Dear Women Who Are Upset With Women’s March

Your privilege is showing. Might wanna tuck it back in.

Yes. I said it. Once again, not everything is about you. But because you are looking from only inside your own small bubble and the things we march for don’t affect you, it’s stupid and inconvenient to you. You don’t have to feel like YOU are affected and need to march, but you can still support those of us who do feel the need to march for our rights.

It’s called being a good human being. If you’re religious, it’s about loving your neighbor, feeding the poor, healing the sick, and helping the less fortunate. But that’s not what you are really about, right? Let’s get real for a minute.

JUST BECAUSE YOU AREN’T AFFECTED OR YOU DON’T FEEL THE BURDEN OR FEAR, DOESN’T MEAN IT’S NOT REAL.

The reason you don’t feel oppressed as a women is because you likely have never had to justify your need or want to have access to contraception. Your reproductive rights are under attack, because you don’t believe in abortion, so why should anyone else? Perhaps you don’t know a woman who was raped by a family member and forced into an abortion at the age of 13. News flash, its still happening and this isn’t just about YOU.

The reason you don’t feel like transgendered people should have the right to use the bathroom of their preferred gender, is because you are scared of things you are unfamiliar with and is uncomfortable for you. Your unwillingness to get to know or learn more about a real plight for these women, again shows you don’t get the point. This isn’t about YOU.

The reason you don’t want to have gun safety or regulations because you have never felt the sadness or anguish of having your sons, brothers, and fathers gunned down in the streets, just because of the color of their skin. Just because you haven’t experienced it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. This isn’t about YOU.

The reason you don’t want to provide healthcare to millions of those who can’t afford it, is because you don’t struggle to  afford the high premiums or you aren’t caring for a sick child or parent – as most underprivileged Americans – because the country is tailored to you. You don’t know the burden of the multiplying hospital and medical bills for life saving medication and surgeries for your children.

You don’t want to pay higher taxes, it’s your hard earned money? I guess you’d rather use that extra cash to take your kids to Disney World than help save a sick kiddo who’s parent can’t afford healthcare – or find a job to provide it. This isn’t about YOU.

The reason you tell me “your marriage is safe” is because you haven’t had to wait 12 years to get married to the person you have spent half you life with. You didn’t have to fight for a simple piece of paper that gives you the benefit of seeing your spouse in the hospital when they are dying. You don’t know the struggle of those of us who know the feeling of being turned away from housing, employment, and our own families based on the person you love. This isn’t about you.

You aren’t a victim? That’s great. I’m glad for you. That doesn’t mean that the laws of this country aren’t in some serious need for change. You want me to just “respect the president.” but, perhaps you haven’t been sexually assaulted on the street by a stranger who just decided you were easy prey that day. OR a family member who felt it was their right to take your body and do what they wish with it.You haven’t been raped at a party and then told it was your fault because your skirt was too short. It’s just locker room talk? But it’s not. Its happening. Everyday. Women being assaulted by being emboldened by statements such as these. This isn’t about you.

You want to build a wall because you don’t want to let in the scary scary Muslims and Mexicans. But you don’t have to worry about your family being broken up, just by the circumstances of the random places you were born. You are born in a country of privilege, This isn’t about you. Lest you forget, this country was founded on immigrants, to keep them out, is not only selfish, but ignorant.

You don’t feel like a second class citizen? Then you haven’t asked your male co-workers what they make in the same job you occupy. You haven’t lived in a small town where the only jobs are fast food places. Places for “high schoolers” are full time jobs to a lot of mothers and women who can’t afford to leave their small towns in search of something better. But they don’t deserve to make more money, because those jobs, the “unskilled” jobs that you benefit from on a daily basis, aren’t worth the same standards and respect as yours. You don’t know the struggle to put food on the table and clothes on your kids. This isn’t about you.

Here’s the deal, I don’t care if you march or not, but don’t discourage those of us who do. For those of us this is about. Because the country is tailored to cater to your demographic and that means you are fortunate not to be affected by these problems. Just because you aren’t affected, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Doesn’t mean the march wasn’t necessary. At the end of the day, this is about fighting for equality. For justice. For the American dream for all who wish to stand and show up for it.

I don’t discount that this march doesn’t seem like a big deal to you. I can see why you think it’s not important. You don’t have the personal story that the women who are marching have. This isn’t about you. That doesn’t mean you can’t look outside your bubble and see that this is a real issue. These are real problems.

