27 April 2008

A Doggie Week

I must apologise. This week has been quite hectic for me and it sometimes difficult to give as much attention to your blog as you need to (fellow bloggers will no doubt agree with me!). I spent a lot of time doing research for the 'Black Atheists/Freethinkers Series' which will be coming up shortly. Reading, thinking and trying to tidy up and improve my blog whilst still having a 'normal' life.

Also, this week I made the decision that it would be irresponsible of me to have the adult male dog sniffing around the new pup (6 months old). So off she went to the vet to be spayed. Being quite a doggie person I felt quite anxious about the whole operation. I worried about whether she would die (!), but the vet reassured me that he had done hundreds, if not thousands, of these operations and she seemed like a healthy dog so there should be no problem.

I picked her up at the appointed time after the deed had been done and she seemed eager to jump around and bang into the big dogs as usual once she was home. The vet had given her a couple of stitches and everything seemed to be going well.

Yesterday I noticed an open wound and blood seeping from the cut made during the operation. She had obviously unpicked the stitches. A quick call to the vet (yes, I know it was Sunday morning but this was my doggie!) - he was polite and as professional as ever. He advised that as the opening was so small the best thing to do to close the wound was use...wait for it...superglue. Superglue. It works fine on other dogs where the same thing has happened, he said. Needless to say my dog will be going to the vet tomorrow for new stitches. Yes? I will update you as to how that all goes over the coming days.

But I really enjoy sharing my thoughts, conversing with, connecting with people via my blog and the cyberworld - so I am clearing the decks to re-focus my attention on this very matter. I often read blogs written by women who have 12 children, a business to run or a high pressure job and wonder how they manage to have 3 or 4 successful blogs as well. I am not a superwoman and don't ever intend to be. I enjoy relaxing and thinking too much!!

As I am an avid reader of other people's blogs I will also be highlighting other blogs/posts which I think are interesting from time to time- there are so many good ones out there. I won't limit myself to sites about atheism or any specific topic - only that I must find them interesting.

Here's an example of someone who has a great blog and just doesn't give a flying fig about how people view her - I think she's great. She always challenges me with her uber-frankness, different angles and she is a great writer to boot. Bear in mind that I know nothing about this woman other than via her blog. That's the power of blogging. Here's her link:
Greta Christina's Blog.

There a gazillion blogs out there and each time I discover a new blog I learn something so I thank all of those who take the time and effort to create and share their views through this medium as it a fine example of the threads that connect us as human beings.

Have a great week!

22 April 2008

An Anonymous Comment Outfoxed Me!

Recently I received a comment from someone who preferred to remain anonymous. I have no problem with someone commenting on my blog and choosing to remain anonymous, especially considering some of the topics discussed and the negative impact the very word 'atheist' seems to create in some peoples' minds.

I only moderate comments where the person making the comment has requested that the information remain private, between them and myself or if (has as happened) under age minors have written about their personal journeys, trying to escape or make sense of theism, esp if it could identify them. (Some minors have written to me and included their email adresses, home address, etc.) All other comments are published.
I think censorship can go too far and this blog is not designed as a 'lovefest' where I only welcome people who agree with me. To me that is not progress. In fact, I positively encourage people who have ideas contrary to mine to step forward and say their piece. I may be wrong about some or all of the things I write and there are greater minds out there who can put me right or present a different angle which will promote communication and understanding!!!

This comment had me foxed - I must admit. I am not sure of the writers intent, purpose or point. I only share this with you as you maybe able to help me work this out.

Please - let me have your comments.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Beauty Meme":

