Those Damn Teenage Years

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In a recent conversation with my soon to be fourteen year old son, I was reminded of my youth, the choices I was forced to make, and how rough it really is being that age. I like to think I’m taking a different approach to parenting than the approach my parents took with me, I was raised in a wrath of God house by two very devout Catholics with closet human tendencies. Of course, my wife and my style differs from many parents as I’m told. I also get told I’m doing it wrong, the parents are the boss. Before you assume way to much here, I’m not the “friend” parent type. I am the type of parent who has instilled justifiable fear into his children, after all they live in my house, sleep in my house, and scary shit happens when you least expect it. Anyway, I’ve tried very hard to not raise quitters in a society where quitting has become the norm. I believe in self esteem because without it you have little control of your inward or outward emotions. But, we all get to the point where we start asking when is enough going to be enough, when will the madness end, and why can’t this be easier.

We all have given up at some point. All of us at a certain point have stopped believing that we’ll be able to make it. Some of us have done it often, some just very few times, but all of us know how it feels.The  sad fact is that most of us give up far too soon.My son explained to me that he was thinking the other day, why does he actually give up? What are his most common reasons and are there any ways to get around those reasons for giving up?

He thinks discouragement is the biggest reason for quitting and failure. No matter what you have decided to do, as soon as you share it with people there will be at least few who will tell you that YOU Can’t Do it and come up with different reasons about why it can’t be done. At that point you may decide to give up the idea even before giving it a try.  Instead of thinking about giving up think about how are you going to prove all those people wrong.  In fact proving those who doubt me wrong has been pretty good motivation for me so far, I have spent a lifetime trying to stay on top of my game. As well, if you don’t believe in yourself you will always be tempted to give up because you won’t believe in your success. The self-doubt will be keeping you from pushing forward.

I somehow thought that I was not strong enough to make my dreams come true, but then there was a shift in mindset which sort of set me free. And it was one simple realization. The realization that none of the people who have succeeded are better than me. They worked harder, they were persistent and they believed in their dreams, but they were not actually better, just approached life differently, as most of us do. These days there are so many distractions… Social media, TV series, and different smart phone notifications not letting you focus on the important things. If you don’t keep focus on your goal you will end up with insufficient results and that will discourage you even further. But, as I discussed with my son, social media didn’t exist when I was growing up, none of this shit did. My social media was friends and family. My internet was called “the outdoors”, I earned my allowance by being a part of the family unit team. Unlike today, parents give their children money to just leave them alone. As it is, in our house we are pretty tight, we do allot together on a very regular basis. On top of it all we have dinner together, every night, without fail. Also, no television is on, no cell phones are allowed at the table, and we talk or play games while we eat, there is fun and laughter, and it is also a time to gather to discuss more serious matters, if any.

That reminds me of yet another reason we, as humans, give up, we give up when we don’t get the immediate results. We all want things to happen fast and it is hard to realize that there are things that actually takes time. One can not have instant on and instant off like the flick of a light switch each and every time. Some things, to include pets and people, are more challenging, they take more time, things like trust and value in a person have to be developed and earned, which takes time. There is no such thing as overnight success so we have to keep in mind that it takes time and to be prepared not to give up.

When I am starting something new I am on fire. I am full of enthusiasm and I am motivated. But with the time things may start cooling off and at some point the self-motivation may not be enough to keep me moving. That is when I may think about giving up, that is when I need to go back to beginning and try to recall the big why. Why did I start that project in first place and what was initially motivating me? That brings me back on track most of the time. But still we need motivation, we still need the allure that there is a prize waiting for us at the end. No matter what kind of life you had, you are used to your own personal comfort zone and that brings you great comfort. Now when you have initiated changes you entered the stage of uncertainty and struggle, which by no means is comfortable. What makes me not giving up in those cases is the thought that once I get where I wanna be my new comfort zone will be a much better one. But, what I’ve learned over the years cannot be taught, it has to be experienced. This is my son’s struggle know, the learning curve, stepping out of the comfort zone, finding new experiences doing new things or with new people. Plus, he is at the beautiful age where he has really realized he really likes boobs. One more thing we have in common.

Anything worth achieving is hard. Yes the easiest option is to just give up, but then, will it be easy living with the regret that you gave up midway? On the other hand I would not say that giving up is something terrible and wrong. Sometimes you may end up having too many things on your plate and that may make you overwhelmed. Sometimes you may need to give up certain things because they may not be a priority at that point. I find myself looking at the details in my own life on a regular basis, there is never room for bullshit, it is always the first into the fuckbucket. What is important that you don’t give up your dreams and the things you want really bad. Don’t give up your passion and never give up on life. I understand living with a person like me is challenging, being a sarcastic jackass is a fine art and we all don’t appreciate fine art. We all have given up at some point. All of us at a certain point have stopped believing that we’ll be able to make it. Some of us have done it often, some just very few times, but all of us know how it feels. The  sad fact is that most of us give up far too soon.

Where does all this leave the conversation I was having with my son? Well, he was never actually clear as to what he was thinking about quitting. And, I’m not altogether sure we were even talking about the same thing. Later, while talking with my wife I was informed that a girl he knew in school, friends but not inner circle friends, had committed suicide last week. There was no clear reason why, she left no note, gave the parents no inkling that she was distressed, same with her two sisters, teachers, and friends. Except for one person, who came forward to “confess” to her parents that he knew why. You see, they were boyfriend and girlfriend. She wanted an exclusive relationship (at 14) and he wanted to play the field. She took it had, it killed her self esteem and self worth, and according to him, as she told him, she didn’t feel she was worth the effort of having his love if he was not willing to commit to her. Granted, this is the opinion of a 14 year old boy, and this story was also posted up on Facebook, so I don’t really know if it actually ever happened. But, after going back to my son to talk, he said that I did answer his question of “why people quit” without even knowing that was what I was doing. We talked more, we talked about the cruelty of emotions, especially in a teenager. But suicide is not an easy subject, simply because there isn’t an actual answer to give. The only person who knows is dead.

