Does God Ever Heal Amputees?

I have found several rather hilarious websites addressing this question.   One Christian website tried to claim that yes, God heals amputees because it says in the bible he made the lame to walk and the blind to see.  Um…I can be made lame if I twist my ankle.  I am “lame” if I step on a nail.  I am lame if I’m born with a club-foot.   I am lame if I develop blood poisoning in my leg and it starts to turn gangrenous.   Being lame implies the affected limb is still there.  So I’m sorry, the biblical quote that Jesus made the lame to walk does not suffice as a satisfactory answer here.  Has God ever healed an amputee? 

Here’s a truly hilarious post I found.  I love how this person uses the word magic to describe God’s power.  How appropriate this term is when magical thinking is required to believe in such things.  Also, I love that this person so blithely gives God the credit (calling it a “bit of magic) for allowing doctors to fork out huge amounts of cash and time to go to medical school and get what is beyond so many of us to get–a license to practice medicine.   Apparently God sits up in heaven and determines in his wisdom (this is while he’s busy running the entire universe and/or universes), whether so and so be provided the brain cells to learn enough SCIENCE to help people, or that such and such corporation should be blessed with the raw materials it takes to make artificial limbs.

BTW.  artificial limbs do not qualify as healing anymore than putting a bandage on a cut would automatically make the cut healed.  Oh, and the comment that people would not be smart enough to heal or think up on their own the idea of replacing a limb with a prosthesis.  Interesting.  So what are humans intelligent enough to think up on their own?   Would toilet paper have ever been invented without God’s help?

Why do atheist claim that God doesn’t heal amputees when the evidence is right in front of them?

God heals cancer by magically making it go away. God heals illness by making people magically get better. God heals amputees by allowing corporations and doctors to obtain the knowledge to make artificial limbs, this is also a bit of magic because people would not be smart enough to think of this stuff on their own. Why do you people deny the evidence that is right in front of you?
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What Is Atheist?

I say Atheist, rather than AN Atheist, because really, it shouldn’t be used like a title.   It is a state of being, not someone’s identity.   Someone can say they are a Christian–they’re describing a portion of their identity. People who are Christian see themselves differently than they were before.   Or at least I think.  Atheists are merely people who either never believed, because there is no evidence at all for any of it, or people like myself who did believe, until they started acknowledging, rather than ignoring those pesky mental questions, and then at that moment they ceased believing.  In that respect they have not so much changed but rather have returned to what they originally were, what nature intended them to be, as innocent and good in spirit as the family dog, cat, or horse is.   Because sin is a human invention, created to make belief in religion necessary.

Atheists should not be asked to prove there is no god, and yet we frequently are.  It follows that the one making the extraordinary claim that a supernatural being is responsible for what nature herself could and did manage all on her own quite handily, should be the one required to produce proof.  Ok, so show me something that isn’t explained by nature.  Something that could only be brought about by a super-intelligence in the universe.   A miraculous healing of a terminal cancer patient?  That 1% that wasn’t supposed to get better that did?  Should we praise god for his healing and call it a miracle, and ignore the other 99% of the terminal cancer patients who did not receive that miracle?   And why did they not?  Were they not saved because they had no special purpose in the world?  Or perhaps they didn’t pray enough?

Incidentally, I’ve always wondered: why hasn’t god ever healed any amputees?   You know, restored their missing limb?  Did those amputees not pray for it hard enough?   Not even those amputees who were Christian? Can’t this god do anything? Ok so it was not part of his master plan…ever? Not one amputee restored? Is it just me thinking this is odd?

See, I believe Atheists see that miraculous healing event that occurred for that terminal cancer patient, and they think, wow, what a great doctor he had for trying out that new approach or that combination of treatments instead of the conventional radiation treatments. Or I might think, so and so was sure lucky to have a friend who kept him laughing so much all the time.   Or I might thank the fact that he has a parent who survived cancer and inherited from that parent some special resilience.  Or I might thank the new drug that just became available in the US that has worked so well in Europe.  There are all kinds of forces at work, including that sick person’s strength of will, when a serious illness is overcome.  I give the credit to where I feel it belongs, not to some supernatural whatever in the sky.

Same is true for newborn babies and sunsets and falling stars and natural disasters that wipe out communities of people who just happen to not be Christians.  I don’t see any god’s hand in it.  I see nature at work.   And as for evolution, one need only to look at the perfectly great example of it we have all around us.  Technology, our creation, has gone through one evolutionary stage after the next, even just in my lifetime.   “Natural selection” has happened artificially with the 8-Track cassette player being replaced by the CD being replaced by the DVD being replaced by digital, etc. etc.   Is this not natural selection (with humans changing their own environment to make it necessary) causing the extinction of the older less adaptable technology and the rising in its place of something new?  Same thing happens in nature.  We can artificially produce it by selectively breeding dogs and cats or chickens or horses too–breeding only for what traits we want to keep, letting the bad traits in those animals die out because we deem them undesirable.

Anyway, just felt like writing this morning.   I hope some of this made some kind of sense.

We Should Love Ourselves???

Funny how it always seems when I’m beating myself up the most, down in the dumps the most, letting other people’s opinions cut me up the most, that’s when a friend or friends will surely tell me that I need to try to love myself.  Other’s cannot love me until I love myself. That sort of thing.