You would rather keep the status quo, because it doesn’t affect you and changing it will affect you, that’s not ok. You don’t take action because you don’t benefit from it. That’s selfish and let’s me know what kind of person you really are. You don’t have to agree with the March, you can even think it inconvenient, but don’t say it’s not necessary.

Don’t call me a snowflake, when you were praising those who depicted our first black president as a monkey or held up signs hanging him. Don’t tell me I’m bashing men, because I want to be treated equal to them in the workplace, home, and country. I don’t hate men. I hate that men get all the rights and no one seems to give a damn.

Don’t tell me to stop acting like a victim. I’m not a victim, I don’t claim to be. I claim to be a woman. A warrior. And my right to peaceful protest is in the same constitution as the guns you so tightly cling to. I publicly condemn the violence and destruction of property that happens in protests.

“Treat Others as you Wish to be Treated” but only if it benefits me. That’s the way of this country right now. We are all spoiled, selfish and entitled. “We want OUR way, it’s the ONLY way, if it positively BENEFITS only US and people like us.” We talk about the kids of this generation, of the ‘radical’ millennials who are marching in the streets. What you are really upset about is if these ‘spoiled and entitled’ kids get their way, your way of life will suddenly change.

You will no longer be better than someone else. You will no longer reap the benefits of the rewards to the few in this country. You will have to respect those with different beliefs and watch your tongue and avert your eyes. You will be uncomfortable. You will have to take responsibility for your actions.

Change is hard. But being honorable and respectful and a decent human being is harder. Fighting for what is right, not what is easy, that’s the challenge.

But, just as you don’t feel the need to march, doesn’t mean it’s not necessary. Just because you don’t want things to change, doesn’t mean they don’t need to. Just because you don’t see into my life, live my truth, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. The march isn’t about those who aren’t affected. If you aren’t affected, or you don’t feel you are affected, that’s fine. I respect your right not to march.

Respect MY right to march. Because this IS about me.

Advertisements

Not So “Microblog Monday” – Teaching Consequences Without Fear

I started this blog as a way to connect with like minded parents who might be raising their kids without religion. I know I mostly don’t touch on it. The reason for that is mostly because that aspect of our parenting has very little effect on us or our day or our relationship with our kid. The absence of religious teaching in our parenting, is just that, an absence.

The fact that we don’t include religious teachings into our parenting, doesn’t change how to we parent much. We will instill the concepts of right and wrong; cause and effect; and rewards and consequences.

chart

We still teach her manners and using please and thank you, not interrupting adults, and using “nice words”. And none of these have to be done with religious upbringing.

I don’t blog about our lack of religious upbringing because it doesn’t effect how our family functions. I still go to work, Kim still stays home with Punky. Punky still has rules and chores. We still sit at the table as a family at dinner time and discuss how our day was. We still dance around the living room or have picnics at the coffee table while watching a movie.

The point of this blog wasn’t to rant and rave about how religious upbringing is bad or the reasons why we don’t do it, but to simply show, that raising your kid without religion, doesn’t change the fundamentals or parenting dynamics. Our way isn’t any better or any worse than those who choose to parent with religion being the focus. It’s just different.

I bring this up, because our family is a lot of different things. But labels don’t define us. A “None” family. A two mom family. A free thinking family. A family of choices. A family of technology. A family of questions. A family who eats fast food. A time out family. A family who has no limit on screen time. A cry it out family. A family with mental illness. A family without labels or boxed in expectations.

tech

I bring all of this up, because generally when I tell people that we are parenting without religion, the number one question I get is: “How does your daughter learn there are consequences for her actions without the fear of consequences?” And to that I simply say, “Why does there need to be an essence of fear?” I feared my dad growing up. I don’t want my daughter to grow up in a house of fear. I want my daughter to know that she can come to me with anything. Any questions, any problem, any choice. Any reasonable and respectful argument. Anything.

So, to make it about fear … to me, religion is equated with fear. Which is pretty much why I personally don’t want her raised in a religious household. Fear of “the consequences” are scary when you are a kid growing up with religion. Hell is a scary concept. Especially for a kid. Fear of rejection. From a loving God, but if you do wrong things, you are rejected. Unless you are forgiven, which you can ask for forgiveness for everything, so then your ‘sin’ doesn’t matter anymore. So those bad things you did, it’s ok, and you can keep doing them and keep asking for forgiveness.

