Atheism Is Admitting the Truth

It's time to grow up and start seeing the world the way it really is and not the way we want it to be.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Love is Now or it is never

There is so much that cannot be explained.  You want it to be simple.  This happened, then this, then this and finally this.  But life never falls in straight lines.  Life is a maze the solution to which is never revealed until the last turn is taken, the last line is drawn.  People demand of you what you cannot give.  They want to know the solution before you have plotted the course.  They want the security of knowing that the writer, the author, knows the ending and is guiding them, step by step, through the process that will eventually lead to this ending.

They don't know you.  They see you as some guide, some leader they can follow.  But you aren't a leader.  You are struggling to keep up with the images, the ideals, that pour into your brain unbidden.  They want to believe in you and when they discover they cannot they blame you.  You are at fault because you cannot give them the reassurance they are so desperatly seeking.

It's no wonder they believe lies when they are spoken with such self assurance.  They yearn for someone to lie to them, someone to tell them the truth is just beyond their grasp.

They don't want to be told the truth is out there, somewhere beyond the reach of their teacher.  They look for teachers who can end their search, can take away the burden of searching for themselves.  Believe me, I know the truth.  That is what they want to hear.  They don't want to hear the truth is something they have to discover for themselves.  They look to teachers who know the truth and they fault themselves for thier failure to understand.

You are not at fault.  You have simply reached the end of the road that others can lead you to.  They don't know the truth any more than you do.  You want to believe they know more than you.  You want to believe in the Truth.  And there are many who would take advantage of your will to believe.  They will sell you books and lectures and dvds and seminars none of which will lead you to the Truth but all of which will convince you it is your fault, some lacking in your desire and your will, that keeps you from knowing the truth.

And all along, the truth is simple and uncomplicated and you have known it in the past and only need to remember what you have forgotten.

Simple things like when you die your life ends.

Like all you have is this moment, this bubble in time, in which you live.  That when you want to do something, you have to do it now.  That putting things off to another day is refusing to do them at all.  That if you love someone you love them now, in this moment.  That love defered is love denied.

Things like you can only love each person you are with, and only then in the moment in which you live.  That making claims to love people you don't know is just so much rhetoric, meaningless talk.  To say that God is Love is the same thing as saying God doesn't exist.

Things like when you die your life ends.

There is no afterlife, their is only life and if you don't use the life you have, then you are damned and if you use the life you have, if you love each moment, each person you know, then you are alive.  That the only difference between damnation and salvation, between Heaven and Hell, is in this moment, this decision each moment entails.  Do I love you?  The answer should be there even as the question is asked, be it yes or no.

I love you.  Each person who reads these words.  Now, in this moment, not in any other, not in some vague sense of Love...but in the specific sense of me keyboarding these words and you reading them...I love you.  If you blink, if you hesitate, then the moment is past.  Love only exist in the present moment.  Love is the point at which our selves move through time.  Or love is not.  Love is an on off switch.  Either it is present or it is absent.  Love is a binary function.  The switch is either on or off.  There are no gradations, there is no dimmer switch.  You either do or you don't.

Right now, in this moment, in the keyboarding of these words and in your reception of these words, there is love.

Ask me tomorrow if I love you and the answer will be different.  Everything happens now.  Nothing happens tomorrow and nothing happens yesterday.  Now is the only time we have, now is our eternity.

The rest is illusion and a striving after the wind.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Is it all right to do nothing with you life?

Simple question.  What harm would come if you simply woke up in the morning and went to work then came home at night and enjoyed yourself?  Working, of course, is an essential aspect of living.  If you want to have a place to come home to that is your own, where you can be alone, then you have to work to make the money necessary to sustain you own life.  You may not want to, you may find ways of getting around working.  But experience has taught me that living off other people in some way, shape or form is always more complicated than simply working. I call this the 168/40 ratio.  There are 168 hours in a week.  If you work 40 of those hours, then you are left with 128 hours to do with as you please.  It isn't a bad deal, when you think of it in those terms.  In order to make this 168/40 ratio work, you need to get your self-esteem needs met in the 128 hours you have to yourself.  If your self-esteem is tied to your work then you eventually end up giving up your free time in order to bolster you self-esteem.  The 40 hours alloted to work can easily expand until your entire waking life is spent either at work or thinking about work or taking classes to make your work more rewarding financially and satisfying emotionally.  This ends up in a situation where you are just a working man, 24/7, and the only time for yourself is when you are sleeping.  Many people find this sort of life acceptible.  And that's fine for those poeple.  They will reap the benefits of their hard work and advance in the corporate ladder, achiece success, make more money or however you wish to think about it.

