marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

I don't really care what you, personally, believe. Believe in God? Good for you. Believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster? I'm in love with that thing - excellent. Believe in no God at all? Awesome. Really. (You're also like I was between the ages of 0-24.) Believe there might be a God but you don't know who or what that's about? Wonderful (and also describes me between the ages of 24-32).

Believe you can't choose to believe in God anymore than you can choose to believe your foot is a potato? I'm awestruck at your powers of perception - no seriously, I am. Some of us come to very big decisions - like whether to marry, believe in God, have kids, rob convenience stores - after much wrestling, it seems.

That's what's both brilliant and just hilarious - the wrestling - the sheer number of brain cells some people work like they're on steroids in order to disprove any idea of God.

There's so much wrestling going on in this post and the comments that follow it that I have to finish reading them in between the migraines I keep getting trying to take all this obvious DEDUCTION and REASONING power in.

The deductive powers of the post, which I'd like to gleefully boast I inspired - and which in fact I did inspire, whether my name or link was used or not - are utterly exhausting (I swear, if nothing else, I'll sleep like a baby tonight).

It proves people waste tremendous time and energy arguing what they can't know, which in and of itself is absurd and makes me question their sanity. I think the only thing most sane people know is that you can't prove that there is a God (I'm solidly in this camp, despite numerous miraculous experiences that *do* sway me toward a more steadfast belief in him or at least in "something"). And you cannot prove that there isn't.

Anything beyond that is a waste of time - and ought to be an illegal waste of brain cycles.

If indeed there is no God, you haven't lost anything - not intellectually, not emotionally, nor physically - in believing there is, unless you take the hardline Christian approach - given to us by God's son - that in order to properly believe, you must sacrifice your property, your lifestyle, and your family in order to "follow him". It's a beautiful sacrifice but a hard life, so most people don't choose it, even if they do believe quite strongly.

Similarly, the idea that any moral code comes from God - and that you "sacrifice" in order to practice morality - is bizarre and insulting, since it implies we have no ability to make a moral code of our own without some great other-worldly influence upon us, or at least the idea of one, and it also implies that we would be just fine - perhaps better off - without morality, since without it we could have "more fun".

But it's illogical to say that doing what we want, even when it hurts others, is a "religious sacrifice". It's also illogical to say that it's part of an unwanted "moral code" thrust upon us by who knows who or what. Such views trivialize right and wrong beyond redemption. It's like saying you'd rather be an anarchist except for all the stupid laws holding you back - in which case I say pee or get the off the pot - nothing's holding you back, hypocrites.

I see such an illogical stance as the hallmark of psychopaths so determined to do what they want that they'll even blame the idea of God for there being any sense of right or wrong in the first place. Really, now.

Far from proving your intellectual capacity, you're proving to anyone with perception just the opposite - that you're like heathen, blaming people's supposedly self-imposed creation of an imaginary God for the icky morals that hold us back from actually "enjoying ourselves". Those damn religious nuts, ruining it for EVERYONE, even us smart and witty non-believers! But, hey...maybe the next life will be just as lawless as you seem to wish this world would be.

But in the meantime you're stuck with this world, ha ha.

And this world hangs its societal structure on an almost dizzying array of moral codes that you must follow whether you believe in God - or believe that morality only comes from false belief in God - or believe that God was imposed on us by authority figures in order to control our behavior (another insulting premise, since it implies humans are morons without some other human who's smarter and more all-knowing than the rest of us to lead us around by our noses) - or not.

So who cares if there is a God? Or whether or not you can control the act of believing in him? We're all going to die, anyway - and that really does end all arguments.

In the meantime, unbelievers waste more time and fizz debating the topic than it would take to build the next tower of Babel, while believers generally shut the heck up and believe what they want to believe.

I'm saying all this for a reason: This person actually hopes - wishes - desires! - to un-convert me by proselytizing on topics such as the Council of Nicea. So while I, a believer, say "live and let live", he, a supposed unbeliever, is actively trying to undo my hard-won beliefs. Why? I cannot answer this question. Can anyone?

I get what he's saying: that religion is a man-made dead-end designed to control us - those who "invented" it know it's no more useful than believing in the Easter Bunny, except from a "let's control the peoples" standpoint. Well, knock me over with a feather. This, my dear friends, is supposed to make me flee from any idea of God in terror. I just think it's so funny.

Non-believers act like they want to win some sort of mental Olympics with me and even each other. They could actually BUILD US GOD in the amount of time they waste in such futility. I'm glad your minds are so facile, so nimble, so sure, but do something more constructive with all that obvious technical brilliance than shoot the breeze with me - or anyone - about God.

Why can't you do that?

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

I take some of my more serious posts...seriously...and this post has been no exception. Some of the comments have kept me up at night - both the ones I'm getting and the ones I'm making. Maybe I shouldn't have written that post, because it's upset not just me but others, and I don't like anyone getting riled up over a stupid book review. I guess I *am* more diplomatic than I *act*, if that makes any sense (and no, it probably doesn't, because none of you really know me, except for what I write here)...

I've also been a little upset over the harshing on God, which I've been just as guilty of as anyone else, in the comments. But I'm not going to make myself sound or look like someone I'm not. Instead of leaving faith "kicking and screaming", as the author of my book review claims he did (but I have problems believing that since what he had was not faith in anything - just fear of a possibly eternal hell), I came into faith that way - rejecting God's selfish, unknowable plans, not wanting his power or his pain or his son, or any of his bullshit.