And it makes sense.  Trouble is, for most of my life I have heard the opposite message preached at me by the Christian religion.  We need to loath ourselves with our from-the-womb sinful natures.  We need to put living for ourselves, our needs, our dreams, our hopes, on the back burner and live for God.  We are nothing more than his instruments.  Pawns at his disposal.  We should gladly and with much praising sacrifice ourself to this greater being who made us, do his work, live for him, dedicate our every waking moment to that which glorifies him.

When I was still living with my mom, I’d be in serious pain over something going badly in my life.  I’d turn to her for help, support, advice, solace, and what would she say to me again and again, “you’re not praying enough,” or “you need to take it to God.”   And you know what, I actually did take it to God because she was never there for me.  I prayed and poured my heart out to the empty room and the silent walls.  Sometimes I’d even talk out loud, work my problems through verbally, and the sometimes surprisingly clear responses I’d hear myself say back, I convinced myself that was God.  God, speaking with my voice.

The thing is, after awhile people get tired of hearing their own voice coming back.  After awhile there’s this very human need for more tangible love, tangible support.   I was getting mixed messages from the world vrs. from the church.   I must die in the flesh to live in the spirit.  I must be born a new creature in him, because my old nature was corrupt, sinful, ugly, bad, something like an abomination to God not fit to stand before him.

And yet…he made me.  He was my creator, and I’m not fit?  I’m corrupt and flawed from birth?  I need to jump through this hoop to be good in his eyes, to be beautiful?   Or else what?  I’m garbage to cast into the fires of hell?

Does God make garbage?  Why did he make me flawed?  If he forgives sin, then why was I born inheriting sin?  How can I love myself when my mother was passing the buck all the time telling me I needed to take it to God, pray about it?   How can I love myself when the being I did take it to, time and time again, only responded with my voice, with my thoughts, from my own head and my own heart?   All I was worth was my own self-counsel, and that’s what I gave myself growing up.  I had no adults I could go to.  I had no one except this higher power that never did anything.   Take it to God, people said.  Oh, and love yourself. 

The below is taken from an article I thought worth sharing.   It was written intended for men, but I found it helped me, reading it:

http://confidentman.net/self-esteem/recover-christian-upbringing

How to Recover from a Christian Upbringing

I grew up in a conservative Christian church-going family. During years of Sunday school, church services and various fellowship groups, I was fed a diet of deception which helped undermine my fragile self-esteem. My sensitivity and having emotionally disconnected parents who were in constant conflict didn’t help, and it’s difficult to judge exactly how much of the damage was due to religious indoctrination, and how much was simply due to the environment I grew up in. My parents could return from a church service where the minister preached on the theme of “Love”, and have a blazingly abusive argument. Throw in this level of hypocrisy, and you get a boy who grows up into one seriously confused adult.

Childhood religious teaching has a pervasive effect. For many years into adulthood I continued attending church before I wised up, and even became involved in the church leadership. At the time I believed I was doing the right thing; but looking back I can see how appallingly narrow-minded and naïve I was.

Realising that I had been misled was painful, and didn’t suddenly undo overnight the damage that had been done to my psyche over many years. So here are some tips on what I learned in my attempts to recover from a Christian upbringing:

Learn to Forgive Yourself

At the core of Christianity is the doctrine of salvation: we need a saviour because we are all inherently sinful. This resonates with us because of course we all make mistakes which hurt other people and feel guilty from time to time. We’re taught that we’re sinful and need Jesus’s death to atone for us, loading us up with a truckload of unnecessary guilt in the process. Little old me caused God’s only son to die, when I wasn’t even born. And if I don’t get “saved”, most brands of Christianity teach that we will burn for all eternity in hell.

What a load of baloney.

You are not a bad person. You are capable of forgiving yourself, apologising and making amends when you hurt other people. Let go of perfectionist guilt that triggers whenever you get anything wrong. You do not need to be perfect. Start acknowledging your mistakes, especially with the people who have been effected. Tell them that you’re sorry, and mean it. If you’re not, do some emotional healing work to enable yourself to feel more empathy for other people. Make amends when you feel guilty, and recognise when your guilt is out-of-proportion with you have actually done; that’s probably the old religious thing rearing its ugly head again. Deal with any remaining guilt and shame by telling a friend you trust.

Heal Your Shame

Shame is probably the most long-lasting after-effect of a religious upbringing. Taking on some level of shame while growing up is probably inevitable, but religious teaching broadens the scope and drives it much deeper. When you’re taught that there’s a God watching over your every move, you get to feel self-conscious even when you’re by yourself. Here are some perfectly normal masculine traits that I learned to be ashamed of:

  • Thinking for myself
  • Sexuality and wanting to have sex
  • Interest in Women
  • Being interested in and attracted to attractive women, rather than just plain ones
  • Masculine power
  • A thirst for wisdom and knowledge
  • Knowing the truth

The way to heal shame is by exposing the things you are ashamed of to other people who are willing to offer you love and acceptance in return. Start seeking out men and women in your life with whom you can be really honest about the things you have been shamed about that still control or restrict you from being your true self.