I don’t know if this makes me angry or sad. I do know that I have been in my sons shoes before, knowing a person who has had her self esteem crushed on a daily basis for “fun” by others. But, that is another topic altogether, since bullying seems to have become so evermore popular these days, or its just more in the public eye these days. As a parent I try to teach my children to hope for the best and prepare for the worst because the two survive together hand in hand. One may think they are just words, but others take those words to heart. As uncomfortable as I was talking with my son about suicide and how I personally believe it should never be the answer for anyone, I was also proud of my son for wanting to sit and talk to me about life, emotions, feelings, relationships, and family with me. It takes courage to begin a conversation with your father when you don’t know what the outcome will be. Both of us feeling a little bummed, we invited the rest of the family to go out for ice cream. Ice cream? Yes, the one thing on the planet stronger than any drug, stronger than and alcohol, stronger than any words, stronger than any bond, it is a time of peace for a troubled mind or a troubled soul. Its a time to take a break from the crap life offers and just enjoy a bite of ice cream.

Yes, I know, ice cream doesn’t solve all problems, but it does give the opportunity to step away from them, not to quit them, but to take a break from them. Everyone needs a break, we all take breaks or celebrate in our own ways. In the end I learned from my son that I should keep my past close so it can be accessed and shared. I never knew my life, in general, would be an education tool for the youth in my family. But then again, we do learn most of what we know from our parents and family. Having children has been the best challenge I never quit. Try something new, get in your child’s head today, give them a nice tight hug, a big smile, and a peck on the cheek. When they ask why just tell them it is because you were thinking about them. It scares the crap out of them. I know from experience that life isn’t easy. It wasn’t designed to be easy. We don’t evolve within ourselves if we are not constantly challenged. Don’t let life discourage you, leave that to the people around you, you know, the people who don’t want you to succeed because they don’t care about succeeding. Until we “meet” again, remember to eat it everyday!

What Is Your Religion Really About

Today let’s talk about religion, but not how you are thinking about talking about religion, let’s talk about the “other” religions out there, the off the beaten path religions, the religions that have the odd origins, the odd practices, and the roots that some of us, well me, find just a little bit out there. For those of y’all in practice of one or more religions that I mention, just remember the following information is public as far as I know and is not a leak from inside your particular cult and/or religion. The information, as it would be, was passed along to me by a member of The Scorpion Army, the information was originally collected to write a college sociology paper to discuss the relationships between people and the religious leaders they follow. A paper I could never have written, seems the term sheeple is not an acceptable term to describe a religious organization’s flock of followers. So, without further ado, lets look at religions which might seem a little bizarre or weird to the main stream public of the world. By the way, I’ve fired my proof reader, so if there are duplicates or misspellings y’all just need to suck it up.

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One will notice that there will be a handful of religions not discussed, that should be discussed, but I’m not setting out to bust anybody’s balls today or to ruffle any feathers. This post is for entertainment purposes, maybe even a little educational, and perhaps might even open our eyes to the different things, people, idols, places, ideas, concepts, objects, or times we worship to get through our days and nights. The order of this list is in no particular order, nor does the order of the list mean anything specific. Religion can be understood largely as an attempt of a group of individuals to understand existential questions based on a set of cultural practices specific to that group. Sometimes these practices may not seemingly conform to our normal expectations from a ‘religion’. But they succeed in fulfilling what is expected of a religion- uniting people because of the belief that they may share. However, there is one condition that all religions must comply. They must not hinder the lives of others.

The Church of Scientology is a cult created by L Ron Hubbard (Elron) in 1952 as an outgrowth of his earlier self-help system called Dianetics. The Church of Scientology holds that at the higher levels of initiation (OT levels) mystical teachings are imparted that may be harmful to unprepared readers. These teachings are kept secret from members who have not reached these levels. In the OT levels, Hubbard explains how to reverse the effects of past-life trauma patterns that supposedly extend millions of years into the past. Among these advanced teachings is the story of Xenu (sometimes Xemu), introduced as an alien ruler of the “Galactic Confederacy.” According to this story, 75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes and detonated hydrogen bombs in the volcanoes. The thetans then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to do this today. Scientologists at advanced levels place considerable emphasis on isolating body thetans and neutralizing their ill effects.

Nuwaubianism is an umbrella term used to refer to the doctrines and teachings of the followers of Dwight York. The Nuwaubians originated as a Black Muslim group in New York in the 1970s, and have gone through many changes since. Eventually, the group established a headquarters in Putnam County, Georgia in 1993, which they have since abandoned. York is now in prison after having been convicted on money laundering and child molestation charges, but Nuwaubianism endures. York developed Nuwaubianism by drawing on a wide range of sources which include Theosophy-derived New Age movements such as Astara as well as the Rosicrucians, Freemasonry, the Shriners, the Moorish Science Temple of America, the revisionist Christianity & Islam and the Qadiani cult of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the numerology of Rashad Khalifa, and the ancient astronaut theories of Zecharia Sitchin. White people are said in one Nuwaubian myth to have been originally created as a race of killers to serve blacks as a slave army, but this plan went awry. Here is a list of some of the more unusual Nuwaubian beliefs:

1. It is important to bury the afterbirth so that Satan does not use it to make a duplicate of the recently-born child
2. Furthermore, some aborted fetuses survive their abortion to live in the sewers, where they are being gathered and organized to take over the world
3. People were once perfectly symmetrical and ambidextrous, but then a meteorite struck Earth and tilted its axis causing handedness and shifting the heart off-center in the chest
4. Each of us has seven clones living in different parts of the world
5. Women existed for many generations before they invented men through genetic manipulation
6. Homo sapiens is the result of cloning experiments that were done on Mars using Homo erectus
7. Nikola Tesla came from the planet Venus
8. The Illuminati have nurtured a child, Satan’s son, who was born on 6 June 1966 at the Dakota House on 72nd Street in New York to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis of the Rothschild/Kennedy families. The Pope was present at the birth and performed necromantic ceremonies. The child was raised by former U.S. president Richard Nixon and now lives in Belgium, where it is hooked up bodily to a computer called “The Beast 3M” or “3666.”

