The Misinterpretation of Hate and Anger: Instead, Passion

I’m always impressed by the enlightening I can get from the comments section of news stories.  I mean, I never knew that as an atheist I am afraid,angry, and offended; observations made regularly and accompanying some story about us contending over a coach praying at a high school football game or the ten commandments being removed from a courtroom or a cross going up somewhere on public land.

The answer is that we atheists aren’t afraid and neither are we offended. But we are passionate.  We are fervent.  We are dedicated to having a nation free from religious manacles of any kind, whether they be christian, muslim, hindu, or pastafarian, and to that end we will tirelessly address any line-crossing behavior.   We stand on the assurance that our constitution mandates a separation of church and state and passionately invoke it for the sake of our democracy.  I would ask my brothers and sisters not to confuse such passion with offense or fear, and consider that the resistance you meet from us is only as strong as your desire to cross the constitutional boundaries.   We would quietly sit in our homes and binge on Parks and Recreation if given the choice.

Angry, yes, we are angry.   I will strongly contend that our anger is justified however, and even by christian standards, righteous anger is permissible.   It’s okay to be angry when you pass a law against one religion yet you push and shove your own religion onto the national stage.  It’s okay to be angry when you promote asinine propaganda that is meant to instill fear. It’s okay to be angry when you slow down our progress as a nation by insisting on antiquated, edited, fallible texts as a foundation from which to work. It’s okay to be angry when preachers ask for a six million dollar jet while the homeless children population is steadily increasing in our own nation.  It’s okay to be angry when pedophiles are allowed back into ‘the fold’ or when abuse is systematically covered up.   You are correct about our anger, but misinterpret the direction and source of it.   We aren’t angry at a god whose probability for existing decreases with each new scientific discovery.  We are angry at your invocation of that omnipotent being in the face of greed, lies, selfishness, and ignorance; and the overall negative affect that has on our society.

We atheists will be passionate about maintaining the clearly drawn lines between personal belief and public interactions.  But do not mistake that for fear or offense.  I’ll agree that we are angry, but do not mistake its origins; righteous anger is permissible when injustice is blatant.

Now you have my comments on the comments section, here’s to enlightenment for us all.   ;)

In peace, as always,



An Atheist Confesses

I do not pray.

I’ll take action instead.

If you are in need, I will give you my money, bring you a meal, or clean your house.

I do not pray.

I do not have a religious text.

Empathy and compassion dictate my behavior, keep me from wrong and hurting others.

I do not have a religious text.

I do not have a holy deity.

Mankind is my focus and energy.  Brothers and sisters by shared birth from mother nature, it is they who deserve all I have to give.

I do not have a holy deity.

I do not have a religion.

My foundation is on this earth, where time is short and goodness must needs win.   I will do my part.

I do not have a religion.

I do not pray.  I do not have a religious text  I do not have a holy deity. I do not have a religion.   I believe in our ability to do good and that we rise above the noise of evil in the process.  I am an atheist.  This is my confession.



The Doctor is My Hero

It’s Saturday which means I’m in for another new episode of Dr. Who.  I’m the kind of Whovian that has her DVR scheduled to record it  and my bestie is often over for dinners on Saturday nights to watch the newest episode with me (I’ve simply got to come up with a special dinner menu for the Christmas episode out of respect for the return of Professor River Song – it’s bad, I know).  In the long list of heroes we humans are so creative at inventing, the Doctor provides a modern day model for unrequited compassion and a dedication to justice so perfect that he tortures his own soul for his own shortcomings.

I’ll give a bit of background before I explain.   Working from the  foundation of Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero With a Thousand Faces” beautiful book, the characters who have entertained and inspired over the millenniums all share similar traits.  Consider our modern day heroes such as Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter:  both come from meager beginnings yet they’re somehow tied and bound to the evil of their day.  Their personal bond with evil begins with some twist of childhood fate so that the rest of their lives are spent conquering the dark elements of the universe, always, always to overcome (we don’t know how to write the story any other way than to make sure good wills out – I love that about us).


