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.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

i have heard of men

i have heard of men
who died in poverty
and were found to have possessed
great wealth hidden in tin cans
beneath the floor boards of their shacks

i will die
and beneath the marble floors
of my palatial home
they will discover
tin cans
rusting and empty

i am content to be myself forever

somewhere in the hills of winter lies my heart
not frozen by the snow that carpets the ground
and tinsels the bare branches of the trees
rather melting for itself a perfect circle
in the white and winter world around
with a red, delicious glowing warmth
that coaxes the green from the winter grass
and gently pops the dandelions from sleeping seeds

not a false spring does my heart create
rather a spring of my own choosing
a spring i carry within myself
and can uncrate as easily as a weary hiker
can erect his tent
then roll up and dangle from his back
when the time comes to travel on

i am my own seasons
a spring of youth and love and growing
a summer of work and travel
a fall of quiet resting beneath browned trees
and a winter of revenge and bitterness

each season comes and goes at my command
without regard to sun and moon or
curious signs in farmer’s almanacs
often the order is reversed---and often
more than one is at a time
but they are mine

i am content to know them always
i am content to be myself forever

it was not always so
but the turning of the clock
and the rattling pages of my calendar
have worn the rough edges from my dissatisfaction

i no longer want an endless summer of work
or delight too long in hateful winter’s vengeance
i would be bored with constant springtime sex
and, though i am a lazy beast by nature,
fall’s resting is not my idea of heaven

i need all four---or five or more
as i explore myself
down through the halls of my mortality

i am content to whistle in the wind
and know that i alone can catch the tune
i am content to shed my cocoon never
i am content to be myself forever

the tentacles of love

his face was flushed as heavy drinker’s sometimes are
his body befouled by the reek of booze oozing from his pores
drunk or sober, he smelled like a bathroom in a bar
the aftershave he overused only adding the odor of a urinal cake

her face was painted garishly like the aging whore she was 
until no one would pay her anymore
the implants she’d had years ago when she was firm and toned
now made her breasts twin cantaloupes rotting over stones

each settled for the other because there wasn’t another
who’d touch them no matter how long was the pole
he was father to a daughter long forgetten; she a mother
to a half a dozen bastards better off being orphans

they’d fallen for each other like they were falling in the same hole
they were deeply serious, completely mysterious, demons sharing the same soul
at night when they sweetly, sweatily screwed they proved
there is nothing blinder than endorphins

she died first, the victim of a wasting social disease
with her last foul breath she whispered to him i love you
he nodded in his taciturn way, not trusting words to his unease
then left the corridors of the hospital into a summer day that mocked his grief

with nothing left to want, and nothing left to do
he lumbered on doing the things alone he once did when they were two
often he rode the bus to the pauper’s grave where she had found relief
with sunrise the caretaker gave him a nip from his flask then told him to leave

he didn’t die, at least, he hasn’t yet
he goes on a wretched warrior no one told about the truce
he’ll never die nor will he soon forget
the tentacles of love will never let him loose

Flowers for Armageddon

the petals were yellow with a dusting of rusty red along the edge
the stalks were slender but sturdy and green leaves grew near their base
there were three flowers on the scarred and dry-rotting ledge
when he awoke they faced east towards the morning sun
by sunset they’d turned west in their terra cotta vase
but he was not patient enough to time their turning
patience was a skill that only lately he was learning

he promised himself to one day give the ledge a coat of paint
and make faint marks on the clean white surface
where the flowers shadows fell across the wood
and thus, from solstice to solstice, trace the seasons as they came and went
but the flowers, perennials, in winter drew back into their bulbs
the idea, though charming and distracting, was no good
still he knew when winter came by the passing of the flowers
and on sultry summer days their shadows tracked the hours

each day before sunrise he sprayed the flowers with rain water
collected in the barrels at the corners of his house
on pleasant days he set the flowers outside on the porch railing
they were his children, the three of them, two sons and a daughter
and unlike his first three children they had no legs to walk away
these stayed and their constancy calmed him without failing
until one spring the bulbs refused to break up from the ground
and the twenty-two he kept for varmints still held one round

when hecate’s your nurse

when i was young and dumb and full of cum
i marched my own cadence, i beat my own drum
now i’m old and cold and not nearly as bold
and the pride of my soul has long since been sold
and the place where i kept it is covered with mold

i was, then i wasn’t, but will be again
as is the folly and fate and the future of men
they leap from a pussy full grown dressed in rags
they stagger with drink and swagger their brags
till toe-tagged and trepanned they curl up in black bags

my life is no different than those gone before
i saw mother’s face in the eyes of a whore
then wooed her and screwed her but left her no coin
for the course that she set from the day i was born
was a thrust and a fevre to return to her loins

you think me a loony, insane in the brain
for saying the things left unsaid by most men
but a swine in his silence eats at the same trough
and i am a poet and i’m from the south
where capote was famous for using his mouth

so dress me in garlands of garlic and sage
throw me in a hole at the end of my age
for dying is easy and living is worse
and a limo foreshadows the back of a hearse
and her cold tits are tasty when hecate’s your nurse

