Sunday, August 30, 2009

Blowing Smoke

Well, I've been at it again. TitforTat with a Christian in regards to religion. Afterwards I had an epiphany. Religion is an awful lot like Smoking. You know that pastime don't ya. Granted about 20% of us knew better and never touched the stuff, but the rest of us tried it out at one point or another. Though we knew it had a poisonous element to it, the social aspect was all too inviting. The first time trying it may have had you choking a little bit, but surprisingly it also had quite the euphoric effect. Very confusing for sure, on one hand toxic and on the other, nurturing. Well for many of us it didnt take long to notice how partaking in it started to affect our health and the health of the ones around us. It was probably this awareness that allowed us to make the break and stop the nasty habit. Unfortunately there is a core percentage of individuals who continue to breath it in. These individuals believe it is their right to do as they please regardless of the noxious fumes it emits to the rest of the population. They are so deeply entrenched in their addiction that they cant see how even a little bit of it damages them and the rest of the population. They have developed communities of like minded people. They gather together in the cold, at parties and even praise it after sex. Im not sure if you can ever cure them of it, as they have invested too much time and would be unwilling to make the change. Even given insurmountable evidence they continue to deny and think that its ok. The best we can do is make it public policy to ensure that the activity is not partaken of in public. Leave it to the private institutions, if they wish to engage in this harmful behaviour, then so be it. I gained this insight after breathing in the Holy Smoke, Oops I mean spirit. Time to have them Butt out of our public lives.

25 comments:

Redlefty said...

My wife and I were just remarking on the way home from church today that the penal substitution doctrine (Jesus HAD to die because we're so bad) is poisonous in many ways.

So we don't believe all that but we go to church anyway... does that make us secondhand smokers?

:)

Thanks for your post and I'll be thinking on it further.

George said...

PIG ROAST!!!!!!!!!!!!
You and Denise are invited to the States to our house again this weekend September 5th for the Pig Roast!

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

George & Bonnie Howell

Luke said...

good metaphor. i see the damage religion has done in the past and present.. however i think there's a ton it does that no one else will do. granted i'm coming at it from a more philosophical bent, a guide'n light (bad soap but good idea) rather than a set creed and doctrinal right way to live. but going into these hospitals and listening to stories and hearing of the suffering ppl are in, whether through chaos or self-inflicted, boggles my mind. then i notice that no atheist is in a chaplin role. i find that interesting because there is a thought i've been kick'n around whether or not there is a difference b/t religious ppl and non... and there's a big one! to put oneself right in the way of suffering is something i only see being done by believers (in the chaplin role anyway).

of course i must define what a chaplin does... and that's largely hospitality in the hospital during traumas and visits and prayers for those who are in long term. they DON'T run around and tell ppl what to believe and they arent' there to make others feel better, although ppl do after a visit. largely they are there as a sounding board, to let the person who is suffering know that they aren't alone.... interesting stuff dawg.. more things to chew on....

mac said...

You mentioned two of my favorite things, Smoking and Sex ! Then you had to go ruin my day with religion ;-).

I like the idea you've presented here. Things like smoking, sex, religion, or drinking can all be fun, let's just protect the kids from it all, no need to poison their minds and bodies.

thecheekofgod said...

Excellent post, my friend. I've put up a link to this at Evolution of Belief for the gang's consideration.

Being a smoker, and a rather good one, I see many similarities between the two . . . the "highs" and the lows . . .

Harvey said...

mentsLuke:

As usual, believers simply do not see the difference between atheism/agnosticism and any organized religion. We have no dogma, no Pope, no pastors, and no particular reason to care what anyone else believes, as long as they do not insist on inserting those beliefs into everyday, secular life. None of this means, however, that we do not empathize with people who are under stress and/or could benefit from a "shoulder to cry on". There are, of course, no "Chaplains", since we have no concern about what will happen to us after we die (which, of course, we all will do). Any concerned and/or friendly person, regardless of his or her personal beliefs, can and often do provide the emotional support that may be helpful to someone in the Hospital. For atheists, however, if this loving support is provided to a sick friend or relative, it is not in hopes of some heavenly reward or because we think someone has told us we "ought" to do it. If we do it, it is out of simple human kindness and sympathy.

Luke said...

"There are, of course, no "Chaplains", since we have no concern about what will happen to us after we die"

and funny thing is, i don't care either. the mortality rate is 100% and it's not going to change anytime soon. i have no concern for my eternal reward because i see the bible ULTIMATELY concerned with the here and now. so it's not "if" a believer should go into a hospital, it's when. it's mandated... and the circle isn't just family and friends, it's bigger. it's global dawg, regardless of belief, race, creed, etc. etc. and that's the difference.

Anglican Gurl said...

"no "Chaplains", since we have no concern about what will happen to us after we die "

I interpret this as "since we have no concern about those outside of our social circle."

Atheists are selfish.

Tit for Tat said...