The “Patriot Act”LIFE is NOT easy as a Federal Whistle Blower, but when you have the PATRIOT ACT behind you, it does make it Satisfying from a Law Man’s point of view. Your co-workers get investigated, your Church, even the little ole lady that bumps into you at the grocery. Why? Standard Procedure. I'm NOT Joking. One of the bad parts is your getting audited by the IRS almost every year.
Keep it Squeeky Clean is my Motto !Here's the BEST part, anyone on this Website is 'Under Investigation' now! Why May you ask ? Because all my actions & visits are closely monitored and investigated. They think some more “bad guys” will come after me for PAY BACK. They are absolutely correct. Thank GOD and the US government for sophisticated technology. LOVE it ! Its saved my life more than Once. Its well known that I am a GOD Loving man, and I believe in Him and his son Jesus Christ. I let Atheists know it. They come after me. End of story for them. Most are NOT completely law abiding citizens. I have convinced them of it.Now, any “Atheist” organization is automatically labeled as a “possible” terrorist cell. It is handled just like the Taliban or AlQuida. Under the Patriot Act. Sorry, your ideology has done you in.Very similar to Communism or Facism.I drop the DIME on LOW LIFEs like you! I give them a TIP on possible suspects, they follow it up. I advised them of the possible threat "Atheism" has on the American society. They bought it. Now every Atheist site I can find. I go to it, and leave this message as a warning. Giving you HALF a chance to survive. Watch your step. It is REAL. You will see suspicious characters watching you, and agencies working you in the background. Don't be surprised whensomeone is running a credit check without your knowledge. Its covered under the Patriot Act!Here's the history on this 'Whistle Blower'. I blew the Whistle on the mob.
I testified against the Japanese Mafia in Atsugi, Japan. They tried to buy me off, no dice.Drugs, Classified Documents sold, Prostitution, & Black Marketing to name a few in the year 1998. Onboard US military installations. Talk about a BIG bust ! I went under cover, and transferred out to save my life.I've been working as a undercover DHS agent for Years. Now, I am coming out of UC status and I will be heading to my new assignment.Thanks GUYS and GRLs! This last BUST put me Over the TOP as the #1 Agent in the USA. They want me to come Up there and Teach new agents how to handle themselves in the field “not getting Cocky.” Playing by the rules. Its Quite Rewarding…. Spiritually. The LAWMAN and I work closely together. Brotherhood & Sisterhood MIXED together. I am a former police officer as well. That’s what drove me to “clean up” the military bases and make our Military Uniforms stand for something …. Again.Go Ahead PUNKS! Laugh it Up! The IRS will be auditing each one of you, DHS will do a complete background check, and the FBI will be visiting your work places to interview your coworkers! THIS is so SWEET. You know who you have to Blame >? NONE other than a LOUD MOUTH “Atheist” webmaster - DALE! He and his buddies 'repeatedly' harassed "Christians" on a blog.

Reported by several citizens.raycomfortfood.blogspot.com The analysis clearly showed a THREAT to innocent citizens. Verbal threats, & subversive actions. Other things I am not allowed to divulge.When you get audited, stop by and say Thanks! to Dale. This is not a SPIN. I thought you should know who your "Judas" is in your brotherhood.This is his website: http://foundingdoc.typepad.comHAVE A GREAT WEEK ! Brothers !!!

20 April 2008

Religion 'is the new social evil'?

A new survey carried out by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in the UK has sought to identify the so called 'social evils' in Britain entitled: What are today’s social evils? (pdf.)
Amazingly, for me, religion and the impact it has on society has been identified as being a major problem by the 3,500 respondents to the survey (or rather, as reported in the press - note).

I am wary of quoting figures and data, it is far too easy to use methods which ultimately don't give a true picture, are vague, misleading or have hidden paymasters who use surveys to promote products or ideas in order to make money or to prove a point.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have admitted that the survey results were not representative of all groups within the UK but were more than likely to have been weighted more towards white, middle-class residents - although they did try to target black people and other marginalised groups through social networking sites and online adverts.

Unfortunately, certain sectors of the press have leapt on the 'religion' angle and when you actually read the report it shows that of the 12 issues grouped as part of the coding process these 6 areas were considered primary:

1. Individualism, consumerism and a decline of community, 2. Drugs and alcohol, 3. A decline of values, 4. Families and young people, 5. Inequality and poverty, 6. Institutions, apathy and a democratic deficit

The next 6 were:

7. Violence and crime, 8. Gender inequality, 9. Religion, 10. Social diversity, immigration and intolerance, 11. Health and care, 12. Environmental issues

I think it would have been more useful for journalists to extrapolate the information in an intelligent way (i.e. first of all reading the report?) rather than search/scan for headline-grabbers. They somehow appear shocked that people have had a negative comment about religion. Anyone reading the report may have the same view as I do, whether believer or non-believer.

Some respondents stated that religion and belief in the supernatural has the ability and often does create division within societies and whips up hatred from one group to another. Others that state funding for religious educational establishments should end.