Take All the Roses Left to Fade

Intro and Chorus:

take all the roses left to fade on windowsills in sun
and all the children born afraid and left to die alone
across the rainbow waters wade
to a land that strange gods own
where life is not a sundial made into a cheap tombstone

for we are tortured by our time
and we are victims of our crime
and we are rotten in our prime
and left in agony sublime
and we are backed into our cage
and we are prisoners of our wage
and we are forced into our age
and left with nothing but our rage


scream out in cutting agony
against the lies and perjury
and recapture your chastity
and try to find the memory
of the innocence they have to damn
of the child they killed into a man
of the time when quiet waters ran
of the distant echo from the pipes of pan

Chorus and Exit

Death and Truth

I am not a hard scientist.  My background is in literature and philosophy.  But I am not an academic pontificating from an Ivory Tower with no experience in the real world outside of a university campus.  Everything I say is backed up by years of living out my beliefs on the street where it counts.  If a belief system fails to produce when applied to our lives then it is the system that is at fault and needs revision.  Life is the ultimate test of any theory.

My atheism doesn't come from any discussion in a cloistered environment or from reading books on the subject, although I have done more than my share of each.  My atheism comes from knowledge of and an attempt to live out theism in my life.  I spent 50 years of my life struggling to make theism work only to find, at every turn, the belief system did not answer any problems or offer any solutions but rather made my life more miserable and me a far worse person than I would have been without it.

Atheism answered all the questions and made good on all the promises that theism failed to answer or to keep.  Not just on paper, but in my life.  I know from personal experience that other people would be far better off if they rejected the primitive belief in God and accepted their own mortality.  When I admitted to myself that I was not an immortal being, that I would one day die and that with my death would come the cessation of my existence, I found the need for God to exist dropped from my eyes like a blindfold and I saw the world as it really was for the first time.

So much for my personal testimony.  I'll get more into my experiences later as they are germane to my atheism.  For now this brief introduction will have to suffice.

Yesterday's letter dealt with death and 'the lack of alternatives.'  My reasoning was based solely on the evidence and I made truth statements, mainly that death, decomposition and the cessation of existence were obvious facts and that theism was a turning away from the truth and the acceptance of a lie. 

The unpopularity of 'truth' talk comes from the theistic misuse of the word.  This situation is exacerbated by the cowardice of contemporary philosophy and the hard sciences in the academic world.  The academic population is only a subset of all peoples and classes.  Their motivation is career advancement and, as such, they are loath to make truth statements that may lead to ridicule from their peers.  So both theist and atheist define truth in the limited sense of being 'absolute certainty.'  The application of the twin notions of infinity and eternity extend the probability of an event occurring or a being existing outwards and inwards, forwards and backwards to the point that nothing can be spoken of with absolute certainty about anything.   Since God is defined as an infinite and eternal being he is the only one who can make comment on his own existence or lack thereof, or so the theist argument goes.  If I make the truth statement 'God does not exist' the counter-argument is I would have to have the attributes of God in order to know with absolute certainty that he doesn't exist.  Because of this conundrum, we have an extended argument over the existence of God that would seem to have no possible resolution.

What we have are two different definitions of truth.  The truth that is 'out there,' objective truths based on observation, and the truth that is 'inside me,' the interaction between objective truths and myself.  The problem is the latter should be referred to as my beliefs and the word truth should be reserved for the former.

Belief differs from truth. Belief is fixed in time and space.  Everyone knows this.  There is the conversion moment in Christianity where one believes and is saved.  One moment you didn't believe, the next you did.  Belief is an on/off switch, either you believe or you don't.  There is no middle ground.  Doubt, the attempts of the rational mind to regain control over one's beliefs, is looked upon as a disease to be cured, not a habit of mind to be cultivated.  Belief is the cessation of the search for the truth and the substitution of a false sense of certainty that has no referent in the real world.

