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.

Bear versus the armchair viking association

Where to start? LOL Anyone who’s investigated Heathenism or Asatru is probably aware that there are small pockets of white supremacists using Asatru and Odinism and Heathen as cover for their retrograde attitudes. It’s a real problem in Australia, they seem to control all the mailing lists.*

A while ago I was joining up and sussing them out. Left most of them because I don’t enjoy constantly engaging homophobic he-man armchair vikings. I want to join a Heathen or Asatru discussion list to hear opinions about Heathen spirituality. In Australia you get some nutter quoting conservative christians or muslims to support homophobia. Great.

Last night I was having another wee tantrum and mentally composing a “fuck you all, see you in Hel” email that I was going to retire on, and return to my Solitary practice.

“That’s it! I’m now officially Agnostic!” I bawled as I stamped my widdle tooties and pouted. “To Hel with these white supremacist neanderthals!”

I could almost feel Thor huffing at me. “Oh really? After all this time needing my help and protection, now you don’t believe in me?” Freya for her part was somehow giving me a big warm hug. I’m a bit bi so a warm hug from a wonderful Goddess like Freya is all the more welcome for the innuendo. The night before I’d felt something similar. An encouragement to trust in the Universe, trust in the Aesir and Vanir. They’ve led me well so far…

This morning it occurred to me that the Aesir and Vanir probably don’t want their followers stuck in the past recreating and repeating the same old mistakes. Why should there not be room for us to grow, learn and evolve? It’s not as if there’s enough info to comprehensively recreated ancient Saxon or Norse culture anyway, the christians did too much damage when they forcibly converted the North. And that’s a whole ‘nother post in itself, the internal incongruity of christianism.

It pisses me off when people act as if we should be as true as possible to bronze age society, as a cover for being homophobic and conservative. When they quote brutal religions to support their ideas it seems simply ridiculous. Why would you leave christendom for something you think is better, only to bring along so much harmful cultural baggage? Surely if you’re going to go to the trouble of redefining your spiritual perspective, you’d go the last few steps of reviewing the effects such religious pathology has had on your understanding and values? Why use ancient Greco-Roman purity codes and household codes if you’ve swapped to Heathen or Paganism? Jordsvin has a fantastic article discussing all this, btw.

Another problem is that with these throwback ideas is that the same post-christian anglo social construct, which rejects homosexuals and defines masculinity as violent and militaristic, subverts women. He-men are often defined in contrast to sex class women who serve only as disposable incubators for the next generation of “warriors”. Any trait or expression culturally defined as feminine or effeminate is rejected as being unworthy.

Considering there’s quite a bit of evidence for cross-dressing and other “effeminate” behaviour in cultic worship of deities like Odin and Ingvi-Freyr, and stories of Loki and Thor cross-dressing, not to mention the sense of humour the ancient Saxons and Norse seem to have had, it’s a wonder anyone who’s seriously homophobic or misogynist would even consider Heathenism.

Well anyways. There are plenty of others out there who want to deepen their experience and understanding of Heathen spirituality without resorting to retrograde neo-nazi bullshit. You can’t always walk away from discussion groups that are dominated by such lunatics, where would you end up?

*Possibly because Australian culture is still so androcentric. You know, home of “Damned whores and God’s police”.

Australia’s shame. Rudd’s neglect.

Further in my series of discontent. This morning I happened across an article in The Australian about a family in crisis. Well, not only is the family in crisis, the State’s child welfare system is an appalling mess.

…eight children living in a three-bedroom house with mice and rubbish in every room.

Four had disabilities: some couldn’t hear properly; some couldn’t walk properly; all were malnourished and had head lice. Several had broken bones, and none could use a knife and fork.

Their mother, a young Sunni Muslim woman, veiled from head to toe, found caring for the children impossible, especially as the older ones grew wilder, and then violent. Her husband, an Iraqi, is believed to have at least two other women he refers to as his “wives” and they, too, have children.

He moves between their different houses. None had paid work.

The NSW Department of Community Services has known of the situation for years; and has surely also known that it was a disaster waiting to happen.

And if you think it’s only the NSW system that’s a disaster, Victoria’s was found to be introducing pre-teen children to drugs and prostitution.

Let’s ignore for a moment the implicit criticism of the mother for being a veiled Muslim, particularly since the article goes on to comment on one foster mother who came to the rescue who took veils off the young girls… Who gives a rats what they wear on their heads if we’re talking about a situation of domestic disaster? Is it only Muslims who have trouble raising kids? It would be interesting to see the comparative stats on white, Christian families who are in crisis. Considering the Government is funding religious schools who train children in the psychopathology of conservative christianism, there’s probably shit loads.

