Friday, July 26, 2013

MY SEARCH FOR MEANING

     God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist?  (Author: David T. Lamb) is a relatively recent book about the Bible and problems associated with belief in the Bible as a book inspired from a righteous God. It also addresses God's apparent controversial behaviors throughout the ages found in the Bible.
     About 15 yrs ago, I made a fervent promise to myself to re-read the entire Bible starting from Old Testament.  After a long time, with little exposure to religion since childhood, my adult senses were throttled repeatedly while reading how God allows (?) makes possible (?) initiates (?) despicable acts toward his “children!”
     Someone close to me once told me, "If you have any questions about the Bible, please feel free to bring them to me and we can discuss it!  I will attempt to answer those questions!"  So, I got out paper and pencil and began making notations and writing my queries.  
     It took me a very long time to get through the OT because, with almost every page, I was consumed with questions about the nature of God.  As I progressed through the book, I became more and more disgusted and shocked with what I read.  (They didn’t teach us all this stuff in Sunday School!)  
     I ended up with a stack of notes and questions that almost could have become a book in itself.  Who was going to take the time and effort to explain away all, or even effectively answer most of my questions?  It became clear that there were no answers—at least no acceptable ones to my way of thinking.  Ultimately, I threw my notes away.
     With my senses developed over many years, and my critical thinking skills honed, I still could not make sense out of God’s behavior.  However, the haunting refrain I remember people in church saying, “God’s wisdom is not our wisdom.”  (Or words to that effect…!) stayed with me. So I continued to use faith.
     At the time I was struggling with belief in God and the Bible, I was living in Greece on an island without a computer. (Hadn’t even touched one until 1999.) I became very confused and frustrated with the cognitive dissonance I experienced while reading the Old Testament.  
     I believed I had nowhere to turn for answers, except for a handful of fundamentalist Christians on the island.  Of course, speaking and trying to worship with fundamentalists truly made things worse!  I railed against their dogmatic style, the intolerance to my questions, the incessant singing of hymns, and other Christian songs, and the occasional outbursts of the “speaking in tongues.” Ridiculous. This was surely not what I was seeking. 
     One member offered to have a question-and-answer session with me and 3 other fundamentalists. However, I was certain they couldn't answer my questions, especially because they believe every word of the Bible to be correct!  (Really?)
     I was hungry for answers and for a more spiritual connection in my life.  So, when the local women’s expatriate group organized evenings with a Buddhist monk, I took the opportunity to learn more about it.
     A young French man, quiet spoken, struggling with English, headed the sessions.  He seemed knowledgeable and intelligent, however, and kind.  I liked many aspects of Buddhism.  I wasn’t sure about the no-God theory, but after reading the OT, I was open to the prospect.  At least I wouldn’t be knocking my head against the wall feeling guilty for blaming an apparently contradictory, mean, sexist, racist, and murderous God, who needed to be obeyed, worshiped and loved all the time.  (And a God who was jealous and vengeful strained credulity!)  Anyway, the godless concept gave me some relief.
     Buddhists main teaching is that all sentient beings desire happiness and contentment and that the “fly in the soup” is that we suffer because of our “attachment”.  So, to overcome suffering, we must learn “unattachment”.  The Buddhists believe that with unattachment we can still care and love because we are not dependent on love for anything, any concept, or anyone.  Voila, you are then open to finding happiness!  (Basically...I think that is their creed.  Forgive me if I’ve misunderstood the very complicated concepts of this religion.)
     I liked many aspects of Buddhism. It is very clearly expressed and in very psychological terms; that, especially, appealed to me.  Yet, what I witnessed, what I experienced were the many trappings of religion:  special garments, a throne, incense, repetitious prayers, hierarchies, and some other very superstitious kinds of beliefs.
     Another major Buddhist belief was at once both hopeful and disappointing:  reincarnation.  I could see the concept perhaps working for humans, but the human to animal to insect thing was too much for me to swallow. Anyway, I wouldn't want to take a chance for another life.  I'm not that much of a gambler--or masochist!
     As with every religion  I have investigated since (and there have been many), I discovered each religion required a vast amount of faith, and logic was, too many times, thrown aside or at least minimized (…or put on the “back shelf” as we were instructed in Mormonism).  We didn’t need to know all the reasons for everything, and everything would be made clear and just, eventually (after death).  A comforting thought. But that is just one price we pay for believing in a fairy tale like fantasy of a loving God who will save all the good people and let them live for eternity in happiness.  (No wonder it is so difficult for people to let go of their religions!)
     What I needed was to believe in a reasonable God who was logical, all-powerful (with few constraints regarding physics, as I was taught?), who loves us unconditionally, and would not allow or cause his children to suffer. Surely, he could have thought up a better plan than for us to be victims of the freewill of others!  

SEE POST:  "WHY DOES GOD ALLOW SO MUCH SUFFERING?"
 
     The whole concept of prayer is another clincher.  Why grant prayer requests of some people and not others?  Yes, prayer works--in a way--it keeps hope alive, and that is important.
 
MY HIGHER POWER?
     I also had the choice to do what 12-step programs advocate, and just assign anything, even a pencil, as God, as the higher power. (Oh, THAT makes sense…!) Or I could just hope that the Old Testament is really screwed up and that man's translations and personal, political, power interests (namely the Jews?) corrupted the Bible and left us with our 21st century mouths hanging open. That, however, sounded like an illogical, desperate and pitiful way to validate my early religious conditioning.  Surely, God would not leave us hanging in disbelief and in such a wretched state, at the mercy of the freewill of those misguided individuals!?  Nope.  Not good enough.
     This whole concept of obedience and authority and mixing religion with money…ack…just feels like walking through a dangerous swamp.  My generation questions authority (or did). In addition, obeying authority without very good reasons is not even in my DNA!  I can’t help it.  I’m just not made that way!!  I hate to go against the beliefs of my childhood, and I desire to please my family, but I found too many impediments to swallowing these beliefs.
     I read a debate between two very respected theologians discussing the nature of God—one of the greatest concepts that troubled me.  What I discovered was a lot of hot air, twisting, and turning, and rationalizing, and maybes!  Unsatisfying.  The same old, same old...
     After researching many creeds and religions, I decided that no one really has all the answers, or knows what they are talking about, or can present any logical, reasonable grounds for believing in God and Christ, as described in the Bible.  That realization was heart-breaking for me.  I was often jarred at the thought that I had been deceived most of my life.  I felt grief at "losing my religion."
     In my opinion, all religions have very few answers and rely heavily on FAITH.  However, they also rely on standard, universal moral teachings that can be found in EVERY major religion.  Somehow, THAT rings a bell.  It seems that people have learned, evolutionarily over thousands of years, that in order to live happily and peacefully together, we need to live by certain rules. (Nietzsche called it "the herd morality.")
     Does that make any particular church "the only true one" because they offer more answers and more rules?  No!  The conclusion indicates that there is wisdom in many theologies and philosophies.  But, it also suggests that we may not need religion to live happily and peacefully, as many agnostics and atheists testify and demonstrate.
     I tried to weed out flaws from the roots of my conditioning, always asking, "Is what I had been taught in my religion true?"
     Suddenly, my eyes were opened by a YouTube video called “Zeitgeist.”  From there, I was inspired to study the books of D.M. Murdock.  And the pieces of the religion puzzle started falling into place!  It was as if a veil fell from my eyes.

