Tag Archives: Religion

Thoughts on Jesus from Your Friendly Neighborhood Buddhist Thinking Atheist

Disclaimer:  Though I was forced to memorize Bible verses in the Lutheran school I attended in Kindergarten and first grade, and though I sat through many Bible lessons in Baptist summer camp, I am in no way familiar with the Bible.  I tried to read it as an adult, but became angry at the misogyny.  I am not looking to learn about the Bible, and if you knock on my door with a pamphlet, or just to chat about Jehovah, I will sick my poop-eating dog on you.  She kisses.

The whole Cosmosgate (Thanks to Megan S for this groovy term!) thing has me super irritated.  Did you know that there are people out there who are offended by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new version of Cosmos? A station in Oklahoma even went so far as to “accidentally” cut the evolution part out of the premiere episode.

This irritates me to no end.  I have friends who are Christians, and they have no issue with learning about science, too. Who are these people who are terrified of Cosmos?  It seems like there are always people speaking for Jesus, and making up crazy things that he cares about.  Even with my limited knowledge of all things Jesus, I’m pretty sure that he would probably be more concerned about famine, war, and the way we treat each other in general than the endless list of things people seem to care about on his behalf.

For example, Jesus probably does not care if you:

  • Eat meat on Fridays.   He’s got bigger fish to fry.  Pun intended.
  • watch Cosmos.   If God really did create the universe, Jesus is totally cool with you learning about it.
  • use the term “Mother Nature.”  I witnessed someone criticize someone else on Facebook for asking Mother Nature to make the weather better.  This person was angry because OBVIOUSLY “God makes the weather.”  Don’t get me started.
  •  drink alcohol.  HE MADE WINE.  He DOES care if you drive drunk.  This could hurt someone, and that is a no no.
  •  kneel to pray.  He just doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who would require this.
  •  get married if you are a priest.  If he’s all about love, everyone should have the opportunity to find lasting love.
  •  what you do on Sundays.  With all of the calendar changes throughout time, how do we even know if Sunday is Sunday? And so what if you are working to support yourself or a family.  That’s a good thing.
  •  wear a cross around your neck.  Think about it.  He DIED on the cross.  Crucifixion was the go to execution method back then.  This is kind of like wearing an electric chair around your neck.
  •  say his name in vain.  Personally, I would be thrilled if someone hollered out my name whenever they hurt themselves or had an emotional moment.  Feel free to do this if you want.  You can drop the R to make things easier.

My step-dad, who was raised Catholic and became an atheist, used to say, “Jesus was a hippie.”  I think he’s right.  From what I gather from my religious friends, Jesus was all about helping people and maybe having a glass of wine or two.  He did after all make the stuff.

The nectar of the gods
The nectar of the gods

Chewbacca Lady, WTF?

Unless you live in an off the grid tiny house in a rain forest, you have heard of Chewbacca Lady, the latest in a long line of asinine internet superstars. Okay I get it.  I’m a big ole Oscar the grouch pajama wearing meanie.  I don’t find Chewbacca Lady deserving of all of this media attention. I also didn’t think Kim Davis deserved it, or Rebecca Black and her godawful Friday ear worm. And let’s not even talk about the Kardashians here.  Really, here in Murica, a whole lot of people doing nothing of importance become “celebrities.”

So, when I first saw that Chewbacca Lady had gone viral for putting on a mask and laughing, it irritated me.  When I found out she was using her way more than fifteen minutes of fame to push Jesus, I became more annoyed. In case you are unfamiliar with Atheism, let me clarify.  I don’t have a problem with Chewbacca Lady because she is a Christian.  I have a problem with her pushing it on everyone via a Star Wars mask.

Since her video went viral, Candace Payne has been on numerous TV shows. She has spoken at Christian conferences. She has toured Disney World and Lucas studios.  Mark Zuckerberg himself invited her to tour Facebook and tagged her in a post.  Now, Southeastern University in Florida wants to give Chewbacca mom and her family FREE college.  It’s crazy.  She put on a mask in a car and laughed her ass off.

