The Realization Response

There’s an interesting phenomenon when you tell a straight person that you’re gay in that their first response is usually a defensive “I’m straight” or other indication that you flirting with them or imagining them naked or whatever isn’t welcome. This is a silly if understandable response, but it’s not like anyone gets to control what other people think or imagine about them.

The bizarre response is that when said straight person is informed that no flirtation would be forthcoming, is to demand why not? Shouldn’t you as the gay person just be lusting after their forbidden straight self? In a word, no.

Often, it takes a while to convince the straight person that just as they are attracted to one or the other gender doesn’t mean that they are attracted to all members of their preferred gender. Ditto for gay people, just because I am attracted to women, doesn’t make me attracted to all women – especially women who are unavailable. I developed two dating rules from bitter experience – (1) never fall for someone in love with someone dead, straight or else; and (2)  if the person of your affection tells you that they are straight, non-monogamous or anything that’s a deal breaker, believe them. Even if it isn’t true, it’s an indication that they are not interested and giving you a face saving out.

Now I do not really understand straight people who are threatened by gays and lesbians – because it’s not like we want to convert them all and when it’s a straight person of the same gender, it’s not like we’re competing with them for dates, in fact, we’re doing them a favour by not competing.

That I am a lesbian has no impact on anyone else, especially not people who I haven’t invited to engage in a sexual way with. So for a straight person to feel threatened by the fact of there being gay people, suggests that the straight person is not as straight as they would like the world to be. As if knowing there’s an option to not present yourself as straight leaves a question mark on them as to whether they are really straight.

It is similar to religious believers who encounter their first atheist. They can’t quite believe that to the atheist, there is no meaningful difference between the extremists or the moderates. There are no good guy religions, there is just a spectrum of moderate to extremist behaviours associated with religions, but no religion is any more credible or truthful than any other.

Big Tent everyone welcome minimalist religions have no more basis for their beliefs than the most violent extremists have.

Atheism understandably makes believers uncomfortable and hostile, because to tell a person you are an atheist is to tell them that you think their religion is wrong. Whereas, telling a person that you are gay says absolutely nothing about them if they are straight – and if they are homophobic, it’s telling them that they are wrong and that being gay is okay – a message that homophobes are not open to. Particular since it’s most likely their own gayness and self hatred that has caused them to be homophobic.

And this is where religion connects – homophobes tend to be very religious and anti-homosexual ideas are religious ideas – so to be a good believer, one must be straight, so that means repressing the natural to the individual gayness. Openly gay people are threats to the religious idea that gays are bad and openly atheist people are threats to religious ideas of all kinds, not just the anti-gay ones.

So, being an atheist and a gay person is a double system shock – you can be good, gay and godless.

So whether you’re a gay person or an atheist or a gay atheist – remember when you encounter nice straight or nice believers or nice straight believers – they don’t want to be in our camp exactly, they just want to be invited.

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This blog was inspired by Greta Christina‘s Atheist in the Pride Parade blog

 

Multiculturalism

Aside

I find it hysterical how Canada prides itself on being multicultural when the non-civic statutory holidays are all christian and no other faith’s special days are stat holidays.

Even without government sanctioning, non-christian religious holidays are not celebrated as secular shopping events or reflected in office parties.

Is Christianity just more portable to secular commercialism, a reversal of the money changers?

Or are other religions better able to hold their believers to the modesty and other behavioral codes?

Or is it because the other religions like to keep it to themselves – ie born to it – or because they observe with modesty and restraint – fasting instead of feasting.

Canada vs America

I’ve long thought that the difference between Canada and the US could be understood by looking at our historical heroes.

In Canada, the frontier heroes were the North West Mounted Police, who later morphed into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and in the United States, the frontier heroes were the gunslingers.

I took a simplified understanding and drew the conclusion that Canadians are not only law and order but group oriented thinkers, which is why Canada is far more liberal than the US to the degree that the average Canadian conservative remains far left to the most extremely left American Democrat.

But I think I was wrong, America is far more law and order and group oriented than Canada – but not group in a we’re all one group and in this together like Canada is – but rather America is about groups with hard edges and all jockeying for position against the other groups.

The United States of America is not like Canada and her provinces – Canada is a country that is organized into provinces and territories, whereas the USA is more states that have aligned themselves in a federation of shared interests, each their own sovereignty in a meaningful way.