SEE POST:  "...AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE..."

The following is for your enlightenment:

The Bible
 
"If thou trusteth to the book called the Scriptures, thou trusteth to the rotten staff of fables and falsehood." ~ Thomas Paine
*
"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God." ~ Thomas Paine
*
"If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane." ~ Robert Ingersoll
*
"If a man really believes that God once upheld slavery; that he commanded soldiers to kill women and babes; that he believed in polygamy; that he persecuted for opinion's sake; that he will punish forever, and that he hates an unbeliever, the effect in my judgment will be bad. It always has been bad. This belief built the dungeons of the Inquisition. This belief made the Puritan murder the Quaker." ~ Robert Ingersoll
*
"I know of no book which has been a source of brutality and sadistic conduct, both public and private, that can compare with the Bible." ~ Sir James Paget
*
"No other work has more often been blamed for more heinous crimes by the perpetrators of such crimes. The Bible has been named as the instigating or justifying factor for many individual and mass crimes, ranging from the religious wars, inquisitions, witch burnings, and pogroms of earlier eras to systematic child abuse and ritual murders today." ~ Nadine Strossen
*
"The God of the Bible is a moral monstrosity." ~ Rev. Henry Ward Beecher
*
"The obscurity, incredibility and obscenity, so conspicuous in many parts of it, would justly condemn the works of a modern writer. It contains a mixture of inconsistency and contradiction; to call which the word of God, is the highest pitch of extravagance: it is to attribute to the deity that which any person of common sense would blush to confess himself the author of." ~ Elihu Palmer
*
"It is like most other ancient books – a mingling of falsehood and truth, of philosophy and folly – all written by men, and most of the men only partially civilized. Some of its laws are good – some infinitely barbarous. None of the miracles related were performed. . . . Take out the absurdities, the miracles, all that pertains to the supernatural – all the cruel and barbaric laws – and to the remainder I have no objection. Neither would I have for it any great admiration." ~ Robert Ingersoll
*
"The Bible, taken as a whole, can be used to praise or condemn practically any human activity, thought, belief, or practice." ~ Peter McWilliams
*
"Let us read the Bible without the ill-fitting colored spectacles of theology, just as we read other books, using our judgment and reason. . . ." ~ Luther Burbank
*
"If you really delve into the Bible you will see that it is a maze, a mass, a veritable labyrinth of contradictions, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, poor mathematics, bad science, erroneous geography, false prophecies, immoral comments, degenerate heroes, and a multitude of other problems too numerous to mention. It may be somebody's word but it certainly isn't the product of a perfect, divine being. The Bible has more holes in it than a backdoor screen. In a society dominated by the Book's influence, all freethinkers should do what Adam and Eve did when they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. They went out and raised Cain." ~ C. Dennis McKinsey

http://www.humanismbyjoe.com/religion_quotes.htm

HAPPINESS QUESTIONS

BOSS TO EMPLOYEE AT RAISE TIME SAYS:
I know that money doesn't bring happiness, so here's some Prozac.
 

A RICH GUY SAYS:
I spent my whole life making money, and now they tell me that happiness is in my DNA!
 
ERIC FROMM SAYS:
Happiness is the criterion of excellence in the art of living.


What do YOU say?
 
Do you think you can train yourself to be happy?

What is the importance of happiness in the world, really?

Can people be happy without a spiritual life?

Where does the fault lie if people are unhappy?

Do you think that there are requirements for all people to be happy?
 
If you are happy but suddenly find yourself unhappy, can you explain why?


~ THE SEARCH ALWAYS BEGINS WITH THE QUESTION ~

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR SELF ESTEEM TAKES A DIVE


People talk a lot about raising self-esteem.  I think self-esteem is a myth.  It is based on doing, not being.  You become a human doing instead of a human being.  This theory of self-esteem is echoed by Albert Ellis, who created the REBT theory for therapy (rational emotive behavior therapy).  This therapy teaches clients about the mind, the feelings, and the behaviors of people and shows them the way to self-acceptance, to unconditional self-love, instead of self-esteem that is based on what we DO.  Self-esteem is a trap.  If we don't perform as we've been taught or conditioned to, we feel like failures in our lives.  In contrast, unconditional self-regard allows us to love ourselves regardless of what we do or who we are.

Self-esteem is one of the most talked about and one of the greatest myths of our time.  Are we not worthy of respect just because we are human beings?  Do we have to prove to the world, to our friends and our family, that we can jump through hoops they value in order to be regarded as valuable?

Improving ourselves is a worthy cause, and, I believe, one of the reasons we are on this earth.  Yet, regardless of what we accomplish, we can still love ourselves.  We just need to divorce ourselves from the conditioning from our societies and families.  "Is, not become": that is the answer!

Can't a baby be loved and respected?  Must he prove to us that he is valuable?  The same can be said of older humans.  Each person has their trials and their limitations.  Does that mean that they should be loved less because they might have impediments that hold them back from accomplishing what we think they should, or what they think they should?

People who claim to be Christians are often guilty (as are non-Christians--but they are taught differently so they are more off-the-hook) of accepting and valuing others depending on what they accomplish in life.  According to most Christians, this life is test to see what we can overcome, what we can learn, what we can accomplish.  These judgments hold true especially for people who are not related to one another.  It seems to be easier to love a child or relative, regardless of what they do in life.

Self-esteem is a myth!  Let us stop talking about self-love and acceptance in this way!!  Because we "are", we are worthy of love.  We must learn to throw away the antiquated ideas of "you are what you do", and supplant them with "you are who you are and worthy of love and respect under any conditions."

Does this concept sound strange to you?  Share your thoughts with us.  Challenge this concept, if you believe differently!

SEE POST:  LOW SELF-ESTEEM

Sunday, May 13, 2012

FRUSTRATION WITH ISRAEL

PICTURE CREDIT:  Deesillustration.com
Who is Rahm Emanuel?


Why are gov't officials allowed to have one type of dual citizenship--Israeli?


What does Israel think it's accomplishing by being such greedy, hypocritical bulldogs?


How can people swallow the concept of anti-Zionism being racism?


