Monday, June 28, 2010

Obituary -- Rodlyn Douglas


DOUGLAS-KIRKWOOD-Rodlyn, December 28, 1949 to June 24,2010. Born in Trinidad and Tobago to a Grenadian father and a Trinidadian mother, she grew up in New York. She is survived by father Rodney, step mother Olive; husband John; sons Jamel and Yanikk; daughter Lenecia; sisters Jennifer, Maria, Rose Marie, Petronella; brothers Lynrod and Kevin. Rodlyn earned a stellar reputation as an advertising executive in New York and Trinidad and was Creative Director for Christiansen and Belgrave and Corbin Compton Communications, two of the leading advertising and marketing firms in Trinidad. Rodlyn retired as Director of Visual Arts Foundation (School of Visual Arts) and was a published author, performance artist and oral poet. 

She was Executive Director of GrenadaAssist Foundation, a non profit she co-founder to lift the quality of life for Grenadians. She loved to garden and enjoyed visiting family and friends.

Celebration of Life
New Jersey
Thursday July 1, 2010: 2pm-5pm (Pot Luck)
2208 Hunter Street
Cinnaminson, New Jersey 08077

Celebration of Life
New York
Friday July 2nd: 2-4pm
Riverside Memorial Chapel
180 West 76 Street (@ Amsterdam Ave)
New York, New York 10023

Friday July 2, 2010: 5pm-8pm
408 Convent Ave
(between 147 & 148 Street)
New York, NY 10031

She will be missed by all including aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, in laws, associates and friends. Her family plans to establish a scholarship in her honour. Details will be posted online at

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why Do I Write by Rodlyn Douglas.

I can't even think straight enough to write an obituary, so I'll let you hear Rodlyn's own words:

Why Do I Write?PDFPrintE-mail
SATURDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2009 13:31
By Rodlyn Douglas

