The Myth of Religion

I  just read a review of the book The Myth of Religious Violence by William Cavanaugh. The book eloquently puts into words the reason I have decided to delete the word ‘religion’ from my vocabulary. To be explicit, the use of the word is arbitrary, deceptive and offensive. It is ambiguous in its definition. The word isn’t something with a definition to which you can then put examples. It is something to which examples are put without definition because defining it is problematic. Try to produce a definition of religion that works without problems and you’ll meet with little success. Merriam Webster defines it as “an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods”. This definition is fine as long as you have a working definition of ‘god’, but it means that Buddhism, which is non-theistic, is not a religion. This is certainly not the way ‘religion’ is used in public. A cursory study of Buddhism would reveal that it is definitely a religion as the word is commonly used. This is also a problem with the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of religion as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods”. Defining a religions using practices rather than beliefs results in a definition that makes Capitalism, Communism, and Patriotism religions.

Given the arbitrary nature of religious classification then, making statements about the nature of religion smacks of dishonesty and encourages deception. What does it mean to say that religion causes violence when ‘nonreligious’ ideologies like Communism and Imperialism are equally guilty? Why should Christianity be banned from the public sphere when Capitalism is not? Why should ‘religious’ people be forced to keep their beliefs to themselves when every other ideology enjoys expression in public life and government? It is unjustified marginalization masquerading as reasoned demands. A word so badly defined it useful mostly for oppressing those on its wrong side. So, to hell with the notion of “separation of church and state”.

You can see that I’m quite passionate about this topic. I never respond well to being hurt or unjustly marginalized whether it’s by being forbidden from building churches or being told not express my beliefs in public. If other people can promote policies based on their philosophical views, I should be able to.

A Conversation With Myself

Me: I’m giving up sweets for lent.

Myself: You’re not Catholic.

“So what? I can do whatever I damn please.”

“You’ve been swearing a lot lately.”

“I know. I think it’s the meds”

“I think it’s you refusing to take responsibility for your actions. You could get your words under control if you wanted to.”

“Don’t you have homework to do?”

“You’re me, goffball”

“Really? It didn’t seem that way when you were chastising me just now.”

“Keep arguing. I’ll chastise you even more when you make a B in all your classes.”

“You know that’s not going to happen. You’re just trying to scare me.”

“Whatever”

“… I’m still giving up sweets for lent.”

Yes, yes, I know I’m behind on my reading notes. I promise, I have work in progress. I have something on the fossil record and I’ll start on the war against the Amalekites pretty soon. Right after I get some more sleep.

Obamacare and my emotional well-being

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I lost my cool today. I would like to say I got angry because I found out that companies are now going ahead with planned layoffs as the inevitability of the massive increases in expenses mandated by Obamacare becomes certain. But I would be lying. In truth, I’ve been angry for a while – roughly since the beginning of this latest depressive phase. That news just finally gave me something to be angry about. If you’ve kept watch, you’ll  see that my writing has gotten more assertive and less polite over the past two weeks. The anger had to come out somehow. Well, today was another day when I threw caution to the wind and took my anger out on those who supported Obama.

It was a bad idea. Writing when angry always is. What I learned from today is that I need to find some other way to handle my anger. So, I plan to return to my meticulous politeness. I’ll try to work on being assertive, yet gentle, kind and polite. Is that possible? I don’t know but I guess I’ll find out. As for letting out my anger on Obamacare and my employment prospects, I think I’ll just try hard facts.

From investors business daily:

ObamaCare will force as many as 20 million workers into government-run insurance exchanges after their employers drop coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

• More companies will follow Darden’s example, refusing to schedule workers more than 30 hours wherever they can to avoid the coverage mandate.

• Insurance costs will explode. Even ObamaCare’s fans admit that its benefit mandates, marketplace rules and bans on coverage caps will force premiums to skyrocket. Jonathan Gruber, who helped design ObamaCare, says the law will add 30% to premiums in the individual market in the states he’s studied.

• Doctor shortages will reach 90,000 in about a decade, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

• Seniors will find it increasingly difficult to get treatments, as ObamaCare’s deep Medicare payment cuts cause one in six hospitals to become unprofitable and still more doctors to refuse to see Medicare patients.

• Even when a patient does get to see a doctor, ObamaCare will intrude, using the law’s “Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute” to create top-down rules for what doctors can prescribe for any given ailment.

• ObamaCare’s vast new taxes — including a crippling $20 billion surtax on the medical device industry and a $123 billion surtax on investors — will slow down medical innovation.

• And when these and dozens of other new taxes fail to cover ObamaCare’s massive 10-year $1.76 trillion price tag, everyone will suffer a bigger tax bite.

For more information:

What doctors think about Obamacare – by the Doctor Patient Medical Association Foundation.

  • 83% of doctors have considered quitting over Obamacare
  • 72% say individual insurance mandate will NOT result in improved access care
  • 49% say they will STOP accepting Medicaid patients if its payments are lowered (which Obamacare does)
  • 74% say they will STOP ACCEPTING Medicare patients, or leave Medicare completely if its payments are lowered (which Obamacare does)
  • 52% say they would rather treat some Medicaid/Medicare patient for FREE than file a claim
  • 70% say REDUCING GOVERNMENT would be single best fix for the horrible state of their practices.

Three biggest ways Obamacare kills jobs

The Sky is Falling? So What?

