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Fuego

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Everything posted by Fuego

  1. Some of my neighbors decorate vigorously in a secular fashion, but we tend to do nothing. No tree or ornaments since we got cats (apx 20 years now). We also decided not to travel and spend $3K going to visit family who don't really give a damn. So a quiet and probably working Christmas week for us. I did think about getting large Scrooge and Grinch dolls and putting them in rocking chairs on our porch, looking out at the neighbor's decorations... Still might. I'll post pics if I do.
  2. It *is* nice when cults finally fail. Good to hear that one is dissolving. Hopefully he won't be able to keep his adherents for a spin-off. Even in typical Nazarene churches, I saw pastors get too full of themselves and hurt people in the name of god. Here's to more of them dissolving!
  3. Lab animals are one of our more shameful human decisions. I get that we need safe products, but I say that if you make the product, you use it on yourself to demonstrate safety. Corporate "farms" are another awful treatment of animal life. I just watched the Netflix show "Cooked" that briefly deals with how corporate-made food was a financial boon, but led to some nasty "food" and practices. I'm a carnivore, but I don't like animals being treated badly. I only hunted for a short time back in the 80s, but would have continued if my hunting partner hadn't moved. The idea of a quick kill and gratitude for the animal's life and body were part of the experience. And even with pest animals, I much prefer a quick kill to anything like poison that often causes a lot of suffering. I could get a jaded attitude by seeing that there are so damn many animals, who cares about a few over here. The evening news can do that with wars in other countries (Who cares about a bunch of Armenians suffering under oppression?) But simple compassion and empathy move me to want to do something about it, and at the very least to embody my own ideals when dealing with other animals and human animals.
  4. Trashy, You led worship, so you play an instrument and/or sing? Music can be a great way to spend time with others doing something fun. I've wondered what I would do if I didn't have a day job, and I'd try to pour myself into singing, since that is my main hobby. My Facilities work for the last 8 years gets me up early and to bed early, so I can't even go to the jams where I used to sing. But being around other legit musicians makes me up my game in musicianship. I also video performances by singers as a part time side job. I keep it affordable and get some free shows out of it. I live near Portland and we have an absolute glut of musical talent of every kind here. I'm mostly in the jazz-standards realm. Cooking is my other love, and learning to perfect simple cooking (like BBQ) is a great use of time. I'm going to venture into fermented foods now, since that is a very old way of preserving food and the natural probiotics are good for the gut. It can be a great social thing when done in large quantities and working with others. I spent 20+ years in IT myself (HP manufacturing and office, then county gov't) I stopped fixing other people's computers about 4 years ago even though I could pick up easy money that way. I just got tired of dealing with computer problems. EDIT: Oh, and I keep up my geekery by doing electronic projects and building my own computers for video editing. Anyway, just throwing a few ideas out there.
  5. I've found that the part of the brain responsible for "fight or flight" (the amygdala) can get programmed to have some truly irrational fears, and the mind can't tell the difference between a stupid senseless fear and one that is real. I used to be terrified of movie monsters (when I was young) and that led to 30 years of being a Christian, just to avoid being possessed by a demon (like I saw in a commercial for The Exorcist). Ridiculous, but it had a real effect on me. More recently, I had an ongoing neighbor conflict. My neighbor would blast loud subwoofer "music" any time day or night, and then shut it off before the police would arrive, and then claim innocence. At one point I was literally shaking with terror and had to ask myself what the hell was happening to me. Somehow I'd gone from an annoying neighbor to having my amygdala reacting like a rhino was charging at me (a life and death situation). I'm not exactly sure how I got there, but after that episode, any low frequency thumping would cause a panic attack. It took a lot of conscious effort to re-train my mind to recognize that it was just annoying and not a threat. It took weeks of daily practice, sitting through annoying sounds and self-talking to my mind ("Is this a threat or just an annoyance?" "Just an annoyance" "Are we in danger?" "No" "Can the sound harm me?" "It interrupts sleep, and that is bad" "True, but I'm doing mostly ok. I haven't been harmed, just inconvenienced." "I can't stop her" "Not directly, but I can keep calling the police. Eventually they will get tired of dealing with her and talk with her about it.") Over and over and over again. I was able to eventually deprogram that reaction and have one that is far more reasonable. I was considering going to a legit hypnotist to speed up the process of low-level re-programming, but was able to talk myself out of it. A good therapist can be a great help. My hunch is that your young mind was programmed with some fight-or-flight survival level fears, and those have not been over-written by logic (because logic on its own doesn't change survival-level programming). The mind has to be shown over and over that there is no real threat, that the fears were incorrect. I found that talking to my inner-self was a helpful approach. Face the fears directly. Revisit them on purpose to show the mind (which is trying to protect you) that it was incorrectly programmed. It takes time and patience, like dealing with a child.
