I read a lovely blog post. It is about people with disabilities. Please read it.
My comment on this:
I grew up with a learning disability. I was teased, bullied. But I’ve succeeded beyond what any of those people who made fun of me, or even most of the teachers and guidance counselors could. My son has autism spectrum disorder. Family, friends, strangers in the supermarket, all would try to tell me how to handle him, how to raise him, how to “fix” him. He is not “broken”. He never was. He is his own person. He is my son.
I went to church today because my son was in the choir. I haven’t been to church for a long time, and not a Catholic one for even longer.
Having been raised Catholic, the service itself was familiar enough, even after all these years, that I could ignore it. The sermon, on the other hand, I listened to intently. When I used to go to church, even as a kid, I remember always listening to the sermon. I listened and I thought about what the priest had to say. Today was no different.
He talked about desire. There was some very well thought out and interesting points that he made. He explained how desire run amok can lead to greed and he used the international banking crisis as an example. I couldn’t agree more. Here was a perfect example of greed and how it can affect millions. Here was a very humanistic call for equality and a curb on selfishness and the policies that promote it. He contrasted that to a desire to do what is right for everyone.
This would have been a perfect sermon, but then, of course, he pushed that aside and said that the real positive role of desire is to know and see God. Damn!
This is where myself, and humanists like me, see the great difference between our goals of those of religions. We seek to promote the positive aspects of humanity, like channeling our desires to do good for, not just ourselves, but others as well. While most religions do see this as an important task, it is secondary to a desire to please God. As far as I can see, this is just as selfish as the desire for personal gain. It is replacing the desire for money and possessions with the desire to gain wealth in an afterlife that may not exist, and which certainly does no one here on earth any good
Now, if desiring to gain points in a possible afterlife leads you to do good here on earth, great, but there is still a selfishness to this that I thin can, and does, lead easily to arrogance. Many believers use this thought of reward in heaven to make themselves, in their eyes, better than those who either don’t believe as they do or don’t believe at all. This can easily lead to the extreme of believing, and worse, telling those people that they will burn for eternity in hell. This dehumanizes those who disagree and breeds hate.
Most humanists, on the other hand, believe in doing good for others simply because it is the right thing to do. They expect no reward, no glory, just the satisfaction of doing what’s right and helping others. All without judgment, arrogance, or hate.
My pick for a Secular Humanist (or agnostic, or atheist, or just plain sensible) anthem:
Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
- John Lennon
I haven’t posted much on this blog lately. There are several reasons for this which I want to let you know about because I believe that I owe it to you, my readers, who (hopefully) look forward to reading my blog.
The first reason is that I moved from an apartment to a townhouse about a month ago and have been pretty busy settling in.
The second reason is personal family issues, the details of which I can’t go into here.
The final reason is that I have met the woman of my dreams and we have been spending as much time together as possible. After two failed marriages to narcissists (for both of us), being with someone who is honest, open, and giving is an amazing experience, one which we intend to make the most of.
Now that I’ve settled into the new home, and my sweetheart and I are settling down into something of a routine, I think I will be able to start devoting more time to writing, especially on this blog.
Phil Plait blogged about Derek today. Derek was a skeptic who I never knew, nor herd of, until today. He died of cancer May 3rd and he left a final message on his blog. Please, go and read it. It embodies everything I believe about living my daily life, which is; never take anything for granted, enjoy every moment, and always tell those you love that you love them, as often as you can.
This life, as far as anyone can tell, is all that we have. The people in our lives are what give it meaning, and it is to the people in our lives that we will leave our legacy. Once we die, we will live on in thier memoires, the stories they will tell about us, the influence that we had upon them.
I lost my father in 1992, my sister in 1997, and my mother in 1999. They all died suddenly and I never got to say goodbye to any of them, but I had no regrets because I always kept in touch, and I always let them know that I loved them. I learned more from these loses about living day-to-day than anything else in my life.
You never know when you, or someone you love, might be taken from this life. Cherish every moment you have with those that you love, and tell them and show them, as often as you can, that you love them and value them. It will be your legacy to them and it will enrich thier lives more than you can imagine.
I will leave you by quoting Phil Plait, who quoted Slau, who quoted Warren Zevon: “Enjoy every sandwich.”
I had an amazing, day-long conversation on FB with an old, dear friend and a new friend of hers that she introduced me to. The conversation was about sex. It ranged from the innate beauty of the penis, the importance (or lack thereof) of penis size, the the sensitivity and depth of the vaginal canal, female ejaculation, what constitutes real intimacy, the consciousness shattering of shared mutual orgasms, to my new friend (a woman) giving me male masturbation advice that included interesting and clever devices.
There was mutual agreement that the shame associated with sex in our society is almost always motivated by males trying to maintain their supposed privilege where they feel that they have control over women, especially their sexuality. This we all also agreed is complete and utter bullshit.
I’ve said it before here, anything that happens between consenting adults, regardless of gender, orientation, or numbers of people involved, is perfectly OK and, more importantly, perfectly natural.