How can Israel justify the genocide of Palestinians?


I've read Israelis' pat answers for all these questions--all of which range from unsatisfactory to ridiculous.

At the risk of sounding negative, I don't think this situation will ever resolve itself peacefully.  And that frightens me...

DECLINE OF AMERICA



 Is America doomed to become another Greece?

Watch the video below and find out...

IGNORANCE: TO JUDGE OR NOT TO JUDGE?


I've been reading a long, somewhat confusing thread on ignorance and have distilled these thoughts:

I've concluded (for the time being) that there are two kinds of ignorance. (1) ignorance of ignorance, and (2) awareness of ignorance. I might be mistaken but it seems that those 2 categories cover all types of ignorance. And I think that we cannot be faulted for our ignorance unless it is willful.

I do allow myself to feel disgust of ignorance, but not of the "Ignorant" (though I'm not always successful).

What is the best way to think about ignorance? We cannot examine ignorance without considering another concept called "judgment".

I believe strongly that we cannot fully know others, therefore, we cannot accurately judge others. You might say,  "I know myself better, therefore, I can judge myself."  Well, yes and no. Because we are not objective, can we really know ourselves? Because we live in denial (and need to in order to survive), can we fairly judge ourselves?

Interestingly, the Bible says, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." (One of the wisest
statements found in that book, I think.) It doesn't say, "You can judge yourself, but not others."

Because judgment includes concluding what is desirable or not, what is good or not, we risk condemning others (AND ourselves). Considering we all have limitations to understanding ourselves and others, judging has no place in a happy society.

"Ahhh, what about making decisions?" you ask.  "You need to differentiate, use critical thinking skills, come to some conclusion."  Yes, yes, yes.  But we need not judge; we need only decide on what we believe is best for us--and for society, if that is a role that is freely given and accepted.

Absolute, extreme, black and white thinking, poor ego strength, and a host of other aspects all contribute to poor judgments.  

And, as humans, we are just too ignorant to make valid judgments most of the time.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

YOU LOOK STRESSED!


If you are stressed, do you like it when others point it out?  Why?
Personally, I don't like it.  It's not a pet peeve of mine.  It doesn't cause a knee-jerk reaction.  It's not a huge thing, by any means.  I just think of all the things a person could say to another, pointing out how bad someone looks is usually not appreciated.

The message being sent might be interpreted:  you look haggard; you look tired; you don't look so good; your work quality is slipping; or some semblance of the above adjectives.  Whatever you interpret it to be, it's generally not going to be positive (especially if you are stressed!).

It's bad enough to be stressed out, much less to hear about how it makes you look.  How about some help, instead?  How about suggesting a rest? Or some other diversion?  Like a caring conversation about how they are feeling...

I'm sure that most of these people don't mean anything negative by it.  They're not out to rattle my cage (usually).

It's just that we're conditioned to using certain phrases from our own cultures without thinking.  Yet, how many times would it  be better, nicer to have something positive pop out of our mouths?  

Friday, April 20, 2012

PRACTICES PRESENTLY PLAGUING MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY

The following is a discussion/rant about educational requirements and other serious issues presently plaguing the field of mental health.
 
PHILOSOPHY, PSYCHOLOGY, AND RELIGION:  Is training in these fields necessary for ultimate results in therapy?  The concepts of philosophy, psychology and religion are closely intertwined.  If broken into segments, the encompassing “picture” of mental health is lost.

For example, the philosophical concept of dualism vs. monism brings us into the realm of religion.  Therefore, the type of approach or modality used are more effective when reflecting clients' belief systems.   How much do peoples' beliefs in “good” and “evil” affect their decisions and their moods?  How do these belief systems affect cognition and, therefore, the emotional lives of people?

Understanding the worldviews of clients opens doors to therapists' understanding of clients' philosophies of life.  Simply put, the more therapists know about their clients, the greater the potential to help them.

I believe a truly effective healer, it helps so much to be educated in at least two of these three fields. However, this kind of academic discipline is rarely required of students studying to be therapists.  Therefore, their effectiveness is often limited (except in rare cases where the client is exceptionally astute, intelligent, and committed to their own continuing research and education.)

Clients' beliefs regarding philosophy, psychology, and religion helps determine the type of approach used in therapy.  In other words, the theories and methods employed would be those therapists decide are most effective for the particular client.

So how effective can therapists truly be without an education in the liberal artsTo be a truly competent therapist, I believe (with some reservations), a person may need to be as disciplined and educated as a medical doctor.  (How often does that happen?)  

A common belief is that, in psychology we aren’t dealing with the nuts and bolts of body parts and instruments and, therefore, do not directly impact life and death. However, within the realm of the mental and spiritual life of clients, the therapist can be effective in enhancing the quality of life and even in helping to prevent early death and suicide.  Considering this, appropriate therapeutic methods and qualified therapists seem indispensable!

Some therapists appear naturally intelligent and emotionally in tune with others' emotions.  They seem to have incredible instincts when it comes to what to say and do with a particular client.  They seem to have a natural talent.  Yet, without adequate education, I still believe even the most intuitive therapist is at a disadvantage.  

In providing effective therapy, counselors need to ask themselves a number of critical questions.  For example, how does providing therapy affect clinicians' emotions?  (Consider burn-out.)  Can they effectively manage their involvement with others?  Can they keep their boundaries?  Have they learned tools, backed by good research that are most effective in particular cases?  Can they conceptualize their clients' cases more fully due to their additional training in philosophy and/or religion?

Being a therapist is one of the most difficult professions. Considering the financial aspects alone, even if students are minimally trained, the cost of education is daunting and can be at par with training medical students.  

Medical doctors are usually paid well (partly because of the AMA’s artificially limiting the number of doctors allowed to practice and other unsavory practices).  The therapist, in most cases, is ubiquitous and underpaid, and that is anathema considering that they are involved in the delicate process of helping heal human minds and souls.

There are many therapists who do the minimum and who are relegated mostly to social work activities within their community mental health centers.  That is a sad truth.  However, in all fairness, this truth extends to most fields of endeavor.  It is like a continuum, with the least capable, unlucky, or unwilling at one end of the continuum and the brightest, most committed, lucky, political, educated and driven at the other.  

There are, however, exceptions:  bright, committed, motivated therapists who are unwilling to cave into the political expectations of a mental health organization.  There are those who are not willing to bend on ethics, as well.  I guess those therapists go into private practice.

While good and stimulating opportunities for medical doctors are many, therapists’ chances of finding fulfilling work where they can be maximally effective are minimal.  LPC’s and MFT’s are a dime a dozen.  They are usually the last resort of choice when hiring at community mental health centers, licensed clinical social workers (LCSW’s) being preferred.  Even though the state examinations for licensing are the same, the real work and expertise required for therapy differs greatly from social work.