The Church of Euthanasia (CoE), is a political organization started by the Reverend Chris Korda (pictured above) in the Boston, Massachusetts area of the United States. According to the church’s website, it is “a non-profit educational foundation devoted to restoring balance between Humans and the remaining species on Earth.” The CoE uses sermons, music, culture jamming, publicity stunts and direct action combined with an underlying sense of satire and black humor to highlight Earth’s unsustainable population. The CoE is notorious for its conflicts with Pro-life Christian activists. According to the church’s website, the one commandment is “Thou shalt not procreate”. The CoE further asserts four principal pillars: suicide, abortion, cannibalism (“strictly limited to consumption of the already dead”), and sodomy (“any sexual act not intended for procreation”). Slogans employed by the group include “Save the Planet, Kill Yourself”, “Six Billion Humans Can’t Be Wrong”, and “Eat a Queer Fetus for Jesus”, all of which are intended to mix inflammatory issues to unnerve those who oppose abortion and homosexuality.

The Prince Philip Movement is a cargo cult of the Yaohnanen tribe on the southern island of Tanna in Vanuatu. The Yaohnanen believe that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the consort to Queen Elizabeth II, is a divine being, the pale-skinned son of a mountain spirit and brother of John Frum. According to ancient tales the son travelled over the seas to a distant land, married a powerful lady and would in time return. The villagers had observed the respect accorded to Queen Elizabeth II by colonial officials and came to the conclusion that her husband, Prince Philip, must be the son from their legends. When the cult formed is unclear, but it is likely that it was sometime in the 1950s or 1960s. Their beliefs were strengthened by the royal couple’s official visit to Vanuatu in 1974 when a few villagers had the opportunity to observe the prince from afar. Prince Philip was made aware of the religion and has exchanged gifts with its leaders and even visited them.

The Creativity Movement (formerly known as World Church Of The Creator), is a white separatist organization that advocates the whites-only religion, Creativity. It was also a descriptive phrase used by Ben Klassen, that included all adherents of the religion. The use of the term creator does not refer to a deity, but rather to themselves (white people). Despite the former use of the word Church in its name, the movement is atheistic. Creativity is a White Separatist religion that was founded by Ben Klassen in early 1973 under the name Church of the Creator. After Klassen’s death in 1993, Creativity almost died out as a religion until the New Church of the Creator was established three years later by Matthew F. Hale as its Pontifex Maximus (high priest), until his incarceration in January 2003 for plotting with the movement’s head of security, Anthony Evola (an FBI informant), to murder a federal judge.

Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY) was founded in 1981 by members of Psychic TV, Coil, Current 93, and a number of other individuals. The ever-evolving network is a loosely federated group of people operating as a unique blend of artistic collective, and practitioners of magic. TOPY is dedicated to the manifestation of magical concepts lacking mysticism or the worship of gods. The group focuses on the psychic and magical aspects of the human brain linked with “guiltless sexuality”. Throughout its existence, TOPY has been an influential group in the underground Chaos magic scene and in the wider western occult tradition. TOPY’s research has covered both Left-hand path and Right-hand path magick, various elements of psychology, art, music, and a variety of other media. Some of the influences on the network have been Aleister Crowley, Austin Osman Spare, and Brion Gysin.

The Church of the SubGenius is a parody religion that promotes slack, while in a meta-commentarial way, satirizes religion, conspiracy theories, UFOs, and popular culture. The church claims to have been founded in the 1950s by the “world’s greatest salesman” J. R. “Bob” Dobbs. “Bob” Dobbs is depicted as a cartoon of a Ward Cleaver-like man smoking a pipe. The church really started with the publication of SubGenius Pamphlet #1 in 1979. It found acceptance in underground pop-culture circles and has been embraced on college campuses, in the underground music scene, and on the Internet. An important SubGenius event occurred on July 5, 1998: X-Day. The Church had been predicting that on this day the world would be destroyed by invading alien armies known as the X-ists (which is short for “Men from Planet X”). When the event didn’t come to pass, the church administrator who predicted it was tarred and feathered – but allowed to continue on as administrator. Paul Reubens (Pee-wee Herman) is a SubGenius minister. Patrick Volkerding, the founder and maintainer of Slackware Linux, is also a SubGenius affiliate, and he has confirmed the Church and “Bob” inspired the name for Slackware.

Universe people or Cosmic people of light powers (Czech: Vesmírní lidé sil sv?tla) is a Czech religious movement centered around Ivo A. Benda. Its belief system is based upon the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations communicating with Benda and other “contacters” since October 1997 telepathically and later even by direct personal contact. According to Benda those civilizations operate a fleet of spaceships, led by Ashtar Sheran, orbiting the Earth. They closely watch and help the good and are waiting to transport their followers into another dimension. The Universe People’s teachings incorporate various elements from ufology (some foreign “contacters” are credited, though often also renounced after a time as misguided or deceptive), Christianity (Jesus was a “fine-vibrations” being) and conspiracy theories (forces of evil are supposed to plan compulsory chipping of the population).

The Nation of Yahweh is a predominantly African-American religious group that is the most controversial offshoot of the Black Hebrew Israelites line of thought. They were founded in 1979 in Miami by Hulon Mitchell, Jr., who went by the name Yahweh ben Yahweh. Their goal is to return African Americans, whom they see as the original Israelites, to Israel. The group departs from mainstream Christianity and Judaism by accepting Yahweh ben Yahweh as the Son of God. In this way, their beliefs are unique and distinct from that of other known Black Hebrew Israelite groups. The group has engendered controversy due to legal issues of its founder and has also faced accusations of being a black supremacist cult by the Southern Poverty Law Center and The Miami Herald. The SPLC has criticized the beliefs of the Nation of Yahweh as racist, stating that the group believed blacks are “the true Jews” and that whites were “white devils.” They also claim the group believed Yahweh ben Yahweh had a Messianic mission to vanquish whites and that they held views similar to the Christian Identity movement.