Just to be clear, I don’t think Candace Payne is less deserving of her pseudo celebrity status because of her beliefs. I just wish that other causes and people would receive this much attention. For example, my friend Heidi Floyd, a Christian and pastor’s wife, travels all over raising money for cancer research while still battling the disease. I wish SHE could get this level of attention so that more people would donate to cancer research or volunteer to help cancer patients etc.

I also know a young woman named Heather who just turned 30 and is battling pancreatic cancer.  Heather has two young kids, a husband, many family and friends, and patients who rely on her.  That’s right.  Heather is a nurse who has not been able to work because of her disease. You may know how I feel about Go Fund Me, but in this case, I would love Heather to get all of the funds she needs for her mountain of medical bills. If you can help, please do visit Heather’s page and donate. Not only is she battling the disease, but she is raising a lot of awareness, too.

There are many people out there actually doing things to help others.  They deserve this level of attention.  They deserve to have everyone know their names.  Candace just is not one of these people.

Religious friends, I can hear you.  “But Lisa.  Chewbacca lady is doing something wonderful.  She is spreading the word of God and the joy of Jesus.” Maybe she should put on her Chewbacca mask and laugh her way over to Africa, the Middle East, or anywhere in the world really and tell all of the starving children without safe places to live about this joyful Jesus and his daddy, God. I bet the kids think true joy would come from a sandwich and a roof, not an invisible man in the sky.

We need to start putting people in the spot light who deserve to be there. We need to place more value on those who help others, like nurses, teachers, firefighter, doctors, and volunteers.  Imagine what we could do as a society if we actually came together and helped each other rather than admiring viral video stars and other b-rate celebrities.  If you know someone who is really doing something good, please leave a name and or link in the comments section.  Let’s publicize the people who really deserve recognition.

 

 

 

Hamster Wheel Philosophies

I was just on the elliptical, AKA the Hamster Wheel, and “Days Like These” by Asia came on. Since I refuse to leave the 80’s music behind, I have a lot of older songs on my iPod, but this one really motivated me right as my arthritic left ankle threatened to give out. I kept going, and thinking. “Days like these, I feel like I can change the world” is the chorus and is repeated throughout the song. So, I started to think about what I would do if I could change the world. I’m talking about the entire world, not just the life of one person etc. What if I could sit at a big marble desk, or maybe cherry wood, and create my own list of commandments that must be followed. HMM…. I think they would go something like this:

  1. Political arguments would end. Seriously, you are not going to persuade the other side. Whether you are a conservative, a liberal, or a little of both, you have likely thought about why you believe the things you believe and no amount of arguing is going to change that. All of the debates and arguments just bring stress and take the focus away from, well, actually changing the world. So, duct tape your mouth and actually get out there and HELP people.
  2. Evangelism would end. This is the same concept as political arguments, only, in my humble opinion, with double the arrogance. Anyone who thinks they KNOW the mysteries of the universe and can SAVE someone else needs therapy, and good strong roll of duct tape. It’s a big universe out there. We know a lot less than we think we do.
  3. Truth serum would be pumped into the water supply. People lie, sneak, cheat and steal too much. The real kicker is most people lie to themselves; they tell themselves things like, “I tried my best”, or “I do eat healthy.”
  4. People who abuse children would be beaten and have their children taken away permanently. There would be none of this, “Your abusive drunk daddy went through a few therapy sessions and now you get to live with him.” If someone cannot get himself or herself together enough to be a decent parent, then that person does not get to be a parent. Period.
  5. The breeding of pets would end. There are thousands upon thousands of animals that are euthanized every year. We don’t need people breeding more pets just because some people want “pedigree” animals. Are you a pedigree person?   I bet not. So, go adopt a nice mutt than needs a home rather than worrying whether he or she has “papers”.
  6. War would be illegal. People would have to talk about their differences and agree to disagree. People would also be educated on how to spot a sociopath. Violent rulers like Hitler and others like him are sociopaths. Studies show that most people will follow the commands of someone who appears to be “in charge” or “of authority.”  Stop following crazy people and they won’t be able to lead. Stop bombing the #$@#$ out of people and they won’t hate you.
  7. Racism would end, for real. You may think that racism went out with Jim Crow, and you may be in a coma. The day that President Obama was elected, some local idiot drove down the street with a Confederate flag on the back of his pick-up. I really doubt that this was a coincidence. In order to stop racism, for real, we need to stop focusing on, well, race. We need to stop asking for an applicant’s race on forms. It does not matter. We need to stop focusing on differences and, instead, start focusing on similarities. We are all people. It does not matter if we are brown, paste white, peach, or any other color. We are all people.
  8. Everyone would have healthcare. Everyone. This would include dental care. There would be no deductibles or certifications or approvals. People who are sick or injured would receive care. It is possible. There are some countries doing it successfully.
  9. Teachers would be paid more than professional athletes. I mean, let’s pull our heads out of our behinds for a moment and actually think about this. Someone who chases a ball around for a living can make millions of dollars, but a teacher can barely pay his or her bills. In addition, more and more people are spoiling their children, making teachers’ jobs that much harder. Say no to your child and yes to increasing salaries for educators.
  10. Trophies and awards would be earned, really. We are the “good try” culture and it’s killing us. If little Timmy keeps getting trophies and ribbons for half-assed work in school, scouts or whatever, then he is really going to have a hard time living in the real world as an adult. In the real world Timmy’s boss isn’t going to pat him on the head and say ”good try” when he loses his company’s money. Timmy will be fired. Rewards are for good work, not mediocrity.

