Kneel!

Why kneel?
Why kneel?

Why kneel?

When I watched the first Avengers movie, I was stunned by Loki’s speech when he demands the crowd kneel to him. This is what he said:

Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.

It was such a powerful speech. It reminded me of how religious people (myself included when I was religious) are expected to kneel in church. I was always told it was a sign of humility, but I see it more as a sign of pleading or begging.

I’ve never understood the want or need to kneel. I don’t see what purpose it serves, other than to bruise ones knees. Would an all-mighty God really care whether you were kneeling before him or standing on your feet?

So I went to some Christian forums. I found a few explanations.

To me it is very important to kneel and pray I guess because that is the way I was brought up in my old church. We always knelt down to pray and honestly great things happened, it formed in me a strong prayer life. Standing and praying is okay I’m not saying always be on your knees because trust me they go numb after a while lol. But it is essential when you are in desperate need of something in/from GOD. I dont know about you but I am in desperate need of God each and everyday of my life.

So this person seems to be saying that if you kneel, you might get special recognition. Sure, you can pray on your feet but if you want God to take real notice, you better get down on those knees.

I do think the person making the comment was on to something with the first part of his comment – it’s more likely that you were taught to kneel.

We show our humility.
We show that we surrender to God.
We show that God is in charge of everything and his will be done, not my will.
We show our desperation.There’s certainly nothing wrong with “showing” these things if that makes your prayer time more meaningful to you. I would point out, however, that God already knows everything, and if you really do have these qualities, you don’t have to kneel to “prove it” to God.

There are examples in the Bible of people speaking to God without being on their knees, so it can be done. Just so long as you don’t consider it a requirement that would otherwise invalidate your prayer, then you are free to “approach the throne of grace” in whatever manner you feel is most appropriate. 🙂

This person sites humility but I know I don’t have a hard time being humble while on my own two feet. Why would kneeling make me more humble?

Why would this God need a speck like me to surrender? And why would it need to be shown it’s in charge of everything. This being would already know that. Me kneeling and groveling isn’t going to make it any more aware of its own power.

I like the desperation part. It really shows the willingness to beg and plead if you don’t like the outcome or truth of something.

However, why would a being of immense power need you to show it anything? After all, it supposedly created you and everything around you. Do you really think the creator of a universe would need you to show it a damn thing?

If you do think God needs you to show it something, maybe you should revisit the whole humble thing.

And finally, if you don’t need to kneel (as this person seems to think) then why bother?

Maybe there is a section of our population that, like Loki says, craves subjugation. They don’t want to take responsibility for their actions or face the bad stuff that sometimes happens to us as human beings. They would rather believe they’re powerless and in need of subjugation. They would rather be told what to do because it’s easier.

It also reminds me of the Milgrim experiment, where most people did what they were told as long as someone they perceived as an authority figure told them to do it.

Isn’t it time we got off our knees, took responsibility for our own bad decisions and started thinking for ourselves?

Advertisements

My Adventures at a Catholic Graduation

GraduationMy step-daughter graduated from grade 8 last night. The graduation was held in a Catholic Church (yes, she goes to a Catholic school) and I went. It was quite an adventure and my wife kept looking at me side-long to see whether I was going to burst into flame or begin laughing hysterically.

I wasn’t turned into charcoal but I nearly burst into laughter many times over.

However, I can proudly announce that I didn’t laugh. I kept my nose buried in my handy e-book for much of the time instead.

So anyways, the church was very ornate. The priest sat on what I can only describe as a throne. It was raised on a dais; was rather too big and he often sat on it and looked down at us as if he were a king. The priest also wore green and white robes and instead of investing in a book holder, he would have a small child hold a gigantic bible in front of him so that he could read from it.

His first speech was (predictably) about saving up riches in heaven because riches on Earth were meaningless and hollow. I found this amusing since we were all sitting in a church that could feed thousands of people, and there was an offering plate clearly visible.