Truth is a dimmer switch taking you from the darkness of primitive superstitions and gradually illuminating the world around you.  Truth is reliable information that can be used as the foundation for further truths yet to be learned.  Truth is an ever-elusive goal that carries us forward into the future.  Belief freezes us at one time and refuses the accumulation of further knowledge.  Truth leads to freedom, belief to stagnation and insanity.

Death is the truth not because I need it to be true. 

The belief in human immortality is created and sustained by the human need to deny death and live forever.  The motivation for people to believe they are immortal is so strong all religion has to do is tell one lie and they have millions of people turning their back on the truth and willingly giving up their freedom and minds.

You have on one side a truth that is harsh and uncompromising and unpleasant to the point that its acceptance makes you a social pariah in a country full of believers...

...And on the other side a belief that is deeply and intensely motivated not just by the promise of immortality but the social acceptance of your surrounding culture...

...then how could you impugn a selfish motive on the former and applaud the latter?

That is what is happening in our country. 

An atheist gives up everything for the sake of the truth.

Christians give up nothing and are, in fact, highly rewarded for their willingness to believe a lie.

Yet we are the enemy, the antichrist, and the monster.

We are the ones they will come for in the night.

Death and the Lack of Alternatives

How many times would you have to see the same thing happen before your eyes before you acknowledged the truth of the lesson being presented?

How about every single time?  Wouldn't you have to admit that if there's any validity to the concept of truth then something that is attested to by every occurrence has to be considered true?

Gravity, of course comes to mind.  Fire burns.  Daddy's razor is not a toy. These are truisms we've all come to live with.  Why?  Because we have a vested interest, avoidance of pain, in remembering these things and none whatsoever in each time testing to see if, just this once, the laws of nature have been rescinded. 

The ultimate, of course, is death.  

Everyone dies.  Everyone decomposes.  Nobody comes back.

This is the truth.

Do I really have to bring out arguments in support of a truth that has been played out by everything that has ever lived and ever will live on this planet?

Death is the truth.  The truth is death.

Don't like the sound of that?  Tough.  Get used to it. Nobody's going to change the laws of nature just because you think they shouldn't apply to you.

Grow up.

If you only remember two words from this essay, then I hope these are the two:

Grow up.

On some level, deep inside no matter how much dirt and rocks you've piled on top of it over the years...on some level you know the truth.  Not on a conscious level; on a totally physical level.  Your cells die daily.  They know what your brain can't admit to.  Your lungs know what it would feel like if they tried to take that next breath and couldn't.  Even your brain, not your mind, but the fleshy, animal part of your brain...even your brain knows death far better than you.

The soul is a red herring.  A distraction. Like those O2 masks that come down from the ceiling in a plane crash that don't do anything but give the passengers enough oxygen to calm them down before they die.  The soul, religion, all the rest of that malarkey, is nothing but something to keep you're mood up even as your body ceases to live and the little spurts of energy firing within your brain start flickering out like city lights in a slow, rolling black out.

Look, suppose you had a perfect AI, passes the Turing Test with flying colors every time.  A computer created artificial intelligence indistinguishable from a real person in blind tests.

For that matter, you could have the AI programmed to remember his life before he became totally paralyzed in a whitewater rafter accident.  Really fix it so this AI doesn't know that he isn't a living human being, just one whose only interaction to the outside world comes through his computer.  Kind of like your average teenager, for that matter.

Now, let's get really cruel...remember, this is just a demonstration on a computer simulation that mimics a human being...and program into the computer the absolute, religious faith that he has an immortal soul and when he dies he will go to Heaven to be with Jesus.

You with me so far?  Pretty cool, huh?  Like Frankenstein, but instead of meat life, we're creating a human soul.

Or are we?

Now, here's the question, the payoff to this set up.

What would happen if we totally destroyed the hardware this AI program was loaded on to?  I mean, we're talking Arnold slipping into the vat of molten metal at the end of Terminator 2 kind of destruction.

I think most of us would agree that the AI program we created ceased to exist when the microchips it was encoded on were destroyed.

The fact that the AI was programmed to believe he had a soul that would survive his corporeal destruction could not change the truth:

He didn't.

There was a time when we didn't understand the flow of energy around us, the spectrum of light and sound and the splashing and crashing chaos of our world was limited to our five senses.  Back then; we hadn't a clue what we were talking about.  It was easy to speculate because we lacked the equipment to measure the world around us.  So we could all have souls that left the body at the moment of death.  

