29 December 2009

Have You Heard about The Garinagu People?

...Lest we forget.

I wanted to share this video as it illustrates, very clearly to me, that in spite of our differences - whether they be religious, racial, gender, height, weight, abilities - there are people who are just getting on with their lives as best they can. People who appear to have little materially, yet our warped values are shamed into admiring those who don't have to try to enjoy their lives - no hamsters on a wheel running on empty with the latest 'must have handbag'.

This video records beautiful elements of the Garinagu communities of coastal Central America.
You may not be familiar with their culture or music but their attempts to elevate their people to believe in themselves and their value is admirable.
Sadly Andy Palacio died last year but his legacy lives on.
Please share your thoughts.

P.S. Have fun in 2010!

19 December 2009

Was That It...???: Copenhagen COP15

Have they finished? They packed up and went home with their tails between their legs. Or so it seemed.
The media couldn't decide if it was a success or a failure and it was funny to see the headlines lurching from one to other - even within the same publication/newscast.

No doubt they will regroup and work on another strategy to scare the people into parting with their cash.
Presenting one agreement as open to discussion and then having a 'secret document' under the table is nothing new and to be expected. 'It is only fair if YOU get shafted!'

At least it makes for interesting copy and they get free advertising. Can't wait to see what happens next!

08 December 2009

'Please Help the World...'

From the opening ceremony of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 (COP15) in Copenhagen.

Glossy-Hollywood-Big Budget Propaganda. I wonder if you see the desperation of the messengers?

04 December 2009

People Power

So there we have it. The murky world of man-made global warming-carbon credits-save the world slogans, sound bites and great marketing is unravelling and, at last, there may just be a glimpse, a dawning, that the Emperor has clothes, yes, but ones placed there by people with a big agenda.
It is interesting that my previous post on this matter garnered much comment, more criticism than praise, but some people dislike reality and smother themselves in the soft squidgy-ness of fantasy. Not so I.
We were being played and we did not recognise that the train some of us jumped on was actually a gravy train which we had no ownership of, no control over and our destination was solely in the direction of us being fleeced big time for big bucks ad infinitum.
The number of NGO’s with their noses in the trough is astounding. Groups who are receiving money to promote and assist in the cover up, whose current and future funding depends on how effective they are in getting the message out to the masses – you and me.
But hold on a minute: Some people woke up!! Some smelt the coffee and thought ‘Bollocks! This is too big a con for me to stay silent. This is too big a con for me to quietly go about my business.’ Voila! We have information which appears to show a monumental con has occurred. How this information was released into the public domain is not a concern of mine - some members of our species decided that the lies had to be exposed.
It is called People Power. No, not as in communism, socialism or any other –ism but one where we start to think for ourselves and refuse to remain clueless and powerless to what is happening around us.
The internet has played a pivotal role in uncovering the cover ups and from now on we should be mindful and aware of attacks on our rights to communicate freely and ultimately expose crimes against humanity (as this Great Con should be viewed).
In our own way we can leave a legacy for the future generations: that we thought for ourselves and refused to be sheeple.

What do you think?

29 November 2009

27 November 2009

Does it Bug You Too...?

At the risk of being a complete pedant (a title which I have not earned) have you noticed how many people are using the word ‘loose’ instead of ‘lose’?

Each time I see it I cringe. Why has ‘loose’ become the new ‘lose’? Does it bug you too?

22 November 2009

The Qualifications of a Shaman

This time of the year seems to be an opportune time for people who profess to be experts or 'special proponents' of supernaturalism to crawl out of the woodwork and make more money. People want to know what the next year will bring. Will they find a new love? or will their current relationship improve or their finances or career take a turn for the better. Who else to seek advice from but someone who appears to have special powers and insight? A shaman, priest/ess, obeah wo/man, psychic, faith healer - whatever they choose to call themselves. They fall into the same category.

Leslie A White, a cultural anthropologist wrote a fascinating book: 'The Evolution of Culture - The Development of Civilisation to the Fall of Rome' (1959), (sadly out of print), where he explains the cultural purpose of these people. Here is an excerpt:
"...Let us turn first to the qualifications of a shaman.
 Traffic with the supernatural world is by its very nature mysterious. Extraordinary abilities are therefore required or are at least an asset. Epileptic fits, trances, hallucination, and hysteria are mysterious experiences, and hence eminently suited to communication with the supernatural world. Dreams during trances are interpereted as visits to the land of the spirits; fits and hysteria are states produced when a spirit seizes and possess the body the shaman. This conception is preserved in our word "epilepsy" (Gr. epi, upon; lambano, seize). Hence neurotic, abnormal, and unstable individuals are better qualified for the profession of shamanism than are normal and stable persons. As Tylor long ago observed: '...In all quarters of the world the oracle-priests and diviners by familiar spirits seem really diseased in body and mind...'  More recently, Lowie has commented upon the abnormal character of the shaman: 'From Africa and Oceania, from Siberia and Tierra del Fuego we thus have evidence that shamans are either abnormal or at least temporarily capable of passing into abnormal mental states.' The advantage of abnormality in trafficking with the supernatural world is further indicated by the widespread use of drugs, liquor, fasting, self-torture, and solitude to produce temporary pathologic states as a means lor a condition of supernatural experience. Thus we see that some individuals are better qualified to become shamans than others."