I guess these riches are only meaningless if regular people partake. Church groups are clearly not held to the same principles.

Don’t get me wrong – I believe that his message (stripped of all its magical talk) is spot on. I don’t think we need to covet huge riches and I do think we should all be helping each other live better lives here on Earth while we can. I just find it hypocritical in the extreme when one of the richest organizations on Earth proclaims that being poor is better than being rich and can do so with a straight face.

He also explained how he became a Christian. Basically, he said he too went to Catholic school and one day while the teacher-priest droned on about Jesus, he realized he believed in what he was saying and that YES he believed in Jesus.

I couldn’t help think how unconvincing this argument (or tale) was and I wondered why he bothered to share it at all. Surely there were better ways to spend the time and more valuable things he could impart than his unconvincing tale of being indoctrinated by his teachers.

Anyways, the mass was full of standing, singing, praying, sermoning (not a real word I know) and kneeling. I stood when people sang. I stood when people prayed. I sat when asked too. I didn’t pray or sing myself and I did not kneel. A few times I felt the priests eyes on me but that’s fine. I don’t believe in what he’s selling and while I won’t embarrass my step-daughter or make a scene, I also won’t condone what he’s selling or partake in it.

About halfway through, they did communion. This is where I had to stifle my laughter.

The priest held a wafer over his head and stared at it intently for about 30 seconds as if this would magically turn the wafer into something more than plain bread. I found myself wondering how a grown man could do such a thing and realized that I was living in a culture that taught this was normal behavior and a valuable thing to be doing.

People shuffled up to drink from his golden chalice and eat his wafer. My butt stayed firmly planted in the pew. My eyes continually roving to my watch.

The mass took an hour. The actual graduation took about 20 minutes. Dump the magical stuff and we could have been in and out in under a half hour.

On the good side, my step-daughter got the academic achievement award. She also dressed in a Tuxedo and looked amazing. I was very proud of her. She went out with her friends afterward, and I was glad that I could be there to support her.

Shine on you crazy diamond.

Anti-Christ Guidestones?

georgia guidestonesI’ve decided to tackle some conspiracy theories on this site. I’ve always been a sucker for a good conspiracy theory; they fascinate me to no end.

The first conspiracy I’d like to write about are the Georgia Guidestones. Some people believe that they’re a version of the Anti-Christ Ten Commandments and herald the coming of Jesus’ arch-nemesis:

Based on my study of the New Age Movement, I have no doubt that the Georgia Guidestones are an expression of the basic philosophy of that movement. Since Satan is using that movement to herald the emergence of a universal False Messiah, I can only conclude that the Georgia Guidestones may well contain the ten commandments of the Anti-Christ.

Others believe the guidestones are the product of a shadow group that wants to usher in a New World Order:

Certainly the group that commissioned the Georgia Guidestones is one of many similar groups working together toward a New World Order, a new world economic system, and a new world spirituality. Behind those groups, however, are dark spiritual forces. Without understanding the nature of those dark forces it is impossible to understand the unfolding of world events.

The stones have been defaced several times by religious or political conspiracy buffs who believe the stones are the beginning of some sort of mass extinction of the human race. I’m not sure why they believe vandalism would change anything, but I don’t think rationality is a top priority of people who think they can just destroy property that doesn’t belong to them because they don’t like what it says.

georgia guidestones defaced

Regardless, the stones are shrouded in mystery. Only two people know who commissioned the stones, and one of them is dead. The other has said they will take the secret to their grave. The person who had the stones built went by the fake name, R.C Christian:

The identity of the man who called himself “R.C. Christian” is a secret that Wyatt Martin, the banker who acted as his agent in Elberton, vows to take to his grave.

“He told me, ‘If you were to tell who put the money up for this, it wouldn’t be a mystery any more, and no one would come and read it.’ That had to be part of the attraction, to get people to come and read his 10 rules that he came up with,” Martin said.

Even the fake name has spawned conspiracy theories.

