Thursday, April 30, 2015

Were All Religions Cults At Some Point?

I've been reading Going Clear by Lawrence Wright.  It's about the history of L.Ron Hubbard and Scientology.  Reading it is like watching a car's horrible and you just can't look away.  You can read the book if you want to know more.  I do suggest it, but it is horrible.  Well, the topic is terrible, the book is well written. 

The book is careful not to say that Scientology brainwashes it's people through isolation and disconnection from actual life and the world, but it is implied that it does.  Right or wrong, for this post, I'm going to connect those dots and say that they do brainwash people to keep people in their 'religion'.  (side note, I believe more in The Flying Spaghetti Monster as a religion than Scientology, you don't have to pay the Flying Spaghetti Monster to learn more about his tenants.)  I just can't stop thinking about this book and's the dark side of democracy, of America, of Freedom of Speech and Religion, and of Capitalism.  It works slower than the Hitler and the Nazi's, but Democracy has always been slower than Fascism for change, but I see little difference...maybe lack of complete success?

When I was in college, I belonged to a campus religious group that were Born Again Non-Denomination Christians.  I went with close friends and I liked learning about Christianity in a way I had never learned before.  Before this, I was convinced that most Christian friends I had were brainwashed...nothing they said made logical sense!  And then they would criticize me for having an interest in astrology.  It was just so confusing and unfair to me.  When I joined the Jesus Group in college (I call all of my bible studies and religious groups I join Jesus Groups because it's easier to explain to my non-religious friends) I thought that since it was Non-Denominational, it would be open to more beliefs systems and look at all the different types of Christianity.  In my hometown, there is a lot of tension between denominations and we have a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Christian Reformed Church.  Someone recently mentioned to me that as parts of a church disagree, the break-off and form another church in the same town.  We have 30+ churches and the rumor mill says they are well known for fighting among each other.  So, I thought I had escaped this by joining a non-denominational church. 

I was very wrong.

Turns out that Non-Denominational means that all other denominations are wrong and theirs is the only right one.  Tricksy tricksy.  I sat through a whole talk once on how amazing God is because in the old testament, he made the shadows go he turned the Earth backwards to do that.  The conclusion of the meeting was to discuss how if we don't believe that literally, well, then how can I call my self a proper Christian?  Having Faith meant to whole heartedly jump in and believe literally and fundamentally everything in the Bible.  Since I can't believe that the Earth rotated backwards, I felt very alienated and wrong and like a bad person.  My Faith was challenged by my Church many times, and I was forced to pray and question what I believed, and it did draw me closer to God and it did strengthen my Faith.  It also, simultaneously pushed me farther and farther way from that Jesus Group and the people in it.  That's an odd place to be, loving God and Jesus and also being very angry and unhappy with Christians.  To the point that I don't like to belong to a Church or group because I don't like the be around other Christians.  I really really don't like being told what to do or what to believe, especially if there is an unspoken assumption that if I question or dissagree, I will be judged and ousted.  Or prayed for! LOL. That really makes me laugh.

We also had lots of discussions and lectures on how if we truly want to be more like Jesus and to be closer to God and to make him happy, we need to give up all things modern medicine, non-Christian music, books, movies, tv, and especially non-Christian friends.  Even your thoughts, if impure, are sins.  The thought is the starting point of sin, so if you can keep your thoughts sin free, you will live sin free.  Doesn't that sound like the start of brainwashing?  I spent far too much time feeling guilty and like I was betraying God because I hated Creed, the Left Behind Series, and didn't like Mandy Moore movies, and I loved the Gorillaz, System of a Down, Independence Day, and, you know, regular human stuff.

After I went to these meetings and did happy Christian sin-free things with these people (except once when I was forced to watch the unrated sex scene in The Notebook over and over again), I would go out partying with my Buddhist boyfriend.