It was pretty easy to keep up believing in this nonsense until we had people start dying while they had all these wires and machines hooked up to their brains and bodies.  All of a sudden you've got to ask yourself, Where's the soul?

Now if all of the brain cells were stone cold dead and there was this vague little halo of energy left inside off in a corner of the dead man's head that was still registering on the monitors and pumping out little 'hey, it's me' signals, then we might have something to talk about.

We don't. 

I don't think people quite get what medicine brings to the table when it comes to the debate between rationality and superstition.  Or what they don't bring, I should say.  No energy, capish?

You get some people who still want to claim there's a human soul that survives the death of the body in spite of the fact.  They say the soul is composed of energy that can't be detected by our machines but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist and we're ignoring their theory and not giving it credibility

Strange thing about this elusive energy:  the only reason you infer its existence is that without it your whole house of cards comes a tumblin' down and your porcine-behind is out of a job.

That's what it's all about, of course, not the money.  Everybody got it all wrong back in the days of the televangelist scandals.  These guys were amateurs, the goons. Weren't even smart enough to cover their own litter.

The thing about coming back from the dead is that it's kind of tricky.  Anyone who's seen both George Romero's Dawn of the Dead and Stephanie Myer's Twilight can appreciate the difference between coming back as a mindless consumer and coming back as yourself, with coherent memories tying you to the past life you just gave up when you died. 

Most of us don't believe in the reanimation of dead flesh.  Those who do are in dire need of a check up from the neck up, as Kinky Friedman likes to say.

We believe in the immortality of the soul.  Now Paul, the devious genius that he was, came up with the idea that your spirit has to have a body to reside in.  The problem is, our spirits are stuck in flesh like a horse stuck in the mud.  So we got to wash off and put on a new body...but this one's a Spiritual body, wink, wink...nudge, nudge.

So you have a soul that is what?  Your mind?  A mirror image of your mind...kind of a back up system in case the main brain crashes?  Energy that's just too elusive for us to detect?

And this soul has to survive the death of your body with enough of you intact so that you have a coherent afterlife.  Your hard drive is gone, liquidized.  So in order to survive, your soul must be a form of free-floating energy.  But in order to carry information about you and your recently departed life, this energy must first, be organized and encrypted and, second, must adhere to only energy like itself in order for there to be an afterlife.  Dissipation, I'm assuming, would be a problem since we're talking about a free-floating ball of energy with you recorded on it like a demo tape for the afterlife.

And the way you get to the afterlife is by having faith...

...wait a minute, this is beginning to sound familiar!  

I got it!  


Remember, when her light was going out because she drank the poison instead of letting Peter drink it, and you had to clap and squeal real hard:

"I believe in fairies! I do, I swear I do!"

Until the stagehand had enough begging and started turning the dimmer switch back up.

Grow up.

Acknowledge the truth.  We die, we decompose, we don't come back.

OK, take a deep breath now.  You don't have to do it, all you have to do is imagine what your life would be like if that were true.

Now first, there's a technical problem with your senses and there's nothing to be done about it except try and find some wiggle room around it.  The problem is the human mind cannot conceive of it's own non-existence.  Least that's what I've heard; sometimes I think I can almost grasp it, then it slips away.  

But, good old logic to the rescue, you know exactly what it means to be non-existent.  You were non-existent for an eternity before your birth.  So, when you die, you go back to being in the same state you were before you were born.

On August 1st, 1950 I did not exist.  Sometime during the day on August 2nd I came into existence...or are you one of those sick-o's who believes that yucky stuff that fills up the nipple on a used, stretched condom is alive?  Christ, the murders I have committed literally at my own hand are astronomical!

OK, here's the deal with life.  You got to be able to keep it on your own or you lose it.

Adam was created from the dust of the earth.  His body was completely created and formed in every detail but not animated by a living soul until God Breathes the Breath of Life into his mouth at which point he becomes a living soul.

So we don't become souls until we are capable of sustaining life on our own.  Mom did her best while she had you in her Lovin' Oven now it's up to you to breathe or die, sweety.  That's why frogs and insects have all kinds of kids.  That way you don't get attached.

And here's a thought:

If they're keeping you alive with machines then you aren't a human being any more, you're a science experiment.

Probably stole that from somewhere.  Was it Hemingway who said "All writers steal, good writers know what to steal."

I'm wandering, but I do my best thinking when I let the dog off the leash and let her chase the coon herself while I sit up here on the porch in my rocking chair with my shotgun across my knees while Chet and Molly's retarded boy plays that same damn song on the banjo over and over again.  Dadgum boy done went all Hollywood since that movie.