That is all I can think of, right now. If you can think of more, add them in the comment section. I know that there are a lot of other changes we can make to this world, a lot. It’s not perfect; we’re not perfect. So, we need to all work together to change the world.

“You should never hit anybody about God.”

“He shouldn’t hit me. You shouldn’t hit me about God, Mamma. You should never hit anybody about God—”

The Conversion of the Jews

Philip Roth

religion allI was in my classroom at Bonita Springs Middle School. I taught drama, or at least I tried to. I was horrible at classroom management.  School started at 9:35, and it was before my first period class. A kid, Tyler, ran in and said, “Miss Petty, I know it’s the JAPS!!” I was so confused. Tyler was a good kid, and I did not suspect drugs.  I thought he was just, you know, acting for me. Then, he turned on the TV in my class, and my jaw dropped. We kept that TV on all day. All I wanted to do was leave and get my son from preschool, but we did not dismiss early. It was the day after my 30th birthday. Suddenly, being 30, wearing a size 8 (which was “fat” for me at the time), and having too many bills for my salary did not matter.

When I could leave for the day, I picked up my son, who was 4 and very much unaware of what had happened.  He wanted to have dinner at McDonald’s.  After all, they had a playground, toys, and fries.  What more do you need in life?  I didn’t take him to McDonald’s.  We drove through, instead.  I was afraid to sit with my son in a public place.  I was afraid that some crazy person would walk in with a bomb, or Anthrax (the poison, not the band), or a gun, or something.  So, we drove through and ate our fries at home, where I felt safe, but still wondered how far I was from a military base, a power plant, or any possible target for terrorism. I still think like this whenever I go to an amusement park.

I did not show my son that I was afraid.  I did not cry. This morning, twelve years later, I finally cried about 9/11.  I was watching the Moment of Silence on the Today Show.  The screen was split, with people in New York on the left and Mr. and Mrs. Obama, Mr. and Mrs. Biden, and a lot of other people in Washington, D.C. on the right. There was a woman in New York, with brown curly hair; maybe you saw her.  She started crying so hard that she had to lean on someone.  I thought, “She probably lost someone that day.  Maybe it was her husband, or a sibling, or a cousin, or a friend.  She lost SOMEONE.” That is when I cried.  That is what it is all about really.  People are getting killed over differences of opinion.  Seriously.  People are real.  They bleed.  They die.  We should not “hit” anyone about God or Politics, or anything else.

Note: This post was originally posted on 9/11/13.

