1/12/2005                                                                                       View Comments

Battered Believer's Syndrome

Just like the spousal syndrome it's named after, this disorder is characterized by the inability to see anything but love in the actions of the abuser. Every hit is the victim's fault as this is the only rationalization to keep the image of someone who is loving alive.

And so it is with the believer. No matter what terrible event happens in their life they can't see their god as anything but a loving father. He never gets any of the blame. It's either a lack of faith, too much sin or perhaps not enough praise that day.

Suppose a believer's child was murdered. Can she conceptualize her god idly watching as the event took place, doing absolutely nothing? Yes, but it was for a reason. Her god still loves her, of course -- that's what she been programmed to believe. She'll probably come up with the standard answer designed to preserve the love like "god works in mysterious ways," "it was for the greater good," or "god wanted him in heaven."

All these answers skirt the real issue, though. To see how one need only exchange the deity in the equation with a person. What if a police officer sat and watched silently as a child was murdered even though he had the power to stop it? Oh, the rules are different now, aren't they? Why, though? Different programming, basically.

People are programmed to see police officers as people who have to help and should even risk their lives saving people. If one of them doesn't help, they're not doing their job and they become just as bad as a criminal. They are neglecting their duties to the people.

Gods and goddesses, on the other hand, whose "actions" are based on the hit and miss randomness of chance events, are expected to not do anything in many situations. These beings are also endowed by their creators, us, with great magical powers and control our destiny in the afterlives we made up. Add to this equation the endless stream of loving propaganda that is shot into the believer's brain and the resulting mix of expectation of inaction, fear and love combine to make a powerful formula able to transform an abuser into an angel.

Atheism frees a person from this madness. Instead of wondering why some invisible cloud father would allow or cause something to happen, we take it as it is: reality. Why did it happen? We look to real causes. Why was her son murdered? Look at the the murderer himself. Look at the events in his life that led up to the event. Where were the police? Could a stronger police presence have thwarted this? Look at the safety precautions the mother in this story could have taken in order to prevent this tragedy. Look at what the boy himself could have done to avoid such a situation in the first place.

By thinking critically, instead of superstitiously, we affect the real world in a positive way. We can come up with real solutions instead of asking for divine intervention that never arrives. It is only us who can save ourselves.

~Reverend AtheiStar

http://www.atheistar.com/

http://www.cafepress.com/ftlshop

1/06/2005                                                                                       View Comments

America, Land of the Free

by AtheistMommy

Our Funding Fathers had a grand plan. A plan to create a wonderful place where all can be free, free to believe in anything, free to speak their minds, free to voice their opinions. Our Founding Fathers were not Atheists. They were not quite Christian, either though. Some didn't even attend church on Sunday or any other day. What they were, even better than belonging to a religion or not, they were Freethinkers.

How is it we can call this land free? Religious tolerance has hit an all time low. Atheists are now speaking their minds and standing up for their rights instead of lurking in the shadows and denying their lack of beliefs. We now have church on TV every Sunday. Religious radio stations both on FM, AM, and internet broadcasting, mostly Christian. We have a man in the highest of political offices claiming to be God's president. Public fights about the pledge, the religious slogan on our money, and who's God is real. Let's not forget the bill boards with "God Bless America" written across them. This is not freedom by any definition.

In this great land of freedom we call America, we have people from all cultures and all backgrounds. We have people from all walks of life and all religious beliefs, some without. This makes the separation of church and state that much more important. Without it, we show favoritism toward one religion over the others -- especially over those who live without the belief in Gods and Goddesses. Some refer to those who do not live with beliefs in Gods and Goddesses "unpatriotic."

But where is the line? Where should we draw this line? Is it really ok for a Bible to be on display to honor anyone on a public place? Is it ok not to permit something of that nature? Personally, I think that religious tolerance means that we have one of everything and nothing religious on anything that has to do with our government. No religious saying in our pledge to our country. No religious slogans on our money. No statues, pictures, or cased Bibles in our government buildings. Isn't it over kill anyway?

I mean, there are millions of churches, mostly Christian, not only here in America, but all over the world. Why is that not enough? Where I live there are over five in walking distance! Then there's always the church on TV. What an easy way to worship God. Let's not forget the countless religious schools available to those who want to teach their kids a God-filled lifestyle. Which brings up my next question, where are the Atheist private schools? The lack of belief is just as important as belief. Why don't we have a private school that supports that lifestyle, too? I have yet to find one.

And now the fight for homosexual rights. It seems Atheists have a lot in common with homosexuals. The religious "right" see us both as evil. They want both of us to have no rights and to just "stay in the closet." In fact, George Bush Sr., in a interview with American Atheists that took place on August 27, 1987, he said "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." His son's attitude isn't much better.

What could possibly be wrong about two people loving each other so much that they would like to make it legal? Homosexual, bi-sexual, heterosexual it's all the same. Its two people having sex or just falling in love, period. Let's not make this into a religious issue. I mean really, how can we call ourselves the land of the free when people aren't free to marry anyone, regardless of sex, whom they love?!

But the ones I feel for the most are the children. Who are we to tell them what they should or shouldn't believe in? Every day they are led to believe that they have to stand up and recite the pledge with the words "under God" every morning in school. How many of them do you think actually know they don't have to stand or say the pledge, by law? I didn't know that when I was a kid. But I'm guessing because of all the hype more kids know now then when I was a kid. Of course, before that children were actually forced to recite the pledge or face punishment.

There should be a disclaimer said each morning at school, in every school, before the pledge is recited. It should go something like this: "We will now recite our nation's pledge, but if you do not wish to stand or recite the pledge you have the right to stay seated."

Religious tolerance should be respected and taught by all of those who value their freedom.

1/01/2005                                                                                       View Comments

America's Real Religion

America is a nation wherein citizens of all religions and of none are welcome to participate freely in all of its social and political functions. The essence of the religion commandments of the Constitution, as drafted by the Founding Fathers and added by the First Congress, is voluntarism in matters of religion. Government is the essence of coercion; therefore, "no religious test shall ever be required" (Constitution, Art. 6., Sec. 3.) and Congress shall make "no law" respecting an establishment of "religion" (First Amendment).

In other words, it is a "religious" test which shall not be required, not just a church test, and it is "religion" which shall not be established by law or Congress, not just a church.

I hope your readers find "America's Real Religion" of value in understanding the Constitution's commandments and the resulting freedom guaranteed every American.

Gene Garman, M.Div.
America's Real Religion

Web Site Link (URL): http://www.americasrealreligion.org
Book Link (URL): http://www.sunnetworks.net/~ggarman/ARRbookonline.pdf