I have been "saved" three times before I left high school, once by surprise attack, and once or twice in college.  Now that I know I am a Christian and no longer need to be saved, people are still trying to save me all the time!!!  They just sort of ignore me when I say, I am a Christian.  I have been Saved.  I chose to remain Catholic.  Before I was married, Christians would lecture me on the Unequal Yoke (I always hear Yolk in my head) Bible verse on why I should break up with Josh.  Since he is not a Christian, I am like an Ox carrying more than an equal share of the yoke of teaching my child christianity and saving myself or something.  The oddest thing is that someone tried to 'save' me since I've moved home and am married.  I could tell it was a script and when she got to the Unequal Yolk part, it just didn't work...I'm already married and divorce is a big no-no.  HOW THE HELL DO YOU SAVE A SINNER LIKE ME?!?!


In the college Jesus Group, being baptised was a big deal and I went to several baptisms and I was even re-baptized in the Pacific Ocean.  It was not the best most happy experience that the group said it would be.  I felt guilty and like I was betraying my family and my faith (which I felt every time I was 'saved' and accepted Christ into my life...I was born with him just doesn't make sense).  I have never felt the need to be saved my whole life (leading to my suspicion that Born Again Christians are brainwashed) because I was saved as a baby.  As a Catholic, I was baptised as a baby.  There are pictures, there was a party, I already did it.  Just because I don't remember it and just because my parents didn't push religion on me, doesn't mean God wasn't there and that God wasn't at work.  But since it was a non-denominational group, my past thoughts and beliefs don't count...what the group thinks is what counts.

I did not like that group because they did try to brainwash me, inadvertently, I'm sure, but I would do it again.  It forced me to face myself and my beliefs and I formed a personal relationship with God that was amazing, and I'm so glad I came out stronger and more independent than I was before.  At the same time I would discourage anyone (especially my children) from going through that.  There are easier ways.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Shooting Star's a Meteor That's Heading For Us All

"A shooting star is not a star
It's not a star at all
A shooting star's a meteor
That's heading for a fall us all

A shooting star is not a star
Why does it shine so bright?
The friction as it falls through air
Produces heat and light

A shooting star, or meteor
Whichever name you like
The minute it comes down to Earth
It's called a meteorite"

 I only changed one bit to that song.  You can see where I crossed it out.  I like my version better.

I was marching for peace with the Women In Black - they mourn violence and offers options to counter that violence, beginning in Israel in 1988 - last Saturday in Hesperia, and afterwards we had a nice lunch at the local diner.  (Only restaurant?).  At then end of a lunch with terrible service and our server (ironically a server lady from my past) disappeared, I went up to pay, per usual.  The rest of the ladies, having more life experience than me, carried ones and cash in small bills, so they just left their payment on the table and left.  I had to wait by the register, wrangling a toddler who was intent on escaping to the outside world of sunshine and refusing to sit in her stroller (hence, why I hate strollers...can't wrangle them and a kid at the same time).  A very nice young girl came up from clearing the bills/money off our table.  She rang up my bill, and it took forever!  Finally, I noticed she was flustered and she said, It's not working! Looking, the computer says 0$ but your bill says $9.93.  I asked if I could just give her my twenty instead of a credit card.  She looks at me and goes, I dont' know what to do!  quietly and in a terrified manner, half hoping I could work the computer for her.  I said, "well I don't know what to do either!"  and I hoped that I sounded as supportive and not angry as possible.  I wasn't...but Lilly was escaping and I was distracted.  She went and got the manager, and he was one of the best manager type managers I've ever encountered.  He seemed more genuine in his happy banter than most.  He rings me up and I hand him my twenty, and I say, can I just have $7 back?  And no, that would be much too confusing for him and he asks if he can just give me the change and I can take care of the tip.  Okay, okay.  Lilly is past the first door to the outside now and heading for the last and final door to freedom.  I get my change and pick out three dollars, and ask the manager where to set them, as all the money from our table is in front of me precariously balanced on the edge of the register and the table is cleaned and I haven't seen our server in over 30 min.  Who even gets this tip???  The manager is all, I don't know where to put it!  So I left it on the pile of cash.  I hope it goes to that scared girl who doesn't know how to work the computer yet.  

