Where does your morality originate?

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These random thoughts will be a tad deeper than the last post 🙂

Recently on twitter I witnessed an incredibly reasonable discussion between a believer in God and a non-believer. It centered around the believer trying to understand where the non-believer goes to find answers to life’s mysteries and, then specifically, on where he gets his moral compass.

This is a question from believers that has ALWAYS bugged me. I say his as someone who has spent large parts of her youth as a believer and follower of an organized religion. I’ve vacillated since my mid-20s between calling myself a believer, a non-believer and an agnostic. I’m probably most firmly planted in the latter because I simply Do Not Know. OTOH, I also don’t necessarily care – that sounds callous, but it just isn’t an important topic in my life. However, at all points in my life it has always rubbed me the wrong way when believers claim that you HAVE to believe in order to know how to be “good”. That somehow a lack of belief means you would have no ability to recognize right from wrong.

That is so insulting!

This believer on twitter made the analogy that as a believer you have access to the only store in town that sells apples (church – providing morality). When you renounce your belief and leave the “store” you lose access to apples forever. A very simple metaphor, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the non believer’s response:

“In your metaphor sir? I have an apple tree in my backyard.”

EXACTLY!!!

Morality, whether you are a believer or not, comes from within YOU. Many believers have murdered. Heck, frequently folks USE their belief as a reason to kill. Beyond that extreme example, believers break all sorts of secular laws. They cheat, lie, commit adultery, steal, bully etc etc. So do non-believers. It is a failure of their PERSONAL moral code, not a lack of an outside source telling them how to behave.

I remember another non-believer telling me something that rang true with me. She left her church because she was tired of seeing so many people use prayer and “God’s will” as a crutch. An excuse to not really participate in their own lives. Again – an extreme example. But don’t you all know someone who is so immersed in their religion that they often let opportunities pass them by? Because they think praying is enough and “God will provide” and so they don’t do anything challenging or scary or hard. They take it to heart that “God’s will” means they have no free will of their own.

Another point I cannot accept under any circumstances – though it does tend to be the more extreme believers who espouse those theories.

But the morality thing – I hear that from folks all over the belief spectrum. And while I respect and will always fight for the right for people to believe because I absolutely see how comforting faith in God is to many many people – I will ALWAYS tell you that you are wrong if you state some absolute relationship between religion and morality.

I have an apple tree in my own back yard, and it is healthy and producing an abundance of apples thank you very much.

Sent from my iPad

May 8 – of running and deep thoughts and dinner

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I did it – woke up and ran the 3.2 mile loop along the trail near my house. And oh, was it hard! I purposefully didn’t wear the heart monitor because I wanted to go slow and not even look at my time along the way. I have enough of a touch of OCD or inner competitiveness that I know if I saw how slow I was going (vs running by how I felt) I would push it too fast. Still – dang!! My feet hurt so much after only 2 miles that I doubted I would be able to make it up the final uphill mile. And yet, I did. Found things around me to focus on and take my mind off my feet (like my truly achy abs that HURT when I took deeper breaths and tortured me all day if I sneezed – dang circuit class!)

Normally I feel pretty pumped from doing a morning run but for some reason I didn’t get that today 😦

Ah well – work was brightened by the news that Adam Lambert’s 2nd album which releases in the US in a week was streaming on his website. I listened to it twice and chair danced the whole time 🙂 Oh how that voice makes me smile.

So – the deep thoughts – well first it was following the efforts today in North Carolina where a pretty odious Amendment was unfortunately voted into place to define marriage in their state constitution as the only type of legal domestic partnership the state will recognize – and of course they limited marriage to only being between one man and one woman. So they effectively did away with ANY type of non-marriage relationship having any legal definition or rights recognized. It eats away at adoption rights and even domestic abuse laws outside of a marriage. Makes me so sad. The rights of a minority should NEVER be voted on my the majority. Also? I really really loathe discrimination and labeling people as “less than” or “other”.

OTOH I was thrilled to hear that San Diego will be the first city in the nation to have a street named after Harvey Milk! That will happen sometime this month for a street in Hillcrest. You can bet I’ll head up there to take a picture when it is dedicated!