Shame is the biggest and most insidious insecurity we have, so this is the most powerful thing you can do to boost your self-confidence. For more on healing shame, see Step 13: Heal Your Shame in Confident Man.

Get Angry

You have every right to be angry with the people, possibly including your parents, who taught you to believe things that weren’t true before you were old enough and wise enough to discern the difference for yourself. The people who taught you these things were old enough to know better, and the fact that they operated out of fear and ignorance is no excuse.

The God of the Bible is a personification of human qualities projected by primitive people desperate for someone to be in control of the often hostile universe they found themselves living in. But you weren’t to know that when you were just a kid. You were probably taught that getting angry was bad and inappropriate, right about the same time that you were taught about this jealous, angry God of the Old Testament who got away with anything he liked.

You may still have trouble getting angry about this, and other things, because Christianity taught you to be subservient instead. If this is the case for you, see Step 16: Get In Touch With Your Anger in Confident Man.

Learn to Trust Yourself

If you were anything like me, you probably noticed that the God that you were being taught about when you were a kid never actually showed up. But some adult you trusted told you he was real, so you went along with it anyway. At times perhaps you had some unexpected emotional reaction that people encouraged you to interpret in spiritual terms, because they were unaware of how human emotions work and keen to find any evidence to validate their flaky beliefs.

In doing all this, you learned to stop trusting your own intuition that told you that the God they spoke of was every bit as real as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. After years of this kind of self-delusion, you may find it difficult to trust your intuition now. The way to restore your intuition is to assess people and events based on gut instinct, and refine your opinion each time you get information that confirms or denies your original opinion. Stop being neutral about things to avoid conflict, and start having an opinion.

You’re likely to be pretty bad at this to start with, but the more practise you get, the better your intuition will develop. It helps to have a supportive environment to do this, so that people don’t just come down on you like a ton of bricks when you get it wrong, which inevitably you will at first.

Experience Love From Non-Christians

The Bible teaches that love comes from God, but that’s just another example of Christian arrogance and self-righteousness. Love is a normal human emotion with an evolutionary basis just like our other emotions. Its purpose is to bond people together, which enhanced our ancestor’s survival. In modern western society, physical survival is for the most part no longer at stake due to lack of love, but mental and emotional health sure are.

Seek out non-Christians who have the capacity to show love to you, and give them every reason to do so. In other words, show them some love first. This will help you to reprogram two flawed beliefs: firstly, that non-Christians are somehow bad people for not accepting Jesus as lord and saviour, and secondly that only Christians are capable of genuine love. Once I began to experience the inclusive love of open-minded non-Christians, I was able to see how shallow, restrictive, judgemental and controlling the love that many Christians offer is.

Christians are also capable of showing genuine love; it is, after all, a basic human trait not restricted to any particular ideology. But when it comes packaged with a flawed belief system that they want you to adopt, it gets messy to separate the two.

Find A New Community

One of the compelling things about religion is the sense of community that all religions offer. People need community and religious people tend to report higher levels of happiness than non-religious people as a result. The sense of community and the ability to discriminate “us” from “them” addresses a basic human need.

Find yourself a community of like-minded people to hang around in. Seek out other men who had a Christian upbringing and have managed to break away and recover from it. Commit yourself to living the most inspired, conscious, loving life possible and don’t let baggage from your past get in your way of doing it. Learn from other men ahead of you on the road, and let them be your inspiration.

Choose any community which participates in regular activities that you can enjoy. Many people find community by joining a sporting team. That way you’ll get your social and exercise needs met all in the one hit, keeping you fit psychologically and physically; both of which are great for your confidence.

Learn to Trust Other People

Having been misled by misguided people about something so fundamental as the meaning and purpose of life and where we all came from, it’s natural that you might be a little hesitant to trust other people again. Learning to think for yourself and doing the other things recommended in this article should help give you a stable basis for discerning when people are telling you the truth, and when they’re feeding you self-serving dogma.

Ultimately you need to be comfortable taking risks when it comes to trusting other people. Some will be trustworthy, some will not. Developing your intuition will help you in discerning between the two. You also need to drop your perfectionism that makes it hard for you to forgive yourself when you get it wrong. As you get better at discerning who’s trustworthy, you’ll be more comfortable putting increasing amounts of trust in them without fear that you’ll just be fooled again.

Speak The Truth

Start speaking the truth at every opportunity. Don’t hold back just because you’re worried about what other people will think. There are other men out there waiting for your leadership to help free them from the tyranny of religious indoctrination. They need your inspiration but they won’t even hear from you if you don’t speak up.

Forget about converting the rest of your family though. They’ve got to learn to grow up in their own time. There’s too much emotional baggage within a family for anyone to be objective about anything; much less such an all-consuming topic as religion. There’s no point harping on at your mother/sister/brother/father that their belief system is made-up when they invite you to the Christmas Day church service. Just decline politely, move on, and prove the point that Christianity is an oppressive religion by taking your personal growth beyond what was possible within its narrow constraints. Commit to becoming a positive example by having the most powerfully loving life you possibly can now that you’re liberated from it.