Is this a question?  Or is it an implement with which you ask me to pry open myself and reveal my soul?  Why do I write?  If I choose to use mere words to answer this question, then surely we will see the limitations of the language.  To go into the depths of why I write, I would have to add to the words, grunts, and shouts, and hollering, and screams, and moaning and groaning and roars and thundering sounds of rolling crashing waves and silence.  To use words alone would not let you see, sense, hear, smell the depth of the wounds I try to heal by writing.  I write to heal, not to tell stories, not to record my life, not to let you into the secret closets of my emotions.  No, I write simply to heal.  It is the only way I know how to heal the invisible wounds, the wounds you cannot see with the plain old naked eyes, but only through the lens of my pen.  I write for the same reasons, a painter paints, a dancer dances, a sculptor sculpts and a baby cries.  I write because it is the only natural remedy I have been fortunate enough to discover that will heal my wounds.
                I write to reach the depth of the canker sores.  I write to squeeze the pus from the boils.  I write to express the silence that only pen in hand and clean white pages of my diary can contain.  I write to touch the places smiles cannot touch.  I write to drain the morass from the unconsciousness I slipped into as a child in order to survive.  I write to survive as a woman.  I write to survive as a mother.  I write to find out how to be a woman, a mother, a writer and still survive in this world.  I write to find the way through the fog that sometimes is my life.  I write to ensure that I see the sunrise overcome the dim darkness of night, even in daylight.  I write because it is twilight and night is drawing near.  I want to be able to sleep and have sweet dreams, and not the tormenting dreams of the demons waiting to gnaw at me from the levels of the unknown where my soul travels when I sleep, a sleep of distress and worry and pain.
                I write to keep depression at bay and make the light shine in the darkness, because “light will always over come darkness” and writing is my light.  I write so that my light would shine, and that I will have the energy to reach up and place that light on a stand, high enough so that all can see the possibility of emotional healing.  I write to stay healthy.  I write so that others can dream of living, moving from girlhood into womanhood, and know the possibilities of blooming and flowering without the fear of withering, petals drooping at the very glance of rejection.  I write to save myself from gloom.  I write because I have survived.
                I write because survivors must write.  How else would the world know that there are endless possibilities of overcoming and slaying the demons?  How else would little girls know that there is hope, without words to express the trauma, confusion and awe in the journey of becoming a woman?  I write to chart new waters.  I write to map out new roads.  I write to leave directions for others who will follow.  I write so they would not have to be pioneers on this journey we take as women.  I write to become whole.  But you have heard all of this before … I write because I love mangoes and want to describe how I relished the taste of its yellow juice flowing down my hands and my slick quick tongue licking it into oblivion.  I write to remember the rhythm and tempo of calypso, steelpan and the limbo.  I write to feel the soothing current of the sea and walk the damp morning sandy beaches, again and again and again, pen on paper, again, and again, and again.  I write because I must.  I write because it is my duty.  It has been ordained by Shango, that I be the scribe who honors the ancestors and their culture which must be remembered; inscribed for all the ages.  I write so that I shall live and live joyously and with laughter.  I write so that I can learn to laugh.  I write so that others may smile.  I write for tomorrow that which I have experienced today.  I write because my words make music.  I write because the moon told me to.  I write in remembrance of Delilah who Samson blamed for his weakness of flesh, and for Mary Magdalene who was told she was mad because she proclaimed that Christ had risen, and the woman at the well, and Mary and Martha who had no story to tell but were ardent listeners to His stories, because they had no life story except  through Him.  I write in remembrance of the woman with the issue of blood, bleeding for twelve years and even though she was healed by touching the hem of His garment.  She is still bleeding today, because she is we, women; we who bleed but do not die.  I write in remembrance of Esther and Rebecca and Ruth and Miriam.  I write for Pharaoh’s daughter who found Moses in the river.  I write to tell the stories of the women then and the women now who have no voice to holler and scream with pen and voice.  I write to tell the stories of mothers who lost their voices when they wombs bore fruits.  I write for Mary who had no tears when her son rebuked her by saying, “can’t you see I am about my father’s business” and in front of his disciples, saying “woman my time has not yet come”.  He showed not one ounce of emotions for she who bore him in her womb.  How distraught she must have felt when all He spoke of and praised was His glorious father in heaven, while she watched him dragged, beaten and crucified wishing the earth would open and take her instead.  I write because, at times, I can not cry.  I write for words to express my fears.  I write.  I write.  I write.  I write because I must or else I die. 
I write to slay the resounding voices of the committees in my head.  I write because the silence scares me and I am afraid to drown in its shrilling emptiness.  I write.  I write.  I write.  I write so that my children will know who I am besides being their mother and the caretaker.  I write so that they would know I too had dreams and hopes and wishes for a total life.  I write so that they would know my story from the horse’s mouth, and not have to guess at maybes and possibilities of who and what they believed I am.  I write to illuminate the question and denseness of this journey called the woman writer’s life.
I write because the children need a sane mother.  A smiling sober mother.  A mother who looks and acts as if she has all her marbles lined up and ready to win the game.  I write because I am tired of being a raging lunatic.  Tired of seeing myself in tears and knowing only that I must cry or I must choke up and die.  I write so that I can soar sometimes, words being my wings of imagination.  I write to keep me surfaced and not sinking, drowning in the depression I seem to have been born with. I write so that I can wean myself off Zoloft, and sit in an AA meeting and not feel that I have no chance of surviving without a drug or a drink.  I write because I do not understand the anxiety. I cannot bear the anxiety.  I write to learn how to live life on life’s terms - whatever that means.  I write so that I can continue learning how to feel my feelings, how to comprehend the thoughts that race through my mind and make no sense, since every voice is screaming at the same time.  I write to hear the whispers.  I write to gain control of something that is still nebulous and fleeting; something ordinary people call happiness.  I guess that is what it is.  I write so that I can smile and feel the effects of a smile. I write so that I do not relate to the sadness which envelopes me and tells me that I cannot, I will not, I should not.  I write to reverse the tapes in my head and give my brain a chance to think good thoughts.  I write so that I can appreciate the sunrise and the sunset.  I write so that I can take flight with the birds and hear their chirping and know that there is a higher power, a god or goddess who loves me just like these birds are loved and fed and cared for.  I write so that I can appreciate the beauty of flowers and have dreams that are comforting.  I write to slay the nightmares. I write to make sense of years of therapy and still after years of pouring out, more and more and more stuff keeps surfacing and making itself present for examination.  I write to slay dragons.  I write so that I can bleed on the pages of my diary and not all over my friends.  I write because I was born with the blood of a writer, which I use as ink for my pen.

