Christianity – Why I won’t be a part of it…Pt I

I’ve already posted a couple of times about Christian fundies and how much I dislike them, so this post just adds fuel to the already huge fire.

This post has been prompted by a report on the BBC website about two seperate groups of monks in Jerusalem who ended up having a mass brawl outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The BBC page linked below contains the whole story, along with footage of the event. It doesn’t really matter to me why they did it or what sparked it off. There is no reason good enough. As supposed devout Christians, they follow the Bible. Really, do they?? I think they need more lessons in how to read, not to mention the meaning of humility! I always thought Jesus is supposed to the be the role model for Christians? Isn’t that what’s shouted from every pulpit? So, what on earth were these monks thinking whilst punching and kicking each other? It beggars belief.

It was sickening to watch and just reinforced my disgust with the way people behave who are supposed to be leading the life as exemplified by that famous, mild mannered pacifist; Jesus. It’s a crazy world! I know they are of different sects, but please. These guys are not only monks, but also supposedly Christian!! Yet again, we have violence in the name of God.

If I wasn’t put off by lots and lots of other things about Christianity, this would certainly make me think twice about associating myself with the religion. No matter what reasoning you use, there is absolutely no excuse for people – who should really know better – doing something like this. When was the last time you saw Buddhist monks kicking seven bells out of each other?

How very, very sad.

The BBC news item is here:



Gillian Gibbons – Jailed for a simple mistake!

My heart goes out to Gillian Gibbons and her family today, as it has just been announced that the Sudanese authorities have decided to jail her for 15 days. It’s appalling!

For those living on the planet Mars: Gillian Gibbons is a British teacher who allowed some young children in her class (in Sudan) to name a Teddy Bear. They chose Muhammad as one of the names. She was arrested after some complaints, has spent the past five days in custody and has been sentenced this afternoon. Her sentence could have been up to six months in jail or 40 lashes! As it stands, she has another ten days to serve and will then face deportation. Her crime? Officially: insulting religion, inciting hatred, showing contempt for religious beliefs. All for letting children pick a name for a soft toy! Words cannot describe how ridiculous and pathetic that is.

Is it really so difficult to grasp the reason why people don’t like or don’t understand Islam when things like this happen. I make no apologies for feeling a sense of disgust with a religion so intolerant. It’s just unbelievable.

Any religion that cannot tolerate a simple mistake, criticism or anything deemed unacceptable without there being riots, violence or worse has nothing good going for it and I am glad I don’t belong. They should be ashamed of themselves.

And what of our intrepid Government? Well, the Foreign Office are “disappointed”. Strong words eh?? They are so busy trying not to make a scene and to be politically correct that they can’t even use a stronger word than “disappointed”. Whatever happened to the British spirit and backbone? Our Government should be making a big song and dance about it and demanding the whole case be dropped. Of course, that won’t happen because they wouldn’t want to spark more riots here in the UK by being seen to be bias against a particular religion. Crazy!

I sometimes wonder why I say I’m proud to be English.


Near Death Experience – Real or imaginary?

I’ve had a number of arguments with myself over this post and am still not convinced I will publish it even as I sit here typing away at midnight for the second night running! It is a strangely personal and quite difficult subject to write about or discuss for a number of reasons that may or may not be obvious. It’s beyond the scope of this post to enlighten you in that respect.

I will also spare you the detailed description of what exactly happened to me, relying instead on brevity to get my point across. The short version is this: In May this year I collapsed at home after feeling ill for around 24hrs. I thought I had a nasty dose of flu coming on. As it turns out, I actually had bilateral pneumonia, pleural effusion and was in the early stages of acute renal failure. Apparently, this is fairly unusual for someone generally fit and well at only 39 years old, but there you go. I always did have to be bloody awkward! Fortunately, just over four months later I’m still here to talk about things, but it was a close call from what I can gather. I was oblivious to the seriousness of my condition until much later, probably for the best. Physically, I’m still recovering and making progress. Psychologically, well that’s a different story. If I’m being honest, I’d say it’s still very much an uphill struggle. I feel different. Things in my life are perceived differently to the way they were before. I can’t define that properly or explain it any better, as I think I’m still integrating everything I’ve experienced into my own version of reality. Yes, I do think too much! And?

When I collapsed, there was no output. In layman’s terms, that means both my heart and breathing stopped. My wife who is a nurse, administered cardiac resuscitation and managed to get things going again. This happened twice before the ambulance arrived.

