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Bible Belt Blues


Guest danny64
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Guest danny64

ok. whining alert. without going in to my entire testimonial, suffice it to say that since my deconversion from fundy xianity, i have become increasingly isolated. its been 4 years...my parents are decent to me but we have little contact. my marriage had a lot of problems, but this one was likely the straw/camel deal. so i've been divorced now for a year. i have custody of my kids...and i'm a teacher, so i spend my days and evenings with kids. i feel like im losing my mind. my state is now officially the most conservative state in the union and i cant leave. not with my custody situation. the god stuff is on the billboards, the news, on bumper stickers....all around me. im a pretty strong person i think...but its just getting me down. isolation. alienation. i really hate it here. whining. yeah.

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ok. whining alert. without going in to my entire testimonial, suffice it to say that since my deconversion from fundy xianity, i have become increasingly isolated. its been 4 years...my parents are decent to me but we have little contact. my marriage had a lot of problems, but this one was likely the straw/camel deal. so i've been divorced now for a year. i have custody of my kids...and i'm a teacher, so i spend my days and evenings with kids. i feel like im losing my mind. my state is now officially the most conservative state in the union and i cant leave. not with my custody situation. the god stuff is on the billboards, the news, on bumper stickers....all around me. im a pretty strong person i think...but its just getting me down. isolation. alienation. i really hate it here. whining. yeah.

 

You live in Oklahoma? Dude, that sucks. Even the beer there sucks.

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Awesome guitar danny64! I live in South Africa. This makes Oklahoma look like a skeptics club. Constantly surrounded by credulity and religious hype - totally sickening. We even have HUGE billboards next to our highways saying, "SA turn to God" and there are WAY too many macho 4x4s with "Real men follow Jesus" stickers on the bumper. Keep to this site here at ExC and you may feel a little less isolated in your quest for truth and intellectual integrity.

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Guest danny64

Awesome guitar danny64! I live in South Africa. This makes Oklahoma look like a skeptics club. Constantly surrounded by credulity and religious hype - totally sickening. We even have HUGE billboards next to our highways saying, "SA turn to God" and there are WAY too many macho 4x4s with "Real men follow Jesus" stickers on the bumper. Keep to this site here at ExC and you may feel a little less isolated in your quest for truth and intellectual integrity.

thanks. its a j-45. and thanks for the encouragement.

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I never realized that South Africa had so many similarities to the American south!

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We even have HUGE billboards next to our highways saying, "SA turn to God" and there are WAY too many macho 4x4s with "Real men follow Jesus" stickers on the bumper.

 

Are you sure you don't live in [insert deep south state. i.e. Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina]?

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We even have HUGE billboards next to our highways saying, "SA turn to God" and there are WAY too many macho 4x4s with "Real men follow Jesus" stickers on the bumper.

 

Are you sure you don't live in [insert deep south state. i.e. Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina]?

Heheh. Actually, living in the US, even the Deep South, would be a relief after South Africa. There is fully 79% of our population claiming to be Christian - and most of these are Fundie. I only know a handful of atheists via our Skeptics.ZA forum, and the only atheists I have regular contact with are my two kids (Daughter 22, and Son 16). My book on atheism sells better in the US than in SA, and I've had some seriously violent objections to marketing it here. SIGH. I was interviewed on a radio talk-show the other day and got some seriously hectic phone-calls as a result. At least, in the States, atheists can go about daily life without too much flack, but here in SA, I cannot mention my Godless status at my gigs (I'm a musician) for fear of losing work or being threatened with violence.

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Well, in the major population centers, anyway. In the small towns it would be difficult to survive as an atheist--it's hard enough to survive as an outsider (beware rednecks glaring at you, and when they say, "Ya ain't from around here, are ya?" you better run as fast as you can). Thankfully I'm in the state capitol, and the city my parents live in is a major population center, too. Violence isn't as common a reaction to such things as it once was, but there are still places where you wouldn't want to advertize your atheism for fear of retaliation.

 

Small towns in the south can be downright creepy. After I posted the comments above I realized that SA and the American south also both had huge race issues. My father pastored a church in small town Alabama about 10 years ago. The year he moved there the KKK had a march in his town and in one in a neighboring county. Pretty sure the guy who led music at his church was a klan member. My father didn't like him one bit. There is at least one thing my father and I see eye to eye on.

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Small towns in the south can be downright creepy. After I posted the comments above I realized that SA and the American south also both had huge race issues. My father pastored a church in small town Alabama about 10 years ago. The year he moved there the KKK had a march in his town and in one in a neighboring county. Pretty sure the guy who led music at his church was a klan member. My father didn't like him one bit. There is at least one thing my father and I see eye to eye on.

