Friday, January 29, 2010

And I doubted myself?

Many years prior to being "blocked on FB by a super-duper crazy religious relative" I felt that this particular relative hated me. Hate is a strong word and I use it in its most forceful context here. When I was born I had the misfortune to have been named after this particular relative. It's an unusual name, one which I would imagine she and I were the only people in the US with. And yes, I got teased in school because of it. It bothered me that I shared this name with someone who so venomously hated me. So I changed it.

When I first started my FB experiment and I got this particular super-duper crazy religious relative to friend me I thought, "Mmmmmmm...." Several weeks went by and I thought perhaps I was wrong, perhaps she really does love me and I made a mistake by changing my name for the reasons I stated. But it was too much for her to take I guess. I made the tragic mistake of criticizing her politics, even ever so slightly for her sensibilities. When she unfriended/blocked me my first thoughts were, "Why did I ever doubt myself? I was so right in changing my name and I'm so glad I did it."

Before I actually went though the task of changing my name I thought long and hard over the reasons. It hurt me to think that a relative who I had grown up around could just hate me so quickly and causally. As I thought about this particular relative and her daughter it occurred to me that Christianity was perfect for their type of personalities. They are the Christians that type everything in ALL CAPS on the Internet and refuse to watch any other news station other than Fox News. They are the people who think Sarah Palin is a smart woman who was divinely destined to be the next President but that "nigger" got in her way. They are the people who will not consider that they might be wrong and are not open-minded enough to consider a different idea. They are stagnated in their worldview and they are perfect for that conservative crazy mind-set that we see so many Christians gravitate towards. I couldn't, in good faith, be named after a person like that so I started the process of changing my name in 2007.

It was in the first quarter of 2008 that I swore in court that I wasn't changing my name for hidden or illegal reasons. It was not a happy day for me although I did feel some relief. I decided long before that date not tell relatives about my name change. I knew they wouldn't understand and that it would be twisted out of context. I didn't do it to make statement to them. I'll admit, it was selfish. I did it for me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Science makes a lousy religion and religion makes a lousy science." ~ Linda Rosa

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm tired of it...the double standard I mean.

My mother sent an email to many people (I was one) about Obama being a Muslim and some other stupid shit that I couldn't read much of. It was the typical crazy religious conservative stupid shit that those people believe just because they report it on Fox News. It makes a thoughtful and intelligent person sick to see what low levels the common person has sunk to.

I sent this back to her and her husband (because the email originated from his email address, otherwise it would've only been sent to my mother):

It's been brought to my attention that my political/religious opinion is not welcome so I'd like to ask that you guys please not send your political or religious opinions and emails to me. I think that's only fair.
I'm not angry or upset. I'm just tired of it.
Thank you.

I don't expect an answer but I do expect them to stop sending those emails. I'm just tired of the BS from those people.

Note: two days later and still no response. I'm not surprised.

6 Feb 2010: still no response to my email but the religious and political emails have stopped.

Thoughts of the day

Several thoughts as I was walking the dog:

Unfriending and blocking all because of one post? If so, that's stupid. Could it be that I was blocked for another reason?

It might be jealousy?

The intelligence of a friend.

The universe is so awesome it's hard to imagine accepting faith/religion as a way to view reality.

As I was walking my dog I was thinking a bit about the actions of my super-duper crazy religious relative and that there might be another reason why she unfriended/blocked me on Facebook. I had just changed my email address and for grins and giggles I sent a note to her daughter (also a super-duper crazy religious relative who has blocked me on Facebook several months ago) to inform her of a new email address for her to block. Yeah, I have a sick sense of humor and I really thought it was funny and appropriate and yes, petty. I'm sure she informed her mother and her mother may have blocked me because that. I can't sure since these events happened around the same time but it does make sense if you can wrap your brain around the weirdness of their strange morality.

But it could've been something else. I post a lot on Facebook about my daily events and my super-duper crazy religious relative might have just had enough of what a fantastic person I am. I think she's jealous of the fun I'm having verses the kind of fun she has, which has to suck. If this is what is going on, and I'm certainly not sure of it, then she is a sad person indeed. It must just burn her up that a heathen like myself isn't suffering because of my unbelief. (But that's OK because I'll get it in the next life...bwahahahahaha!)

My mind was really active this morning! My next thought was of my friend who I offended by explicitly stating that I thought she was too smart to believe in Christianity. She has since demonstrated behavior that has made me change my mind about her. If she reads this I want her to know that I apologize. I was wrong to say that about you. You have shown a willingness to believe in some other crazy stuff without evidence that I thought someone as smart as you would know better and you got mad at me for trying to give you solid facts. I will now treat you a lot differently from now on. You are now free to think that Oprah is good source for solid, fact-driven advice.