photo courtesy of

The Doctor follows a similar plot line. His beginnings were marked with uncertainty and fear, and his path is wrought with a parallel evil that persistently challenges his patience, wit, compassion, and even causes him to question his own goodness and worth – as any decent villain should.  Yet.  He manages to overcome evil while facing his own shortcomings.  For a man who can nonchalantly say things such as “Time isn’t linear, it’s wibbly-wobbly, spacey waycey,” for a man who can hop in a machine and watch the moonrises of Jupiter, for a man who can feel all of time and space at once, The Doctor has made a decision to annhilate his own people, and this haunts him time and again.  He knows he’s had to choose between the few and the many, and he carries the guilt of the choosing.  But if there’s ever a chance to redeem himself, he seizes it without hesitation.   That’s why the Doctor is my hero: in spite of his omniscience, he’s all too human in his failings.   But even in the face of them, he chooses good over evil in the hopes that when balanced, the good is greater than the evil.  Such is the story of most of us, we should have confidence in that ;).

When the twelfth Doctor made one of his first appearances, he asks his assistant if she thought he was a good man.

“I don’t know.  But you try to be and I think that’s probably the whole point.”  The Doctor tries, he demonstrates that horrendous failings don’t have to define us, there is still good within our souls with which we can redeem ourselves.  That’s why he’s my hero.

Allonsy kids!


No Religion: What’s to Believe In?

As we continue to progress as a species, more of us human beings are stepping from the dark archaic belief systems of religion to the bright confidence of knowledge afforded us by science.   But the shift from religion to non begs some questions:  What do we do with ourselves?  Where do we put our energy?  What’s to believe in? What becomes our focus?

From my humble perspective, it kind of seems that a default focus would be nationalism; belief in one’s nation and attention to its politics and social/economic issues.  From my humble perspective, we could use a boost in national attention to politics and social/economic issues.   But there lies a danger of jingoism, unabashed love for one’s country without regard for other nations, fervent almost blind belief that ‘my country is the best’.  In a time when we face global challenges such as health epidemics and climate change, we can’t really allow ourselves the pleasure of arrogance.  We must be able to cooperate, to admit that maybe another nation is doing something right and we might consider adjusting our own perceptions.  We are bound together by this planet and its natural laws, we have to work with one another in order to keep our species viable.  While some of our new found energy can and should be focused on national issues, it is necessary to strike a balance with how much energy we invest in our country – there are bigger ideas to focus on as well.

I heartily contend that the biggest idea should be humanism – a focus on mankind and our path of past, present, and future, our connection with one another as dictated by nature’s laws.  If we think about it, we only, always, have each other; and though cultures vary we cannot deny our bloodline and the truth that we are all brothers and sisters.  I believe we owe a certain amount of attention to our race based on this sole premise, with the spirit that we are inherently obligated as human beings to look out for our siblings. As mentioned above, our modern age forces us to examine physical global issues and international cooperation is paramount to finding solutions to these issues.   A humanist focus allows us to set aside cultural prejudices and adopt cooperative attitudes based upon the assumption that we’re all in this together.

Science appears to be the common ground for us all and I’ll assert that the growth of humanism will include many elements of the discipline.   Two plus two will always equal four and no matter where we go in the world we can speak that language to anyone. I am not claiming that science has all the answers although I’m close to agreeing with many modern thinkers who believe it does.  It certainly answers our questions best and provides a universal language with which we can speak to one another, culture set aside.   Besides providing a common language science provides a foundation for finding common solutions to the challenges we face together.  The discipline is a perfect fit with the tenants of humanism.

I’ll even go out on a limb and demonstrate that we already have a vision for the melding of science and humanism and how they work together by invoking the genre of science fiction film and writings.  There are several examples where science fiction has remarkably portended the future as far as gadgets and inventions are concerned.   Even George Orwell was prescient enough to understand that an entirely new language would evolve under political pressures.   Using science fiction as a barometer for the way humanistic tendencies might emerge, one finds an astonishing body of work that illustrates how political and even personal decisions are made based upon available evidence and facts instead of mystical, archaic texts. Pay attention next time you tune into Star Trek, or Dr. Who, or The Fifth Element.

We’ve come a long ways since the days when science and religion walked the same path of curiosity together, searching for answers to the same questions.   At some point their paths split and one has gone on to answer those questions with solid evidence.   As we continue to progress as a species and more of us also leave the anachronistic beliefs behind, we are faced with the necessity of filling the void.   Humanism does so with a neat and comfortable fit.  Here’s to our future and the place that Humanism has within it.