Atheists are selfish.(Anglican girl)

A little too absolute of a statement, dont you think?

Harvey said...

My statement was clear ... (further clarification inserted)
",,,we (atheists, unlike Chriatians))have no concern about what will happen to us (non-believers) after we die (which, of course, we all will do)."
My next statement makes it clear that just as many of us "care" about others as I am willing to bet you Christians do.
Your "interpretation" that labels all atheists as "selfish" says much more about the state of your own empathy and/or caring for your fellow man than it does about the rest of us (? love thy neighbor?). Or, at least, that is my interpretation of your statements.

mac said...

It's easy to see how the Bible becomes misinterpreted looking at Anglican gurl's comment.

I submit atheists have no chaplins because the chaplains main role is to provide guidance to the after-life.
And I hate to be an old stick in the mud, BUT;

chap·lain (chpln)
n. Abbr. Ch.
1. A member of the clergy attached to a chapel.
2.
a. A member of the clergy who conducts religious services for an institution, such as a prison or hospital.
b. A member of the clergy who is connected with a royal court or an aristocratic household.
3. A member of the clergy attached to a branch of the armed forces

According to webster, a CHAPLAIN IS A PREACHER !!!!!
Atheists don't have preachers, you see?

Anglican Gurl said...

TfT: "A little too absolute of a statement, dont you think?"

It maybe. But those I have met are not too concerned with anything beyond themselves and their social group.

Harvey: Your "clear" statement just got really muddled. "we (atheists, unlike Chriatians))have no concern about what will happen to us (non-believers) after we die (which, of course, we all will do)." Contradictory much?! We don't care after we die but we all do? Unless you mean "we all die, but only atheists are unconcerned with what happens aftewards" thus implying that believers spend all day fretting about this issue which is about as stupid as an absolute statement as my "all atheists are selfish" statement up there.

Mac: "According to webster, a CHAPLAIN IS A PREACHER !!!!!
Atheists don't have preachers, you see?"

The last thing, at least according to Luke and according to my Stephen's ministry training, a chaplain does is preach. And I contest that atheist do have preachers, like Hitchens and Dawkins. The chaplains main role is hospitality, making sure families don't get lost in the chaos of the E.R. You should sign up for a CPE class. Your microscopic view of chaplaincy would be blown wide open.

mac said...

I think Harvey meant we all DIE, not that we all care.

As to preachers and chaplains, I should have stated Clergy. I'm sorry if I confused you.

As to atheists having clergy, NO I have no clergy. I seek none nor do I accept any. Hitchens and Dawkins speak for themselves. I may, on occasion, agree with one or the other, but I also, on occasion agree with religious folks. That does not mean I follow their philosophies or any doctrine.

No clergy, see?

Harvey said...

Anglican Gurl:

"Contradictory much?! We don't care after we die but we all do? Unless you mean "we all die, but only atheists are unconcerned with what happens aftewards" thus implying that believers spend all day fretting about this issue which is about as stupid as an absolute statement as my "all atheists are selfish" statement up there."

It appears that you have had some issues with non-believers. Where did my simple statement say that anyone spends all day fretting? I tried (twice) to point out that one of the major differences between atheists and Christians is that since we do not believe either in any God or any afterlife or heavenly retribution for failing to live our earthly lives according to your beliefs (not ours), we have no concern about what will happen when we die (as all of us eventually do). How much time or effort believers choose to spend in contemplating their eventual hoped-for afterlife was not ever at issue, except, apparently to you. As an atheist, I have no concern about your beliefs or the practice thereof. That doesn't mean that I have any less concern for your health and well-being as a fellow human being. Since atheism does not have any doctrine to defend, no pastors or other clergy (individual writers like Hitchens and Dawkins notwithstanding, since they in no way "speak" for any of the rest of us non-believers), we can only seek to lend emotional support or a "shoulder to cry on" to individuals we may know or be related to. We are not constrained to limit such support, however, to people who happen to agree with our particular religious beliefs or lack thereof.

Anglican Gurl said...

Mac:

Okay, that is clearer. No clergy. I would still love to see some social action from that segment of the population. The only thing I have seen the atheists organize for is "Rapture Pet Care" so when the Rapture happens, atheists will take care of the pets that are left behind. That is the same fleecing of people that is usually decried by atheists "preachers."

Harvey:

"It appears that you have had some issues with non-believers."

I do. I make no bones about it. You call my beliefs "poison" and stupid. Well maybe not you, but it is implied. Now I am all for constructive critique, but it must be informed. I don't see that in either yours or Mac's responces. Just operated out of vague generalizations. Of course, I see that I am guilty of it too with my universal "selfish" statement. So this really prohibits any form of real dialogue. Plus, there's no "force'n of beliefs" going on, as far as I can see save for the more conservative believers. My theology is one of presence, to remind patients in the hospital that they are not alone. They are still connected to the world and they are cared for. Where that care comes from, whether friends and family or baring that (like if they have none in the area or are estranged) from a higher-place matters not. What I see in atheists is a self-reliance that does not really help in times of crisis. The individual will not always be rational or logical and things cannot always be explained. Sometimes people don't need fixers, but listeners. I feel lead to listen and be connected to those who are suffering. That is my belief, what I am lead to do. How about you?