So, what has all this got to do with a Near Death Experience (NDE)? During the moments when I was effectively dead (for the sake of argument), did I experience anything at all?? Only one person has actually asked me that question and it took her four months to do so. It is something I’d thought about prior to my wife asking me, but I hadn’t bothered to dwell on it. I don’t know why I didn’t devote more time to it really as some would argue that this could answer the age old question about the existence of life after death! Others would say it’s just an illusion or hallucination at the moment when you die. Maybe. I have no answer to any of those issues and will leave it up to the philosophers to debate. Notice I do not mention the medical profession or science. That’s because I’m not sure medicine or science as disciplines are properly equipped to deal with this subject. There has been a fair amount of research done on NDE’s (google is your friend!), but as usual there is a polarisation of opinion as to the interpretation of people’s experiences.

From what little I have read so far, it seems that around 25% people who have gone through a similar experience to myself have memories of “something” occurring during those seconds or minutes. These occurrences vary, but there are surprising parallels and similarities between many of the accounts. Some argue that as these people were successfully brought back to consciousness, they couldn’t have been dead in the first place. It’s an interesting argument that I am not qualified to debate. To me, a layman, no output means you’re dead. However, does brain activity equal life? I suppose I’d say yes to that. My understanding is that the brain doesn’t die until it’s been starved of oxygen for long enough. So for someone’s heart and respiration to cease for a short time would suggest to me that the residual oxygen in the bloodstream would be enough to sustain them for a short time. Particularly if someone is also administering resuscitation. They are forcing oxygen into the body and artificially causing it to be pumped around the body, albeit inefficiently. The general consensus seems to be that no output does mean you’re dead, until someone resuscitates you!

This is a really tough spiritual and philosophical debate that I cannot make a decision on, as informed as I may be! Comments would be welcome. However, please refrain from quoting the bible at me as I’m just not interested, thank you all the same. Proseletysing or preaching will result in your post being deleted. No exceptions!


Buffy & Willow – I’m still in mourning!

Sigh. A very big sigh. Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have finished some time ago, but it’s still sadly missed. Sigh.

What reminded me of Buffy (and Willow!!!!) after all this time? Well, I found a video online that someone had uploaded to a site. I can’t remember whether it was YouTube or MySpace or something…anyway, they’d edited a load of clips of the episodes in Buffy concerning Oz and Willow. Specifically their eventual breakup. The editing is superb and has been perfectly choreographed to one of my favourite songs: Our Farewell by Within Temptation. Aside from the fact that the video is very poor quality due to being embedded in a web page and compressed, it’s perfectly done. It was one of the many sad storylines in Buffy and to see the stoic Oz and sweet, innocent Willow split was very moving. I challenge anyone to watch and not be touched by it!

Buffy is one of those rare series that touches something inside you and stays there for a long, long time. The premise, at first glance, seems cheesy, corny and not very serious. However, once you get into the genius of Joss Whedon’s creation, you begin to realise that there’s something very deep and meaningful about the whole series. It draws you in and keeps hold until the final credits.

The characterisation is astonishing. I won’t go into detail about the many great characters you get to know and love, but after a few seasons, you know them all like old friends and feel for them. Yes, I know it’s fiction and all that, but please!!! It’s Buffy!

Joss Whedon wrote and produced what could be classed as just another teen oriented series that would be consigned to oblivion after one season. How wrong can you be? His dry humour was evident throughout and he had the courage to touch upon some controversial and sensitive subjects in a number of episodes. Sexuality, high school shootings, murder, rape, bullying, religion and so on. Before you switch off (if you aren’t already a fan), it’s not all about those things and was never meant to be sensationalist. Each subject was treated with respect and sensitivity. Some of these were explored in depth and, for a change, were not tainted by the extreme views or political correctness that sadly ruins attempts made by others in the past to show these subjects in a different light.

Interestingly, I think Joss Whedon did more to bring Wicca to the public eye as a serious religion than anyone else since Gerald Gardner! Probably. Now, that’s a real achievement. I’m sure the fundies will disagree and rant about how it was a vehicle to draw teenagers into something unwholesome blah blah. Yeah, whatever. Oh man, don’t get me going again!!!!!

Obviously, I went out and bought all the box sets of Buffy on DVD. I never get tired of watching them and probably never will. They cost me a small fortune, but for sheer enjoyment, I’d say they were worth every penny. Joss managed to bring the amazing Serenity and Firefly to our screens too, but there’s never going to be another Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sigh.