So I was going to mention that a co-worker in another department has a really cute sticker on her car that I first noticed yesterday. It’s a little girl kneeling in from of a cross and it says “God answers knee-mail” Hah! Cute huh? Knee mail. Love it.

But then….well, this gal is young and a very overtly devout Christian clearly..and she and I had a debate over evolution last year that was respectful but I remember thinking at some point that she certainly was set in her beliefs so I went pretty easy on her. No point in challenging her that much. Anyhow…she walks during lunch with another co-worker who is pretty non-religious like me. The other day she apparently wore a t-shirt that said “I started out as a fetus so I don’t believe in abortion” (or something along those lines..can’t remember the exact phrasing). Fine – but – she actualy asked my co-worker if she liked the shirt! Lord…it’s one thing to wear a potentially divisive t-shirt, it’s another to draw attention to it and challenge someone to indicate their support or disagreement! Thankfully the other co-worker is more mature and very very sweet and just managed to shrug and not answer and change the subject gracefully. However, she said later she thought of the perfect response and I have to agree it would have been perfect:

“I am pro-choice so I fully support your choice to wear that shirt”

Awesome!

I’d like to chalk this up to the gals youth. But I hope she learns someday that it isn’t necessary to challenge other people on their beliefs like that. I know a lot of Christians who feel like they can’t express their faith in the open – but – like that? The knee mail sticker? Fabulous. The t-shirt? Borderline. The question about the t-shirt? Crossed the line IMHO.

Moving on…

Walked in the door after work to a glorious smell – a roast – in the crock pot! 26 had gone shopping and also has white corn on the cob on the grill. Fabulous! Except?  He did all this at around 3pm so we have to wait until 8 to eat!!! I’m dying in here smelling this!! But – it’s always nice to come home to dinner being prepared for you 🙂

This day must, of course, be rainbow in honor of Equality. Which will happen in my lifetime! It must!

 

Dear Organized Religion

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Just a short note to ask you very very nicely to please, please stop wasting your time cruising the neighborhood knocking on doors. Please save the paper used to print your pamphlets that you drop on our doorsteps. Your visit or your glossy note card are not going to convince anyone who doesn’t already attend church to actually start going. This isn’t the 10th century. At this point in time, thanks to the beauty of – well, EVERYTHING – people in my part of the world already KNOW what’s out there. Also? The vast majority of us who are not involved in a church are not staying away because we are ignorant. Oh, we KNOW. We have, in fact, chosen to NOT GO ON PURPOSE. A huge reason? Well, that which you are doing right there by knocking on my door. We resent being “recruited” or “converted” or your attempts to “save” us. We are pretty much quite happy already. Not searching. No wondering what’s going to happen to our souls when we die. Nope, absolutely fine and dandy thank ya very much. We lead our lives with a healthy blend of reason and faith that does not require us to sit in a pew and pray on Sunday. Now, we know you mean well…but at the same time it is pretty damn creepy that you need to knock on doors like a salesman or a politician trolling for donations. ANY religion that thinks it is necessary to convert people – implying that theirs is the Only True One is going to earn much more of my derision than the ones that leave me alone.

On the other hand, I used to not really care one way or another about the glossy sales cards. They arrive in my mailbox or get tucked onto my door and end up right in the trash. Whatever. But then, I read this post over at Diatribes and Ovations on just that topic and he made an EXCELLENT point which has changed how I view those fliers. They DO almost always say “Everyone is welcome!” I figured they were dropping these cards around to alert people who might be new to the area or perhaps the church is new to the area etc etc. But, they drop these EVERYWHERE so that means they don’t discriminate, right? RIGHT?! Uh huh. Something tells me that about 50% of the ones I receive would not be so quick to accept the lovely same sex couple and their two adorable children who live across the street from me. An attorney in the DA’s office and an interior designer. They host block parties and walk their oldest to the local elementary school every morning along with many other neighbors. They have lived here as long as I have and as far as I can see are accepted up and down the block. And yet – they would not be welcome at the church around the corner would they? Not all of them, that’s for sure. That realization has now made your unsolicited mailers even more unwanted.

Please, just stop. Stop it all. I’ve always let you be happy in your chosen paths and faiths,  leave me alone to be happy in mine. You know the drill right? Freedom OF and freedom FROM religion please.