What does the ‘R’ and ‘C’ stand for? Why is the last name ‘Christian’?

Some people believe the R.C might stand for Roman Catholic, while others believe the stones were commissioned by the Rosicrucian Order.

For example:

It’s commonly thought that the man calling himself R.C. Christian, the same man directlyresponsible for the creation of the guidestones, did so in homage to Christian Rosenkruez. Rosenkruez was the founder of the mystical theology known as Rosicrucianism. Christian Rosenkruez was once known as “Frater C.R.C.”, so when you combine his two names, you get “R.C. Christian”. Furthermore, R.C. Christian is thought to be a high ranking Rosicrucian (a follower of The Order of the Rosy Cross, the secret society at the heart of Rosicrucianism). Rosicrucians originated in medieval Germany, and claim to have an understanding of the esoteric truths of nature, the universe, and the spirit world (which they believe have been concealed from the rest of us).

What could these stones say that has people so wigged out?

Well, inscribed on the stones are ten  guidelines or principles for humanity to live by, in eight different languages which include English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian:

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

4855790802_2445437498_b

The stones also feature:

The four outer stones are oriented to mark the limits of the 18.6 year lunar declination cycle. The center column features a hole through which the North Star can be seen regardless of time, as well as a slot that is aligned with the Sun’s solstices and equinoxes. A 7/8″ aperture in the capstone allows a ray of sun to pass through at noon each day, shining a beam on the center stone indicating the day of the year.

In the event of an apocalypse, these features would allow survivors to reproduce the calendar, clock and compass.

As for the principles, the first one understandably gets the most attention, since it calls on humanity to maintain a population of no more than 500 million. Some people argue that the stones are suggesting we kill off 9/10 of the current population, while others (rightfully in my opinion) point out that the stones were meant to guide survivors of an apocalypse. In that case, they’re not suggesting we kill off people but maintain that population once our civilization and population have recovered somewhat.

However, it is said that R.C Christian said many of the worlds problems could be attributed to overpopulation and that we needed to form some sort of world government to save us from ourselves.

Conspiracy theories aside, that does sound like a New World Order.

As you can see, most of the ‘commandments’ are fairly innocuous. Many of them make good sense.

The stones were erected on March 22, 1980, and below the date on the monument it says, Let these be guidestones to an Age of Reason. 

It would seem that the ‘American Stonehenge’ will remain a mysterious set of stones – commissioned by an unknown person for an unknown purpose, perhaps backed by an unknown organization or…demon.

I very much doubt they herald the coming of the Anti-Christ or that they’re meant to usher in a New World Order. I don’t think that the stones were erected by a secret sect of a Luciferian order, either.

What I think is they were erected by a person or organization who thought a mass extinction was about to arrive, perhaps in the form of a nuclear war, since they were erected during the Cold War with the U.S.S.R, where many people feared nuclear annihilation. After all, how many bunkers were crafted during the 80’s by people who thought the end was imminent?

So why not a monument meant to kick-start a new civilization?

Or perhaps R.C Christian (who is rumored to be dead) went to his grave chuckling his ass off at all the controversy and superstitious conjecture his monument sparked.

Maybe he considered it money well spent for that reason alone.

Should Euthanasia Be Legal?

Do you think euthanasia should be available to human beings?

I recently ran across a very interesting article where they ask different faith groups about end of life issues and what their faith group would have to offer non-religious people. The answers basically tried to answer whether or not euthanasia should be allowed, and predictably, many of the faith groups said that it shouldn’t be – not because they had good reasons to dissalow it, but because life is a gift from God so therefore it’s not ours to end if we so wish.

Here’s a sample of the answers.

Rabbi: “Religious people are more likely to appreciate life as a gift from God, over which they exercise trusteeship. Life is theirs to nurture, but it is not theirs to terminate.”