So after devoting too much time thinking about the stuff above and realizing it I thought "Ah, the universe is so wonderful it makes this crap look insignificant." Last night I walked home in the cold moonlight from a friend's home while listening to a couple of horned owls hooting to each other. It was awesome. I remembered looking up into the night sky while in New Zealand and seeing the Milky Way in its wondrous glory and understanding how primitive people could make a religion out of seeing all that. For me it was like "Of course they did! What else could they do?" I was then transported to the present and grateful for the science that allows me to be captivated by the facts of time and space instead of being blinded by superstition and myth.

Sometimes it takes me a long time to appreciate or to understand something, especially something that I thought was meaningful in my life. It's time to concentrate on the people who are present in my life, those who outwardly show that I'm meaningful to them, instead of trying to get people who just don't like me to like me. Duh!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Slap in the face

Not really, but I suppose that's what my super-duper crazy religious relative would like for me to think it is.

She dumped me. That's right, yesterday's post was about my super-duper crazy relative who is ultra sensitive and couldn't handle a comment from a different point of view and deleted the whole post. Then soon after she defriended me and blocked me.

Perhaps I let my guard down and felt that my relative liked me in spite of my irreligiosity. I made a comment I shouldn't have made and deserved what I got. I think that's what a few of my other religious relatives are thinking, if they know and have noticed the events that have come to past. Yeah, that's it, I should've known better.

But there's a double standard that I'm not used to. If you do something then it's OK for me to do the same, right? For example: we play nicey, nicey for a few days with an unspoken understanding that we don't talk about politics or religion. You also know that most people will agree with you and you feel very righteous about your position. I, on the other hand, am in the minority. I have different views and feel just as strongly as you do, which is why we have this unholy alliance between us. But suddenly something happens and you forget yourself and you say something political or religious. Do I now have the right to post or comment a dissenting view?

Of course not!

Now it just sounds silly, doesn't it? But this is the way my religious relatives play. I'm fine to have minimal contact with but once I voice an opinion that is (gasp!) different or thought provoking then all bets are off and I get ignored or blocked.

Unfortunately they, my super-duper religious relatives, are out-of -touch with the real world. They only watch Fox News and think that the religious right is looking after their interests. Anyone with a differing POV is considered the enemy who they are encouraged not to listen to. This is how my religious relatives treat me. I try to educated them with news about the Texas State Board of Education and the damage they are doing to our curriculum and I get totally ignored. I post a cute animal video or pictures and they comment about that.

I don't mention this to my husband very often. I tend to suffer in silence. When I do tell him about my frustration he shakes his head and says something negative about the intelligence that super-duper crazy religious people tend to exhibit. He's right. Intelligent people want to engage and be stimulated. They want their views to be challenged. Super-duper crazy religious people don't.

Facebook experiment, part 3 (or something like that)

Separating my family and friends from the rest of my irreligious Facebook page was the best thing I've ever done. The first hint was when my sister told me during our last conversation over a month ago that she was so glad that I did this. When I asked why she revealed that some of the comments on my posts had offended her. I had to chuckle at that. But I do feel bad that the Christian religion makes it's followers thin-skinned and easy to offend. When my religious relatives post about god/Jesus it doesn't offend me, but it does makes me sad that they are gullible to the point of being proud that they believe in something with no evidence. I want to help but I know they will cop an attitude and think "How dare Tina!" So for the most part I leave them alone to their delusions.

My family Facebook page also includes my tennis friends who I know can't be bothered with the concerns of the irreligious. And it's really none of their business anyway. A couple of them spout bible verses and their weird love of a guy that's been dead for several thousand years so I just hide them. The religious ones never post anything interesting anyway. I mean, what's interesting about private religious schools and devotionals?

Two things have recently happened on Facebook that I find fascinating. On my irreligious Facebook page my friend Jorge will occasionally post provocative statements that his Christian friends will comment on. The comments are usually defensive and end with a general faith statement that proves nothing to atheists. The last comment thread I participated in involved a commenter that felt the need to tell of a medical miracle that convinced her of God's presence and strengthened her faith. The only thing I saw was her inability to separate fantasy from facts. She saw divine intervention in a well run medical procedure where an atheist sees a team that is well practiced and well prepared. From her point of view, even if the people involved had died it would still be God's divine plan. It makes no sense.

The other thing that happened was a Republican senator got elected to Ted Kennedy's long time held Democratic seat in Massachusetts. Admittedly the Democrat that was running against him was pretty terrible and didn't deserve to win. It's not hard to see that it didn't take divine intervention to get the Republican elected. Besides he was good looking, young, and well spoken...just like the Democrat candidate that won the election in 2008. What was his name?

