Saturday, February 11, 2017

MATERIALS THAT ARE BOTH VEGAN AND ECO-FRIENDLY


When we purchase materials, we want to look for something that is both vegan and
eco-friendly. Eco-friendly does not mean it is vegan, and vegan does not mean it is
eco-friendly. But if a material is not eco-friendly, in the long term, it will probably
harm animals!

Pleather is vegan, but it takes a lot of chemicals and energy to make. Alternatives
to pleather are “vegan leathers” such as: Paper, cork, recycled rubber, organic
waxed cotton, coolstone leather (from slate), tree bark leather (from sustainable
forests), Pintatex (from wasted parts of the pineapple bush), and mushrooms! Of
course, you can wear a cloth purse and avoid the look entirely!

One more word about leather: If you hear or see the words fine leather or soft
leather – stay miles away. The picture above talks about where this fine leather
comes from.

Fake fur, often called “faux fur” is a problem. It can have real animal fur in it, even
dog fur. Just don’t wear fur at all!

It is always a great idea to purchase from thrift shops because the clothes get
reused, instead of buying new. The important thing about thrift shops is that if you
accidentally buy a wool product (labels are often missing on thrift shop items), the
store owners will not order 50 more wool sweaters to replace the one you bought!
There were be no more animals hurt or killed by your purchase.

What is wrong with wool? Wool is called eco friendly, but it definitely is not vegan.
Sheep often have a huge amount of skin removed (called mulesing), because
farmers somehow think this process will keep the sheep’s back end area cleaner. It
is horrendous to see! Also, sheep are now bred with wavy skin because it will have
more surface area for wool, and sheep are bred with wool that is much thicker and
longer. (Wild sheep have thinner coats and shed them every year.)

Silk is called eco friendly, but it is not vegan. Silk worms make silk threads a mile
long and wrap themselves up in it as their cocoon, where they will become a moth.
They must then eat themselves out of the silk cocoon, which would wreck the mile
long silk, so the farmers have various ways to kill the moth inside the silk. This
means we conscientious consumers do not use silk for a material, including
hydrolyzed silk in soap. It is usually the last ingredient in a soap and is so
unnecessary for them to add it! There are vegan soaps at Kroger’s and Country
Nutrition.

Cashmere is eco friendly, but not vegan. However, there is soy cashmere made
from soy, which is eco and vegan! Yes, they have soy clothing! So far, I have
looked online and only found T-shirts, undies, and things that look like you should
dance in them. No soy business suits yet!

Another promising material is Ingeo corn. When looking under “Images” there are
nice clothing items made from corn. And material from corn doesn’t wrinkle!
However, it is difficult to find corn clothing for sale online. Some of these products
seem to be more experimental at this point.

If your goal is to wear clothing that is vegan, natural and organic, you have to see
whether any of these crops were treated with pesticides, whether the materials
were treated with dangerous chemical dyes, or formaldehyde (which stops the
wrinkling), and whether they are fair trade products. Organic cotton is great, but
the cheaper ones wrinkle; the higher the thread count, the less wrinkling there is –
but it is more expensive. And if you want to become as natural as you can possibly
be, go with the natural color of cotton - light green, light brown or cream – because
there are no dyes of any kind in them. Of course, that is quite limiting and
everybody would be wearing the same three colors with no prints available! It
would be novel to have some clothes made that way, however. I also would love a
shirt out of corn or soy, since the majority of us are in corn and soy country!

Linen is also vegan, but it wrinkles! Linen sometimes involves dry cleaning, which
is chemical-laden. Can you tell I don’t like to iron?

Nylon is vegan but uses a lot of chemicals in its making.

Rayon is vegan, but uses some chemicals. Rayon, however, comes in three levels
of environmental friendliness. The next step up from Rayon is called “Modal” and is
from sustainable beech trees. The highest step is Lycocell, and the common brand
name of Lycocell is Tencel. Lycocell is wood cellulose from sustainable farms. It
doesn’t wrinkle! The reason Lycocell is special is because you can wear it longer
without having to wash it, so it is considered very eco-friendly.

Hemp is great – it doesn’t need care or much water or pesticides. It does start out
stiff and has to go through a little processing with chemicals to be softened, but
hemp is a highly recommended eco and vegan product.

Bamboo is also vegan and eco-friendly. Yes, you can wear bamboo! The fibers are
quite soft!

Very rare vegan and eco-friendly clothes are algae clothes and banana fiber
clothes. These seem to be just for fashion shows.

Eco-fabrics are in their infancy, but they are growing. Organic cotton is probably
the easiest to find online. Some of the others have confusing websites. Hopefully,
these eco-fabrics will become more popular and easier to find!