Where is the consequence or lesson being taught there? The circle is maddening and it is (for me) simply a way to instill control on children at a young age and to keep people in a box. To make sure they do what their told, when they are told, and don’t ask any questions about anything, because it ‘just is’; ‘just have faith’; ‘you don’t believe enough’. All of which, in my mind growing up, equated to “You aren’t good enough if you don’t just believe in what we are telling you is right and true.” “You aren’t a good person if you don’t believe in this, if you question it, you question God and that makes you a terrible person and you are going to Hell. Repent now.” These are not the self esteem boosters I want for my kid.

Morals and ethics are not taught by religious leaders. That’s the job of a parent. Parents teach their children what is right and wrong in the world. What’s dangerous and what’s safe. Parents, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof teach their children what society finds acceptable, what boundaries are in place (laws and social norms) and where those boundaries can be crossed or JUMPED (gender roles, pfft) over.

jump

As a kid who grew up with a Christian background, I remember a time when my Sunday School teacher told the class, “Be wary of those who don’t believe in God. Those are not friends to keep.” And I raised my hand, I was about 12 or so, and asked, “But how do we spread the word or tell them about God, if we can’t be friends with them? Doesn’t it push them away from God to shun them from our friendship?” The teacher had no answer and didn’t answer it. She simply gave me look that made me instantly realize I shouldn’t question what she says. And I didn’t question again.

That’s the thing with religious teaching. There’s no questions. There’s blind faith. There’s no answers. There’s no thinking for yourself, only believe what’s being told to you or you are doing it wrong and you MAY end up in Hell. Scary shit for a kid, right? I know it was for me.

I refuse to subject my child to that kind of teaching or upbringing. coloringWith that said, I do have people who tell me “She has the right to believe if she wants to.” And to that, they are absolutely correct. She does have that right and I won’t be the one to take it away from her. My hope is that we can do our best to facilitate and foster an environment in which she can ask questions, think for herself, and really come to a conclusion on her own. One way or the other in which she believes, I will support her. I will love her just the same.

However, right now, she’s too little to understand the things being taught and she doesn’t know any better than to simply believe – without question. She doesn’t know she can question. she doesn’t know what questions she should ask. Until she is old enough to understand, facilitate and make those questions heard and thought through, she will not be subject or introduced to things that are religious in nature.

Her cousins are Jewish. We don’t really talk about it, it’s not something that comes up. But if she had questions, I would make a point to sit down with my sister in law and we could discuss what being Jewish means and how that effects Punky’s world view. Her grandparents are all (primarily) Christian. I have no problem with her being exposed to “Gram’s friend Jesus” on a necklace, or telling her that some people believe that their loved ones go to a place in the sky when they die. Some people do in fact believe that and I want her to respect other people’s beliefs and views. But, I also want her to question why people believe that, where that belief comes from and if she does in fact also believe in that.

When she’s old enough to make up her own mind, she will be free to do so. She will be able to explore the possibilities of belief and what that means to her. Growing up with an absence of religion, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the choice to seek it out and be respected for her own growing belief systems. But I do want her to examine, question, and think about what she believes in. I want her to be able to stand up and confidently say what she believes and be about to articulate it intelligently – not “That’s what the Bible says” or “My Mom told me it is so, so it must be”. As it stands, at this age, she is not able to do that to the extent in which I would like her to.

So instead we teach her about family, about tolerance, about love, and respect. For everyone. And at the core, that’s what religious teachings do too, we just do it without a man in the sky or a guy on a cross, without a fiery damnation or a cycling guilt and forgiveness.

family

Not sure what Microblog Monday is? Wanna get involved? Check out the info here.

Christmas Countdown Out of Whack

Well, I’m terrible at updating the countdown this year. But we have done all sorts of fun things.

Day 11: Pick out ornament for the tree (2012 was Cat in the Hat, 2013 was Tow Mater, 2014 is Minnie Mouse) This was the first year that Miss Punky picked out the ornament herself. Its going to be a very Merry Minnie Christmas. Literally. She has asked for only two things from Santa. Minnie Bike and Light Up Shoes. I have the bike in the works (her godfather is painting an old bike we had) and the light up shoes I got for her are Minnie Mouse and the bows and hearts light up. She’s going to love them.

From her moms so far I have gotten her a zebra print Minnie Mouse bath robe, because she’s so dramatic about being cold when she comes out of the tub and dries off. The small walk to her room or down the stairs in just a towel brings on the jitters and shivers. Its pretty darn adorable. I also found the cutest Minnie Mouse duffel bag for traveling and it comes with a sleeping bag. So when we go visit my family, she will have her own bag to take! Just like a big girl.

So – Minnie Mouse is the theme of this year.

