What Religion does to People.

11 12 2010

I had the misfortune to discover this wordpress blog tonight, as you know, I am completely over religion, the threats of an eternity in hell, the promise of an eternity in heaven… but only if you’re impossibly good, and most of all because of bigots who call themselves patriots and think that they’re so much more righteous than you and I because they carry a book in their hand which was probably written by a gang of pot smoking hermits.

I have lived through cancer, I saw my relatives with it, several of my most wonderful animals and I had it myself, and I have talked about this fairly often on this very blog, you may search for it if you wish.

What I read in this persons blog, was cruel, thoughtless and downright mean, if that is what religion does to people, then I don’t want any part of it.

When I was diagnosed with Cancer, I had the best oncologist I could get, I had the best surgeon, and a wonderful dedicated bunch of doctors and nurses who got me through, it was science which has allowed me to continue living, not mumbo-jumbo and imaginary friends in the sky.

And although I am an Atheist, I am loved, by friends, family and my beautiful household animals, and their encouragement pushed me to keep going when I wanted desperately to stop having chemo, it was this, not prayers that I value.

I don’t care who you are, no book or made up faith should allow anyone to become the kind of person who would write anything like this, and I sincerely hope that the time will come when people will drop religion and walk into the future with those of us who are now free of it, instead of digging your nails into the dirt and trying to drag us all back into the 17th century.

Here is a transcript of the page, just in case it’s deleted, I want everyone to see this.

***

Obama implies he’s not a believing Christian
Posted on August 15, 2009 by GodsGadfly| 2 Comments

“I just lost my grandmother last year. I know what it’s like to watch somebody you love, who’s aging, deteriorate and have to struggle with that,” an impassioned Obama told a crowd as he spoke of Madelyn Payne Dunham. He took issue with “the notion that somehow I ran for public office or members of Congress are in this so they can go around pulling the plug on grandma.”

I know people are going to call this a stretch, but one thing I’ve experienced first hand, and through many conversations, is how different the death experience for those who have faith and those who don’t.

One person’s “agonizing” death from cancer may be a time of family togetherness, all-night prayer vigils, hand holding and hugging and hymnody. Another’s death really is agony: dark-rooms, somber relatives, no one speaking, everyone standing at a distance.

We had a big conversation about this at my Carmelite meeting a few months ago. People told amazing stories of relatives’ deathbed conversions. Some talked about relatives who had no faith, whose deaths were *horrible.* “You could feel the demons in the room,” said one lady of her brother-in-law’s death experience. He was writhing in the bed, screaming. Suddenly, he asked for a priest. They got the priest who’d been waiting outside, blocked by the atheist relatives. The priest received the dying man into the Church, and the whole room changed.

When you hear liberals talk about death, they talk about the agonizing nature of it. And the liberals, and the media, just don’t get it. They think people have a “choice” about “end of life” care (to a certain extent, we do). They say that the Schiavo case was a matter of “choice” and “family decisions” in which the government had no place (even though it had been in court for years, and the federal involvement was merely giving the family a chance at an appeal to someone other than the corrupt judge who always ruled in Michael’s favor).

But you don’t have the choice not to accept basic nutrition. You have to the choice to refuse medical care, under certain circumstances . You do *not* have the choice to turn down basic nutrition or hydration, even to the point of refusing to provide nutritoin or hydration to a dying person when one has pulled the plug.

But his talk of the agonizing experience of watching his grandmother’s death–and how much did he actually experience? Was it agonizing because of his guilt of putting his own ambitions above family?–betrays the fact that he thinks death is something fearful.

Years ago, before my heart surgery, the topic was being discussed at a Cursillo Ultreya. Members were discussing their ailing parents and how sad it was they were dying in their 80s or whatever, and Dad said, “When John dies, it will be the happiest day of our lives. All he wants is to go to Heaven, and why should we be sad that he gets his heart’s desire?”

***

Here is the original link, you can comment on my page, as I’m sure the only people who will be allowed to post at their end will be those who agree with their twisted sentiments.

Wolfie!

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10 responses

11 12 2010
Coralie

Well stated Wolfie, life is meant to be lived and wishing your life away so you can go to that dreamland in the sky and make all you relies happy is just ridiculous.

