God: My Definition

I have struggled over the years with the concept of ‘god’. Is god real? Does god run the world? If so, why does the world suck so very badly? If god exists why does he have human qualities? What is sin? Who decides what is wrong/right or good/evil? If god exists, why is he in so many forms? Why is there multiple religions? Why do so many faiths frown on science? Does god hate science? If so, why? All valid questions…

I’ve been searching for god my entire life. I’ve been trying to find my definition of ‘god’. I finally found it…

But first, let’s discuss a bit of my recent journey to my epiphany…

I recently graduated from university with a degree in science…biology and a minor in chemistry. I initially struggled with evolution because I was a person of faith. Many people of faith discredit evolution citing that ‘god’ created us as we are and that evolution is not possible because of the intricate systems of the body even on the molecular level. It was in my Evolution class that every question I have ever had in regards to the process of evolution was answered thoroughly.

Evolution is a scientific law…Genetics has proven this…descent with modification. HIV is a perfect example of evolution thru natural selection…it is a perfect virus that proliferates and adapts with each new host. People adapt on a genetic level altering allelic frequencies in a population towards traits that benefit their overall survival (ex: sickle cell anemia that prevents malaria). Genetics beautifully shows the steady progress of evolution towards the overall survival of a population thru adaptation. It can not be disproven. It is real. Anyone who does not believe in evolution is misinformed.

In addition to my scientific studies, I have studied religion. These religions include the major religions of the world in addition to archaic/extinct religions. I’ve studied creation myths, agnostic and gnostic texts. I have been looking for god for years.

Now onto god…What does evolution have to do with god? Absolutely nothing. Evolution (on the genetic level) is the interaction of proteins and nucleic acids that are usually¬† beneficial to a species. These proteins came together over time organically as species progressed over millions of years. As certain traits worked, bad traits died out…this has nothing to do with god. This has to do with natural interactions of organic materials present in our world and how they benefit any given species. Evolution is real we see it everyday…the same can not be said of god.

I am educated well in various forms of science. I KNOW life science. I also know that is it helpful. Without science, our species would suffer greatly to disease and our lives would be much shorter. Science has saved countless lives over many MANY years…not god. God did not discover germ theory. God did not raise the survival rate of childhood cancer from 20-80%. God did not find a medication to stop high blood pressure (a leading cause of death for many years). God did none of those things. Humans discovered these things.

Why do religious groups fight science? It has saved their lives! It has raised their quality to life! Doctors exist because of science…not god.

It is my observation that people (throughout religious history in all faiths) have taken it upon themselves to humanize god. God in every religion has a human form of sorts. God has feelings, power, control, and must be worshiped or he gets jealous. All of these things are HUMAN qualities. Is god really a human? No, ‘god’ is created by humans…Why else would god be so human-like? God did not create us in his own image…we created him in ours…

Why did we create god? Because we did not understand the processes of life and needed an entity for guidance in life’s decisions. Not everything is explained. However, many things that were believed to be fact in a religious context have been disproven over the years (the earth being the center of the universe, etc…). Religious groups do not change when science offers explanation. However, science will always change with each new discovery. Most religion (if not all) is intolerant to discovery. Science is ever growing, changing and willing to adapt as new discoveries are made. People use ‘god’ as a coping mechanism for questions of which they have no answer…

It was my assessment for a long time that god was a state of energy…flowing throughout the universe…energy does exist. Is it a sentient being? No. It can’t be. God can not have human qualities because then he would be human not god.

So now we come to it…my definition of god…God is a human creation used as a coping mechanism as well as to explain undiscovered things. God can not have human qualities…humans are imperfect beings. Religious groups say god is perfection. God is contradictory in all faiths…this makes no sense to me.

Now that I have found my definition, what does that mean? While I am in love with the idea of believing in god…that there is something greater than myself watching over me…it doesn’t make sense to me to continue to do so…I’m in love with the vast universe and everything in it. It is beautiful. It is real. I weep at its magnificence…The harmony of the world….The persistence of life. I understand things that religion never explained. All of my questions are answered…

I no longer believe in god. I am an atheist.