10007071_10153425943059148_5804401524306364908_n

Day 12:Angel Tree and Senior Tree at Walmart. Walmart always sponsors children for Christmas. Kim and I have been picking stars off the tree for several years. This is the first time Miss Punky picked her own star. A 6 year old girl who wanted a baby doll and stroller. Miss Punky picked out the baby doll and I added the cheapest stroller(cause we aren’t made of money) to give to the little girl. Our bank sponsors seniors. I always try to take one of those as well. Punky picked a Grammy instead of a Papa and we bought their wish list item of art supplies.

I always feel bad that the paper ornaments with all the senior citizens on it are not usually touched. In fact, when I went to put the gift in the their collect box, there was trash inside of it, but no gifts. When we went back to Walmart the end day of the collection, there were still the same amount of ornaments on the tree. No one ever thinks of the senior citizens – at least that’s the way it looks. It’s pretty sad.

10868078_10153428898854148_9101640743576519456_n

Day 13: Kim’s grandfather’s union always has a Christmas Party and he gathers all his grandkids and great grandkids together for chili and nachos at 9am. We adults are getting to be a little less steel stomached for it. But they have Santa and pictures and lots of great things for the kids to do. Its a nice time normally. I didn’t get to attend, because with this midnight shift, I have been sleeping in late. So, I’m not in the family picture with Santa. But! Miss Punky is sitting on Santa’s lap! How exciting is that development?!

10392452_10203730761131554_5975348658045299689_n

Kim, Mrs. Claus, Santa, Uncle Eric, Punky, and Aunt Ashley

10836422_10153725629972195_1194133813_n

I very small portion of the very large Italian family that I married into. They are all the grandkids and great-grandkids and their parents.

Day 14: We colored plastic ornament balls with sharpies for our neighbors and their kids as well as her godparents. She had fun just scribbling and it really added character to the gifts.

553284_10153433059104148_3768549941426297788_n

Day 15: We filled the ornaments with hot chocolate and then delivered them to their new owners. They are lucky they got any marshmallows though, because she kept putting them in her mouth, instead of in the ornament!

10682425_10153436574079148_6788602757026370592_o

So that’s what we have been up to so far. I have also mailed all my Santa Letters this year. I dropped them in the mailbox to be picked up yesterday, so they are on their way to all the kids on the list. 140 of them this year!

10678759_10153430755619148_5027971448701475349_n

10392469_10153431152724148_6758108362848203401_n

10438258_10153434735684148_6412271761116570528_n

We have 9 days til Christmas. This has been the most interactive holiday with Punky – the one where she has participated, started to fully understand that this is a holiday, and really gotten into the spirit. I can’t wait to keep on making traditions with her!

And these are the Days of Our Lives…..

I feel like we are constantly in some wackadoodle damn soap opera. The roller coaster of our life just never had a moment to slow down and stop. There are never any breaks along the way, it’s just UP and DOWN. UP and DOWN.

Jeez, life, throw me a damn bone.

I’m super frustrated right now because Kim and I got Punky all dressed up and paraded her around the court house in Kansas to get our application for a marriage license. Literally, just last week, this was a done deal and we found out about it on Wednesday. We were excited, we were so relieved. It wasn’t Missouri, but just the few days prior, Missouri did rule that they would recognize gay marriages performed legally in states that do allow that sort of thing.

So, why not, we said?

We only live 30 minutes away from the court house doing it and we could go up there before I went to work the very next day. So, Thursday, we got ready, we all three got up super early. This was a momentous occasion and one we called all our parents about and pumped up our Facebook friends and family with this adorable video from Punky!

It was pouring down rain when we got in the car, by the time we got on the highway, I couldn’t even really see the cars in front of us. The rain was sheets of water, buckets being dumped on our car. Kim looked at me and said, “You must really want to do this.” And if anyone knows me, I don’t drive in the best conditions, let alone these types of conditions, unless I want to get somewhere. I held it together and kept my cool.

Punky got to press the walk button on the crosswalk and go through the metal detector, all while charming the pants off anybody we passed with her ridiculously adorable pea coat and umbrella.

IMG_9615

We finally found our way to the marriage license window and got the application; after swearing to god that our statements were all true. We got the application and they hadn’t even had time to change the pronouns on the application yet, it’s that new. So we had to cross out groom and we had to change he to she. Normally, this kind of thing might bug me, but not at that moment. I didn’t care. I just wanted to do it right.

11 years we have waited. 11 years we have been patiently watching and silently hoping that we will be married in our own state, or at least close. (Kansas is literally right around the corner from us!)  Who cares if the forms are updated. That time will come. I just wanted it to be right.

