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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