Copyright by R.H. Douglas

This is what Cora Schwartz, a mutual friend, wrote for her (Please read Rodlyn's essay first, though):

To Rodlyn's family:
Approximately two years ago Rodlyn attended a writing workshop at my writers retreat.  She had a private space in one of the cottages but all the activities and eating took place in the big house.  At the end of the weekend, after everyone left I went in to clean and change linen.  I walked into Rodlyn's unit and was in instant awe.  All her rooms had vases, jars, and bottles filled with the wild flowers she had found in the forest.  As a result, her rooms had a beautiful scent and was completely transformed. But the thing that meant so much to me was that Rodlyn had gone into the forest early in the morning and  found flowers and exotic weeds that  I HAD NO IDEA EXISTED! For a second I couldn't understand where they could have come from.  What I am saying is, of course, that Rodlyn saw beauty that I did not even know existed.  That was Rodlyn; she saw beauty everywhere.
A few weeks ago, because the retreat is fully booked for the summer, I decided to develop a little herb garden and sitting room/meditation room/tea room in the basement of one of the cottages so I could have a private place to go and a place to offer guests to have tea and whatever.   (I became interested in herbs as part of my research for the sequel I am working on.)  I planned on going up into the woodsthis weekend to search out some exotic looking  weeds and flowers to hang from the rafters of the room. I already started an herb garden outside the door.  I was going to order some kind of sign as well.  Frankly, I was feeling sort of foolish doing all this because as many of you know, I have my big house across the road with 2 patios and garden etc.  NOW I KNOW WHY I DRIVEN TO DO DO ALL THIS DESPITE MY RELUCTANCE AND FEELINGS OF SUPIDITY. 
I will name the space Rodlyn's Room or Rodlyn's Herbal Garden (open to suggestions please)  What more can I say? 
I thank Rodlyn for giving my life direction in so many ways.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weepy, Shaky, Trembly, Angry as all get-out -- Perfect Time to Edit Onion!

Art is a wonderful thing, isn't it? And my art is especially wonderful. Not because I'm so great a writer. I'm an okay writer. I'm not particularly good. I rewrite everything at least thirty times and my friends are always put upon to help me hone my stories. It takes me ages to get through whole paragraphs because I literally go from word to word, stumbling over fear, embarrrasment, bad English, bad grammar, wrong "narrative voice" to get a perfect thought.

But my art is wonderful in one thing: it's from the deepest part of my heart. All my love, all my hate, all my anger, all my fear, all my pain -- end up in my novels. Not partially, mind you. But all of it.

So now I'm weepy, because I'm so sick this week and because the fibromyalgia's making me shaky, and because I feel hopeless with my only hope being God, and because I'm angry at social workers who intrude and oppress and hover over folks like Nazi hoverers. So yeah, it's a perfect time to work on My Life as an Onion. Because there's a scene in there about social workers trying to take a kid away, because there's a subplot in there about grief and illness, because I can be utterly utterly utterly painfully honest and that is what hooks my readers.

I do wonder where I got this penchant for writing stories so bare and shamelessly honest. Even when I'm ashamed of being such an open book, I have to write it down. I suspect too much poetry and indie films. Oh yeah, the indie film syndrome. So many isolated sad characters, and so many long stresses of nothing seemingly happening. That's my big problem, I think: the pacing. I love films where nothing apparently happens but where all this stressful stuff is happening internally. But dang! I can't really write like that. Takes a master/mistress who can depict internal stresses/tensions to write long pages of nothing that's a page-turner. So indies -- and Asian indies at that-- have not entirely affected me for good. Yet, I am what I am and I write what I write.