17 November 2009

Quote of the Week: Adolf Hitler

"I have followed [the Church] in giving our party program the character of unalterable finality, like the Creed. The Church has never allowed the Creed to be interfered with. It is fifteen hundred years since it was formulated, but every suggestion for its amendment, every logical criticism, or attack on it, has been rejected. The Church has realized that anything and everything can be built up on a document of that sort, no matter how contradictory or irreconcilable with it.
The faithful will swallow it whole, so long as logical reasoning is never allowed to be brought to bear on it."

                                        - Adolf Hitler, from Rauschning, The Voice of Destruction, pp. 239-40

11 November 2009

Is the Universe Fine Tuned for Life?

Although I write about religion and atheism and so on - sometimes I am bored by the idea of people believing in the supernatural. There's not much I can do nor want to do to change minds.

My previous post caused a bit of a stir as I stated my views about the hysteria surrounding climate change, but I chanced upon this video which I would like you to watch and let us all know what you think.

06 November 2009

Carl Sagan - 'Pale Blue Dot'

 If ever we need to put things into perspective...

04 November 2009

Panic, Panic: Global Warning

Film poster for An Inconvenient TruthImage via Wikipedia
Am I the only one who views the hysteria about 'climate change' as nothing more than a cynical way for people in power to make money whilst scaring us either to death or to spend some money?
I don't buy it and I couldn't care less about the whole issue.
Humans think there is something special about us, don't we? 'We were created in God's image'....blah,blah,blah. The fact is Earth has been through tremendous climatic changes for millions of years and no doubt will continue to do so long after we cease to inhabit this planet. I am not worried about this overpopulated planet and I don't think you should be either - at least not to the extent that we are going to panic about the future. Who cares if in 20 years time sea levels are going to rise? Big deal.

Harsh, maybe, but I am not going to rush around buying carbon credits (what a classic con!) or switch to solar panels (tried that for 2 years and hated it, plus you need a bank of batteries which themselves are not 'eco-friendly') - so Al Gore won prizes for 'An Inconvenient Truth' which should be taken with a pound of salt - this man (and his ilk) makes money from scaring us into making choices which fatten the wallets of himself and his cronies.
Yes, our focus should be on creating new alternative sources of energy which are easy for people to use but until that time I will continue in the way I always have. This means I don't fear death and therefore whatever happens happens. It's called 'shit happens'.

You don't have to agree with me, but you could let me know what you think!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

02 November 2009

Leap of Faith

31 October 2009

15 October 2009

Quote of The Week: - 'Do Not Pass by My Epitaph, Traveller'

From an ancient Roman tombstone:
"Do not pass by my epitaph, traveller.
But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way.
There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman Charon,
no caretaker Aiakos, no dog Cerberus.
All we who are dead below
have become bones and ashes, but nothing else.
I have spoken to you honestly, go on, traveler,
lest even while dead I seem loquacious to you."
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

14 October 2009

Texas execution looms after jury consult Bible - Amnesty USA

If you want to know how some humans are completely unintelligent then read the story below.
Bear in mind the jurors are alleged to have consulted a book of fiction to determine the man's fate.
A book of fiction!
Please let me know what you think:

"A Texas man who faces execution after jurors at his trial consulted the Bible when deliberating his fate should have his death sentence commuted, Amnesty International said on Friday.

Khristian Oliver, 32, is set to be killed on 5 November after jurors used Biblical passages supporting the death penalty to help them decide whether he should live or die.

Amnesty International is calling on the Texas authorities to commute Khristian Oliver's death sentence. The organization considers that the jurors' use of the Bible during their sentencing deliberations raises serious questions about their impartiality.

A US federal appeals court acknowledged last year that the jurors' use of the Bible amounted to an "external influence" prohibited under the US Constitution, but nonetheless upheld the death sentence.

Khristian Oliver was sentenced to death in 1999 for a murder committed during a burglary. According to accomplice testimony at the trial, 20-year-old Oliver shot the victim before striking him on the head with a rifle butt.

After the trial, evidence emerged that jurors had consulted the Bible during their sentencing deliberations. At a hearing in June 1999, four of the jurors recalled that several Bibles had been present and highlighted passages had been passed around.

One juror had read aloud from the Bible to a group of fellow jurors, including the passage, "And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death".

The judge ruled that the jury had not acted improperly and this was upheld by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

In 2002, a Danish journalist interviewed a fifth juror. The latter said that "about 80 per cent" of the jurors had "brought scripture into the deliberation", and that the jurors had consulted the Bible "long before we ever reached a verdict".