The Church of All Worlds is a neo-pagan religion founded in 1962 by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and his wife Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart. The religion evolved from a group of friends and lovers who were in part inspired by a fictional religion of the same name in the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein; the church’s mythology includes science fiction to this day. They recognize “Gaea,” the Earth Mother Goddess and the Father God, as well as the realm of Faeries and the deities of many other pantheons. Many of their ritual celebrations are centered on the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece. Following the tradition of using fiction as a basis for his ideas, Zell-Ravenheart recently founded The Grey School of Wizardry inspired in part by Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the school in the Harry Potter novels.

Cheondoism is a 20th-century Korean religious movement that has its origins in a peasant rebellion in 1812. Cheondoist theology is basically monotheistic, pantheistic and panentheistic. Cheondoism is rooted in Korean shamanism and Korean Buddhism, with elements drawn from Christianity. It has become so popular in Communist North Korea that it is now the leading religion there. The religion believes that God exists in each of us and that we should all strive to make earth a paradise. It attempts to transform the believers into intelligent moral beings with a high social consciousness.

Mazdakism is a religion founded by Mazdak, a socialist Persian (Iranian) reformer in the 6th century BC. He claimed to be a prophet (similar to Mohammed 1,200 years later) and instituted communal possessions and social welfare programs. The two distinguishing factors of Mazdak’s teaching were the reduction of the importance of religious formalities — the true religious person being the one who understood and related correctly to the principles of the universe — and a criticism of the strong position of Zoroastrian clergy, who, he believed, had oppressed the Persian population and caused much poverty. Despite the concepts of good conduct and Pacifism, the followers of Mazdak raided the palaces and harems of the rich, removing the valuables to which they believed they had equal rights.

Builders of the Adytum (or BOTA for short) is a religion created in California by Dr. Paul Foster Case. The religion teachs its adherants by correspondence but also has bases around the world where people meet and perform religious ceremonies. Most of the beliefs and teachings are based on esoteric psychology, occult tarot, Hermetic Qabalah, Astrology, and meditation techniques. BOTA is not a strictly Christian organization, nor is it Jewish. B.O.T.A believes that the Qabalah is the mystical root of both ancient Judaism and the original Christianity, but people of all faiths are accepted if they are mystically inclined.

Asatru is a revival of ancient Nordic religion based upon polythesitc faith and mythic tales. According to the religion, there are four key deities and several minor gods. Adherents usually live in communities called Kindreds. They ascribe to the “Nine Noble Virtues” as a model for their lives. While the original Norse would have participated in animal sacrifice, modern worshipers offer mead, a honey-wine, to the gods. Major holidays revolve around the changing seasons with Yule being the most important. It is celebrated in late December and continues for twelve days.

Eckankar was established by American John Paul Twitchell in 1965. It is a monotheistic faith, which worships the divine spirit “Eck.” Eckankar is similar to some Eastern religions in its belief that the soul is constantly reincarnated until it achieves spiritual liberation. The religion teaches that spiritual growth is only possible through special meditative exercises similar to yoga. Through these practices, the soul can escape the physical form and enter the Sugmad, or spiritual realm. Successful completion of one’s spiritual journey results in a reunification with Eck.

Jainism was founded in India over 2500 years ago. It survives today with approximately four million believers, called J. This polytheistic faith preaches that many gods exist alongside humans in a complex hierarchy. The Jain gods are symbolic of common human ideas. Similar to Buddhism, the goal of “Jain Life” is to achieve spiritual perfection and free the soul from the cycle of rebirth. Those who succeed in this endeavor are called jinas. Jain worship centers on icons and numerous Jain temples in India contain images of the 24 tirthankaras, revered spiritual leaders. Offerings are frequently made to these images as part of Jain ritual. Meditation and monasticism are also key features of Jainism.

Founded in the early 20th century, this religion is based around so-called “Prophet Healing” churches in Africa. It claims around one million adherents, mostly in Nigeria. Aladura is directly related to the Anglican movement of Christianity. It was founded as a response to missionary movements in Africa. The religion emphasizes divine healing and a strict moral code. Its practices mix Anglican traditions with African rituals. Many ritual objects are involved in the practice, and the faiths leaders are known as prophets who are entrusted with healing believers through rituals and prayer.

This Vietnamese religion combines elements of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Catholicism. It was founded in 1926 and claims up to 6 million adherents. Believers worship a vast array of saints, which includes such notable figures as Julius Caesar and Pericles. The ecclectic nature of Cao Dai complements its idealistic mission to create a more tolerant world. Adherents see all humans as sharing a divine heritage. The practicies of this faith are somewhat occult and derived from Taoist traditions. Believers hold seances in addition to group prayer and elaborate ritual ceremonies.

Falun Gong is a recent religious movement with roughly three million practitioners. It was founded in China in 1992 by Li Hongzhi. It combines elements of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism with traditional Chinese folklore. Falun Gong aims to obtain mental and spiritual renewal through meditation. Adherents practice special exercises to awaken their center of spiritual energy and rid themselves of physical and spiritual ailments. The faith has received extensive criticism from the Chinese government, which initially saw the new cult as a threat. Outsiders also tend to ridicule Falun Gong’s contention that antagonistic space aliens are manipulating world leaders.

With nearly two billion professed adherents worldwide, Christianity is currently the largest religion in the world. It has dominated western culture for centuries and remains the majority religion of Europe and the Americas. Christian belief centers on the life of Jesus of Nazareth, a teacher and healer of first-century Palestine. The primary source of information about the life of Jesus are the Gospels, four books written by different authors 30-100 years after Jesus’ death. The Gospels eventually became the first four books of the New Testament. Christian practices vary by denomination, but common elements include a Sunday worship service, private and corporate prayer, study and reading of the Scriptures, and participation in rites such as baptism and communion. Distinctive Catholic practices include recognition of seven total sacraments, Sunday mass, devotion to the Virgin Mary and the saints, and veneration of relics and places associated with holy figures. Eastern Orthodoxy holds many practices in common with Catholicism, but is especially distinguished by the central role of icons: ornate images of Christ and the saints believed to provide a connection to the spiritual world.