While America can band together in an all for one like fewer other countries when the cause is just – and the last such cause was World War II – America is a land of the individual as supreme in a way no other country views the individual. But, the rugged law unto themselves gunslingers of the frontier days to the gangbanger of today – and really, the outlaw biker, gansta, bang ganger, criminal  is the modern manifestation of the gunslinger – is hardly an isolationist hermit, but a person deeply involved in their family, their extended criminal family and their ethnic community.

Because the state or city police forces are pitted against minority communities, the members of these communities are more likely to turn to organized criminals as the enforcers of justice, for protection, for law and order services and in return, the law abiding communities will protect the criminals as their own, because they are their own. Minority members can expect more honour and decent treatment from organized criminals than from local police who view all minorities with mistrust and as suspicious.

In the US, the frontier fays mentality of you have what holdings you have because you staked a claim, cleared the land and defended it against all others – be they aboriginals or claim jumpers or corrupt law officers beholden to wealthier claim holders. Legal justice was for those who could afford it.

One of my all time favorite movie lines was from Cat Ballou – a Jane Fonda sex kitten singing cowboy romp wherein her father is being bullied by the township to sell his farm to make way for the railroad and prosperity for the town – with her father to be the sole person taking the hit for the team or everyone else who will benefit – by way of explaining the injustice to her own hired gunslinger hand, Cat proclaims that first they put manure in her fathers well and worse “made him talk to lawyers.”

A line that underscores the lack of trust in the legal system and those who operate within it, because the legal system is complicated and slow – far less satisfying than hiring a gunslinger to defend your land or self or plain dispense frontier justice on your enemies. Criminal justice is swift and efficient and emotionally satisfying in a way that legal wrangling that is complex, slow and often doesn’t result in emotional satisfaction or anything approaching justice – people often settle or plea bargain or walk away just to be done with the process with the fewest lumps and bruises. The so called corrective process is often more psychologically scarring than the incidents that triggered it, which is why women often do not report being raped – bad enough to be raped, but to then have to prove it and not be believed or worse, be told it wasn’t rape at all and watch the perp walk away as if vindicated.

Taking the law into your own hands – either directly or by hiring someone – becomes understandable, almost forgivable if not supportable in the right circumstances. Many people related to the Subway Vigilant in New York City after he shot a few intimidating thugs – even if it was in the back as they ran away from him when he showed the would be muggers that he was armed – there was even a few people who very much related to the two Columbine shooters as being powerless geeks who were mad as hell and unwilling to take it anymore thus employing the short cut of being infamous to become famous – rather than the longer and less certain path of talent and hard work.

But, this is where to me the line between American and Canadian kicks in. Where perhaps the line between conservative and liberal thinking kicks in.

First, not to say that “these things” do not happen in Canada. When I first heard of the 10 women shot in the engineering school, I thought, where in the US did that happen and was so shocked that I had to pull the car over when the radio repeated the news story and said it was in Montreal. Then there was the Ontario Bus company and a BC provincial employee in Kelowna. Workplace violence, the first was a victim of bullies and the second was a bully about to be taken to account and fired – both situations had multiple stages and warning signs, all ignored and not acted upon and the inevitable under the circumstances and the personalities involved occurred.

But in the USA, there’s hundreds of school and workplace shootings, by men and women and in Canada, they remain thankfully rare. Well, limited thankfully, the suicide rate for bully victims of schoolyard or workplace or process bullies is too high.  The victims of process bullies are generally injured people who are unable to have the motor vehicle or workers compensation claims processed and the chronic pain and lack of settlement drives them to end their misery.

But what is it that makes Canadians seem more prone to suicide and Americans more prone to suicide by cop or by themselves after taking out other people?

A friend told me that he was driving late at night on an Alberta country road and a badger was caught in the headlights of the pick up truck. Badgers are ornery and tough creatures and my friend swears that it seemed like the badger knew that it wasn’t going to escape the truck because, instead of trying to flee or curl up defensively, it bunched itself up and launched at the truck bearing down, too fast to break and the truck ground to a halt – the badger dead and embedded through the grill and into the radiator, having taken the truck out with it.

Are Americans just of the mentality that they are going to take their tormentors out with them?