He told the journalist he believed "the Bible is truth from page 1 to the last page", and that if civil law and biblical law were in conflict, the latter should prevail. He said that if he had been told he could not consult the Bible, "I would have left the courtroom". He described himself as a death penalty supporter, saying life imprisonment was a "burden" on the taxpayer.

In 2008, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that the jurors had "crossed an important line" by consulting specific passages in the Bible that described the very facts at issue in the case. This amounted to an "external influence" on the jury prohibited under the US Constitution.

However, it concluded that under the "highly deferential standard" by which federal courts should review state court decisions, Oliver had failed to prove that he had been prejudiced by this unconstitutional juror conduct. In April 2009, the US Supreme Court refused to take the case, despite being urged to take it by nearly 50 former US federal and state prosecutors."

Amnesty USA.org
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

12 October 2009

Black Hair Documentary

Black women spend an unbelieveable amount of money on our hair and this documentary (thank you for bringing it to my attention Mama Asid), although focused on black hair and the African-American community, could be about Jamaica, England, Nigeria, Kenya or anywhere else. The principle point is that black women spend a lot of money on our hair and don't seem to care who has control of an industry making billions each week. Made me think.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

08 October 2009

A Little Girl called me a 'Nigger' Today...

As I walked past a house a young child, probably 7 or 8 years old, white with blonde ringlets, jumped around near the front gate and then stopped. And looked at me with a fierce expression. I half smiled and as I walked past her I heard her say, 'Nigger!'
It stopped me in my tracks as I thought of how much poison had probably been poured into this child for her to see me, a black woman, as nothing more than 'a nigger'.
In that split second my mind raced around for me to decide on some proper response, be that to walk away and say nothing as this child is a product of her environment; or say something to the child, but what exactly? Was it offensive to me and if so why? What could I say to the child that would be age appropriate?
What did I do? I walked back to the gate and said, 'I'm sorry but I heard that.' She said, 'Heard what?' and then it hit me that I was doing the wrong thing, talking to the child about it was not correct. It didn't feel right.
I almost called out to the shadowy adult who could be seen through the multi-coloured strips hanging at the open front door. Then I walked away. As I walked on she shouted, 'I never called you that word!' She knew and I knew and I felt sad. 

Is there a 'right thing to do' in this situation?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

07 October 2009

Neil Young - 'Harvest Moon'

I was introduced to this song and I love it. It is simple and beautiful.What do you think?

04 October 2009

Looking at the Bible in Detail...

Since I am focusing on the Bible for the moment I thought you might be interested in looking at the actual meaning on some of the teachings of the 'Holy Book'.
I am strongly of the opinion that not many Christians have actually read the book. By reading I mean sat and studied it with the same amount of scrutiny as you would any historical account on any other subject. SO why do so many people believe it?
It is a laughable collection of ignorance and horror, in the main. To think people are being murdered, raped, tortured, disenfranchised, enslaved, abused, mis-educated, starved, are self-harming, being ignored, discriminated against all based on the written words of a book!
We need sites like The Skeptics Annotated Bible. I recommend it, especially if you are someone who has been indoctrinated to believe the inerrancy of the Bible. Please let me know what you think.

01 October 2009

Quote from the Bible (1) - How to Treat a Slave

"When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property."
~ Exodus 21:20-21

29 September 2009

Roman Polanski and the Cosa Nostra Pope

Currently on this blog I have a series of images which highlight child abuse - all in the name of religion. Yet there is something in the news at the moment which confirms even more (if further confirmation is required) that we are not smart animals. This whole issue with Roman Polanski, who pled guilty to "unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor" - with a 13-year-old child, i.e. raped.
You either know about the story, (so I won't bore you with the details) or you don't (you can read it HERE).
Now, correct me if I am wrong but when did these polticians and Hollywood-types believe they needed to defend a self-confessed paedophile? The law appears to be made only for those who are plebs. The thing to do is commit a heinous crime, escape justice but make your name as a person of note in the arts and people who made money via you will ensure you are protected and stage protests and appeal to the relevant authorities to overturn any decision to place handcuffs on you many years later.

The mindset of those clamouring for him to be released from Swiss custody is very difficult to fathom. Not one of those people would say the same thing had it been their 13 yr old who had been sexually abused. It is worrying when there are so many abusers watching how this will play out and persons in position of responsibility, who are held up as role models, are protecting and playing down the fact that Roman Polanski abused a child. If he wasn't a famous person, would they have supported him?

Then, if that wasn't enough, the Pope, yes, the head of the original Cosa Nostra has through his 'crime family foot soldiers' issued a statement regarding the large numbers of people who criticise the Catholic Church but don't realise that the church is very busy and in any case there are other religions where more cases of sexual abuse occurs and people don't seem to give them a hard time. Incredible. Maybe now people will start to wake up to the greatest con which enables people with sick minds to cover themselves with a religious cloak as they abuse relentlessly. Hopefully they will all argue over who has the most sexual predators and the flock will start to think for themselves.

History will judge us very badly. We are truly living in The Dark Ages.

23 September 2009

Respect the Other Fellow's Religion...

"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."