Find Your Mission In Life

If your mission in life up until now has been to “preach the gospel”, to “serve God” or anything else based on your old religious beliefs, you need to find a new mission in life, and possibly some new passions. Your mission should be something sufficiently engrossing for you that nothing would stand in your way of working towards it. This is important to keep you motivated when life throws obstacles in your way. Without a mission, you’re likely to wander a little aimlessly, feel restless and think that life has no meaning.

Keep in mind that you’re biologically wired to want to connect with other people, so this is likely to factor in your mission somewhere. It has taken me some time to determine my new mission in life, and to begin working towards it in a focused way. It’s still a work in progress. Remember that life is all about the journey, not the destination. This may seem counter-intuitive if you grew up with the Christian notion that heaven and the after-life is when you reap the rewards of what you sow in this life. It’s not: this life is where you both sow and reap, and having a mission to guide you in the journey helps you stay focused and avoid taking detours.

Work towards aligning your mission, the things you are passionate about, your relationships and your career, and you’re headed for the good life.

Be Patient With Yourself

I was involved in Christianity for at least 32 years; about 20 of those professing it as my own. The damage this did was spread over many years. You don’t just undo 30+ years of mental programming over night. It takes time. So be patient with yourself. On the days when the shame seems overwhelming or you just feel like you hate yourself, remember that you were taught to feel these things when you were very young. Don’t beat yourself up for taking a long time to get over it. Stick at it, get support from other guys who have been there before, and you will get there.

What Are We Really Believing About Ourselves?

A nontract by: Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Organized religion always has been and remains the greatest enemy of women’s rights. In the Christian-dominated Western world, two bible verses in particular sum up the position of women:

“I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

–Genesis 3:16

By this third chapter of Genesis, woman lost her rights, her standing–even her identity, and motherhood became a God-inflicted curse degrading her status in the world.

In the New Testament, the bible decrees:

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

–1 Tim. 2:11-14

One bible verse alone, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18) is responsible for the death of tens of thousands, if not millions, of women. Do women and those who care about them need further evidence of the great harm of Christianity, predicated as it has been on these and similar teachings about women?

Church writer Tertullian said “each of you women is an Eve . . . You are the gate of Hell, you are the temptress of the forbidden tree; you are the first deserter of the divine law.”

Martin Luther decreed: “If a woman grows weary and at last dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing, she is there to do it.”

Such teachings prompted 19th-century feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton to write: “The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of woman’s emancipation.”

The various Christian churches fought tooth and nail against the advancement of women, opposing everything from women’s right to speak in public, to the use of anesthesia in childbirth (since the bible says women must suffer in childbirth) and woman’s suffrage. Today the most organized and formidable opponent of women’s social, economic and sexual rights remains organized religion. Religionists defeated the Equal Rights Amendment. Religious fanatics and bullies are currently engaged in an outright war of terrorism and harassment against women who have abortions and the medical staff which serves them. Those seeking to challenge inequities and advance the status of women today are fighting a massive coalition of fundamentalist Protestant and Catholic churches and religious groups mobilized to fight women’s rights, gay rights, and secular government.

Why do women remain second-class citizens? Why is there a religion-fostered war against women’s rights? Because the bible is a handbook for the subjugation of women. The bible establishes woman’s inferior status, her “uncleanliness,” her transgressions, and God-ordained master/servant relationship to man. Biblical women are possessions: fathers own them, sell them into bondage, even sacrifice them. The bible sanctions rape during wartime and in other contexts. Wives are subject to Mosaic-law sanctioned “bedchecks” as brides, and male jealousy fits and no-notice divorce as wives. The most typical biblical labels of women are “harlot” and “whore.” They are described as having evil, even satanic powers of allurement. Contempt for women’s bodies and reproductive capacity is a bedrock of the bible. The few role models offered are stereotyped, conventional and inadequate, with bible heroines admired for obedience and battle spirit. Jesus scorns his own mother, refusing to bless her, and issues dire warnings about the fate of pregnant and nursing women.

There are more than 200 bible verses that specifically belittle and demean women. Here are just a few:

(See Woe To The Women: The Bible Tells Me So for a more comprehensive list)

Genesis 2:22 Woman created from Adam’s rib
  3:16 Woman cursed: maternity a sin, marriage a bondage
  19:1-8 Rape virgins instead of male angels

 

Exodus 20:17 Insulting Tenth Commandment, considering a wife to be property
  21:7-11 Unfair rules for female servants, may be sex slaves
  22:18 “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”
  38:8 Women may not enter tabernacle they must support

 

Leviticus 12:1-14 Women who have sons are unclean 7 days
  12:4-7 Women who have daughters are unclean 14 days
  15:19-23 Menstrual periods are unclean
  19:20-22 If master has sex with engaged woman, she shall be scourged

 

Numbers 1:2 Poll of people only includes men
  5:13-31 Barbaric adulteress test
  31:16-35 “Virgins” listed as war booty

 

Deuteronomy 21:11-14 Rape manual
  22:5 Abomination for women to wear men’s garments, vice-versa
  22:13-21 Barbaric virgin test
  22:23-24 Woman raped in city, she & her rapist both stoned to death
  22:28-29 Woman must marry her rapist
  24:1 Men can divorce woman for “uncleanness,” not vice-versa
  25:11-12 If woman touches foe’s penis, her hand shall be cut off

 

Judges 11:30-40 Jephthah’s nameless daughter sacrificed
  19:22-29 Concubine sacrificed to rapist crowd to save man

 

I Kings 11:1-4 King Solomon had 700 wives & 300 concubines

 

Job 14:1-4 “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one . . .”