The point is this. The Rudd Government actively discriminates against women and children seeking to leave situations like this. Kevin Rudd denies adequate support for women who are single mothers trying their hardest to provide for their children. He has maintained the bias against women of the Howard Liberal Government and is apparently in denial that he hates women.

Surely if you were in a position to do something about a situation like this, about many, many other people in similar circumstances in Australia right now, you would do something constructive. If you were in a situation to address terrible injustices that had been done previously and make things easier for people to keep their heads above water, you would do so. Yet our Prime Minister, who has been on occasion found drunk in a stripper bar and reprimanded for manhandling the dancers, is too busy criticising a celebrity chef over his abuse of a TV host, to bother addressing one of the worst, most hideous cases of discrimination against women and children in the developed world.

And to make matters worse, not only does Kevin Rudd actively discriminate against women and children who’ve had to leave violent, dangerous, demeaning or otherwise unnaceptable domestic circumstances, he neglects to support families struggling to support children through high school. While having made apparently non-core promises about improving education and enabling children to further their education, support of families ends when a child turns 16, just when they hit the hardest, most expensive school years. He’s also planning to make further changes to welfare law to make it harder for children without jobs to claim any form of welfare. Why on earth, in times when jobs are supposed to be getting harder to come by, would you put pressure on children to leave school and look for work, to compete for jobs with other employees when they could be staying in school and improving their education? And why, if we’re having so much trouble looking after the children who are here, would you be paying a baby bonus to encourage people to have more? (Not to mention there’s already 6 billion people on the planet!)

The fact that the State Governments are responsible for foster care systems does not distract from the Federal Government’s discrimination against single parents. While the children referred to in that article have been living in such dreadful suffering, what has the State Government been doing? Pointing the finger at bikers in an attempt to get re-elected on a law and order platform. Scapegoating bastards.

These are only two of the current hypocrisies of the Rudd Government. And if you think the Liberals would be any better, consider that they created this disgusting, exploitative situation in which we now find ourselves. Why on earth can we not vote for someone who doesn’t hate the poor? Why do the two major parties continue to use people who’ve fallen on hard times and those who are struggling as political footballs to earn themselves points for re-election?

How did Australians become such bastards?

We hate you too, Kevin

I’ve posted this on my bike blog as it follows on from my previous annoyance with our Prime Minister. Because it’s about women I’ve cross posted it here.

The other day in conversation, the subject of pension changes came up. We were a little confused as to why the Government would increase aged pensions, disability pensions and just about everything else, but not single parent pensions. How does it make sense in a climate where more and more people are expected to compete for less and less jobs if a depression takes hold, and also force single parents to continue to compete for those jobs?

It was bad enough when Howard brought in his hell-spawn misconception of “mutual obligation” and forced heavier unecessary burdens on single parents and unemployed people… It was really crappy when the laws regarding single parents working were changed and put pressure on people just when they really don’t need it.

For a supposed Labor Government to not only keep these discriminatory changes but exacerbate things by singling out single parents for further mistreatment is absolutely disgusting. Not only is it petty and mean spirited, it makes no sense while the economy is under suspicion.

The conclusion we came to is that being another Sydney Anglican, Kevin Rudd must have a similar religious agenda to that of the maggot Howard. Only if someone was deliberately trying to keep women dependent upon men and punish separated and divorced women, and over 90% of single parents are women, would this make any kind of twisted sense.

It’s exactly the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from those slimy, underhanded control freaks attempting to import US style extremism to Australia. Bastards. Women have it hard enough in cock culture as it is without their added hatred and pathology.

You know, after the second world war Menzies went on a bit of a campaign building infrastructure like the Snowy River project to attempt to provide us with reliable utilities. It was seen as a pretty good thing that every Australian had a piece of this improvement to the nation’s infrastructure. With stable power supplies we could build a secure community and businesses. Somehow in the 90’s we were convinced that selling off all that stuff was necessary because otherwise we’d be communists. Only communists or socialists would deny the free market the chance to compete to provide Australians with utilities they already had.

It seems pretty ironic to me that the kind of thinking that implies that Menzies was a communist is behind the current financial terror.

What pisses me off is that this, in connection with equally ridiculously right-wing religion is an influence in a country that is supposedly a democracy. Why should 1% of the population have such influence to penalise and discriminate against other Australians who are down on their luck… What sort of stuck up bastard uses mediaeval morality to judge who is worthy of assistance when life has taken a turn for the worse?