I saved the most popular material to discuss last - polyester. Polyester is vegan,
but it’s not safe for the environment. We just are finding out about this! Polyester
is made of small plastic fibers, and every time your polyester clothes are washed,
microfibers leave the material and your washing machine via the water and
eventually make it into rivers and lakes. They also give off toxins, such as BPA and
PCB’s. Fish now have plastic in their insides, and then birds eat the fish. That
means polyester, polypropylene, fleece, microfiber and acrylic are all harmful. I do
not worry about acrylic yarn, however, because at least in my case, I usually make
afghans and they aren’t washed every time they are used.

From what I read, polyester breaking down in the wash might be worse than
discarding the sweater whole. This sounds discouraging, but we are working on
solutions. Filter balls should be made available for purchase soon that can be
thrown in the washing machine and will gather up the polyester microfibers. Filters
on some energy-efficient washing machines seem to be for water coming into the
machine to be pure. Filters that will clean plastic particles from clothes are still in
progress.

In the meantime, wash full loads of clothes because they jostle less, use gentle
cycle, cold water, and run dryer on low to help preserve the clothes.

Big cities have bins labeled “Close the Loop” bins, where you can throw your
polyester cast-offs, and they make the sweaters into playground material, fences,
etc. Going in the opposite direction, but also seen as eco-friendly, there is a
company that makes sweaters out of recycled pop bottles! So polyester can either
be listed as eco-friendly, or one of the worst environmental offenders. But it’s
vegan!

Let’s finish by talking about gold and diamonds. Certainly, keep your jewelry! But
if you are planning on buying more diamonds, make them lab diamonds. They are
identical to diamonds from mining, except that they can be made perfectly
symmetrical and flawless. They are constructed atom by atom, and end up costing
less than those that are mined. If you Google diamond mining, you will see the
devastation caused, and the huge holes fill up with standing water which causes
mosquitoes to breed and spread malaria. Gold mining is even more devastating.
Land is ripped up for tiny nuggets and chemicals are dumped in water, including
mercury. Mercury attracts gold, and locals who are trying to make a few dollars are
standing in buckets of water where they add mercury to attract gold particles.
Many people are having serious neurological difficulties from it and they dump this
water into the rivers! We can’t afford such devastation to planet earth! We must
change now by boycotting ecologically harmful products, and show the younger
generation so they know people can change. We can’t just leave everything up to
them. If they learn from us and grow with ecological and vegan changes, at some
point, children will be raised in an ecologically friendly culture and not know any
other way!

Monday, January 2, 2017

FERVENT FEAR OF FAKE FIRE

Fundamentalists have morality so screwed up. I was conversing with a fundamentalist awhile back and told him what the evidence is about death. He did not like my answer, and said that I would burn in Hell if I did not give my life over to “the lord.” I told him I would have to speak hypothetically, since I will be talking about the Hell I don’t believe in with him. I said, that if I died and went to Hell, I could not burn, because it takes mass and matter to burn, and a spirit has no mass or matter, so it cannot burn.

Now this is now sick a religion can make a person. He nearly yelled back that I would most certainly burn! God has spirit fire that would burn my spirit body! Of course, he made that whole part up, because it says nothing about “spirit fire” in the Bible. (Correct me if I am wrong.) He was so caught up in making sure I would be punished, because I had to be in order for his religion to work. But this is how deranged a person can become that he/she will make up “spirit fire” to make sure I burn!

Most fundamentalists do not even realize that their religion is very violent. I would never tell a person he/she will burn, nor would I worship any god that gives such an ultimatum. They do not realize that they are supporting a violent god and accept a violent death for simply thinking this particular god does not exist. They think their religion is about love and that they chose their religion for love, but I think they chose it more out of fear. They became religious to make sure they would go to Heaven instead of Hell. It is a religion continued because of fear. I will agree that they like the feeling that can be brought forth in their own bodies because of being religious or going to religious services, but I still think their religious foundation is fear - such fear that they do not allow themselves to think through what kind of a god they are worshiping, and how it diminishes their own morality to worship such a god.
I also know that many Muslims believe that a person who goes to Hell will get new skin every time their skin burns off, so that they can eternally burn! Interesting that the two religions are so similar with their concepts of burning in Hell and rewards in Heaven. Realize that one of the two religions is wrong, and the Muslims are sure it is the Christians who are wrong, and the Christians are sure it is the Muslims who are wrong. A lot of people of one faith or another (and all the rest of the religions and the nonreligious) will be burning in Hell! Or not – because the idea of a torturous Hell and a strong duality comes from Zoroastrianism - and is made up.

