Hate: The Embarrassment of Humanity

I avoid mainstream media as much as possible. Yesterday, Husband told me about the shooting in Florida. My heart cries for humanity. The lives lost – over fifty human beings – at the hands of terror is a horrifying truth to accept. But, looking deeper, the social factors at play here are also of strong concern. The message the shooter expressed is “My will is greater than yours – you deserve extermination.” There is not a single human voice that can authentically support this claim – all species are flawed. What is important is what we make of our journey. That journey is subjective, unique to each person, and there is no authority – not animal, mineral, or vegetable – that holds any inherent right over another. Not here, not now in the twenty-first-century.

We cannot allow these injustices ground to breed. We cannot turn a blind eye to violence, cruelty, and dehumanization. We cannot let fellow Americans be targeted by “wrath-worthy” vengeance. The fact that terrorism continues is an embarrassment to human progress. The fact that other people think they have a right to determine who a person should marry, love, or what have you is not only ridiculous, it’s rather childish. Why is Betsy’s life bothered if Tim down the street prefers Dave over Sue? Why does Betsy care? …she’s not in the picture. Why is society so nosy about people’s sex lives? Isn’t there enough reality TV to go around? Why is there so much animosity for groups of people who are trying to love and live?

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Why would any of that be motivation for terrorism? Now, as a rational individual, I have to say I cannot see a genuine reason for terrorism, period – other than to enforce one’s will over another. I don’t care if a god, a government official, a newscaster, or a peanut-butter sandwich whispered in one’s ear and said terrorism is okay… it’s not. It is never cool to dehumanize. Each human has inside the self the a priori understanding of right from wrong. When religion tells one to ignore those morals, something is up. When government says to reject those morals, again – something is wrong in Denmark.

What can we do?

1. I don’t know. I’m thinking. It’s been a long think, one rolling for years now. One thing I’ve recognized is the authority found in individualism. No, it’s not enough, but it is something, a starting point – a personal choice. Make the personal decision to reject hate – in all forms. Hate is a nasty creature; if let in for one group it will easily spread to another.

2. Heighten awareness by talking, posting, commenting, or participating in social issues. Raise the call to arms for justice but when arming the self: reach for love. Hate and terror breed more violence – violence is not the answer. Read MLK and hold onto his message.

3.  When you hear others negatively supporting injustice, do not silently absorb their message. If you feel strong enough to defend – by all means do, in a rational manner. If your voice is still soft, or if you notice entering into debate will only lead to harm: leave. Silence is powerful when others realize you will not tolerate barbarism. One cannot change another person, but one does not have to expose the self to negativity. If one person is able to refuse listening, then others may follow. They may admire your strength – regardless, by leaving you have improved your environs.

4.  Redirect conversations by implementing “good” stories or examples. If you do not have any personal examples, widen your circle – oftentimes, when one steps out of their comfort zone they learn valuable lessons. Personally, my go-to story when I hear people complaining about LGBT marriages – I ask them if they’ve ever attended a ceremony, and once the guffaws clear out, I inform them that the lesbian wedding I participated in, Septemeber 2013 was the most beautiful celebrations. This holds clout because I was a stylist for over twenty years and trudged through many a wedding. All brides have some shade of fickle, all weddings issue stress and drama, all weddings (typically) bum me out. Why? Well, I feel like marriage holds a lot of limitation, conformity, compromise, and domination. Yes, Husband and I struggle, lol…I am not an easy wife nor is he a basket of sunshine. Every bride that ever sat in my chair received my last minute getaway speech and promise of an Ocean City holiday if she just wanted the beach. Every bride save two – the two that married each other. I’ve prepped hundreds of heads for their “big-day” and only one couple – a same sex couple – demonstrated what I envision as a “perfect love.” Not only my Brides, but their maids were also delightful. The guests were all happy. The décor was fabulous. I actually stayed for the wedding, took a cabin, and shared breakfast with the whole bridal party the next morning. When I think of a happy marriage, their lovely faces come to mind.

5.  What do you think we can do? “We” as in society as a whole, “We the Human Race.” How can one person’s action affect the world? Let’s see…try to implement positive change where one can. I will keep thinking, and I hope you will, too.

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No to Negative Action

Good afternoon, dear Readers…

I received a letter from #AHA (the American Humanism Association) today regarding the humanist plan of action for 2016. First off – yes, I am a Humanist. I believe in good without “god.” What that means to me is that I believe the individual is able to strive for good without supernatural threat, to “be good” purely because striving for betterment is improvement of the self. I understand my limits – all I can control is myself. This creates a heavy internal morality that guides my decision/action process. I am a Humanist because I think humanity is able to create many wonderful and terrible things. I also am a Humanist because of the whole philosophy-bit – the reading, researching, and learning. I am a stronger Humanist due to scientific theory and empirical data. Humans are amazing life forms, but humans are also only a fraction of species.  The latest craze for evolution.

So…what’s my beef? Well….I do not care for negative action. I do not think that I will truly be better by discrediting, harming, or removing another. I do not think that negative action inside of Humanism is a good advertisement for “I believe in good without god.” What I mean is I do not think attacking the religious minded is fair play. Humanism will not be better by tearing down religious statues or decimating belief. I know – often matters are acted on in a defensive form, but still…becoming a monster will not rid the world of monsters. There must be another way of reducing the authority of religion than to declare war between secularism and theology.

No, tax payer dollars should not be spent on religious idols/statues/monuments – but that does not mean that already constructed works should be removed or destroyed. Tax payer dollars are a hot-topic for many issues. What it sounds like, behind all the gloss, is that Humanism has to be in direct opposition to religion. And that doesn’t sit well with me. Religion, like music and science, are expressions of humanity. Making another lesser will not make me better. Personally – NO, I do not “need/want” religion in my life…but that does not mean that other people cannot benefit from a religious message. Religion works at bonding society together, looking to one’s community for aide and support. I mean, I do not need/want to attend a sporting event but that does not mean that sports should cease to be. Seems rather limited. One of the reasons I look to secular education is to broaden my experience and understanding of the world. I do not do limits.

I will not limit another individual from living their lives – even if that means that they have to look to religion to answer their life questions. So…No, I will not donate funds to support the elimination of religion. I cannot support this because some people still need religion, or at least believe that they do. All I can control is myself. I have no interest in controlling other people, and I wish that message was echoed in Humanism. I feel that, at the heart of humanism, there is great good possible. We are looking for answers, see what all these human beings can do and create.

The Atheists, too, are hell-bent on decimating belief. I have called myself atheist for quite a while, yet I do not agree with the current Atheist-Hatred that is rumbling through society. Let us look at what an atheist constitutes:  question everything, look for reason, note personal experience, question again. As Atheists, it is our job to keep searching. We are seekers. Again…there is no need to become a monster. In that we question everything and continually search for rationality, I would like to note that the answer has not yet been found. Atheists need to keep looking. That means that we do not have time to argue, aggravate, or attack “the believers.” Reason suggests that they have not read as much, nor questioned. – Why then waste precious moments that could be spent positively researching and thinking? I am not saying they are lost causes that should be abandoned – I think all life matters, each subjective person is important. But there is no reason to debate – both sides are convinced. Change the subject, walk away, ignore the post. Get back to contemplation. The moment one is “certain” I daresay belief still reigns.

 

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