Wicca is a highly spiritual religion based on the ancient pre-christian pagan religions.  Not all pagans are wiccans!  Wiccans believe in divine forces as the source of all.  It is both immanent and transcendent while encompassing the whole universe.  Therefore the world and all aspects within the world, “nature” and “life itself” in particular, are considered sacred. Wiccans use ancient and modern ceremonies, rituals and shamanic practices to attune themselves to the natural rhythms of nature, the world, and the universe in their efforts to commune with this divine force. To communicate with the force, wiccans believe it to be manifest in the form of a goddess and god.  As they emanate from the same source, both retain equal power, hence equal status.  By manifesting the power in two deities (goddess and god), the natural balance of opposites, cause and effect are retained, e.g.  Summer/winter, light/ dark, life and death etc.  Each opposite is essential to maintaining the balance and rhythm of life on earth.

Islam is one of the largest religions in the world, with over 1 billion followers. It is a monotheistic faith based on revelations received by the Prophet Muhammad in 7th-century Saudi Arabia. The Arabic word islam means “submission,” reflecting the faith’s central tenet of submitting to the will of God. Followers of Islam are called Muslims. According to Islamic tradition, the angel Gabriel appeared to the Prophet over the course of 20 years, revealing to him many messages from God. Muslims recognize some earlier Judeo-Christian prophets—including Moses and Jesus—as messengers of of the same true God. But in Islam, but Muhammad is the last and greatest of the prophets, whose revelations alone are pure and uncorrupted.  The Prophet dedicated the remainder of his life to spreading a message of monotheism in a polytheistic world. In 622, he fled north to the city of Medina to escape growing persecution. This event marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. Eight years later, Muhammad returned to Mecca with an army and conquered the city for Islam. By Muhammad’s death, 50 years later, the entire Arabian Peninsula had come under Muslim control. The sacred text of Islam, the Qur’an, was written in Arabic within 30 years of Muhammad’s death. Muslims believe it contains the literal word of God. Also important is the tradition of the sayings and actions of Muhammad and his companions, collected in the Hadith.

Worshippers of Satan can broadly be categorised as spiritualists for whom Satan is an actual deity and atheists for whom Satan is a figure symbolising crisis of faith, individualism and free will. Certain sects are notorious for their activities. Like the ‘Beasts of Satan’ committed murders in Italy between 1998-2004. The ‘Order of Nine Angels’ affirmed human sacrifice (1960s). The public practice began with the establishment of the Church of Satan in 1966.

The Rastafari believe that the Ethiopian King Haile Selassie is the God of All. The aim of the religious movement is to restore pride in African identity which suffered because of the forces of colonialism. They proclaim Zion as the original birthplace of mankind and reject ‘Babylon’ or the world of materialism. Bob Marley is one famous Rastafari who followed the principles of Rastafarian lifestyle including ritual use of marijuana, avoiding alcohol and wearing one’s hair in dreadlocks.

Claude Vorilhon formed the religion in 1974 as a U.F.O. religion. Raëlians believe that a humanoid species of extraterrestrials, Elohim are responsible for the genesis of the human race. They believe that the Elohim misinformed humans that they were angels and that Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and others are Prophets of Elohim. They believe that the Elohim will come back to meet us when we are peaceful and ready. They believe in awakening of the mind through awakening of the body. The usage of the Swastika as a religious symbol has caused the religious group some problems in Israel.

Diego Maradona is a legend to say the least. His fans started a religion for him in the year 1998 and has more than a million followers in more than sixty countries. The supporters of the Maradonian Church count the years since the football legend Maradona’s birth in 1960. The use of the neo-Tetragrammaton, D10S as one of the names of Maradona is popular with this group. D10S is a portmanteau word which fuses 10 (diez in Spanish) which is Maradona’s t-shirt number, and dios which is the Spanish word for God.

Influenced by “Born in Zion,” by Carol Balizet, this group denounces the ”seven systems” of mainstream society which include education, government, banking and religion. But also, medicine, science and entertainment. In 2002, the pastor of  The Body of Christ sect -Robidoux and his wife Karen E. Robidoux, were charged with murder along with her husband for starving their child. They said that they were waiting for God’s sign to feed the baby.  This pseudo-Christian cult believes in the power of faith healing.

The Christian Science Church, founded in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy who survived an accident which could have been fatal by praying to God and reading her Bible.  She wrote books like ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures’. The Church runs on the belief that “Anyone can find God to be a very present help in trouble”. The followers believe that pain does not exist. “The only reality of sin, sickness, or death is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise”. Though the Church propagates faith healing, healthcare is a matter of individual choice.

A religion inspired by George Lucas’s ‘Star Wars’, Jediism was founded by Daniel Jones and his brother Barney in 2008. There have been incidents when Jedis have been evicted from public places for refusing to take off their hood including the founder,Daniel which led to the beginning of a campaign for Jedi rights. The Jedis believe that the ‘Force’ is a reality and that morality is an innate quality of human beings.  The religion asks followers to beware of the dark side of this force which leads to fear which leads to hate and which in turn leads to suffering. There is no scripture as such. But there are guidelines for Jedi marriages.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Pastafarianism) has only one dogma- No dogma! Bobby Henderson’s open letter to the Kansas School Board marked the official beginning of this ‘religion’. The letter demanded that the theory of Intelligent Design and more specifically the theory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster should be taught to students along with theories of Evolution. He reasoned that this must be done to appease the monster and usedgraphs showing relation between pirate population and national disasters to prove this. Seen by some as a satire against religion, the adherents claim that satire is intrinsic to religion.