The religious accept so much violence in their religions of peace and love, and dutifully warn people that they’d better obey the rules (like the slaves of an imaginary god that they are); and it reminds me of a horrid scene I saw (on video) when a truck carrying pigs overturned a half a block from the slaughterhouse. For dramatic effect, I will tell you that the injured pigs inside the truck sounded so very human as they screamed. Ex-slaughterhouse workers have said that pigs screaming sound eerily like humans, but I never thought they did until I heard these very real screams of pain and of desperation. Now that you are sickened by that thought (as I want you to be because I am vegan), I will get back to the point of my story.

Security and employees, some of them in shirts and ties because this was both a slaughterhouse and a main pork production facility with offices, came out to get the pigs and made them walk the half block to their deaths. It is a law that pigs must be able to walk in order for them to be slaughtered. There were two pigs that were lying on the grass injured, and animal activists were begging the employees to let them take these two pigs for medical help and to an animal sanctuary. These pigs could not walk so they were not fit to be slaughtered and could not be used as food. An aside: These two pigs were on the grass in the sunlight for the first time and were sniffing the grass!

But the employees were so intent on “doing the right thing,” following rules, that they refused to let the activists take the pigs, and instead, brought out a piece of cardboard just big enough to hide each pig’s body, and shot each pig with a bolt gun. The employees had lost all sense of morality, but thought they were doing the right thing; and out of fear, they followed orders. The activists watched helplessly and horrified at the pigs convulsing and writhing in pain as they very slowly died. They were then picked up (and I saw one make a movement, so he was still alive) by a shovel and they were thrown in the garbage bin.

The employees callously disposed of their lives, instead of showing kindness and caring and allowing the activists to take the two pigs and give them a good life. I saw the pigs that did not make it, dead on the truck. They died. That’s it. No Heaven, no Hell, no Spirit Fire. They went through enough Hell on Earth thanks to those who still demand meat. Bear witness to the reality.

The pig story (absolutely true) and many of Bite Size Vegan’s expressive words were taken from her video, "I've Lost All Hope for Humanity."

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Party at the Relatives' House (in the early to mid-60's)

Ah Christmastime! Some little kid will reluctantly go to the big, once-a-year get-together at a relative's house, and then not feel good and be made to lie down in a relatives' bedroom. The bedroom is frightening and cold, and lying there in the dark is very lonely.

For one little girl named Barbara, that spare bedroom is also being used as a coat room. Guests will come in and toss coats on the bed, sometimes noticing a little form in the bed after throwing a coat on her, but more often, not seeing her at all. She is embarrassed anyway. She tries to figure out who everyone is by their voices, but is not very good at it. It is boring in that room!

The coats pile on higher and higher atop the little girl, and she doesn't seem to know enough to move them off of her. Furs used to be a show of status, and those smelly, heavy coats were the worst to have stacked on the pile.

Everyone else is having a good time and the little girl lies there feeling forgotten. She is forgotten! She finally, carefully gets up, making sure not to muss the coats, deciding she feels better and tries to join the group.
She walks timidly, feeling unwelcome, and tearfully stands near her parents who seem surprised to see her and ask her why she left the room; as if putting her in a bed in an unfamiliar house was a good way of getting a break from their little, pitiful child who was spoiling the party with her attitude. They tell her to go back under the covers and she obeys, returns to the room and slips back under the coats, crying to herself, knowing they do not want her to ruin the party.

Finally, the room with the coats becomes too much to bear and she finds the strength to resurface and go back out to the party. She insists she is all right and refuses to return to that room with ominous coats.   I remember nothing else of that Christmas party, but the coats and the cold room are etched in my memory forever!

Here's to happier parties for you and your children this holiday season!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Unitarians Calling People to Prayer?



The latest edition of the UUFD (Unitarian Universalist of Decatur) newsletter was delivered, and when I read a paragraph from the minister repeatedly asking everyone to pray for the indigenous people at Standing Rock, I realized I may not be able to fit in with Unitarians anymore.  I have crossed the line into “hardened atheist.”  The calls for prayer and especially prayer alone, offend me.  What good will praying do?  She should have told her followers something the congregation could do that would actually help the people. 

I realize “pray” came from a position of helplessness and caring, and some will even say praying will motivate others because they will become more positive and vested in the cause, but I think it will do the opposite.  I think it makes a person feel like they have helped and it puts the action into “God’s hands.”  It wipes responsibility away from a person and takes away their need to help the downtrodden.

Unitarian churches differ from congregation to congregation, and pastors have a lot to do with the tone of the church.  Some are focused strongly on gay rights, some have a good variety of issues, and some are conservative in nature, with a minister who defected from evangelical pastorship and still conveniently quotes the Bible because it is what he knows. 