 

Proverbs 7:9-27 Evil women seduce men, send them to hell
  11:22 One of numerous Proverbial putdowns

 

Isaiah 3:16-17 God scourges, rapes haughty women

 

Ezekiel 16:45 One of numerous obscene denunciations

 

Matthew 24:19 “[woe] to them that are with child”

 

Luke 2:22 Mary is unclean after birth of Jesus

 

I Corinthians 11:3-15 Man is head of woman; only man in God’s image
  14:34-35 Women keep in silence, learn only from husbands

 

Ephesians 5:22-33 “Wives, submit . . .”

 

Colossians 3:18 More “wives submit”

 

I Timothy 2:9 Women adorn selves in shamefacedness
  2:11-14 Women learn in silence in all subjection; Eve was sinful, Adam blameless

Why should women–and the men who honor women–respect and support religions which preach women’s submission, which make women’s subjugation a cornerstone of their theology?

When attempts are made to base laws on the bible, women must beware. The constitutional principle of separation between church and state is the only sure barrier standing between women and the bible.

God Is Merciful…But Only If You’re A Man

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/31/women-religion-equality
Great article I found
God is merciful, but only if you’re a man

Jew, Christian or Muslim … whatever the faith, women are still treated with disdain or worse

There is plenty to criticise in Islam’s view of women. Last year, the Observer told the story of a man in Basra who stamped on, suffocated and then stabbed to death his 17-year-old daughter for becoming infatuated with a British soldier. The relationship apparently amounted to a few conversations, but her father learnt she had been seen in public talking to the soldier. When the Observer talked to Abdel-Qader Ali two weeks later, he said: “Death was the least she deserved. I don’t regret it. I had the support of all my friends who are fathers, like me, and know what she did was unacceptable to any Muslim that honours his religion.”

This was clearly extreme, but the truth is that the God many people believe in – whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish – hates women. Take America’s Southern Baptist Convention, which declares in its faith and mission statement: “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.” That’s fair enough, isn’t it? After all, he’s probably stronger than she is.

Or there’s the Catholic church. The Pope put things more suavely in an address in 2008: “Faced with cultural and political trends that seek to eliminate, or at least cloud and confuse, the sexual differences inscribed in human nature, considering them a cultural construct, it is necessary to recall God’s design that created the human being masculine and feminine, with a unity and at the same time an original difference.” The insistence on difference is the necessary first step to insisting on inequality and subordination and it is a step that popes have been taking at regular intervals for decades.

In November 2006, Nicaragua enacted a ban on all abortion, with no exceptions, even to save the mother’s life. The law was ratified by the National Assembly in September 2007. Both the original enactment and the vote in September 2007 were widely attributed to the influence of the Catholic church. In a report this month, the United Nations Committee against torture called Nicaragua’s total ban on abortion a violation of human rights.

Then there is Judaism. In one neighbourhood in Jerusalem, religious seminaries flank streets with yellow signs that warn: “If you’re a woman and you’re not properly dressed – don’t pass through our neighbourhood.”

So why is it so often women who fill the pews? Is it a form of Stockholm syndrome? Religions do a good job of training people to be obedient and loyal to the authorities and women in particular are raised to be both devout and submissive. Religions are sticky: they are hard to abandon and that is doubly true for women, given that subordination and unshakable fidelity are their chief duties.

The fact that women are defined as different from men (“complementary” is the religious euphemism) and confined to narrower, more monotonous lives as a result, means that they have more need of the excitements and passions of religion. For women, religion often is the heart of a heartless world. All they have to give up in exchange is their right to shape their own lives; as long as they behave themselves, all will go swimmingly.

The intimate and inescapable connection that contemporary liberal believers like to see between God and love, theism and compassion, is largely a modern invention. It’s far from universal now and it was vanishingly rare in the past. St Francis was an eccentric, not an exemplar. The painful truth is that still, to this day, most people who believe in a god believe in a god who is often vindictive, punitive and sometimes just plain cruel. The Ryan report on abuse of children in Irish industrial schools, released two weeks ago, provides a mountain of searing evidence for that. For decade after decade, generation upon generation, the religious congregations in charge of the institutions saw nothing wrong.

One survivor of Goldenbridge, the most notorious industrial school for girls, run by the Sisters of Mercy, told the commission: “The screaming of children will stay with me for the rest of my life about Goldenbridge. I still hear it, I still haven’t recovered from that. Children crying and screaming, it was just endless, it never, never stopped for years in that place.” Many of those children were there simply because their mothers were unmarried or divorced.

The God we have in the Big Three monotheisms is a God who originated in a period when male superiority was absolutely taken for granted. That time has passed, but the superior male God remains and that God holds women in contempt. That God is the one who puts “His” imprimatur on all those tyrannical laws. That God is a product of history, but taken to be eternal, which is a bad combination. That is the God who hates women.