You see, it's not a stream of consciousness if you try to use a rudder.  The worst mistake a writer can make is to get in the way.

Point is, we know that when we fry a hard drive on the barbie that everything stored on the drive is gone and isn't coming back.  Unless it's NCIS and Abbie gets hold of it, of course.

We know our bodies die and decompose.  We know they don't come back.

We just don't say it aloud.

Because if you say it aloud then you give it power.

How about if we do that whole sinner's prayer thing they had in the back of the Chick about great American Primitive artwork...I was proud to hand a sinner a Chick Tract because I knew I was giving him a quality product.

You know the one, where you say aloud how you believe in and accept him into your heart...blah, blah, blah, 23 pages of boilerplate, standard savior/sinner contract...been a hell of a lot easier if his dad would have only signed his name...who knew thirty was underage for an eternal being?

Here's the deal, I'm not asking you to ask me into your heart.  Even though Valentine's Day is coming, that would still be just creepy...

What I want is for you to say aloud one simple, absolutely true and undeniably significant statement.

Here, I'll show you how easy it is.

When I, Philip Jarrett, die I will cease to exist.  

My body will decompose.

I will not go anywhere or come back from anywhere.

There will come a time when I, Philip Jarret, will no longer be the center of the universe and all existence.

The universe and all existence will continue on without me.

There's nothing personal about this, it's just business the way it's done in our universe.

Nobody can get me off the hook for old times sake.

There will be no last minute call from the governor staying my execution.

It is a harsh truth but no belief system has been able to stop death.

They are failures, they are a waste of time.

Time, as in your life.  Time that if you accept your own mortality will become the most precious part of your life.  The flow of the sand in an hour glass, the ticking of the clock on the mantel, the candle as it sputters out...or perhaps is snuffed.

If you believe you will meet your parents or children or anyone else in heaven or you will get a chance to make up for your failures in another life here on earth then where is the motivation to do something about these things in the real world, the here and now world?

This isn't moral.  This isn't ethical.  This is a lie.

Anyone who tells you there is life after death doesn't know anything more than you do on the subject and that makes him a liar.

If the truth makes you free then anyone who tells you a lie is tring to make you a mental slave.

Free Minds can make a Free World. 

But we aren't born free.

Freedom is not a gift from a supernatural being.  God does not believe in Free Will.  With Him it's either My Way or the Highway to Hell.

Each of us has to fight for our freedom.  Each of us has to swim upstream against the flow of history. 

You have to kill who you are to become who you want to be.  And you'd better best get in the habit of doing it every morning if you want to life a happy life.

Here's a clue from my person Atheology:

Since death is the ultimate and escapable truth of life, then each moment of our life is our life.

If you want to have a happy life, then you have to learn to stream together as many happy moments as you can.

Admit the truth and be happy.  Believe the lie and live in fear of either eternal damnation or an afterlife of blessings you know deep down that you don't deserve.

There's a line from City of Angels where Nick Cage explains to Meg Ryan about the supernatural afterlife and the existence of angels by saying:

Somethings are true whether you believe in them or not.

Great line, too bad it was wasted on an Oprah Winfrey feel-good movieto Meg.

I think we, as atheists and non-believers, should steal and re-word this line for our own purposes:

Somethings just aren't true no matter how badly you want to believe they are.

Let's Put Claus Back Into Christmas: A modest proposal

Remember Christmas when you were a child?

The Season was a time to come together as family and friends...and even make Peace with your enemies for at least a few days.  Christmas was all about bringing people together.  Religious differences were just like social class or politics or even gender...every town was like Mayberry and had their Floyd the Barber and as long as he fulfilled his sexual needs in Charlotte and didn't mix with the local boys then he was just as much a part of the community just like the two old maiden aunts who lived together on a farm outside of town and made the best apple pie and hard cider who weren't aunts at all and had been together since they were riveters on the same assembly line back in Dubya Dubya 2.

People had their religious services to attend, the old rites of lighting candles at midnight to welcome the sun back from darkness of the void.  The old mythology of Joseph and Mary and Jesus and the Shepherds and Wise Men and the animals...of the Star heralding the birth of the new King had a comforting, connecting effect between people. Church, religion was a part of Christmas back then, for sure.  But it was the part you put up with, certainly not the reason for the season.  You sat in an overheated building in a suit with a buttoned up collar and a clip-on tie you hadn't worn since last Easter squirming and fidgeting and just a ball of anxiety and impatience waiting to get out and go home and play with your new toys or just to get out of that damned suit and back into your jeans and flannel winter shirt with the lumberjack plaid.