In order for a church to be a church, the word “faith” must be used.  Unitarians are big on faith.  Now, despite my analytical writing, I am a caring person and a positive, rather funny person – in person.  But being Unitarian requires a tolerance for people who believe in fairies, in pseudoscience, and in being compassionate toward humans even when they are doing wrong.  An example of the latter is when a guest at a vegan/vegetarian meet-up group ordered meat.  Our vegan/vegetarian group is made up of many Unitarians, and a good share of them are not vegan or vegetarian but love animals and like eating healthy.  As we discussed the situation at our vegan potluck meeting of a guest eating meat at the vegan/vegetarian meet-up, my reaction was that it was totally inappropriate and disrespectful to the group.  I used the example that if we allow people to order meat at the vegan/vegetarian meet-up, we should hand out slabs of steak at our vegan/vegetarian potlucks because, “they are not vegan so we must have meat handy for them.”  Of course, they brushed off that example because the thought of having meat handy at a vegan/vegetarian potluck is absurd, and they did not understand my comparison! 

Only three of us shared the same views, and we are all vegan – the rest took the side of the guest, and said we should be compassionate to all.  All humans, that is.  Once again, we see that people who are not in the group for animals' rights will put people's feelings before the needs of the animals.  I was not rude to anyone and was not even present at the vegan/vegetarian meet up where the guest ordered meat.  I simply gave my opinion at our potluck meeting that I thought the guest was out of line, and found myself in the minority.
Perhaps I do not have the patience for stupid people anymore!  Perhaps I lack the “anything goes” attitude and the "we must be cheerful all the time" demeanor. 

Standing Rock was not solved with a prayer – it is being solved by action. 
Not every challenge mankind faces can be solved with a hug. 



Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Christian-Like Town



In the middle of a town filled with mostly poor people, there lived a man named Gottfried, along with his wife, Mattie and his son, Junior.  Every month they threw a party for ten children of the town, with a different ten children each month, as their goal was to reach as many young ones as possible with their message.  As far back as the parents and grandparents of the town could remember, there had always been someone named Gottfried in the town, fulfilling the same important role.  Visiting Gottfried was a tradition, an accepted right of passage; a purpose for life itself.  

When the children were called to Gottfried’s house the parents faithfully but fearfully let them go.  For the most part they trusted Gottfried, because they had also gone to his house when they were small.  They knew this was a defining moment in their children’s lives.

The ten children all got along well and were excited to visit Gottfried and Junior, because they heard that Gottfried’s wife was a wonderful baker!  Their parents informed them they would get cake, ice cream and candy - delicacies that were not available in their poor town.  No one knew where Mattie got her ingredients for the sweets and they assumed it was through magic.  Gottfried’s parties seemed like the best opportunity for children to have wonderful treats, but the parents told the children they must be good and obey Gottfried or they would not be allowed to eat the treats. 

The children also wanted to see Mattie in the flesh, because they knew Gottfried was married, but although they saw Gottfried get the mail, they never noticed Mattie outside.  There was a rumor about Mattie, but the parents did not share it with the children, because they did not want the children to hear the bad parts of their town’s customs.  It was said that Mattie was once a child who came to one of Gottfried’s parties, and when she fell asleep before going home, Gottfried magically impregnated her - and Junior was the result.  The parents convinced themselves that regardless of Mattie’s situation, they were doing the right thing to send their children to the party.  After all, they themselves gained eternal life from attending the party, and since they remembered how good the cake and ice cream tasted, they wanted their kids to have such an opportunity too. 

On the day of the party, when the children arrived at Gottfried’s house, Gottfried and Junior invited them into the Front room, introduced themselves as the great, all-knowing and all-powerful Gottfried and Junior, and set out the rules for the party. Each child was assigned a number from 1 through 10, so it would be easier for Gottfried and Junior to identify them.  The ten children must profess their love for Gottfried and Junior, and once a month, they must bring whatever money they can afford to give and put it in Gottfried’s mailbox.  After telling the children these rules, Gottfried and Junior said that the children must earn the right to be allowed in the Party room and eat goodies.  Also, one year from today, Gottfried and Junior will judge the children and will award each worthy child a certificate entitling him or her a life with unlimited sweet treats after death.  Gottfried and Junior insisted that the children must believe in life after death, even if they have never heard of such a concept before.  If they do not believe in eternal life after death, they will burn eternally after they die. Gottfried made it clear that he is all-seeing and he will know if the children do not follow the rules.  Child No. 9 and Child No. 10 felt something was wrong with the idea of life after death, because they just thought people died and rotted away.  They also wondered why these men who claimed to be all knowing could not even remember the children’s names.