It is heartening to know that people, from a homeless man on the street to a company director, can and do use the power of their voice to share their experiences and ideas which may enable the UK to move forward without historical religious baggage blinding our future path.

I don't want to use any information to score points - not even if it appears to support my argument, but hopefully this will inspire someone somewhere to conduct a more credible survey of these issues, primarily in the area of religion, sometime soon.

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize
mankind; and for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that
is cruel. -- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1794)

16 April 2008

Back to Africa?

Planning on going 'back to Africa'? Planning on relocating there?
I have an issue with so many black people wanting to go 'back to Africa' - you may have heard it yourself. Africa - said with a whimsical gleam and a sigh- 'Africa!'
Now I am not criticising those who are off-spring of descendants taken forcibly from parts of Africa to far off lands - we may be the visible products of those people. But I am now of the strong opinion that there isn't anything to 'go back to'. Understand my point. I am not saying Africa is full of all the negative stereotypes, those which have been force fed to the masses. What I am saying is don't go to 'Africa' (the continent, not the country - I do have to spell that out) seeking a life 'we' had many generations ago. What does that mean anyway?
Africa is like anywhere else - there is beauty, hardship, wealth, vibrancy, educated and the non-educated and it is difficult to pigeonhole anything about it.
Africa is a diverse, rich, amazing, continent with people who just want to get on with their lives.

Now, which part do you want to go back to? Do you know anyone there? Do you understand the culture? Are you going there to teach the 'natives' the errors of their ways? Are you, even worse, going there on a missionary trip to bring the Lord/Allah/Buddha or any other deity into the lives of the people of the continent? Do you view people who live in North Africa as 'not real Africans'?
Other questions to ask are: What can you actually contribute to the diverse continent? What skills and abilities do you have that are necessary for you to have a full and productive life there? How will you be really viewed by the citizens of your chosen country?
Answer these basic questions before you set out on your relocation journey. I am always encouraging people to take a chance and do something different. Forget the fears which your societies put on you to enable you to stay in jobs and lifestyles which are not fulfilling just so you can keep paying taxes and get a pension. So I am a strong advocate of trying your luck rather than remain sheep-like and then die.

I knew a black woman from the Americas whose marriage broke down after many years. She was devastated and after a long period of severe depression, tried to get to grips with the fact she was a single mother and experiencing the trauma of divorce. She decided that Africa was the way for her to be heading. Whilst visiting Ghana (after a dream told her to go to Africa) she was welcomed by the people and was crowned Queen Mother of a village. She travelled to Nigeria and became a Yoruba Priestess and learned the rituals and incantations of some of the people.
Some people I know, born in Africa, raised in Africa and still have blood ties with the continent state that those people are viewed, in some cases, as cash-cows. Africa doesn't need New Age shamans to teach their grandmothers to suck eggs. Africa doesn't need more theistic legends.
Africa, the continent, needs people who will contribute positively to the development of the individual countries. Scientists, educators, engineers, town planners, astronomers, ethical bankers and investors, recycling expertise, medical staff and so on. But guess what? They already exist right there in Africa, but are lured away, understandably, by the enticements of the 'developed' countries, draining the countries of their human resources. Under-developing the continent continues by the big guns. Destabilizing the efforts made by many people toward progress.

Designer Africans: Another sad sight are the 'designer Africans' - you know those who worship anything Egyptian and wear big chunky ankhs and wrap their heads with cloths, swathed in white clothes designed by someone in Greenwich Village or Portobello Road or the Latin Quarter. They feel part of an exclusive group; superior and visibly so.
What am I saying? You don't need to be part of a group to make a difference. You certainly don't need to show your inverted insecurities so visibly.
How do I know this? Because I have been there, experienced that faux feeling of being superior and, with hindsight, it is all very sad. Being part of the 'designer African' groups made me feel included whilst living in a society where I felt, at times, excluded. Attending meetings where everything about other 'races' was viewed with disdain - history regarding white people started and stopped with barbarism.
If you are a person who loves being part of a clique, that's fine, but just accept that that is what it is - a clique, a club exclusive. A place where those who don't accept your views or education or supposed viewpoints or worldviews are on the outside.
Just do a search on Google and see how many cliques are available where we, black people, spend money trying to identify with an Egyptian era which was corrupt, based on mythology and theism, exclusive, elitist, cruel and barbaric, sycophantic and full of superstition - amongst other things. Why are we attaching ourselves to that era?