Rev. JOHN COUNSELL: “If there is an eternal purpose to our existence, if we are not just the product of millions of biological accidents, then this evidence of the divine that we call “life,” deserves the awe, respect and protection that people who understand it for what it is advocate. The Nazis promoted the idea that some forms of human life were not sacred and were not worth protecting. I believe that kind of reasoning is pure evil, no matter how politically correct or socially acceptable it presents itself.”

Muslim: “The believer in life after death will have a much broader point of view. He/She will be prepared to make sacrifices in the expectation of a reward in the Hereafter. He will not cheat and rob because he knows he will never escape the final judgment. He will always be on the lookout for some investment for greater dividends in the eternal world.”

Atheist Humanist: “Most maddening are attempts to infringe on our right to die with dignity. A god who doesn’t give a rat’s behind about saving a child shouldn’t dare to care how we decide to end our terminal and painful existence.

No thanks, ye of overreaching faith, while you obsess over post-life salvation that may never occur, we view this precious life is miraculous enough, providing sufficient meaning and purpose, not only for ourselves but also for those we love.”

Catholic: “The Church holds human life to be sacred because it is a gift from God. It teaches that every human life is valuable with an inherent dignity and worth from the moment of conception. Because human life has an inherent value and dignity that distinguishes it from other forms of life, we treat people differently than how we treat suffering animals.

Many pet owners and farmers have had the difficult task of putting down a suffering animal. We do this in part because an animal cannot find any meaning in its suffering nor can it think beyond the present moment. But human beings are different and we can see that asking someone to kill us to end our suffering has profound ramifications for how we as a society see and value human life.”

Personally, I think it should be allowed. I don’t think anyone should be forced to end a life or be forced to have their life ended. I think it should be a personal choice that is made when the person is of sound mind. I should be able to choose when and how I will leave this life, and if someone else wants to use God belief to make their decisions, that’s fine by me. I don’t believe in God or an afterlife so it has no ramifications on me and other peoples faith shouldn’t be the deciding factor (or even a factor) on my end of life decisions.

It’s crazy to me that we allow the option to put our animals down when their quality of life is next to zero, but we don’t allow our fellow human beings and loved ones the same level of courtesy. If a religious person believes that their life is governed by God and they don’t have the right to end it, then that is up to them. I would support their right to make such a decision, but I feel I should be granted the same level of respect. I’m a thinking, feeling human being and deserve the right to make my own decisions, especially when it comes to something as important as how I leave this life. No religion has the right to tell me how I should die.

However, I think there would have to be clear legislation to go along with any euthanasia law so that it can’t be manipulated by greedy family members who want to speed up the process of death without the persons consent. There would have to be no loop holes in the law, and it would have to be carefully crafted.

What do you think?

And if you belong to one of the denominations listed above from the article, do you agree with their assessment?

Thanks for reading!

Note: If you enjoy these types of topics, reading the entirety of the linked article is worthwhile. I didn’t use them all because of size restraints. I didn’t want this article to be too long.

 

Skeletons of 800 Babies Found at a Religious School

Magdalen-asylumReligion has convinced people that all kinds of kooky ideas are true – some funny, and some gruesome. I plan on writing a series about some of the more ludicrous religious ideas that have been dreamt up by people over the course of our history.

However, yesterday I read a news story that made me feel sick to my stomach.

In Ireland, in a home run by nuns for unmarried mothers, the remains of nearly 800 baby skeletons were discovered. The deaths occurred between 1925 and 1961, which was the year this horror-fest of a home was finally shut down. Some documentation was found in which the causes of death were typically listed as, “malnutrition, measles, convulsions, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis and pneumonia.”

Catherine Corless, a local historian and genealogist had this to say about how these unfortunate children were treated:

She recalled as a child herself being segregated from the young children from The Home.

“They were always segregated to the side of regular classrooms,” Corless told IrishCentral. “By doing this the nuns telegraphed the message that they were different and that we should keep away from them.