We signed some stuff, took our application and went home to wait the three day waiting period for Kansas marriage licenses.

IMG_9614

We were going to make a trip back there on Tuesday. We were going to get married and get our marriage license on Tuesday. The long wait for marriage (and tax benefits and rights and equality) was finally over.

Until tonight.

When we read that the Kansas State Attorney General petitioned a block on all gay marriage licenses. There will be a hearing. Sometime in November. And yes, I know – we will get married eventually. With the way the momentum of gay marriage is sweeping the country – it’s going to happen.

But.

It won’t be Tuesday.

And we are all pretty bummed about it.

SAD

And in other news, we are going to visit my family tomorrow – so that will likely brighten my spirits a bit.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

The Right Side of History and God’s Thoughts?

The Supreme Court ruled on our family’s civil rights today. It didn’t really affect my family in the way I would hope it would – but it is a step in the right direction. The Supreme Court ruled to strike down DOMA (Defense Against Marriage Act) which federally defined marriage between a man and a woman. This means that any state that has legally married same-sex couples are now protected under federal law as a married couple and entitled to the same benefits and rights as those taxpayers in a heterosexual marriage.

This is big news!

Now, we live in Missouri. Missouri and our neighboring state Kansas currently have bans in the state constitution on same-sex marriage. Which means that our states do not recognize a marriage between same-sex couples, regardless of whether they get married in a state that grants same-sex marriage or not. I’ve yet to figure out, because I am currently writing this draft at work on my lunch break, what this means for my family in general.

I know striking down DOMA means that all states that currently have legalized gay marriage couples, will be afforded the same rights to the federal level. So, basically, those people married in those legal states are protected under federal law and now get their rights restored.

What does that do for those of us who do not currently live in a state that recognizes gay marriage? I am going to assume, it means nothing for us in the immediate future. We will simply go about our lives, unmarried and discriminated against until such a time as all states in the United States of America smarten up and decide to be on the right side of history. Perhaps sometime in the future, all the states and the people who populate it decide to treat all their taxpaying, law-abiding citizens and neighbors with the same rights and equality under the law.

Then I think of the post from one of my very favorite bloggers, Deborah for Kids Without Religion and the link she provided to the North Carolina Values Coalition. I found a lot of things interesting as to what is happening to the religious community in regards to their opinion of my family’s lack of civil rights and the outcome of this decision by the Supreme Court.

I hear all the time by the Conservative Right that in order to be a ‘true’ American you must trust in your government’s laws. You must abide by the law and you must be a patriot to our great country. This usually means following “Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” and believing in the almighty “God” In order to be a true American, you must have these fundamental things down and in your very core.

So, two days ago, before the decision of the Supreme Court came down, I went to the website’s Facebook page, because of course, I was interested and intrigued. Low and behold, I was also looking to be pissed off for the rest of the night.

I found this woman’s wonderful prayer to her Lord and Savior. I am sure it is similar to other people who are her like-minded peers in this debate.

I’m have blacked out her name and picture because I do have respect for her beliefs, however, if you were to go to the public Facebook page, you will see her prayer in this exact entirety. She is proud of her beliefs, I am sure, so I am sure she will be thrilled to have the exposure of said prayer for my blog readers to see!

image

If you can’t read this, here’s the transcript of the prayer.

Prayer for the Supreme Court and the Nation
Heavenly Father, we praise You for Your unchanging truth, holiness, righteousness, mercy and grace. You have given us a nation founded upon the principles of Your word. You have blessed us, but we have squandered Your grace and turned away from Your principles. So we come to You to plead for our nation.

Specifically, we pray for the pending Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage. We pray that next week the Court would not impose a false definition of marriage on our nation. Father, we confess that we in the Church have already sinned against You and have not been good stewards of the gift of marriage through our own issues with unfaithfulness, selfishness, pornography, homosexuality and divorce. Forgive us, Lord. Now our nation is following our imperfect example and seeks to redefine and corrupt the gift of marriage in order to satisfy its own lusts.

We acknowledge that through Jesus Christ we can repent and turn to You. So help the people of this nation to turn to You with repentant hearts, that we all may be covered in Your grace. Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, let Your purity and truth shine in this situation. Help us to proclaim to those enslaved by homosexuality, and any other sin, that liberty and identity is available in Jesus Christ. Help us to lovingly embrace the repentant.

Fill us with Your Spirit so that our thoughts, words and actions reflect Your love and not our judgment. Help us to trust in Your plan, and to act justly throughout it. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son and our Savior. Amen.”