  6. Ah, to be the cool uncle possessed by a goat satyr...
  7. Link to article in Columbian newspaper Apparently he's for extermination of males that don't "accept biblical law and bans on abortion and same-sex marriage". I wonder what his biblical plans are for the females?
  8. So far we've avoided family and friends, had a lazy Thanksgiving (though I'm not actually thanking Spiderman for anything), and had a nice impromptu meal at a nice restaurant that let us in without a reservation last night. Prof, your description reminds me of my sister-in-law's house (10+ "rescue" cats and a golden Lab inside, piles of moldy clothing, scraps of old food that the kids leave lying around, actual animal shit, assorted scents...) We've tried cleaning a bit when we go there. Now we just don't go there. Their progeny have spread to the grandma's house and the other grandpa's house, both of which are sliding into disrepair and stench. They are like a tornado of entropy. Our fundy Pentecostal friends had invited us to dinner but it was going to be really awkward, so we didn't go. Now on to Xmas (celebration of the X-Men)...
  9. When one is a member of a cult, the goals of the cult seem all-important. Spreading the virus is seen as essential and right, and submission to the dictator king an absolute requirement. For the rest of us, we see it for what it is - a cult based on non-historical myths that should be unplugged instead of being given default honor and respect in any culture.
  10. Hmm, quite different here. We let it all hang out and hit the showers together. I remember being an 8 yr old kid with my same-age cousins at the YMCA and commenting on how huge a man's penis was. He chuckled and said it was average for a grown man, so that was encouraging to us. But even in school with peers, there was very little hiding done unless one had just come in from flirting with the girls... One black boy was not circumcised and besides my dad was the only natural one I'd seen. Looked odd to me, but he wasn't really teased about it. He knew why his was different and was matter-of-fact about it.
  11. The primary push outside of Judaism here is Christianity, but it remains mostly unspoken. I find it similar to the anti-cannabis push from religious people, since they cannot explain why they are against it, just sure that Jesus wants it that way. Hell, even the New Testament is mostly against circumcision, but believers are just sure that somehow God will be more pleased with them if they do. My fundy brother made sure to wait the Judaic 8 days before having his boys cut. He ignored all of Paul's writings against it. Others say it is so common that it looks weird not to be circumcised, and that they don't want their boys teased for being normal. My dad was born in the boonies of Arkansas, so was not cut. He never had any issues health-wise. I have to say that years of conditioning seeing only cut males do make it appear odd when someone isn't. How backwards. Then there are the Islamic fundies that insist on females having their clitoris cut off, because they don't want their wives having a penis... I guess god messed up by giving them that. That is just a tribal tradition, and isn't an Islamic command at all.
  12. A friend commented that the baby starts out looking like Phil Collins and then grows up looking like Kenny Loggins (if you have the white Jesus).
  13. True that. I also recall the fight that Hugh Hefner put up in courts against the entrenched morality police, and won. But I still recall how "shocking" Three's Company was. And mom wasn't sure I should be watching "Love American Style". What a different culture we had!