“They didn’t suggest we be nice to them. In fact if you acted up in class some nuns would threaten to seat you next to the Home Babies. That was the message we got in our young years.”

And why did some of these senseless deaths occur?

Corless believes that nothing was said or done to expose the truth because people believed illegitimate children didn’t matter.

“That’s what really hurts and moved me to do something,” she said.

The death rate at The Home is likely to be twice the national average at the time.

And why was it thought that these children didn’t matter?

Religious teaching, of course. Christianity has a long history of vilifying sexuality, punishing women who have children out of wedlock, and subsequently punishing the children in homes like the one mentioned in the original article, for something they had no say over in the first place.

The article goes on to say:

“These were state-funded homes. Anybody who suggests the nuns were doing their best … they were not doing their best. They tendered for this business (and) wanted this business.

“They got a headage payment for every mother and child in their so-called care, which was greater at the time than the average industrial wage.”

The Home was closed in the 1960 and two boys playing discovered partially broken concrete slabs covering a hollow — a disused septic tank — “filled to the brim with bones”.

Of course they were paid. The religious corporation must make money, after all.

It’s shameful that the state helped pay for this senseless brutality and ultimate stupidity. It’s only recently that these atrocities, and similar ones, are coming to light.

For example, the Magdalene Laundries, where women were cruelly exploited:

Until well into the twentieth century, girls deemed to be “difficult”  – because they were sexually active, or sexually abused, or simply poor – were sent to laundries by their families or the state. Despite having committed no crime, they were not allowed to leave the institutions and were forced to work for no pay, making them literally slaves. Many women spent their entire lives there, remaining long after the actual laundries closed down. They had nowhere else to go.

Or the religious boarding schools that tried to wipe out aboriginal culture:

Residential schools were established with the assumption that aboriginal culture was unable to adapt to a rapidly modernizing society. It was believed that native children could be successful if they assimilated into mainstream Canadian society by adopting Christianity and speaking English or French. Students were discouraged from speaking their first language or practising native traditions. If they were caught, they would experience severe punishment.

Throughout the years, students lived in substandard conditions and endured physical and emotional abuse. There have also been convictions of sexual abuse. Students at residential schools rarely had opportunities to see examples of normal family life. Most were in school 10 months a year, away from their parents; some stayed all year round. All correspondence from the children was written in English, which many parents couldn’t read. Brothers and sisters at the same school rarely saw each other, as all activities were segregated by gender.

According to documents obtained by the CBC, some schools carried out nutritional experiments on malnourished students in the 1940s and ’50s with the federal government’s knowledge.

And yet many religious people will still try to push their religious agenda on society and pronounce that their religion is needed for our species to act ethically and/or morally. It fills me with sadness to think about these helpless children dying; their bodies being thrown in a septic tank. It’s outrageous that these women were living in misery because they were deemed by religion and society as ‘lesser than’ because they dared to have children outside of marriage.

Christian Charity At Work

A lot of times, Christians or other faith groups will point to the charity their organizations are responsible for to deflect away any questioning their faith may encounter. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked a Catholic why they continue to put their money in a Catholic collection plate, knowing that the church covered up for and moved around pedophile priests, only to have them deflect by bringing up how many charities the Catholic Church is responsible for. It’s as if they think the charities make the rest of it okay.

I also wonder if they think charities would disappear without religion. Would the people who contribute to these religious charities not support them if it wasn’t for their faith?

Maybe I’m an idealist, but I like to think that they’d support secular charities because they’re good people who want to help, even if they suddenly lost their faith in a supernatural God.

Netflix has a new documentary called, God Loves Uganda, that shows how dangerous faith tied to charity can be. The documentary exposes how American Evangelicals have invaded and infected Uganda with Christian based homophobia. It alleges that American Evangelicals have been so successful at it, that they are the primary cause of Uganda’s ‘Kill The Gays’ law.