12 12 2010
GodsGadfly

Thank you for your harsh prejudicial judgements based upon one post of my blog. I’m sorry, but you are the one who’s cruel and hateful. Acknowledging the fact that I live with a health condition that causes sudden death, and being at peace with that fact, is NOT ridiculous.

I have a genetic disorder called Marfan syndrome. I was diagnosed at the age of 2. I’ve lived every day of my life in pain, and religion is the only thing that’s added any meaning to this worthless existence.

The life expectancy for a male with Marfan syndrome without medication or lifestyle restrictions is 20. I had an aortic root replacement at 19, for a 5.5 cm aneurysm that was about to dissect, after being on medication and an extremely restricted lifestyle my entire life. A post-operative Marfan can suffer sudden death from an unexpected aortic dissection or from the artificial valve tearing at the stitches.

If you think it is cruel of me to say that I look forward to Heaven, then you are the one who’s twisted, and you’re merely proving my point about how bitter and angry atheists are.

I presently have leaks in all four of my heart valves, including the artificial one. I have mitral valve prolapse. I have a 3.9 cm aneurysm in my descending aorta. I have a tortuous and redundant carotid artery (simply put, it’s twisted around itself like a pretzel, and one day will burst open, and I’ll suffer a massive stroke which, if it doesn’t kill me, will cost me most of my faculties). I have a brain aneurysm and a venous ectasia (an enlarge vein in the brain).

I have to keep my blood pressure at levels where I can barely function in order to keep from having chest pain and transitory ischemic attacks. I have constant pressure in my back where the aneurysm is pressing against my spine. I use a wheelchair to get around most of the time outside the house and half the time inside the house. About a month ago, I woke up and *had* to use my wheelchair all day because I couldn’t feel my legs.

I’m sorry that you haven’t come to terms with your health problems. Don’t be hateful to me because I’ve come to terms with mine.

I just acknowledge that, no matter what I do, my life is in God’s hands. It is my responsibility to my God that makes me want to live at all, because my life isn’t very great from any worldly measure. But I also know that it doesn’t matter how much medication I take or whatever other means I pursue: if it’s my time, it’s my time, and I’m ready for that.

Are you?

12 12 2010
GodsGadfly

And how is saying that we *don’t* have the right to deny legitimate medical care (and more importantly, that we don’t have the right to deny basic nutrition to someone) saying that I want us to deny science and go back to the 17th Century?

12 12 2010
del_detriment

Dear GodsGadfly,

Wolfie wasn’t criticising your feelings and beliefs with regard to your own health condition – but I’m sure you know that. You’re just trying to play the victim card to make Wolfie look like a cruel athiest who doesn’t care about others’ suffering, whilst completely ignoring the VERY VALID point he raised about the OTHER claims made in your original post.

If I’m interpreting Wolfie’s words correctly – and please, Wolfie, correct me if I’m wrong – he is angry about your allegation that the experience of dying non-religious family members includes “dark-rooms, somber relatives, no one speaking, everyone standing at a distance”. In short, a lack of love.

I, too, have experienced cancer; my own and that of others close to me. I, too, live with a potentially life-threatening condition that may claim my life at any second. In the past year, I have also witnessed the slow and painful death of three of my family members.

In all of those instances, I (and/or my family members) were loved, cherished, comforted and supported. In those darkest of times, we joked, we reminisced, we hugged, we cried and we laughed. My family does not believe in God – and for the record, I expect you to respect our decision in the same way that I respect yours – but we most certainly love and care for each other. Religion is not a prerequisite for compassion.

Your faith gives you strength in the face of adversity and that’s fantastic. I’m genuinely happy you’ve found something that helps you deal with your situation. But I think you really need to look up the definition of ‘faith’. According to FreeDictionary.com, for example, faith is “A belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence”. In other words, you CHOOSE to believe in your God, without any reliable evidence that such a being exists. Again, that’s fine by me. Whatever gets you through the night.

