navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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  • Category Archives Faith
  • Church Week

    Every week after I attend a church service I tend to have an extra measure of depression.  I’m not sure if it’s beamed directly from God or it’s something more mundane.  This time it was a Catholic church where we were ignored and they spent 12 minutes asking for money.  Their economic model is such that there is very little extra outlay for each additional attending member so what they should be doing is reaching out to the community.  Even if the people they get give little or no money to the roles they won’t have lost anything.  People tend to view every economic model like your relationship to the government (where you are either a net gain paying more taxes then you take or a net drain taking more).  They extrapolate this on situations where the economic model doesn’t work this way (like at a church) and do a lot of harm.  Just because you are a net drain on society doesn’t mean you are a net drain to the church but people generally don’t do the math in their heads to get this.

  • Bible for Millennials

    I was messing around with the ESV API and tried to produce an online Bible that reflected the way our generation actually reads.  It still has some bugs in it but you can see it here.  Today it’s going really slow for some reason I think my IP is being throttled by the API.

  • The stench of unanswered prayer

    There is little Christians, particularly Christians that prescribe to the prosperity gospel, hate more then people with disabilities.  The stench of unanswered prayer precedes us.  We make prayer look bad but since Christians aren’t allowed to attack God they use us as a proxy to take out their anger on him.  Heck, Trump is on board with the prosperity gospel and look how he treats us!

  • Guilt Drowned Out By Shame

    I think I have a poor capacity to process negative emotions.  For example most of my life my radar has been jammed by shame (for looking/being different, not having a job, a place, and SO, etc..).  This has drowned out the guilt I’m supposed to feel that would goad me towards Christianity.  The Christian message, at least in the traditions I’ve been in has gone something like this:

    • You aren’t perfect and should feel guilty about this
    • Luckily our religion will wash away your guilt with Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross
    • Well not really, we were kidding about that.  Guilt is the lever we’ll use to keep you in line (because you’re still not perfect and you still should feel guilty about this fact).

    (Christian traditions vary mainly by how disingenuous they are about the facts above)

    The problem with this whole thing (at least for me and I suspect a lot of people) is that our negative emotion “radio” is not well developed enough.  Shame comes in on the same channel as guilt and drowns the guilt right out (because, at least in my case, the shame is felt much stronger).  I suspect that in earlier times when Christian mores were more prevalent, shame was used a lot more in keeping people away from things like fornication and alcoholism.  However that’s receded, now shame is pegged to mostly consumeristic metrics like money, status, pleasure, etc…

  • the supernatural

    <<<my self>>>
    is the only protection i have
    against the experience of the supernatural (sewer-pernatural?)
    God, Satan, and all the rest
    they have little in common
    except for their hatred of me

    is often a polite and urbane way
    of saying one is getting fucked over by the supernatural

    the supernatural protects some (usually hardcore atheists) from itself
    those people experience 0 of it
    you LUCKY SONS OF BITCHES!!!!!!!

    The popularity of Pokemon Go has gotten me thinking about augmented reality and how the supernatural is an invisible layer superimposed on the physical world just like the world of Pokemon Go.  Of course in Pokemon Go anyone with an Android or iPhone gains a window into that world.  The actual supernatural is incredibly cagey and works almost the opposite of Pokemon Go and other augmented reality apps.  You generally have to believe in the supernatural to see it and it doesn’t avail itself on demand just by pulling out your smartphone.  It’s a lot more like the street.  Within 8 hours of being on the street predators already are aware of a runaway’s predicament and start swarming.  Like the street the supernatural is not a world where conventional smarts will do you much good.

  • distracted

    Though I’m pretty godless I still pray once in a while (because I’ve experienced too much of the spiritual world to be an atheist).  I find now that I’m more distracted with my eyes closed than open (because my mind is in overdrive).  So I pray with my eyes open.

  • the system is no longer just

    Comment I posted on Reddit thread how millennials are checked out of work:

    People are just wising up. In America religion was a catalyst to getting employees to put their nose down and work hard and employers (at their best) would agree to treat their employees justly. But in the last 40 years employers have tried to milk this for all it’s worth without holding up their end of the bargain. It worked for a while but eventually employees wised up and started working like they were disposable. And more recently the younger generation is dropping out of religion like flies because for them there has never been a time where the social contract was more than a piece of paper.

    People seem to forget that you only reap what you sow.

    The system will bend over backwards to get us to believe it is just.  This is because if we believe the system is just then we’ll feel a lot worse when we go up against it.  I was brought up Christian and to believe the system was just.  And it was more just when my parents were growing up, in the early 80’s a church my dad worked at even paid international airfare to get my eyes checked every six months while they were in Honduras.  But my experience after 2000 is the Christian and secular system is no longer just.  But because I was brought up to believe the system was just I feel worse going up against it than I probably should.  I know the upcoming generation won’t and I’m happy for them.

  • Cognitive Dissonance

    Cognitive dissonance is experienced as anguish by most Christians.  That’s why they hate engaging people with disabilities.  It’s like we need and orange sign in front of us that says, “prayer doesn’t work zone”.  They have to compartmentalize and divide prayers between the ones that will work and the ones that won’t. Mental illness brings an additional wrinkle into it as now often the voice of God is often telling people crazy shit.

  • unsure

    I’ve come to the conclusion that when you’re young and you are certain about things your sense of logic can keep you in the faith, but as you get older you become more unsure and then your emotions have to pick up the slack. If they’re AWOL you won’t make it in the faith.