GOODBYE, ITS BEEN FUN BUT ITS TIME TO GO

September 25 2013 I started this blog with the intent of discussing my faith and how it relates to my world view. The purpose behind this blog was to spread and share my LDS faith. This is no longer the case as I have left that faith and begun a new journey of discovery of who I am. I am no longer christian. I am no longer LDS. I am no longer a man of religion or faith-based convictions.

I have learned much over the course of the last 3 years about myself, my faith and who I am. This blog has been a great way for me to express my faith and religious convictions. It has been a journey of discovery and exploration. I have learned much, progressed and grown in my personal life philosophy. The time spent writing in this forum has been a time of great blessings to express the things I believed in.

Life is filled with many changes, challenges and un-expected events that help all of us grow to be the best people we can. The time spent writing on this blog has been just that for me. I have truly loved and enjoyed sharing my thoughts, feelings and faith with all of you who have taken the time to read my blog and shared it with your friends and family. I want to take a moment to say a heart-felt thank you for doing so. I have truly enjoyed reading your comments, thoughts and ideas about those things that I have written about.

At this time I feel that I can no longer continue writing as this blog and its purpose has ended. It no longer fills the needs that I once sought to share my faith with the world. It has served its purpose and served it well. It has really felt like a struggle writing this blog while my faith has changed so dramatically from what it was when I started. I really did not want to just give up on it as I have enjoyed writing on this blog so much.  My will and energy to keep writing on here it just sapped and no longer there at this point. I am tired of trying to continue writing about faith issues I no longer believe in.  I have no regrets and will be forever grateful to have shared with you my thoughts and feelings on many issues of importance. I feel that all I have left is to be critical of faith and religion and it is draining and not what I set out to do. It is time to move on.  I knew when I started writing that It would not go on forever and as with all good things, they must at some point come to an end. This is the end of this blog.

I bid my readers farewell and wish you the best in whatever your futures will be as I continue on my journey of exploring my own self and learning more about who I am. This is not an end but a beginning.

I want to say God bless, but at this point in my life that seems cliché, and odd considering how my faith has changed. For old times sake however I will say God bless and

THANKYOU!!

Thanks for reading and Goodbye

Bad Things Happen, Because We are a Godless Society. (so they say)

Editors note, I only proof read this once. I expect there are things to correct still with respect to grammar, spelling etc. I am just tired and could not be bothered so I ask that the message be focused on, not the grammar. I am just feeling too lazy to bother with more than a casual proof read this time around.

 

June 12th 2016 American saw yet another Mass public shooting. This time at a Gay night club by the name of Pulse. Over 100 people were shot and about 50 people were killed. Like many other tragedies like this people get upset and distraught and rightly so. These issues will continue to happen and likely will get worse as time goes on. They will serve to be a catalyst for change within the global culture, and depending on who you ask this will be change for the better or worse. This seems to be a rather divided issue with every side arguing on what the solution is and no one really having a solution. I would like to explore the argument however that these acts of mass public violence and terror are the result of living in and having a Godless society.

Being raised in a deeply religious culture myself, and understanding that people of religious backgrounds, most notably Christianity with which I most familiar, I can understand how so many people would believe this. These people in religious communities believe not only that homosexuality is a horrible sin committed by godless people, they believe that if everyone just embraced their convictions then this kind of violence would cease to happen. The problem with this is that every religion with a God thinks the same way in my experience and none of them can agree on whose version of God is the one that should be followed. It is argued that because so many reject God the consequence is violence within our culture and society.

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Without fail my social media accounts start to get flooded with memes about how the problem is we do not have God in our society and that is the problem. Here are some examples of these memes.

godless society 1 godless society 2

I wish to really examine this claim and see if a Godless society is really the problem or if this is just a claim of the religious community which honestly believes if God were in our hearts and nation we would not see such horrendous crimes happening. While I can see how they would conclude that if everyone just accepted the faith of God (Muslims think it should be their faith and Christians say it should be theirs) then no one would want to commit such horrendous crimes because they are all religions of peace. I suppose in a hypothetical world where everyone embraced a singular religion that may be true, but is also an impossibility because even with these religious communities there are heated debates and conflicts about how one should practice their religion.

