back into submission.

I wonder how many bouts of doubt I weathered before finally finding a way out of the church? Quite a few, actually, because I can clearly recall several of them. Moments when my eyes began to open, to see the ridiculous, to see the obviously man made parts of religion before being subsumed back into the fable and the pageantry. Back to the place where Thomas is a cautionary tale rather than a human being looking for clear, true signs of the resurrection...signs that should have been easy to display in that moment...to dear Doubting Thomas. I mean, just show me your wound, Lord, since we're right here and all.

Yes, those moments when doubt begin creeping up, story inconsistencies, weird/rewritten church history, obvious power plays, moments when the church as an institution, a money-making institution vs. a creation of a deity, becomes so clear, moments when the very kernel of truth of a religion becomes undeniably shaken. Having the courage to explore the doubt, to explore the questions more fully, to entertain the idea that the mustard seed is a truly ridiculous metaphor.

The truth is, being able to change one's mind when presented with new information is the true sign of courage and maturity; doubt is a true virtue. So listen to your doubt; it's trying to tell you something. Allow me to end this little diatribe with one of my favorite quotes by Bertrand Russell:

 The whole problem with the world 
is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, 
and wiser people so full of doubts. 

Bertrand Russell

 


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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Genetic Testing - 23 & Me


A bunch of years ago my friend Judi sent her saliva to get the genetic testing thing done and she kept urging me to get my testing done. 
At the time I wasn't very interested, though 
I understood her excitement about the ability to gain knowledge of ourselves. Recently I decided that the time was right.

I sent my saliva sample to 23andme about six weeks ago. I was surprisingly excited to get my results, after all of these years. Well, they finally arrived. Today. YAY.  ๐Ÿ˜€

In my family, a little on both sides, there is some belief in an Italian background. And Swiss, tons of Swiss. But generally we expected German. Forever back, German. It turns out that some of that is correct and some of that is incorrect. Here's the breakdown:


Not a bit of Italian in the bunch and lots more Irish than I thought, or ever even considered. It's a rather unremarkable ancestry, all things considered. Also, I would venture to say that nearly everyone in my hometown has an ancestry that would break down nearly the same.  ๐Ÿ˜„  Unremarkable. In fact, in my own composition, there is nothing at all except for German until one goes back to at least the early 1800s. 
Ja, Freunde, ich bin eine Deutsch madchen.

Along with the ancestry composition, the genetic testing results from 
23 and Me include quite a lot of other interesting information. I doubt much of it is interesting to you, Dear Reader, Sehr Geehrter Leser, except to know exactly what type of results are available through this particular company, and I'm delighted, erfreut, to share that with you. The only thing that really and truly surprised me about my own results is the part telling me that I'm highly unlikely to experience any dementia or Alzheimer's because it was not detected in my genes...I fully expected to get that because of my ridiculously bad memory and recall. Anyway...


The results came to me today by email, six weeks after sending in my spit. I've been clicking on many links and boxes and getting more and more information on myself. The results have lots of explanation as well as lots of disclaimers. 
The explanations are very clear and useful. 
Here is a list of a few basics bits of that information that is available with the emailed results. Each item listed here has an explanation of the characteristic as well as if the characteristic was detected. Lots more comprehensive information is available on their website to help understand results, though no result is considered a diagnosis. I'm including this entire list in case you are looking for something specific:



I found most of that interesting to read about. The results include a multitude of fascinating links to keep me busy reading for days!

I also enjoyed reading about how my long, long ago ancestors spread across the European continent, as well as some information on the family of African mother and I, Afrikanische Mutter und ich, and, indeed, most of us, came from. Here is an example. This map shows the movement of my ancestors, a very short trip, it seems to me, for such a long period of time, over 160,000 years! The L, L3, N, R, and H groups are all traceable and knowable lineages. My results included information on the movement of these distant ancestors. Here are two enticing and intriguing nibbles of information that came with this map:

Haplogroup L
180,000 Years Ago If every person living today could trace his or her maternal line back over thousands of generations, all of our lines would meet at a single woman who lived in eastern Africa between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. Though she was one of perhaps thousands of women alive at the time, only the diverse branches of her haplogroup have survived to today. The story of your maternal line begins with her.

and

Though haplogroup H1 rarely reaches high frequencies beyond western Europe, over 60% of eastern Tuareg in Libya belong to haplogroup H1. The Tuareg call themselves the Imazghan, meaning “free people.” They are an isolated, semi-nomadic people who inhabit the West-Central Sahara and are known today for a distinctive dark blue turban worn by the men, and for their long history as gatekeepers of the desert.