~ H. L Mencken

20 September 2009

The Super Sprayer

The Super Spray Painter - street art is interesting and I always admire people who conjure up art right in front of my eyes. This guy is good. What do you think?

06 September 2009

Mithras - Pagan Origins of Christianity

In conversation with my Christian friends and family they struggle to link me with my non-belief in a deity, any deity. They know I don't steal, have no interest in harming anyone and yet I don't seem to follow any religious creeds or codes. How can that be? 'Where do you get your moral framework from?' A question I always dislike!
I suppose I give myself time and space to think and critically analyse information that passes my way. I don't believe anything I am told without giving it some thought.
Dr Robert Beckford, in this video, is a theologian who has some interesting information which I thought might get some brain juices flowing in relation to the origins of Jesus and paganism - particularly people who are theists. Unfortunately, most religions ensure their adherents are hardwired to reject anything which contradicts their teachings. It arrests human development and ensures rational arguments are not heard, whilst the abuse of children and vulnerable adults continues.

If I suggest that you watch this video you may have been told that I represent some imaginary devil and so you are more likely to turn away quickly, close your ears and encourage your children to do the same.

Remember this info is from a 'man of the cloth'!
Let me know what you think!

01 September 2009

The Incomparable Nina Simone

If you ever need cheering up then this song cannot help but enable you to appreciate the 'small' things that we can take for granted.


18 August 2009

Quote of the Week - Epicurus

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?


13 August 2009

Letter to My Younger Self

Stephen Fry has written a letter to his younger self which has encouraged a whole host of people to do the same.
If you were writing to yourself aged 18 years old what would you say? What advice would you give yourself?
I find this quite interesting and reading the contributions from and comments by other people made me think about what I would say to my younger self. I'm still (after a lengthy period!) in 'thinking mode'...

What would you write to yourself?

03 August 2009

Prisoners of a White God

I chanced upon this film which I felt compelled to post here. It is disturbing and illustrates why I consider religious indoctrination to be mental, social and psychological abuse. Watch how a community is slowly destroyed by men with rituals, fancy gowns, screwed up world views and a need to control.
Excuse the slight delays but as it is subtitled it does not take away from a sensitively presented film.

If you are unable to watch it now then I implore you to watch whenever and wherever you can - let me have your views.

23 July 2009

'Let's Stay Together' - Al Green

Okay, okay! I agree I must be in a soppy mood. Al Green doesn't sing this version as vocally brilliantly as some of his others I have heard but he whipped the crowd, played with the tune and sat down exhausted and was so on a high that he had to do a little jig at the end. Wonderful.
Do let me know what you think.

I dedicate this to the General. Thank you for being such a wonderful person!

P.S. Lorraine and Jonathan have commented on a previous post - Are Black People Allowed to Critically Analyse Other Black People? - and I have some further thoughts to contribute on this topic - so over the coming days you should see something posted here. I love it when people comment. Thank you all!

28 June 2009

A Jamaican Poem - 'Back to Africa'

I love this poem by the late great Louise Bennett, also known as 'Miss Lou'. This poem is written in the Jamaican patois and deals with Miss Mattie's yearning to go back to Africa.
Miss Lou questions this desire very eloquently. Let me know what you think.

'Back to Africa'

Back to Africa, Miss Mattie?
You no know wha you dah seh?
You haf fe come from somewhe fus
Before you go back deh!

Me know say dat you great great great
Granma was African,
But Mattie, doan you great great great
Granpa was Englishman?

Den you great granmader fader
By you fader side was Jew?
An you granpa by you mader side
Was Frenchie parlez-vous?

But de balance a you family,
You whole generation,
Oonoo all barn dung a Bun Grung-
Oonoo all is Jamaican!

Den is weh you gwine, Miss Mattie?
Oh, you view de countenance,
An between you an de Africans
Is great resemblance!

Ascorden to dat, all dem blue-yeye
White American
Who-fa great granpa was Englishman
Mus go back a Englan!

What a debil of a bump-an-bore,
Rig-jig an palam-pam
Ef de whole worl start fe go back
Whe dem great granpa come from!

Ef a hard time you dah run from
Tek you chance! But Mattie, do
Sure a whe you come from so you got
Somewhe fe come back to!

Go a foreign, seek you fortune,
But no tell nobody say
You dah go fe seek you homelan,
For a right deh so you deh!

19 June 2009

Are Black People allowed to Critically Analyse Other Black People?

I had a discussion with a relative of mine recently concerning black history and some black writers. My relative took particular exception to my criticism of certain aspects of IvanVan Sertima's book 'They Came Before Columbus'. On discussing her objections further it became clear that her real objection was that I could dare to make a critical comment about another black person. Her reasoning was that if, as Prof. Van Sertima had tried to do, the aim was to make more black people aware of their history then if he fabricated a few stories then he should be completely forgiven as the ends justified the means.
Words failed me. Then I understood: 'Oh, you mean like the Bible?' I said.