So Onion, here we go! Hand moist, body trembling (my poor characters all seem to have to deal with inner shaking), angry at "THE MAN" and weepy as all get out. . . I edit fiercely. Adelante.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fifteen Years: A Novel

Fifteen years : a novel
by Norman-Bellamy, Kendra.

  • Paperback: 288 pages

  • Publisher: Lift Every Voice; Original edition (February 1, 2010)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 0802468853

  • ISBN-13: 978-0802468857

  • Here's the blurb:

    Jonah (JT) Tillman, the son of a substance dependent and neglectful mother, spent most of his childhood years in the custody of the State, living in foster homes throughout Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of fourteen, he was taken from the foster family that he had grown to love, the Smiths, and returned to his neglient birth mother. Enduring the hardships face while living with his birth mother JT manages to make something of his life.However, fifteen years after being taken from the Smiths and at the peak of success, he finds himself feeling empty and at his lowest. When he decides to reconnect with the Smiths, JT finds his faith in God renewed and discovers his attraction to his foster sister. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

    About the Author

    KENDRA NORMAN-BELLAMY is a national best-selling author and the founder of KNB Publications LLC. She is the organizer of Visions in Print, an Atlanta-based national organization for faith-based writers, and The Writer’s Hut, an online fellowship for African American Writers. She is the founder of Cruisin’ For Christ, a groundbreaking at-sea ministry that celebrates writing, gospel music and other God-glorifying arts, and also serves as a motivational speaker.

    Kendra and her award winning titles have been featured in such magazines as Essence, Upscale, EKG Literary, and HOPE for Women. She has been a contributing writer for HOPE for Women, Precious Times, and Global Women magazines. Kendra is the author of One Prayer Away, Crossing Jhordan’s River, and A Love So Strong. She was the winner of the 2008 Best Christian Fiction Award and the 2008 Best Anthology Award from the African American Literary Award Show in Harlem, New York.

    A native of West Palm Beach, Florida, Kendra currently resides in Stone Mountain, George with her family. For more information, visit

    An excerpt is here

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    WTF Moment in Bible study: The earliest known Catch-22

    Poor Job! Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't!

    If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. Job 9:20 Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life. Job 9:21

    If he tries to show God that he is good (or if he is indeed good), the act of attempting to show God he's good will only condemn him. And even if he was a perfectly good person, he just doesn't know. 

    WTF moment in Bible study: Book of Job: Eliphaz' vision

    So there is Eliphaz attempting to comfort Job and he tells Job of a vision he has had. Before we actually ponder what the vision tells him, let's ask ourselves: "Are we going to believe this spirit that Eliphaz has seen?"

    Second: so if the spirit chides Eliphaz, does this rebuke apply to Job as well? Was the spirit setting Eliphaz up to be a discomfort to Job? Or is it about Eliphaz' own self-righteousness? Eliphaz thinks Job is like him. So he's judging Job by an exhortation he received?

    Well, we try the spirits. We can't really try this spirit, though. All we have is the spirit's commentary:
    So the spirit says, "Can a mortal man be more righteous than his maker?" Was Eliphaz at one time bitter against God? Is that why the spirit came? Did Eliphaz say in his heart, "IF I were God, I wouldn't have done this. IF I were God, the world would be fairer!"

    The vision is so subtle I really don't know what's happening. Is it an angel of light or is it a demon pretending to be an angel of light? There's a subtlety here. Because in the spirit's commentary, "man" is being put in his place. But what a place! Is man that low? Made of dust? Yeah, we are made of dust and we disappear...but...uhm...Does God NOT trust His angels? Doesn't the psalms say man is a little less than God?

    First, I don't trust that this vision from God. Second, we don't apply someone else's truth to us. The dream/vision came to you Eliphaz! So -- if it's real-- it's not for me, it's for you.