Luke said...

well this conversation has taken an interesting turn... i think that both have some good points. i think there are room for atheist chaplains in hospitals because no one comes into the ER worrying about the injury to their theology... that comes during recovery. mostly it's practical, making sure nothing is lost in the chaos, as AG stated (i didn't know you were a stephen's minister, COOL!).

there is room for nonbelievers in community with believers, i firmly believe that... but like this conversation proves (at least to me) is that we spend a lot of time talking past one another.

Harvey said...

Anglican Gurl:

"My theology is one of presence, to remind patients in the hospital that they are not alone. They are still connected to the world and they are cared for. Where that care comes from, whether friends and family or baring that (like if they have none in the area or are estranged) from a higher-place matters not."
I couldn't agree more with this statement! As it happens, I am a physician and have frequently seen the material (as well as emotional) benefits that a caring presence can make when people are ill and frightened. I include in this agreement those particular benefits that a minister or Chaplain can provide based upon the beliefs of the patient. There is no question in my mind that religious support and reassurance can be hugely beneficial to patients who hold those same beliefs. I in no way decry the presence and intervention of Chaplains and lay ministers during sickness or any other major life stress.
I simply find it difficult to equate the Christian messages 1) Love thy neighbor as thyself and 2) Judge not that ye be not judged with some of the attitudes expressed here regarding the supposed lack of caring, involvement, or willingness to be of help and support to our fellows in distress or need just because we nonbelievers are not subject to the commandments to do as you Christians (and other religionists) believe you are.

Anglican Gurl said...

Harvey:

I'm glad we can see eye-to-eye. I think Luke is right, I spend more time talking past nonbelievers than with them, so please forgive me. I just get so angry with people who critique but do nothing to better situations, and I shouldn't have put you into that catagory without fully exploring your situation. That's a big danger of the internet but a big plus, however; is finding out that you're wrong on your assumptions. I was, and I am sorry.

I am happy that you see the good things coming out of chaplaincy. Did you know that hospitals with those departments have far less law suits? I think it is due to the fact that patients feel heard and comforted instead of "processed" like other hospitals.

Take care.

Harvey said...

Anglican Gurl:

No apolgy is needed. I can easily understand that your experience with non-believers may suggest selfishness and lack of caring, but I think we can agree that your sample size may be somewhat skewed.
Naturally, organized religion tends to be highly visible in these settings and, lacking any such organization, I am not surprised that you don't encounter atheist "Chaplains" or "lay ministers".
Of course, any physician with a few years experience knows that being ill and feeling isolated can lead to negative opinions of the care being provided and, in some cases, to negative behaviors. Any person who is willing to help make a patient's hospital experience a little less frightening is welcome. I do not think that I have ever been associated with a hospital during my 40 years in practice that did not have a Chaplaincy service.

Lorena said...

I think a societal shift is happening, very slowly. As more folks become secular, society will have to change from church-based to people-based.

So in, say, 100 years, Religions will no longer have a monopoly on good deeds, or hospital chaplaincy, or all-things-charity.

Even 100 years ago churches took care of orphans, widows, and the poor--if at all.

But slowly, through the years, governments have been picking up the task.

In the future, as there will be fewer Christians around, others will have to pick up the jobs the religious are doing today.

It will happen naturally, like evolution did.

Jim Jordan said...

Hi JT,
You seem to prefer to be snide over being deep. So-called "religion" occurs when we acknowledge that we are the poison and God is the elixir. Any less and you'd be fooling yourself.

We so-called religionists can be deep and yet be simple just like the blind man healed in John 9. Faced with the challenge of the synagogue authorities, he replied only, "Once I was blind but now I see". This guy's parents were brought in to confirm this miracle so the event was quite public.

Which raises the question, what kind of "public option" are you talking about when you say, "Time to have them Butt out of our public lives"?

Are you not arbitrarily eliminating a sector of the population because you disbelieve them? That is not an intellectually honest opinion but a dictatorial rule. Seems like the conversation has ended in this: Christ means nothing to you. Is this your final answer?

Tit for Tat said...

JJ

Youre alive. I started thinking you may have been raptured up. No luck I see. ;)

Spanish Inquisitor said...

So what you're saying here is that all those obnoxious ex-smokers who run around driving everyone crazy with their purity of air demands are akin to deconverted Christians who now think atheism is the cat's pajamas and everyone should be an atheist?

I resemble that! ;)

Tit for Tat said...

SI

You have to admit that you ex smokers and atheists have a lot in common with smokers and christians. Bookends baby, bookends. ;)

chris said...

When I gave up religion I began to smoke! Man... I keep getting everything backwards!