I have a book in front of me as I write which I bought 15 years ago in a black bookshop in London. It is by a man called Ra Un Nefer Amen entitled 'A Wholistic Guide to Female Health Disorders'. The preface states the following:
‘...Throughout the book, you are advised to seek the help of professionals,
especially those involved in Homeopathic medicine.
The homeopathic use of herbs and minerals is advocated here because we have found it to be constant with the laws governing the functions of the body.
''Homeopathy'' has been defined as ''like cures like'', that is, give the substance to cure an illness that the substance itself will cause! In order to comprehend this
seeming paradox, let's look into a not too well comprehended (by doctors) law of
the body's interaction with substances (drugs, certain nutrients, etc.).’

Now, I can only applaud people who give health advice which will enable others to be the best they can and overcome some form of illness. I cannot do the same for others who peddle pseudo-science as fact. Homeopathy is fake. Homeopathy is a placebo system which appears to make a difference because a homeopathic 'expert' has spent an hour each week with the 'patient' as opposed to 8 minutes maximum with a hard-pressed GP. You need no medical qualifications in order to set yourself up as homeopathic practitioner, no vetting - just decide one day that that will be your business, gen up on the buzz words, read a few books written by other con artists, get a few empty bottles and fancy labels and start advertising. Watch the money start to roll in.
There is no other word for it but criminal. Prescribing water - which is what they do - pretending it has 'magical curative properties' and charging money for it is criminal. Conning people into believing that taking Nux Vomica , Rhus Tox or any other homeopathic remedies is plain wrong.

I understand that we, as humans, are largely ignorant of so many things, but we now have the opportunity to free ourselves of false ideologies which are designed to turn our minds from reason and rationale and fatten the pockets and the prestige of those who should know better.

These 'back to Africa' people, in this instance, are negative. They promote ideas about spirituality and how wonderfully spiritual black people are - some even say we are genetically 'higher' (whatever that means) from other 'races'. They wrap themselves in the glowing adoration of their minions and worst of all they stop people living in the here and now. Just think of how much time is spent harking back to an era that is not now - is not in this moment. How much time is spent conducting nonsense rituals, saying prayers to non-existent entities, so many rules and regulations on what you can and cannot do as a woman or a man. It is sad and unproductive. It doesn't help - only hinders and, ironically, arrests development.
I urge caution, people. I urge caution.

My 'home' is wherever I am - Africa or anywhere else.

09 April 2008

The Beauty Meme

When are we going to realise that we are not only being conned by supernaturalists but also by people who want to make money from exploiting human weaknesses?

Let's take, for instance, the beauty industry. How many strands do you think there are which take advantage of us?

I was reading an old edition of Essence magazine (January 2008) and they featured an article about 'Ageless Beauties - Special'. They showed a number of black women ranging in age from 34 to 72. I flicked through the magazine feeling a sense of pointlessness to it all. The women were all made over within an inch of their lives. Their hairstyles were all coiffed and primped, make-up done just so and paraded in shoes and clothes which cost an arm and a leg when put together.

Here's the byline from the piece:

''...we celebrate 13 (from more than 5,000 applicants) phenomenal women. Let their radiant skin, killer bodies, timeless wisdom and generous spirits inspire the ageless beauty in you.''

The article then outlines how these women have 'achieved' their looks and in the main they credited this to 'God'. They encouraged people to be focused on praising God, giving their life over to God, etc.

How can we hope to raise children to enjoy life, be themselves, forge their own paths, love themselves for who they are when we constantly push, from all angles, that they are not good enough and they should watch what other people do? I have a dream that one day people won't give a damn about who is wearing what, whether someone looks old or young or is abled-bodied or disabled, gay or straight, fat or thin, their race or anything else that is in the category of the superficial.

You notice that there appears to be a campaign against women thinking for themselves. Women are targeted so overtly to conform to a standard. Note how many programmes are on television advising people how to get dates or 'dump the frump' and everyone is put through a make-over mill and comes out looking like Stepford Wife clones. No emphasis on individuality. You will conform or be condemned. Some presenters even try to conjure up the most vile description of the 'before' victims and gush and praise their handiwork after viewing the 'after' make-over.