Frisbeetarianism is the universal belief that when you die your soul goes up onto the roof and stays there for eternity as described by the comedian George Carlin and that “the soul stays stuck up there until someone knocks it down with a long pole and your new life begins”. Some people think it is a rouse of sorts to honor Carlin, a Catholic who was educated at New York City parochial schools and thought organized religion was “the biggest bullshit story ever told.”

Though people are mostly skeptic about the identity of Vampirism as a religion, the adherents believe it is. Vampirism is derived largely from the depiction of vampires in popular culture especially Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ (1897). Vampires can be described as active vampires-who indulge in feeding on blood from a human or an animal and psychic vampires- who indulge in feeding on another person’s aura. Sexuality and its representation have a big role to play.

Undoubtedly I will have left out one or three religions of the world which one of y’all will get particularly bent out of shape for, well, don’t. There’s no need to get bent out of shape, this is just a blanket list of many of the religions of the world. If you weren’t mentioned, sorry, maybe next time. Don’t fuck with me or I will dedicate the next ten posts to the cult of The Westboro Baptist Church. No matter what, we can see that there are what each of us could consider different or strange religions out in the world, and of course, the human design is to judge others, but in the end we were all born to eventually die, to live a meager existence within a population of other people who are just as lost as we are. Eventhough this post was not intended to offend anyone in particular, it will offend someone for some reason or another. Just take the generic information for what it is, go read up on it if you please, I am just the passer of information at this point in time in history. For the rest of y’all, the ones with the common sense, I hope you enjoyed this little exploratory trip into the minds and missions of people the world over.

Is Religion The Grand Conspiracy?

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I would like to preface this post by saying that I do not hold a particular or specific belief in God, the Devil, the bible, religion, or any other cult following. I’m here on planet Earth to live my life until my last breath. I hold my own opinions in regards to religion, God, and so forth. I do not ask you to accept my opinions because I know they are mine. I do not write the following post to be inflammatory to others, I write it to illustrate the answer to the question I was asked via an e-mail. This is not justification for my beliefs nor is it defamation of your beliefs.

Recently I received an e-mail which asked me why I think religion (in general) is a hoax or the biggest conspiracy known to mankind. I don’t ever recall saying it either way, but lets not let that stop me from exploring these claims a little further. Lets remember that I was raised Catholic. Lets remember that I wanted to be a Catholic priest. Lets remember my faith in God and religion was lost long ago because in my opinion God tried to kill me and it was man who structured my recovery. Lets remember that these facts in my life serve neither as evidence or truths in religion or Christianity. They are, however, the launching platform for which all of my questions arise. True, I do disagree with organized religion which leads it’s sheeple masses into believing fairytales and trying to establish this as historical fact. True, I do think that religion uses fear and promises to promote itself thru the guises of simple men. True, I think religion preys on the weak-minded by trying to replace common sense with folklore and apocalypticism. However, this isn’t the end, people who put their faith in someone mystical who is overly glorified is strangely bizarre to me since an idol is an idol whether flesh or gold. Conspiracy theories are the nature of the beast, they are human nature, they are what makes us humans strive forth on a quest to find out answers to all the questions we dream up. However, a conspiracy theory has come almost exclusively to refer to any fringe theory which explains a historical or current event as the result of a secret  plot by conspirators of almost superhuman power and cunning. I’m not saying religion is just a fringe theory, but I’m not saying that it is accurate either. Since when do we, as humans, need to be led, need to follow, or believe in something just to get us thru another day? Well, since the beginning of time. Some follow, some lead, and some question. Which one are you.

Not all people in this world are honest, hard-working, and forthcoming about their intentions. Certainly we can all agree on this fact as a starting point, right? Now, before we get to deep here, before you start gritting your teeth, just remember I’m only expressing my personal opinion. If it is similar to your personal opinion that is fine. If it isn’t similar to your personal opinion that is also fine. I don’t ride the fence with my opinions. I most certainly do not sugar coat my beliefs either. Religion spends more time condemning mankind for its words and actions when it should be embracing mankind because mankind had been the curator of it’s very survival. I won’t tell you how to believe and in return you don’t get to tell me how to believe. Deal? Very well then, now we can get down to the brass tacks of why we are even here today, to why we are even having a discussion about religion, and search for the answers to questions that not only I can have about religion. Fair enough? I’m not bashing religion. I am exploring why religion is not the answer for me. Skeptics such as myself are important in achieving an objective view of reality, however, my skepticism is not to be confused with reinforcing the official biblical storyline.

I consider intelligent cynicism certainly to be a healthy way of thinking. Just remember that some of  the greatest discoveries of all time were initially received as blasphemous conspiracy theories. The top two I think about are of the revelation that the earth was not the center of the universe nor the world flat but actually round. Hard pills for most scholars to swallow because the information went against the grain of everything they had ever been led to believe, it went against everything they were ever taught, and it made them wrong. But ignorance is bliss, right? What is it about conspiracy theories as casual as  apocalypticism that makes them function as magnetic cores of desire?  Religious conspiracy theory functions as a way of jacking up the tension of the world, of sharpening contrasts until they become a simplex chiaroscuro of black and white, good and evil, but never resolve anything, never answer questions, and always leaving its sheeple lost in darkness needing to be herded into a flock.  The communal march of the sheeple against an enemy generates a warm, unfamiliar bond with their neighbors, their community, their nation, their religion, while wiping out unsettling undercurrents of alienation and dislocation towards religion. All of the disparate centers of religious power in the world coalesce into a heavy brick, a wall of sinister purpose, something that you can sink your teeth into, throw your weight against, something that justifies an uncompromising fixation and the abandonment of distractions and reservations. People are drawn to this power, people want this power, and this power is always held at bay for the common masses. Why? It instills a sense of dignity and nobility in the fight against a ruthless, expansive evil.