Writer’s Resource

Here’s to a good start to everyone’s week.

I’ve been obviously occupied with current events lately and realized I need to balance my posts out a little better. The energy it takes to dig and find something new to create is being rerouted to edit a manuscript that I really hope is out by the end of the year, although I thought it’d be out by the beginning of summer…such is the life, right?  Current events however, provide plenty of thought provoking ideas which are not as difficult to filter through the keyboard.

In an effort to level out my own blog, I wanted to pass on a great blog site that’s quite resourceful for us writers:  Writing and Illustrating.   The authoress consistently features children’s book illustrators, agents who are seeking scripts, and useful writing tips.  I hope you find it as enriching as I do.

Go write something today!  And I challenge you to take a minute to see if there’s an imbalance somewhere in your writing choices.  As I’ve just discovered, sometimes we can focus on one thing too much without noticing.



Roseburg, Oregon

To those in Roseburg today who will wake up with a changed life, you do not walk alone.  Many are with you, silent and strong, supportive and empathetic.   May you find peace, however well it’s hidden.


About a Bey, And Other Girls

Religious leader Louis Farrakhem recently admonished Jay Z to “cover up his wife.”   His remarks are eerily similar to political leader Mike Huckabee whom earlier in the year, called out Jay Z over the same thing in his book, “Guns, Grits, and Gravy.”

I am a bit mystified over the issue.  Why Beyonce?

Why call out Beyonce when one of America’s most famous teens is known for posting topless instagram photos, advocating for daily masturbation, and twerking against the crotch of a man much older than her – on national television?  Her mom is apparently with her, by her side, to witness the antics in first-person. Her mom!  Yet. Not one word from gentlemen’s Farrakhem or Huckabee about this girl covering up (maybe pasties count after all?).  Why?

Why call out Beyonce when a momager brokered her daughter’s sex tape, thus catapulting a reality TV family into a paparazzi dream?   We’ve watched the same mom sexualize her two youngest daughters before their time, so that everyone knew the seventeen year old was boinking the twenty-five year old, but hey, its okay, she’ll be eighteen in a month.  (Just don’t hold hands yet, ya know, in public.)   But Mr.’s Farrakhem and Huckabee are noticeably silent on the this example of ‘pimping’.  Why?

Because it’s not about sexuality, that’s why.  It’s about the husband’s job to keep his wife in line.  Maybe Tish Cyrus and Kris Jenner can be overlooked since they’re just moms; and anyway, kids will be kids these days, right?  But for a husband to allow, and even endorse, the public sexuality of his own wife is something completely at odds with the indoctrination that a wife must be quiet, subservient, and dependent upon her man.

Beyonce is a powerful woman.  She earned success before she married her husband.  She’s always been sexy, dirty, and gritty.  She must be made of some kind of steel to muster the courage to dismiss her own father as her manager – tough cookie.  Which is exactly the point. It’s not just that Beyonce needs to cover up, the issue is that she’s independent.   She’s bothersome because she demonstrates that a woman can be sexy and at the same time call her own shots, make her own money, manage her own business, and sculpt her public image.  She doesn’t need a husband, she chooses to have one.   She isn’t dependent upon him for her happiness. From a religious standpoint, this means her husband isn’t the beginning and ending of her purpose in life, and that’s problematic for the Farrakhems and Huckabees of the world.  So the advice of ‘covering up’ is really a euphemism for “you are not in control as a man, your wife is independent of you and that’s wrong, you must assert your authority and force her to bend to your will.  A real man is an authority over his woman.”

There are scores of women whose presence in social media garner attention of the most lascivious kind.  Mr. Farrakhem and Mr. Huckabee choose instead to focus upon a husband who can’t keep his woman under control.   That’s why Beyonce.

Yours, Frankie

Cycle Bound

Every thing is cycle bound.

The sun is burning, churning out atomic warmth powerful enough to induce life on a barren land far away. Omniscient enough to provide the light required to produce energy, food for every living being.  A star, born in the fire of our universal beginnings, its days are numbered in accordance with the delicate balance of its core. Then, blast!, a nova, a white dwarf corpse. Finite. But billions of years worth of life.