A community health center is a bureaucracy.  That means lots of red tape.  That means lots of paperwork.  That means lots of involvement with other agencies.  That often means money shortages.  

Most therapists’ time (regardless of titles) is spent dealing with these areas.  Can they still be effective in therapy?  Yes and no.  

Those who have enough time and energy to do so, those who are willing to sacrifice personal beliefs, conform, and are capable of working within very political environments seem to be the ones who are most "successful" at their jobs. It also helps to have flexible values.

At least, therapists are usually able to give much-needed, minimal band-aids on clients' issues.  However, the price therapists pay is often the sacrifice of their personal value systems, significant frustration with organizational politics, dissatisfaction with low-success rates, and paying for their own books and tools, often resulting in career apathy and early burnout.

If clients' issues are minimal, the help they receive is often perceived as great.  However, most clients who frequent MHC's (mental health centers) have grave and complicated issues that most therapists are inadequately trained to deal with.  This situation easily inflates the actual good MHC's do.
  
Another issue is that poorly supervised trainees and interns are often pressed into giving therapy they are not qualified to give, increasing the likelihood of poor quality therapy. Those issues, combined with time constraints (allowing only 6-8 or 8-12 sessions, which is usual), can only serve to scratch the surface of the clients' issues.  If clients are lucky, the therapeutic band-aid is applied, and they generally feel temporarily relieved.

Most clients have additional frustrations with the time limits of sessions (45-60 minutes) and the general structure and artificial nature of conducting therapy in offices with their therapists. The hassles and costs of keeping appointments put an additional strain on clients struggling with just getting through the day.

The effectiveness of therapy depends heavily on the therapist developing a good relationship with the client.  It is estimated that 30-50% of effectiveness depends on this aspect of therapy.  However, trying to establish this kind of relationship in so few sessions is a challenge for even the best therapists.  To complicate matters, many clients have serious trust issues; therefore, more sessions are needed to establish that kind of trust.

To sum up, lack of education, proper training, and time with clients, the structures and constraints of MHC's, and the high cost of education severely limits therapists' effectiveness for those who suffer from mental illness.  

It is past time when society needs to throw out their prejudices about mental illness and therapy and place it on par with medical help, giving therapists and therapy students at least the same level of support.  After all, considering the mind/body connection is crucial to effective therapy.  Poor physical health is often caused by poor mental health and vice versa, either directly (e.g. by self-medicating) or indirectly (e.g. by depression and loss of hope).
I ask out of frustration, how long will it take before the stigma of mental health abates?  How long before enough money is available to set up effective mental health centers?  

How long before the majority of educational institutions incorporate and require a more thorough, well-rounded education for its mental health practitioner students and train them adequately, thereby treating clients ethically and effectively?
Are you familiar with any of these issues?  Have you ever struggled with the mental health system and the level of therapists expertise?  I am very interested to hear about it.  Please blog your experiences, and share any ideas for improvement in the field of mental health.
Thank you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

COGNITIVE THERAPY: REFRAMING

Some years ago, I was talking to a good friend of mine who asked, "So, how are you feeling these days?"

I quickly answered, without thinking, "Well, I've lowered my expectations, so life is actually more tolerable."

Having struck us so absurdly funny at the same time, we laughed about that for a long while.  After the conversation, I thought my comment sounded negative and morbid--like I've given something up.  And then I realized I did:  my perfectionism.

This is what is called REFRAMING in Cognitive Therapy.  It's a good thing.  But I still think back on that conversation and feel torn.  Yes, I know the world is not perfect and neither am I.  However, when you are young, you have a tendency to look at the future with much more hope and anticipation.  People tell you, "Anything is possible!"

But as you bump along in life, you find out eventually (or very quickly!), that your opportunities are shrinking and life is usually NOT what you had imagined it might be.

This situation can be worse for people who are told they should set goals, and work for them, and they will accomplish their dreams.  Sounds nice--and productive; however, unless you are willing to re-set your goals along the way, willing to be very flexible, life may seem like one disappointment after another.

By middle age, in times of grief and loss, I found myself working hard on looking at the glass half-full, counting my blessings just to stay balanced and not go off the deep end.  It really worked! (Usually...) It got me through some very tough times and I learned to survive.

Now, I'm grateful for knowing how to change my perspectives; I'm grateful that I know perfectionism and rigidity ("thinking errors") are unhealthy, and I can avoid them.  I'm grateful to have found a way to be content most of the time, even though I realize that I am working through my subjective reality and not objective reality.  (I believe there IS objective reality, but who is to say what that is for sure? ;0) But I'm getting Existential again...back to Cognitive!)

Some people are suspicious of reframing, saying that it is just a way of fooling yourself.  If that is how they see it, it probably is--for them.  As a therapist, we try to get clients to see that there are different ways of looking at the same situation.  Certainly, as humans, that is what we all do naturally--we all have our personal perspectives.  Just ask any group of people who have witnessed a car accident...

While it makes sense to me, it can be difficult to teach this tool to some clients who use black and white thinking (another thinking error); things are all one way or the other for them.  Other clients snap into reframing quite quickly.  I have seen the "miraculous results" of cognitive therapy often.  So, I believe in its power.

And yet--I still somehow feel uncomfortable at times trying to teach reframing or reframe things for myself.  If we are recreating our own reality, how far is it from actual reality?  I mean, are we just becoming Pollyannas?

Some of the latest therapeutic approaches emphasize heavily the positive approach--think positive, be positive, avoid negativity whenever possible, and life will become oh-so-wonderful.  When I see people really "up" like that, my first reactions are that they "drank the Kool-aid", that the person is not "genuine", living in a world of their own. (Well, it's THEIR perspective, right--isn't THAT OK?) (I sometimes wonder what would happen if objective reality ever crept into their lives. They might explode--or melt!)

I want to be "realistic" with myself and my clients.  I think a worthy goal, existentially and theoretically speaking, is to bring objective and subjective reality together as closely as possible, so that we can live a practical life in the real world and reduce the denial in our lives.  That sounds harsh, though, too, doesn't it?  For me, it is often a balancing act between Existential and Cognitive principles. (After all, not much occurs in a vacuum.)

It is very difficult to know where to draw the line with others; how much reality can they digest?  Some denial is a healthy stop-gap measure to keep us going until we are ready to face certain realities.  Some people really limp through life, so it is imperative NOT to take their denial "crutches" away from them.  Gently guiding, leading, over time is better.  (Or, in some cases, never may be better.  We don't want anyone contemplating suicide.)

So, maybe reframing can be defined as using a new perspective that is still feels REAL (whatever that is), but feels more HOPEFUL.  I do think we can reframe ourselves to a place close to objective reality, if we do it skillfully in conjunction with the personal issues of the client.

