Why, as an Atheist, have I been Talking so much about Buddhism?

Here is my unscripted off the cuff remarks on my interest in Buddhism


My Complicated Relationship with Religion

Certainly, I have a complicated relationship with religion. Currently, I am a non-religious atheist, or as I’m better described, a devout skeptic. (See the menu on the left for an article I wrote on that term.) I have been this way for years. Now, when I say I have a complicated relationship with atheism, that doesn’t mean I’m going to run to church today and go get “saved.” It’s much more “complicated” than that.

Basically, I find world religions to be truly fascinating! I’ve even invested a good amount of time and money studying them. I enjoy understanding them both from an academic prospective and from the subjective experience of their followers. This, of course, means I occasionally, once or twice a year, go to different religious services to experience what it is like to be a member of a particular religion, but I never officially join.

Although I hate what religions can do in some instances to a society, I don’t hate religions or religious people. In fact in some ways, I enjoy them, but what on earth do I mean by this? Religions are the closest things we have to actually living out a fantasy book or movie.

There is an idea in religions that there is something beyond this realm, and people can somehow harness it’s power. This is practically the plot to every fantasy book, and while I don’t believe that this religious notion is true, it is fascinating and fun to play with and study once in a while.

So, I warned my readers. My “relationship” with religion is a complicated one, but at the end of the day, I am not a theist. I don’t know if anyone can relate, and I suppose that’s okay.

As always, feel free to comment, even if you don’t like what I wrote!


The Importance of Feminism

I want to broach a subject that my followers have disagreed with me on before: feminism. I think feminism is important for both men and woman, but let me be clear what I mean by feminism. By feminism, I mean the equality of the genders, and the empowerment of the genders. When I talk about feminism, I do not mean hating men is acceptable, nor do I believe in the primacy of women. I believe feminism is important for cis women, cis men, and the trans community.

First, feminism is important for women. Women in western society truly do have some of the best statuses in the world, and yes, of course I care and am upset more about some of things going on in other parts of the world. Still, that doesn’t negate the fact that there are certain aspects in western society where women are not given equal status. For example, women are often seen as mere sex objects, and their attractiveness is often evaluated before their mental capabilities and accomplishments.

Secondly, feminism is important for men. I would truly like to live in a world where men, and particularly little boys, are not shamed for crying or being emotional. I want to live in a world where if a man likes something that is perceived as feminine he is not considered less of a man. I would like men to be able to just be comfortable being themselves instead of having to worry about how they will be evaluated on the “manly spectrum.”

Thirdly, feminism is important for the trans community. Transgendered people need to be uplifted to just be themselves. In this way, they should not feel the need to box themselves into mere gender stereotypes. A trans man can still be emotional, and a trans female can still be a tomboy.

Finally, I have a lot of thoughts on feminism and gender, and I have barely touched the subject. Perhaps, there will be more posts. In any case, some strands of feminism can be toxic, but I am asking my readers to think critically before throwing out the baby with the bath water. I am asking my readers to think critically and deeply about prejudice in society. I don’t think, personally, that there are no innate gender, but many of them aren’t. I think we do mistreat each other, and I want us to work to stop this silly behavior.

And as always, feel free to comment!



How Democrats and Republicans have Hurt the Poor

Have you ever cringed at internet memes comparing the poor to zoo animals? I’m talking about the ones where they say the reason you don’t feed the animals is so that the animals don’t become dependent. I certainly have. Poor people aren’t zoo animals. Still, is it possible that giving out too much welfare for too long for nothing in return can cause dependency? I believe the answer is yes. The welfare system should exist as a hand up system and not a hand out system, but it seems to be increasingly moving toward a hand out system as the Democrats want to promise voters more and more benefits. But hold on to your seat readers there’s more!

Let’s look at the Republicans. What are the Republicans doing to help the poor? They want to limit how long a person can be on welfare, or they want to introduce drug screenings. They want to tell food stamp recipients what kind of food they are allowed to buy. They refer to them as dependent or even worse “welfare queens.” Nevertheless, I guarantee if you asked a Republican if they cared about the poor they wouldn’t say, “yes.” But are they doing anything to actually help the poor? I would have to say, no.

Both Democrats and Republicans, in my opinion, have indeed failed the poor. The Democrats want votes, so they promise more and more without thinking about the social consequences. Meanwhile, the Republicans dehumanize the poor and want to diminish the welfare system without fixing it.

My solution is simple. Fix the system. Let’s make the welfare system a hand up. Let’s send long term welfare recipients to career counselors who help them make plans and goals to get training and certifications so that they actually qualify for jobs that pay enough to get them off of welfare.  Let’s have them meet with these counselors regularly. For example, if the recipient dropped out of high school. Let’s start by helping them get their GED.