I'm still processing lots of the information and will continue to do so. I have to say that while I'm very excited about having this information, there are a few things I was hoping to find out more about. Like cancer. I seem to have some of that in the family. Maybe a few other more common disorders and abilities as well. But WOW, I'm excited about what I have to read and research and, for now, zur zeit, I'll keep following links and using this information as the perfect distraction from my bad back...


If you have had your DNA testing done, or if you have any questions at all, please let me know! I'd love to hear from you.

 
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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Is Love a Feeling or a Choice?


They say that the very idiosyncrasies that appeal to us about our partners in the beginning of a relationship are the very things that push couples apart as time goes, the very reason that most couples fall out of love. And this is the exact thing that scared me for years as a single person. I thought the real me would push my eventual husband away.
I am kind of annoying. I could list my shortcomings and you won't believe me, but trust me, there are many. As a young woman growing up I would fret about all of this because I was certain that my future amazing husband would eventually leave me for my many irritating parts. And for the snoring.

 Lucky for me, I married Jerry. He is STILL, inexplicably, in love with me.

And I am still in love with him, even with the things that could annoy me about him. We are damn near opposites of each other so we could find about a million things to dislike; but we don't. His sense of humor still cracks me up. It's silly AF, pervasive, and apparently genetic because the house if full of kids with the same sense of humor. At times it drives me out of my mind! At times I can't even sit at the same table as all of them at dinner when they all get going with their silliness!  LOL  Other times, they make me laugh until I have tears running down my face.

I'm so glad that, again and again, Jerry and I have continued to choose each other. How that man can choose me after the ridiculous crap that *I* do is truly beyoooond me. I drive my own damn self crazy sometimes.

One of the kids' favorite stories is this one time on a gorgeous New Zealand beach when I was taking pictures, MANY, according to the story. Along with their dad, all three of them would not give me a decent smile for the camera. No nononononono. Not one. They all kept making faces and cracking themselves and each other up (see above pic for an example). I was FURIOUS.  lol I kept saying I will never be on this beach again and I want a lovely picture!!! I was so angry. They kept mugging and cracking up, never giving in.

 Now a collage of those silly faces is on my refrigerator because I love it.
He's one lucky man I tell you.


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Superstition


SUPERSTITION. It is bloody everywhere in American society.

 Don't get me wrong, I love my country. But there are churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other buildings for worship on every stretch of road. I can hardly drive down the road without reading some ridiculous church sign that mentions the blood of Christ, sacrificial lambs, blessings and curses from deities, requests for special courtesies, begging the deities for favors, praiseprayergracefaithheavensalvation, or the one I saw recently If being hurt by the church causes you to lose faith in God, then your faith was in people, not God. Obviously I'm mostly surrounded by Christians with just a tad bit of Muslim thrown in there, as the signs suggest.

This week John and I were passing a church sign that mentioned sacrificial lambs and atoning for sins and I honestly thought OH YEAH, People believe in stuff like that, I forgot!  People actually believe that two thousand years ago a man's death prepared the way for all people who believe in him to live an everlasting life in heaven...because he was hung on a cross, of all things!!! It is utterly ridiculous!

When I was a believer, had I read that previous paragraph, I would have been shocked and alarmed at such blatant disregard for the real and true love that I felt for Jesus. GOOD GRIEF was I brainwashed!