What if making money is not your primary goal?  Everyone wants more money, sure.  Some people trade off large portions of their me time in an effort to get more money.  Second jobs, after hours training etc.  Other people buy a lottery ticket.  Each pathway to getting more money has its pluses and minuses.  Each path is not a certain sure method of achieving your goal:  more money.  Education is a gamble just as surely is the lottery.  You gamble that the money invested in your education will eventually pay off.  You fund your advanced education through student loans.  Student loans come due whether the education purchased by them results in more money or not.  You can, and many do, end up in a situation where you attempt at further education ends up fruitless and you are stuck with paying off loans that you cannot bankrupt on with high interest rates.  At this point you are likely to ask yourself if you would have been better off by investing the money in buying lottery tickets.  The advantage of the lottery ticket strategy is you either win, in which case you enjoy the benefits of more money with an extremely lower investment in time or money, or you lose.  But you only lose the money you have already invested in buying the lottery tickets, no more.  In short, if the further education strategy doesn't pay off, then you end up with a mountain of debt that will haunt you for years but if the lottery ticket strategy doesn't pay off you only lose the money you have put into the purchasing of tickets.

To get back to the question as first asked:  What if making money is not your primary goal?

We are so focused on making money as the only goal available in our capitalistic society that the idea of other goals is difficult to concieve.  What would a goal that did not end with you having more money look like?  How would it function?  Is it even possible?

What if you goal was just to be happy?  What if, at the end of the day, all you wanted was to be able to sit back, watch a movie or a football game, and go to sleep at a decent hour without any worries or anxiety hanging over your head and interfering with your sleep?  

What if your goal was to have another person in your life with which you could share your happiness and derive even greater happiness from their presence in your life?  

What if you were content to have a roof over your head, food on the table and a few extras such as TV and the Internet?  What if, instead of wanting more, you decided to settle for less?

Less is always easier to get than more.  As a point of fact, most people have more already and getting less would involve less stress, less work.  Not just 'cutting back' in order to balance your budget, but actually changing your focus from wanting more to needing less?

Capitalism teaches us to look up.  To see the people who are higher than us on the pyramid.  To envy these people, to covet what they have that we don't, and to work harder to raise ourselves from one rung of the ladder to the next.

What if you stopped looking up...stopped seeing your status as so many rungs of the ladder to the top of the pyramid...and started looking down?  What if you began to think of your status as how far you are from the bottom instead of how close you are to the top?  

What if you started thinking of your possessions as how much more you had than the people at the bottom of the pyramid?  What if you began to focus on how rich you are in comparison to the rest of the world?  

What if you began to think in terms of how much  you had instead of how much you needed?  

What if you began climbing down the ladder instead of climbing up?

What if you began to believe...or to remember...that greed is wrong?  That selfishness is a vice, not a virtue?  

What if you began to see the children who are starving to death in the world the same way you look at your own children who are whining about not having the latest version of a video game or smart phone?  

What if you opened your eyes and saw the world the way it really is?

It's a simple declaration but a radical commitment.

What if you determined in your own heart and mind...

That no one should get dessert...

Until all the children have been fed?

Is it all right to do nothing with your life?

Yes, it is perfectly all right for you to seek you own happiness.

Is it all right for you to have luxuries while children die?

No.

It isn't right.

And there is no philosophy, no religion, no politics that can change this wrong into a right.

Should you despair of being able to do anything to change this situation?

No.

Despair is the refuge of cowards.

Reduce what you see as essential.  Reduce your diet to that which is optimal for your age.  Get rid of your car.