Anyway, one of my super-duper crazy religious (she would be proud I called her that BTW) relatives posted something like "a Republican got elected in Mass....God is soooooooooo good!" It was funny to me because it showed how out-of-touch these religious zealots can be and how uneducated they are about the real world. They close their minds, put their fingers in their ears and shout "Lalalalalalalala I can't hear you! And I don't care what you say!" I responded in a way that I thought was thoughtful yet thought provoking and went for a long walk with my dog. As we walked I thought that perhaps my post was too confrontational for my relative. When I got back home I deleted it and put something very mild down like "I'm glad that good looking guy got elected too." But about 10 minutes later I notice that my super-duper crazy religious relative deleted the whole post.

Question for the day: Why are Christians so easily offended?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Leave comments!

Hey, I know my sister and brother visit my blog. Leave a comment and let me know you've been here!

Tina Marie

Losing friends and family

"Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?" ~ Sam Harris

I have an answer for this based on some treatment I've gotten from my family. "They don't give a fuck about you!" 

The secret is not to give a fuck about them either. Not so easy to do in my case.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Again, Tim Minchin

Tim Minchin is one of my favorite people in all the world. He has a mischievous, charming manner about him and he is as cute as can be. Cute in a way one of my children would have been if I had children. He's funny and witty that is disarming without being offensive. The skeptical and humanist movement is benefiting greatly from his involvement as an entertainment figure.

In this clip he is discussing evolution. Here in the US evolution is not accepted by 50% or more of our population. I find this appalling but a Christian friend of mine says that these people who don't accept the facts behind evolution are entitled to their "beliefs." It's true, we have freedoms here. These freedoms allow us to believe all kinds of things from astrology to zombies without any proof whatsoever. We can live our lives in accordance to these beliefs and feel safe that we can legally fight to keep these beliefs even if they kill us. My friend thinks it's moral to not criticize people for believing in things that are wrong and are harmful and could potentially kill. She would also think it's wrong to make fun of these people. I disagree and I like the way Tim does it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Quote of the Day

I heard this today on Episode 020 of Atheist Talk and have always felt this is one of the main reasons religious people are so adamant about forcing their "morals" on everyone else.

"Don't mistake righteousness for lack of opportunity."

In other words, since I can't do it neither can you.

I'm reminded of this video by Brit Hume:

Obviously, being a Christian doesn't automatically make one a moral person and becoming a Christian doesn't do so either. So what exactly is Brit Hume saying? I believe he's jealous that he isn't rich enough to get away with this kind of behavior and he's being righteous because of it.

I could be wrong. (But I doubt it!)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stephen Fry's Humanism

"That's to say God was absolutely everything a thousand or two thousand years ago because we understood almost nothing about the natural world, so it could all be God and then as we understood more God receded and receded and receded, so suddenly now he is barely anywhere."

Exactly! It's easy to look at a sunset or a cool looking cloud and say, "There's God!" But when your father is dying from lung cancer and all the praying everyone is doing hasn't done a thing, reality sets in and you realize there is no god. The universe is a horrible, deadly thing and is behaves this way because nothing created it. It just is.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I don't do resolutions...

I've done the New Year's resolutions thing before and I'm sometimes successful at keeping them. But several years ago I decided not to make them anymore but to live each day fully and happily with some rules to help me along the way.

Rules of Tina:

I conduct my life in a way I don't have to tell lies about myself.

I organize my day every morning and try to get all my errands done in a timely way.

I am considerate of the hard work my husband puts into each day and try to make it easy for him once he gets home. This means keeping track of all the bills, maintaining a clean house, meeting him at the door with a smile when he comes home, keeping him fed with food he likes, not being a bitch and no nagging. I also don't allow him to be bitchy or to nag. We have an agreement about such things and it's worked for a long time.

Keeping the above statement in mind but also doing this for my general well being I keep myself in relatively good shape. This means I maintain a certain weight. I don't over indulge or drink too much, although I do have a glass of wine almost every night.

I am a good friend. I listen and try not to ramble on about my own personal life. I try not to complain as I hate to hear when others do. I ask questions and engage in a caring and thoughtful way. Most important is to make eye contact and be agreeable when I agree and be respective when I don't.

When I'm wrong about something I immediately will correct myself. If someone points out my mistake I am grateful and will acknowledge that person. This particular rule I am most proud of. I've learned so much about myself and about the world around me. Unfortunately I've found that most people do not share this quality and it's caused me some sadness over the years.

This list is far from perfect but it works well for me and those around me. There is only so much one can do to maintain a healthy relationship with others and sometimes it's best to let go. Letting go is the hard part. I'm still working on that.