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.

Three cheers for the blue screen of death

Shameless pilferage from Shakesville. Oral Roberts University faces the blue screen of death Cross posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

How’s about that then? A laptop crashes and so does a religious empire. Gotta love that.

Oral Roberts is the one who was called by God to raise 8 million dollars for a bible college or “be sent home”. I recall a blogger comment that allowing himself to be killed by God for disobedience would probably have been a more effective demonstration of faith… or at least more humorous.

But what’s the deal with Mrs. Roberts Jnr (property of the son, not the patriarch) sending all these txt msgs to young blokes? Heh, part of me is thinking “half her luck” but not at the expense of Uni students who were guilt tripped into attending godbag college, eh? Wonkette has a brilliant post on “the cougar of ORU.”

Corrente has a take on the story, filed under the appropriate tag “what is wrong with these people” LOL

It’s unfortunate but the way things have developed in recent centuries, well, millenia really, religion has been used by these little nimrods and ahabs to build personal or political empires of wealth and power… with misogyny so deeply ingrained in both the males and their female furniture that it is seen as a sign of good faith. Having said that, it won’t be the abuse of power or hatred of women that takes the spotlight with this one. Already the focus is on the wife.

The whole purity ball thing must just wear off once you’re married, eh? Since a woman’s only real value in that system is her virginity. Will other lunatic fundies see this as “proof” of women’s inherent sinfulness and the need for domination? Hmmm. And what about all the other sexual predators using religion as a cover? Whether it’s the well heeled wife of a millionaire playing Mrs. Robinson, or Ministers touching up girls who go to see them for “christian counselling” the whole nonsensical focus on human sexuality and repression seems to be approaching boiling point.

Pam’s House Blend has another interesting review of this percolating scandal (groan)… Why does god hate Oral Roberts University? and the commentariat are in fine style over there! The post contains a copy of a memo requesting that ORU facilities be seconded to assist a theocrat in a bid for election.

Dunno really. The Witch in me wants to sit back and say “well, when you build glass houses…” but the whole deal is so sordid. It’s hard to gloat at the trouble this will cause, and the pain so many possibly well intentioned students and faculty are going to suffer because of the hoo-haa… when you’re in that place, (fundamentalism) you’re so emotionally and psychologically damaged, so manipulated into thinking and doing everything according to the “word of God” tradition as manufactured by tin-pot Nimrods and their Jezebels. It’s hideous to endure and even worse to try to emerge from. So far it’s taken me 13 years and counting… A bunch of us were chatting about it yesterday, the damage such abuse does to the psyche… *shudder*

My last word, Witch and all, is “poor bastards”.