According to one article:

And as another missionary explains, Uganda is the perfect place: “50 percent of the population is under 15 years old. … What [we] can do is limited, but we can multiply ourselves in these young people.” Add that to the strategy of tying aid and charity work to values exportation in order to ensure a captive audience, and it’s easy to see why many Ugandans so readily accept the evangelical message.

So what has been the cost for this ‘aid’?

Well, that and the fact that Lively and his ilk have done a great job convincing Ugandan parents that homosexuals are out to get their children. This “recruiting” notion is as old as time and should have been discredited by now, but it seems to work particularly well in a culture that has not had much experience with sexual minorities. Of course, the irony is that it’s the radical evangelicals who are doing the recruiting here, literally whispering their lifestyle into the ears of kids—as a poignant scene at the funeral of slain activist David Kato shows, actual LGBTQ people are struggling just to stay alive.

The selling of religion under the guise of charity is an old story, and one that continues on to this day. For some religious organizations, it’s not enough to just help people in need – they must also attempt to indoctrinate their captive audience and sell them iron-age myths. Along with those myths comes their dogma, which clearly doesn’t favor some minority groups such as homosexuals.

The consequences are proving to be disastrous.

 

How The Catholic Church Handles Child Raping Priests

I just finished reading a disgusting news story about how the Catholic Church handles child raping priests:

Tomasi said that since 2004, more than 3,400 credible cases of abuse had been referred to the Vatican, including 401 cases in 2013 alone. He said that over the last decade, 848 priests had been defrocked, or returned to the lay state by the pope. Another 2,572 were sentenced to a lifetime of penance and prayer or some other lesser sanction, which is often used when the accused priest is elderly or infirm.

 Acknowledging the high number of priests sanctioned with the lesser punishment, Tomasi said it still amounted to disciplinary action and that the abuser is “just put in a place where he doesn’t have any contact with the children.”

That’ll teach them! Go and pray in a corner and think about what you’ve done!

Tomasi goes on to say:

“I think we have crossed a threshold so to say in our evolution of the approach to these problems,” he concluded. “It’s clear that the issue of sexual abuse of children, which is a worldwide plague and scourge, has been addressed in the last 10 years by the church in a systematic, comprehensive, constructive way.”

Only a religious institution could get away with saying such crap about raping children.

No Mr. Tomasi, the church hasn’t handled the sexual abuse of children in a ‘systematic, comprehensive, constructive way’. What the church has done is cover it up and move these rapists around so that they could victimize more children so that your religious organization didn’t have to face criticism.

Your religious order deemed your reputation more important than the children who were there for spiritual guidance. Your organization preaches about morals and ethics, yet victimizes and re-victimizes children who were raped by your priests.

You know what would have been constructive?

The second your religious organization heard about a child being raped, they would have immediately reported it to the proper authorities. You would have given the alleged offender to the police, who would have then built a case and prosecuted them. If they were found guilty, they would have received the punishment they were due.

Instead you sheltered and hid them. You allowed them to find a new batch of victims and you turned a blind eye to what was going on beneath your very noses. All the while, your priests continued to stand in front their congregations and preach morality to the rest of us. You continued to claim your pope was God’s representative on Earth and your followers continued (and still continue) to put their hard-earned money in the collection plate.

There is no political spin that can make what your organization did better.

How anyone can put even one red cent into the collection plate of a Catholic Church is completely beyond me. Every time your organization addresses the public, it should be to apologize for the harm its caused.

Instead, the Catholic Church decided it was a good idea to make the Pope who was in charge while thousands of children were raped a Saint:

“It’s time for the Vatican to stop honouring those who enabled wrongdoing,” said Barbara Blaine, the president of the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), which represents 18,000 people from 79 countries who were sexually abused by members of the Catholic Church.

 “There is irrefutable documentary evidence to show that John Paul II refused to take action that would have protected children during his 27-year papacy. Thousands of victims were abused because John Paul refused to read the reports he was receiving,” said Mrs Blaine, from the US.

What a slap in the face to the victims. What an absolute outrage.