The other thing is that this is contradictory even within their own belief system. Jesus specifically forbade Theocratic style Government. “The rulers of the gentiles lord it over them but it shall not be so among you.” The New Testament was supposed to be about individuals relating to god, not a forced national morality drive. Add to that the fact that the very people this religion is supposed to be caring for are the poor, widows, orphans and strangers in the land… Geez, it looks like one big cock up all round really.

From those of us who have had enough of locker-room male supremacy in Australia and would rather live as full human beings without the Government under-handedly penalising us for our gender, we hate you too, Kevin.

Swine flu

Just when we were in danger of having a slow news day. For the lighter side…. Pandemic

The trouble with saving the world.

Well after a busy (and dry) few months I’ve finally fixed up the garden for winter veggies and taken the time to return to my blog. In this post the two are connected… ;-)

My son likes those little tins of flavoured tuna, okay, I confess I like them too. I only buy them when they’re marked down, partially because they’re way over priced and partially because it’s such a consumerist hay maker. Not that I don’t sympathise with people who work such long hours they have no time to make their own salsa… but like Australian wool spun in China and then shipped back to Aus, like little plastic disposable toys for kids’ takeaway “meals”, shipping thousands of tiny tins of tuna and onion around the place is decidedly unfriendly. Those little tins, like the one inch high dollies you step on in the middle of the night on the way to the loo, are symbols of everything that’s wrong with our current thinking.

We can eat well out of the veggie garden when it’s producing summer salads or winter soups. It’s local, no pollution involved in trucking stuff anywhere, no pesticides or toxins and no by-catch or antibiotics or animal cruelty (apart from throwing stones at the cats). Eating what you grow yourself is “friendly” in many ways.

But tinned fish is not primarily unfriendly to the environment. That’s one of two points I’d like to make here. This anti-greenhouse “thing” is not about saving the planet. The earth has geological ages to recover from the predations of humans. What we’re talking about is saving our own hides from poisoning and starvation. Yes it’s a crying shame that we’re taking so many species with us in our greed and stupidity, but let’s be honest. Evolution will step in again when we’re gone. Life of some sort will continue quite happily without us.

We need some deep and fundamental changes to the way global business and trade are conducted. The real problem with the climate change debate is not the computer modelling or voting for the right politician. It’s that the media are controlling it. While ever vested interests are trying to maintain their own advertising budgets at the same time as whipping up anger and hysteria, while backing their own horse for political races… you get the picture. Topics which are fundamental to the necessary change in thinking are being deliberately obscured in favour of blatant hypocrisy and continued advertising. Buying new light globes will save the world… kind of thing.

Back to the tin cans, car culture is a perfect example of this point. The internal combustion engine is essentially 17th century technology. Take a bit of fuel, take a cylinder… The result is one of the most inefficient and polluting modes of transport ever devised. So what do we do? Give one to everyone. Allow me to explain. Most of what has happened in the last couple of hundred years with private transport is advertising. A culture has grown up around the psychology embedded in images of freedom, independence, power and wealth, not to mention the pussy magnet, that fill pages and pages of newspapers and magazines. We are taught to think in terms of having access to these vehicles and requiring square miles of tarmac upon which to drive them. Traffic jams, air pollution and rusted out old car bodies are part of the landscape.

Yet everyone is pretty well aware of the amount of pollution produced not only in the emissions of cars but in their production and destruction. You can drive a well maintained old car for 25 years and not create the same amount of pollution that is generated rolling one new car off the production line. Internal combustion is so inefficient that in a car only about 1% of the energy produced is actually reaching the wheels and pushing you forward. For some reason we’re still buying thousands of the things every year. Why? Advertising. Status. Insecurity. Who makes money from these things? The media and car manufacturers. This is why “greenfleet” is so much bullshit. It’s disguising the problem, not solving it.

In order to reverse some of the destruction that is occurring around us, the human race needs to make some really smart moves like ditching cars in favour of bicycles or public transport and changing the way we think of movement and plan cities. There are plenty of other options for transport but they’re yet to be developed properly. Motorcycles and the Carver are two, though they’re still internal combustion engines. How about two or three wheeled bikes with electric motors that can be charged from your home solar panels? (How about home solar panels while we’re at it!)

French Empire furniture

French Empire furniture


But it’s all about consumerism. Consumerism and growth. Growth is another problematic concept. The idea of economic growth is essentially 18th century colonialism. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries the world was a big place and rich white boys from all over Europe could take off in ships around the globe, meeting new people, enslaving them, raping and pillaging and making a fortune from the profits. Just like the Romans, Hittites and everyone else but with puritan christendom, tall ships and guns.