Child No. 10 did not like Gottfried and Junior’s personalities and was not about to pretend to love them.  Junior noticed Child No. 10’s attitude and told Child No. 10 that he had better straighten up and follow commands, or he would be punished.  Child No. 10 had a feeling he would not be able to avoid punishment for long.
 
Gottfried and Junior took the children into the next room, called the Test room.  All the children were required to take one test today.  A beautiful cake had been placed on a table in the middle of the Test room.  The children would be left inside the room for one hour with the cake, but no one could eat it.  Gottfried and Junior explained that if the children refrained from eating the cake for an hour, they would be led to another room with games and fun times and all the cake, ice cream, cookies and candy they wanted as their reward for abstaining from eating this forbidden cake. 

Gottfried and Junior left the room.  They sat and watched the children from a secret double mirror on the wall.  The children’s stomachs rumbled as they tried to keep from eating the cake.  It had been so long since they had eaten anything remotely sweet tasting!  Child No. 1 through Child No. 6 obeyed the commands and did not eat the cake; however, Child No. 5 and Child No. 6 talked badly about Gottfried and Junior, and said they wish they had never been told the rules.  Child No. 8 and Child No. 9 sneaked a little icing from around the edges of the cake, hoping it would not show.  Child No. 10 took a handful of the cake, saying he did not care.  He told the other children that he did not like this party and that Junior gave him the creeps!

After the hour was over, Gottfried and Junior came back into the room and divided the ten children.  Child No. 1 through Child No. 4 earned the right to enter the Reward room because they did not say anything bad and did not eat any cake. The children were shocked that Gottfried and Junior knew about the little frosting swipes and the few negative comments made in the Test room.  Most of them decided Gottfried and Junior really did have special powers.  Gottfried and Junior led Child Nos. 1-4 to the Reward room and gave each child a hug just before entering the room. 

Child Nos. 1-4 were busy eating massive amounts of sweets and having a wonderful party.  They did not ask about the other children out of fear they would taken back out of the Reward room.  Meanwhile, the other children were escorted back to the Front room, where the six “left-behind” children were punished by being pinched as hard as possible by Junior, but just in places where pinch marks would not show.  They were told not to tell their parents anything about being pinched, but to insist that they loved Gottfried and his son and had a great time at the party.

Gottfried and Junior said they had one more activity for the children to witness.  Junior would be whipped in front of the children by Gottfried to demonstrate how Junior was willing to go through pain for the children’s sakes.  Gottfried and Junior insisted the children watch so they will understand the love Junior has for them.  Gottfried whipped his son, Junior, ten times - once for each child.  With each stroke of the whip, Junior yelled in pain, and Gottfried proclaimed, “Listen to how much he is sacrificing for you!  He is saving you!  All you have to do is love him!”  Child Nos. 1 through 4 truly thought Junior was sacrificing himself for the sake of the children; Child Nos. 5, 6 and 8 did not want to see it and tried to keep their heads turned, Child No. 7 tried looking through Gottfried with her x-ray vision, but was not successful and figured it was due to his hardened core, and Child Nos. 9 and 10 could not figure out how beating a person will help any of the children.

After the beating, Junior had his wounds attended to by Mattie, and then stood in front of the children and talked about eternity.  Child Nos. 1-4 could “feel eternity” and it felt good.  Child No. 1 and Child No. 2 wanted to be in eternity right now!  Child Nos. 5 and 6 had mixed feelings.

To close the party Gottfried and Junior told the children that all of them still had a chance to have eternal life.  In one year, there will be another party that all ten children will be required to attend.  Each child will again be judged individually.  Junior added that their punishment for failing next year will be harsher than pinching; it will be more of a taste of what will come in the afterlife! 

Gottfried and Junior’s last gifts were rule books for each child – reminders of what behavior they must have for the next year, and what date to return to Gottfried’s house.  Gottfried and Junior lined up by the front door and passed out the rule books along with a hug for each child as the children left.

The rule book made it clear that the children must: (1) Have pure hearts and pray each night to Gottfried and Junior; (2) Behave, because Gottfried and Junior are watching them all the time; (3) Bring Gottfried money once a month.  (4) Return in one year.  The children will have another chance to pass tests, and eat cake, cookies, ice cream and all manner of desserts.  At that point those who pass will be rewarded with a certificate that entitles them to receive a life after death with eternal sweets.

After the children got to the end of the walk, Child No. 10 pointed out to the other children that they never actually saw Gottfried or Junior do any magic.  He also said that Gottfried and Junior would have no way of knowing whether the children were praying to them or not.  

Child No. 1 told the children not to listen to Child No. 10, because he would lead them down the wrong path, and Child No. 2 nodded in agreement.  Child Nos. 1 and 2 could not wait to read their new books!  Child Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 6 realized that Child No. 10 might be right, but just in case, they decided to believe in Gottfried and Junior. 

