The problem with god…

Well, not so much with god, (which god, btw?) but the system that supposedly promotes him/her/it.

I’ve been stewing on this for a little while, but some Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on my door early this morning and I was as annoyed at being roused from a decent sleep in as I was at their motives. You see, christendom hasn’t had a genuine spiritual motivation since about the fourth century.

If you go back through the Hebrew scriptures that were misappropriated to form the “old testament” you’ll notice that the Hebrews weren’t monotheists. They knew there were plenty of other goddesses and gods out there, but their deal by virtue of birth or conversion was that they’d only worship a particular one. When christendom first kicked off the founder didn’t even speak to gentiles about conversion, he was interested in motivating Hebrews to a kind of reform.

It wasn’t until the spread of christendom to Hellenic culture and Constintine adopting the religion for Imperial purposes that the whole “one true god” thing got going. It must be pointed out also that Constantine wasn’t a christian. He was only baptised on his deathbed.

For those who felt suitably drawn to connect with the Hebrew god conversion was and still is available. Those from among the Jewish tribes who didn’t feel inclined to engage in the contract were also catered for. They’d be left in Gehenna, that is the garbage dump outside the gates. Not so savoury perhaps, but it was a place outside of the group and it had it’s relevance. There were afterall, plenty of other groups and deities and pantheons to partake of.

Considering the attitude of the prophet to encourage those who would choose personally to join the christian sect of Judaism, before it became a separate Imperial movement of course, such choices were to be made by adults who felt spiritually led. This really torpedoes the whole approach of raising children to a religion by threatening them with torture, exclusion and death if they refuse a particular identity.

If christendom were true to the teachings of it’s prophet, no child would be raised with the lie that christendom is the only true religion and the Hebrew god the only true god. Every person would be able to make her or his own mind up according to their spiritual inclinations, whatever they may or may not be. And forget about running a country by religious law. That’s the one form of leadership that christ specifically forbid, not to mention theocracy also being a direct contradiction of the whole personal salvation ethic. And the fact that humans are a gregarious animal and living with the best interests of the individual and the group at heart is a universal human requirement regardless of religion or ethnicity. Sure it’s had different expressions over the ages but “don’t kill” is hardly specific to christendom, particularly since it’s been disregarded continuously.

There are many goddesses and gods out there and each individual should theoretically be free to discern for her or himself which of the many they feel drawn to, if any. There’s nothing to say that any goddess or god is any better or more capable than any other. As for heaven and hell, well, gehenna was simply a place outside the city gates. Hell was originally the German Hel, which was simply a resting place at the end of life.

The ancient Hebrews were aware of other goddesses and gods worshiped by other tribes but didn’t see fit to account for afterlife in each instance. Pre-christian Europe was replete with many and varied different heavens and hels according to the pantheons and localities. Can one god have ultimate say over the followers of another? Who’s to know what’s possible in that case, but one thing’s for sure you wouldn’t take the word of followers of a particular god who are proven liars and killers.

As a Witch and follower of the old Germanic pantheon, I’m kinda hoping to spend eternity with Freya… if I’m not reincarnated and I’m not so sure about how that would work in the quantum mechanical universe anyways. Suffice it to say that fundamentalist and charismatic christianity is on the rise, particularly in politics and particularly among young people who don’t have very well developed bullshit detectors or have grown up with experiences of violence or other abuse. That’s not because religion fixes abuse, but some churches certainly do exploit the effects of it.

With any luck those of us who are old enough and sharp enough will remain around to point out the issues with such political religion, and hopefully survive to see a more moderate day. Wes thu hael.

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Art for gods’ sake, or I don’t like the drugs…

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There’s been some ideas floating around in my tiny mind for a little while now, images for more artwork.

Last night I popped a couple of painkillers and stayed up late listening to Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Nine Inch Nails working on this. It’s in progress… The thought of including reference to a couple of runes, like Sig and Berkana came to mind, but one hears horror stories of newbies playing with rune magic and getting their fingers, if not their whole arms, incinerated. So I intend to play it safe with that stuff. Alluring though it is! Are they moth wings I feel growing on my back?