Respectfully (I’m trying anyway), Me

What if Tim Tebow wasn’t a Christian?

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I can’t be the only one who has posed this question, right? But I just need to get this out there as he on the verge of potentially yet another freaky upset against the often equally reviled Tom Brady and the Patriots in the playoffs this weekend.

UPDATED: And so readers don’t think I am anti-Tebow personally – not at all! This is, much like the media hype about the Mommy Wars I ranted about earlier – all a reflection on the media and the nation’s reaction to him. In fact, here is a lovely article by my most favorite and respected sports writer of all time on just what a good kid Tim is: http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/7455943/believing-tim-tebow

People who are over-hyped (Paris Hilton, any Kardashain, The Beiber, Tom Brady, etc tec…) pretty much end up annoying everyone at some point. Doesn’t matter WHY they become famous, you just get sick of hearing their names and seeing their faces when they are at the height of their popularity.

So it was no surprise that the most HERALDED (hah!) player in recent NCAA football memory would have some of that hype carry over into his NFL career and that the sports media would be all over him if he had even a hint of success. Which he’s had this season. Big time.

Now, it just so happens that Mr Tebow is also, very very openly Christian. He tends to pray a lot on the sidelines. To the point where once he was elevated to starter on the Broncos, a tribute site to his religious bowing on bended knee sprang up with people in all walks of life “tebowing” – loosely defined as kneeling down to pray when everything /everyone else around you just continues to go about their business as if you are not there at all.

So, obviously, this is my question:

What if he wasn’t Christian?

What if he were Jewish?

Or Muslim?

Or Hindu?

Or (insert any other religion here?)

Because, guess what, sports figures do cross over into many other religious faiths. Or, none at all.

Or:

What if wasn’t a starting quarterback on an NFL team?

What if he was your co-worker bowing on his knee before every staff meeting?

What if he was your child’s youth league coach praying before every match?

What if he was (insert any other type of non-religious workplace/community volunteer setting here)?

I am ALL FOR religious freedoms. Freedom OF and freedom FROM in some cases.

So Tebow all around town all you want.

Know that no matter WHAT you believe – IF there IS a God, one thing I DO KNOW FOR SURE:

He doesn’t give a flying rats ass about sports so spare me your thanking God for your victories folks. There’s a team and fans on the other side of the field praying just as much as you.

Mostly though, I deeply deeply believe to my soul that this country would NOT be loving them so much Tebow if was bowing down on the ground facing Mecca at sundown.

Just guessin’

Speaking of strange pathways

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I was going to write a very poofy post about how much fun it is to take my car in to the dealer and have a loaner car for a few days. You know – the fun of change and something new temporarily and all that. FWIW – having even an older Mercedes means the dealership experience really is heavenly. They have long hours oncluding Saturdays and they *always* offer you a loaner which is almost always another Merceds. And in my case, since my car is older, the loaner is guaranteed to be a newer one. They are usually sporty and fun. though, always black. I hate black interiors and I always get one. Todays is silver/black. Anyhoo…..

Let me state before I go off on this topic, that I am aware that there are very very many wonderful churches and religions that are not like what I just stumbled upon. In fact, I was raised in one that is very accepting of all beliefs. Unfortunately, they don’t get the light shone on them as much as the others.

I signed into wordpress and saw this post on their main dashboard. And suddenly I am thinking much less poofy thoughts about organized religion and literal interpretations of the Bible. As much as the post – and another post the writer links to – bothers me, it is the comments that are really upsetting. Though one person writes very well about the struggles as a Christian to reconcile loving a sinner while hating the sin. Still…I absolutely do not GET how people can let ONE BOOK – written ages ago by flawed human beings – be their life and breath every single day. But..fine, c’est la vie right? You do what you need to do to get through life and many people need that. I do understand that completely. But what I DONT get is the underlying sentiment. Ok, perhaps not so underlying because one of the commenters actually SAYS it. Their complete belief that if the rest of us DONT believe, we are somehow less than they are. That we are not as loved by God as they are. THAT is what I find most offensive. The air of superiority. They actually justify being judgemental and condeming people! Makes my skin crawl. Makes my heart ache for the people who are the victims of their judgements. I will always stand up against this. Heh – perhaps another reason I am a liberal eh?