Religious Fundies Part 2!

See, I told you not to get me started on religion and fundies. Here’s the rest of a rant and a bit of personal info, sort of…There is plenty more to follow, but not today…

And another thing…One of the most infuriating things about christian fundies is the following argument: Now, I have heard this used myself or I wouldn’t have posted it…The bible is the the word of god. Why? Because it says so in the bible. Hmmm, notice any minor flaw in that reasoning folks? Yet, it is used with absolute conviction by those who think it is a valid argument. Riiight. You know you’re onto a loser as soon as that old chestnut is rolled out. I mean, how can you have an adult, lucid and reasoned debate with, or ask a genuine question of someone who really believes that kind of rubbish?

I spent a lot of time trying to be and dare I say desperately wanting to be a christian, for a number of reasons I won’t go into here. I failed. Miserably (at first). One of the reasons I failed is because I could not get anyone to answer a few simple questions about christianity that had plagued me for a long time. Not one person could help without resorting to using the bible as a source of their answer! That’s the whole point though. Not being a christian, I couldn’t accept the bible as the final word, so I wanted them to answer me without it. They couldn’t. What were those questions? Well, I’m reluctant to post them here for fear of opening floodgates of all the responses I’ve heard before. I have heard them all, many times, and have yet to be convinced. Ok, I’ll offer you one thing here so that you understand; I asked my questions of a number of ordained and unordained ministers of various christian denominations. I also asked them of someone who runs a large and popular christian apologist website. Nobody could help me.

Perhaps my saying I was looking for answers that weren’t forthcoming is slightly incorrect in some ways. What I truly wanted was a reasoned answer that used logic and not the bible. You see, I didn’t have (their) faith and therefore couldn’t use that as a reason to believe certain things. So, I wanted help from the perspective of someone who could reason with me rather than dictate doctrine to me. I didn’t get it. I came very close though, and spoke via email, telephone and in person to some incredibly nice people who really tried to help. They couldn’t in the end. Because they couldn’t seperate their beliefs from the facts and/or logic of the answers I sought.

In the end, I walked away and followed a different path. I was bitterly disappointed at first as I desperately wanted to feel this conviction that everyone I came into contact with seemed to have about their beliefs. Ultimately it wasn’t to be and I came to accept my lack of faith and beliefs in this particular religion as being the right thing for me.

One of the things that really turned me off christianity was the way in which I was expected to swallow the ridiculous and nonsensical garbage spoken by those people who just cannot think for themselves. Yep, the fundies. The ones who are so far down the line of being blinded by their contradictory beliefs, they can no longer hold a lucid conversation. They spoil it for the rest of us/them in my opinion. Let’s face it, christianity has a very bloody history and it wasn’t the moderates or liberals who spilt most of it!


Religious Fundies!

What the hell is the problem with people? There are too many religious fundies on the streets of our cities. These are the ones who are totally intolerant of anything or anyone outside their sphere of reality and acceptability. It’s sometimes too easy to tar everyone with the same brush and I’m well aware (before anyone kindly points this out to me) that these freaks belong to the minority. I hope!

Let me give you an example of the worst kind of bigotry and inaccurate drivel some of these people are capable of. There’s a town not far from where I live that’s known to draw people who either live on the fringes of the mainstream or who have some interest in such things. I’m not going to go into more detail than that as it would be pointless. Suffice it to say, the people are described as being “quirky” on the town’s official website. There is something definitely different about the town and it’s one of the most enchanting places I have ever visited. I once had the misfortune of working with a fundie. I was talking to her one day about this place I’ve mentioned and she shuddered and pulled a face. When I asked what was wrong she replied “oh, you mean the town full of satanists!”. I was floored. She was, of course, referring not only to the general trend in the population being slightly “different”, but also the completely debunked and groundless satantic ritual abuse scandal of the late 80’s and early 90’s. This nonsense was actually spoken by a very intelligent, articulate and well educated primary school teacher! Now, isn’t that scary and rather ironic?! Where these freaks get their “information” from is beyond me. Presumably, those who share her bigotry boycott this town. Good job, I say!!

I’ve met a few fundies over the years and boy are those people horrible. They make out they’re literally holier than though, yet do not have a single humble or charitable bone in their entire body. It’s sickening to listen to them.

I really shouldn’t write about religion as I tend to go off at the deep end these days.

I used to be a fundie, you see.