Child No. 7 ignored the controversies, because she was not really there; she was just an illusion in a lovely dream.  She believed she would not feel pain if she were burned, and did not worry about an eternal punishment because she was going to live as a fairy in the Matrix when she passed, shooting out sparkles from her fingertips. 

Child No. 8 was keeping a secret that he knew he would reveal sooner or later. 

Child No. 9 agreed with Child No. 10, but kept quiet.

The children went to their respective homes and thought about the new rules and how their lives had changed since earlier that morning.  They no longer felt like children, and there was division in the group.  Where all the children used to play together, they now were frustrated, fearful, and talked about each other.  Junior had told the children that they would feel good about themselves because of their new beliefs, but only Child No. 1 and Child No. 2 felt good; all the others felt worse.

One day, Child No. 10 saw Gottfried out collecting some money from his mailbox.  It started to rain and Gottfried got quite angry and ran for the house.  Child No. 10 thought about this and realized that Gottfried did not control everything, or he would not have allowed any rain to come down on himself – he would have turned off the rain.  He realized Gottfried did not have special powers, but was telling the children he did, so that he could control them and receive their money.

Child No. 10 contacted the other children, and asked that they meet in secret.  Fortunately, eight out of ten children decided to attend the meeting.  Child Nos. 1 and 2 stayed home.  Child No. 10 said that he had a lot to talk about and they needed privacy, so he suggested the children bike to the next town to talk.  At first, there was resistance, because nearly all the children’s parents had warned them that all other towns were bad, and that they must remain in their own town.  But the adventure of being in a different town and the curiosity of what Child No. 10 would tell them was too big a temptation.  The eight children got their scooters and bicycles and rode to the next town.  As they approached, the children stopped in fear.  What if the townspeople hated them?   Child No. 8 helped ease their nerves by finally opening up and telling them that he moved to their town from a different town and most towns look similar.  He assured them everything would be all right.

One huge surprise was that this town had shops with ice cream, cake, cookies and candy in the windows!  The children asked the townspeople about the rules for eating sweets and found out they had no rules.  There was no guilt and anyone could eat sweets.  Child No. 10 wondered if Mattie made secret trips to this town to buy her ingredients. 

Child Nos. 3 and 4 had come along in order to convince the other children that they needed to obey Gottfried and Junior, because they felt it was the only way they would be saved from torture.  They tried to convince the rest of the children not to partake in of any of the free samples of ice cream, and to go back home.  The townspeople were so delighted to see children from another town they brought out free samples of all the sweets from the stores.   Child No. 3 and Child No. 4 were too frightened to be free from the rules that Gottfried and Junior imposed and realized that believing in Gottfried and Junior was the only way there was a chance for eternal life, so they ran from the temptation of ice cream and cookies and rode back to their own town ahead of the others, praying all the way and quite fearful that Gottfried and Junior would find out about the bicycle trip.   

Feeling secure in an environment without oppression, Child No. 8 finally confessed that his family worshiped another person named Mohobbit, and he was not going to switch his beliefs.  Child No. 10 assured Child No. 8 and the other children that Gottfried and Junior did not have any special powers.  He pointed out that Gottfried and Junior were not very powerful if other towns did not know about them, and found it odd that Mohobbit was situated in one specific town and Gottfried in another, as if these leaders only had control over a very few people in their own town.  He told the other children about how Gottfried ran angrily to get out of the rain, and how Gottfried and Junior had to number everyone because they couldn’t remember names.  Child No. 10 was making sense, and he hoped Child Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 would not be fooled by Gottfried anymore.  The children thanked the people of the new town for the wonderful sweets, and, feeling stronger and less fearful, each made his and her own decisions about their relationships with Gottfried and Junior.

A year passed quickly, and most of the children knew they had not followed all of Gottfried and Junior’s rules.   

Child No. 1 and Child No. 2 were the first to arrive at Gottfried’s house on their one year anniversary.  They were upset that the other children had thoughts that were different from theirs and they just thought Child Nos. 3-10 should change.  They said that Gottfried and Junior gave them unconditional love, and that the children should choose to accept the unconditional love so they would not get burned.  Child Nos. 1 and 2 could not wait to receive their certificates and show the others how the righteous are rewarded!

Child Nos. 3, 4 and 5 also returned to Gottfried and Junior’s house.  They were not as confident that they would be safe from the wrath of Gottfried, although Child Nos. 3 and 4 knew they had done better than most of the other children.  Child No. 5 had not tithed to Gottfried and Junior because she could not afford it, but she had prayed for forgiveness and hoped that would allow her to enter a good eternal life after death.  Child No. 10 also returned to Gottfried and Junior, to face them.