I have created an environment where I don't care about how I look. Of course, I have my favourite items, feel more comfortable in this item of clothing than that - but quite honestly, I would rather read a good book, blog, go for a long walk, talk to friends and family, help a neighbours child to read, meditate, potter in the garden pulling out roots - filling my nails with dirt and doing a thousand other things than spend too much time and money worrying and considering how I look. What is the point? If someone doesn't like me as I am then I choose not to make that my problem. Why would I want to look younger? When did this youth-obsession seep into our cultures?

I see the so called 'stars' who have teeth straightened, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, face lifts, brow lifts, liposuction and many other 'enhancing treatments' - and they have access to the best photographers, make-up artists, designers and such. They receive free items from producers of high-end products and act as walking advertisements. Being photographed by the tipped off paparazzi, magazines, newspapers at glossy functions helps to feed inadequacy and fattens the bank balances of the haves.

Why do we place so much emphasis on how we look? Who does it benefit? I don't think it benefits me. Clothes are to keep me warm or to cover certain parts that will prevent me from being arrested!

No, I am not interested in paying to have my eyebrows plucked, artificial nails applied every two weeks, my legs waxed, traipsing the shops each weekend maxing out my credit card, perusing the magazines for the latest trends or anything like that.

I'm not interested in being sheep and following the crowd because that is a sure sign I am not living my life for me. This one life that could end at any moment. This one life where following my dreams means being myself.

So to all those women featured in Essence, I have a message for you: Sack the gods and reclaim your life - regardless of how you look.

07 April 2008

The Jesus Camps

Would you call this child abuse?

Enough said.

Links to Related Posts: Religious Groomers

03 April 2008

Angry Atheist?

I don't know if you have felt this way or know anyone who is atheist who has been really angry.

I am atheist and have spent far too much time being angry about the state of the world with regards to religion.

I ponder the situation that humans have found themselves in, see the indoctrination and non-progress and put the majority of it (if not all) down to religion. I read 'On the Nature of Things' by Lucretius, Bertrand Russell's 'Why I am not a Christian', Carl Sagan, James Baldwin and many more great writers. It was as if I had moved into a new awareness of the tragic situation of homo sapiens.

My emotions ran from anger to hate to distress without knowing who exactly to blame. I didn't have anyone person I could pin 'the blame' on. Who is responsible for all of this? How do we stop it?

I had visitors from abroad who stayed with me for a couple of weeks who were hardcore theists and I'm afraid they didn't enjoy their visit due to my misplaced anger. I didn't know what to do with it all. The magnitude of this great con was overwhelmingly difficult for me to deal with and to have someone in my personal space who talked about 'god's love' and the rest just about did it for me. Now my emotional intelligence level has been raised and I understand how someone can believe the memes which have been inflicted on them. Equally I understand the anger of atheists, particularly those who have been poisoned by theism and the rituals inflicted on them by it.

It took me a long time to reach the point where I had to find an outlet of expression - hence this blog - it helps to share my thoughts on the web. I first of all tried finding a black woman's blog/site who is also atheist. I couldn't find one - so I thought I would write one myself. How many black women do you know personally who are atheists and are willing and able to identify themselves as such publicly? Maybe not more than 10, is my guess.
So I channelled my anger into delving deeper, acquiring more knowledge, as describing myself as 'atheist' just didn't describe my worldview - it only outlined my non-belief in a god or gods.

A relative of mine sent me some lectures on CD of a man named Tom Clark, who described himself as a scientific naturalist. His views blew me away. I listened to his lectures and talks, trying to grasp the fact that humans may not have 'contra causal freewill'.
I urge you (if you haven't heard of him already) to click on the link above to learn more about this subject.
The concept of freewill is used by theists to encourage humans to submit 'all things to god'. This idea is weak and getting weaker by the minute and theists are cranking up their attacks against atheists and by default against scientific naturalists. King Abdullah has made it very plain that atheism will not be tolerated and is mobilising the world's Abrahamic religions to unite against atheists. A sure sign of panic.

Being angry achieves very little unless one uses it to drive constructive action. Now I am of the belief that I cannot change the world, I can only use my words to share my views and that is as much as I can do at this point. If it makes a difference all well and good. If not, then it is as it is.

The wheels of the world won't stop turning. I am a minuscule atom in comparison to the greatness and magnificence of all that there is and so I will read and write and cogitate on things that mean much to me and try my best to eliminate the poison of anger from my life as best I can. But sometimes...arrgghh!!!!!