To really examine this issue we should start by taking a look at the motivations behind some well-known terrorist attacks (as the media calls them) to start to understand the motivations behind these attacks and events. I have selected 3 examples but realistically I think you would find that virtually every act of terrorism has been committed in the name of God, or Gods no matter what name you give to him/her or them. The first one I would like to evaluate is the crusades. While one could argue this was not terrorist attacks it surly inflicted terror and fear in the victims.

  1. The Crusades 

What is commonly referred to as the crusades took place over a period of approximate 400 years from the 11-15 centuries. This was a series of religious and politically motivated wars against Islamic states and territories in an effort to re-capture Jerusalem. From the Washington Post

“The Crusades lasted almost 200 years, from 1095 to 1291. The initial spark came from Pope Urban II, who urged Christians to recapture the Holy Land (and especially the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem) from Muslim rule. Like the promise of eternal life given to Muslim martyrs, Crusaders were promised absolution from sin and eternal glory.”

The crusaders were brutal in their pillaging and warfare. They massacred people killing hundreds of thousands of innocents along the way as part of their holy war. Death tolls during this period are estimated to be around 1.7 million at a minimum. Like most war, I have no doubt there was plenty of rape, abuse, murder, etc… inflicted upon the innocent victims of this brutal campaign.

The motivations behind the crusades were religious. It was a war started by the Pope in the name of God. This war was started and fought by a society where the church and God were the government.

Part of this religious culture and war against innocents was what is commonly referred to as the inquisition. Thousands were brought before the church to answer for accusation of heresy and witchcraft. Confessions were often extracted through use of torture and terror against the victims. Thousands were burned alive at the stake for heresy and witch craft. These atrocities were committed by a group of people and society that had God. This was done in the name of God. This was done by a church that claims to be a religion of peace.

2. September 11th 2001 Terrorist attack

This well-known event is likely one of the most famous in recent history and most deadly.  4 Planes were hijacked, flown into the world trade centers and pentagon. Thousands dead and chaos in the streets. This was one of the most well planned and executed events in recent history. It is also the subject of much scrutiny and skepticism about who is really to blame for this event. This post however is not about conspiracy theories or analyzing who planned it, who is telling the truth, lying, covering up etc…

The reported and widely proclaimed story and accepted by world governments and mainstream media is that Islamic terrorist were to blame and did so in the name of Their God Allah. This was perpetuated in the name of another “peaceful” religion. God was in the hearts of those who committed this atrocity. They do so in his name believing they were doing Gods work.

3. Mountain Meadows Massacre

From Wikipedia.

“The Mountain Meadows massacre was a series of attacks on the Baker–Fancher emigrant wagon train, at Mountain Meadows in southern Utah. The attacks began on September 7 and culminated on September 11, 1857, resulting in the mass slaughter of the emigrant party by members of the Utah Territorial Militia from the Iron County district, together with some Paiute Native Americans. Intending to leave no witnesses and thus prevent reprisals, the perpetrators killed all the adults and older children—about 120 men, women, and children in total. Seventeen children, all younger than seven, were spared.”

This massacre was sanctioned by LDS church leadership. This was done under the direction of the church itself and is a point in it’s history that they never talk about. It is not taught in church classes and in all honesty is something that the church is quite embarrassed about. This massacre was religiously motivated by a group of people who claimed to be christian. These people committed this crime with God in their hearts and lives.

I love peace, tolerance and respect for others. These are the principles that religion claims to teach. God is Love, God is respect, God is about doing good and loving our fellow-man we are taught. This is what any decent and loving human being would do. If God is this person and this is what is taught how is it that so many who profess these beliefs are driven through their faith to commit such terrible crimes in the names of their God?

I cannot help but conclude that it is not a lack of God in our society and culture but it is the presence of religion that has caused so much harm, hatred, hostilities and war. It is religion that has fueled the hatred of so many to commit acts of such evil. Can you honestly blame the followers of these religions for believing they were and are doing the work of God. Religious books and scriptures like the bible and book of Mormon are filled with acts of extreme violence in the name of God. These books are filled with acts of rape, torture, war, slavery and terrorism.