So why do so many women put up with it? Partly because God gives with one hand what “He” takes away with the other – God consoles people for the very harshness that God creates. It’s the sad, familiar, heartrending bargain in which the victim embraces the perpetrator, in some complicated, confusing, all-too-human mix of appeasement, need and stubborn loyalty. The fact that the embrace is all on one side is resolutely ignored.

Why Can’t I Own A Canadian?

(I loved this)

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant
Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus
18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a US man,
and posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I
have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that
knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend
the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that
Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of
debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other
elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and
female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine
claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you
clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in
Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair
price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her
period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how
do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a
pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors.
They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus
35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated
to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than
homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there
‘degrees’ of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I
have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading
glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room
here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair
around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.
19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes
me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two
different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments
made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also
tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go
to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them?
Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family
affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy
considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia PS (It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a
Canadian)

Depression Isolates Us

I sometimes think, now that I’m becoming aware just how many people out there feel like I do, feel all the same feelings…that we’re more like a subgroup of society.  We start out, probably many of us, outcasts as children.  Either outcast by our families, or outcast by our peers, or both.  We grow up lacking confidence other kids take for granted.  We are always trying. But there’s always some reason we don’t fit in.  We’re not good looking enough, so people of the opposite gender look at us and think “I can do better,” like having outward beauty or our programmed notions of what beauty is–makes some people “better” than others?

Regardless, we grow up, those of us who didn’t quite fit in, or came from homes that didn’t really want us, and as adults we still try.  But the long nights of crying ourselves to sleep, losing sleep, or just huddling in fear of some real or imagined terror…now there’s something stuck in our heads.  Something wrong.  We are either mentally ill, or our brains are wired wrong or we have a chemical imbalance or a combination of the above.   Because we grew up trying harder than other kids, the popular “better” kids.  And now what are we?  We’re that sub-group of society that end up alone.  Our friends aren’t there, despite how we try to be there for them.  Our families…sometimes it’s not good being around the people that caused the harm in the first place or trigger memories of the harm that was done.

So we’re alone.  And here we still are, trying.  Trying to fit in to that other part of society we too have been programmed to believe is normal.  Thinking if we do this or this or THIS we might be accepted and loved and wanted like other people.

And when we can’t fight our illness hard enough, we are forced to endure more loneliness.  When we do have our little triumphs, there’s nobody around anymore to see.

I hate depression.  I hate this illness nobody understands or wants to make any effort to understand.  I have been locked in closets all my life and I still am.   All because of this belief we carry around, that we grew up with, that to be like one of the crowd is better, our ultimate goal that’s always just out of reach…to fit in…that’s what gives us worth–that’s the key to being wanted, being successful, being SOMETHING.   And until we have it, until we get over this illness we’re being punished for having, we must be shunned.  We must be outsiders.  We must be looked right through like we’re not even there.

This is what I say to that.  Bullshit.  What kind of society does this?  Banishes its ill from the mainstream?  They did that to lepers once; you would think in 2000 years our society would be a little more aware, a little more educated, a little more understanding.   But no.  We have not evolved very much at all, have we?

So how do we break from this box they’ve put us in?  We say bullshit.  We are not less than anyone.   People look at us and say they can do better?  Excuse me–we might be ill but we’re still whole people, and worth it.   If you know us you’ll get to know the beauty we still carry around  inside.  All of us, like any other people.  Like you we are unique, full of dreams and hopes and love and caring.   Shame on anyone who dares to look down their nose and outcast us for having too many bad days when here we’ve put up with other people having many bad days too.  Why is the playing field so one-sided?

Who decides worth of a person?  How is it measured?  Is it measured by looks?  Popularity?  Is it measured by how much money someone has or what kind of car they drive or what neighborhood they live in?  Or is it measured by the kindness and caring a person has in their heart?

I see a lot of value in us.   This little sub-group that finds ourselves struggling with our depression or anxiety all alone…punished for being ill, rejected by friends for being ill, despite how tired we are from always trying, despite how lost and despairing and scared and hurt we sometimes feel. 

You know who I think has worth in our society?  You know who I think are really great people–the kind of people I wish I could be?  People who can still give of themselves when they themselves have nothing, and care and encourage, when they themselves feel their world is crashing down.

I am most thankful for the kind of people who can still care for others, even despite the hurts they feel themselves.   If we have to be separated and made some kind of subgroup, I’d rather be counted as someone like this.

Some Bible Contradictions

References taken from “Losing Faith in Faith,” book written by Dan Barker.

Should We Kill?

Which is true?

Exodus 20:13   Thou shalt not kill.

Leviticus 24:17  And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.

or…

Exodus 32: 27  Thus sayeth the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side…slay every man his brother,…companion…, neighbor.”

1 Samuel 6:19  …and the people lamented because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.

1 Samuel 15:2,3,7,8  Thus saith the Lord…Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant ans suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass…   And Saul smote the Amalekites…and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.

Numbers 15: 36   And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Hosea 13:16  They shall fall by the sword; their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with children shall be ripped up.

Should We Steal?

Which is true?

Exodus 20:15  Thou shalt not steal.

Leviticus 19:13  Though shalt not defraud they neighbor, neither rob him.

Or…

Exodus 3:22  And ye shall spoil the Egyptians

Exodus 12: 35-36  And they spoiled (plundered) the Egyptians.

