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  • The Isolation of Suffering

    I think one of the best arguments against the existence of a personal god is the fact that suffering is so isolating.

    God’s people dropping out of your life like flies. Me and many others on the bottom experience is that the people who claim to be closest to God are the ones that get the furthest away when things turn permanently worse. They do this all while parroting the romantic notion of suffering that things are going to go according to “God’s plan”. Well they’re not and you are part of the problem. Religious people will trot out their “free will” theodicy trump card when confronted with the problem of evil. But then they put it away when their free will is frustrating God’s supposed “perfect plan”.

    The fact that for a lot of us suffering turns us into much less of an everyman than more of one. One of the things those of privilege selling suffering say is that it will somehow connect you to a greater experience of humanity. While that happens for some lucky people for most of us suffering cuts us off from enriching people and activities we need to actually become what they claim suffering will make us become. I have noticed in my life that I’m not even empathetic to people who have gone through the same things as me (mental illness). This surprised me. I’m just stretched so thin myself I have nothing to give. Plus there is this thing with mental illness called negative symptoms which actually eat your personality away which flies in the face of anything positive coming out of suffering.

    The idea of drawing “meaning” out of suffering helps less people than you would think. Highly principled people may concoct backstories and astroturf the bad things in their life to things make sense in hindsight but that requires an expensive brain that can play good mental gymnastics. I want dignity and relationships, I don’t give a rip about meaning. Suffering actually robs my life of meaning because I found meaning in dignified work and relationships and what I suffer robs me of both.

    Experiences of God going AWOL. The part of your brain synthesizing “experiences of God” is likely to go down if you suffer enough. Part of this is suffering and skills to cope with it make you emotionally numb and religion (or whatever they are calling Christianity these days) largely transpires on the seat of the emotion. Nobody wants to admit this but the way it’s sold (especially in contemporary worship) is all about emotions. Anything that makes you emotionally stunted is going to torpedo your interaction with “God”. This is partially why so many people on the spectrum are non religious because we don’t have the emotional toolbox to interact with a god.

    The fact that a lot of us turn to the internet for refuge. When the world shuns you the internet raises you. Many forms of suffering like disability narrow people who will interact with you beyond reduced functionality mode to a subset of people which you find online. For example with me if someone doesn’t have a disability and/or mental illness the chance of a relationship happening is just about zero. Unfortunately for religion the internet is not a community friendly to religion partly because a lot of the people seeking refuge on it were already rejected by the church so they carry that with them. Also online interaction is not incarnational the same way real life interaction is so it’s less conducive to spreading religion.



  • Team Effort

    Religious people don’t like it that I don’t have any trust in God. They wouldn’t either if he had told them to drink piss, kill them selves, and date people out of their league. I have found that when I make my trust in God a team effort the truth really comes out. People (especially Christians) have dropped out of my life like flies and refused to come in showing me that they are incredibly skeptical about what God is doing in my life. Guess what, I am too!

    Don’t encourage faith with your words and then discourage it with your actions! Because I only listen to the latter.



  • Looking Good

    During some of the worst parts of my life I have had some strange desires, mainly to LOOK BETTER! I know this is shallow but I have been so lonely for so long and looking better was the main way you got a girlfriend (especially in my early 20’s when I felt this the most). I don’t think people appreciate looking good for all it’s worth.

    It sucks that I’m turning 40 and I never had a girlfriend. And a lot of that is due to the fact that I don’t look good. Now in my early 20’s it was directly due to that but now it’s indirect, due to my visible physical disability keeping me from being a vocational success (which keeps me poor and undesirable).

    We are socialized with this myth that “it’s the inside that counts” and that does come into play in keeping a relationship going but to get it started you need to look good and make decent money.



  • Suffering Being For The Good?

    Christians are no doubt revving their engines to romanticize suffering as America approaches one of its darkest hours. I have the view that suffering is unequivocally bad and take offense at those trying to find silver linings in my clouds. That being said the reason I believe suffering to be bad is because it has not been redemptive for me. Basically my life pattern is my visual impairment disability produced pain which, along with abuse, produced mental illness and those put together kept me from being a net gain for society. What I have suffered has also been incredibly isolating and people have dropped out of my life like flies as time has worn on.

    I think the only good that comes out of suffering is the good you and those around you bring into it. If your are surrounded by assholes suffering will destroy you like it did me in my first psychotic break (which gave me a lifetime of bipolar 1). But if you are in a good environment (which Christians romanticizing suffering jump the gun and assume) and you pull together and meet trials with the courage required to be beat them, you will be wounded but not destroyed. Suffering is generally redeemed communally or not at all because courage doesn’t happen in a vacuum and when people act courageously they need to lean on the supports of others around them.

    Suffering can give the individual things like enhanced empathy but not really anything that could be “cashed out” in this society where you are seen as little more than commodity. But the things successfully getting to the other side of suffering give you will help you function in a close knit group.



  • On Verbal Abuse

    Verbal abuse hurts the most when it is accurate.  People fed a diet of modern psychology wish to write off all abusive communications because the ill will of the person dishing out said abuse.  But the more wrong you have with you the more likely verbal abuse flung at you is going to be accurate.  For example I had a best friend years ago that called me pathetic.  Had I made something of my self that abuse would not have hurt so much.  Another girl on cutting me off said I was painfully awkward.  Also accurate.