That because they cannot be sure of relying on the state or city law or the legal system, that they must retain the frontier mentality and be the law unto themselves?

I have always been confused by the portrayal in movies, TV and the news, of gangsters, mobsters and so forth, all being deeply religious people – yet, business is one thing and religion seems to be another. There is a cognitive dissonance, until you consider the history of religion, the blood soaked, corrupt, child molesting, crusading and genocidal history of religions and somehow the dissonance between organized crime and organized religion fades away. The mistrust of civil secular authority fades away and becomes comprehendible.

People assert that they only have to answer to deities in order to not have to answer to other people or to themselves. To ignore secular civil law and assert your own law, where you judge yourself by your intention and not your actions or their outcomes – like secular law does.

The gangster is after all, just supporting their family and protecting their extended family and community from those outsiders who don’t understand and are not part of the community. It’s not their problem if other people’s kids want to use drugs or buy illegal weapons to use on each other. It’s just business, their god gets that. The gangster’s morality is conservative – it’s about purity (often ethnic purity but sometimes sexual), it’s about authority (be it divine or arising from who’s holding the gun), it’s about group loyalty – and loyalty to authority is king and a kingmaker. Harm and fairness, measured response that’s for someone else to worry about. What’s not nailed down is mine and what I can pry loose wasn’t nailed down.

In this thinking, then taking a person’s life isn’t a big deal, god sorts them out, and the life taker is just helping with god’s plan. Life is short and just a dress rehearsal anyway.

It is harder, much harder for a liberal thinker, a free thinker a non-religious thinker to cause harm to another person, especially to take their life – the only life that we can know that any of us get. Harm and fairness are the basis for our morality and there is nothing more harmful and less fair than depriving a person of their life, especially knowing that any person is connected to a myriad of other people who care and love and are interdependent on them.

Seeing ourselves as an individual of consequence, a person who has and makes meaning and connections with other individuals, it is difficult then to justify frontier or vigilante or criminal justice – no matter the emotional and instant satisfaction – the longer term distress it would cause would drive a person mad to understand the harm that this instant gratification dispensing of justice would cause. A harm you can never make amends for, not even your own death, since that creates more waves of harm among your own loved ones.

So, with harm being off the table, the liberal, free thinking individual is left with the slow, complicated and often unjust corrective process and legal system that other people spurn as unjust, unwieldy, unfair and generally stacked against them.

Which leaves the free thinking individual only one option – to hold the system accountable until justice is served – to be an activist for social justice – and not only be the change you want to see in the world, but the karmic backlash that brings it about.

To be a martyr is a way that saints could never hope to approach – given that they suffered the slings and arrows – literally sometimes – with the expectation of being rewarded in the ever after – and to suffer the slings and arrows, to take it until you literally can take no more with only the faint hope of making a difference without an afterlife reward and not even a guaranteed reward in this life – but for the sake of doing the right thing by yourself and other people who are less able to take a principled stand, even in their own defense and assertion of personal sovereignty and dignity….that is to understand morals – right and wrong – in a way that those who merely follow the rules or make up their own to justify what they are doing or willing to do for the appearance of power or mere brutal power arising from position or circumstances or from faulty deities and corrupt representatives on earth – to stand in rightness without reward – that is grokking morality and rocking the world.

Revolution, not tradition, is what makes the world to be as it should.

Greatest Story Ever Sold

That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.

Christopher Hitchens

I think Hitchens should be taken a step further to be that which is asserted without evidence, should be dismissed without consideration.

When claims are implausible on their face and there is no empirical evidence or reality evident, then the details that purport to support the claim are not worthy of undue consideration – especially when they are the stuff of obvious fiction – talking animals or plants, magical clothes or items, magic tricks and mixing actual historical figures and places with leading characters for whom there is no historical basis and these are likely entirely fictional or composites, with stories set in actual places being vague enough to be unclear which time period the story actually occurred in.

