Leaving Christianity – Oh What A Relief It Is!

Oh What A Relief It Is!Although I left Christianity over 20 years ago, it took a long while for me to erase the doctrines that had been embedded within my consciousness for 15+ years. It was not an easy road.

As Stephen Van Eck wrote on the Deism.com website: “Once sucked into the parallel universe of Christianity, [a person] is too intimidated by threats and rationalizations to attempt escape. Even thinking along alternative lines will induce severe feelings of guilt.”
Writing my book helped tremendously because of all the research and reading I did. Learning how and why certain doctrines of the Christian faith (e.g., final judgment, burning fires of hell, Satan and his demons, the end-times) were introduced into the faith was extremely liberating … and removed a ton of guilt and fear.

I also found out some things about the Bible. As many others, I had been taught the Bible was “God’s Word” (even though the interpretation of what “He” said varies considerably among denominations). Through my studies, I discovered that much of what is in the bible is the result of stories, epics, myths, legends, proverbs, etc. that were passed by word of mouth from one generation to another. This is particularly true of the Hebrew Bible, but intrinsically typical of the New Testament scriptures as well. Can you imagine the burden that was lifted when I found out I wasn’t genetically inclined to sin and thus in need of someone to save me from being human??!?

Contrary to what one might think, the many discoveries I made did not turn me into an atheist. However, I definitely do not believe in a supernatural being who lives somewhere “up there,” who can be manipulated by prayer, or who has a “will.” Rather, my image of “God” is far more encompassing and has nothing to do with religious belief. In fact, I’m extremely reluctant to even use the word “god” because of all its connotations.

In any case, I find my life so much more fulfilling now. Truly, what a relief it has been!

Republican Philosophy

 

I’m going to depart just a bit from the emphasis on COVID-19 and bring to your attention something that my favorite newsletter writer (bet you can’t guess who) included in her most recent (4/2/20) report.

Part of Ms. Richardson’s focus in this issue was the distribution of healthcare supplies during the coronavirus crisis. In previous emergencies, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has been the recipient of needed supplies and they would then distribute to the states as needed. In order words, a coordinated federal system was in place.

In the current situation, however, supplies are going straight to the private sector, which results in states being forced into a bidding war to obtain the equipment they need. We’re now talking about a commercial supply chain, which means prices will invariably increase according to demand.

This resulted in Ms. Richardson’s observation:

[T]he White House is turning to private interests to manage the national response. It is a philosophical position embraced by those who would overturn the active government that has presided over the United States since the New Deal.

As she points out, this action (and others) demonstrates the Trump administration’s “desire to dismantle the federal government and give power to businesspeople.” In other words, the federal government should no longer assume responsibility for American citizens. Instead, Governors are to assume the responsibility of running their own states.

This Trump-preferred perspective has been especially clear during the current pandemic in that the Governors have been delegated to making their own calls related to stay-at-home orders for their state, as well as other decisions related to the safety of their constituents.

From my limited knowledge of “politics,” this seems to be the core of the Republican philosophy: a limited federal government with more power given to the states to be self determining. The general belief is that states are in a better position to be responsive to the needs of their people rather than the federal government.

Of course, the big problem in the current state of affairs is the above philosophy is NOT the one in practice — so the Trump administration actions have put the entire nation at risk.

However, going beyond the crisis, I’m interested in feedback on the philosophy supported by the Republican Party. In its perfect form (not as currently being practiced), what are the advantages and disadvantages? Further, what role would the government actually play in this scenario?

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Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Coronavirus vs. The Flu

I came across a blog post this morning in which a question was asked that gave me pause. Not because I saw the validity of it, but more that it seemed a bit off-base. However, I’m not a history buff so perhaps there really is something to what this person was asking. I’m presenting a brief from the post for readers to ponder.

So, it was just reported that the number of coronavirus cases crossed the 200,000 threshhold. However, what is not being widely reported is that 32 million Americans have had the flu (so far). That’s 200k vs 32 million.

Here’s my question. Why is the nation in lockdown over the coronavirus, but not over the flu.  In fact, the flu (or any other infectious disease for that matter) has never caused the country to be on lockdown.  Not even the H1N1 global pandemic of 2009, with 60 million Americans infected, shut down the country.

So what do you think? Is there something to what this person has written? Or is it comparing apples and oranges?

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Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Invincible?

This morning (3/29/20), as has become my habit, before looking at any other emails, I read Heather Cox Richardson’s most recent newsletter. I continue to be impressed by her ongoing wisdom and level-headed perception of current events.

In this particular issue, she wrote something that aroused my curiosity:

Key to Trump’s popularity has been a rhetorical strategy identified in 1951 by political philosopher Eric Hoffer in a book called The True Believer.

She then went on and compared some of Hoffer’s perspectives to the current POTUS. Since I had never heard of Eric Hoffer or his book, I decided to do some research.

Of course, the first place I looked was Amazon for a content description and to investigate cost (Kindle version $8.99; Free to Kindle Unlimited members; Hardcopy $169.14!). Unfortunately, the only write-up on Amazon was related to the author so I had to extend my search.

This led me to Google Play where I found a “free sample” and copied the following from the Preface.

All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them allegiance.

Many of us have wondered how and why so many people continue to cling to and defend Trump, no matter what he says or does. Heather put it all together when she wrote:

Trump has mastered this technique. He has kept his base firmly behind him by demonizing immigrants, the media, and, increasingly, Democrats, deflecting his own shortcomings in office by blaming these groups for undermining him.

She references Hoffer and further writes:

[S]o long as they are unified against an enemy, true believers will support their leader no matter how outrageous his behavior gets. Indeed, their loyalty will only get stronger as his behavior gets more and more extreme.

However, as many of us have noticed, cracks are beginning to appear. The coronavirus crisis is making it harder and harder for Trump to maintain his hold on his devoted followers.

Nevertheless, he will continue to play the game. No matter who it hurts because for him, it’s all about winning. Staying on top. And most of all, being idolized as the “only one” who can MAGA.

Yet, for all his bluster, there is one thing Trump cannot ignore. COVID-19 has loyalty to no one. Insults, threats, and blustering will not change its course. And as has been shown thus far, it is no respecter of persons.

Although the invincibility of Trump has astounded many of us on (too) many occasions, perhaps in this instance he has met his match. Only time– and the coronavirus–will tell.

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Image courtesy of Mark Grayson Invincible Image Comics

Part Two: The Lockdown

As I addressed in Part One, many people in the U.S. took heed of the precautions that were issued at the beginning of the coronavirus spread and obeyed the social distancing pleas. They stocked up on food and supplies and settled into somewhat of a routine within their households to get through the forced seclusion.

Now let’s imagine that the pandemic has gotten so bad that it’s become necessary for authorities to step in to ensure residents obey the movement restrictions. What happens now to the people who ignored the warnings? Who believed that it was all a Democratic hoax? Who were convinced they were invincible? Who believed their god would keep them safe?

And especially … who made no efforts to plan for the worst?

Someone once said, “Never underestimate desperate people. You never know how far they will go to get what they want.

I’m not going to go into detail as to the events that could potentially take place if this pandemic continues except to reference the above quote … and to repeat something I wrote in Part One: “Gun and ammunition sales have skyrocketed.”

I’ll let you put two and two together.

At this moment in time … in the day and hour that I’m writing this … COVID-19 is rapidly spreading and the number of deaths are increasing daily. If the health professionals are correct (and there is little reason to doubt them), it’s going to get worse.

Never underestimate the driving force to stay alive
that exists in every human being.