So, when the decision from the Supreme Court came down, I thought about this prayer in particular. I thought of this woman and those in her same like-minded beliefs giving the future of my family, the fate of my daughter’s reality up to her god’s will.

Ok, well, and we all know that god’s will is righteous and correct. God’s will doesn’t make mistakes. We all know that if we are true Christian believers and believe in the word of the Lord, we must follow and trust in God’s will.

And realistically, this is what this woman has done. She has prayed for God’s will to stir the hearts and minds of the Supreme Court and the decision they were making about the fate of my family.

Now that the decision has come down on the opposite way in which this woman and her peers have been praying so fervently for, what does that mean for them? If God exists and we must trust in God’s will, then … I think …

God has made a very clear and direct point to his followers.

He has not answered your prayers.

What does that say to you? To me, that says, that God’s will is clear, if he is real and listens to your prayers. He denied your prayers. Your prayers were not answered?

Can we speculate as to why?

I can. I can speculate that this God of yours has made it very clear that your discrimination against your fellow human beings AND your hiding behind his name and word to justify it, is not acceptable. He has denied your prayers because God’s will is not the same as you have been persecuting your homosexual brothers and sisters in the Lord over.

Not only have you now used your God’s name to condemn an entire group of people, but you have also decided to discriminate and with hateful laws persecute those people. My family, in the name of God.

Well, it looks to me that God is telling you that you are wrong and you cannot have what you want. Looks to me that God is saying, everyone should be treated equally and instead of answering your prayers, he has chosen to go the opposite way and make his wishes very clear.

Of course, what do I know. I haven’t been to church in awhile. I personally believe the church does nothing but drive fear and brainwash children into believing things that may or may not be true, but we can’t prove any of is.

I guess, my question to this woman in light of her prayers not being answered is this:

Do you trust in God’s answer to your prayer? Do you trust in his will that you requested when you prayed to him? Or do you find some reason to believe this is not God’s answer and must be something else? Basically, will you be a hypocrite?

If so, I’m not surprised.

In the end, I don’t care what God thinks, because in the end I don’t think God played a part in this decision. I think common sense and good morals and good hearts had everything to do with this decision. End of story.

So, congratulations to all the ladies and gentlemen out there who are legally married in their states who will be now federally recognized! Congratulations to you all! I hope that when this very long journey is over, my family will be celebrating just as hard as you are currently!

The Guilt of a Newly-Minted None

The foundation of being a moral person has always been about believing in God and following the teachings of the church. If you don’t follow the path Jesus walked, you are likely a heathen or a pagan or the unworthy of Heaven. Or, if you don’t follow Jesus and the teachings of the Bible, you are just lost and possibly weird, on the fringes of society and destined to be an outcast.

Heaven has always been the goal that we strive for in life. Be a good person, doing things in the name of Jesus and you will achieve your rewards in Heaven. We are told in order to go to Heaven you must be a good person. In order to be a good person, you must follow Jesus.

What if you don’t believe Heaven is the ultimate goal any longer? Can you still be a good person? Can you teach your children to be good citizens of society without using Heaven as the end goal? Can people be moral and decent human beings without getting anything in return?

I believe you can be a good person without the foundation of religion. However, as a woman who has grown up with the church and the teachings of the Christian religion, it is something that is hard to rectify in my brain. It has been so ingrained in my heart and soul that you can only be a good person if you follow Jesus. If you do what Jesus and God decree as correct and proper.

I have spent the last 29 years of my life thinking that God was the only way. That Heaven was the end goal. The only other option is eternal damnation. If you aren’t following God, you aren’t a good person, so you can’t go to Heaven, and therefore, you will burn in Hell.

Hell certainly doesn’t sound like a nice place to end up. When you look at the descriptions of Heaven and Hell in the teachings of the church, who doesn’t want to say they believe in God and hope that they will get to go to Heaven. By taking the belief of Jesus and Christianity on faith alone, it is supposed to safeguard them from the eternal damnation of Hell. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Let’s not forget that Heaven is also a better alternative to ceasing to exist. When you die, you just are no more. I never really liked the idea of that happening either. So, what was the purpose of life? What was the goal? The end game? Ceasing to exist seems exponentially as harsh a fate as Hell.

So to alleviate either ‘negative’ outcomes at death, if we believe in God and the teachings of the church  or death will end much more pleasantly. I am sure I am not alone in this thought process. I am beginning to think this is how people get caught up in the beliefs and the church.