I’m one of these people who goes fast on downers. It’s not unknown, though probably not common. Something about the drug clears my mind and enables some sort of focus on the creative process. It short circuits the emotionally conditioned restraints and repression. Though insightful readers might also observe that it would take pain killers of some sort to have one want to stay up till 2am painting and listening to metal… ;-) Heh. There’s that twitch again.

A friend of mine who’s a well qualified psychologist has commented to me regarding the numbers of people with PTSD symptoms who use opiate pain killers. She feels it’s something to do with a physical, muscular memory of a traumatic event. Training of various kinds, martial arts drilling, sports practise and even music, can create muscle memories. Apparently there’s a more sinister form we’re predisposed to. The fact that the body’s own endorphin receptors closely match the opiates might have something to do with the preference. My friend tells me that she knows of many people who, regardless of any other anti-depressants or prescription medications they might be taking, seem to end up back with the pain killers from time to time.

Not that the similarity in function between the body’s receptors and the drug is any accident. No miracles here. More like thousands of years of co-evolution. For how long have humans cultivated and taken drugs? For how much longer before that were they used (and still used) from the wild for inducing altered states? You wonder how much of the modern human brain is a result of systematic experimentation over generations during our evolution. It’s certainly not a new thing. Criminalising it, however, is. While there would no doubt have been cultural frameworks for such use, the demonisation and criminalisation of drug users in the global kleptocracy seems to be out of all proportion. Apart from creating folk demons to vilify in order to further enforce social control, what’s the point of being so nasty to people who are simply trying to anesthetise themselves? The good old limited news knee jerk in operation. And generations of politicians get themselves re-elected by enacting laws against people they define as “other”, with little or no thought to the social ramifications or the reality of life and community.

And this becomes relevant yet again, as the Victorian Government (no pun intended ;-)) has recently begun demonising biker gangs (again) so as to attempt to validate another push for law and order. No effective point in it at all. You can’t fix a problem with the same thinking that created it. Law and order in this instance is simply smoke and mirrors for a Government that’s on thin ice come the next election, regardless of any better alternative.

Note also that some atypical opiates are recognised as being effective anti-depressants… But when the patents expire, they aren’t nearly so sexy.

There’s also a pretty well established connection between creative types and altered mind states. From Victorian poets getting stoned off their nuts on Opium to contemporary Heroin use among muso’s… Not that I’d advocate unrestrained usage… There’s potential for damage and addiction to consider. We probably need that cultural framework for drug use to set the stage, so to speak. In this as in so many other situations the person taking responsibility for their own experimentation needs to have a basis of self-control and development in order to use an altered state constructively.

Now this is a bit of a tangent, but one that would do well to address. A lot of religious and spiritual teaching seems to take a template of behaviours or virtues and attempt to apply them to a person from the outside. The Greco-Roman purity codes in christendom being a prime example. In puritan religion they’re completely off the chart. The current tendency for Governments to try to legislate morality is another case. The controls are operating externally so that the standards of behaviour or thought are being forced onto a person from the outside, like a stamp into concrete. It’s an external impression, rather than one that develops from within. And it’s generally effected with the aid of a truck load of emotional manipulation and what boils down to psychological abuse.

It’s a vastly different approach to cast off all that expectation and follow one’s own nose. Think of every prophet or spiritual journeyman who’s reconsidered the church’s teachings and decided to wander off in search of their own meaningful spiritual experience, their own relationship with and understanding of god. There’s a whole history of people run out of town on the end of pitch forks or brutally murdered, an effective lesson to anyone else who gets ideas about freedom. One needs to be very, very brave indeed to travel paths not approved of by controlling interests.