Religion isn’t predicated on the belief that everything must have a reason, quite the opposite, religion needs there to be people seeking answers. Religion sees the world in epic terms, foreclosing the possibility that people might act on much more modest scales of self-indulgence, consolation, or foolishness if there is fear of damnation and apocalypticism. The religious culture has not ever veered away from these ends, it has become primarily a mechanism for the distribution of affects, an apocalyptic fantasy, a self-indulgent addiction, often with a sword in its hand for enforcement. So, why do people believe in God, religion, ghosts, goblins, spirits, the afterlife, or even sasquatch? Two common threads running through these belief systems are called patternicity and agenticity. As the names indicate, patternicity refers to seeing meaningful patterns in meaningless noise. Agenticity refers to seeing mysterious but palpable puppet masters who pull the strings and bring about unexplained phenomena. God is the perfect example of an puppet master. Religion will point out that God is the answer, God is the end all be all, and the word of God will never be questioned without punishment. Again, I can ask why? The ugly side of human nature, as much as we think we have evolved is that patternicity and agenticity are continuously revealed in people’s belief that there is something waiting for us when we die and even a promise of forgiveness for all of our sins. To me the observation of human brains as well as individual are testament to the enormous power and elegance of evolution in molding humans across an incredible hierarchy of individuals and societies through common desire to find answers.

I think in the end religion has historically been used as a mass mind-control to brainwash people and using it as an influencing tool over normal human behavior. Now a days it’s easy to disregard the influence religion has because of the use of mass-media, television, internet, radio, and the written word of papers and magazines. However, verbal communication is still the main tool of control and propaganda put forth by religion worldwide. Religion can’t even have a single collective definition of God. The term ‘God’ can mean anything from the traditional Christian judgemental creationist God all the way to something a lot more abstract like a higher consciousness or a Oneness. Is religion designed to confuse? Is religion meant to weed out the people who might question the existence of God? Is religion a tool of God or a tool of man? Why must religion be used as a tool of social conditioning and mass-population control, using fear of God as the motivation? The masses are taught to believe in the religious text as the absolute truth, with a basis in very simple moral rules, that are clearly quite much more difficult to uphold in practice fully, largely due to much fear-induced control models  in terms of twisting real events in order to fit a mythology, designed to be used to control a large number of people by influencing their self-worth and their view of the world through religious propaganda.

Religions keeps their believers in a mind-set that is usually doomed for self-destruction, lowering expectations, fear in the unknown, and a unquestioning, subconscious belief that to seek answers and to question authority is morally wrong, and punishable. All the while dangling a never attainable, at least in this life, and completely as of yet un-proven, paradise afterlife fantasy, where their obedience and constant self-criticism will be rewarded with eternal bliss. Religion will always keeping the followers spiritual beliefs in a static state of infantile unobtainability, thus retarding any spiritual knowledge development. Religion seems to be and often is the only source of information, so what said is believed as they are the ones closest to God. God and religion, in my opinion, cannot be proven without any reasonable doubt and therefore is mankind’s biggest conspiracy theory. Religion is based on having faith in fiction while using the fear of God to control the sheeple. Unfortunately for mankind the answers are not simple, the truth is clouded, and we will always have questions. Its okay to question what we do not understand, its okay to seek different paths for answers, and its okay to stand out from the masses while you are doing all of this.

I cannot give credit to the pictures used in this post. The pictures in this post were found using Google image search.

Need some definitions?

  • Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.
  • Apocalypticism is the religious belief that there will be an apocalypse, a term which originally referred to a revelation of God’s will, but now usually refers to belief that the world will come to an end time very soon, even within one’s own lifetime. This belief is usually accompanied by the idea that civilization will soon come to a tumultuous end due to some sort of catastrophic global event.
  • Sheeple is a term that highlights the herd behavior of people by likening them to sheep, a herd animal. The term is used to describe those who voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research.
  • Patternicity is the human tendency to seek patterns in random information.
  • Agenticity is the capacity of an agent (a person or other entity, human or any living being in general, or soul-consciousness in religion) to act in a world.
  • Judgemental is having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.

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Let’s Re-Think The Possibilities

Let’s re-think the possibilities of where mankind comes from. Let’s explore the biblical theories, the evolution theories, the alien theories, history, science, and the future. Is it just me or are there too damn many answers to the same question? There is actually one true question which is what is man’s origin. Given there is only one simple question there should be one simple answer. But there’s a big fat problem, mankind seems to have a problem actually knowing the answer and assumes quite a bit, he assumes so much that these assumptions and theories have become a major part of human history. I think it’s all bullshit to tell you the truth and everyday we live someone else’s lie. Personally I think it is all part of the grand scheme, a type of conspiracy if you will, led by mankind to inform mankind simply because mankind doesn’t want to look stupid in front of himself for not having an accurate answer to share. I have felt like this most of my life. Because I have felt this way I scour history to read what people have wanted to share in regards to their “opinions” of the origin of mankind. Personally, I am at the point of needing to raise the bullshit flag to the top of the mast. Nobody has a clue. The people who think they have a clue are afraid to explore it because they don’t want to get the stink eye from their colleagues in the science community, their colleagues in the religious community, or from people in the general mainstream just because they chose to explore outside the box of the box which contains the box.
Let’s begin with a simplified look at the Christian view on the origin of man. When did man appear on the earth and how? The Bible is definite as to how God created man and woman. However, the Bible is not definite as to the exact time in terms of Earth years that Man was created by God. Then, all of a sudden, the sudden appearance of man and woman at about 6,000 + years ago during the latter part of the Anathermal Age. Christianity also allows an indefinite time prior to 6,000 years for some mysterious reasons. Why? It is dangerous to set definite dates or to say with certainty when Man was created or when the Flood took place. With respect to the return of Jesus Christ we read, “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of Heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of man be. Therefore you also be ready, for the son of man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him” (Mathew 24:36 & 44). Christians are to live as though Christ could come today. As Dr. Robert Schuller of the Hour of Power Broadcast often says, “The past is history; the future is a mystery; the present is a gift.” It is a gift from God to cherish. The Bible says “Now (the present) is the time of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Tomorrow may be too late.
 