Let your own conscience determine what you need to get rid of and what you can keep.

Don't make excuses.

Allow yourself to be happy.

Sell off, give away, drop out.

Get involved.  See the faces.

Humble yourself.




Thursday, November 22, 2012

Insolent

Insolent I mount the stage to strut my speech and rhyme
Impotent I feel my age rebut me line by line
Only sorrow

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Don’t Talk To Christians





Having a conversation, either on line or face to face, with a Christian is something all of us have endured.  Just out of curiosity, can anybody point to an incident where they accomplished anything by doing so?  I know I can’t, but maybe some of you have a higher tolerance for fools than me.
So why talk to them?
Perhaps you are afraid that by not responding you concede the argument and they win by default.  This appears to have merit until you examine the idea closer.  The premise is you can win an argument with a Christian.  There are several reasons this is impossible.
There’s the difference between intelligence and ignorance.  Christians want to couch the argument in terms of Faith Versus Reason since it implies there is an equality and similarity between the two.  As my brother (a Christian minister) put it, “Faith is another way of looking at the evidence.”  Say what?  There is a fundamental difference between faith and reason best illustrated by the Two Switches analogy.
Faith is an on/off switch.  Either you have it or you don’t.
Reason is a dimmer switch with absolute the darkness of ignorance on one end of the spectrum and the full light of knowledge on the other.
Christian faith permits no compromise, no concession even on the smallest of points.  It is all or nothing.  Reason is all about compromise, concession, revision, rethinking, admitting when you are wrong and adapting your beliefs to new evidence.  In conversation a reasonable man believes that he can educate his opponent and, with the right arguments framed in the right manner, the other party will be convinced.  When a reasonable man loses an argument he is justifiable humbled and begins the long process of rethinking his ideas in the light of the new information or ideas he hasn’t taken into account.
A Christian cannot do this.  He is not motivated by a desire to learn the truth.  He is motivated by fear.  The fear of going to Hell, of course, but more importantly the fear of losing his status in the tightknit community to which he belongs.
A reasonable man begins with no idea where rationality will take him.  A Christian begins with the conclusion then works backwards to find ways of justifying his presumptions. 
This latest batch of Christians is particular frustrating and deliberately obtuse.  They want to prove that God exists.  They don’t get it that by searching for scientific or logical proof of the existence of God they prove nothing except they have lost their faith. 
Let me say that again:
Any Christian who seeks to prove the existence of God has already admitted that the evidence for the non-existence of God is so strong that their faith has been brought to ruin. 
More importantly, they acknowledge that anyone exposed to the evidence will lose their faith as a result.  So they run around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to find logical and scientific evidence to replace their own faithlessness.
A long time ago, so long I can’t remember when I first encountered the idea; I learned something about automobile advertising.  Automobile advertising is not directed at convincing people to buy a particular brand of car; rather the ads are designed to assure people who have already bought the car they made the right choice.  Brand loyalty it’s called.
Christians believe first then justify later.  The trolls on this site aren’t here to convince anyone of the truth of their arguments; they are here to convince honest seekers, a group to which they most certainly do not belong, that they have evidence for the belief in God.  They aren’t here to join in an open conversation.  They are here to throw as much bullshit they can against the wall in the hopes that some of it will stick.  They are here to inoculate people against the truth by giving them the smallest dosage possible so they will not seek any further. 
They are here to close open minds.
They feed on ignorance.  The only way they can make their billions and to exert an un-Godly political influence over the minds of free men is to keep people ignorant.  Never mind their alleged founder was offered by their mythological Satan the Kingdoms of This World and he refused the deal.  They believe that Jesus made the wrong choice and that he’s coming back to take Satan up on the offer.
They are worse than Islamic suicide bombers.  Their own scripture condemns them.  To paraphrase:  “Don’t be afraid of men, who can only kill your body, fear those who can kill your mind.”