The sad truth is that religion inspires violence. It’s truth. It’s fact and while it may be hard to accept for many, the reality is no atheist ever committed an act of terrorism. At least I cannot find any examples of such a thing happening in the name of atheism, or even Satanism for that matter. It is time we rid society of religion, and embraced love, respect, and decent goodness as ideals to uphold. Religion, sadly, all to often has promoted violence, not sought to end it. This is one more reason why I am no longer religious. My God is humanity and human decency. My God is doing good to all and my worship is respect, love, tolerance and understanding to all to the best of my ability.

And that is the gospel according to Andrew

 

 

FAT SHAMING, OR HEALTH CRISIS?

 

I recently came across the trailer for this movie in the above video called Embrace. It is about a woman travelling the world seeking to understand the body shaming culture that holds women to near impossible standards of beauty and attractiveness when it comes to their bodies shape and size. This trailer got me thinking about the concept of body shaming, or fat shaming within our culture.

From Urban Dictionary

“Fat shaming is the act of poking fun of someone for being overweight, or telling someone they are worthless, useless, lazy, or disgusting because they are overweight.  Like most terms, this has been adopted and twisted by Radical Neofeminists to mean something very different. Under the RNF definition, it means ” to make an overweight female feel in any way uncomfortable, usually by telling her anything is wrong with her weight.”
This unfortunately includes Doctors telling them to lose weight for their health and suggesting diets or friends saying that their clothes are too tight, even men very politely refusing dates because they just don’t find them attractive.”

I love the message this movie is out to spread and deliver. But I also want to say that there is such a thing as unhealthy fat and am concerned that healthy bodies message may be lost in translation. I want nothing more than my daughters and my wife to love their bodies and never be shamed or feel hate for them. HOWEVER I also want them to be healthy and understand that being over weight and losing weight when needed is not about body shaming but about looking after your self and disease and sickness prevention. Ignore all the images and glamour BS the media obsessively throws at you, but we also must take care of ourselves.

My wife knows that I love her and I do not care what shape her body is or how many curves she has, or how much fat but I do care if she becomes or is unhealthy because of weight and body fat related issues. I love my girls and especially my wife, their physical health is just as important as their mental and spiritual well-being. Everything is connected in one way or another. Our physical health effects our spirituality, and mental well-being not just physical condition.

In an effort to avoid body or fat shaming we tend to shy away from these issues and avoid talking about them, or encouraging active weight loss activities for fear of being perceived as fat shaming our sisters who need our support and love. I know for myself, I have a very difficult time knowing how to effectively approach this issue with my wife who is over weight. I want her to know that I love her and want what is best for her health and well-being. I fear that helping her to work towards a more ideal weight may cause her to feel unloved, unattractive or that I am comparing her to other, skinnier girls and women. I fear that she may feel that my love is dependent on an ideal body image or weight. All of which is not true at all but understandable conclusions and feelings, even if rationally she knows that is not true.

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Obesity has become one of the largest major health epidemic in north America. The stats reflected by stats Canada in the above screen shot indicate that up wards of 60% of the population is overweight or obese. This is a serious health concern and needs to be taken seriously. By comparison, cancer, which is the single biggest killer, as reported by the Canadian cancer society (https://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/cancer%20information/cancer%20101/Canadian%20cancer%20statistics/Canadian-Cancer-Statistics-2015-EN.pdf) shows infection rates at 40% while diabetes rates are 10-20% prevalence. Obesity is as much as a problem as diabetes and cancer combined.

In Canada we have a socialized public health care system. This system is supposed to ensure that everyone gets the health care they need when they need it. Every dollar spent on preventable illness is another tax dollar taken from hard-working Canadians. A Globe and Mail article shows that Obesity and weight related health problems are costing the Canadian economy over 7 billion a year. This is a massive burden and cost to Canadian tax payers. This is a very preventable cost for so many. I certainly do acknowledge that there are those with very real and valid uncontrollable health related problems; Many with genetic pre-dispositions to over weight and obesity. For those where health problems and genetics is not a factor this message is for you today.