  14. Church is a constant shell-game of promise and deflection. Many of us started believing because we were promised that God loved us and had a wonderful plan for our lives. Several folks I knew came in through 12-step programs for eating or other issues, and their "sponsor" was a believer intent on evangelism. Once we bite the bait, we slowly learned the stories of the bible and the miracles, then through church attendance we got the Old Testament mixed in. Meanwhile, our social circle changed to mostly believers. For me, any time the doors were open I was there doing the sound system and socializing with people (something new to me at the time). There were clues that it was a tower of lies, but the other benefits of salvation and friends were plenty to keep me hooked. On one hand they'd tell me not to trust my feelings, but then when I had real questions about the faith that made it seem sour, they'd say "just trust the love you've already felt". Shell-game. Or if they didn't like the question, I could be accused of being "contentious", that is, not following blindly and making them feel uncomfortable. So bit by bit after taking the initial bait, we were fed the tribal taboos and myths and accepted them as truth because we'd already trusted that the Bible was the word of God. When god acted like a narcissistic asshole in the bible, we were taught that we deserved it because of sin. When Israel committed genocide after genocide (Holocausts) of people groups as they traveled, and kept the young girls as sex slaves after just watching their families slaughtered, and god blessed that and commanded that, that became a good thing instead of shockingly horrifying. We were conditioned to think a certain way, and god always got a pass because otherwise he might hurt us and we'd deserve it because he's "holy". I finally figured out that we were the abused wife in a domestic relationship to our god who only ever gets good press from the leadership. I wrote this article about that discovery. So when we repeated the lies to others, it came from years of mental and emotional conditioning to see myth as real and a despicable bloodthirsty god as the definition of Love. It all started with that initial bait and hook.
  15. Fuego

    14 years

    I think it is 12 for me, this month.
  16. Fuego

    Delusion

    That was my first thought also!
  17. Fear has been the basis of most religions for a very long time. Fear lets them control you with ooga-boogas, and they point to the book as proof that the fears are real, when the book is nothing short of fairy tales. Christianity has a few positive things to help sell it - Jesus promoting caring for the poor; being generous; avoiding hypocrisy; calling out leaders for being corrupt. But the rest is based on a god that has a distinct bloodlust, who won't turn the other cheek but demands payment for "forgiveness", who has one overarching punishment of death for disobedience, who blesses the mass rape of thousands of young girls who just saw their families slaughtered by the Israelites, who even blesses the mass rape of Israeli girls because the tribe that did it didn't have enough girls, who blesses the outright slaughter of several people groups, and then has Jesus introduce a new concept not found in Judaism: damnation, eternal torment for not loving him enough. The bible god is evil, horrifically evil, not good, not holy, not love. Happily, he also doesn't exist outside of the imagination of his followers. Billions are spent promoting this faith, and the god is no more real than Spiderman. Anxiety isn't based on reason. I've been fighting anxiety attacks in the last few months, a genuine fight-or-flight reaction to something nonsensical: an annoying neighbor who was blasting subwoofer music. But once that low-level programming is there in the brain, undoing it takes real work to show that part of the mind that there is no threat. I've even considered hypnosis as a way to get past this reaction. The fear that Christianity puts in people is also at a survival level, since they teach people to fear being burned alive. It's not real, but just like monster movies can give us a scare even when we know that we just paid to sit in a theater and watch a movie, the subconscious doesn't know the difference between imagination and physical reality. Damnation is imaginary. Try avoiding the religious people who want you to feel bad about being normal. They waste decades of their lives trying to please an imaginary narcissist "friend". You are 95% of the way out of the religion, and that is great! You can still do the good things like being kind and generous without any religion at all. And regarding a creator/god/goddess/something, it is ok to say "I don't know". You can ponder without knowing, you can dabble in this or that, and that is fine. There are gobs of things we don't know, even with all of the learning we have amassed. It's ok to focus on the things that bring you joy, and the simple things in life that are nice (autumn colors, a nice latte, beautiful people and animals, music, dancing, etc). You can see reality a lot better without the filter of religion changing it for you.
  18. In the context of the phrase, Jesus indicated it was when his enemies attributed his miracles to the devil. He threw a hissy-fit and said they were essentially damned. He did something similar to a tree that didn't have fruit out of season, he could have caused it to make fruit, but instead killed it. But neither Jesus nor the devil actually exist, and the words and actions of Jesus were invented by someone writing the story.