Now, the utter nonsense of these superstitions blows me away. I find every single religion to be truly absurd. Have you ever seen those memes that say things like I sacrificed myself to myself to save you from myself. What is so great about those memes is that they simply reword the religious claim into non-religious terms, thereby exhibiting the nonsensical claims, in this case the LOOPHOLE that the deity created for his own rule. lol   ----->

I am so far outside of religion and superstition now that I actually forget the brainwashing that goes on inside of those buildings and when I run across the signs I clunk my head and think Oh yes! I had forgotten the deliberate self-deception that believers put themselves through in order to maintain the preposterous and foolish falsehoods that they, then, force into politics, education, the marketplace, healthcare, news, scientific research, and every other facet of life. I had forgotten the arrogance of believing that my superstition beats all of the others, that my religion is the right one and I am a chosen person. I had forgotten that believers scare themselves silly with a fictional foe with a fear that keeps them awake at night with nightmarish stories invented just to frighten children and themselves. I had forgotten that the industry of religion is a well-oiled machine.

I had forgotten that story where doors were marked with lambs blood so that the deity would kill the right babies. I had forgotten the woman who was turned into a pillar of SALT, of all things, for looking back to the town where her children were as the town and all of its inhabitants were being destroyed by a terrifying god who was throwing a tantrum. I had forgotten the cute children's nursery decorations depicting the utter destruction of nearly all living things on the planet. I had forgotten the need for a single group of people to feel like they are chosen among all human beings. And I had forgotten the mind game of claiming that all of this was in a part of the holy book that we are allowed to ignore, unless we like it.


I had forgotten that people have actually convinced themselves that they have a personal relationship with...nothing. I forgot the perpetual state of fear that so many believers live with: fear of losing the great unseen, fear of a vengeful extortionist, fear of the pain of being human. These same people have purposefully applied blinders to their minds eye so that they can use the epithet of mystery  when confronted with the many, many, many facets of religions and superstitions that make absolutely no sense and that are obvious flaws in the continuity of the stories. These well-meaning believers have found some way to consider stories of obvious mental illness to be holy, divine messages or interventions..? I could go on.


I sometimes forget ALL of that and move through my life happily, using reason and love and kindness in my interactions, and with deliberate awareness of things that make no sense. I see the gorgeous, huge, ever-changing sky and feel a tremendous sense of awe with our atmosphere. 

I react to the changes of the season with an understanding of axial tilt and position of the earth and moon in relation to our sun. I learn continually about new and exciting fields of scientific research...and I forget all of the superstition.

And when I forget all of that...I find PEACE, JOY, and TRUE AWE.

Wish I could ignore the church signs... 



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Monday, February 26, 2018

Cave of Forgotten Dreams


Cave of Forgotten Dreams
(2010)

I admit it, I'm a nerd about many, many fields of study. The Chauvet caves in Southern France have always left me in a state of awe, so I was delighted to discover this documentary deep in the bowels of Netflix. 

The film begins with a quick run around the old hills and rivers of southern France where Chauvet cave is hidden. The landscape speaks of eons past for it is old old old. Our guides appreciate the magnificence of the way we travel and we fall into silent reverence, awe. When we finally see the entrance to the cave we see that authorities have sealed it and have actually placed a locked steel door to protect the delicate balance of chemistry and biology and artistry within the cave. The original entrance to the cave suffered a massive landslide thousands of years ago and is now buried within about fifty or more feet of rubble and crystal stalactites. What an interesting thought to ponder, that the immensity of time allows for both the masterpieces inside to have been created, a massive landslide, and another amount of time for that additional fifty feet to develop stalactites and stalagmites that nearly form columns...

The gorgeous shots of these crystal-covered pillars is truly breathtaking. Can our human observation of these columns adequately appreciate the beauty of Nature's ways? Can we appreciate the immensity of the creation of this single cave chamber through utterly natural, knowable forces? Does it move us that this chamber existed completely without humans' awareness for eons? Is it my mind alone that struggles to process such reality? 

We move forward into a chamber only to be welcomed by a massive bison, as though the artist could barely contain his delight at the discovery of canvas worthy of his dreams.

In fact, the paintings are absolutely transcendent to me, yet it is the time passage that makes my mind stop and pause... I cannot grasp the idea of thirty-five thousand years. I want so much to imagine the one who carried the flaming torch deep into the cave, rubbed that torch over the side wall to clear it of ash, and then painted his own handprint onto the walls. I want to, for a moment, enter into that flash of time when an artist actually scraped the cave wall free of crystallized coating and painted true images of paleolithic horses and bison with such accuracy. OR that next moment, possibly five thousand years later, when another artist painted bison, rhinoceros, and ibex onto the same walls, now, again, glazed with crystal.

