A Christmas reflection

I always liked Christmas. Something mystical, magical and special about this time of year. But do we need religion to celebrate?

As I humanist, I am always aware that people might question why atheists and other non-believers celebrate Christmas a mixture of tradition and familiar obligations force people together at this time of the year. Sometimes causing tensions and arguments. Why would you want to spend a wonderful time with people you barely speak or have absolutely nothing in common?

I visited my old church and had lunch in their parish centre. People I have known for over thirty years sat and gossiped and chatted over their food.

Screen Shot 2011-12-02 at 2.30.28 PM

I began to realise that we have moved further away from the true meaning of Christmas that ever before. No room in the inn for the homeless, young, disabled and young people. Described by one church member of ‘teenage yobbos’ when talking about the youth that must have be behind the recent drone incidents at Gatwick Airport. Her predictions have been proved wrong so far.

My view of Christmas is based (like some Christian traditions) in pagan origins. The belief that the old year has ended and we celebrate the coming year with greenery, fire, food and celebrations. A celebration of Yuletide.

We look back at the year 2018. What a bad year for some and opportunities for others to create mayhem and mischief while those less fortunate are cast aside.

Attitudes have changed. Christmas has changed. I believe we should change and open our hearts and lives to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

hqdefault

Advertisements

Logic vs Feelings

“Insufficient facts always invite danger, Captain.”

“Space Seed,” Season 1, Episode 22

A quote from Mr. Spock in an episode of Star Trek where he chooses to see all the facts before making a decision. You have to look at facts before you can come to any conclusion.

How many stories over the past few weeks have we heard about the ‘absence of facts and evidence’. Taking, for example, the criminal court cases of rape against a number of young men. The cases have collapsed due to more evidence and facts being produced.

Unknown

Another instance where a family has taken their court challenge against medical experts whether or not a child has their life support withdrawn, echoing the heart-breaking case of Charlie Gard, I wrote about last year.

I looked on twitter after the National Television Awards to see a certain programme who had won an award for drama. Some complained and said that another fact-based drama should have taken its place “after all it was based on a true story”.

Our ability to objectively see life is driven by our feelings and not logic. I think this has become a real problem in 21st-century society. We should do and act based on our feelings, rather than the facts that are presented before us. It’s a dangerous path to follow as consequences occur after our feelings have been enacted.

feelings

Take for example the terrorist Darren Osborne his thoughts and feelings had been catastrophic in events that took place in June last year. His intent was murder. He had been reading far-right material that changed his mindset and turned him into a serious criminal. His feelings towards Muslims had been radicalised and those thoughts turned to what he perceived to be revenge.

We all make decisions in life from the morning we wake until the time we sleep. We can choose to act on feelings but most of the time it is governed by logic. I feel like staying in bed all day (like a lot of people) but we know we have to get up and deal with tasks during the day to function correctly.

We chose to make decisions about life and beliefs in all walks of life. Click on an ordinary video on youtube. Say for example The Beatles – Yesterday everyone knows the song. A simple inoffensive song about love from the most famous band in the world written and released in 1965. Most people would say ‘yes it’s a nice song’ or ‘its okay’ and others might not like it. So you have a thousand people disliking this song. My attitude is to think if I dislike something not to totally dismiss it and press the dislike button but realise to others that this song has meaning and it’s not hurting anyone. Why press the dislike button but rather allow others to have an enjoyment of the song?

You could say the same for other people’s beliefs in life. Take for example Jacob Rees-Mogg. I don’t agree with his views on gay rights and find his opinions on abortion abhorrent and small-minded. But he has the right to say them as he is entitled to his opinion.

My mother didn’t like a Marc Chagall painting I used to hang over my fireplace. Saying rather that it should be in my bedroom than the living room. But the fireplace was mine and the painting stayed. Just because she didn’t like the painting was inconsequential, the fireplace was mine not hers.

Decisions in life have to her governed by thoughts, opinions and logic rather purely how we feel about things. I am not saying I am perfect certainly far from it. If it was all logical decisions about my life I would like a greek god rather than the size of a greek temple. I make bad choices for most of the time but I would like to think I was able to exercise right in allowing others to speak and sometimes I do listen. I don’t automatically press the dislike button just because that type of music (rave) is total garbage. I don’t react to others opinion on art just because they feel it is good.

Hopefully we can all think a little more like Spock.

chagall

Christian Institute

I got a pathetic response but hey at least it was a response. 

This week parents of a pupil removed their child from a school because a boy wanted to wear a dress and be known as a girl. In 2017 it might seem laughable and trivial but to a Christian couple it meant disrupting a child’s education.

I remember being hauled into the head’s office at school to help deal with a pupil who had been bullied. He wasn’t getting support or receiving praise for being different but my boss at the time was berating him for bringing in a school back that was different.

“Why can you bring something in that’s like everyone else?” She asked.

“Because I want to be me and this is who I am…” he replied.

There wasn’t a ‘Glee moment’ where the head teacher congratulates the pupil for their individuality and praises them for being who they are but tries to solve the intolerance and bullying by denying one person’s freedom of expression. All in a school bag.

My thoughts are clear on my former boss. She was a morally corrupt and bereft of humanity and empathy. She didn’t give a shit about her charges but was terrified that the  whole system would come down crashing at her feet.