  19. I would hope that they would continue to embody kindness and all that without the faith. It's hard to say how anyone will react after leaving. And given how totally engrossed they are in church culture, it would be really odd for any of them. We helped them for several years with English, getting toys for the kids, eating hundreds of meals together, building computers, watching their kids grow up. We've been invited to Thanksgiving, which for me is more a time to reconnect with them socially. But they will want to talk about WHY we deconverted, and I don't really want to insult their beliefs at the same time that I explain how they are not historically valid, that the god of the bible isn't really very good, and that yes we can question when he blesses murder, rape, incest, and so on. I'll let them lead on that. It's an interesting social dynamic with them. All other churches I was part of were big on hugging. Russian Pentecostals only hug within the same sex (and sometimes kiss if they really care about you). Only the older mama can get away with hugging me because pretty much nobody questions her, and nobody thinks she's flirting. And the uncle that doesn't really want us around will likely be there. So, we'll see. My wife is not really comfortable being herself around them now, sensing the judgment from him and maybe a couple of others. They are also a bit more in evangelism mode due to mom dying. But I have no problem being there really. I do sense a definite change, but then again we haven't really hung out for 15 years. But the older mama was telling us "I still have the curtains you gave us, and I think of you every time I look at them. We miss you." So, there is still kindness and fond memories. We are quite different people than we were then, so we'll see about Thanksgiving. We can always leave if things get awkward.
  20. I was at a memorial service last night for one of the strongest Christians women I've known. Strong in all the good ways (hospitality, empathetic, going out of her way to care for people). The families were close friends for several years, they even named a daughter after my wife. 90% of the service was in Russian, so I could choose which parts I wanted to hear translated over a headset. The thing that struck me was that when someone was preaching, the vibe was very different (more proclaiming/smack you over the head with religion) than when they spoke about her. She "preached" through consistent kindness, even to oppressors in Russia. She did her work (seamstress, tailoring) extremely well, and showed strong integrity. It was wonderful to see how the kids have grown, and all have degrees. We haven't been in their lives since we deconverted. But they've been emailing and FB posting lately about how much they appreciated our help to their families when they immigrated here. They tend to ultimately see kindness and physically being there to help as the most important "fruit" of the faith. I have always seen that as the most important part as well, especially after leaving the religion part. Being around them again helps me to control my natural snarky attitude towards the religion, and to reframe how I speak to them about being a good human/humanist. They know damn well that we were strong believers, so there is no "you were never really a Christian" thing from them. Only one of the uncles sees us like poison, and he is really the primary reason we didn't keep in contact with them for the last 15 years, because we would be seen as a threat. I recall him "pray-vent" his concerns at one gathering, so we separated from them to protect them from strife since church is fricken everything to them. And it reduced our stress by not having to face that attitude every time we were there. There was a bit of that last night from him, but ALL the others were so happy to see us. I wasn't really put off by the preaching from the kind ones. I figure that is the most important thing they feel they have, and it would be remiss if they didn't try to share it. Anyway, it was an interesting time. They have a joke about their Russian music all sounding like a dirge, even when it is a happy song. But it's pretty sounding.
  21. She's already back home, likely last night. Up until that event, the officers were treating her like she might be the victim of me calling to get her in trouble. Then they got the call from another neighbor lady about her trying to run down a cat with her Jeep, and spewing expletives at her. Then another neighbor sent email to our police liaison about the several events he'd been targeted by her insanity and possible meth use. Then came the rock incident where the officer that had just spoken with her saw her in full freak mode. He got the full picture then of what we'd been seeing. But she didn't go to jail, just to medical eval. I got a restraining order today, but hearing isn't for 3 weeks. Others picked up the forms from me and I sent them a step-by-step email of how to turn them in at the courthouse. They can also add a temporary restraint in the meantime to forbid contact until the hearing. I should have done that also. Longing for peace and quiet, and nights without her damn subwoofer in my pillow. I still find myself trying to bargain with the gods. Old habit.
  22. Sekhmet heard me! Glory! Neighbor taken away to hospital for mental check. She was tossing giant rocks into the street, at houses and cars. Another neighbor called police. She wasn't speaking sanely either. Whee. She really does need meds or commitment, but in the meantime aren't her caretakers and need to have a stable safe neighborhood. Not sure when she gets released, but we were all advised to get restraining orders for legal teeth.
  23. I install security systems at work, but the cost has been so high (around $1000 for just a couple of good cams, I already own good audio gear) I didn't want to set up a camera/audio system. But I may still. The police told me yesterday that 99% of the calls have come from me, rather than my neighbors. I told the neighbors this and one sent an email detailing his experiences with the troublemaker. His description sounds a lot more like meth than mental illness. So we'll see.