Hermit Church

An old friend and I always used to joke about starting our own religion because it would be so easy to do.  I mean there are lots of followers out there, and this friend and I are leaders – demented leaders, but leaders.   Well, earlier this week, another good friend of mine told me that I should start my own religion.  Due to an excess of caffeine and a lack of sleep, my mind quickly started developing this religion.  So, here are my plans for the High Church of the Painful Truth, a name I am plagiarizing from my Brother-In-Law, Mike:

Commandments:

  1. Don’t be ignorant.  If you just can’t help yourself, please take a vow of silence.
  2. Cleanliness is next to, um, well it’s important.  So, clean up after yourself.  There is no reason to be sloppy.  It just means that you are lazy.
  3. Don’t be lazy.  Be grateful that you CAN walk and get up off of your behind and do something.
  4. Be nice to people just because that is what you are supposed to do.  This goes double for animals, small children, and senile senior citizens.  They love and trust you; be kind.
  5. No poor me allowed.  You are not a victim.  You have made a lifetime of crappy decisions that led you to exactly where you are.  You will not improve your life until you start taking responsibility for it.
  6. Review your first grade language arts book. People cannot read your messed up unpunctuated shorthand.
  7. Keep all Sabbath days holy, no matter what religion they are from.  This should take care of the entire week, or at least the weekend.  So, put down your CrackBerry and enjoy your family.
  8. Do not push any religion on to others.  No one KNOWS or UNDERSTANDS the mysteries of the universe.

Meeting Place:  Skype.  Seriously, why meet in person in one building.  I hate people and travel. So, if you want to be a member of my church, get a web cam.

Attire:  Business casual – no jeans.  People wear jeans to everything now.  As my step-dad used to say, “Dungarees are for farmers!”   This applies to all things other than farming, exercising or sleeping.

Meeting Frequency: [Shrugs shoulders].  I don’t know.  When we need to. This will save us all the misery of forced meetings.

Offerings:  PayPal.  Again, why should I leave my couch to collect money?  Just put it right into my account.  What?  Why do I need money if there is no actual building?  UMMMM, well, being a spiritual leader requires lots of chocolate.  I’m not talking about that cheap grocery store crap.  I need the good stuff, from Europe, preferably dark.  I will also need liquor, from Europe.

Well, that about covers it for now.  The caffeine is wearing off and that 5:30 wake-up call is catching up with me.  If anyone can draw out there, see if you can come up with a symbol for this new religion of mine.  Extra points if it includes kittens. We will sell t-shirts and jewelry with said symbol.  All proceeds will go to me.  At least I’m honest.

Note: This blog was previously published on my old Salon.com blog. 

“You should never hit anybody about God.”

“He shouldn’t hit me. You shouldn’t hit me about God, Mamma. You should never hit anybody about God—”

The Conversion of the Jews

Philip Roth

religion allI was in my classroom at Bonita Springs Middle School. I taught drama, or at least I tried to. I was horrible at classroom management.  School started at 9:35, and it was before my first period class. A kid, Tyler, ran in and said, “Miss Petty, I know it’s the JAPS!!” I was so confused. Tyler was a good kid, and I did not suspect drugs.  I thought he was just, you know, acting for me. Then, he turned on the TV in my class, and my jaw dropped. We kept that TV on all day. All I wanted to do was leave and get my son from preschool, but we did not dismiss early. It was the day after my 30th birthday. Suddenly, being 30, wearing a size 8 (which was “fat” for me at the time), and having too many bills for my salary did not matter.

When I could leave for the day, I picked up my son, who was 4 and very much unaware of what had happened.  He wanted to have dinner at McDonald’s.  After all, they had a playground, toys, and fries.  What more do you need in life?  I didn’t take him to McDonald’s.  We drove through, instead.  I was afraid to sit with my son in a public place.  I was afraid that some crazy person would walk in with a bomb, or Anthrax (the poison, not the band), or a gun, or something.  So, we drove through and ate our fries at home, where I felt safe, but still wondered how far I was from a military base, a power plant, or any possible target for terrorism. I still think like this whenever I go to an amusement park.