Again it’s a painful, awful experience, but hugely valuable, to focus on the internal self, and develop to the point where limits and behaviours are an expression of the inner self and desire for balance and creativity, rather than simply toeing someone else’s line. Naturally not everyone wants to devote the time and suffering to such development. Equally as naturally those benefitting from global culture would probably be horrified if too many people desired to become conscious of the manipulation and control that goes on and attempt to develop their own inner compass. Not only is it highly valuable for the individual concerned, but what they are then able to contribute back into the community is vastly superior in terms of it’s creative contribution. If said community is willing to move forward. ;-)

That’s the curiosity I have with the Nine Noble Virtues in Asatru. Yes, some people are going to want that kind of guidance and a source of centring for their moral code, an agreed upon series of objectives for the sake of security. But why, if one has access to the freedom and tools for magic and development, would one cast off one set of chains in exchange for another? If you’re going to go to the trouble of changing so much of what you’ve been brought up to believe, surely it’s worth the trouble to go another mile and sort your core values from the inside out? It does, however, take an awful lot of emotional energy to maintain the kind of effort it requires to filter, even semi-consciously, the influences operating on people these days. Every ad will try to push a button somewhere in you. And they’re hugely sophisticated. All of which is not to say that the Virtues are not a good thing in themselves. It helps to have a frame of reference for any group interested in spiritual practise and development. I am simply clarifying my own approach of “do as you will shall be the whole of the law.” Not one that goes over well in convict culture. ;-)

And while I’m jumping around all over the place on wild tangents I thought I’d wonder out loud about a thought that came to me this morning some time. I had a bit of a moment with the Hebrew god, basically a parting of the ways. Thanks, seeya and all that. In some way I feel there was a connection there with something, however manipulated and inappropriate it may have been. Spiritual connections are always powerful for me and perhaps we both got something from my journey of questioning and discovery… Certainly the Hebrew god as I came to understand him had way too much in common with Odin to be coincidence. I’ve been on the hook for a long, long time. Someone, I think it may have been Jordsvin, made the comment that “It wasn’t my own faith, it was someone else’s that I’d picked up along the way.” That makes a lot of sense. My expression would be that it wasn’t my faith, it was someone else’s that was given to me when I didn’t know any better.

After all, Odin’s claimed me now. I had this amazing vision whereby the Hebrew god sort of pulled my soul away from himself and released me on the breeze like a spider borne on a thread of silk… Odin reached out his hand and caught the thread, which he passed to Frigga who, smiling, wove me into the work on her loom. Now that’s magic.

Makes you wonder exactly who is underneath all the weird and not so wonderful stuff people have done with the spirit that inspired christendom… I mean, these days I’m not so sure about the whole Jesus thing at all. Street corner prophets were a dime a dozen in Roman occupied Palestine. There is so little original material of anything in the New Testament as well. It seems to me possible that the sayings and stories might well be sourced from more than one person or tradition. In addition the idea of the last supper and the crucifixion and resurrection are not part of the earliest writings. They do follow the practises of the Mithraic cult and were introduced later. Much later still came the idea of Jesus as the Christ, hundreds of years after the fact. Crucifixion didn’t make Jesus the Christ, a meeting of Roman bishops and powermongers did, 400 years later.*

So now if the man or men were not as they’re popularly described today, which is very likely, who exactly is the spirit behind the whole deal as we see it in operation today? Given some of the teachings around, some of them seem to be pretty vicious deceptive spirits. Somewhere in there also is something like a Buddha consciousness and somewhere buried under all the social conditioning, Imperial politics and self-interested dogma is elohim. And you can go look up that word in some progressive source before you jump to conclusions :D

Anyways. Just a thought. ;-)

*Which doesn’t derail the metaphor, similar to Odin hanging on the world tree, that we become more than we are through these journies.

Considerations

This past week has brought many curious and provocative changes to the way I’m travelling. For a while now I’ve been aware that the whole psycho-spiritual crisis kicked off by my rejection of xianity had left me in a bit of a vaccuum, meaning wise. I needed a format in which to hang my self and understand where I fit in the universe. I’m happy with the scientific rationalist explanations of the evolution of humans as a species and possible origins of the Universe(s), but what I need is a working mythology.

It was with some enthusiasm that I began exploring Heathenism and Asatru, as it is a pretty comprehensive world view. Asatru or Heathenism incorporates mythology, cosmology, magic, divination, ritual… And I’m finding that everything I’ve intuitively collected in my electic solitary life is porting over with in most cases simply a change of name. The most amazing coincidences are occurring. Yesterday I was given a set of runes hand made by a friend.

