Stop The Insanity

 

Social media and blogs have exploded with discussions and arguments about guns and gun control after the most recent school shooting. Individuals for and against guns and/or gun control continue to bicker and attack each other … simply because they can.

But one fact remains clear. When the bullet hits home and one or more of your loved ones dies because of a twisted mind (and an automatic rifle) … trust me. Your perspective will suddenly change.

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IMO, the core problem in this country related to gun deaths is the lack of mental health care. Contrary to what scores of Christians contend — SIN has nothing to do with it. There are “Christians” in mental health clinics too.

If we truly want to prevent future gun deaths, each of us needs to vigilantly watch for individuals who demonstrate erratic behavior and twisted thoughts … and then report them to the appropriate authorities.  Unfortunately, most of us are so caught up in our own lives that we either ignore and/or make excuses for such individuals. The latter is even more true when it’s a family member.

Of course, contacting our representatives in Congress about more gun control is a given, although I have serious doubts any of us will see changes. Not only because of the power of the NRA, but also because too many people in this country have convinced themselves that guns are just as important as “God.”

And even if Congress decides to do something, they will bicker and argue for months before taking any action. Moreover, we know the Christian lobbyists (who support a gun in every household) have our mentally challenged “Leader” in their pockets, so any bill that reaches his desk will most likely be trashed. (Consider what he did to the guns and mental health regulation that Obama instituted.)

I truly hate making this prediction … but I fear we will see more mass shootings throughout this coming year. And while I admire and support the Florida students and their determination to shame Congress, it’s truly difficult to envision any changes.

Nevertheless, I urge each person reading this to support their efforts and, as an adult, do what you can to …

Stop The Insanity!

I Could Not Have Said It Better: Guns II

I’m copying and pasting this blogger’s outstanding post on the recent school shooting instead of “re-posting” for one primary reason — one of her blog visitors added a totally uncalled for  “comment” that was extremely offensive, especially considering the subject. Such insensitivity does not need to be shared.

Having said that … here is the outstanding post:

Seems like only yesterday I posted my article (read: rant) about gun laws in the US. And here I am, again in a somber tone, reacting to yet another mass shooting. Only this time, my patience with the Christian response has worn thin. Never have I felt such anger towards religion than I did on Wednesday, when the ruthless murder of 17 people generated the typical, increasingly unacceptable response: prayer. “Oh, we’re sorry your kid is dead. But don’t worry. We’re all going to stand in a building for an hour and chit-chat with “God” about it, then have some coffee. That should make you feel better. And it will definitely prevent this from happening to anyone else’s child.”

“We’re going to send prayer chains around the country on Facebook Messenger.” Are you freaking kidding me? Chain letters? The equivalent of a seven-year-old’s financial scheme, or an Amish friendship cake is how we’re responding to a national crisis? I’m insulted. I’m angry. I’m afraid. I’m sick of the word “prayer.”

Donald Trump: “Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, continues to pray for the victims and their families in Parkland, Fl.” When asked whether more gun laws were needed to prevent school shootings, he did not respond. Because, clearly, there’s no problem with our gun laws when someone who has been expelled from school for erratic mental health issues, and who has had the police called on him 30 times for violent and threatening incidences, and who has already tweeted intentions to murder people can go to the corner store and purchase a gun. There is a more thorough investigation conducted when a single mom applies for food stamps, apparently, than when someone goes to buy a gun.

But we’re handling this. We’re praying about it. We’re all going to join hands and chant words to some fabled superhero who probably just didn’t notice this was happening, then go out for Chick-Fil-A. Let’s make a day of it! Let’s all post it as our status. “Praying for the families in Florida.” That should do the trick. Now, back to Candy Crush.

How about instead, we get our heads of our arses and out of the Middle Ages for a minute and do something that’s going to help, at least remotely or minutely, to prevent another tragedy like this? I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Prayer isn’t working. If you needed proof, let Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School be your proof. Now you can save your 15 minutes a day of doing nothing, and maybe get on the phone with your local government.

Imagine a “chain” of people donating an hour a week to acting on information their teenagers are providing about their own, or a friend’s mental illness. How about mentoring, tutoring, fostering, adopting, volunteering on a suicide prevention line, or serving in any arena where under-reached youth are crying out for help?  How about lobbying for stricter laws, or broader healthcare, or greater awareness? Imagine millions of people donating one dollar each towards school resources and equipment that may prevent another tragedy. How about donating time to raise awareness about depression, anxiety, or violent tendencies, or the resources available to report potential threats? How about everyone taking the time to actually respond when there are warning signs on social media, or concerns posted by classmates? If we have time to send chain letters and pray, we have ten minutes to listen and respond.

We could reach out to the family members and offer financial or emotional support. We could support groups that work tirelessly for safer schools. (According to one such group, the Sandyhook Promise, 80 % of school shooters told someone about their violent plan, or exhibited warning signs. )There is so much we can do. But our children go to school fearing for their lives. And who do they have to protect them? An older generation of idiots who are praying to supernatural beings to keep them safe.

“Kids are getting killed in school.  Let’s send chain letters to nobody! Let’s do absolute shit about it, and then pass it on to 1,000 people in a bulk email, so we look like we care.

Brilliant.

Now don’t get me wrong. If it’s not a cause you care about, you have every right to do nothing. Doing nothing is your prerogative. Go right ahead. But don’t invite me to do nothing with you, because it insults me. Don’t email me an invitation to sit in your church, behind closed doors, and wipe myself clean of my grown-up responsibility to act. And for the love of everything good, don’t send me a chain letter. Because I’m not seven, and you aren’t either. And it just makes me sick.