    So if this is false, how is it different from what God tells to Job in the whirlwind?
    I love reading plays... All that POV stuff and trying to figure folks out. One of the funny thing here is that what starts out in comforting mode ends up in superiority mode

    There is also the problem of where the spirit's quotation ends. Punctuation is a toughie in the Bible. And so many Bible doctrines fall or rise on how modern folks understand the punctuation. (For instance, modern linguists say that when Paul was saying: It is good for a man not to touch a woman" he was requoting the question the Corinthians had posed to him. And a punctuation problem pops up in JEsus' talk to the father of the demon-possessed boy. The father says: "Lord, if you can heal my son, do something." It seems linguists are understanding Greek punctuation and it seems Jesus said, "IF you can??? All things are possible to him that believes!" But without the punctuation, it sounds as if Jesus is saying to the father, "If you can (believe) all things are possible to him that believes."  "Believe" was slipped in there as a kind of assumption by the KJV translators.) In this case, if the quote ends at verse 17, we have the spirit saying,

    'Can a mortal be more righteous than God?
           Can a man be more pure than his Maker?

    Then the rest is Eliphaz' commentary.

    Anyway, here's the passage.

    1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
     2 "If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient?
           But who can keep from speaking?
     3 Think how you have instructed many,
           how you have strengthened feeble hands.
     4 Your words have supported those who stumbled;
           you have strengthened faltering knees.
     5 But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged;
           it strikes you, and you are dismayed.
     6 Should not your piety be your confidence
           and your blameless ways your hope?
     7 "Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished?
           Where were the upright ever destroyed?
     8 As I have observed, those who plow evil
           and those who sow trouble reap it.
     9 At the breath of God they are destroyed;
           at the blast of his anger they perish.
     10 The lions may roar and growl,
           yet the teeth of the great lions are broken.
     11 The lion perishes for lack of prey,
           and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.
     12 "A word was secretly brought to me,
           my ears caught a whisper of it.
     13 Amid disquieting dreams in the night,
           when deep sleep falls on men,
     14 fear and trembling seized me
           and made all my bones shake.
     15 A spirit glided past my face,
           and the hair on my body stood on end.
     16 It stopped,
           but I could not tell what it was.
           A form stood before my eyes,
           and I heard a hushed voice:
     17 'Can a mortal be more righteous than God?
           Can a man be more pure than his Maker?
     18 If God places no trust in his servants,
           if he charges his angels with error,
     19 how much more those who live in houses of clay,
           whose foundations are in the dust,
           who are crushed more readily than a moth!
     20 Between dawn and dusk they are broken to pieces;
           unnoticed, they perish forever.
     21 Are not the cords of their tent pulled up,
           so that they die without wisdom?' 

    Job 4:21 Some interpreters end the quotation after verse 17.

    Dark Parable: Discernment Dream

    I dreamed I lived in and/or worked in a large dump/property which also made organic foods. The body parts of a baby was found in a dump. Either ours or the other two nearby.We called the cops and although they were sad about the crime, I didn't think they were passionately interested enough. There was a little blond boy beside me whom I seemed to have kind of adopted and taken it into my head to show him the ropes and enlighten him. A woman or maybe 2 women were also with me. I said to the little boy, "That cop didn't care." Then I corrected myself, "He cared, but he didn't care enough. He should get cadaver dogs. Sure, I know it's hard to find where the dumped baby body parts came from and who dumped it but they could do some investigation, they just either don't have any hope of finding it or they don't want to expend the energy." When I said this I was nibbling on a bit of clean cow foot or cow knuckle. It seemed to be my habit to nibble on that thing. 

    These three dumps were different in many ways. For instance, although they were dumps, they also contained large property in which one could do other things. My dump was on one side, then there was one in the middle which was rarely mowed so the grass grew high and one had to be really careful. I warned the little blond boy who was with me that he should wear socks with his boots because mosquitoes would get him. I was thinking snakes but I didn't want to scare him. I told him the difference between the three properties was also that there was a great church on the dump the farthest away from ours. My neighbor's neighbor. The church was called Dawn of the Dead and it was perfect. But it only operated from June to November... during the busy season or the planting season... so we'd have to wait. 