I was that scared girl many times in my life.  I hope she learns to take charge of her problems and not hope that someone else will be kind and help her out.  People are usually not that kind.  That's why I march with the Women in Black.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chemicals Are All The Things

My last post was quite an emotional outburst, and public emotional outbursts usually end terrible for me.  I haven't been brave enough yet to go back to it.  Someday I will, and someday I will speak on sexual education of the young.

But until then, I have another problem with the internet, and that is how often I'm forced to come across people I like, know, love, respect, or just are regular Facebook acquaintances, posting things that seem like science, but is actually pseudoscience.  And, as Josh recently found out, not everyone knows the "P" in pseudoscience is silent.  I'm here to tell you it is.

Next, this is my newest pet peeve, and that is the broad use of the word "chemicals".  This Article and This One are excellent better researched articles on this topic than what I'm going to provide for you.  Technically, you could call me out as a hypocrite for spouting my opinions without properly researching them first. The articles are about the Food Babe, maybe you've heard of her? I haven't, but I don't circuit the healthy living all natural food blogs because they are too full of pseudoscience, much exhibited by the Food Babe.  But she states that “There is just no acceptable level of any chemical to ingest, ever.”And that is what irks me the most.  The blatant over use of the word "chemical".  Did anyone take chemistry in high school?  It's basic science knowledge, and I'm not being all intellectual here, I do mean BASIC science, that everything is made of chemicals.  I'll repeat in Internetese:  CHEMICALS ARE ALL THE THINGS! 

Waters' chemical equation is H2O
Salts' chemical equation is NaCl or if you will, Halite, or sodium chloride.  All mean the same thing.
Chlorine is a chemical that is put in our drinking water to kill bacteria.  Would you rather drink pool water or lake water or ocean water?  One is filled with chlorine, one is filled with fish poop, and one is filled with salt and fish poop.
There is a chemical equation for all organic things...lots of OH's and C's in them.  Josh could fill you in on these, I never took organic chemistry.
The sand at the beach is mostly SiO2. Or Silica, or quartz, if you will.  Unless you are at an ocean beach because some of them are made up of carbonatious chemicals, commonly known as sea shells, or Tums/chalky antacids, or as I call them, Mommy's night time candy.
 Vinegar is a known superfood cureall make everything okay.  Not only is it a's also an acid.  Shit.
All oils, including the most precious of all oils, coconut oil, are chemicals.  You break those chemicals apart (a glycerin chemical connected to 3 fatty acids) and separate them, and you get biodiesel.  No matter what oil it all makes biodiesel. 

Milk is a chemical, and it's ever so slightly acidic (6.7 and 7 is neutral), but is close to neutral.  That's why you put it in your eyes after you touch them with capsaicin (Follow link for chemical equation and to learn its' history).  Capsaicin is the chemical in jalepenos that makes them spicy and hot.  The milk's pH helps neutralize the pain.

The air we breath is a chemical.

Now, I'm not saying all chemicals are good, but please, please, so you don't look like a giant dufus, think about what you are saying and what it really means.  You cannot communicate your message well, if you aren't saying what you think you are saying. 

And please, never believe what you read on the internet without research, confirmation, and peer reviewed credibility. I'm skeptic about the peer reviewed part though, groupthink is a real thing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Born The Victim

I am mighty angry today.

A Facebook post just reminded me of why I hate the world and the people in it.  All the people who live in chosen ignorance and promote rape culture among our young boys.  I don't feel like giving people the benefit of the doubt today.  So if my words make you angry, be an adult and get over it, or relook at yourself, maybe I'm like and I hit a truth cord.