Personally, I continually check myself and weigh sides to make sure I'm not just living in a "fool's paradise".  Cognitive therapy, done well, can be a very tricky road; but until some other better mode of therapy comes along, I'll stay on that highway!

AARON T. BECK, M.D.

"The philosophical origins of cognitive therapy can be traced back to the Stoic philosophers" 
 
~ Aaron T. Beck, father of Cognitive Therapy

See...how philosophy and psychology overlap?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

WHY HATE GILAD ATZMON?

Every once in a while, I post articles that I especially like and want to share.  No amount of writing on my part could communicate what this article says.

www.gilad.co.uk

Why Hate Gilad Atzmon?

By Kevin Barrett
March 9, 2012


Gilad Atzmon is one of the sweetest, funniest, most charming and likable people I’ve ever met.

He’s also one of the world’s best saxaphone players. Gilad’s music is not only gorgeous, but uncommonly accessible for music in its class.

His writing, which includes two novels, a nonfiction book, and countless essays, is grounded in the highest humanistic ideals, invigorating laughter, and an irrepressible joie de vivre.


In short, Gilad is outrageously easy to like.

So why is he hated so much?

Why are his appearances protested by angry picketers? Why is the most vicious and mendacious kind of calumny being hurled at him in such quantities? Why is there an organized effort to make this gentle, loving free spirit out to be some kind of deranged Nazi?

His detractors say his writing invites it. But they’re wrong. The proof is that the anti-Atzmon brigade has to resort to lies (or to be charitable, gratuitous distortions) to make him look bad.

There must be some deeper reason why they hate him.

Maybe it’s because he’s such a powerful symbol of – and argument for – the end of Zionism.

Gilad Atzmon grew up in Israel in a Jewish family that included Holocaust survivors. He fell in love with jazz as a teenager, so when it came time to serve in the IDF he joined a military band. During his IDF service, Gilad awakened to the horrors of Zionism and its brutality toward Palestinians. Shortly after leaving the IDF, he also left Israel and never returned.

Now London-based, Gilad Atzmon is considered one of Europe’s top jazz musicians – and, increasingly, its leading ex-Israeli anti-Zionist voice. He has published two acclaimed novels, and his new book The Wandering Who? has endured vicious attacks, smear campaigns, and boycotts by such Zionists as Alan Dershowitz, and is becoming a worldwide bestseller.

In all of this, Gilad Atzmon is quite the anti-Zionist success story. His creative output, both musical and verbal, challenges arbitrary boundaries and celebrates freedom. (Jazz, the greatest art form America ever produced, is at its root a celebration of musical freedom by once-enslaved African-Americans.)

Today, more and more Israelis are lining up to get second passports and asking themselves, “Is there life after Zionism?” Gilad Atzmon offers a perfect example, with plenty of supporting arguments, of how ex-Zionist Israelis can liberate themselves from the shackles of a brutal, abusive, and ultimately doomed ideology and identity.

So that’s why they hate him. He’s the walking, talking, saxaphone-blowing embodiment of the joy of life after Zionism.

You see, most of the people who hate Gilad are radical Zionists; all (including the handful of “pro-Palestine” phonies) are prisoners of Zionist ideology. They have been trained to heap mountains of hate on anyone who crosses the one meaningful line in the whole Israel-Palestine debate: The line that separates those who support or accept the existence of a “Jewish state” in Palestine from those of us who do not.

As Norman Finkelstein inadvertently pointed out, Israel – despite its horrendous human rights record – is not going to be changed by people focusing on ephemeral abuses of human rights. The Zionists (like Finkelstein) will simply respond, “There are, and have been, human rights abuses elsewhere that are just as bad; so anybody who focuses on Israeli human rights violations must be an anti-Semite.” (Most murderers don’t get off by pleading to the judge that someone else committed an equally bad murder; but we’ll let that slide.)

Chris Hedges might respond to Finklestein that nowhere else do army snipers lure children into range of their guns, then gut-shoot them for sport; and British Medical Journal might add that the more than 600 children sport-shot during the interval they examined, who were essentially hunted and killed for fun by IDF soldiers as a de facto national policy, died from a specific and horrific type of human rights abuse that has never been seen anywhere else. But these events will be buried by the Zionist-dominated media; and no matter how horrific the abuses, there will always be different sufficiently revolting examples of inhumanity from other times and places to relativize the Israeli atrocities.

There is only one argument the Zionists cannot possibly win: The argument over whether there should be a “Jewish state” in Palestine in the first place.

Defenders of this bizarre notion must argue that it is perfectly fine for a religious-ethnic group to invade and occupy another group’s land, halfway across the world, on the basis of the aggressor group’s ancient mythology. And that it is perfectly fine for the aggressor group to dispossess and destroy the people living on that land, and to create an ethnic-specific apartheid system under which the invaders are first class citizens, while the victims are either second-class citizens or permanently exiled from their homeland.

To defend Zionism, you would also have to grant American Celts (like me) the right to invade, occupy, and erect a “Celtic state” in the Baltic or Western France or wherever our mythology says we originated. You would have to allow Andalusian Muslims (another ethnic-religious category I identify with) to invade, occupy, and ethnically-cleanse Spain. You would have to allow Protestants, whose mythology tells them that they are the true Christians, to invade and occupy the Vatican – and Palestine, for that matter. You would have to allow virtually all of the 3,000 ethnic groups on earth to invade, occupy, and ethnically cleanse someplace halfway across the world that they can claim is their “ancient homeland.”

Obviously, any and all “invade-and-occupy-our-mythological-ancient-homeland” projects are equally indefensible and equally insane.

Zionism is genocidal insanity.

It must be ended.

No more Jewish state in Occupied Palestine.

Period.

This is the bottom line. This is the line that all the Zionists, from right-wingers like Netanyahu to left-wingers like Chomsky and Finklestein and Amy Goodman and Matt Rothschild and Michael Lerner and Rob Kall and Chip Berlet and all of the hundreds of other Zionist gatekeepers that dominate the “alternative” as well as mainstream media DO NOT WANT YOU TO CROSS. These are the Police Lines that the Zionist thought police have erected, and are working overtime to maintain.
Because if you ask that one little simple question – “is the Zionist project, and the Israeli ‘nation,’ legitimate in the first place?” the whole thing crumbles to dust and ashes.

That’s the real reason the Zionists want to nuke Iran. The Iranian government is the only government in the Middle East to have, as its official policy, exactly the same position as the vast majority of the people of the Middle East: The Zionist entity in Occupied Palestine is not, and never will be, legitimate; and it must be ended, preferably by nonviolent means, as soon as possible.