That the religions that arose from any given geographical region updated and reused the same story elements over and over, also points to a fictional rather than historical basis for the primary characters:

HORUS

  • Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Merion December 25 in a cave/manger with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.
  • His earthly father was named “Seb” (“Joseph”).
  • He was of royal descent.
  • At at 12, he was a child teacher in the Temple, and at 30, he was baptized having disappeared for 18 years.
  • Horus was baptized in the river Eridanus or Iarutana (Jordan) by “Anup the Baptizer” (“John the Baptist”), who was decapitated.
  • He had 12 desciples, two of who were his “witnesses” and were named “Anup” and “Aan” (the two “Johns”).
  • He performed miracles, exorcised demons and raised El-Azarus (“El-Osiris” Lazarus in latin), from the dead.
  • Horus walked on water.
  • His personal epithet was “Iusa,” the “ever-becoming son” of “Ptah,” the “Father.” He was thus called “Holy Child.”
  • He delivered a “Sermon on the Mount” and his followers recounted the “Sayings of Iusa.”
  • Horus was transfigured on the Mount.
  • He was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and resurrected.
  • He was also the “Way, the Truth, the Light,” “Messiah,” “God’s Anointed Son,” “the “Son of Man,” the “Good Shepherd,” the “Lamb of God,” the “Word made flesh,” the “Word of Truth,” etc.
  • He was “the Fisher” and was associated with the Fish (“Ichthys”), Lamb and Lion.
  • He came to fulfill the Law.
  • Horus was called “the KRST,” or “Anointed One.”

MITHRA

  • Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25 in a cave, and his birth was attended by shepherds bearing gifts.
  • He was considered a great traveling teacher and master.
  • He had 12 companions or disciples.
  • Mithra’s followers were promised immortality.
  • He performed miracles.
  • As the “great bull of the Sun,” Mithra sacrificed himself for world peace.
  • He was buried in a tomb and after three days rose again.
  • His resurrection was celebrated every year.
  • He was called “the Good Shepherd” and identified with both the Lamb and the Lion.
  • He was considered the “Way, the Truth and the Light,” and the “Logos,” [Word] “Redeemer,” “Savior” and “Messiah.”
  • His sacred day was Sunday, the “Lord’s Day,” hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ.
  • Mithra had his principal festival on what was later to become Easter.
  • His religion had a Eucharist or “Lord’s Supper,” at which Mithra said, “He who shall not eat of my body nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.”
  • “His annual sacrifice is the Passover of the Magi, a symbolical atonement of pledge of moral and physical regeneration.”

Furthermore, the Vatican itself is built upon the papacy of Mithra, and the Christian hierarchy is nearly identical to the Mithraic version it replaced …

JESUS

  • born in April by the stories, but his birth is celebrated December 25
  • He was of royal descent.
  • He was considered a great traveling teacher and master.
  • At at 12, he was a child teacher in the Temple, and at 30, he was crucified having disappeared for 18 years.
  • had 12 disciples who were “witnesses” and a betrayer
  • He was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and resurrected.
  • He was called “the Good Shepherd” and identified with both the Lamb and the Lion.
  • He was considered the “Way, the Truth and the Light,” and the “Logos,” [Word] “Redeemer,” “Savior” and “Messiah.”
  • His religion had a Eucharist or “Lord’s Supper,”
  • He was “the Fisher” and was associated with the Fish
  • and any other items from the above two that I missed

By comparison – and remember, to do this on par, no one can have written anything yet about this future religious figure, but:

Elvis Presley

  • Born in January 8, but adjusting for the shift in calendar, technically December 23
  • His father later told that there was a strange light on the night of his birth
  • Elvis performed on the Tupleo radio program of Mississippi Slim, the technology temple as a child, and placed 5th in the child contest at the state fair
  • rose to fame on SUN records
  • resided in Memphis Tennessee, where he lived like a pharaoh of Memphis Egypt.
  • had a number of immediate followers referred to as the Memphis mafia, most of whom have written books and who lead the opinions of sects within Elvis fandom
  • died young, crucified by the press and critics his entire career of spreading a gospel of equality and individual freedom of expression
  • is associated with the Tiger, as a karate style and song Tigerman
  • engaged in Pascal’s Wager by wearing the religious symbols of multiple faiths to “not miss heaven on a technicality”
  • bestowed blessings in the form of stage worn scarves
  • is believed to be still alive by many followers, and sightings are regularly reported
  • fried peanut butter and banana sandwich is a special food
  • Elvis lead the way in a cultural revolution to unite white and black musical traditions
  • although he never accepted it, was dubbed the King by fans and the media, a title that stuck

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Mithras and Horus extracts: “The greatest story ever sold” by Acharya S.(Adventures Unlimited 1999) pp 107-123.