Luke 19: 29-34  Jesus sent two of his disciples, Saying, Go ye into the village…ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat; loose him, and bring him hither.  And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him…And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?  And they said, The Lord hath need of him.”

Shall We Keep the Sabbath?

Which is true?

Exodus 20:8   Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.  (Side-note, the Sabbath is Saturday, not Sunday.)

Exodus 31:15  Whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.”  (So much for working overtime on Saturdays eh?  How many of us should be put to death according to the Lord?)

Numbers 15:32,36  “And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness they found a man (hmm…think he was Jewish?) that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day…  And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones (for picking up sticks!), and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.”

OR…

Isaiah 1:13  “The new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity.

John 5:16  “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day.”

Collossians 2:16  “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath day.”

Should We Tell Lies?

Which is true?

Exodus 20:16  Thou shalt not bear false witness.

Proverbs 12:22  Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.

OR…

Kings 22:23  The Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these they prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

2 Thessalonians 2:11:  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”

Are We Saved Through Works?

Which is true?

Ephesians 2: 8,9  “For by grace are ye saved through faith…not of works.”

Romans 3:20,28  Therfore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.

Galatians 2:16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith of Jesus Christ.

OR…

James 2:24  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Matthew 19: 16-21   And, behold, one came and said unto him, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  And he (Jesus) said unto him…keep the commandments…The young man saith unto him, “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?   Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that though hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.

Should Good Works Be Seen?

Which is true?

Matthew 5:16  Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works.

1 Peter 2:12  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles…that they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

OR…

Matthew 6: 1-4  Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them…that thine alms may be in secret.

Matthew 23:3,5  Do not ye after their (Pharisees) works…all their works they do for to be seen of men.

Should We Own Slaves?

Which is true?

Leviticus 25:45-46  Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy…and they shall be your possession…they shall be your bondmen forever.

Genesis 9:25  And he (Noah) said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

Exodus 21: 2,7  If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing…  And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the manservants do.   (nice bit of sexism in the bible)

Joel3:8  And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans; to a people far off, for the Lord hath spoken it.

Luke 12:47,48  (Jesus speaking) And that servant, which knew his lords will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.

Colossians 3:22  Servants, obey in all things your masters

Does God Change His Mind?

Which is true?

Numbers 23:19  God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent.

Ezekiel 24:14  I the Lord have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent.

James 1:17  …The Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

OR…

Exodus 32:14  And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

Genesis 6:6,7  And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth…and the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth…for it repenteth me that I have made him.

Jonah 3:10  and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them, and he did it not.

Are We Punished For Our Parent’s Sins?

Which is true?

Exodus 20:5   For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation (repeated in Deuteronomy 5:9)

Exodus 34: 6-7  The Lord God, merciful and gracious…that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Corinthians 15:22  For as in Adam all die…

OR…

Ezekiel 18:20  The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father.

Deuteronomy 24;16  The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

IS God Good Or Evil?

Which is True?

Psalm 145:9   The Lord is good to all.

Deuteronomy 32:4  a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

OR…

Isaiah 45:7   I make peace and create evil.  I the Lord do all these things.

Lamentations 3:38  Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

Jeremiah 18:11  Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you.

Ezekiel 20: 25,26   I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live.  And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord.
Does God Tempt People?

Which is true?

James 1:13  Let no man say…I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.

OR…

Genesis 22:1  And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham.

Is God Peaceable?

Which is True?

Romans 15:33   The God of peace.

Isaiah 2:4 …and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

OR…

Exodus 15:3  The Lord is a man of war.

Joel 3:9-10   Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:  Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

Was Jesus Peaceable?

Which is True?

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.

Acts 10:36  The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ.

OR…

Matthew 10:34  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

Luke 22:36  Then said he unto them…he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.

Was Jesus Trustworth?

Which is True?

John 8:14   Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true.

OR…

John 5:31   If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

(note, “record” and “witness” in the above verses are the same Greek word)
Shall We call People Names?

Which is True?

Matthew 23:17   Whosoever shall say Thou fool, shall be in danger of hellfire. (Jesus speaking)

OR…

Matthew 23:17   Ye fools and blind.  (Jesus speaking)

Psalm 14:1   The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

Has Anyone Seen God?

Which is True?

John 1:18   No man hath seen God at any time.

Exodus 33:20  Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

John 6:46  Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God (Jesus), he hath seen the Father.

1 John 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time.

OR…

Genesis 32:30  For I have seen God face to face.

Exodus 33:11  And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.

Isaiah 6:1  In the year that King Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

Job 42:5  I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

When Was Jesus Crucified?

Which is True?

Mark 15:25  And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

OR…

John 19:14-15  And about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!  But they cried out…crucify him.
Shall We Obey The Law?

Which is True?

1 Peter 2:13  Submit yourself to every ordinance of man…to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors.

Matthew 22:21  Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s

Or…

Acts 5:29  We ought to obey God rather than men

How Many Animals On The Ark?

Which is True?

Genesis 6:19  And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark

Genesis 7:8-9  Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.

Genesis 7:15  And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.

Or…

Genesis 7:2  Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

Were Women and Men Created Equal?

Which is True?