Barack Obama at the University of Nevada, Las ...
Barack Obama at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Presidential Health Care Forum, March 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the wake of President Obama’s defeat of Mitt Romney, a friend informed me that he was going to work on Saturday. “Sandra Fluke needs some more birth control pills”, he said “so I must [work]”. I told him to get over it. I have little patience for self pity. My therapist says I’m not in touch with my feelings. Whatever.

Now, it’s not that he’s not deserving of pity. He works his butt off and pays about half of what he earns as tax – which, thanks to Obama, will now be used to provide risk-free sex for promiscuous women. (No, I’m not above calling Sandra Fluke a slut. Get over it.) His health care premiums are up for next year because his employer now has to pay more for health insurance.

Then there’s the economy. Let’s face it. Obamacare is a new cost for businesses. Since they’re not charities, they have to absorb the cost somehow. If you know basic economics, you know that means cutting costs (reducing salaries,

Barack Obama
Barack Obama (Photo credit: philomythus)

firing workers, reducing benefits, etc.) or raising revenue (increasing prices, etc.). Neither of those things options will be good for the economy, and by extension, for any of us. If the Obama administration continues their stimulus spending (read: wasting borrowed money) and higher taxes (especially on businesses), the story will practically write itself.

So I’m torn between despair and crushing apathy. Why apathy? Because in my world, the sky has already fallen. I’m not American. My home has high unemployment, widespread poverty (at least by the American definition), corrupt leaders and youth, high crime and everything that comes with it. As if that were not enough, the northern half of the country is a hellhole populated by Muslims whose set aim is to drive Christians from the country and establish Sharia law. Their strategy: church bombings, middle of the night mass killings and everything in between. I heard lately that they invaded a University, separated the Christians from the Muslims and slaughtered them. That is one of the better places. My parents live in a middle eastern country where telling a non-Christian that Jesus is God is a crime.

And what about America? When I bother to peep out of my carefully sheltered dwellings, I see a nation of sexually depraved people, where 50% of the people support the killing of their own children. I see a nation of people living luxurious lives (even the so-called poor ones) and celebrating their right to ‘choose’ over the millions of tiny bloody fingers and toes testifying to their depravity. If I have any love for this country, it is only by the grace of God.

So why does it matter? What if Obama’s spending and taxing and policies turn America in Greece or Nigeria? What if millions of people can’t find jobs or affordable housing or go to college or eat out? What if they actually know poverty? What if they actually have to go to bed hungry? Will it not only do them good? Perhaps in their physical poverty they can come to see the true poverty in which they already languish. Perhaps it will save them. What is hunger? How can it be a horrible thing for a nation already lost?

My conservative, republican, and Christian American friends, this is an analysis of last night’s events from a girl standing on the edge of your society. Don’t weep for the economy. Weep for your souls. Your children are lost. Romney’s presidency would not have saved them. America lost nothing that mattered last night.

The faith of a child

This is the first poem I’ve written in a long time and it’s unedited and lacks form.  But I’m not into postmodernism, I assure you.

I’ve been ill with a fever all day and mother looks so scared
She’s given me all she has and I’ve only gotten worse
She put me to sleep just now and bid me good night.
She need not worry

While I slept I dreamed the most wonderful dream you’ll ever have
He told me I would be alright

Rain
Rain (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn_BE_BACK_on_10th_OCT)

And I believed him

Oh, foolish, foolish child
that because the sun rose yesterday and the day before
it must come again tomorrow
that since winter came this year and last
it must come again next year
that he speaks the truth today
and must do so tomorrow

But last year the rains came till the corn was this high
And it was so all the years before
yet this year there is no rain

Yes, child. not all that is will always be
You grew this year and last, but someday you will not
Grandfather’s goat gave milk until last year

But he promised

Rain
Rain (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn_BE_BACK_on_10th_OCT)

And his words captured my heart
I never hard anything so sweet
And his eyes
It was true, I tell you
He said it will be well. I believe

Dear child, your feelings are true, but they lie

No. It is like the day I met Amala
Our eyes met and I saw him
I saw the spirit in him
And his words were truth
He said it will be well. It will be well.

The rain will not come

But father is certain
He broke the soil last week
And bought the seed yesterday
And sowed it all day today

The rain will not come

I awoke feeling worse than when I slept but with joy I tiptoed to the door to listen to the most wonderful sound. It was raining.

Perhaps a day will come when the sun no longer comes
and the corn no longer grows
and winter never returns
perhaps I will be like little Billy, as hot as fire in the evening, and cold in the ground at night
Perhaps the rain will cease and father’s crops wither and die
Perhaps things change

But, mother, maybe he is not like them at all
Maybe all things we know change but he does not
Wouldn’t that be grand?

New study finds that egalitarian marriage doesn’t make women happier

I support gender roles because I think we are more productive when we specialize (as opposed to when everybody has to do a share of everything). So I find this interesting.

WINTERY KNIGHT

Elusive Wapiti writes about in this blog post.

Excerpt:

Norwegian researchers confirm and extend Brad Wilcox and Steven Nock’s research suggesting that egalitarianism sets couples up to fail:

“What we’ve seen is that sharing equal responsibility for work in the home doesn’t necessarily contribute to contentment,” said Thomas Hansen, co-author of the study entitled “Equality in the Home”.

The lack of correlation between equality at home and quality of life was surprising, the researcher said. “One would think that break-ups would occur more often in families with less equality at home, but our statistics show the opposite,” he said.

The figures clearly show that “the more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate,” he went on. The reasons, Mr Hansen said, lay only partially with the chores themselves. “Maybe it’s sometimes seen as a good thing to have very clear roles with lots of clarity…

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