A mother lost her son on Wednesday, due to a fully preventable tragedy. A father lost his daughter. The world was robbed of three adults who were brave heroes in the face of a crisis. The youth who lived through this tragedy will be forever changed. The families who lost people will suffer the sorrow of a perpetual void. The time for talking to our imaginary friends about this is OVER.

P.S. Readers and followers: please limit your discussion to the post itself and refrain from personal comments/attacks against the above-referenced individual. (Most of you know who it is.) Thanks!

“There Is Something Wrong”

This post title was part of a comment made in response to a lengthy conversation taking place on a Christian blog. When one reads the NUMEROUS comments (for and against Christiandom), no matter which side you’re on, you will most likely find yourself saying,  there is something wrong here.

Personally, I saw many things that were “wrong” in the conversations. But of course my perspective was from a non-Christian viewpoint. In any case, I’m sharing a few of the comments for consideration and discussion.

The topic of the post was why “we” killed Jesus … and the blog owner expanded on this as follows:

[T]he WORLD (societal construct) is flawed. We all live in this “world” of blame-shifting, fear, revenge, murder, greed, envy, and “us against them.” Therefore, it’s this MINDSET that killed Jesus. It’s the same mind behind the system we are all a part of, whether we like it or not.

This person believes the aforementioned “mindset” is “our” natural inclination to SIN, which by definition means: “Estrangement from God; An act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of God’s will; The act of transgression against divine law; Any thought or action that endangers the ideal relationship between an individual and God.”

Or perhaps, as one person defined it …

I would call all horrendous actions “sin”. It doesn’t matter whether the act is committed by “religious people” or “non-religious people”. All horrible acts are “sin”.

NOTE: I agree that “horrible acts” are most definitely an offense against other humans. But are they SIN?

Many in Christianity believe humans are sinful by “association.” That is, because Adam and Eve (our spiritual parents) ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil after God told them not to, we are all guilty of the “sin of disobedience.”  However, the blog owner says this is not what the bible teaches and contends the doctrine was “invented” by Augustine in the 5th century … based on a “mistranslation of Romans 5:12.” Hmmm. A mistranslation …

NOTE: I’ve always found it interesting that much of today’s bible interpretations come from the early church fathers, who were simply men (!) who determined (i.e., interpreted) the meaning of various passages in the Septuagint (the oldest Greek version of the Old Testament translated from the Hebrew) based on their personal perspectives. I often wonder why religionists grant these individuals with such special powers of “determination.”

Rather, in his opinion, we are sinners simply because we sin. But why do we sin? Because we live in a “flawed societal construct and it’s this CONSTRUCT that led to Jesus’ death at the hands of the Romans and Jews.” Got that? O.K. Let’s continue …

He goes on to say this is very different from saying we’re born sinners because if everyone were born sinners then Jesus would’ve been born a sinner and that would create a theological absurdity, which a proper understanding would not do.

NOTE: Someone called this “word salad.” I tend to agree.

The question was then asked by the blog owner: By whose moral standard is right and wrong determined? Why are certain acts conferred immoral? What standard is being used? Public sentiment? If so, then (he contends):

[T]he South was morally right to own slaves since the “public pressure” in their culture was to own them. So, by what right do you have to judge slaveholders? And there are still parts of the world where selling children is normal. Who are you to judge those cultures? And on what grounds is your moral superiority?”

It seems he wants to know what moral standard we are appealing to if not the “morality” of the bible. Of course he believes there is no morality except via the invisible supernatural entity called “God.” Yet there are primitive tribes existing on this planet today who have never heard of the Christian god and seem to manage their “morality” just fine without any outside assistance.

NOTE:  Certain Pygmy tribes found in Africa have no identifiable cults or rites. They have no totems, no gods, no spirits. They bury their dead without special ceremonies or accompanying items and receive no further attention. In fact, some tribespeople, when asked about “God” respond, “Is he on a rock? On a white-ant hill? On a tree? I never saw a god!”

Me neither.

Final point: Doesn’t it feel like there’s something missing when our determination of what’s “wrong” is based on the ideology presented in a centuries old book full of myths and legends? What ever happened to the basic ability to understand and judge based on a simple perception of the situation or facts at hand?

Efficacy of Prayer


I would be interested in your thoughts on the following excerpt. It was taken from an article written in 2007 related to the efficacy of prayer in a medical setting.

Intercessory prayer is a request to God to change his or her mind about the already established plan for the universe and make it go another way. Of course, this implies that a perfect deity’s plans, which would (by definition) have to be perfect, should now be altered at the urging of an imperfect being.

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You must “register” to read the entire article. If you’re interested, let me know in the comments and I’ll provide the link.

Adult Behavior

One of my favorite bloggers recently posted the following list. It was written by John Perry Barlow, American poet, essayist, cattle rancher and lyricist for the Grateful Dead. Mr. Barlow recently died at the age of 70.

The list is titled the “25 Principles of Adult Behavior,” and I felt it was well worth sharing. Many of the “principles” are common sense, but too often we simply don’t put them into action … especially in the blogging world.

  1. Be patient. No matter what.
  2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him in the same language and tone of voice.
  3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
  4. Expand your sense of the possible.
  5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
  6. Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
  7. Tolerate ambiguity.
  8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
  9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
  10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
  11. Give up blood sports.
  12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
  13. Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
  14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
  15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
  16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
  17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.
  18. Admit your errors freely and soon.
  19. Become less suspicious of joy.
  20. Understand humility.
  21. Remember that love forgives everything.
  22. Foster dignity.
  23. Live memorably.
  24. Love yourself.
  25. Endure.