An Epiphany of Simplicity

Stars dance in the night.

The vain moon looks down onto the water taking a long, extended glance.

The waves march onto the shore like a king and his noble countrymen.

The atmosphere is of a dreamy state.

Everything seems to be asleep except me.

A world full of dreams come to life in my mind.

I see now how I have wasted my life with worry,

And never stopped to gaze at the truly beautiful…simple things.

I wrote this poem my Senior year in High School. I miss writing poetry. I should do it more often. ūüėČ Thanks for taking a gander. ūüôā

Unanswered Biblical Questions and A bit of my Religious History

A bit of history…

I was brought up in a ‘Protestant’ home under the denomination of Christianity known as the Church of the Nazarene. It is a bit of a bridge between Baptist and Pentecostal denominations.

The religion followed a strict social adherence to morality including avoiding secular influences that are/were considered ‘immoral’. Women were told to dress as such with long hair and modest clothing to promote a gender appropriate appearance. Men were told to have short hair and dress according to that which fits within the same parameters. Women were never ministers. Women were meant to support their husbands. Divorce is considered to be an abomination in god’s eyes. A divorced woman in a morally restrictive church is treated like a pariah. There are countless cases of women who have murdered their abusive husbands to be free of them because they fear hell and the social backlash from their churches. Given these women are not sane, but the impact of the pressures of their religion was so strong that they felt they had to kill their husbands to be free of them…Murder was more acceptable than divorce to these women. Church attendance was required every Sunday morning and evening as well as Wednesday nights. I had Sunday school every morning and participated in Bible quizzing every Wednesday night. There were competitions. I was quite good. I made it to State competitions regularly. I know the Bible.

As an adult I explored many denominations of Christianity (Pentecostal, Baptists, Lutheran, Methodist, Assembly of God, and a few more) and came to Catholicism. It’s a beautiful faith full of hope and ritual. It too, though is quite restrictive. I don’t fit in any of these denominations. I stepped outside of church and read on my own. I read Jewish texts, Muslim texts, the Nag Hammadi, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Bhagavad Gita, took college courses on the origin of religion, learned about Buddism, Shinto, Zoroastrianism, Voodoo, Santeria, African Orishas, early creation stories that predate the Bible…Needless to say, I am well read.

I regularly find myself¬† in situations involving both atheists and theists. Both are fervent in their non-beliefs/beliefs. I can appreciate that. I don’t claim to be an atheist…nor do I really categorize myself as a full on theist. I am in a gray area. I don’t know what I am right now and I am fine with that for the time being.

Let’s get to the thick of it…

Why, if I believe in ‘god’ in some sort of fashion (not a old chap in the sky per se judging everyone and being a dick) don’t I categorize myself as a theist…because I do not believe in what theists believe. I am different. I do not fit in any traditional theist ideology…I have far too many unanswered questions. For the sake of brevity I’ll stick to some of the Biblical ones.

Being an intelligent and inquisitive child forced to learn everything there is to know about the Bible (I’ve read 3 versions, thanks), I had many questions…More so even as an adult…no one to this day can answer any of them…

1. Biblical passage of study one Sunday School morning : 1 Corinthians 11:3-15 Basically, it’s wrong for guys to have long hair and women to have short hair. My question: If it is wrong for men to have long hair, then why did god give Samson strength in the form of a sin? Sunday School Teacher: Yeah, we’ll get to that next week… Never happened

2. Sodom and Gomorrah: Lot knows that these are two angels from god. Angels that are going to destroy cities. WHY was it necessary for him to offer up his daughters to be raped by strange men in the city square? They didn’t even ask for his daughters…

3. After reading “The Gospel according to Thomas” in the Nag Hammadi, I had a conversation with a priest: My question: Why wasn’t Thomas’ account of the gospel not considered or added to the Catholic Bible once it was found? Priest: Well, it’s not a divine work. Me: What? Priest: We don’t believe it was inspired by god. Okay, the disciple Thomas who actually walked with Christ tells his story and it’s not inspired by god? Really? The meat of the writing discusses how buildings are irrelevant to faith (basically bashing organized religion) and that you yourself are god’s vessel…not church…hmmm

4. With the unearthing of information regarding the fact that Mary Magdalene was NOT a prostitute but a business woman, why hasn’t the Bible been changed back to it’s original state? Many texts are gone due to the destruction of King James. Additionally, we still live in a male dominated society in regards to faith and religion…no one in any denomination will admit to this…However, I did hear a sermon once with a Catholic Priest who addressed the Mary Magdalene issue and actually CORRECTED the Bible in his homily…props to him for that.