There’s been a real issue however with finding others with whom to discuss this experience. Apparently Asatru in Australia has a bad reputation for being connected with white supremacy. I have a little Thor’s hammer charm that I’d like to wear along with my pentagram. (And the way I came across the hammer is very special!) The pentagram’s okay as a symbol of where I’ve come from. I don’t mind if people see me as connected with weird arsed stories about eating babies, Satanic worship or sex with animals, but I will not be associated with racists. Having initially encountered attitudes that I thought belonged in Alabama in the 50’s, I find myself quite suspicious and critical when researching new contacts and sources.

I had a read of Henry’s article on masculinity and Australian culture, and I find that I agree with most of what he’s saying there. That the socially enforced gender roles are potentially harmful and can keep people from really developing themselves. Being stuck to having to be seen as tough or aggressive and so forth prevents a valuable integration and self-knowledge. It also totally screws up your idea of personal boundaries. Building on that I’m trying to understand why people see a need to be so exclusivist and nasty about “who can share our faith”. As if it were a human’s job to defend the gods… As if the gods weren’t able to draw people into spiritual understanding and experience without needing to get the all clear from a self-important gang leader.

We live in the midst of global monoculture, which is admittedly pretty awful and treats humans as mere grist for the mill. Another consumer unit to be manipulated by advertising and the mass media into buying, voting and hating according to the will of the publishers. It’s difficult, even if you are consciously aware of it, to filter out all the overlearned stereotypes and emotional triggers in the sea of information we’re constantly bombarded with. And the enforcement of social constructs is absolutely brutal.

As an animal, the human species evolved in groups. Over 6 million odd years we didn’t survive because we were smarter, stronger or faster. We prospered because, in spite of what corporate culture would tell us about competition, we co-operate. We are a group animal. And acceptance within our group is one of the strongest motivators for us. We need to be needed. We need to belong.

On a tangent, the human species evolved in Africa. White skin is a very late evolutionary mutation. If you’re seriously going to search back for the common spirituality of “our ancestors” you ain’t going back to anything white, baby, you’re going back to black. And it can’t be that different from other indigenous spiritualities since a pentecostal minister was able to port demon exorcisms and trance states from his experience in Africa in the 70’s back into churches in the US without anyone blinking an eye. Except the psychologists on the fringes trying not to wet themselves laughing.

Over the years the influence of puritan religion and the lingering after effects of the Greco-Roman purity codes, not to mention the idea of humans as sinful, tainted creatures, has led to a distorted understanding of ourselves. The things we don’t like about ourselves or percieve as “bad” according to those religious codes, are repressed. The shadow side of our nature, everything we don’t like or consider unworthy, still remains as part of us even if we don’t integrate it. And in this repressed state, we tend to project our shortcomings onto others. For example, rather than seeing myself as short tempered and trying to find healthy ways of dealing with that, I see anger in others and am critical of it. Homophobia works in a similar way. Rather than having a good, honest open look at my sexuality, I direct all manner of hatred, abuse and discrimination against “poofters”. All of this also screws up our personal boundaries and concept of self-control or autonomy. If we’re “broken” how can we trust ourselves to develop morally? How can we learn to understand our own limits and let others be responsible for theirs?

I think that’s where the racist attitudes are stemming from. This combination of an unyielding, abusive monoculture and the lack of permission to journey within and know thy self in wisdom. How often have you heard “new agers” described as selfish or self absorbed? How often have you heard people in the midst of personal crisis told to “get over it”? Our culture does not encourage personal development. That would make us all wiser about what we think and buy and we can’t be having with any of that! ;-)

So here we have a situation in which people are feeling alienated and manipulated. We’re stuck in the suburban siege and we’re in pain.

Fortunately there are many systems around that have helped humans throughout the ages to journey through this stuff. We may have to dig for it now and be brave in stepping out into that exploration, but it is available. One of the great things about Paganism and Heathenism is that they incorporate many of the best tools for self-development from ancient and recent sources. That the tools seem so similar in so many different religions and spiritualities is testament to the need humans have had for them throughout our evolution.