She couldn't see the link and advised me that she loved black people and anybody who felt it necessary to criticise black people quite clearly didn't. Anyway, Prof Van Sertima's aim was to (having both read his other books) 'enable black people to reclaim their kings and queens and princesses'.
Very much in the vein, it seems to me, as the absolute rubbish espoused by those who revere Haile Selassie and call themselves Rasta. So now we can look to Africa and say we have a black person who is similar to the Queen! It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Don't criticise black people. (A bit like the 'don't snitch' policy, eh?)
I don't think, like my relative does, that being 'spiritual' andwhat I call a 'Designer African' is positive for black people, especially when it is wrapped up in a belief in the supernatural.
Bullshit is bullshit no matter how it is dressed up and black people should not be excluded from any form of critical analysis.

Just in case you don't know: I don't care where you are from - your colour of skin, hair, race, belief system, gender, sexual orientation or anything else - if you are black you will not be excluded from criticism, praise or even indifference. The same applies to any 'group' I come across.
I chose 'black woman thinks' as the name of this blog to enable people to find me in amongst the billions of sites out there, but don't be fooled into thinking that this site is a lovefest exclusively for black people and all other groups will be trashed.

I don't speak for or on behalf of any group. I have my opinions but I am not the voice of 'the black world' or women (what a horrible thought!) and I will continue to try my best to see the world as it really is and not try to ignore things that make me feel uncomfortable or embrace fabricated myths as truth.

I don't always succeed but as the late Carl Sagan said:

“I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies”

What do you think?

14 June 2009

Quote for the Week: Aldous Huxley

This quote could, at first, seem rather depressing. The question is:
Is he wrong? Are we humans, after evaluation of our known history, very different to this description?

"I know of no study which is so unutterably saddening as that of the evolution of humanity, as it is set forth in the annals of history. Out of the darkness of prehistoric ages man emerges with the marks of his lowly origin strong upon him. He is a brute, only more intelligent than the other brutes, a blind prey to impulses, which as often as not lead him to destruction: a victim to endless illusions, which make his mental existence a terror and a burden, and fills his physical life with barren toil and battle.

He attains a certain degree of physical comfort, and develops a more or less workable theory of life, in such favorable situations as the plains of Mesopotamia or of Egypt, and then, for thousands and thousands of years, struggles, with varying fortunes, attended by infinite wickedness, bloodshed, and misery, to maintain himself at this point against the greed and ambition of his fellow-men. He makes a point of killing and otherwise persecuting all those who first try to get him to move on; and when he has moved on a step, foolishly confers post-mortem deification on his victims."

05 June 2009

'Poison Tree'

I was angry with my friend:

I told my wrath, my wrath did end.

I was angry with my foe:

I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,

Night and morning with my tears;

And I sunned it with smiles,

And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,

Till it bore an apple bright.

And my foe beheld it shine.

And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole

When the night had veiled the pole;

In the morning glad I see

My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

~ William Blake

04 June 2009

Showing Off Their Underwear

Is it me? Am I showing my age? Or maybe there is something that I don't understand: the fashion for young men showing off their underwear, usually boxer shorts, at every opportunity.
Now perish the thought that I am one of those types who constantly frowns and tut-tuts at the things young people do. It wasn't so long ago that I was doing crazy things that I don't understand now and didn't then but they were part of my growing up. All of it. The truth is I'm still 'growing up' and learning about life and doing crazy things!

But this need to wear trousers underneath your arse/bum/ass seems very strange. How do they stay up? Who started this trend?
I travel throughout England and see a certain type of young man modelling this trend and I just ponder. It cuts across races and seems to have a hip-hop vibe to it all.
I have to admit, I don't understand it. Maybe I'm not meant to.

20 May 2009

Catholic Church Child Abuse

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse has published a report regarding the systematic abuse and torture by Catholic institutions in Ireland from 1936 onwards of children who were placed in their care.
It is unlikely that any of the abusers identified by the Commission will face prosecution.

The Catholic church has a long history of trying to cover the atrocities it has committed.

12 May 2009

'I'm Going to Church'...The Review

On the way to the church I asked my 2 female friends if they could be themselves and try to ignore the fact that I was there as I wanted them to be their 'normal'.
The building was old with arched stained glass windows and inside the seating was on 2 levels. The downstairs section was crowded and so my friends suggested we head upstairs as the loud rock-style singing belted out.
As we took our seats near the front I was struck by the racial makeup of the congregation - a place that seemed to have almost every different race and mixes present. The black female singers on stage wore denim and high heels and had a slight air of indifference.
My eyes wandered around, darting everywhere as I noticed the peeling paint on the wall across the atrium.
The congregation sang loud and as the song almost came to its natural end a man in a suit with a microphone appeared on stage and said, "Lift your hands high...say, 'Lord, touch my life, I want to be changed, transformed, I give you all the honour and glory' - In Jesus' name."
The people clap and shout praises, waving their arms above their heads. The man starts to mumble and then gets louder and I realise he is speaking some kind of gibberish - 'speaking in tongues' and the people do the same. The murmurs get louder and louder and I watch people around me and a few have tears streaming down their faces. The singers leave the stage and the music stops.