5. The Bible has been altered so much, why do people take it literally? No one in any denomination is willing to accept the fact that the Bible has been skewed. I will say that my experience in the Catholic faith has been that the Bible is more of a guideline and not to be taken literally.

6. Prophets: The Bible is riddled with them. How is a prophet decided? How does one become a prophet? <= No legitimate answer for that one as well… As far as being a prophet, I’d REALLY like to be one! That’d be nice. Can that be arranged? :~P

To me the Bible is AT BEST an idiot’s guide to morality and god…it CAN NOT be taken literally. It condones slavery and beating your kids.

So no…I am not a true Christian, I don’t fit anywhere. I can’t prove/disprove the existence of god. I am in the gray area. I do know that the ridiculousness involved in the circumstances surrounding¬† just these few questions are enough to make me realize that I don’t belong in church. No one can answer my questions. A pat on the head is not enough for me. I’m tired of being pushed aside or scolded for questioning god…god…if he/she exists gave me a brain for a reason. I fully intend on using it. So should you, my dear theists.

Thanks for checking out¬† my blog…Hope I didn’t bore you to death!

-Mel

On a side note: As far as the stance on the Bible and homosexuality I recommend this article What the Bible says and doesn’t say

He’s famous and he talks about me…

Because of the demands of school and motherhood, I’ve been behind on my SModcast network podcasts. I had started to dive back in recently during the holiday break. Kevin Smith¬†(imdb info) was on twitter one day asking for questions for his RED STATE of the Union podcast with Malcolm Ingram¬†(imdb info). I submitted a few and thought he might answer one of them. He and I have tweeted back and forth on twitter for over a year now. I have Favorited every single tweet he has ever posted to me. My husband, Mark called me yesterday and told me to stop what I was doing and listen to the #7 episode of RED STATE of the Union. I thought oh ok, he’s answered one of my questions, AWESOME! I had no idea he would say this…

Kev Talks ABout Me

I squealed like a 12 year old girl, tweeted everyone I could and called every person who would listen. I’m thinking of putting this on my resume…he he. I’ve made a ringtone out of it…

Kev Ringtone

“She’s a Twitter fiend..She’s sweet..She’s incredible, yeah..We all need a yourmelody1 in your life, man.” – Kevin Smith

And now, I am armed with the awesome power of, “You think I suck? Well, listen to what the Master Kevin Smith has to say about me!” With great power comes great responsibility. Fortunately, I do not encounter many people who think I suck…BUT if I do, I’ve got proof from an awesome famous dude who thinks otherwise.

Thank you Kevin Smith for making me smile and laugh. You’re aces in my book and I’ll never say anything ill of you. You don’t have an arrogant or mean bone in your body. If anyone ever says otherwise to me, I’ve got proof to disprove them.

You’re¬†a talented, amazing,¬†inspiring, and humble¬†guy¬†who appreciates good people as well as¬†the good things in life. Thank you, sir!

Check out all of Kev’s podcasts and the new RED STATE Trailer www.smodcast.com¬†Follow Kev on Twitter www.twitter.com/thatkevinsmith

The Santa Clause

At first, when I had my child, I considered not lying about Santa. I thought it might be better to be truthful…to never lie about Santa and take all of the credit for everything done on Christmas Eve. I thought I’d save my child¬†the devastation and sense of betrayal that follows the realization of the lie of Santa. We decided to continue the tradition of Santa for our child.¬†

For all parents that participate in Santa, it is a sacrifice that we face each year. We work hard for what we get only to give some fake guy in a red velvet suit all of the credit. Why do we do this? Why do we lie? It is a lesson teaching the importance of selfless giving. We sacrifice the reciprocity involving the “Oh thank you mommy and daddy! I love it so much! I love you!” moment allowing the joy to fall on the child of knowing that someone other than parents and family loves¬†him/her. This is something the child¬†may never appreciate until older and/or have a child of¬†his/her own.