While I’m pretty unhappy with the idea that the spirituality I want to devote myself to is associated with white supremacists, as a bit of a compensation there is within the faith plenty of avenues for people caught up in that sort of repression and hatred to deal with it and develop more healthy wholeness. Unless they’re simply using Asatru or Heathenism as a pathetic excuse to cover their racist attitudes, if they’re following the gods at all, eventually they’re going to be led to confront the anger and inner turmoil.

The journey of discovery, dealing with issues like sexuality and social roles is one of the most painful and difficult, and one of the most valuable, that any person can undertake. That’s why the metaphor of Odin hanging on the world tree in search of wisdom can be so powerful for us now. We need it more than ever.

Although I despise the racist elements in Odinism and Asatru, it isn’t my job to defend or protect the faith. The gods can look after themselves. If a person is drawn to a spiritual practise it’s for a reason. If they need to travel that inner path dealing with inner hurt, emotional conditioning, past memories and present fears, as many of us do myself included, then good luck to them.

It’s just a bit ironic that I threw off xianity because of all the harm I’ve seen done in that system, to find this one similarly beset by problems. I guess it’s all human behaviour. The gregarious animal, in possession of a frontal lobe…

Which leaves me with my little Thor’s hammer, wearing it inside my clothing where it can remain personal. And I remain, for now, the solitary eclectic.

Re-renewing?

This year has been absolutely the worst experience with depression ever, and I’ve had some bad ones. I’d write that I feel like I’m emerging from it but I thought that in early October too and turned out to be wrong. It’s probably simply another matter of biding my time and letting everything do what it needs to. Whether I understand what “everything” is or not.

Since April I’ve been wrestling the worst and blackest experience of emptiness and deep, deep misery. Fortunately there are odd occasions when the sun comes through. Like the present. I’m told that it’s “transitional”. There’s simply more stuff lingering around from past experiences that needs some sort of psychic regurgitation to feel dealt with. What I have is not simply depression but Borderline Personality Disorder that looks (and feels) a lot like PTSD. Rather than extending from an episode of trauma in the adult life, it develops during childhood.

The idea that all of this is somehow hard wired because of being a result of childhood trauma has been, pradoxically, a relief. There’s a kind of legitimacy now. Someone else gets it, which means that although I’m mental and it is all in my head, it is also very real.

The future is not “dealing with it” or “getting over it” or even really “moving on”. It’s management. Coping with life and people and nothing more. This way of thinking is providing some space for me currently to take a breath and look at what changes I’d like to make and how I might go about such. This is something I’d categorise as A Good Idea. I don’t care what Satan’s little helpers over at News Limited think of this perspective. Anyone who makes money out of exploiting people who are struggling with psycho-spiritual questions and mental illness deserves what’s coming to them. That means you too, Rudd. Bloody Sydney Anglicans.

In the midst of all of this, I’m trying my own little tricks within my own worldview that gives me access to magic and witch craft. Without going into too much detail, good, healthy male archetypes and a solid sense of self empowerment and self-control are not only beneficial but effected through magic ritual. Developing healthy male and female archetypes is obviously going to be a challenge and a help to someone dealing with child abuse. A male who isn’t necessarily an agent of destruction and a female capable of independence and, well, capability… Bring on the ancient deities. (BTW, anyone need a friend for Beltaine?)

I’m not sure how much to write about the internal stuff. I’d like to rant on about every little thing I’ve been experiencing lately spiritually, but that seems somehow to cheapen it.

After reading Richard Dawkins I must admit I was deeply influenced. Heh, I even became facebook friends with P Z Meyers because I appreciate the critical thinking of Atheism. Meyers’ wit makes me want to convert. :D However, I need a world view that will help me make sense of my own experiences, so there needs to be some scope for either something like a quantum mechanical collapse of super consciousness… Like that proposed by Amit Goswami, or a collective unconscious such as proposed by Jung. Since mainstream religions don’t do it for me, and even supposed alternatives based on Hinduism and Buddhism can somehow import a lot of right-wing judgmental assumptions into “new age” belief systems, it’s right back to the drawing board for me.