The Bible implies that the foundation of the world of Mankind was established at the creation of Adam and Eve. We read, “The works (of creation) were finished from the foundation of the world (the world of Man). For He has spoken in a certain place of the Seventh Day in this way: And God rested on the seventh Day from all His works (of Creation)” (Hebrews 4: 3b-4). In other words Adam & Eve were created, formed and made during the 6th Day, whereas all their children and their descendants were born during the 7th Day. A new age began at this point in time. God gave all Mankind a choice at the commencement of the Seventh Day to follow Him and to enter into His rest. The alternative was to harden their hearts and to turn away from God into a life of unbelief. Every person today has the same freedom to either accept Him or to reject Him. Jesus is saying to all Mankind, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Mathew 11:28-30). The Seventh Day is an interval of time that began the moment Eve was created. It has continued to the present and will continue until the termination of the History of Man takes place at which time the Earth will be destroyed by fire, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. The heavens will pass away with great noise, and the elements will melt with great heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” (2 Pete 3:10). After this event a new day will dawn, which could be called the 8th Day for we read, “But in keeping with His promise we are looking for a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13) NIV. So, apparently the Christians can interpret all of this better than I can because they have been doing it for many, many year. I still, don’t have a clue. I do understand, however, that Christians who are relying on the Bible for information on the creation of man are willing to accept no actual answer.
Now we will discuss the concepts of the evolutional theory of mankind. The currently-accepted theory of the evolution of man rests on three major principles. These principles hinge on the innate ability which all creatures have to pass on their genetic information to their offspring through the reproductive process. An alternative explanation for homology is a common designer. According to this reasoning, the similarities in anatomical features between species point to a blueprint used by a Creator/Designer. The first tenet is microevolution, the occurrence and build-up of mutations in the genetic sequence of an organism. Mutations are predominantly random and can occur naturally through errors in the reproductive process or through environmental impacts such as chemicals or radiation. The second tenet of evolution is natural selection. Natural selection is a natural mechanism by which the fittest members of a species survive to pass on their genetic information, while the weakest are eliminated (die off) because they are unable to compete in the wild. Natural selection is often termed “survival of the fittest” or “elimination of the weakest.” The third tenet is speciation, which occurs when members of a species mutate to the point where they are no longer able to breed with other members of the same species. The new population becomes a reproductively isolated community that is unable to breed with its former community. Through speciation, the genes of the new population become isolated from the previous group.The theory of evolution of man is supported by a set of independent observations within the fields of anthropology, paleontology, and molecular biology.
 
Collectively, they depict life branching out from a common ancestor through gradual genetic changes over millions of years, commonly known as the “tree of life.” Although accepted in mainstream science as altogether factual and experimentally proven, a closer examination of the evidences reveal some inaccuracies and reasonable alternative explanations. This causes a growing number of scientists to dissent from the Darwinian theory of evolution for its inability to satisfactorily explain the origin of man. One of the major evidences for the evolution of man is homology, that is, the similarity of either anatomical or genetic features between species. For instance, the resemblance in the skeleton structure of apes and humans has been correlated to the homologous genetic sequences within each species as strong evidence for common ancestry. This argument contains the major assumption that similarity equals relatedness. In other words, the more alike two species appear, the more closely they are related to one another. This is known to be a poor assumption. Two species can have homologous anatomy even though they are not related in any way. This is called “convergence” in evolutionary terms. It is now known that homologous features can be generated from entirely different gene segments within different unrelated species. The reality of convergence implies that anatomical features arise because of the need for specific functionality, which is a serious blow to the concept of homology and ancestry.
 
Additionally, the evolution of man from ape-like ancestors is often argued on the grounds of comparative anatomy within the fossil record. Yet, the fossil record indicates more stability in the forms of species than slow or even drastic changes, which would indicate intermediate stages between modern species. The “missing links” are missing. And unfortunately, the field of paleoanthropology has been riddled with fraudulent claims of finding the missing link between humans and primates, to the extent that fragments of human skeletons have been combined with other species such as pigs and apes and passed off as legitimate. Although genetic variability is seen across all peoples, the process of natural selection leading to speciation is disputed. Research challenging the accepted paradigm continues to surface raising significant questions about the certainty of evolution as the origin of man.
 
Both of the well-known mainstream “theories” are always under heavy scrutiny for basically the exact same reasons, lack or missing actual factual proof. The theory concerning the evolution of man is under increased scrutiny due to the persistence of gaps in the fossil record, the inability to demonstrate “life-or-death” determining advantageous genetic mutations, and the lack of experiments or observations to truly confirm the evidence for speciation. Overall, the evolution of man pervades as the accepted paradigm on the origin of man within the scientific community. This is not because it has been proven scientifically, but because alternative viewpoints bring with them metaphysical implications which go against the modern naturalistic paradigm. Nevertheless, a closer examination of the evidence reveals evolution to be increasingly less scientific and more reliant upon beliefs, not proof which tends to mirror the common biblical beliefs.
 
I have actually been working on this post for some time, it was started and finished in my journal a while back and I was getting it polished to put on my other blog and then the blog was killed off. So, I let this subject rest for a while because it makes people uneasy when a nobody questions what are believed as great minds of great thinkers. I really don’t think I’m the only one who has these questions. If I were to be the only one then there would be allot less people employed who research, theorize, write, publish, organize, and speak about this subject and ones that go even deeper. this is actually a very condensed version of my original idea which entailed 27 parts. If I were to type out all of my notes, thoughts, research, and so forth, it would be well over 5,000 words in count. Whereas y’all only have to suffer will just over 2,000 word count here today.
 
Before I forget to mention it let me just say that most of what I had to say here was my own independent thoughts and opinions as well as information I borrowed or collected from a variety of sources ranging from actual paper books in the library to articles found openly and publicly on the internet or in the form or digital media. The only thing I will claim is my idea that there has to be more possibilities that what mankind tends to lend to mankind. I’m not saying anybody is dead wrong, but I’m not saying anybody is dead on right either. Every group is very open about their theories and the holes in their own theories as well. So, what’s your idea or theory or fact?