    Pastors and psychologists generally have enough of their lives together not to have the verbal abuse slung at them be accurate.  But those of us lower down this is not the case.  And the cognitive tricks and platitudes helping professionals parrot don’t help us.



  • Forgiveness and Experience

    People get forgiveness wrong.  In a wrong strong enough not to forgive generally the person wronged has people not forgiving them for the fallout of said wrong.  I’ve had people wrong me in the past that have precipitated the destruction of my mental health.  I can pretend to forgive them but I know it’s bull shit.  To me forgiveness is like two plus two equals banana.  You can play cognitive tricks and smoke and mirror a poker face and be cordial but at the end of the day when nobody will forgive you for the fallout of the wrong (treating you like shit because you’re mentally ill) you can’t forgive them unless “God” enables you to (which for me would just mean I’d have to be constantly manic).

     

    There is a sense to which experiences are more meaningful when they happen communally.  For example in the 2016 election experiencing the hope and ultimate despair of people at the All Access open mic made the whole experience more real.  I don’t have that open mic anymore so no matter what happens in 2020 there won’t be that hope or shoulder to cry on.  I will be experiencing everything as an an atomized individual so whatever happens the joy or the sorrow will be more empty.



  • Disability Post

    If there is something visibly different about you (as a disability often produces) it is incumbent upon you to put the room at ease with your difference some how. If you don’t, you will be rejected and ostracized. With Christianity this damage control needs to be done at a deeper level as well. Disability is one of the chinks on the armor of Evangelical Christianity because it’s a combination of the expression of the problem of evil which isn’t easy to ignore and the lack of autonomy and prosperity that gets you reviled in Conservative Christian contexts (just look at the Medicaid work requirement to see how these people think about our right to healthcare).

    If you follow the Evangelical Christian system it’s almost imperative that you objectify folks with disabilities and project your redemptive suffering narratives upon them because the alternative works like an armor-of-God piercing bullet through the faith. In this context Wheaton’s Faith and Disability initiative the way it is makes perfect sense. One of the reasons the younger generations are leaving the faith in droves is more of them have disabilities and mental illnesses and the canned answers coming from Christianity are falling flat.



  • poetry time!

    capitalism is an open air prison

    the thing modern psychology and religion hate the most
    is you owning your poor self image
    because this keeps you from renting it from them

    could signs and wonders be decoupled from revelation?
    Prophet Yaweh was able to call specks into the sky
    and he had a bunch of crazy UFO theories on God

    modern psychology likes to guilt those of us with disabilities
    who let our disability define us
    I say “how can’t it define me”
    my disability is the first thing people notice when they see me
    it’s the reason people won’t hire me
    it’s the reason I’m treated like shit in church
    and it’s the reason, in a room, people talk to everyon but me
    (the idea that you get to define you becomes hard to swallow
    when doing so means pushing back against literally EVERYTHING)

    people bemoan the lack of kindness in the world
    while not taking into account the fact that kindness
    and being a winner are often mutually exclusive
    because modern life is very competitive
    and you often have to play dirty to get ahead

    after your heart gets broken
    everything that should go there
    gets rerouted to your brain
    (which makes for a totally different person)

    depression puts your brain in Chinese handcuffs
    the harder you think
    the tighter they get

    hearts are like meat
    the more tender they are
    the more enjoyable they are to devour

    the lower you go
    the more your life resembles war
    your responsibility is to hold territory
    and the rest of the world’s responsibility is to hurt you for doing so

    call me infantile
    but I want my reward NOW
    I don’t trust later

    if the power of religion came from God
    and not belief
    it would sustain you
    even while you were losing your belief

    so let’s be clear
    if the hope God promises to give you never materializes
    you’re on the hook for the sin of despair?



  • the DIS in disability

    Often the the DIS in disability grows larger as you get older.

    For me it was obvious because by 16 my vision was too bad to drive so I was suddenly different from everyone else.  At 24 when I was too mentally ill to live on my own I was again different than everyone else (back then there was still a lot of stigma around people living at home).  I never found a real job after that largely due to disability based prejudice.  Failing to live on my own the stigma grows with each passing year.

    Adulthood is no picnic to those of us with disabilities because adulthood itself is marked by milestones like having a car, a job, a place, a community that accepts you, etc..  and a lot of us don’t have any or many of these things.  Childhood has its own pitfalls but for a lot of us it was better (except for those who were bullied all the time).



  • what is this eudemonic pleasure you speak of?

    I don’t feel eudemonic pleasure.  I volunteer a lot because I can’t find paid work and don’t get pleasure from it.  The pleasure I feel is hedonic like when I listen to a good song or are with friends enjoying tea or a chai latte.  I think there are a few reasons for this, first being that I’m on the bottom so any time I help people it’s not happening by my own free will, it’s happening because disability based prejudice is keeping me from fully functioning in society (via getting a job).  Also generally classes that have been oppressed (such as African Americans) get less eudemonic pleasure out of uncompensated labor because it was forced upon them in the past.  The second being I have untreated depression and I think depression (at least as a male) makes you feel your station more at the expense of anything else you could be feeling.  So if you’re volunteering you’re thinking you are on the bottom instead of how much you are benefiting people.  Thirdly I can’t read social cues so when people are grateful it doesn’t often reach me.

    Society likes to denigrate people who only feel hedonic pleasure labeling them as selfish and entitled.  I don’t know what to say to that other than a lot of times it is something out of our control.