But there is no reason to judge, or condem, or insult those who choose NOT to believe in the existence of your God. And there is NO basis to your claim that dying loved ones of people who do not believe in God are somehow treated with less care, less compassion and less love than those of religious families. How is the choice to believe in something (or not) an effective method of assessing character? My teenage son doesn’t believe in Santa any more…should I abandon all hope and throw him out of the house?

Honestly, the decision to not believe in something that cannot be incontrovertibly proven is not cause to hate someone or suggest that they have no human qualities.

I really do wish you the best of luck with your health and I’m genuinely glad you’ve found something that makes your illness easier to deal with. You just need to accept that what works for you, does not work for everyone.

15 12 2010
Wolfie Rankin

No, my life is not in Gods hands, because there’s no such thing as a God, is my life in the hooves of the great purple unicorn?, Have I been blessed by the flying spaghetti monster?, No. I recovered from my cancer due to the speed of going to hospital, combined with the recent medical techniques which saved me. I owe much to Mr. Tesla, who invented the x-ray machine, and which the radiotherapy machine was adapted from. to the scientists who discovered what certain chemicals did to cancer cells, and my Oncologist who monitored me, to my Surgeon and dedicated nursing staff.

I would be interested, when you get through something particularly bad, do you call it a miracle and praise a pretend God or do you thank who truly deserves it, your doctors?

It annoys me so much when someone is rescued and they leap about thanking God, when some brave person risked their life to save this person.

Until God shows up in my house and lifts a finger to do some dusting, he’s not getting any praise whatsoever.

I did have my doubts, and you may spot some here, but it’s mostly because of the home culture I was bought up in, but I’m over it, I spent years praying for myself and others, and I may as well have been talking to the bedside lamp, wasting years of my life when I should have just been happy with who I am as a person.

I have friends and family, and my dog looking out for me, and they’re all very very real, and I love them all dearly.

15 12 2010
GodsGadfly

And why did the “brave person” risk his or her life?
You totally misunderstand prayer and providence, which, by your own admission, probably comes from being raised in a family who don’t understand it properly themselves.

It’s called Providence. My faith is not about expecting God to be a Cosmic vending machine. My faith is about the fact that this world *stinks*, sin is undeniable, and there *has* to be something better.

My faith is about the fact that Christ died not to save me from suffering but to teach me *HOW* to suffer. My faith is about realizing that love means sacrifice. Love is choosing to suffer for someone else; not using someone else for one’s own pleasure, such that only those who bring pleasure and convenience are worthy of love.

When bad things happen, I look at how much worse they could have been, and I see how God’s hand of protection was still there, and if I cannot feel God’s protection, I ask myself if I was *deserving* of it, and I do my best to amend.

After all, a relationship with God is no different than any other loved one. He wants us to love Him, freely, and He doesn’t force us to love Him. He doesn’t force us by striking every nonbeliever with lightning, and He doesn’t force us by “appearing in our living rooms and doing the dusting.” St. Teresa of Avila spent over 20 years in the convent as a lukewarm nun, and then, when she tried improving her spiritual life, she felt no fruit in it. It took her years of asceticism and contemplation, and then she started receiving profound visions, levitating, etc.

And she says that if Jesus *had* appeared to her before that stage in her life, she’d have been doomed. Doubt gives us the excuse of ignorance, and when God intervenes so profoundly and directly, we don’t have the excuse of doubt.

I have seen God’s hand in my life *many* times, not denying the role human beings have played–it’s all one thing. But God provides the *opportunities*.

In 1996, when I was homebound with severe fatigue and pain, and not sure what was happening since my aorta had shown no growth at my last echo, my mom happened to see an announcement that a Marfan syndrome surgeon was speaking in Columbia, and that he was from MCG in Augusta, 2 hours from where we lived. She sent him my records, and he agreed to see me, and it turned out my aorta had grown a half a centimeter in less than 4 months and had become unstable. I would have had to go to Maryland, Texas or Washington State to find a surgeon with his qualifications, and he was 2 hours from my house. He scheduled an “elective” operation for the earliest date, and when he actually got inside, he saw that my aorta was ready to dissect. If I’d had the surgery a week later, I would have died, and if I hadn’t found him, I would have died. That’s not Providence?

I can’t count how many times I’ve had a new job come through *right* in time, or how many times we desperately needed cash and an unexpected check came in the mail.