  24. I've been going through a powerful emotional time this last month or two. It really is just an annoying thing, not an outright conflict with any danger. But somehow my "fight or flight" programming turned it into a mortal danger of which I need to be terrified. The only threat part of it is loss of sleep, which is a real problem, and an ongoing noise thing which is irritating and senseless. I have a neighbor who is mentally ill and goes into manic phases. That is the basis for the crazy things she's been doing: quit or fired from her job as a chemical engineer (likely fired), started a business for "extreme sports" where she wanted to rent jet skis, snow machines, and so on (out of her home, which isn't legal here). She's a butch, macho, blustering person. She went out on the river in a jet ski, went way fast and crashed, and died temporarily. They brought her back. After physically recouping, she spent tens of thousands on renovating her home, building an "accessory dwelling unit" to rent in her back yard, and buying lots of sports equipment. She had the entire cul de sac filled with contractor cars doing work at the same time. All during this time, she would blast subwoofer "music" from her new extreme Jeep. It went on for months like this. I started calling the cops to shut down the loud music. She kept it up anyway, sometimes at 4am, often doing it to purposefully antagonize the rest of the neighbors who she sees as "against her". Once I looked out the window at 4am and she and her friends were there looking right back at me laughing. The cops even got her ex-wife and others involved to try and get her to get help, since they can't lock her up unless she is a danger to herself or others. The cops also won't ticket her unless the music seems "loud" to their ears, even though the law says it can just be an irritating thing like whistling in the street at night. Low frequency noise isn't always "loud", but is difficult, if not impossible, to escape. It actually seems louder in the next house over due to how it moves through the house timbers and reverberates, and try putting your head in a pillow with that coming up through the structure of the house... Here it is months later, I've come back from the edge of a nervous breakdown and am doing a lot of self-talk to try and reprogram my primitive mind to see it as an annoyance, not a threat. Most of my reaction seems over the top to my neighbors, though they are also frustrated and irritated by her behavior. I have a lifetime of being timid and shy (which seems odd given my current state of good physical strength and appearance), and was raised by very basic parents, and my dad loved action movies where the solution to such things was always "shoot them". Of course, in reality you can't do that without going to prison, and I realize that. In short, I had no tools for dealing with the situation. So I organized a meeting with the neighbors, and we talked about our reactions to her behaviors. I also contacted our neighborhood police liaison repeatedly to inform him of her behavior and what we were doing in response. I had to tell my bosses about it because I was starting to break down emotionally at work. It made them a bit nervous to see me on the verge of tears, but communicated how strongly it was affecting me. I'm doing a lot better now, but have to continually fight anxiety any time I hear a low frequency rumble, which is most of the time since we live near a major airport. It's been a piece of hell. >> I found that I have been earnestly wishing there were a god or demon or something I could appeal to for help beyond the seemingly impotent response from the authorities. I have appealed to the "spirit guide" I once saw in a vision, trying to strike a bargain of some kind, and ultimately realized that this was "magic thinking". Of course, there is no one there but me. But it struck me that this is how gods likely started, with a human being desperate for peace, food, help, and so on. It is also why so many who do believe have such a difficult time questioning or leaving, since it feels like they are giving up all that can make real change on their behalf. << The plus side for me has been all the self-analysis I've been doing, right back to the early years of my life. I'd wondered why I was so timid and such a target for bullies all the way through high-school. Now I have a much better understanding of that, and understood how much fear I learned from my parents (and the utter lack of learning confidence and coping skills). I've also learned a bunch about the laws, and how no place seems to directly deal with low-frequency noise pollution, even when it is done to bully. I learned about bringing a civil suit, with the goal of costing her money for her actions, the damages being loss of sleep, emotional distress, and ultimately loss of property values if any of us should want to sell. Most attorney's held out little hope, which was surprising to me. The neighbors were for a suit, but we all realize that collecting on damages is a whole other game that would require an attorney. It strikes me as fundamentally wrong that the rest of us should be forced to put up with legit crazy behavior from a bullying neighbor, when the rest of us are good neighbors trying to make our homes and neighborhood better. In business, that would be seen as an opportunity to fill a demand. But all over the world, people are complaining about this issue on forums, and very little is ever found for resolution. Sadly, several have simply resorted to violent crime, and have wasted their own lives as a result instead of getting the peace they sought. I may end up moving with my wife to another place, but there is always the possibility of another jerk doing something similar. I've had other neighbors with subwoofers on their TVs, loud vehicles they like to rev, and some that were crazy to the point of throwing bricks through their own windows. Here's hoping for lasting peace.
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