Looking back at this, the description of Heaven and Hell is more propaganda and fear tactics. If you don’t do what we tell you to do, you will be punished. If you do exactly what we tell you to do, you will be rewarded. Don’t question or you go to Hell. Don’t miss church or you go to Hell. Don’t forget to pray at supper or you might go to Hell. Don’t support gay people or you will go to Hell. Don’t be friends with Pagans or they will bring you straight to Hell with them.

A lot of fear goes into the foundation of religion. A lot of fear and ultimatums.  Fear and ultimatums lead to guilt. Guilt about doing things just right. Making sure you are following the faith perfectly. What if you slip up? You can be forgiven, but the people of the church may look down on you. You will be given a big heaping spoonful of guilt.

Like my previous post about Cults and Churches, the fear and the ultimatums and ultimately the guilt is what keeps a member of a church or a cult in line. It keeps the person feeling like they are a bad person if they don’t go along, if they don’t follow. The guilt can be enough to hold a person under the church or cult’s thumb for years and it is a form of brainwashing.

I came across this blog post recently and it made me think. The points are valid. How come our particular religion can be believed on faith, but someone else’s religion is clearly not correct. It’s not right and thus a fairy tale. All the creation tales in each different religion are similar yet, once you latch on to the one you like, it’s the only one. It’s the one that is supreme.

You can deny all others as false and ‘fairy tale’ but the one that you follow may sound similar, but it’s the only true one. You have reasons and rationale why. The brain has made connections on this that will allow you to believe that it is real. Why do you have all these answers? Because the fear and ultimatums and the guilt that goes with the teachings have given you all the answers you need to make sure you are properly educated in what to say and think. IE. Brainwashing.

Then comes a time when you doubt it. What if you doubt what you have always been told? What if you take a logical look at the things you have always believed and you put rational thought behind it? The guilt settles in.

What if I’m wrong? I am a terrible person for not believing. I should just have faith. God calls me to believe in the face of doubt. I cannot trust my own flawed judgment. I just need to put my faith in Him. Just follow the leaders of the church, they are the ones who have more knowledge than I do. I have to teach my child to believe as I have; otherwise she will go to Hell. Hell is a bad place. What if Hell does in fact exist? If you don’t teach your child about God, they will never be saved and you have condemned your child to a fate worse than death. If you don’t get your kid baptized, they will be eternally lost in the pits of Hell.

These are the thoughts that I still grapple with. I am beginning to realize that I am in fact an Atheist. I have tried to cling to the label of the lesser evil in society of Agnostic, that of someone who is spiritual and who is not sure what they believe. But, I do know what I believe. In my heart of hearts, I know that there is no such thing – there is no validity to the stories I have grown up with. I know in my rational mind that I don’t want to be putting my kid through the same fear and guilt that I am currently trying to dig myself out of.

I hold tight to the lesser label, a label that doesn’t really bring me peace of mind either, because it is less harsh than the reality. The finality of the whole concept. It lessens my guilt. It lessens the doubt in my doubt and the uncertainty. I am coming to terms with the fact that I was in fact brainwashed and I was conditioned with fear tactics and guilt to believe in something that can’t possibly be real.

It makes no sense to me now. I am trying to figure out why the concept of God and Jesus made sense to me before. A flowery story about a man who died for me and forgives me of all my sins. A story of redemption and of love and kindness. It made sense because it was about the good in people. It was about the rewards for being a good person. It was about being a part of something.

How come we can’t teach our kids to forgive our fellow human beings for their misgivings and their shortcomings. Can’t we teach our kids to be kind and loving to all those they come in contact with? Why does the basis of morals and the difference between right and wrong have to be set in the foundation of a religion?

Instead of guilt, I hope to give the facts. I hope to give the theories and the stories. As I learn more of the different stories and the different culture theories of how the world came to be, I hope I can pass on the questioning nature I have grown to possess and leave the guilt out of my daughter’s heart.

Cults and the Christian Church – Research and Comparision

How to spot a cult: It says through the literature that if the organization says they aren’t a cult, they probably are a cult. If they teach that all other religions or organizations are wrong if they don’t believe what their organization believes it is probably a cult. If they say their belief is the only right belief, they may be a cult. If they say you have to be in their organization only, they are probably a cult. Cults recruit with hyped up meetings. They use unrelenting pressure and call all the time. If they ask you for money, they might be a cult. If they control what you can do and who you can be around, it might be a cult.

**

I have a longstanding fascination with all things cult related. I love to read about them, I love to watch documentaries about them, I have even ventured to write about a fiction version of one. I am not sure where the fascination comes from, but I am drawn in. I am interested to see how these people, involved in cults were manipulated. I am fascinated by how easy it was to manipulate the members.