I wound up kind of liking, admiring, and being in favor of God - despite my initial rejection of and hatefulness toward him. It finally came about that I believed in him and wanted him in spite of that. My life feels better with him than without him - and yes, I have lived that from both sides, since I had no strong belief in God at all until I was between 28-30. I was a self-described atheist. Judaism was bullshit, Christianity was some wild cartoon, and if God existed at all, he was one scary dude, the very One I must avoid - at all costs.

I've changed a lot.

But one thing about me has never changed - I defend the underdogs. In fact, I love them.

Please unsubscribe if you don't like me for this or for defending God. I'm all about the unsubs this week, so go for it. )

In this version of "Marah Marie Defends The Underdog", it is God, in my own journal, who's under attack. So here comes my defense of him - but in his own words. You'll forgive me for this, of course - it is, after all, who I am.

And God said, don't be afraid
It is not as it seems
Hope is not a fairytale
Alive only in your dreams
And I am not the Butcher
Of all that is good
If only you could see -
If only you understood

Sorry to break up the party, but hey, I've had enough.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

I just got done reading a strange book: God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question -- Why We Suffer, by a self-described former man of God, Bart D. Ehrman. I've suffered most of my life in one fashion or another and wondered non-stop why others must suffer, so I figured this might be, if nothing else, a relevant look at why the Bible can't explain the unfathomable shock and pain of our lives.

Surprisingly, it wasn't.

It's just a tired take on everything you already know if you've previously read and absorbed the Bible. While I wouldn't call it a complete insult to one's intelligence, it comes close enough that I actually laughed through the first six chapters (it only has eight; it was during the last two chapters that I finally stopped laughing and got a little annoyed).

The biggest problem this book has is the author's patronizing attitude. He examines various stories and quotations from the Bible as though to elicit a non-stop reaction of, "OMG, I never thought of it THAT WAY!" and by his conspiratorial tone implies you should be as shocked and saddened by his interpretations of Biblical word as he is. I was hardly either. I've studied the Bible more or less "religiously", ha ha, for the last 10 years, and found no revelations within his interpretation that I haven't seen before or simply thought of myself.

The thing that dumbfounded me was that he could so obviously be after fame/glory/money in writing this book as a grabby follow-up to his first effort, whatever it was - I take it that book was generally well-received.

Amateur theologian that he is (how he got a job teaching his version of the Word at North Carolina's University of Chapel Hill is beyond me - from what I've heard, that's a good school, but the book clearly proves he's a lousy teacher), obviously uninspired by God, Jesus, or any idea of Good News, he tries to appeal to the populist vein in every heart by declaring that while suffering is something we must do for murky, unfathomable reasons, God stands outside of our suffering, does not participate in it, nor does he care about it.

As with Job, God will flat-out refuse to explain why we suffer, even if called upon it. Instead He will try to scare us to death, as he did Job, simply for questioning Him. Comforting thought, is that not?

Strangely enough, I don't disagree with God for refusing to explain. Who gives us the right to question Him (if you think the answer is a trippy little catch-22, yes, it is)?

I think Mr. Ehrman's falling out of belief is the best thing that's ever happened to him - or us - because it's saved us from his hypocrisy. His only motive for getting into the religious life was self-centered and immature - fear of Hell. If the only thing stopping you from declaring the Almighty a joke is fear He'll burn you eternally in a lake of fire for thinking so, then you don't believe in God and should never have bothered living, acting and speaking as though you did in the first place. You believe in protecting yourself. Those are two different things.

The last chapters turned my mood from mildly tickled to annoyed as he started throwing the big punches at God: he explains every book of the Prophets and the entire New Testament by saying they don't explain anything except conditions in each author's own times, that they don't offer predictions but instead are stories based on real events that happened up to centuries before each book was written, that the Afterlife is pure man-made Greco/Roman poppycock and so on. It's a thoroughly demoralizing - even agonizing - look at this man's reverse journey through faith.

His faith, let me remind you, never, not in his entire life, deepened beyond the point of thinking, "If there is a God, he will physically hurt me for the rest of my alleged Afterlife in a lake of fire for not believing in Him. So I better believe". He was a self-protectionist, not a man of God. If you're going to buy his version of what the Bible is - nothing more than men in robes who tell interesting stories - that's fine, because in a lot of instances, I think he's not entirely wrong. Just predictable. He has no imagination and no heart.

This book bothers - indeed, scares - me for the very fact that it may lead people away from faith before they ever get a deeper understanding of it - of how it feels to live in faith, of what purpose it serves not just here but in a possible Afterlife, and for how the former so-called man of God - a self-protecting hypocrite at best - may lead people to hate a more comforting way of life than a life without faith is. My reasons for being unable to forgive this are almost perfectly encapsulated within the next quotes:

when any mortal(even the most odd)
can justify the ways of man to God
i'll think it strange that normal mortals can
not justify the ways of God to man - ee cummings

If ee cummings had lived thousands of years ago, that one poem would surely be in the Bible. It's truer Word than most of the Psalms put together. And this...

For the rest, my brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things have honour, whatever things are upright, whatever things are holy, whatever things are beautiful, whatever things are of value, if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, give thought to these things.

Religion is the opiate of the people for a reason: it works. Even if not one word of the Bible is true, it's better - from a moral and emotional standpoint - to follow its instruction than it is to reject the Bible, God, Jesus, and the possibility of an Afterlife simply because life hurts and no one can explain why. Standing back from the Word won't make life hurt any less. For this logical fallacy alone (and yeah, it's a BIG fallacy!), I cannot support whatever message the author's trying to convey.