The silence so deep, my own heartbeat in my ears, there he is...fingers full of red ocher, confidently recreating the abundance of life...or calling out to the spirit of those animals? The dark so deep. Where my light does not shine remains as it has been for an eon, pitch and lightless. The bones of cave bear at my feet are already beyond age and I am here where no one will again step for another age. There, the skull of a cave bear completely clothed in crystal. It is silent here, yet not, for the earth itself has a voice of its own. He works alone, stooped, broken finger, lost in the dreams in his mind. 

He dabs orange pigment into the wall making a leopard pattern, sits back and appreciates his work. He alone has done this. He alone knows of the secret of these cave walls. His name is unknown today. His hands have become legend, myth, dream. He is somehow as real as this room, yet shrouded, as indistinct in the time between us as mist. The time keeps him forever enigmatic and veiled...yet still before me...

Who was he? Can you see him?
Does his humanity call to you?



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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Libtard Snowflake


Never in the history of this blog have I ever gotten overtly political. NEVER in my time on Facebook, prior to 2016, have I been a political loudspeaker. But I can't help myself these days. I simply can not be silent.

Saying Stop Shooting Our Kids  does not make me a libtard snowflake.

But I see what they are doing there, they  being the people who are working so hard to desensitize us to human suffering. They  being the generation before me that wants to suggest that the current outcry to STOP the bullshit is a bunch of sensitive 

do-nothings. They  being the people who want to shame the people who are slowly finding their own voices.

I know what they are doing.
They are snidely and systematically attempting to devalue the opinion of the loudening voice, the voice that has been kept down, quiet, hidden, feeling alone for all of these years. The minority voices of all kinds, the voices of all women, the voices of anyone different from the white man, the voices of people without religions, the voices of people without the power, the voices of the victimized, the voices of the wounded. 

They are trying but we won't let them.


The name calling is the battle cry of the person without a leg to stand on. Remember, rudeness is a weak person's imitation of strength.

Let's not buy it!
Let's buoy one another up!
Let's support the disenfranchised who have the courage and the voice to stand up and say NO MORE.

Come out, come out and let your voice be heard.


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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

My Writing Group and Writing Prompts


One of my favorite things is a little writing group that I started a year or so ago. We meet weekly, as long as all conditions are right, at a local coffee shop across the street from a beloved friend that we all secretly hope joins us.  ๐Ÿ’“ Most of what we do is, using prompts from books, websites, or of our own creation, from all over the place, and write for three to ten minutes. Then, if we wish, we read our writing to each other, pause with love for one another, and move along.

Our writing often prompts wonderful conversations full of emotion, love, and connection. It's truly a beautiful thing, with a side order of iced tea and brownies.

With the love of this writing group, I've decided to add my suggestions for some excellent writing prompts. All around the internet you can find website with dozens of memoir writing prompts, most copy from one another. Each of these personal narrative prompts is from my own head. Enjoy:


  • Which of your parents are you the most like? How. Describe your similarities and differences.
  • Describe the relationship that you consider the one you call your "first love". Does it affect you in any way today? Are you still on contact with that person?
  • Write about a fashion trend that you can't get on board with.
  • Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Write pros and cons of being that type of person.
  • Write about the most inspiring teacher, mentor, authority figure you have had in your life. 
  • What are some of your pet peeves and what do they seem to say about you?
  • Write about a beautiful moment from the past week.
  • Make a list of small things that bring you joy.
  • Describe a time when you felt too far away from home.
  • Write about your hometown. Its positives, negatives, things that give it character. Write some of your essential memories from there. What would a visitor see?
  • Write about a time when you realized you had misunderstood the whole thing.
  • Describe your mother or grandmother's kitchen.
  • Write about a time you got in trouble as a child, especially when you didn't mean to.
  • Were you a bully as a child? Explain what made you behave that way.
  • Imagine you have a million dollars. What would you do with it. No taxes.
  • How do you like to spend an afternoon on your own.
  • Write about a road trip you took.
  • Write about a party you threw.
  • Write a letter to yourself at a certain age. The letter should say the exact things you needed to hear at that moment.
  • Write about a time in your life when you made a major change. How did it go?
  • Imagine it's 200 years in the future and your time capsule was just dug up and opened. What is inside and what does it mean?
  • Write about a childhood friend and some unresolved issues from that friendship.
  • Write a list of things that you are grateful for.
  • Write about the first person or relationship that broke your heart.
  • What recurring elements do you see in your dreams? If you gave them meaning, what might they be telling you?
  • Write about a song that holds meaning for you.
  • Write about a time a friend or family member came to the rescue.
  • Write about how the people in your life know that you love them.
  • Write about a time you became separated from the group.
  • Write about a time when someone made you feel empowered.
  • Write about a time when you had to end something, and were the better for it.
  • Write about a low point in your life and how you found your way out of it.
  • Write about a movie or book that you wish you could step into. What would you do there?
  • Write about a bedtime story you made up for a special child in your life.
  • Write about a person that you admire without using their name.
  • Do you, your parents, or someone you know have a wonderful love story to tell? About how they met? Tell the story.
  • Write about a time you were too drunk/stoned/high.
  • Describe a time that you look back on fondly.
  • Tell a story about being unwisely in love.
  • Make a list of things that you love about your life.
  • Where were you on 9/11?
  • Where were you when the Challenger exploded?
  • Think about a person you have lost touch with. What was your relationship like? Would you like to reconnect?
  • Write about a book or some books that made a huge impact on you and your life.
  • Write about a time you had an encounter with someone famous.
  • Write about a time you were the victim of a crime.
  • Write your own version of NPR's This I Believe.
  • What is your absolute earliest memory?
  • What does it seem are common impressions of you that people seem to have?
  • Write about the most painful thing you have ever experienced.
    Have you learned anything from it?
  • Write about a time you were on stage.



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My Daughter is  Fierce
My Writing Process Blog Tour
More Writing Prompts
A Fascinating Blog Post

Monday, February 19, 2018

Why are You so Angry at God???


This post was featured on Karen Garst's blog faithlessfeminist.com
I am delighted to see it so well-received there. The idea for this post started about five years ago when I read a book by atheist activist  Christina called Why are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things that Piss Off the Godless

I thought Greta's book was brilliant, but incomplete. And that's why I took this effort to add to the incredibly long list of things that I an angry about. Please add your own in the comments.



Am I raging and wounded? Have I seen too much pain and unfairness that 
I have entered a period of anger at God? Am I in despair and feeling hopeless? Am I afraid that God has abandoned me in my desperation? 
Am I feeling that Life Isn’t Fair? Am I unable to locate any gratitude towards God?

In my time I have been accused several times of being angry at God? 
The Christian god, presumably. People making this suggestion to me never ever take my reply as honest. They simply cannot accept the reality that, 
No, I am surely not angry at your god.

The truth is, I have no anger whatsoever at any so-called deity.
I do have anger at religion, tons of it. 

The organizational, structured shame and guilt and abuse and prejudice and hatred and misogyny.

I’m absolutely livid that the conservative right has placed an abhorrent human being in the White House because that man had the lack of integrity enough to play to their agenda. I’m further enraged, enraged, I say, that those people have given up their own abilities to think clearly and have looked to their religion to determine their political allies. It has divided this country in half.

I have anger at the YEARS of sexual abuse cover ups in the church, at the abuse of power and religious political power, at the tens of billions of dollars of financial abuses, overt lies and manipulation, all religious wars, massive sexual abuse scandals that are forgiven by church authorities, encouragement of faith over reason.

All pics Courtesy of Pinterest
I’m angry about every single effort to defeat true knowledge in the place of religion, about inculcating children into the fantasy of religious belief, about religious teachings taught in classrooms and offered as facts to the minds of children, about prayer over medical treatment, about every effort to hide truth under the cloth of bullshit, about the fact for each and every single person who has ever struggled to understand something in earnest while being taught to stick with faith, and about every vile adult male who ever married or injured a young girl or boy well within the bounds of their religious practices or traditions.

I'm angry that black atheists have to struggle doubly hard to be freethinker in this country. 

Black Nonbelievers, Inc.