Witch craft provides the option of the eclectic. Take what you need and leave what you don’t. Together with some Uni training, this provides the space to read and research and measure theories against one’s own experiences this is very liberating! Some might opine that this disconnects an individual from any organised or authorised moral code, and nothing outside such a system could really be legitimate. The problem is that such “authorised” belief systems these days unfortunately include an awful lot of assumption and enforced emotional attachments through psychological manipulation and conditioning.

That’s why there’s little point engaging a religious person who feels that abortion is wrong because a foetus is vulnerable. Every human who’s physical existence can be threatened by another person or circumstances is equally as vulnerable as the unborn foetus. The trouble is that forcing a woman to give birth to a child she can’t feed and who won’t be supported socially is going to maintain the vulnerability not only of the child but will potentially endanger the rest of the family as well. But the emotional conditioning in organised religion and particularly in the kind of right-wing charismatic conservative thinking so prominent in the West today detrimentally affects the thinking of a person who may otherwise want to question the assumptions taught to them about such values or situations. Emotional conditioning, overlearned stereotypes, social conformity… It’s a lot of overhead to try to deal with in order to discuss personal choices.

If you’re going to step out from under the umbrella (or jackboot) of authorised moral thinking, you’re going to be going out on a limb. If you’re dealing social and personal management issues you’re half way out there already. It’s a big responsibility getting your head around a way to understand the Universe. That might be why the myth of the long, dark night seems to continuous in human experience. From the Mithraic last supper, death and resurrection, to the christian version of same, to Odin hanging on the world tree for nine days seeking wisdom… Doing the psycho-spiritual crisis and reinvention is clearly no novelty for the human animal.

And I’m going to use that to segue clumsily into a reference to my current reading on Saxon (not Anglo-Saxon) history and spirituality, and the contemporary Heathen reconstructions of Norse and Saxon spiritualities. Because Odin is cool ;-) (Heh, for me. For the moment.(Spot the theology student!))

Where all this goes, who knows? It’s keeping my head above water. I do actually feel like there are some constructive changes going on somewhere in there. Stay tuned for the next rant… :D

And so it goes.

Well, the subject of adoption and birth came up again for me recently. On several occasions I’ve tried to contact either of my birth parents, each time without luck. This time I’m requesting some info from the hospital where I was born. Hopefully along with my time of birth, which I need for a horoscope, they’ll be able to tell me more about my birth mother’s aboriginality. My maternal Grandmother was living at an aboriginal community at that time, and I have some mention of that on my mother’s birth certificate, but it would be nice to have more info.

That’s one of the big problems dealing with adoption, you feel like you’re kinda floating in nowhere. There’s no roots or sense of connection to the people around you.

Having my own children helped that a little, moreso since they’re both now living with me. However I had been sucked in to a Pentecostal cult when I was in my late teens and my marriage and childbirth experience were horribly damaged by the cult teachings that went on. I have a lot of sympathy for any married woman who hates the idea of sex with her husband because of my own hideous experiences. And they actively taught emotional abuse of women and children under the guise of so called “godly marriages”. Dogs.

I guess it’s all kind of come to a head after the anniversary of my first daughter’s birth recently. The doctor put me back on mood stabilisers as he reckoned my lows were becoming dangerously low and he feared for my safety. I didn’t disagree and have been taking the bloody things. At least they help me sleep with much less nightmares or intrusive memories. It’s nice to be able to get to sleep at night.

For a while now I’ve been feeling a lot of the cultural diminishment of women. Because I’m over the hill now as part of an older, middle aged demographic, I’ve been used up in terms of sex or child bearing despite the fact that I have probably ten years to go in that regard. When you’re not a sex toy teenager or a chained to the kitchen sink mother, you’re either a hooker or may as well be dead to society. I notice a lot of women my age now trying out different roles for themselves. There are many who opt for the desperate housewife look, glamming themselves up and having a go. There’s also lots who buy corpulent four wheel drives that look like the results of liposuction and pretend to be men in order to have some sense of purpose and humanity. Because everyone knows that in Australia’s cock culture you have to be a butch man in order to have any real worth to society. It’s not even about work in that issue as women who work are paid less and promoted less. It’s all about the dick. And men who are emotionally sensitive or artistic or thoughtful are often sidelined by those militaristic standards as well. No one wins except the board members of disgusting corporations and the ever present media and advertisers. Bastards.