    I told the blond little boy that if he was going to work with us he would have to learn to discern certain foods from the smell. I started by saying he had to learn to discern different wines. Then I said, "Wine is very bad." Cause I didn't want him to drink it. But then I realized that wasn't quite true so I corrected myself, "You must've get drunk with wine." And he added, "because it has some good things to it." I was glad I was dealing honestly with this kid because he already knew some truths. 

    Then I put other foods under the kids' nose -- blindfolded him-- to see if he could detect what they were so he could sharpen his ability to discern. Chocolate and almond (and maybe sunflower seeds) before they were blended together. Then my friend, Carol, whom I haven't seen in a while blended them together. It seemed to me the little boy would be able to smell them better when they were cut up and blended...because blending releases the aroma and essences. Cause I don't think one can recognize the smell of almonds if they're whole. Not sure. uhm...

    Then I put other things under his nose. And finally I brought him a prepackaged candy bar, something with coconut in it. I said to him, "Recognize this smell. It's the smell most commercial prepackaged candy has. After a while you recognize it easily." It seemed to be the smell one smells in bakeshops or maybe high fructose corn syrup or some chemical or whatever. But I wanted him to recognize it and I think I also wanted him to learn to avoid it. 

    What is funny is that I was very careful with my words in the dream. That was interesting to me. Choosing what to say and/or carefully correcting myself if I said something wrong. Because that's how I am in real life. For better or worse. 

    I think the dream is about prepackaged spirituality, churches with strange smells -- strange flaky modern doctrines-- and one must learn to discern. Discerning of spiritual foods (and doctrines) as well as literal foods, I think. I think we are all "down in the dumps" but we have to know that even then we have organic pure food to give to others. -C

    Friday, June 04, 2010

    TWO WTF moments in Bible Study:Heavenly Tongs? Really?

     1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
     2Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
     3And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
     4And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
     5Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
     6Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
     7And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.: Isaiah 6: 1-6

    So...there are heavenly tongs in heaven? Angels can be hurt by fire from the altar? Tongs?????

    The second:
    Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the LORD? Isaiah 42: 19

    So...who is the Servant of God blind to? who is the Servant of God deaf to?
    The tempting call of seducing religious hypocrites? The siren song of the wealth of the world?
    Am thinking.... what was Jesus blind to and deaf to? What should I be blind to and deaf to?

    Wednesday, June 02, 2010

    Atheists of so many ilks

    More and more I'm beginning to see and understand the types of atheists I get along with and the kinds I don't.

    To begin with, I'll say that while atheists come in all brands, they do have certain shared commonalities. Some of the commonalities are standardized, that is: they share the same canon of philosophers: Dawkins, Hitchens, and the like. Other commonalities are personality traits...the most basic of which is that they simply have decided that A) those who believe in God are not as deep as they are. (The assumption here is that 1) they have walked in our shoes and managed to remain undeceived about this God silliness or B) if they had walked in our shoes, they would not have succumbed to belief in fairytales, God, and the like. In short, they are way less gullible and far wiser than the rest of the world.)
    B) those who believe in God are simply not to be believed. (They basically have decided that believers are either liars or deluded. They wouldn't come out and say that but that's pretty much their foundational belief. So they believe that if a believer tells them about anything about prayers being answered or an encounter with the numinous that person is mistaken.)

    An atheist's family's religious background also shows up in his life. Not that many will admit this.

    A few examples will give you an idea of what I mean. Not making a great generalization but some stuff I've seen: :
    An atheist from an orthodox Jewish religious background often loves and values text, law, and learning.  I love Orthodox Jewish atheists. There are also my Jewish atheist friends who are from reformed backgrounds. From my experience, these friends tend to love justice and social causes. .

    An atheist who comes from an evangelical background will tend to aim to live a life of accepting everything that they almost go overboard in their "well, I can't judge." I mean...really overboard.

    An atheist from a Mennonite background often likes community, and often attempts to bring or create a community of like-minded like-souled people. I love Mennonite atheists.

    An atheist from a Roman Catholic background tends to sacramentalize stuff. Certain objects, family rituals, movies, take on a certain spirituality. They also have a keen sense of what is morally right and morally wrong. They make great ethicists, I think.And the ones I know are into women's rights.