Even your post on my blog was a sign of Providence (as well as Demonic Attack). I don’t know if you bothered to read my replies on your site, but on Saturday I took promises as a Secular Carmelite. You have the same last name as one of my friends. When I got home and saw a reply by “Rankin” to a post where I specifically talked about my Carmelite group, I thought it was a reply from my friend. Instead, it was your post. To have someone with that name on *that* day pull up *that* post that was over a year and a half old? To have such a direct attack on a post where I was baring my heart on deep sentiments?

There was a time in my life when hateful words such as yours at that moment in time would have driven me to despair, but I only laughed at how amazing God is, and how silly the Devil is in his utterly predictable attempts to discourage me every time I make progress in my spiritual life.

I guess you’re one of those people who think dogs have more rights than babies.

And you wonder why I find atheists repulsive. You people want to kill babies, disabled people, minorities, or whomever else you find inconvenient, and then as soon as you’re the ones in trouble, you demand society serve you, even killing other people so you can cannibalize their organs.

15 12 2010
Coralie

“this world *stinks*, sin is undeniable, and there *has* to be something better”

If this is your view of your world, then yes there is something better.

Change your view, start seeing the beauty that surrounds you, start living your life with a smile on your face and love in your heart. I have known quite a few Christians and the real ones:

1. don’t run around with a badge on their chest saying I am a Christian
2. don’t spend more time trying to convert people than helping people
3. don’t quote the bible to make a point
4. Do… accept people for who they are and not what faith or culture they grew up in.

I don’t believe in your idea of God or religion but I do believe in a power mightier than I, and that is the power of love, hope and charity to all.

Sadly Gadfly, you don’t realise that you and you alone have the power to change your world.

Fill your heart with love instead of doctrine and you will make the first steps toward a better world for all.

“If you must love your neighbour as yourself, it is at least as fair to love yourself as your neighbour”
Nicholas De Chamfort.

15 12 2010
Wolfie Rankin

I said I came from a very religious background, My parents grew up with the Salvation Army, Protestants… One of the family was in their band. Religion was all my Mother knew, born in 1924, things were bad back then and she didn’t have the opportunity to go to high school or experiencing science as I had done.

Although I have thought there was something wonky about religion since I was a kid. It’s basically Santa or The Easter Bunny for adults… be good and you’ll get a lovely present at the end.

If there had been a God, then why did I get cancer in the first place? Testing me? By making me sick? By killing my parents, my Sister and some of my wonderful pets (dear family members). If that is the work of a loving God, then he can go and fuck himself with a 40ft barbed-wire dildo.

I think Dogs have as much rights as Babies, They can certainly love you as much as Babies, probably more-so, I love my dog, Katie, as everyone would know from all my photos of her which I upload regularly.

The World is over capacity with people, the number one cause of climate change is people, There’s simply no need to play “happy families” anymore, and procreate. I just want to be happy with my friends and my animals. I didn’t see myself as the Fatherly type anyway, so I chose my “fur kids” over adding more humans to this poor Earths woes, My own choice.

If I were some sort of endangered creature who was required to breed, ok, maybe I would’ve bothered, but I simply don’t care. Some of you may feel that I am Gay, and sure I have leanings, but I feel, if I were to be honest with you, that my sexual status is “Omnisexual”.

Each day I get to walk freely with my Dog, there’s no rushing in the morning, no yelling, no sports days to worry about, My time is my own, and I guess I always wanted that. Though I miss my Mum and Dad and those who have passed, dreadfully.

I don’t want to kill babies, though I feel that abortion is a womans right. It can’t be an easy choice to make, but there are times when it’s required.

I would accept euthanasia if I had cancer again and was in terrible pain… My dog was put down and I said that if ever I’m in so much pain, that I hope I can get it too.

Organ donation is amazing, and has managed to keep good people alive when their own body was incapable. there’s a girl in the UK right now who may be dead before Christmas unless she gets a new set of lungs, her story is an all too common one, there are so many waiting for organs which might prolong their life, and I support it.

The sad part is one person will still have to die for one to live, but medicine also promises to grow organs in
the lab, so perhaps one day we won’t need to use organs from those who have been in accidents.