When I watch documentaries about it, I have to wonder, how did these people believe something like this was actually real? I ask myself how did this leader come to be this way? Sinister motives, mental illness, good intentions? I always have to sit and ponder what and why and how.

I recently read this blog about The Dying and while it made me think of my own views on death and dying, it also made me realize that most religions could be considered a cult. Had I been part of a cult? Is the indoctrination of the church just another form of mind control?

I know that when people leave a cult, they have a difficult time leaving the beliefs of the cult behind. It still plagues them. I am dealing with something similar. I feel as though I want to change my way of thinking and I know that what I thought before was not correct. However, every time I think something different, I feel this nagging guilt and a sense of urgency to back peddle to my old beliefs.

Now, I am pondering different things. Not an outsider looking in. I am looking inside myself.

How to spot a Christian Church: The Christian Church is not a cult. They say so when teaching of suspected cults. All other teachings of Christianity that differ from the Christian Church is wrong and not as enlightened. The Christian Church is the only true word of God and the only right way to believe. If you don’t believe in their teachings you will not be saved and you will not get to Heaven. If you are not baptized in the Christian faith you will not be saved and you will go to Hell, you must belong to their church only. With bands and music and fun revival meetings, Christian churches can get new members easily. They ask for your name, phone number, and address when you visit their church. You will then receive literature and phone prayers, especially if you do not come back. 10% tithe to the church, it’s in the name of God, he is asking this of you. You should only read the Bible and listen to music that glorifies God, watch tv that only glorifies God, watch movies that only glorifies God.

**

So, comparing how to spot a cult and how to spot a Christian Church, I am beginning to think that I was part of a cult. That statement is not to offend my christian friends and family. It’s simply what I feel like right now. I feel like, now that I have made the decision to move away from Christianity, away from the church. I feel guilt and I feel this inner battle with myself between what I have always known, for the last 30 years and what I know now that I am a mother of an impressionable tiny human.

Components of a Cult Compared to My Experiences with Christian Church: (As explained by Cultwatch)

Deception: “We love everyone as God loves us. Jesus died for all our sins. We give generously to all those in need. No one can judge but God.” Unless, you aren’t of the same mind as the leaders of the church. Unless you don’t own a Bible and read it daily. Unless you are a homosexual trying to get married. Unless you are not baptized. Unless you are a waitress that doesn’t give me a tax deduction on my generosity. Unless you are pro-choice and you want to murder babies. Unless you try to teach my kid yoga in PE class.

Exclusivity: You will only be saved if you are a follower of our church, of our beliefs. You can only go to Heaven if you take Jesus into your heart. You will go to Hell if you don’t follow the Bible, no other teachings will do. You will be condemned to Hell if you allow your gay daughter into your home (personal experience with my father).

Guilt:  If you give to God you will be rewarded. If you don’t give to God you will not receive blessings. Maybe if you tithed more often, you might start to reap what you sow financially. If you would baptize your child, he might not be so unruly. If you just give your faith to God, he will make your life happy and healthy. You should have given it to God, he would have handled it for you.

Love Bombing and Relationship Control: Joining the church will afford you many new friends. You will be surrounded by love and compassion. We advise you to steer clear of non-believers because they will only tempt you away from the proper path with God. If you leave the church or the faith, we will not be able to employ you at the church any longer or call you. We will pray for you though, from a far.

Information Control: You only need the Bible and faith. All secular forms of entertainment or information is not necessary. Speak with God in prayers and he will give you the answers in your heart that you need.

Reporting Structure: Watch out for your brothers and sisters who are struggling with their faith. If they are in need of prayers, make sure to let us know. We will pray for all who need it, we just need to know about their transgressions and make sure they are properly taught.


The comparisons are staggering. Comparisons between the church and cult definitions are some that I had not noticed before. What this research did for me was to affirm that I do not want to put my daughter through the same questions and guilt that I am going through now.

What this research told me is that I respect others who wish to be involved in the lifestyle of Christianity. If you find comfort in it and it helps your life, then I will not sit here and say you are in the wrong. I will simply say that given my history with the Christian church and the teachings, I know it’s no longer right for me. Or for my child, until she’s old enough to make her own choices about what she feels and believes.

What it does for me is say, I was right in my decision not to subject my daughter to the world of contradictions, guilt and oppression that I lived most of my life. I will, instead, teach her to think for herself. To learn lessons on her own. To make her own decisions as I am doing now, though I will allow her to do this much sooner in her life than I did.