There is the rock I hold in my hand. Millions of years of layers I can feel with my fingertips, see with my eyes.  What tales they could tell!  Forged by the pressure of nature, it will be ripped apart by wind and rain; or lapped up by the ocean, dragged down to the depths where it’s forced under a tectonic plate, melted there like Sauron’s Ring and spewed out again someday to become a layered trifle once more. Finite.  But millenniums worth of life.

Every thing is cycle bound.

The tree that gives me shade has been for hundreds of years now.  Her branches reach out then follow gravity down, providing a canopy that gives more than one kind of soul shelter from the rain.   Her rings would belie her age and give away her years of famine, years of plenty.   She would fall one day, becoming one again with the earth that fed her, to feed another.  Finite.  But centuries worth of life.

A human life resounds as well, with decades as boundaries for its duration.  We pass on our genetics, but more.  We create, make things out of other things, pull characters and pictures out of thin air, we reason and analyze, progress, advance.  Until the body wears down and its soul departs for an unknown existence.  Finite. But decades worth of life.

Every thing is cycle bound.

Man’s best friend fills a place in our soul like no other and if we’re lucky we get a dozen or so years of unmitigated affection. A companionship that mystifies and deeply satisfies, a love story of the profound kind. A partnership imperative to both parties; total mutual dependence.  And then a limp, a slowing down, a greying muzzle. Finite.  But years worth of life.

Bees, like the bearing beam to a house, support the weight of a specific niche in the ecosystem. Our lives rely on their consistent ability to pollinate. Because of them we eat; fruit, nuts, and vegetables.  Queens may live three to four years, workers live for months; days compared to other cycles, yet crucial days they are. Finite.  But days worth of life.

Every thing is cycle bound.

Millenniums or centuries. Decades or days.  Every thing is cycle bound. Perpetual motion, beautiful in its own way.

Freedom: As Demonstrated in a Drowned Toddler and Defiant Woman

I’m not sure any other picture will be as internationally stirring as the one of the tall lanky policeman carrying the lifeless body of a drowned Syrian toddler.

His family was fleeing a war torn area where a charlatan group of extremist believers (ISIS) would impose a strict theocratic government with no promise of freedom or democracy.   They were leaving behind the quite real possibility of their children being kidnapped and brainwashed to kill or behead ….  at eight years old.  They were running to the promise of safety and security where there might be opportunities, a choice in lifestyle, career, and mobility; where the ability to worship according to personal belief is granted without repercussion.   They, and thousands like them, are willing to endure grueling conditions and the possibility of death for freedom and democracy.

It is a horrendous statement of human arrogance that a baby would die in the pursuit of freedom while a woman born to privilege would abuse that same freedom.

Kim Davis will never know the insecurity of growing up in a nation wracked with war.  Because of her birth place she will never know what it feels like to live under a tyrannic ruler. Kim Davis will not experience what it means to have her political voice stifled as a woman.  She will not know what it feels like to have no choice and no opportunities since she was born in a secure, democratic nation.

Yet.  She would spurn that freedom.  She would defy her own democracy.   She mocks the document that allows her to worship to her own calling – a liberty that others die for, including little Aylan, his brother and his mother.

Kim Davis lives in relative comfort while sitting in jail.  She gets three meals a day, she has a roof over her head, she is protected from violence – even though she disregards the constitution that allows her those comforts.

On the other side of the world, a father buries his two sons and their mother, in a city they fled in order to acquire  the privilege of freedom and democracy.  He took the risk to gain a better life for his family and paid the price that none of us can fathom.

Would that Kim Davis could fathom her place of privilege, and how utterly arrogant her act of defiance is in the face of a drowned toddler.



In the Beginning…

in the beginning

Taken 09/04/2015 sunrise over Lassen Peak.

Oh to watch the Sun rise!

To welcome the new day with him.

Me with my coffee, he with his light,

Enjoy the silent morning together

in each other’s confidence.

Without words, yet with mutual understanding,

We together agree:

This!  This is where life meets its purpose!

At the beginning of each day,

At the start of the gate,

At the commencement of exercise.

“Anything of importance,”

He reminds me with solemn quiet,

“Is accomplished with the first ray of light

and the initial commitment of will.”

Oh to watch the Sun rise!


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