And stem cells look to be the promise of a new era of medicine, Yesterday I saw a report about a man in Berlin who has been cured of HIV with the use of stem cells, he’s very sick, but he doesn’t have AIDS anymore, this is promising.

I strongly support Stem Cell research, this will enable people with broken spines to walk again, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. To cure things like Parkinsons Disease which My dear Uncle suffered from, which was horrendous… none of this would be a miracle, it’s science, and it will happen in time.

Your attitude speaks volumes, you say that you’re a part of this century, but if you clearly do not approve of these things I speak of then you certainly don’t belong in this time frame.

My Mother who was angry with me as a child for being “A rotten heathen, Just like your Father” began to doubt her faith, she told of the man who went to war and saw too much and gave up church, declaring “There is no God”.

Perhaps watching the documentaries on TV began to soften her, she was an intelligent woman who could see the logic of what she was being told, and strongly doubted the story of Noah.

In the days the Bible was written, it would be easy to think a Man could keep several (not two) of each animal on the Ark, Education is not like it is today, zooming around online, via this marvel of science called “the internet”. What did most people in the middle east think was all the worlds animals? cows, horses, dogs and cats, goats, sheep, camels? Did they know of the Animals in Africa, Asia or Australia? I doubt it.

If you sat and watched a documentary on nature, even if you know a lot about animals, there’s the likelihood of hearing about a species that you never knew of, that’s fair to say, right?

Now if Noah were to have all the animals with him, which we know of today, plus the ones that we don’t. That’s at least two each of roughly two million species, meaning there had to be about four million animals on this Ark.

That would have to be a very very large boat, it would have to be larger than a supertanker, and made of wood? good grief!

But if you believe in this, which I clearly do not, then perhaps you can try stuffing two thousand people in your average sized house, and then feeding and cleaning up after them for a month, maybe if you pray hard enough, you can do it. *

* That’s Sarcasm, not me thinking that praying works, because in my experience, it doesn’t.

If you try this experiment, please put it on youtube, I could do with a laugh.

16 12 2010
Wolfie Rankin

Del, frankly I’m fed up with religion, it gets forced down kids throats by parents and certain backward education institutions who feel creationism is somehow much more real than a Harry Potter novel, so kids aren’t taught facts, but a lot of utter nonsense.

And of course religion has held back scientific achievement and medical science, we may have had cures for cancer and non polluting energy by now had we been bought up on science rather than wasting away on religion.

Then there’s the wars it has started, not only on the world stage, but between families. My Mother told me of a time when She was a child, when Catholics and Protestants couldn’t marry, it was looked upon with the same sort of disdain that people treat Gay marriage with today.

So people who were completely in love with each other couldn’t marry.

There are other places where religion goose-steps all over all kinds of personal freedoms, like expressions of love, Homosexuals and wives who have an affair can be executed.

None of this is acceptable, none of it.

Wolfie!

(Not angry with you, it was a great comment, just stating how I feel)

16 12 2010
del_detriment

Wolfie,

I completely agree with you. I have nothing but contempt for organised religion, for all the reasons you stated and more. The whole concept is abhorrent on so many levels. I didn’t mean to suggest that I ‘approve’ of, or respect, GodsGadsfly’s religion. I don’t. (At all).

When I said I’m happy he’s found something to help him deal with his illness, I meant it strictly in that sense. I hate to see people upset or in pain, and if faith (or medication, or meditation, or a security blanket, or a lucky charm) brings someone comfort, then I *am* genuinely glad they have it. Do I think he’s made a clever decision? Nope. But I have to respect his right to make it.

I’m a firm believer in people having the freedom to make their own choices, but I really struggle with that when it comes to people choosing religion. I don’t want to trample on their right to their own beliefs, but at the same time, I find those beliefs utterly appalling.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins”. I have come to feel that way about religion. While I don’t agree with it, I will respect a person’s right to believe what they want… until it begins to affect my life. If you choose not to have sex before marriage because your religion forbids it, that’s fine by me. Try and legislate what *I* can do with *my* body in *my* bedroom, and I will summon your Devil and raise (your) Hell! 🙂

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