And that’s why the Zionists are getting more and more hysterical in their denunciations of “delegitimizers.” (How can you delegitimize something that was never legitimate in the first place?)

And that’s why they’re hate-swarming all over Jenny Tonge, who correctly pointed out that Israel won’t last forever.

And that’s why they hate Gilad Atzmon. Not only is Gilad forthrightly anti-Zionist, thereby showing the “peacenik Zionist” phonies up for what they are; but he is also fearless in his analysis of the way Jewish identity politics fosters the delusion that Jews are an “exceptional people” who should be allowed to do things to Palestine that no other ethnic/religious group would ever be allowed to do to its mythological ancient homeland across the seas.

Worse: The guy expressing these taboo but obviously-correct views, and setting such a beautiful example as an ex-Israeli anti-Zionist, is an energetic and fabulously talented Renaissance man – a superb musician and writer and mesmerizing public speaker. This must gall the Zionists to no end.

No wonder they hate Gilad Atzmon.

Maybe someday, when they get tired of hating, they’ll drop their Zionism (itself an ideology of hatred, starting with self-hatred) and embrace the love, joy and liberation Gilad embodies so beautifully.

SEE POSTS:  "DOES CRITICIZING ISRAEL MEAN YOU ARE AN ANTISEMITE?", "SETTING THE ISRAELI QUESTION STRAIGHT" and "ILLEGAL TO CRITICIZE ISRAEL?!"

Monday, April 9, 2012

BEN GURION QUOTE

"Zionism is a TRANSFER of the Jews. Regarding the TRANSFER of the [Palestinian] Arabs this is much easier than any other TRANSFER. There are Arab states in the vicinity . . . . and it is clear that if the [Palestinian] Arabs are removed [to these states] this will improve their condition and not the contrary." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 159) -- Ben Gurion, Israel's 1st prime minister.


HOW WRONG CAN A PERSON BE?!!

ILLEGAL TO CRITICIZE ISRAEL?!

I've been debating some of my BlogCatalog "friends" on the subject of Israel and racism.  I'm shocked at the reaction my comments inspired.  Intelligent, educated people (who need to be better informed ;0) attacked me verbally, calling me a "racist".

Me...a racist.  Wow.  Of course, these people do not know me personally.  Those who do, however, may call me many things but "racist" is not one of them.  Ridiculous.

So, while I've been "hibernating" in Greece, countries are beginning to make it illegal to criticize Israel.  Yeah.  I'm not kidding!

One even (I'm sure in his best superior attitude) said, "If you were in England, you would probably be subject to prosecution!"  And that's a GOOD thing?!

Now I'm reading about Canada's law along the same lines.  Aaaaahhhh!!!!!

People, they are trying to make this a law in the U.S.  THE U.S!  When this happens, you can be sure it is an evil harbinger for the future of FREE SPEECH in America.  (I know, "evil" is a loaded word, but I am so outraged right now that I can't think of a more accurate one.)

So, the people in those countries where it is illegal to say the truth, are ham-stringed.  You can criticize ANY other country--but NOT Israel!  (I wanna fill this page with exclamation marks!)

I also feel sorrow for the future of the United States, the Palestinians, and anywhere else freedom of speech does not exist.  We are becoming a fascist nation fast!

There are even specific words you can't say like "occupied territories" and "massacre."  There's a YouTube video on "S__T Canadian Students Can't Say" at http://seriouslyfreespeech.ca.

"But I'm not a racist!  I am anti-Zionist.  Those are 2 totally different concepts."  I have said it ad nauseum with many arguments to back up my statements.

It doesn't matter, logic doesn't matter, critical thinking skills don't matter.  Denial is furiously at work in the minds of most Zionists.  Really, it's like a switch is turned off in other people's minds when discussing race.  Nobody home.  Creepy.

The Powers That Be (TPTB) have decided that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism mean the SAME thing.  All over the web I read:  anti-Zionism is racism.  Huh?!  But if you say it enough times, write it enough times, write it into law, voila', they have the same meaning!

ANTI-ZIONISM IS NOT RACISM.  PERIOD.  THEY ARE TWO DIFFERENT WORDS WITH DIFFERENT MEANINGS.

Zionists seem to be "well-conditioned" and purposely misled.  Your emotions have overcome your logic. For the sake of the world, put aside your fear and get your heads straight.  There really are people who are against the country of Israel, but have no ill feelings toward the inhabitants or believers of Zionism.

I don't hate Zionists; I hate their actions, their policies, their deceptions, their racism against the Arab, racism against everyone else who is NOT Jewish(!), their murders of women and children, their control over the lives of Palestinians (even over water!) purposely created to make life hell for Palestinians.

The hypocrisy of Israel is outrageous.  We don't hear enough about it on U.S. TV or in the news, but the WEB--ah, the web--

I will probably post many, many articles on the Israeli conflict in the future.  And I better do it fast, before it becomes illegal.


SEE POSTS:  IS ANTI-ZIONISM ANTI-SEMITISM?  and SETTING THE ISRAELI QUESTION STRAIGHT

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

PHILOSOPHY OF AMBIGUITY HUMOR

FOR THOSE WH
THE PHILOSOPHY OF AM

 1.    DON'T SWEAT THE PETTY THINGS   AND DON'T PET THE SWEATY THINGS.
 
 2.    ONE TEQUILA, TWO TEQUILA,   THREE TEQUILA, FLOOR.
 
 3.    ATHEISM IS A NON-PROPHET   ORGANIZATION.
 
 4.    IF MAN EVOLVED FROM MONKEYS AND APES,   WHY DO WE STILL HAVE MONKEYS AND APES?  

 
6.     I WENT TO A BOOKSTORE AND ASKED THE SALESWOMAN, "WHERE'S THE SELF- HELP SECTION?"   SHE SAID IF SHE TOLD ME, IT WOULD DEFEAT THE PURPOSE.
 
 7.    WHAT IF THERE WERE NO HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS?
 
 8.    IF A DEAF CHILD SIGNS SWEAR WORDS,   DOES HIS MOTHER WASH HIS HANDS WITH SOAP?
 
 9.    IF SOMEONE WITH MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES THREATENS TO KILL HIMSELF, IS IT CONSIDERED A HOSTAGE SITUATION?
 