When Gottfried and Junior saw Child No. 10 return, they demanded the child apologize for his rebellious ways, and Child No. 10 refused.  Gottfried and Junior became very angry and commanded Child No. 10 to obey.  Child No. 10 stood up to Gottfried and Junior and said he knew they were frauds.  He also told Gottfried and Junior that all the children were friends until they came to Gottfried and Junior’s house, and now they were all broken up, and he wished they had never come to the party.

Gottfried attempted to grab Child No. 10 to torture him as he had done to other disobedient and defiant children in the past, but Child No. 10 was a slippery kid and ran toward the front door.  He yelled to the others, “Run!  They cannot catch us all!  Child No. 4 and Child No. 5 made a bolt toward the door.  Junior managed to catch Child No. 4, but Child No. 5 escaped to freedom, along with Child No. 10. 

Junior said he felt such sadness that Child No. 4 had tried to escape and now would be condemned to burn for eternity after he died.  Child No. 4 screamed in terror.  He thought he was one of the good children, and just one mistake and he was going to be burned! 

“Junior and I must decide which children from this group need to have a taste of what they have earned in eternity by their bad behavior, and which children will get their certificate and desserts.  Child Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 will all burn after death and we will decide of any of you will burn eternally! 

Gottfried held Child No. 4 in front of the children as an example.  “You, Child No. 4, will be punished today because you tried to run away. But if you ask me for forgiveness, you can still receive your certificate and have eternal life with unlimited sweets.”  Child No. 4 immediately asked for forgiveness and Gottfried said he was forgiven, but it was time to punish him for running away. 

Just then, Gottfried nodded a secret nod, and Junior swiftly grabbed up Child No. 2.  “You think you are so perfect,” said Junior.  “But we are angry and someone must pay!  I love you all, but I am disgusted with those who ran away and those who never showed up.  I must punish someone innocent.  It is the only way I can forgive the bad children, so I choose you, Child No. 2, to be punished in the name of the other children.”  Child No. 2 begged Junior for mercy, tearfully explaining that he was good all year!  “Of course I know that,” said Junior, and you will be rewarded after this punishment and will get to pass into the other room to have cake and ice cream and receive a certificate for eternal life with unlimited sweets, along with Child No. 4.”

Junior handed Child No. 2 over to Gottfried, who pulled Child No. 2 and Child No. 4 toward the kitchen.  Junior stood guard to make sure Child Nos. 1 and 3 did not escape.  Mattie had been preparing a pot of boiling water in the kitchen.  Gottfried held the struggling children up and forced their right arms straight out over the sink.  He did not want water spilling on their floor.  Mattie poured boiling water over Child No. 2 and Child No. 4’s right arms as they screamed and cried.  Gottfried signaled he had enjoyed their pain enough, so she poured cool water on their arms to soothe them.  As she gently applied some salve she whispered in each child’s ear, “Sorry.”  

Gottfried took Child No. 2 and Child No. 4 to the front room where Child Nos. 1 and 3 were being held and demanded that all the children ask for forgiveness once more.  Through tears of pain and fear, they complied, even though they did not know why they had to ask for forgiveness again.  Child Nos. 3 and 4 knew that something was wrong with these two men at this point, but realized it was safer to play along.  Child Nos. 1 and 2 were too far into the Gottfried and Junior cult and were not rational.

Gottfried stood in front of the party room announced that all four children would be awarded their certificates of eternal life with unlimited sweets, and hugged Child Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 after handing them their certificates.  Gottfried had to shuffle through 10 certificates, one for each child, to find Certificates Nos. 1-4, and that was further proof that he had no superpowers because he did not know which child would pass beforehand.  The children enjoyed their reward of cakes, cookies, candy, and were allowed to leave with their certificates to show their parents.

What happened to the children after the last visit at Gottfried’s house was over?  Several days after leaving Gottfried’s house, Child Nos. 6 and 8, and 9 convinced their parents to move to a different town.  Child No. 7 was unaffected, and began making a huge aluminum foil welcome sign, so it reflected into space for friendly aliens to see.

Child Nos. 1 and 2 continued studying their rule book and putting money in Gottfried’s mailbox, because they wanted to make sure they maintained their connection with Gottfried and Junior so they would be assured to have eternal life.  They separated themselves from the rest of the children, because they did not want to be influenced to lose their faith in Gottfried and Junior.

Child Nos, 3, 4, 5 and 10 met regularly as a group with the goal of stopping further generations of children from ever going to Gottfried’s house.  As they were still children, they went back to playing together, and convinced their parents to take occasional drives to the next town for sweets!