Also, Lilly took my lipstick and colored the counter with it.  She also made me take a bath before 8am.  She stood there and played with her bathtoys and got wet and got the floor all wet, but would not get in the tub with me, even with clothes on.  She communicates by yelling and then crumpling to the floor in a tantrum.  I have NO IDEA what's wrong.  And she's mad at me for not instantly knowing.

Shit.  I have to go out and do errands.  Luckily I just remembered, it has to be done by today.  I think I will go to Newaygo, the used book store and this other antique odds and ends store nearby. 

My mom turns twenty nine today.  And even though I'm angry typing, I'm very happy about this.  She makes turning older super exciting.  Mandy and I agree, will our hair turn grey like hers?  We both hope so and look for grey streaks regularly.  Mandy already has a 10 hair one.  Mine are still sprinkled.  Her life just gets more fun as it goes on.  My moms' life, not Mandy's.  Mandy is an I tease her.

Now, what got me angry?  When I was in high school, I'd want to wear certian shirts or clothes or want to hang out with guy friends (FRIENDS) alone.  But no one would let me.  As you can figure my parents were the main perpetrators, but they were supported by an older mentor from Young Life, and other adults I trusted.  So, okay, that's fine.  But, when I asked, why? Why can't I wear this shirt?  "Because it shows your cleavage"  But why does that matter? It's just my body! What's wrong with my body? I can't help having cleavage! I didn't even know I had cleavage until someone told me.  It was always a source of concern and worry and stress for certain adults in my life that my boobs were so big.

So, then I'd ask, "why can't I show my cleavage?"  And the answer I got from all adults I asked is "It'll will make the boys think."  I asked what will they think?  And the young life lady shuddered and said, you don't want to know what they think.  WTF!?! And that's the most answer I ever received.  I still am not exactly sure what it is that the boys will think, and why don't I want them to think it?  I'm just don't know!

The best solution to my scientific teenage mind was to wear these cleavage clothes and act and dress in the way that makes the boys think when adults aren't looking, so that I can try and figure out what it is they are thinking.  And as far as I could tell, they were thinking the same things I was.  So, I was right and adults are wrong.  And I stick by this.  They should have been honost with me, maybe I wouldn't have been such a tease.  Because I was all, You can look at me as much as you want but never ever touch me, all the way until I got pregnant and lost my young woman/girl body.  Now I have a mom body, and I just don't have time for looks any more nor cares.

And that's what the face book post did, was put into words all of my frustrations with this situation: (it was followed by pic of a girl in leggings and a long tshirt)

"Today, my sister was sent home from school for wearing the clothes in the picture below. And I'm sorry but I have to stand up for my family and for women who are degraded and judged for their bodies and clothing everyday. People wonder why women feel insecure about their bodies or what they wear.. And it's beause you're told your clothing is inappropriate when you're completely fully clothed, even when you're not showing cleavage or anything. How about instead of body shaming women, school systems should start teaching 15-18 year old boys to stop degrading women with their eyes and contributing to the rape culture of today's society. Bottom line, girls cannot go to school in comfortable clothes THAT COVER EVERYTHING because school systems are afraid that hormonal boys won't be able to control their eyes and minds. And that is such a bigger problem than worrying about clothing. No, I do not believe that all boys in middle school/high school degrade young women or sexualize their bodies. That is my point.. this is not an inappropriate outfit, yet some are worried it might be seen that way, so they send girls home to change to try to avoid an issue and THAT is the problem. Not to mention, when you send someone home because of innappropriate clothing, you're taking away from their eduction. So I guess it's more important for boys to not have distractions (even when they're aren't any) than a woman's education. When will people realize how big of an issue this really is?"

Who was telling those boys not to "think things" about girls?  Anyone? Or was it all "boys will be boys"?  Why must I change who I am and change how I want to dress and express myself so that boys will not think sexy thoughts?  That's the same as saying the woman shouldn't have dressed that way if she didn't want to get raped.  We all know boys and rapists don't care what a woman is wearing,...they can imagine us naked all the same.