Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Tax Contribution For 2008

Helping my daughter in filling out a scholarship application, I had to look up last year's income tax information, and I took note that we paid a total of $3521.00 in Federal Income Tax for 2008 and $1101.00 in County Taxes. For that we get: schools, fire & police services, military protection & VA benefits, libraries, National and County Parks, mail service, public buildings like courthouses, museums, & monuments, freeways, etc., etc., etc....

It seems to me that if the government can do all that with my contribution of just over $4600.00, it wouldn't take much more for me to pay a contribution for public health care. In fact, I would gladly pay all the money that I am paying now to my greedy health insurance company in taxes instead, and dump that insurance in a heartbeat in favor of a public option that would be administered by government employees who will never receive huge bonuses by raising deductibles and denying or canceling patients' benefits and payments.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

For Those Who Think They Will Never Change

Who I Used To Be:
Twenty years ago I was 33 years old. I smoked 2-1/2 packs of cigarettes a day (and was very obnoxious about it, not caring if my smoking annoyed others). My husband and I could finish a 2-liter bottle of whiskey in a weekend. I didn't like most kids, I had hair down to my waist and I was about 30 pounds lighter. I thought I was a failed Christian because I couldn't believe all that nonsense, but I was still afraid to admit, even to myself, that I was not a Christian. I thought that this was my life and all of my future.

Who I Am Now:
Today I am 53 years old, I haven't smoked a cigarette in 18 years (and tobacco smoke really annoys me!). My husband and I can keep the same bottle of whiskey for 2 months. My life pretty much revolves around kids -- hundreds of them! (I work in an elementary school kitchen) -- and I feel like I am a mother to all of them. My hair is as short as a boy's, and I have to buy my big clothes online. I am enthusiastically exploring atheism, after having studied Wicca for 5 or 6 years; spiritually speaking, I am somewhere between a Pagan and an Atheist, feeling that there are either many gods, with many different personalities (and probably little interest in us mere earthlings), or no gods at all. I can easily, guiltlessly, and even proudly, say that I am not a Christian.

Who I Might Become:
In twenty more years I will be 73 years old, most likely retired and living on Social Security (assuming there is still a Social Security program in twenty years). I expect I will be more cranky then, because my body will hurt more, and I won't have enough money to go shopping. I hope I won't be a widow. I will probably drink even less than I do now, because I won't be able to afford much booze, and because drunk old ladies are both sleazy and sad. My hair will be gray (and messy, if I don't have to go anywhere, and I won't have it cut regularly), and I really hope I will be able to wear clothes sizes that I can buy at Wal-Mart (or whatever the equivalent will be). I presume I will be just as opinionated as I am today. I imagine I might be volunteering at my school, or maybe the local county library, if I am healthy enough, and if I am still allowed by the State of Nevada to drive a car. (Ooooh, maybe I'll have one of those Segway things -- one of the new type, with three wheels!)

Since I can't seem to post a reply comment on my own post, I will place my reply to Makarios' comment here:

In reality, God does not meet MY standards. According to your own mythology, God has no parents, and that is very obvious. He could have used some mature, moral guidance.

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Old Spider's Spiritual Growth, So Far

I was born, as we all are, an atheist. My Christian indoctrination began with my involuntary baptism while I was still an infant. My first 16 years I learned about Christianity, my family's religion, and I came out of that simply confused. The next 2-3 decades I spent hating myself for being a "failed Christian"; then I spent 6-7 years learning (fearfully, at first, because of my Christian upbringing) about Paganism and Wicca. From those studies I learned that polytheism was just as useless to me as monotheism was. So now I have returned to my natural state, and I'm officially an atheist/humanist. While there is always a tiny possibility that gods may exist ("anything's possible", right?), there is no evidence for any gods, and no good reason for me to waste my limited cerebral powers believing in them.

My morality is guided by the Golden Rule of the Christians, and the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law of the Wiccans. Everyone knows the Golden Rule ("Do unto others..."). The Wiccan Rede directs us to "harm none, and do as you will". The Threefold Law states that whatever energies, good or bad, that you send out into the world will pick up speed, or power, in their travels, and return to you three times stronger. The Wiccan Rede is the most difficult to follow -- you can't walk around outside without stepping on some small bug; you can't drive a car without damaging the air; you shouldn't even eat sweets because they harm your own body; etc., etc., etc. I think my pagan/atheist morality is even stricter than that of Christians. I have to do it right the first time, because there is no cosmic forgiveness. There are, however, natural consequences to every deed.

I burn a candle, usually with a brief incantation carved into it, for friends who ask for prayers, because it is an honest way for me to direct my good will out into the "ether"; and I work the occasional spell when there is a distressing situation, and I want to feel like I'm doing something positive about it. Both candle-burning and spells are ways for me to address my desires and focus my intentions without invoking any gods. I think spells are just as effectual/ineffectual as prayer -- about a 50/50 chance of success or failure; however, both techniques are capable of making the participant feel better about whatever difficult circumstances they are experiencing. And for me, spells are just plain more fun that praying!

...So, there you have it.

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

An Example of Overly-Religious Thinking For Everyday Events

Posted by me, on my Facebook page --

"Rejoice with me and praise the Goddess Isis!! My little chihuahua got out of the house today, and we found him two houses up the street, where some little children were trying to coax him to play -- he could have been dognapped! -- but Isis caused my neighbor to look outside her window at just the right moment and see my little dog across the street from her, and then call me and tell me where he was -- Isis saved my dog! I believe in The Great Goddess with all my heart!!

I'm so thankful that we found him, praise Isis! We were outside in the yard looking and calling for him (it is a big yard, half-an-acre), and I had come inside to see if he had come back, and I just happened to be in the house when my neighbor called my home phone. It must be a miracle that I was inside at that time, thanks be to Isis!!"

(Now, I don't know about you, Dear Reader, but to me this sounds like making way too much out of a common incident, to the point of being a little "nutty". This is how the religious appear to those of us who have both feet on the ground and no part of themselves in the clouds. And the sad/funny thing is, is that my believing friends, both Pagan and Christian, seemed to be taking me seriously, judging by their reply comments, when this story was first posted on my Facebook page. People!! I am truly sarcastic, and full of bullshit, about nonsensical supernatural notions!)

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

We Need To Talk...

It took decades to teach the American public that their slaves were not "livestock", but human beings; that drunk driving is not an "accident", but a crime; that beating a child is not "punishment", but abuse. It will take that long, or longer, to teach our society that religious beliefs are not "glorious", but lead to wasted lives, with believers wishing and hoping, for their entire lifetimes, to avoid the reality of death through the "promise" of Paradise. Religious beliefs lead to zealous violence, with believers murdering, either singly or en masse, those whom they feel are "sinners" or "infidels", thinking that their god wants the unbelievers dead. (And the Old Testament shows again and again that the biblical god is more than willing and perfectly capable of performing his own murders.) Religious notions prompt parents to allow their children to die of treatable diseases, because obtaining medical help would show that they lack faith in their god; so everyone prays for a miracle until the child is beyond any doctor's skills (which, ironically, would more than likely provide the "miracle" cure that the sick are looking for).

All the good and charitable works that the religious feel they "own" are also achieved by the non-religious. People do not need to follow Jesus, or Mohammad, or Buddha, or Isis, or any other religious character, in order to be loving, generous, compassionate, and wise. Spirituality and similar comforts of existence can grow from other, non-religious, natural, and reasonable, roots. The end of religion will not end charity, love, or wisdom, but it will reduce acts of violence, bigotry and neglect carried out in the name of the Lord.

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