 10.  IS THERE ANOTHER WORD FOR SYNONYM?
 
 11.  WHERE DO FOREST RANGERS GO   TO "GET AWAY FROM IT ALL?"  

 12.  WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU SEE AN ENDANGERED ANIMAL EATING AN ENDANGERED PLANT?
 
 13.  IF A PARSLEY FARMER IS SUED,   CAN THEY GARNISH HIS WAGES?
 
 14.  WOULD A FLY WITHOUT WINGS BE CALLED A WALK?
 
 15.  WHY DO THEY LOCK PETROL STATION BATHROOMS?     ARE THEY AFRAID SOMEONE WILL CLEAN THEM? 
 
 16.   IF A TURTLE DOESN'T HAVE A SHELL,   IS HE HOMELESS OR NAKED?
 
 17.  CAN VEGETARIANS EAT ANIMAL CRACKERS?
 
 18.  IF THE POLICE ARREST A MIME,   DO THEY TELL HIM HE HAS THE RIGHT   TO  REMAIN SILENT?
 
 19.  WHY DO THEY PUT BRAILLE   ON THE DRIVE-THROUGH BANK MACHINES?
 
 20.  HOW DO THEY GET DEER TO CROSS THE ROAD   ONLY AT THOSE YELLOW ROAD  SIGNS?
 
 21.  WHAT WAS THE BEST THING BEFORE SLICED BREAD?
 
 22.  ONE NICE THING ABOUT EGOTISTS:   THEY DON'T TALK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE.
 
 23.  DOES THE LITTLE MERMAID WEAR  AN ALGEBRA?
 
 24.  DO INFANTS ENJOY INFANCY   AS MUCH AS ADULTS ENJOY ADULTERY?
 
 25.  HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A CIVIL WAR?
 
 26.  IF ONE SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMER DROWNS,   DO THE REST DROWN TOO?
 
 27.  IF YOU ATE BOTH PASTA AND ANTIPASTO,   WOULD YOU STILL BE HUNGRY?
 
 28.  IF YOU TRY TO FAIL, AND SUCCEED,   WHICH HAVE YOU DONE?
 
 29.  WHOSE CRUEL IDEA WAS IT   FOR THE WORD 'LISP' TO HAVE 'S' IN IT?
 
 30.  WHY ARE HEMORRHOIDS CALLED "HEMORRHOIDS"   INSTEAD OF "ASSTEROIDS"?
 
 31.  WHY IS IT CALLED TOURIST SEASON   IF WE CAN'T SHOOT  THEM?
 
 32.  WHY IS THERE AN EXPIRATION DATE ON SOUR CREAM?  
 
 33.  IF YOU SPIN AN ORIENTAL PERSON IN A CIRCLE THREE TIMES,   DO THEY BECOME DISORIENTED?
 
 34.  CAN AN ATHEIST GET INSURANCE AGAINST ACTS OF GOD?

 
35.  WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU GET SCARED HALF TO DEATH, TWICE?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

SHARIAH LAW IN LONDON?



The top flyer is being plastered all over parts of London.  Really???
 The flyer below it is the one I vote should be put in its place!
 

RECOMMENDED READ:

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2019547/Anjem-Choudary-Islamic-extremists-set-Sharia-law-zones-UK-cities.html

SOMERSET MAUGHAM QUOTE



A somewhat troubling notion...and yet practical. 
Do you think there are times we must sacrifice principles?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

BIBLE MORALITY

Ever become shocked at the murder, mayhem, and highly questionable practices found in the bible?  You are not alone.  The following is a list of scriptures that contain these events and more!

(You might want to give a copy to your fundamentalist friends...)

BIBLE MORALITY (King James Version)

Compiled by Barbara G. Walker, author of Man Made God, et al.

[Hover mouse over the listed books and verses and the scripture will become visible.]

1. KILLING.  (As in "Thou shalt not"...???)

The biblical god personally kills a total of 371,186 people, not counting his slaughter of every living thing in Genesis 7. The biblical god also orders the killing of a total of 1,862,265.

Gen 22:2 - God accepts human sacrifices (including that of Jesus, later).
Ex 12:29 - God kills all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.
Ex 15:3 - God is a god of war.
Ex 21:15, 17 - Anyone who strikes or curses a parent must be killed.
Ex 22:18 - Every witch must be killed.
Ex 22:19, 20 - You must kill anyone who "lieth with a beast," or who worships any god other than Yahweh.
Ex 31:15 - Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be killed.
Lev 20:10, 13, 27 - You must kill adulterers, homosexuals, wizards and spirit mediums.
Lev 21:9 - Any priest's daughter who fornicates must be burned alive.
Lev 24:16 - Blasphemers must be killed.
Num 16:27-33 - God caused the whole tribe of Korah -- men, women, and children -- to be buried alive.
Num 21:3 - God caused the destruction of all the Canaanites.
Num 31:7-35 - God orders Moses to kill the Midianites, making sure to slaughter not only the men but also the boys and females, except for the 32,000 virgin girls.
Deut 3:4 - God is pleased that his warriors destroyed 60 cities.
Deut 7:16 - You must kill all the people God delivers into your hands, and "thine eye shall have no pity upon them."
Deut 13:5 - Any prophet or "dreamer of dreams," who serves another god, must be killed.
Deut 13:6-9 - If your brother, son, daughter, wife, or friend tempts you to worship other gods, "thou shalt surely kill him."
Deut 13:13-15 - If the people of any city worship other gods, you must slaughter them all, including their cattle.
Deut 17:5 - Any man or woman who worships other deities of sun, moon or stars must be stoned to death.
Deut 18:20 - False prophets must be killed.
Deut 20:16-17 - God commands complete destruction of all Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, and "thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth."
Deut 22:21 - A bride found not to be a virgin must be stoned to death.
Deut 22:22 - Adulterers must be killed.
Deut 22:23-24 - A girl who is raped within city limits, and fails to cry out, must be killed.
Deut 28:22-28 - If you don't obey God's commandments, he will punish you with consumption, fever, extreme burning, blasting, mildew, hemorrhoids, the scab, the itch, the botch of Egypt, etc., as well as "madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart."
Josh 6:21 - God's warriors destroyed Jericho and killed every man, woman, child, and domestic animal.
Josh 8:25 - God's warriors killed 12,000 people in the city of Ai.
Josh 19:47 - The children of Dan wanted more room, so they destroyed the whole population of Leshen and took their territory.
Judges 1:17-18 - Judah and Simeon utterly destroyed the populations of Zephath, Gaza, Askelon and Ekron.
Judges 11:39 - In accord with God's law, Jephthah was forced to burn his virgin daughter to death as a sacrifice.
Judges 15:15 - God enables Samson to kill 1,000 men with the jawbone of an ass.
Judges 20:46 - At Gibeah, Benjamin's men killed 25,000 people and burned every town.
1 Sam 6:19 - God kills 50,070 people for trying to peek into the Ark.
1 Sam 15:3 - God commands the destruction of Amalek: "Slay both men and women, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."
2 Sam 6:7 - God kills Uzzah for touching the Ark, even though he was trying to save it from falling off its oxcart.
1 Kings 18:40 - God commands the slaughter of "prophets of Baal".
1 Kings 20:36 -  Because a man didn't "obey the voice of the Lord," a lion was sent to kill him.
2 Kings 2:24 - God sent bears to tear apart 42 children for making fun of Elisha's bald head.
2 Kings 10:25 - God commands the killing of a multitude in the temple of Baal.
2 Kings 19:35 - God's angel killed 185,000 Assyrians in a single night.
1 Chron 21:14 - God kills 70,000 Israelites with a pestilence.
2 Chron 15:13 - Any man or woman who refuses to "seek the Lord God of Israel" must be killed.
Job 1:15-19 - God arranges the killing of Job's children, servants and animals.
Isa 13:16 - God promises that all the Babylonians' children will be "dashed to pieces before their eyes;" their wives will be raped.
Isa 45:7 - God says "I create evil."
Jer 48:10 - Killing for God is mandatory; God curses anyone who "keepeth back his sword from blood."
Jer 50:21 - God commands that the people of Merathaim and Pekod be "utterly destroyed."
Ezek 9:5-7 - God calls for purging in Jerusalem: "let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women... fill the courts with the slain."
Ezek 35:8 - God promises to fill the mountains, hills, valleys and rivers with slain men.
Hosea 13:16 - God promises to have Samaritan infants dashed to pieces, and pregnant women will have their bellies slashed open.
Nahum 1:2 - God is jealous, full of vengeance and wrath.
Zeph 1:3 - God threatens to destroy everything, man and beast, birds and fishes.
Zeph 1:18 - "The whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy."
Zeph 3:6 - God brags that he has destroyed many nations.
Zech 13:3 - A false prophet must be killed by his father and mother.