I did not show my son that I was afraid.  I did not cry. This morning, twelve years later, I finally cried about 9/11.  I was watching the Moment of Silence on the Today Show.  The screen was split, with people in New York on the left and Mr. and Mrs. Obama, Mr. and Mrs. Biden, and a lot of other people in Washington, D.C. on the right. There was a woman in New York, with brown curly hair; maybe you saw her.  She started crying so hard that she had to lean on someone.  I thought, “She probably lost someone that day.  Maybe it was her husband, or a sibling, or a cousin, or a friend.  She lost SOMEONE.” That is when I cried.  That is what it is all about really.  People are getting killed over differences of opinion.  Seriously.  People are real.  They bleed.  They die.  We should not “hit” anyone about God or Politics, or anything else.

“WE ALL Want Something Beautiful.”

I had forgotten how much I loved (Mr. Jones and Me) until it came on in the car earlier this afternoon.  My husband was driving, and I was singing along at the top of my tone-deaf lungs.  I’m glad my husband was still able to concentrate on driving.  I definitely did not get the “Petty singing voice” that I keep hearing about.  It skipped a generation and went straight to my son.

Mr. Jones and Me is probably one of the few songs I love that was not produced in the 80’s by a British band wearing extensive eye make-up.  I admire it because I’m a word person, and the lyrics just speak to how alike humans are.  We spend a lot of time pointing out our differences, but we all really do “want something beautiful,” whether it is a beautiful marriage, a beautiful home, beautiful children, beautiful scenery, beautiful art, or lots of beautiful money to count. Everyone has his or her own idea of that something beautiful. To me, Mr. Jones and Me is beautiful because it speaks about similarities that unite us, rather than differences that keep us fighting.  Really, if we are honest with ourselves, there are a lot of things that WE ALL do.

  1. We all talk about each other. Ever since elementary school, I have witnessed the same ladies’ room drama.  It usually begins with some angry girl or woman putting her hands on her hips as she stands by the row of sinks, and saying, “That @#$# was TALKING ABOUT ME!”  Really?  No way.  How dare she? Do you know that you are talking about her right now?  Everyone talks about everyone else.  It’s just what people do.  Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”  Well, color me tri-minded, Eleanor.  Like all people, there are different sides to my personality.  This is because I’m not a hamster. Sometimes, I talk about ideas, sometimes events, and yes, sometimes, people.  People are interesting.  That is why EVERYONE talks about each other, and that is why trashy memoirs sell.  People want to know about other people. Get over it.
  2. We all find each other attractive.  We all have eyes, and most of our eyes can see.  I said most.  So, it is natural to notice how things, and people, look.  Even married people can find people attractive.  This does not mean they will have an affair with whoever they think is good looking.  Let’s face it, John Stamos and I are not going to run off together, but I still think he is pretty.
  3. We all change.  When I was going through a break-up, my ex looked at me and said, “You changed,” like I had just murdered a basket of kittens. Of course I did! I was 19 when we met, and 28 when we parted ways.  I grew up. I went to grad school.  I read. I met people.  I learned more.  I got my hair cut. I let it grow out.  I got it cut again.  A thousand things happened to mold me into a different person.  I have changed a lot from 28 to 41, too.  If you are not changing, you are not growing.
  4. We all have beliefs that others don’t understand. We want something to believe in, whether it is our spouse, our country, the universe, religion, science, or the kindness of others. I have a lot of Christian friends.  I’m not a Christian. It’s not a belief than ever rang true to me. I would never argue with my friends or ridicule them; I just don’t agree with them.  I DO find a lot of truth in other philosophies, like Buddhism and Ancient Astronaut Theory, that they may find odd.  We all have to think for ourselves and come to our own conclusions.  People can believe in whatever they want, whether it is aliens, ghosts, reincarnation, resurrection, or countless other things.
  5. We all make tasteless jokes.  I did last week.  I was having horrible tooth pain when I found out that Cory Monteith from Glee died from an overdose of heroin and alcohol.  I told my husband, “He probably had tooth pain.”  It’s probably not funny to most of you, unless you have actually had major dental pain.  Then you KNOW I am telling the truth, and you are laughing.