The 1st suited man leaves the stage and another one appears, this time in a darker coloured suit. He tells us about how successful their recent missions have been. He has just returned from Mali where he saw over 500 people give their lives to Christ. (I notice my friends quickly glance over at me at this point. I don't meet their eyes. I don't want to convey my thoughts to them, although they surely know.)
The 2nd suited man continues, telling a story about the old man he met out there who couldn't see and God opened his eyes. And that a little boy was brought to him at the end of the service out there who couldn't speak and Jesus opened his mouth - 'Amen!'. The people said 'Amen!'.

It suddenly dawns on me that my friends had failed to let me know that the church they attend each and every Sunday was a place where they carried out 'healing sessions'. A 'charismatic ' church. I am in shock.

The man tells us to 'prepare for the battle - the final battle'. He hands over to a 3rd man also with a suit and a microphone but this man says he is going to sing a song about the mercy of God. His preamble prior to his song had 'Allejuiah' at the end of each sentence. He starts singing to a backing track. The crowd seems a little bored. I notice a man sitting on the ground floor directly below me with a large Bible open across his lap and he's using a bright orange fluorescent pen to highlight passages. He seems so focused on his task. He's probably mid- 40s. The man on stage is still singing and during his song ushers walk around distributing leaflets. The song comes to an end.
Then a 4th man arrives on stage, someone younger, who talks about the money raised so far to repair the roof and also there will be some a course available over the next few days which will help 'you to disciple to others so they can be led to Christ'. Also they are setting up a group to bring together all the creative members of the congregation so that they can help to 'drive the message forward'.

The Pastor arrives and the 4th man leaves the stage. The Pastor is an older white man who talks about how 'God's blessings' helped a woman to get a rebate of her Council Tax. He then talked about the CDs and DVDs which were available for 14.99GBP and 24.99GBP but could be downloaded for free. He emphasised the benefits of paying for them rather than downloading as they were in beautifully presented cases. He held them up and showed them around, telling the crowd they could buy them on the way out. He calls to the ushers to distribute the 'offering envelopes'.
He tells the crowd that 'god has not forgotten about your physical needs...Ezekiel 36...I will put my spirit in you...you will live in the land...I will save you from all your uncleanness...I will increase the fruits of the trees'. He continues, 'As we give we'll pray. It's like sowing a seed. It's sowing a seed. God knows your needs and gives when you give. The God of abundant supply. How much will your heavenly father provide for you? All these things will be given. He always provides. Amen. Allejuiah!' The crowd shout 'Amen' and 'Allejuiah'. The band and the singers arrive back on the stage and stay in the background.
He tells the crowd that if they complete the information on the envelope they have been given then they qualify for the governments Gift Aid scheme where the church can claim back 29% more than they give. As the ushers make their way around the church handing out the envelopes he asks for the crowd to pray: 'We thank you for people seeking jobs. Those who are struggling with issues, financially and we commit our offerings. Let us sing as we receive the offerings. Let us give and receive your offerings with joy!'
As the band starts playing the congregation stand and sing. A young boy a few seats down from me jumps up and dances wildly to the music. The crowd seems slightly subdued. The Pastor thinks so too and waves his hands at the band who lowers the volume of their playing. 'I don't think you feel it. This song says 'love came down and rescued me, I was once blind and now I see'!' The crowd took the hint and somehow managed to crank it up to a level that was acceptable to the pastor. He smiled. And clapped.
At the end of the song he asked the crowd to be seated. The ushers did the rounds with the envelopes and yellow plastic buckets.