Throughout our lives with our children, we give everything to them and ask for nothing in return. We do not want gifts. We want hugs, kisses, love. We want lasting moments. Our children freely give these things to us and do so without gifts.

¬†My child is now at an age where things are steadily becoming clear. My child is walking around the house leaving coins here and there saying “The Christmas Cat” has left us gifts. The lessons of selfless giving are being instilled in my child. Santa is still real at this time, but my child is clever. This may be the last year of Santa.¬†My child is kind and loving. I wonder if my child will discover the Santa lie and pretend to believe for my and my husband’s benefit. It would befit my child’s nature. It makes me sad and proud.

Why do we give our children the lie of Santa?¬†To give the illusion of magic and selfless giving in a world that tends to be devoid of such things. It will break my child’s heart to learn the lie of Santa…It’s already breaking mine…

In the end all parents are subjected to the Santa Clause…where our hearts will break far more than that of our children’s. Yet it is the bittersweet joy of the short magical time we have with our children that makes such heart break worth the lie.

My Top 50 Films

My best friend @Darnack71¬†posted a blog in regards to his favorite 50 films of all time. Additionally @DRSJG77¬†and¬†@CLeighS1983¬†are posting their favorites on their blogs in the near future. I thought I’d participate and share my favorite films.

I myself, have seen literally thousands and thousands of films. I love film. I’ve made short films and hope to make full length features soon. I am very critical of film…sometimes a little too harshly. I do have favorites that I can indeed watch many times over and over again retaining the same excitement and feelings as I did the first time I saw them. I am inspired by these films.¬†With that said, I do not hold to this list in the future for there are films that I will love more than any other as I am exposed to them. Yet, many of these films will never leave my list. So, for your consideration, I give you my favorite 50 films of all time.

50. Triplets of Belleville

49. Tron

48. Brigadoon

47. Sin City

46. Rock N Rolla

45. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

44. Some Like it Hot

43. Say Anything

42. Like Water for Chocolate

41. The Incredibles

40. The Goonies

39. Iron Man

38. The Godfather

37. Pulp Fiction

36. Elf

35. The Full Monty

34.  Once Upon a Time in Mexico

33. Grease

32. Spirited Away

31. Shawshank Redemption

30. Blazing Saddles

29. The Shining

28. City of Lost Children

27. Anchors Aweigh

26. A Christmas Story

25. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

24. Sleeping Beauty

23. Guys and Dolls

22. O Brother Where Art Thou?

21. The Nightmare Before Christmas

20. Schindler’s List

19. Superman (Richard Donner Film)

18. Young Frankenstein

17. The Breakfast Club

16. Psycho

15. The Life of Brian

14. Singing in the Rain

13. Clerks.

12. Indiana Jones Collection

11. Romeo and Juliet (1996)

10. The Princess Bride

9. Big Fish

8. Jaws

7. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

6. Dogma

5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

4. Star Wars Collection (Episodes 4-6 first)

3. Amelie

2. Pirates of the Caribbean (The Collection)

1. Lord of the Rings (The Collection)

Within my top ten are movies that inspired me to make my own. I relate to and am touched by every single one of them on some level. This list rarely changes. Some may find issues with Lord of the Rings being placed at #1.

Here’s why¬†the Lord of the Rings¬†films¬†are at the top:

¬†The character dynamics and relationships develop progressively and beautifully through the films. You literally watch these characters age and grow. Peter Jackson refused to settle on making average films with basic funding. All three films show such attention to detail that it took 7 years to fully make all of the films (including post production). The story is timeless and applies to every person signifying the unique roles we all have in our world. I love everything about these films. I watched these films and left inspired wanting to tell my own stories. They moved me in a time of war where my husband was fighting for our country. They gave me hope that I would see him again safe and sound. Yes, Lord of the Rings is just a bunch of movies that some people like and some people…not so much. But to me, they reinforce the core skills and values that are so desperately needed not only in film production, but in our sad world.