Christmas back then was a secular holiday.

Then came the Let's Put Christ Back Into Christmas campaign and nothing has been the same between Christmas and non-Christians.  Each year was more painful and less meaningful than the last.  How could the holiday mean anything to me as an atheist?  

The LPCBIC crowd was just a social reflection of my own inner turmoil.  I knew the truth, it's still out there, just harder to find.  I didn't miss the religious nature of the season.  But I couldn't find my way back to my 10th Christmas in Chesapeake, West Virginia when my brother and I got homemade capes and masks with a store-bought, flat brimmed hat dangling fringe and a plastic sword.  That was the year Zorro was all the rage.  Then there was the Davy Crockett year with our coonskin hats and are imitation flintlocks. The presents were always cheap and most often not what we really wanted and our parents couldn't afford. 
But that didn't matter.  As a child, I wasn't aware of the family coming together up Snodgrass Holler in Boone County, West Virginia with all the aunts and uncles and cousins and nephews and nieces and parents and grandparents that only a Hillbilly family can boast...up the holler we had more nuts on our family tree than branches...that this coming together as a family and as a community was anything unusual or a memory to be cherished.

I've made some posts about political activity for atheists.  I said we need to get back to the 'other stuff' that went on during the Sixties if we want to fight back.  Dirty tricks. Protests designed to draw media attention. 

My proposal falls under the heading of Guerrilla Theater.

In the Sixties I had a poster of the nativity with Joseph and Mary and the Wise Men and Shepherds and animals all looking down into the manger and in the manger Jesus was wearing a Santa Claus outfit.

My proposal is the use of this and other images to get the same point across on Christmas cards with the message inside reading:

Let's Put Claus Back Into Christmas

Nothing more than that.  No long, dull essays explaining where Christmas comes from and why Christians are full of shit.  Sure, the little publisher stamp and Net address will be on the card only in small print 0n the back without so much as a 'for more information contact' highlighting it.

I'm not talking about just a card available for atheists to send each other for a laugh.

I'm talking about a large mailing...the bigger the better...of these cards to politicians, national leaders, entertainers, ministers and to as many Christians as there is budget for.  The new postal service, where you can send a flyer to every mailing address in you Zip Code is a great way to start.

We know there's a huge audience out there for Fundie bashing comedy.  Granted, we have not yet found the comedian to pick up the torch George Carlin dropped when he died, but I'm working on a standup routine for atheists...I would be interested in writing such material for a person young enough to handle the heat and old enough to believe in Lenny Bruce.

We know that humor is a weapon, not just an entertainment.  We know that people will allow a good joke past their inner censors faster than a blunt trauma injury with a copy of Dawkin's latest.

Most importantly, we know the enemy.  We know how sensitive they are.  We know how they will react.  And it is from their reaction, their over-reaction, that the publicity will come.

Publicity that will let this country know we are out here and we are angry and we aren't going to take it any more.

So, in order to pull this off for the Christmas of 2011, we need artists and writers who can make up the cards.

We need people tracking down the home addresses of the targeted audience.

And, like any good theater, we need an Angel.

Why I Am Who I Am

The truth of a proposition not only justifies but places a moral obligation on those who possess this knowledge to educate the ignorant.  This obligation to teach the truth to others is the basis for and lifeblood of civilization.  To reason away or reject this obligation is not only immoral but is an act of cowardice.  Worse, it is an act of treason and a repudiation of all those on whose shoulders we stand who suffered and died for the truth.

We are approaching the end of a war against the truth that began with Darwin, became an organized ecumenical movement in reaction to the German school of textual criticism of scripture in the early 20th Century, then grew exponentially in the last half of the century and to this day beginning with government complicity in the home schooling ruling to appease racists by allowing parents to refuse their children an education and, instead, to pass on their ignorance to their children without fear of intervention and with the FCC decision (lobbied for by Christians for 15 years) to allow the public access time required of TV stations to be used for Christian propaganda, to the point our country is now more divided and are politics more acrimonious than it was in the years building up to the Civil War.

My own involvement began when I was born to a uneducated holler preacher in West Virginia.  As a result of religion, both my parents were sexually dysfunctional.  Their idea of sex education was to give me a church pamphlet that condemned masturbation as sin and taught me with ever orgasm men lose a tablespoon of blood that can never be replaced. 