Another man, a new person, arrived on stage - a man with a Northern accent and wearing trainers. He tells the congregated that 'Religion will try to bind you up, but Jesus will set you free' and 'God is not natural, god is supernatural! Amen.'
He talked about how god healed a man 5 years ago who had Parkinson's disease and a twisted spine. No one prayed for him he just was healed. "I get so excited that god wants to bless me with being able to heal through me.' 'You can leave here free cos my yoke is easy.'
He walked around the stage in an excited manner. 'Some fantastic miracles are taking place here tonight. I could jump off a doll's house!' The crowd applaud.
'When you die are you going to heaven? Jesus paid the debt for our sins at Calvary by grace - this was a gift from god. He had a crown of thorns on his head...' (he became choked with emotion at this point) '...he was was dying for YOU! and me...'
'I used to be a gambler and went to the best casinos and had the best cars, stayed in the best hotels but there is no buzz like Jesus! I used to leave nightclubs with pains and I didn't even know where I was. When I found Christ indescribable things happened to me. The Gospel can transform England and the world. This God is a supernatural god and people will be healed.'
He said a prayer for all those who wanted to repent of their sins and receive Christ. He asked for those who had prayed with him who had not yet received Christ to raise their hands. He acknowledged them and thanked them. He asked if there were other people who had not raised their hands but wanted to to do so. A few more people raised their hands. He asked them all to come to the edge of the stage.
He directed his next comments at those people had not come forward, 'You are going to burn in hell if you die tomorrow. This is your final opportunity to receive Christ. Christ died naked in front of his mother for you. Leave your seat that the Devil has you super-glued to right now.'
Turning to the 7 people gathered below him he said, 'I'm going to pray for these people' and he called on the Pastor to join in the prayer. Each person had an usher assigned to them and the the ushers and the new Christians walked off into the back area of the church.
The 2 men were joined on stage by 2 other guys who stood off to one side. The man with the trainers appealed to those who had any pain in their bodies to come up to the front. Along the front edge of the stage were church aides who would greet those people and talk to them. Several people lined up down an aisle. A woman usher assigned each person presenting themselves for healing with an aide. Each aide touched the person and spoke to them in their ears. Some people, after discussions were passed down to a group of men who lined them up near the stairs to the stage.
An elderly woman was ushered up the stairs towards the middle where Mr Trainers man stood with another man. The man asked her where she had pain and she said she felt pain in her foot. She was a woman from Portugal and her English was not fluent. She answered the questions he asked as if she was bewildered by the whole experience. She said she had pain for about 6 months but she hadn't seen a doctor. Whilst she was speaking a 3rd man came up and stood behind her with his hands out - no doubt expecting her to fall over at some point. Mr Trainers Man placed his hand on her head and blew puffs of air 3 times towards her head and shouted, 'Lord, set her free! Loose her from this pain, oh merciful God!' She was asked if the pain had gone. She hesitated and then shook her leg, hesitated again and then said, 'Gone.' The man turned to the crowd and shouted, 'The pain has gone! The pain has gone! The merciful Lord has set her free! Praise God! Allejuiah!' He punched the air. The crowd clapped and shouted, 'Allejuiah!' 'Amen!' 'Jesus is Lord!'
An elderly man limped onto stage and explained that he had fallen down 2 years ago and now suffers from severe arthritic pain. He was supporting it with a bandage but the pain 'comes and goes'. He was a black man with a strong accent from somewhere in Africa. The Trainers man bent over and grabbed the man's knee shouting gibberish/speaking in tongues and exalting the higher power to heal the man and rid him of the knee pain. The 'healed' man was encouraged to walk up and down to show he had been healed. He limped away down the stairs to clapping and whooping. There were another 2 encounters and I think at this point my friends nudged me that they were ready to leave.
I stumbled down the stairs and on the way to the exit had to pass the table of books, CDs, DVDs, brochures, etc. for sale. I collected as much free information as I could.

As we got into the car I was asked what I thought about it. My brain was scrambled at this point. They both wanted my initial views and I stated that it is a money-making con which preys on the weak-minded and the ignorant. I felt violated and angry and sad and so confused that all those people were so sheep-like and pliable.

For me being atheist is so obvious and valid and I had not been in a church situation for years. I had not witnessed these charlatans close up. It was shocking and tragic.
The people commandeering this con weren't clever and yet what did that make those handing over their money and whooping with joy?

One of my friends told me that she has her doubts about the healing and that the church seems to have less crowds each week. Small comfort that things may be changing.Yet the so called healing session was not the issue for me. Some churches have a few prayers, some people pray at home in private - if you put it all into a bag it is all a belief in the supernatural. The differences are are all about degrees and it is one and the same. The people are being fed a line and they believe it. They suspend all forms of rationality and avoid critical analysis of the information presented to them and swallow the con whole.

I have tried to record the events as I saw them, through my own eyes and in a later post I will write a commentary. Please share your thoughts.
P.S. I do know that not all churches are like this one but the point is they all believe. I don't.

10 May 2009

I'm Going to Church...mini-update

I attended a church service today and quite frankly I am traumatised.

The experience was so horrific and so sad that I need a day or two to collect my thoughts in order to write my review.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I hadn't forgotten.
Bear with me.

26 April 2009

Homophobic Jamaican Prime Minister

Here is an example of the damage caused by ignorance, religion and politicians who profit from maintaining the status quo. Dangerous. I know these views are prevalent in many societies not just Jamaica, but for the Prime Minister to promote homophobia and then clumsily try to squirm his way around it with a pile of words that could be described as nothing other than bullshit is revealing.
Let me know what you think.

25 April 2009

23 April 2009

I'm Going to Church...

...yes, you read it here first.
I have been invited to attend a church service by some dear friends of mine. I have agreed to attend on condition that they understand that:

a) I will not be giving money

b) I will be writing about it on my blog.

My friends and I have had some hot debates through the night and into early dawn and I have even been told, 'I pray that you get to know Jesus'. Incredible.
Anyway, in the interest of those who read this blog, whether atheist or supernaturalist, I will be visiting their multi-cultural church with pen and notepad in hand.
I plan to go as soon as our calendars meet, which I expect will happen in the next week or so. So watch this space.

14 April 2009

Time for Change...