It’s 3 am.  I stopped working on this post about 10 hours ago.  I just finished watching a movie called Season of the Witch with Nicholas Cage and Ron Perlman, actors whose work I have enjoyed in the past.  There’s one more reason we shouldn’t talk to Christians.
They are the enemy.
In this movie Cage and Perlman play deserter Crusaders because they have lost their faith.  They are caught and perform one last duty:  transporting a young girl accused of being a witch and causing the plague.  According to this piece of shit, the Inquisition was right, there really were witches! And, guess what, these witches actually did cause the Plague!
Turns out the girl isn’t just a witch she’s Satan!
Don’t worry, Cage and Perlman rediscover their faith and do battle against the witch/Satan in order to end the plague. 
There is a moment in that battle when she…Satan always uses the weaker sex who fall prey to his wiles…makes a clear statement to the priest who is reading a text in  Latin from a Sacred Book…says to him:
“But isn’t it true that the church has killed more people than any war?”
And the priest pauses and starts to think about it.
And the others yell:  “Don’t listen to her!”
And the priest goes back to jabbering incomprehensible words in Latin.
That this movie could be made at this time and openly shown in theaters portraying atheists in such a manner then maybe don’t you think it’s time to admit that this is a war and these people are our enemies.
It’s like the Warsaw Ghetto Jewish resistance inviting the Nazis over for a debate.
The time for debate is over.
Unfortunately, the war is over, too.
We lost.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

the poor are breeding stock


the poor are breeding stock

the poor are breeding stock
the welfare and food stamps
the rich dole out to these sows and studs
serves as the paddock’s lock
and the lure to lead them up the ramp
so the ones with promise
            can be separated from the duds

each season they trim their herd
this one has a beauty
            worth cultivating
this one is tall and quick enough
            to play pro ball
here is a voice to make them even richer
            if they decide to let it be heard
a few with minds worth exploiting
            but these are the dangerous ones
                        so their numbers are kept small

then there are those fit to be nothing but cannon fodder
just smart enough to learn to take orders
but not so smart to question why the US borders
circle the world, an empire far, far larger
than just our fifty states

most of them are left behind
turned loose in the wild, wild streets
they live a life of horror
they cluster together in gangs
and churches to survive

but the cruelest cut of all’s
how the rich split the poor in half
the whites fearing colors,
the colors hating whites
the deliberate installation
of the very thing
they say they hate

until we, the poor of this country
the livestock rejected at the gate
the left behind
the true poor
the poverty that goes on for generations
and the only thing we have to leave our children
when it’s their turn to step up to the plate

and so we’ll stay this way
until we learn that white’s a color, too
and skin don’t make the man
admit we have a common foe
for the enemy of my enemy
is my friend

Monday, October 29, 2012

I tried to pay attention

History is a funny thing.  The more I live through the more out of touch with  history I have become.  There was a time when a first person account of a historical event was deemed primary evidence when assessing both the event itself and the implications that followed from the event.  Now eye-witness accounts are treated as 'anecdotal evidence' as if they were some story I made up about what happened even though it happened in front of my eyes and to me.  Unless they mesh with the received wisdom or support a political expediency in the present time, which they never seem to do, then the events of my life are cast aside like the world I speak of never existed.  Like I never existed.  I have become an Orwellian non-person and have been written out of the history of my own life.

Sometimes I want to echo the pathetic cry of Joseph Merrick:  "I am a human being!"

When I insist "That's not what happened, I was there, I lived through it" I am met with blank stares "like cows at a passing train."

It is the oddest feeling to be told that I am incompetent to comprehend and assess the events of my own life.  I'm sixty-two years old.  I have been a part of every political, social and religious movement of the last half of the 20th Century.  And, as I would like my epitaph someday to read, "I tried to pay attention."

I have studied furiously in the last thirty years, much harder than I ever did in university and with no credits toward a degree in anything.  I studied because I wanted to know the truth.

The truth.  There's another word that has lost all meaning.  When I dare say there are true and false beliefs about anything, or worst of all declare there is truth and there are lies made up by evil men with evil motivations.  When I extend the Biblical line:  "The truth will set you free..." adding "...and anyone not telling the truth is trying to keep people in slavery" I might as well be speaking in Latin for all the comprehension in the faces of the people I'm talking to.