 

2. RAPE

Ex 21:7-8 - A father may sell his daughter to be a "maidservant" (or sex slave) who must "please her master."
Num 31:7, 18 - God orders his warriors to kill every living thing in a captured city, except the virgin girls, who are to be raped and turned into sex slaves.
Deut 21:11-12 - If a warrior likes the look of a female war captive, he can take her to be one of his "wives."
Deut 22:28-29 - A man who rapes a virgin may take her for a wife if he pays her father 50 shekels of silver. (Yet, a bride found not to be a virgin must be stoned to death - Deut 22:20-21).
Judges 5:30 - The spoils of war include "a damsel or two" for every man.
Judges 21:12-23 -  God's warriors killed all the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead except for 400 virgin girls, who were taken as slaves. If there are not enough girls to go around, God's warriors may raid neighboring towns for more to rape.


3. SLAVERY

Gen 9:25 - God cursed Ham, son of Noah, with perpetual slavery for the crime of seeing his father naked.  (Ham was formerly considered the ancestor of all "blacks.")
Ex 21:4 - A male slave may marry and have children, and may go free after six years; but his family remains the property (or hostages?) of his master.
Ex 21:7 - A man may sell his daughter as a sex slave.
Ex 21:20-21 - A man may be punished for beating a male or female slave
to death, but if the victim survives the beating for a few days, then
there is no penalty.
Lev 19:20 - When a man has sex with a female slave (or "bondmaid"), SHE must be scourged.
Eph 6:5 - Paul says slaves must obey their masters "with fear and trembling."
Titus 2:9 - Paul says slaves must obey and please their masters.
1 Tim 6:1 - Paul says slaves must "count their masters worthy of all honor."


4. WAS JESUS ETHICAL?

Matt 5:28-32 - Jesus says marriage to a divorcee is adultery; and a man who ogles a woman has already committed adultery; and that you must cut off your hand or pluck out your eye if it offends.
Matt 6:19-34 - Jesus says don't save any money and don't plan ahead.
Matt 8:32 - Having no regard for private property, Jesus destroys a herd of someone else's pigs.
Matt 10:34 - Jesus says he brings not peace on earth but "a sword."
Matt 19:12 - Jesus says the best way for a man to be sure of getting into heaven is to have himself castrated.
Mark 11:13 - Jesus destroys a fig tree for not bearing figs out of season.
Mark 14:4-7 - Jesus says it is more important to anoint him with precious ointment than to give to the poor, who will always be here. (Why not just get rid of poverty?)
Mark 16:18 - Jesus says anyone who believes in him can play with venomous snakes or drink poison without harm. (This act has been often tried, with rather unsatisfactory results.)
Luke 12:47-48 - Jesus says it is permissible to whip slaves.
Luke 14:26 - Jesus says no man can be his disciple unless he hates his parents, siblings, wife, children, and himself as well.
Luke 19:27 - In telling a parable, Jesus insinuates that anyone who denies his rulership must be killed.
John 15:6 - Jesus says anyone who doesn't believe in him must be burned. 
Acts 5:5-10 -  Ananias and his wife Sapphira were killed for withholding money from the church.
2 John 1:10-11 - A Christian is forbidden to offer hospitality to a non-Christian, not even to wish him "Godspeed" on parting.


5. WOMEN IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

1 Cor 11:3-10 - Women are inferior "because man was not created for woman, but woman was created for man."  Every woman "while praying or prophesying" must have her head covered "because of the angels," meaning the spirits (it used to be believed that women's hair attracts spirits).
1 Cor 14:34-35 - Women must not speak in church, which is a shame for them to do. If they want to ask questions, they must learn from their husbands at home.
Eph 5:22 - Wives must submit to their husbands as they would to God.
1 Tim 2:11-15 - A woman must not teach, or hold authority over a man, but must "learn in silence with all subjection," because "Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."  (So, being gullible is the original sin.)
1 Tim 5:9 - Paul says the only women acceptable by the council of elders are devout, monogamous women over the age of sixty.


6. SILLINESS

Gen 1:11-19 - God made all green plants on the third day of creation, but neglected to supply the sun (on which both plants and "days" depend) until the fourth day.
Gen 6:6-7 - Because a few people displeased him, God "repented" having made the world, and decided to destroy all life on earth.
Lev 11:5-6 - God thinks rabbits are cud-chewing animals.
Deut 22:5 - All cross-dressers, or women who wear pants, are "abominations."
Deut 25:11-12 - A woman who seizes a man's genitals, even to defend her husband from an attacker, must have her hand cut off.
Deut 33:17 - God believes in unicorns.
Matt 5:22 - Jesus says anyone who calls another "fool" will go to hell, but then he does it himself (Matt 23:17).
1 Tim 2:9 - Christian women are forbidden to braid their hair or wear jewelry.
James 5:14-15 - Prayer by the elders of the church is the only sure cure for sickness.  (Christian Science, anyone?)

Which version of the Ten Commandments do you prefer from God's inerrant Word?  Exodus 20, Exodus 34, Deuteronomy 5 or Deuteronomy 27?



Barbara G. Walker is the author of many books and articles on atheism.
You can find more of her articles on www.freethoughtnation.com.