I have decided to simplify my blog. Make it easier to read and navigate by narrowing the width of the page and so on.
What you might call a bit of spring cleaning and I intend to get back to highlighting some brilliant blogs and equally brilliant people out there like GeneralX, Ralph Dumain, etc. as well as some of my observations about people and life.

I want to say a big 'thank you' to everyone who has taken the time to comment here and especially those who drop by regularly. Without readers and visitors this blog would not be what it is. Thank YOU!!

10 April 2009

Naturally 7

I'm in a melodic frame of mind at the moment and wanted to share some real talent with you. I watch this video and imagine I'm a person travelling on the Paris Metro, minding my own business and chance upon these guys singing. What a treat!

23 March 2009

'Kiss My Hand' - The Pope in Africa

The Pope visited Africa. How deeply saddened I am that this crazy institution, the Roman Catholic church, has felt the need to visit several countries to, basically, drum up business. A PR stunt that will work. It will have the desired effect of calling the masses to believe in a corrupt, evil, mega-rich institution with dodgy books being waved around as tenets the masses should live by. And the money rolls in. The poor who can least afford to give away money are told and believe that a god will help the poor who give to one of the richest institutions on this planet.
It would be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic, if the consequences didn't last through generations.

They are criminals. They know what they do and they no more believe in a god than they do in fairies. These mind-control freaks are not to be bowed down to, nor should they have their hands kissed. I assume you wouldn't hold a member of the Cosa Nostra in high esteem, so how are these shysters any different?

Not many people know how the Popes are selected. I guess most people believe that a group of people receive a message from 'god' that Mr Blah-Blah should be the next Pope and then - voila- a name is revealed to the world and is then crowned in a blaze of publicity. Well, actually, it is slightly more complicated than that as there are power struggles behind the scene. People jostling to have their names picked out of the celestial ballot box. Arse-licky people sharpen their finest 'sucking up' tools and get to work on their goal of the top job, often years in advance.

'Oh, those atheists, such ungodly people, seem to be causing a bit of a stir amongst the people in the so-called developed countries. Proclaiming what we already know - that there is no god, but it just won't do. We cannot have them leading the flocks away from us. What can we do to ensure our institution is shored up for the next few centuries? Africa. Africa? Wait a minute...(deep in thought). Good thinking, Batman! Good thinking! When do we set off?'
I'm not taken in and I surely hope you aren't.

17 March 2009

Sweet Honey in the Rock

Excuse my 2nd consecutive video but for some reason Lisa from blackwomenblowthetrumpet reminded me of when I sang a capella with a touring group many moons ago.
In my humble opinion Sweet Honey In The Rock have superb voices and listening to their recordings does not adequately reveal their talents. Having seen them perform live several times and also performed some of their songs - in a few words - they are good!
Yes, they are supernaturalists and yes, they refer to god and gods and spirituality so often it makes me squirm but...their voices. Have a look at the video and share your thoughts.

17 February 2009

Body Fascism

It has been some time since I have posted here. I haven't forgotten nor given up on this blog (thanks for your kind words and urgings bentsocietyblog.blogspot.com) but my life seems to have moved into a different direction and my time was taken up by other things. I have indulged in all the things I decided weren't going to be a feature of my life.
But the one aspect of life in the so-called developed world is the mixed messages which people have rammed down their throats. Here is one example:
Women are encouraged to be a 'size zero', anything else encourages wagging fingers and admonishments from the style/fashion/body fascist police. Women are only considered worth knowing if you conform to a particular image - regardless of your race. Your hair should be straight, smooth and glossy plus should be as close to blonde as possible. Your nose definitely needs some work, regardless of its shape or size.
I say this as I watched a programme recently which horrified and disgusted me. 'The Swan' - you may have seen it. Two women 'compete' to see who could undergo the most radical transformation. The women are subjected to what appears to be inhumane treatment, unnecessary cosmetic surgery to ensure they emerge from 12 weeks of scrutiny, exercise, hair extensions, a mouthful of veneers and therapy. The women are churned out looking like plastic pastiches of Hollywood female stereotypes. All traces of their physical differences are removed: from large noses, belly fat, low brows and all other physical characteristics which scream 'ugly'.
But who has defined what 'ugly' is?
I want to know what happens to these women years down the line when their breast implants leak, their face lifts fall and they have problems with their new screwed-in teeth.
I can't understand body fascism - maybe due to the fact I was raised in a Caribbean home where your size wasn't an issue at all. In my family I have members who are very thin and very fat and many who can be described as in between. You weren't judged by your physical appearance but rather by your personality and this has stayed with me to this day. So it seems this is an illness imposed on society to judge someone by their weight. I recently connected with a friend who I had kept in touch with but not actually seen as we were in different parts of the world. She had lost nearly 100lbs in weight since I had last seen her. After our loud greetings and lengthy hugs she mentioned that I was the only person she knew who did not judge her and accepted her whatever her weight.
I don't care what weight she is - she's my friend and I love her just as she is.
Maybe we wouldn't have some of the problems humans have if we spent less time trying to be something or someone we are not. I enjoy being real and being myself.

Just sharing my thoughts.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]