Today is Sunday, and in my opinion, it is a day when a lot of people focus on their differences.  Some people go to this church; others go to that church.  Others went to church on Saturday, or they went to temple on Saturday. Others don’t go to church at all and try their best to go out to breakfast “before the after church crowd gets there.”  But, hey, we all want to eat, and who doesn’t like a good breakfast out?

"WE ALL Want Something Beautiful."

I had forgotten how much I loved (Mr. Jones and Me) until it came on in the car earlier this afternoon.  My husband was driving, and I was singing along at the top of my tone-deaf lungs.  I’m glad my husband was still able to concentrate on driving.  I definitely did not get the “Petty singing voice” that I keep hearing about.  It skipped a generation and went straight to my son.

Mr. Jones and Me is probably one of the few songs I love that was not produced in the 80’s by a British band wearing extensive eye make-up.  I admire it because I’m a word person, and the lyrics just speak to how alike humans are.  We spend a lot of time pointing out our differences, but we all really do “want something beautiful,” whether it is a beautiful marriage, a beautiful home, beautiful children, beautiful scenery, beautiful art, or lots of beautiful money to count. Everyone has his or her own idea of that something beautiful. To me, Mr. Jones and Me is beautiful because it speaks about similarities that unite us, rather than differences that keep us fighting.  Really, if we are honest with ourselves, there are a lot of things that WE ALL do.

  1. We all talk about each other. Ever since elementary school, I have witnessed the same ladies’ room drama.  It usually begins with some angry girl or woman putting her hands on her hips as she stands by the row of sinks, and saying, “That @#$# was TALKING ABOUT ME!”  Really?  No way.  How dare she? Do you know that you are talking about her right now?  Everyone talks about everyone else.  It’s just what people do.  Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”  Well, color me tri-minded, Eleanor.  Like all people, there are different sides to my personality.  This is because I’m not a hamster. Sometimes, I talk about ideas, sometimes events, and yes, sometimes, people.  People are interesting.  That is why EVERYONE talks about each other, and that is why trashy memoirs sell.  People want to know about other people. Get over it.
  2. We all find each other attractive.  We all have eyes, and most of our eyes can see.  I said most.  So, it is natural to notice how things, and people, look.  Even married people can find people attractive.  This does not mean they will have an affair with whoever they think is good looking.  Let’s face it, John Stamos and I are not going to run off together, but I still think he is pretty.
  3. We all change.  When I was going through a break-up, my ex looked at me and said, “You changed,” like I had just murdered a basket of kittens. Of course I did! I was 19 when we met, and 28 when we parted ways.  I grew up. I went to grad school.  I read. I met people.  I learned more.  I got my hair cut. I let it grow out.  I got it cut again.  A thousand things happened to mold me into a different person.  I have changed a lot from 28 to 41, too.  If you are not changing, you are not growing.
  4. We all have beliefs that others don’t understand. We want something to believe in, whether it is our spouse, our country, the universe, religion, science, or the kindness of others. I have a lot of Christian friends.  I’m not a Christian. It’s not a belief than ever rang true to me. I would never argue with my friends or ridicule them; I just don’t agree with them.  I DO find a lot of truth in other philosophies, like Buddhism and Ancient Astronaut Theory, that they may find odd.  We all have to think for ourselves and come to our own conclusions.  People can believe in whatever they want, whether it is aliens, ghosts, reincarnation, resurrection, or countless other things.
  5. We all make tasteless jokes.  I did last week.  I was having horrible tooth pain when I found out that Cory Monteith from Glee died from an overdose of heroin and alcohol.  I told my husband, “He probably had tooth pain.”  It’s probably not funny to most of you, unless you have actually had major dental pain.  Then you KNOW I am telling the truth, and you are laughing.

Today is Sunday, and in my opinion, it is a day when a lot of people focus on their differences.  Some people go to this church; others go to that church.  Others went to church on Saturday, or they went to temple on Saturday. Others don’t go to church at all and try their best to go out to breakfast “before the after church crowd gets there.”  But, hey, we all want to eat, and who doesn’t like a good breakfast out?