I’m angry that all doubt in the religious mind is told that it is the resident demon putting those thoughts into their head. UGH.

I’m thoroughly disgusted that outrageously, overtly powerful and wealthy people are thought to be humble. It is abhorrent that wealthy church members are powerful church members, that people in poverty are encouraged to embrace and accept their position of powerlessness.

I’m disgusted for every single penny or other coinage with the words In God We Trust on them, for every misappropriation of false history passed along, for every single person on their knees in prayer with tears streaming down their faces with the belief that that action is their only option, for all of the church history that has been falsified, and for every single young person struggling with the guilt of absolutely normal maturity and sexuality.

I am fully disgusted at the ostentatious wealth of the Catholic church, 
much of it stolen from conquests, while the church de facto encourages and supports poverty.

I’m saddened tremendously by the people who believe in some nether-regioned bad guy that is after them and all of the anguish that accompanies this belief.

I find it a huge loss that few religious people ever seek to understand the incredible beauty and vastness of the universe. Just think of the millions of minds that have been handicapped by religious belief.

I’m angry that people spend so much of their sincere effort to figure out the Will of God, that the church demonizes nearly all sexual practices, that atheists and all people of logic and reason are considered the least trusted people in this country, that people of all ages anguish and fear the concept of hell, and that all ridiculous stories that make no sense in the holy books are treated as absolute fact or real history.


I’m disgusted with the entire vile concept of Biblical Parenting, that believers are encouraged to discount, cherry pick, or misrepresent the words of their holy books yet those same books are treated as sacrosanct, that perfectly well-meaning, truly good people are encouraged to stick with faith over their own decision-making reasoning abilities, and that this country would never elect an openly atheist into positions of power.

I’m ridiculously angry that a woman’s right to personal autonomy has become a favorite witching call of the religious right.
I am angry that, were I to die at this moment, some of my family members would believe that I was burning in hell for all eternity... and this is the religion that they choose!

I'm livid and the more fundamental the religion, the fewer rights women have.

I am angry that the powerful religions on this planet that still exist do so by having exterminated the other religions and acolytes of those religions that existed before them, by torturing people into fearful belief, and by every other violent and forced method of spreading a belief system.

I’m genuinely angry that truly GOOD people honestly have been convinced that it is their religion that prevents them from committing horrific acts of murder, rape, or other rapaciousness.
I’m angry that the best fricking thing we have to offer people attempting to recovery from addictions of all sorts is a treacly religious 12-Step program.

I’m disgusted that religious families are tragically encouraged to abandon family members who have differing beliefs or understandings of the world.

I’m angry that adults all over the planet are satisfied with not knowing things, and that the churches systematically install so many of the feelings inside of a believer that confuse them so very much.

I am livid that CHILDREN are taught to fear, reject, revile, hate people different from themselves. Every form of racism and white supremacy supported by the Christian religion shocks and outrages me.

I’m angry that my children and all children of reason often have felt like they wanted or needed to go into hiding due to the pressures or disdain from the believers around them and that those same children have been told that they are going to hell.

I’m angry that most third world countries are so mired in evangelized missionary doctrine that they are stripped of their own powers and of their own belief systems.

I am truly disgusted with the entire concept of sin and how the church teaches and controls and tortures the emotions of adherents with it.


I’m angry that the majority of people in this country are religious and that any effort to secularize the government or the culture is treated as UNFAIR or as a THREAT to religion.

I’m angry with the smarmy well he believes in you response to atheism.

I am angry with the teaching that we are all inherently evil people and that the only way to salvation is through the church.
I’m angry as heck that so many truly good people anguish over the possibility of losing a freaking afterlife rather than finding ways to make this life a truly good, just, loving, and meaningful one.

I’m angry that autonomy and personal power are not important tenets of the religions of the world.

Am I angry with a god?
Not at all.

It turns out that what I am angry at is the power-hungry narcissist human beings who control the hearts and minds of so many people on this planet using religion as their walking stick.


Are you angry?



 Thank you Karen Garst for your atheist activism
and for your blog Faithless Feminist.
 

You might also enjoy:
My Atheist Memes and Late Night Angst
That Hideous Dance Between Faith and Critical Thinking
I'm a Lover not a Fighter