Obesity leads to numerous health related problems including, but not limited to

Coronary heart disease
High blood pressure
Stroke
Type 2 diabetes
Abnormal blood fats
Metabolic syndrome
Cancer
Osteoarthritis
Sleep apnea
Obesity hypoventilation syndrome
Re-productive problems
Gallstones

Getting back to the fat shaming issue. One must ask when is it ok to talk to someone about their weight problems? When someone has a drug problem, often their loved ones will stage an intervention. When someone is an alcoholic we will send them to AA meetings. When someones behavior becomes problematic we take measures to correct it through counselling and medical intervention if needed.  When it comes to the obesity epidemic all to often we are silent. When we do speak up and say something we risk vilification, ridicule and hatred for speaking to the health risks and telling women that they should lose weight for their own good. This Problem does not just affect women, but men as well are just as prone and in some cases more likely to be prone to this problem. Despite this, it is only women we cannot speak to about their weight problems.

For those that smoke how many times has someone come up to you to tell you that you should not smoke because it is not healthy for you? How many times has someone told you that you should not be eating those chips, donuts, etc… I know from personal experience that when I have walked into work with pop, chips, and junk food, I get that look from people which says “OMG I can’t believe you are eating all the unhealthy junk food”

Our governments have taken the time, resources and money to educate the public about not smoking, drinking responsibly, to avoid and do not use illegal drugs etc… They claim to care so much for our health and well-being yet by comparison there is very little in the way of campaign for healthier bodies and working towards obesity elimination which is the cause of more health related problems than illegal drug use, smoking and drinking combined.

Given all of this, why is it “fat shaming” given all the problems and issues obesity contributes to as well as the plague that it has become upon our society. This is clearly a serious public health crisis and a issue that needs to be addressed.  We are a fat, sick and nearly dead society that is so terrified of offending someone regarding their life choices that we fear to tell them “you are too fat, you need to lose weight, stop eating that junk and fattening food. Get more exercises and take care of yourself.” It does not matter what your genetics are, what your health conditions are, there is no genetics or health disease that makes it impossible to be anything but obese. It may be much more difficult for some, they may have to work harder at it, but it is not impossible.

It is time to become more active, eat better and focus on our health. By doing this we will not just improve our physical well-being but our mental and spiritual well-being as well.  Don’t drive, leave the car at home. Bike to work as much as you can.  Grow a garden. Cut out high sugar, fatty process foods. Become more active. Take a daily walk. Get exercise and stop spending so much time in front of the computer or the T.V. Take the bus and walk that last few blocks to work, home and play. It is time to Cut the.

Carbonated Drinks

Refined sugar

Artificial sweeteners and colors

Processed foods

and eat more

Fruits and Vegetables

Organic lean proteins

Omega 3 fatty acids

Drink more water

It is time we start to recognize it for what it is, which is a plague on our health, a plague on our economy, a plague on our productivity and a plauge on our spirituality. I will leave this picture from a well-known Pixar movie and just let that sink in for what our future holds if we refuse to acknowledge this serious and dangerous health epidemic that plagues our culture and way of life.

walle-socialnetwork01

The choice is yours. Unhealthy obesity and diets should be something worth shaming, just as drugs, alcoholism, smoking and other forms of unhealthy behaviors and ways of life are. Cut the C.R.A.P and eat more F.O.O.D

Taking care of ourselves is essential to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. If you are to achieve all that your God, or Gods want from you then why would you ignore something so important as your own health. This is not what God intended for you. I believe that we are all spiritual beings with divine potential and our existence does not end at death. I also believe that how we treat our bodies in this life affects not just our physical reality but our spiritual health as well. If we are to obtain the highest levels of spiritual health, it starts with taking care of our physical health. Take care of yourselves. Live well, eat well, only then can you be well physically, mentally and spiritually. These are steps and things I am trying to do for myself and my family. Will you commit to making these changes in your life?

And if you are not a believer is any God or Gods it makes no difference, your physical and mental health are just as important. Period.

And that is the Gospel according to Andrew