These days the world is not a big place. There are somewhere around 6 billion people on the planet and we’re building houses on the arable land that could otherwise support us. We’re using technology and ideas that are hundreds of years old and in the process wrecking the place for ourselves.

The changes that need to occur in the way we think, the way we do business and the way we live our lives are broad and profound. It will be enormously productive for those who have the ingenuity and bravery to take the necessary steps. The problem is that there are too many snouts in the trough. The ethical and psychological shift that needs to happen in the next few years is immense, but those in control of the discussion are turning it into a useless debate on the thin surface of social norms. Rather than addressing the real underlying issues, this is merely perpetuating the thinking of old fashioned growth and consumerism. And it’s for the benefit of board members at the expense of the rest of us.

Using the example of car culture, here’s why. Buying and selling of cars, manufacture of car related by products and passing of car related laws are all deeply embedded in Western culture. We elect governments based on promises of new roads or road laws. We buy papers on the basis of looking for a new car or a fantastic car crash that killed a dozen teenagers. We think in deeply entrenched stereotypes about people who oppose construction of roads. We think in different but equally entrenched ways about people who drive nice cars and update them regularly. These things occur on a day to day basis without us even being consciously aware of them. Our identities, politics and attitudes are wound up in the image that manufacturers and advertisers have constructed about cars.

Further, changing to hybrid, hydrogen or other energy forms doesn’t improve the situation. There’s more pollution generated by construction of hybrid cars than the current oil guzzlers. There’s still way too much asphalt on the earth and far too much consumerism on the periphery. Making another car isn’t going to help. What we need is an alternative to a car… An alternative to the kind of thinking that drives us to want a nicer car, pass a better law, put new seat covers in or vote for someone to build a bypass.

So you see what I mean. To change all that is a seriously *big* effort and yet if we are to avoid self-destruction this is what needs changing. How can the media, who are the vehicle of all this destructive behaviour, possibly conduct or contribute to a discussion about fixing it? That would be biting the hand that feeds them. It would be shooting themselves in the feet. How can the politicians, who are hand in hand with the media voices who elected them, legislate to ban car advertising, fund serious research into useful alternatives or promote the sociological shift that could help?

You know what? If you really want to save the world, stop buying papers and magazines and stop watching private media tellie. Like the culture jammers say… “Don’t buy it”. Drive a well maintained old car. Buy locally made. You know all this, yes? The catch is, what are you thinking? Does consumerism have a grip on how you see yourself and how you present yourself to others? How deeply affected are you by society’s standards and stereotypes?

Well, it’s a little trite but that’s part of the point I’m trying to make. We’re on the wrong track trying to solve this hassle if we’re getting our information from the tv news or unable to criticise advertising influences. Filtering your social context and adding some helpful voices in your inner dialogue is a good move. So is interaction with smart people. University faculties are full of them. The Internet likewise is a medium for discussion and ideas.

The point I’m making is that we need open minds about where we’re going. It’s like any dysfunction. It might take years to resolve, but the moment you say to yourself, “you know what? I do want to change this.” Then things can begin to happen.

Most of us no longer think of ourselves as the pinnacle of evolution or the ‘purpose’ of god’s creation. Many of us realise that humans are an animal species. We’re simply one more part of life on earth. We’re beginning to get the idea that we need to participate respectfully and intelligently in the life of the planet. The cosmos is not a pyramid hierarchy with rich white aristocrats at the top, which was the kind of thinking that gave us colonialism by the way. Life is a web. An interactive matrix. We understand that we’re connected and that this is the only planet we have. *That* is the solution. Make it a mantra. Make it an affirmation. Write it in lipstick on the bathroom mirror if you like. I’m an animal and I live on the earth with all the other animals. It’s about living, breathing and enjoying your life. It’s about your life in connection with the lives of others, human or otherwise, not what colour your steering wheel cover is.

Map of the British Empire

Map of the British Empire

Censorship again.

Yes, the idiots are doing it again. Please consider viewing GetUp’s campaign to bring some much needed sense to this issue. There is no need for Australia to become China just because our Prime Minister fancies he can speak Mandarin.

http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/SaveTheNet/442

Very important.

The Federal Government is planning to force all Australian servers to filter internet traffic and block any material the Government deems ‘inappropriate’. Under the plan, the Government can add any ‘unwanted’ site to a secret blacklist.

Testing has already begun on systems that will slow our internet by up to 87%, make it more expensive, miss the vast majority of inappropriate content and accidentally block up to 1 in 12 legitimate sites. Our children deserve better protection – and that won’t be achieved by wasting millions on this deeply flawed system.