So here am I with two children to raise feeling like society could well do without me now. I’m over the hill and was never a man in any case, so why do I bother hanging on? There’s a few of us who feel this way and encourage each other with the saying “Stay here just to spite the bastards.” With pills in hand and distractions aplenty, I will. But what a way to live.

Despite what Mars proponents and concocted and contradictory evolutionary psychology might say, humans are really only animals, not the be all and end all of evolution. Certainly not the ultimate peak of life on planet earth. Manifest destiny as a theory went out on the Nineteenth century and only has a toe hold now amongst Pentecostals and Brethren who still live in the dark ages. Humans created this society as it is and we are at liberty to re create it anyway we like. We don’t even have to believe that the earth needs to be destroyed before Christ will return and sweep us all away like angels into everlasting heaven… And who’d want to spend eternity with a god who expects you to treat other people horribly and entrench world starvation and poverty in order to show yourself approved? Approved of what, being an arsehole?

Me I’ll hang on here quietly in my little spot by the creek and wait to see if the next generation is going to wake up to the bullshit and make some necessary and constructive changes.

Blessed be.

The Prof was right.

Guaranteeing salvation since 1620… Ah-huh.

After following a link from Pharyngula about the lunatic fundies doing a hatchet job on Mrs. Myers, I read stuff like:

Vote McCain or God will make you eat your children for betraying America, Christianity and Freedom.

A free people have the freedom not to question their leaders.

Stay the course in Iraq for RAPTURE!

The fine print down the bottom reads: “I am positively NOT Angry and I am NOT gay!” At which point I assumed it must be a hoax site. Thanks to chiropteran for confirming this!

Which makes it *so* good for a laugh, though perhaps a slightly bittersweet laugh when you’ve personally been part of a cult that taught things all too similar to the parody on the Landover site. If you think the stuff they’re laughing at is fabricated, have a squizz at the Focus on the Family’s Australian beach-head.

Imagine that. Only 9% of christians have a Biblical worldview. What a stunner. Who’d have thought that after 6 million years of evolution we’d have to remain stuck in the nomadic desert culture of ancient Palestine and pretend the earth was only 4,000 years old? Not to mention the treatment of women and children in such a society. How exactly do we justify factory manufacturing and the internal combustion engine if we have a Biblical worldview? What of quantum physics? Hell, I’m a witch and use astrology, but even I recognise that it’s mainly psychology. But psychology isn’t part of a Biblical worldview either. That’s what stops them going to see a shrink and dealing with their delusions.

If you think self-serving, myopic, misogynist politicians aren’t using Fundamentalist lunacy over here in order to get re-elected, have a look whose face is on this page. Not to mention Federal funding of child abusing religious schools.

Edit: Richard Dawkins review of the whole mess, P Z Myers being kicked out of the screening of Expelled that is, is online now.

Another day, another religious abuse.

As regular readers may be a aware, there is an ongoing disagreement between myself and my ex-husband regarding my children’s church attendance. He is still a member of that perfidious cult that we were sucked into in our late teens and twenties. I don’t believe that my children should be forced, coerced or manipulated into attendance in a meeting where they’ll be screamed at by an un-medicated, aging paranoid schizophrenic for hours at a time.

It’s a so called independent pentecostal church, the Minister being ex-Brethren and probably not even ordained, certainly not supervised or approved by any religious group in Australia. But those who aren’t properly acredited generally get together and invent their own organisation. The whole pentecostal movement started out like that. Come to think of it, that covers Christendom since the Roman Empire.

When you’re young and/or innocent (possibly stupid), if you go to a church meeting and they talk about being better people and making the world a better place, it doesn’t occur to you that they might actually be a festering hive of psycho-pathology, breeding abuse and sadistic control issues in a cult environment riddled with the same pathological roles as the families of a raging alcoholics. You sort of take things at face value until you learn the hard way and by then you’re so indoctrinated yourself that getting out involves a full blown psycho-spiritual crisis.