When I was eight, I began having Night Terrors.  With no education, I took the events to be evidence I was possessed.  I could not speak of this to my parents or anyone.  At the age of 24, horribly scarred both sexually and psychologically, I became a Charismatic.  I was looking for an exorcism.  In the course of five years I was subjected to a deliberate regime of abuse both mentally and physically.  I was exorcised on two occasions in the Pentecostal Holiness tradition. 

My controller attempted to murder me by claiming to heal my 20/200 vision knowing I had to drive 20 miles on the interstate to and from work.  My controller went behind my back and prophesied to my wife I would die in a car accident.  When the inevitable wreck occurred and I called my wife to let her know I was safe I heard my controller in the background screaming in frustration "You mean God spared him?" 

I was led to beat my children to drive Satan out of them.  I almost killed by 18 month old son in a four hour marathon beating session prompted by his refusal to say "Jesus Is Lord."  He married recently and took his wife's name as his own because of his hatred of me.  I don't blame him.  I hate myself.

After the Jim Jones Guyana murders, when everyone else in the church was praising God that they had the true Holy Spirit and not some Satanic counterfeit, I was sitting quietly in the back because I knew in my heart that if my controller had ordered me to I would have drank the Kool-Aid.  On 9-11 when everyone else was asking how those men could do such a thing I was silent.  I knew

I left shortly after and was told one of my children would die if we didn't 'return to the Lord.'  A year after I left my daughter Katie was born with a genetic defect called Turner's Syndrome, a form of dwarfism with associated sterility and heart, immune system and kidney problems.  She went into heart failure when she was three days old and was pronounced clinically dead when we got her to the ER.  They brought her back.  She's thirty now and has a Living Will with a strict DNR order. 

There's more, a lot more, but the upshot is I have PTSD and am heavily medicated so I can go to work in an office of 'good Christians' without having a panic attack whenever I hear a 'God bless you' or 'I'll pray for you.'

Before you jump to the conclusion that my experiences are atypical of religious institutions two facts.  James Dobson, the current head of American fundamentalism, got his start with a book called Dare To Discipline that was a defense of the physical abuse of children.  And in the last few years the Catholic Church has funded and built a center for exorcism in Europe where children have their demons cast out for such Satanic involvement as playing with a Ouija board.

I'm sixty-one years old and the only relief I have found from the damage done to me and by me to others came after years of study in Biblical criticism and historical research I became an atheist.  I found that every promise made to me by religion but not kept has been made good by atheism. 

I am at peace, or as much at peace as I can be.  I've only woke up cursing and screaming three times in the past month. 

I am not afraid of death.  Accepting my own mortality has led me to be one with this world and all of the people who live and die here.

I do not judge others, I have forfeited the right to judge.  I have come to realize that I am not one of the good guys and that's OK.  "A hero ain't nothing but a sandwich."

I have come to learn that my personal ethics are the only valid judge of the rightness or wrongness of my actions.  That people who need to be told by others what is right and wrong with the threat of eternal punishment in Hell for disobedience are morally deficient.

I bow down before no man nor do I require others to bow to me.

I am an atheist.


(a song for a female singer)

i remember that gray cold day
they put my mother in her grave
i stood with my brother and sister out in the rain
my daddy never cried out loud
though i know it broke his heart
i guess he never learned to share the pain


daddy was a good man
a gentle man and kind
and he held us all together with mom dead
daddy always said he'd kill
the man who laid a hand on me
and daddy always did just what he said

daddy never lied to us
about the way our mother died
i guess it's just as well he never tried
mom was working late at night
'cause dad had been laid off again
a bad man took my mother for a ride


daddy started drinking hard
to blot out momma's memory
but it didn't seem to do him any good
then one night he came home drunk
he knocked upon my bedroom door
he loved me like no father ever should

i found him in the morning
stretched out on the kitchen floor
a bullet through his mouth and out his head
daddy always said he'd kill
the man who laid a hand on me
and daddy always did just what he said

daddy was
a good man
a gentle man

Christianity Is Immoral

I didn't start out this way. Or maybe I did. I don't remember large portions of my childhood. From the parts I do remember, I figure it's probably for the best. I put The Toys You Never Won out here the other day if you want to know how my childhood smelled.

Things happen along the way and whether you are a victim or a predator depends entirely on the moment in life you are at. We all are good and evil, sure. We all are capable of being good and evil. I mean, it just isn't fair. It's good and EVIL shoudn't it be like, good and bad? I think jumping straight from good to EVIL right off the bat like that goes right over some very important gradations. What ever happened to nice? It's become a taboo word in our society. Nice is like calling someone a zombie, but more importantly below your radar. One of the invisible people, the ignored. Would it hurt to throw in a couple of grades between A and F for Nada's sake? I'm not trying to clue you in on your own creation, high and allrighty, but most of us are C students with an increasingly large percentage dropping out each month. And if you are so omniscient how come you've never figured out how to grade on a curve, man? This pass/fail shit is killing us.