Genesis 1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Or…

Genesis 2:18,23  And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Were Trees Created Before Humans?

Which is True?

Genesis 1: 12-31  And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind…And the evening and the morning were the third day… And God said, Let us make man in our image…And the Evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Or…

Genesis 2 5-9  And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground…and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground…And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.  And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.

Is God Omnipotent?

Which is True?

Jeremiah 32:27   Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?

Matthew 19:26  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Or…

Judges 1:19  And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

Who Was Joseph’s Father?

Which is True?

Matthew 1:16   And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus

Or…

Luke 3:23   And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.

Did Michal Have Children?

Which is True?

2 Samuel 6:23   Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.

Or…

2 Samuel 21:8  But the king took the two sons of Rizpah…and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul.

Why Losing Religion Was Painful For Me

I could write a really long note right now, about the inner turmoil it brought me, watching my religious beliefs fall away a little piece at a time.
Christians respond to me in various ways since I became atheist.  I’m told I’m too dense or stupid to see the logic (or need for dependency?) of belief.  I’m told I’m being selfish, wanting to live my life for me.  I’m told it’s because it’s so much easier being an atheist than taking the more difficult  road (when in truth the majority in this country are Christians and only now I am not on the super-highway anymore).
The notion of life after death was for me just like everyone else, a comfort.  When I was six years old and told by my pastor I’d see my daddy again in heaven, I caught hold of that idea and held onto it, hard.  Along with every single  memory I had of him in my five years I had him there, I kept that hope too, very close to my heart.  I’ll see him again, the thought went over and over.  I’ll see him again.

The whole being saved thing was my ticket to heaven, my guarantee I’d see my dad again because I knew he was in heaven.  No other place could hold a man so wonderful as he.  So people who come at me now and act like atheism came easily to me, like it didn’t involve a huge inner battle and over a year of resistance on my part, have no clue what a blow it was to my heart when I came to realize all the things I had hoped were true, even despite how so many of them didn’t make sense, were in fact not true.

True or not true, that’s not the point of this note.  The point is, it was a hard thing for me.  I grieved my loss.  I went for a time pretending I still believed.  I went for a time in denial.   Because letting go of my belief in such things as God and heaven, meant letting go my hope that had pulled me through the darkest years of my life, that “I’ll see him again.”

My dad’s absence made my love for him grow and grow.  He became super dad in my heart, that perfect shining example of fatherhood.  I even remembered his spanking me once with a smile.

So that’s what losing religion took from me, and no it was not an easy thing walking away from what I had believed for so long.

I am an atheist, but an open minded one.  I am pretty sure I saw my cat Tika in two dreams after she passed away.  I had a very vivid dream of her brother Raistlin after he passed away.  I think if there is something after death, it might be more like what “What Dreams May Come” portrays it as…or maybe not. I don’t think there’d be any god in charge running things.  I think the whole notion of a king or fearless leader running the kingdom is a very human one–more evidence the religion is human contrived.

If there’s something I’m betting it’s nothing remotely like anything anyone’s imagined.   I think most likely I will cease to exist when I die, and that doesn’t trouble me.  As a very clever and creative friend once said, I didn’t mind not existing the millions of years before I was born, either.

“Yes We Can” but…WILL We?

Here’s what I”m wondering.  What happened to President Obama after he was elected into his first term?  Where did his strong stances go?  What happened to the idea of creating/promoting new forms of energy to help rid Americans of our dependency on Middle East oil?  I don’t recall hearing about that for a very long time.  Also, less taxes for the middle class and giving the struggling families half a chance to keep their homes, that doesn’t seem to be happening either.

Instead it’s proposed that we little guys are going to be fined if we can’t afford to buy health insurance.   I’ve heard rumors of the home owner tax breaks potentially going away, $40 additional taxes taken out of paychecks, etc.   Meanwhile, are the rich being taxed in proportion to their riches?  Has that happened, or do they still get big breaks?  Why is our government looking to the weakest links to direct their budget cuts, like Medicare or Medicaid recipients, rather than going after the disgustingly wealthy who can live comfortably and very well just off the interest their money and investments make?

Pandering to the Republicans to earn their support and favor…is this following through with the dream Candidate Obama got us all fired up about?   And what about these Rebublicans who not only hope for Obama’s failure, but set about doggedly determined to make it come to pass?  At a time when our nation is teetering on the brink and in sore need of a strong man at the helm, what does the GOP do?  Does it stand behind our legitimately elected (for once!) leader, or does it do all it can to hamstring him, and therefore us as a nation, reducing our chances of recovery from this recession, delaying it, making the problems worse?

Unite and prevail or divide and fail.  It seems to me the GOP has chosen the latter, doing their best to render our current President ineffective.

I used to believe it made a difference, my vote.  But now I see I”m not from one of the states that matter.  My vote hasn’t even been counted by the time the news is already announcing that someone has won.

I believe the government itself is a special interest group; doesn’t matter what party the figure-head at the front of the ship’s prow represents; ultimately something bigger and far more mighty is manning the helm–turning the wheel.  The 1% the other 99% of us are protesting, they’re the ones.  It’ s not our country, it’s their country.  They, I believe, are what’s running this country and deciding everything.