It’s like coming out of Plato’s cave. The “born again” they talk about is really what happens after you flee, have your breakdown and years of grief counselling, when you eventually salvage some semblance of self-worth and read about personal boundaries in a book.

These independent Christian cults are pretty popular in Australia these days. It might be in part because their leadership is based on a kind of perverted super sales technique and so called “charisma”, that attracts people gifted in manipulating the emotions of others. If they weren’t doing it for religious prestige they’d be called con-artists. well, they are anyway.

Australia’s ex Prime Minister, the one who was voted out of his own electorate in preference for a left-leaning woman journalist, was well known for being in cahoots with deceitful religious power mongers. While Australian voters were sighing with relief and hoping he’d crawled away in shame to die under a rotten log somewhere, he was busy donning a lurid polyester nightie and fluffing the pillows for US Republican knee-bending devotees. In an arousing pre nuptial speech “shorn of political tact” according to reporters, Howard referred to his government giving “faith-based groups direct involvement in policy making and execution”. Maybe the speech was in Texas?

He also criticised those who would like to slow global warming and consider a more rational, sustainable approach to life on earth: “The same intellectual bullying and moralising, used in other debates, now dominates what passes for serious dialogue on this issue”. He of course being the expert in bullying, domination and moralising. Of serious dialogue not so much.

These “faith based groups” he was so in favour of are the kind who tell children they’re going to hell if they study evolution. His Government gave billions of dollars to church based schools all over our nation, to institute a generation of emotionally abused, ideologically distorted young people. Some of us are wondering who’s going to fund the mental health facilities needed to help the graduates and their families.

Meanwhile, my ex is on the phone to my daughter asking why she doesn’t come to church, doesn’t she love him? Won’t she go just once as a birthday present for him? She’s 14 years old. Last time he rang to speak to me he asked why I wasn’t standing up for him as their father. Possibly because I divorced him 12 years ago after he threatened to belt me and kicked me out for not submitting… No, I feel no obligation to defend him and is ridiculous religious beliefs at all. Particularly not at the expense of my children’s personal development. This is the same man who withholds child support, mainly because I’m a child of Satan. Also because financial abuse is another great symptom of male privilege in noxious religious hives.

A week after he was told his former wife was under no obligation to support his control agenda, said zealot started directly on the children. This suggests he’s had some inside support, probably from other devotees who fear the kids’ imminent demise and eternal torture in a lake of fire on account of their mother having a spine.

Why on earth would you want your teenage daughter sitting in a room full of black suited syncophants nodding and mumbling “Amen” as some deranged old fat guy in a suit screams about how women have to submit and there’s no such thing as rape in marriage because a woman’s body belongs to her husband? Why would you want your children, or yourself for that matter, subjected to endless tirades about how a woman who won’t submit should be publicly shamed in front of her friends in order to bring her into line? And why doesn’t someone shout the poor bastard a trip to a brothel?

Seriously, what sort of person believes that this is an appropriate way to conduct a relationship or to encourage children to grow up sane and well-adjusted with any sense of personal boundaries and trustworthy judgment? Okay, other than diagnosed narcissists and control freaks.

Exactly what kind of political policy should such malignant despots be introducing into our society? Who in their right mind thought a class society based on religious abuse and emotional trauma was a good idea for Australia? Who stands to profit from this situation and who believes that such profit is acceptable in the community? This is another one of the problems with money and work being attached to personal honour and self-esteem as we have in post-convict Australia, there is no honour.

Ever notice how the same political party that welcomed the input of “faith-based groups” was the same one whose State level iterations reduced the mental health system to a pile of rubble?

While personal liberty may be the hallmark characteristic of civilisation, and the freedom of individuals to speak their minds is a necessary human right, those who cross the line into emotional abuse and malicious psychological manipulation of children shouldn’t really be out on the streets, let alone the think tank for Government policy.

Perhaps the constitutional clause that provides Australians with freedom of religion ought to be revised in the 21st century to give us freedom FROM religion.