In the end, intimacy, both physical and emotional, come down to the following: openness, honesty, and respect. One of these lovely women mentioned to me that she had problems with men because they viewed her openness as a invitation to hit on her. She said that she never could figure out the rules. I told her that I have three rules, which are stated above: openness, honesty, and respect. And those rules apply to all relationships of all types, not just sexual ones.
It was one of the most fascinating and stimulating (pun intended) conversations I’ve ever had. I found it so refreshing to be able to talk to women who were so comfortable with their sexuality and so confident in themselves. They are both also very articulate and intelligentand they showed great respect to myself and each other. I find these traits in a women to be irresistibly attractive.
The problem with many men is that they find these traits in women to be highly threatening. They can’t deal with a woman who is so secure and comfortable in her sexuality. I believe it truly frightens them. It is because they have this false sense of privilege that leads them to believe that they must control the women in their lives.
Personally, I find it liberating, fascinating, and beautiful.
Oh and I learned something else very interesting in the discussion yesterday. One of the women has studied the sexual practices and mores of ancient societies. Did you know that women in ancient Greece loved small penises? They considered large penises grotesque. As Spock would say, fascinating!
How comfortable are you with your sexuality? How about with the sexuality of others? Comments are most welcomed and encouraged.
There is an article at Physorg.com that discusses the peaceful bonobos, a species with which we share more than 98% of our genetic material. Violence has never been observed within bonobo communities and it seems that they have perfected a wonderful way of dealing with tension among members.
“One way bonobos deal with conflict and tension is to have sex. Yes, they’re the ultimate hippies–they make love, not war. “Whenever things get tense in the bonobo world, they’ll usually have some kind of sociosexual activity and this seems to really help everybody get along. But another one of the ways that they sort of have this peaceful society is they’re naturally more tolerant. They share more, and if one of them gets upset, it’s not just sex but they can also hug and comfort one another.”"
Let us all take a page from the bonobo play book. Hugs and sex for everyone! Get out there and spread the love!
A good friend of mine from my Army days has unfriended me on Facebook. He took issue with my post of the morality of sex acts. Here I present his message and my response. Other that my response to him, I don’t really have anything more to say about this, except that it make me very sad.
I saw your extremist writing on sex not being connected to morality. As a father and a husband, you should really be ashamed of yourself and deeply embarassed and you really need to get a grip on reality. I doubt that hurt spouses whose partners have commited adultery, or prosititutes whose lives have been destroyed or children who have been sexually exploited, or those suffering from aids or other veneral diseases would agree with your bizarre and warped views promoting sexual immorality on a wholesale scale. Your children are in deep trouble given your bizzare views. So given your criterea, I guess your ex “Holly” was justified in engaing in beastiality and other infidelities. I guess the the children victimized by pedophile priests are in the wrong and need to put up with having their persons violated by these perverts. I guess you want one big Soddom and Gommorah to prevail. I see through you and other perverts like you and that is this: You want a life of unrestrained immorality with no accountability or consequences. That is what you promote and I’m sure that is what you teach your children and you deride and insult any people AKA Christians, who disagree with you.
You are not the same person I was friends with and we have nothing in common and I want no part of what you espouse. As such, I do not want to have any further contact with you. Thanks.
Jay Walker February 1 at 7:32pm
You know, Holly cheated on me. She tore out my heart and ground it into the dust. But it wasn’t the sex, it was the betrayal of trust. It was taking me for granted.
I teach my children to respect each other and other people and to treat people as they would like to be treated (you know, that do unto others stuff from that bible of your). Most importantly I teach them to be honest, with themselves and with others.
I am all about accountability and consequences. I’m about adults being open and honest with each other about their feelings and emotions, their needs and their desires.
Immorality is lying, to yourself and to others. It is hiding the secret desires that you have and pretending that they don’t exist. When you are open and honest about everything then you can decide to act or not act on those desires, but if you do decide to act you must do so with the understanding and support and agreement of the one you love. If they don’t agree or support you, then you have a moral obligation not to act. The morality comes from your respect of one another. The immorality comes from disrespect, selfishness and disregard of other’s feelings and well being, not from the acts themselves. The actual act has no morality attached to it, only the intent and execution makes it moral or immoral.
I am sad that you choose not to have anything to do with me. I certainly don’t agree with your religious views, but I believe you have every right to believe as you choose and I would never let that fact that you believe in some things that I find disagreeable influence our friendship. Unless you have done me harm by believing as you do, then I have no reason to not be friends with you. You haven’t done me harm with your beliefs and I don’t see how I have harmed you in any way with mine.
You must do as your conscience tells you, but your reaction proves one of my main points about the religious: you may espouse forgiveness as a central tenant of your religion, but you don’t mean it and you certainly don’t practice it. The bible also teaches you to judge not lest ye be judged, but I don’t see much of that going on here either.
I don’t follow any book or writings and I don’t let anyone tell me what to believe so I don’t have anything to refer back to to justify how I live my life, only my espoused belief in honesty, truthfulness and respecting my fellow human beings. You may not agree with what I believe, but at least I have the honesty to live my life by own words. You, and those like you, on the other hand, don’t have the honesty to live by the words you claim to revere.
I’ll always consider you a friend, Ed, regardless if you don’t consider me yours. But I will respect your wishes and will leave you alone.