QUESTIONS:

1.  Which children were more moral, Child Nos. 1 and 2 or Child Nos. 9 and 10?
2.  If this was a trick and Child No. 10 was rewarded, would that be fair to Child No. 9 who felt the same but did not speak up?
3.  Why did Child Nos. 1 and 2 believe in Gottfried and Junior?  Were they just not smart enough to figure things out?  Was it the rewards after death?  Did they feel they were right because they had been commanded to believe? 
4.  Should Child No. 2 have been punished as a scapegoat?  Do scapegoats make sense, are they just a way for a person to let out his/her frustrations or an inadequate way to “make things right?”
5.  Was it fair that Child Nos. 5 and 6 were too poor to be able to tithe and were punished with eternal burning? 
6.  Should Child No. 7 and 8 get eternal life simply because they were being true to themselves and following their own beliefs?  
7.  Wouldn’t it be nice for all of the children to receive an eternally good life after death, without being coerced and forced to change anything about themselves?
8.  Does it seem like Gottfried and Junior are good people and loving? 
9.  Does it seem like Gottfried and Junior have supernatural powers? 
10.  Does Mattie seem oppressed? 
11.  Did any of the children deserve punishment, or were Gottfried and Junior wrong in what they were doing?
12.  Can you relate this story to the story of Christianity and see that it does not make sense?





Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Searching for Atheists? Check the Vegans!

A very prominent vegan activist took an informal poll on Facebook, asking her followers to comment "God" or "No God."  Most people put an explanation with their comment, so we could learn more of their reasoning.  The results were quite surprising to me: the overwhelming majority of the responders were atheist!  I cannot remember how many people responded, but it was a sizeable number of people. 

A very rough guess at the statistics would be that 80% of the people were atheist, 15% were spiritual or agnostic, and 5% were Christian or another religion.  I thought the spiritual number would be the highest, followed by Christians since they are the majority in society, so this was a real revelation.


What could these results show?  I am not sure, but I will guess. 

1.  The vegans may have become atheist because of the unfairness of animal cruelty.  They could have looked at the concept of a loving god who fixes wrongs, and they could see that help never comes for the animals.

2.  Vegans look at the unfairness of life itself; 

3.  Vegans may have been atheist in the first place and are just more likely to become vegan because they take action in this world, and are simply good people. 

4.  Religious people are taken in by all the excuses in the Bible to eat meat - God says people started eating meat after "the fall"; God loved the smell of burning animal flesh; God said animals are here for our use; God says we have dominion over the animals.  5. God had a thing for bloody sacrifices.   (Vegetarianism was rather popular in the first century AD, but all those religious groups were wiped out by the Christians.) 

Again, I do not know the reason for so many atheists in the vegan ranks, but it sure surprised me.  What a welcome surprise!

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Holy Books Cause all the Hatred and Violence, but No One Will Even Admit Hateful Words Exist in their Books

Seven preachers celebrated the Orlando shooting! 
 
The God of the Bible is their source.
God burns down a whole city (women and children
included) simply because they were supposedly homosexual. (Genesis 19:23-25)
God orders the death of witches, sorceresses and anyone who practices magic. (This verse was justification for the Inquisition.) (Exodus 22:18)

God commands that homosexuals be killed for their acts. (Leviticus 20:13)

When are people going to admit this hateful garbage is in their holy books?

I posted this and a couple of other statuses about how the Abrahamic holy books are the source of hatred and violence and causes most of the problems in our world.  I had about 30 hateful and violent Bible verses from just the first five books in the Bible as proof.  Only one person (an atheist) put a "like" on it.  No one commented, and my husband argued, saying:  "I never saw any of that in the Bible."  Well, he never read the whole Bible! 

Here I was just floored at the violence and felt like I had a revelation that the source of these attacks on gays comes straight from the churches, and all I got was a Jewish person commenting who was totally offended that I lumped his Abrahamic holy book in with the other two.  I pointed out all the hateful passages in the Torah and of course, he said that they all believe that their religion changes with the times, so they are not hateful.  I showed him where in more conservative sects of the Jewish faith, many men beat their wives; I showed him how animal abuse is rampant and the Kosher means of killing animals is unjustified (the animals are not "clean" and are straight from the factory farms) and they go through immense pain due to religion; and I showed him that there were a couple of Jewish terrorists, although certainly less.  I showed him that women are held back in the Jewish religion, and given a specific role.  I also pointed out that God telling each religion to "be fruitful and multiply" makes no sense.  Wouldn't God only tell that to the people he favored and none of the other religions since he wants his chosen people to take over the world?  Yet each religion thinks they are the ones who will be rewarded, and they need to further increase the population with their uneducated children.  (I didn't phrase it quite that bluntly.)  All he did was get angry.

No one admits the hateful and violent passages exist in their holy books and that they hold back society.