My letter to the Christian Institute asking to speak about why their news feed was unbalanced was finally met with a response.

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 16.19.33

Their opinion was that they just wouldn’t engage.

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 16.19.15

Despite my years of experience dealing with church matters and education in this area.

The parents action which no doubt will be backed by the Christian Institute to further their growing sense of victimisation. But this is just the very reason why so many people now say that they have no religion. They are turning away from established religions in many parts of the world. The church and their non-sensical illogical beliefs have isolated themselves from the world. They will soon be made of mainly fanatical fringe belief systems. Where once the Church of England was the back bone of English society and culture soon it will become nothing more than Westboro Baptist lite.

 

 

Charlie Gard

This my be a controversial post and might cause some people to stop reading my blog. I am not here to deliberately provoke. But I am simply stating my opinion and thoughts.

The disease that Charlie is suffering from is extremely rare. Infact, there are only a handful of known cases around the world. This poses problems for those who are treating him in hospital as trials for medication and treatment will also be in the experimental stage and have no guarantee of success.

The medical staff in the USA that have treated people with this terrible disease have only treated those who were not at the terminal stage as is with Charlie. It is at a point where doctors feel that Charlie should be allow to die with dignity.

When do our emotions stop and clear thinking take precedence? I know when mum was dying it was clear that little could be done for her in the latter stages. I would have done ANYTHING to have her here now. I miss her dearly to this day but one of the things that I as well as other family members had to do was think what was in mums best interests and this is what the courts have explained to Charlie’s parents.

We are only human beings and don’t work miracles. We can only work within the parameters for what we know now as far as medical and scientific research allows us. There isn’t a magic solution for everything.

Raymond Briggs (the author of The Snowman) said that he always tries to write in his books the subject of death. As you know, very sadly the end of the Snowman, he dies. Briggs feels that children shouldn’t be hidden away from death and it should be explained that it’s a very real part of life and I whole-heartedly agree with him.

For someone who has had a very real experience of people dying I have had to look at situations clearly and not let emotions dictate what is in the best interests of the person. Friends, grand-parents, aunts, parents and beloved pets have all died in my lifetime. It is what makes us human to allow us to show utter respect in the last stages of someones life.

Grenfell Tower

As I write this blog post it as has been confirmed that the death toll has now risen to 30. It is such a sad and tragic incident which has left people, rightly so, wanting answers.

What does seem apparent is that residents were demanding that safety procedures should be put in place. People said that they had spoken to the council and they did not listen. How many times have we heard this? I can think of numerous times when residents have expressed concerns about something that’s happening in their area and they council have not listened. It’s all about the money and not about the people.

I have been amazed and taken aback at the the quick mobilisation of the local community. People of all religions and backgrounds working together to help those affected. I saw that and organisation called Islamic Relief were giving out water to those people who needed it.

ir-grenfell-tower.jpg

Where are the far-right when these things happen? Do they muck in and help? Or do they try to divide, separate and keep communities from working together? Well they have failed. They have failed this time and they will fail again in the future. It will not stop people looking out for one another. It will not stop those, who are from all over the world, living harmoniously with each other. This is what they hate.

I said it on social media and I will say it again. I would rather have 1000 muslims living in my street that ONE EDL, BNP, Britain First sympathiser.

Tim Farron – God before politics

Tim Farron (the leader of the Liberal Democrats) resigned today stating that he couldn’t reconcile his faith with his party’s politics, which begs to differ why he entered into the party in the first place, know their views on abortion and gay rights.

He became a committed Christian in 1988 and has held evangelical views for a number of years. But after all this time, why does he feel the need to ditch politics? Does he feel now he has reached a tipping point? Or was it really the fact that the LDs need a leader who represents the whole of society, rather than restrictive views which aren’t reflective of 21st century Britain.

Regardless of what you believe in a religious context the great good has to precede your idea of what should be happening in society. This is more apparent with the DUPs belief that all abortion should be made illegal. It comes from religion rather than a rational viewpoint which takes into consideration the life and the circumstances of the mother. Black and white thinking and relative morality has its past in 18th-century beliefs the majority has moved on.

 

 

Another Attack – London

When I woke this morning, I was filled with horror to realize that not only had there been another terrorist attack on our country, but my close friends were in London on holiday.

It was reassuring to know that they had posted on social media that they were safe. Then thoughts turn to the people who were killed and injured, someone’s family will be waiting again to hear from a loved one. Not knowing if they lie in a hospital somewhere or are in a place where they are supposed to be located.

Yet people I have seen will go to the uneducated and idiotic response. We have seen a world leader make statements about how all 1.6 billion of the Muslim religion should be banned from his country. How does this actually help the situation? How does that stop the terrorists carrying out such atrocious acts? It doesn’t. Simply it panders to the fear and ignorance.

Whether you like it or not these people are determined to carry out these acts and the majority of the time they are radicalized within their own country. This can be carried out on social media and the internet. Do we call for the banning of the net? No. Because we make the distinction that there is a very small minority carrying out terrorist attacks and not all people using information networks do so.

We understand these are a few people are fuckwits. Nothing else; they have no religion. They have an ideology, they don’t have religion. Greater education is needed of religion and it’s not enough to explain that this is a Christian country. It isn’t. But has been explored and understood.