Panic on the Streets of London

Yesterday 10,000 people (mostly young college students) came to Parliament to peacefully protest the motion to raise tuition fees as much as 300%. I am an American. My ancestry is British, Irish, and Native American.¬†Let me state that¬†I do not have any place judging anyone or anyone else’s government. I do feel that many in the US are ill informed of the events that transpired yesterday because of lack of available information. I hope to rectify that by offering my observations and my discussions with people who live there and watched it unfold. These people feel betrayed by their poilitical parties that swore to protect their children’s right to higher education. The US has a checks and balances system to aid in the prevention of ill advised and rapid decisions (Senate and the House). My understanding is that Parliament normally investigates all avenues before comitting to such a massive decision and rushing forward with it. There was little investigation, a vote was rushed. The motion passed by only a marginal amount of votes…21.¬†LibDem party members who swore to protect the educational rights of the youth opted to not vote at all…25 of them. This will cause all of the future youth to acquire as much as $158,000 worth of debt while taxpayers continue to pay for college and 80% ¬†worth of budget cuts are happening…hence the outrage.

CNN barely covered any of the protest in London which continued on into the early morning hours, London time. The last thing they mentioned was Prince Charles’ car. It is my understanding only a few people out of 10,000 were responsible for the cracked car window.

Geoff Dexter Photos¬† of the Protest¬† <— Wonderful pictures of the events that transpired yesterday.

A progressive video of the events that transpired from the ground level and through the eyes of the students.

The Guardian UK¬† <— The software would not allow me to embed this video, but please watch it.

With all of this said, here are my thoughts…as they are. Violence, in my opinion, is never an answer to anything. Only a few out of 10,000 people rioted. There were sticks, twigs, flares and firecrackers in the hands of protesters. It is my understanding that the rioting occured only after police commenced with beating college youth (who were unarmed) and nearly trampling them with horses.

In this video, at appx. 1:27, a policeman hits an unarmed student while his¬†hands are up in surrender…This video made me cry…

For Those Who Were “Kettled”¬† <— A site for people in the UK who are seeking legal action for the brutality they faced.

In the US we have marches and protests that always go unheard…legislation never changes for us unless we are persistent FOR YEARS AND YEARS. We are a MASSIVE nation. The UK is tiny compared to us. The UK public has been successful in quickly repealing laws including taxes through public pressure and protests. Community Charge¬† Their voices are heard. I don’t recall any recent US protests that have been that successful.

Last Thoughts:

I do not live in the UK.¬†I have no dogs in this fight. This legislation will in no way affect me in any form or fashion. What I do have…is a heart. I’m tired of news that covers snow in France, sports teams,¬†and how to shop for Christmas when things like this are happening. Yes, CNN Prince Charles’ car was vandalised¬†with a minimal amount of¬†damage. I promise you,¬†His Royal Highness¬†can afford the repairs. No one should’ve touched his car. I understand that.¬†However, out of ALL of this…The unity of 10,000 people standing for something they believe to be right… the police brutality¬†… the outrage of the masses…”Prince Charles’ car” ¬†is what we take away from it? It makes me ill.¬†¬†I’m sure many will disagree with me and say that sticks, twigs, flares and firecrackers are weapons. I guarantee that if you could choose to get hit with a night stick/policeman’s baton or a twig…you’d pick a twig.

The irony of all of this is that I saw beauty in the UK yesterday. It was inspiring…it moved me. If my¬†news networks¬†can only discuss “Prince Charles’ car”, I’m¬†ashamed of¬†you.

As to my UK friends, If I am in ANY WAY incorrect, PLEASE let me know and I will correct any misinformation. My heart goes out to you and your youth. Stay Strong! I’m proud of you. ūüôā

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