I don't give a good Goddamn for all the hard scientists out there who want to hedge their bets by calling truth such wishy-washy names as 'theory' or 'consensus' or 'probability.'  That's great for building a career in a university, but it is an act of moral cowardice nonetheless.  If you don't believe in what you are asking others to believe enough to call it the truth, then you are half a man and the half that's left isn't worth the gunpowder it would take to blow it up!

I have been fighting tooth and nail for over thirty years now only to see the United States slip further and further into the abyss.  I have watched in awe and terror as this country has reached the state where fully half of our citizens are about to vote for the Libertarian/Fundamentalist bloc who openly declare their hatred for democracy.  I cannot for the very life of me understand how people are willing to vote to have their own power to vote taken away from them.  I cannot understand how their are people who claim to Libertarians and Atheists at the same time.

Is it that they simply don't know their own history?  I do.  I lived through their history, was a part of it, just like I was a part of Christianity as Fundamentalist mandated political platforms as a necessary part of what it means to be Christian.

I reject both Socialism and Libertarianism and for the same reason:  they are both 'isms.'  That is to say, they are forms of government based not on the will of and with the permission of the governed but rather are based on ideology.  All ideologically based forms of government are dictatorships.  They have to be.  In order to gain power and survive they have to take away the right of the people to choose their own government.  The first thing once they are voted into power is to take away the power to vote from the people.

The only form of government that allows the people governed to change their form of government is a Democracy.  Libertarianism wants to tie themselves in with Republicanism just as they want to tie their economics to Capitalism hoping that no one will notice they are neither until it is too late.

Barry Goldwater was the last Republican just as William F. Buckley was the last true Conservative.  And they both detested and disavowed Libertarianism as a radical, anarchist born of the Sixties complete with Vietnam war protests, draft-card burning and a platform that consisted of legalizing all drugs on the theory that each man...not woman, they are die hard patriarchal misogynists just like the Mormon front man they are running for president...has the right to put whatever he wants into his body no matter how much damage he does to his family and society.

Most importantly, Libertarianism is Utopian.  Their core beliefs have never been tried on a national scale or even on a communal level with success.  They want, in spite of the Globalization of the World Economy, to pull us backwards into economic and political isolationism.  They want to disband and disarm the federal government turning over all the powers of a legitimately elected government to what they call 'private enterprise.'  Think about Zimmerman.  Where has he gone in this election?  Think about the disbanding of all Federal law enforcement agencies.  Think about turning over the state police departments to 'contractors' and the local police to armed Neighborhood Watch groups.  Does anyone want to live in such a country?  Yet we have Blue State Liberals, of all people, who would be willing to allow the Red States to secede from the Union and undue the work Abraham Lincoln and hundreds of thousands of young me died to preserve.  But the Red States don't want to secede, isn't that an historical flip-flop?  They want the whole country.  Libertarians have openly stated that they want people from both sides of the political aisle to join them.  They want and intend to create a nation where there is only one party and that is theirs.

Libertarianism is the policy of the worst of the radical underground right groups, groups that have swollen in numbers during the Bush and the Obama administrations.  Obama because he's black and rallied all the racists in the country to unite.  Bush because his oxymoron-ically named War On Terror didn't happen to include the terrorists groups in the US like the Posse Commitatus...who were actually given legitimacy by the state of Arizona when they hired them as mercenaries to patrol their borders and enforce their immigration laws... and the militant militia movement whose supreme accomplishment was the Oklahoma City bombing.  Ask yourself why in the middle of an alleged War On Terror these groups were given a free pass like the John Birch Society was given by the FBI in the Sixties?  More to the point, why did the Supreme Court in this country turn over the plum the NRA backed terrorist groups had been begging for, the radical reinterpretation of the Right to Bear Arms to mean people had a right to stockpile private arsenals to be used, by their own admission, if the Democratically elected government of the US dared to pass much needed gun control laws?  