Racism and religion always seem to go together, don't they? The race issues in SA were as a result of the Biblical instructions (to the Israelites) not to mix with the locals, not worship their gods or take their women. Apartheid came directly from the Bible and was the brain-child of Dr Malan, the president way back then, a former preacher with a PhD in Divinity from a university in Holland.

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Heheh. Actually, living in the US, even the Deep South, would be a relief after South Africa. There is fully 79% of our population claiming to be Christian - and most of these are Fundie. I only know a handful of atheists via our Skeptics.ZA forum, and the only atheists I have regular contact with are my two kids (Daughter 22, and Son 16). My book on atheism sells better in the US than in SA, and I've had some seriously violent objections to marketing it here. SIGH. I was interviewed on a radio talk-show the other day and got some seriously hectic phone-calls as a result. At least, in the States, atheists can go about daily life without too much flack, but here in SA, I cannot mention my Godless status at my gigs (I'm a musician) for fear of losing work or being threatened with violence.

 

That's especially disheartening because the people who colonized South Africa and instituted apartheid were all Christians and used Christianity to justify their actions.

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We even have HUGE billboards next to our highways saying, "SA turn to God" and there are WAY too many macho 4x4s with "Real men follow Jesus" stickers on the bumper.

 

Are you sure you don't live in [insert deep south state. i.e. Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina]?

Heheh. Actually, living in the US, even the Deep South, would be a relief after South Africa. There is fully 79% of our population claiming to be Christian - and most of these are Fundie. I only know a handful of atheists via our Skeptics.ZA forum, and the only atheists I have regular contact with are my two kids (Daughter 22, and Son 16). My book on atheism sells better in the US than in SA, and I've had some seriously violent objections to marketing it here. SIGH. I was interviewed on a radio talk-show the other day and got some seriously hectic phone-calls as a result. At least, in the States, atheists can go about daily life without too much flack, but here in SA, I cannot mention my Godless status at my gigs (I'm a musician) for fear of losing work or being threatened with violence.

 

Bought and enjoyed your book "Courage to Doubt" Just wanted to let you know.

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You poor dear. I am proud of you for taking care of your kids and hoping that having a father with a brain that he is actually using will help your future generation. As for the religion, I really am starting to think that this is the last desperate grasping at straws for religion. That is why it has gone so over the top lately. I am very hopeful that more and more people will see through the religious crapola as time goes by. All right, it is going to take awhile but I see the polls showing that more and more people are giving it up.

 

More and more people are turning nonreligious. Hang in there!

 

By the way, the Blues is my absolute favorite genre of music.

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Danny64

 

I regret your tough times. Tough times are an "equal opportunity employer." I never get enough of what I don't want or need!

 

Please do not misconstrue that what I’m about to say speaks to clinical depression, to the contrary it dose not, depression is not essentially about being sad, or down, blue or bored though these may be symptoms. The opposite of depression is not happiness — it is "human vitality. Anyone who is depressed now, or thinks they are in that state, needs to go gently, seek help, and don't expect religious or spiritual breakthroughs.

 

With that said, all I have to offer is that I was totally unprepared when I crashed, burned and plunged into the darkness. A divorce and the consequences that a divorce meant for my chosen “vocation ” --the whole catastrophe of my life-- landed me into what the medieval mystics described as “the dark night of the soul” and what psychiatry (with a lost less poetry) today calls “midlife crisis“ or “depression” (remember that depression is not essentially about being sad, or down, blue, bored or unhappy though these may be symptoms).

 

Back in the early 70’s with not a friend in the world (that I could trust), with my “will as weak as a hawk with a broken back,” I stood on the bow of my own over loaded “Edmund Fitzgerald” wondering (as Gordon Lightfoot wondered) “does anyone know where the love God goes when the waves turn minuets to hours?” (a rhetorical question guys, the answer to which many of us know). At that dark a lonely moment my search began.

 

Without going into my “story” suffice it to say the obscure ache of my melancholy eased when I stopped running from my pain, dropped my story line, dropped the blame game and became vested in discriminating between the nuances of my “negative” emotion. I began a study of the differences between fatigue, despair, grief, fear, boredom, sadness, being down, being blue, depression, etc. A search which has continued to this day with a lot of help, both by professional and laypeople alike--all of whom I found due to my searching.

 

Basically my strategy for dealing with melancholy (boredom and the blues) is to embrace it/them. Positive thinking want help-- a fundamental axiom of the psyche is “what you resist, will persist.” By studying my “dark” meanderings, by memorizing my neurotic cycles and by understanding what motivates me, what values I hold and what risks I must take to remain true, not the standards by which I must live--but the standards by which I cannot help but live; all of the above has lead to my sanity and happiness and to the easing of the "blues."

 

It was suggested to me: "start gently where you are, not where you want to be and befriend yourself. "Blue is the color of melancholy go deep into the wild blue yonder" (s. Keen)

 

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other's welcome,

 

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

 

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

 

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

from Derek Walcott

 

saner

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