The only way they can sell Jesus anymore is to tell people that if you believe in him, him being the Big Enchilada's Son, he can slip you out a copy of the answers for the final exam and you'll sneak past and into heaven and still get to do all that bad stuff you did down here. Talk about the best possible worlds. Pascal wins his wager big time.

Here's the deal:  Christianity has nothing to do with morality.

Christianity is how to cheat at morality.

Look at it this way:

Penalty for lusting after a woman in your heart?

Eternal damnation.

Penalty for carrying out the act and bagging her (sorry, is 'bagging' an acceptable term? I lost this month's edition of PC Monthly):

Eternal damnation.

So where is the impetus...the keep someone who already sees himself as damned from doing whatever they want to as a result? Damned if you do, damned if you don't; so damn it just go ahead and do it.

Then you say the 'Sinner's Prayer,' a short little ditty...shorter than 'Now I lay me down to sleep' which you acknowledge you are sinner and invite Jesus into your heart...kind of like you have to invite a vampire in to your home...and that's it. Sin again?  No problem.  Another short prayer asking forgiveness...or a few minutes in a confessional...and you're good to go to Heaven again. 

The injustice, the immorality of this doctrine can be illustrated by a personal reference.

My father-in-law abused my wife's mother violently and physically through the years of their marriage.  He raped his own daughter, my wife.  After the divorce, he became a Christian.  He went directly from being an abuser and a rapist to feeling himself morally superior to his victims...his own wife and daughter... because he was a Christian and least in his own perverted imagination...were not. 

This is what Christians call 'morality.' 

Here's the truth about Christian Morality…and this is coming from a Preacher's Kid who spent 40 years as a Christian:

Christian "morality" is based on lack of opportunity.

When the opportunity presents itself, they are just as susceptible as anyone else to the temptation.  When the opportunity does not present itself, then they claim superior virtue.  

Worse yet, they condemn in others what they, by their own nature, are not tempted to do in the first place.  Gender preference is established long before religious preference.  But Christians feel morally superior for what they, by nature, aren't tempted to do and condemn others, who have as little choice as heterosexuals in the matter, as evil. Shooting ducks in a barrel is what we used to call it.

Everyone has a temptation to which they are powerless to resist.  The only difference between Christians and alcoholics, drug addicts, homosexuals, pedophiles and a host of others they condemn as evil is that the opportunity to act on their fantasies has never presented itself.  

Christianity does not have a moral system of it's own.  It feeds on the morality of the society within which it finds itself.  Christianity has a constantly updated and revised rule book by which actions of others...that are perfectly moral in terms of the society in which they live...are judged and found wanting.  That they seek to have their rules established as the law of this country is an open admission their power does not come from a moral imperative but rather from a set of doctrines.  

Let me say that again.

Christians who seek legal protection for their doctrines are admitting they have lost their moral imperative and are resorting to brute force to impose their rules on society.

They exist in contradistinction from the perfectly healthy and functioning quite well morality of the United States.

They are outside of the morality of our society.

They are immoral.

I would use the word 'amoral' but when any group seeks to extend their rules  to others who do not belong to their group by force they do not deserve to be respected or differed to semantically or in any other fashion.

Let them howl.  I fall back on a revision of an old cliche:

If you can't stand the heat, stay out of discretion.  

Hudson's Poem

I wrote this on the occasion of my nephew and his life partner adopting their first child, Hudson.

Hudson's Poem

i hear him crying in the night
and sleepy shuffle to his room
so small a bundle, dark on dark
still yeasty warm, fresh from the womb

i pluck him up into my arms
he mouths my thumb, begins to suckle
and soon settles soft against my chest
with a sigh that sounds almost a chuckle

i rock and sway and hum a tune
from the summer of two-thousand three
and, just when i'm deep into a dip
i see you in the doorway watching me

i see you seeing me and him
my eyes reflected in your own
and a small and snazzy electric spark
sizzless and skitters around the room

there are moments that are pleasure
there are moments that are pain
but the moments you get like this one
will never come again

i had promised not to ramble
you had sworn you'd never roam
and at this moment, 
between a tick and a tock,
the three of us became a home


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


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.