No matter which man wins this election, Obama or Romney, it is the United States that will lose.  If Obama wins he will only be kept from doing anything for another four years while the Libertarian/Fundamentalist bloc becomes even stronger and deeper entrenched.  If Romney wins then the push for an ideologically based dictatorship will now have the White House as well as the Supreme Court and both Houses of Congress behind their movement.

I'm tired.  I've lived too long and, frankly my dear, I don't give a damn any longer.  I want to get myself and my family out of this country and back into the Free World again.

If I'd only had the foresight in the Sixties to ask everybody who told me to "Love it or Leave It" for a dollar I'd be rich enough to get out by now.

Anybody up for starting an Atheist Refugee Society?








 

Friday, October 26, 2012

how can i describe you


how can i describe you

how can i describe you
without seeming
unbearably sappy
and romantically redundant?

you are the first breath i took
when i rose screaming
from the womb

you are the marrow in my bones
where my life’s blood
is manufactured

you are the dawn
of a day that never ends

you are the fawn
frozen in the headlights
of my speeding life
the one i chose
to wreck my self
into the gutter
and across into the trees
to avoid hurting

you are the taste
of wine sap apples
on my tongue
the essence of cinnamon
and nutmeg

you are the appetizer
at my banquet
and the main course
and dessert
all served at once

you are the one
i was waiting for
before i even knew
i was waiting

you are the ferris wheel,
the merry-go-round,
the bumper cars---
the carnival of love

you are the gold crayon
in my crayola box
and the blue and yellow
and red and green
there is no picture
i might want to color
that i will not find myself
reaching for you

you are the one
of which there is no other
the prime cause
and end result
of all my days

you are what god gave me
as compensation
for my failure
to get to heaven

you are the pulse
in my wrist
and the pain
in my side

you take my breath away
and breathe life
into my lungs
all at the same instant
the cat who straddles me
and sucks my breath
and the paramedic
who gives the cpr
to bring me back from death

if i had never met you
then i would never have known
what love means
i would have stumbled
in the dark
blind to the meaning of light


if i had never met you
i would have never understood
the purpose of poetry
my talent would have been
so much sand
to be blown by an indifferent wind

you are my mother
and my child
my beginning and my end
and all the life between

i could have died
without knowing you
and my life would have ended
like the life of a fly
without so much as a whimper
but now i will scream in dying
trumpet like a bull elephant
at the outrage of mortality

how can i be
what i am
without being in love with you?
there is a simple equation
at work in my world now:
i love
therefore
i am

don’t think i am obsessed
i am as rational
as any man dared
hope to claim
as sane
as a psychiatrist on valium
and as calm
as a cow
who has been fed, bred and milked

yet
i love you still
and the crazy part of me
loves you
just as much
as my rational self

how can i describe you?
when i open the door
into the dark room of my heart
you are the light
that floods in
and illuminates my soul

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Suggested reading:

  • A History of the End of the World by Jonathan Kirsch
  • American Colossuss: The Triumph of Capitalism 1865 - 1900 by H. W. Brands
  • American Colossuss: The Triumph of Capitalism 1865 - 1900 by H. W. Brands
  • Life After Death by Alan Segal
  • Radicals for Capitalism by Brian Doherty
  • Radicals for Capitalism by Brian Doherty
  • The Science of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen
  • The Science of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen
  • Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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About Me

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I am from West Virginia. Born in New Martinsville to a minister's family. Traveled around West Virginia and Southern Ohio growing up. The only stability I got was from my mother's side of the family in Boone County. My Great Grandfather on my father's side was preaching in Madison during the Mine Wars. He ran for the state legislature on a pro-union ticket and won only to have the coal companies tie the results up in court so he ended serving only one day out of this term. My Grandfather on my mother's side stood with the miner's at Blair Mountain and died of Black Lung when I was still in my teens. I was raised a Conservative Christian...not a Fundamentalist. Strict separation of church and state based on the understanding that what makes for a good politician is pretty much the opposite of what makes a good Christian. I'm politically radical in that I believe in one man/one vote and the only way to have political equality is to have economic equality. I'm an atheist because once I accepted the fact of my own mortality I found no need for belief in God.