    The flipside of all this is that an atheist who comes from a particular religious background often carries the prejudices born of that religion as well. When speaking with Catholic atheists, one realizes one is dealing with someone who has a Catholic god. And an Islamic atheist's idea of God will always feel a little too fatalistic for a Christian. And an atheist who comes from a Mormon or evangelical background might still retain certain personality traits. One simply cannot get rid of one's matter how deep and wise one thinks one is.

    An atheist who comes from a family with only a nominal American spirituality tends to be the worst kind of atheist because they generally have only the work of pop religion to come up against. These are the type of atheists I tend to dislike. You say "God bless you when they sneeze" and they accuse you of pushing God down their throats. Of course they may have met Christians who were ready to judge and consign them to hell but they'll also have met kind easygoing Christians. Except that their minds will tell them that ALL the Christians they've met are horrible people. They just look to have us fit into the stereotype because they ahve been trained to dislike Christians in general. And they often jump from not believing in Christianity to simply not believing in anything. Being Americans -- and thus filled with American traits-- they tend to be the ones who use American tropes. They also have cultural idiocies such as:

    Atheism as victimization -- "It's so scary to "out" myself as an atheist when Christians are ready to cut my throat."

    Atheism as a legal right -- "We atheists have our rights too."

    Atheism as holy (This is often linked to the victimization trope. Something like: Being a victim is holy, therefore I am a victim, therefore I have never victimized, therefore religion is bad, therefore no religion is good, therefore atheism is the holiest of paths.) This is often extended to

    Atheism as holy war: "We must keep the world safe for atheism and protect our children from the encroachment of evil because all religion is evil.)

    Atheism as clear thinking and enlightened -- "The Bible is a barbaric book written by barbaric men in barbaric times.") The general idea here is that we moderns are too enlightened to deal with book. After all, we have partial birth abortions where doctors half-deliver babies and jab the baby's neck to kill the baby, we have forced abortion in China, capital punishment in the US. (Inevitably the atheist aligns her idea of enlightenment with her own class and her own culture. So if one shows what non-religious modern gov'ts have done, they say well that was Hitler and Stalin and Mao...not "us" meaning the united states, or people in my own class of enlightened people. So modern enlightened people inevitably ends up being a praise of western civilization and mores....and the atheist's own enlightened friends.)

    Atheism as affront. "Could a good God allow evil?" Atheists tend to have the kind of Sunday school mentality wherein a person believes a god God should prevent all evil. At the same time the atheist believes in her own goodness so never really thinks about the fact that if she asks God to destroy evil and if God were to remove man's free will and man's rule over man's own sphere by taking away all man's evil, this would necessarily mean that the atheist herself would have to be removed. Of course atheists don't believe themselves to be perfect but when they think of God allowing evil, they never think about God allowing them to live beside say Hitler.

    Atheism as being especially against a Christian Theism. Which I suppose is the point. But the annoying thing here is that the atheist is always saying things are in the Bible which decidedly are not in the Bible. "The Bible says there's original sin." or "The Bible says man cannot be good unless God decides to make man good but at the same time God puts people into hell." or "The Bible is a sexist book.")

    Subsets of this are: "If God exists, why should He care about your little problems?"  -- Again, this idea of God as important CEO, probably a response to the idea of a sovereign God.

    or "There is no proof for God's existence."    -- Something I always considered silly because I watch way too many criminology shows. The way I see the scene of the "crime" is the universe. And proof depends on evidence we may or may not understand. In the days before fingerprints existed, did anyone know fingerprints mattered? Before the growth of quantum physics, Christians thought "In the beginning God said, 'Light!'" or "In the beginning was Light" was poetic and doctrinal. Now quantum physicists have proven that sound made light and that light made the world. They've even proven that humans are made of sound and light and that there are other dimensions.

    This leads to the basic problem with atheists: they are always faithful to old science. They accuse religious people of being backward but more and more we see how stolidly faithful atheists are to concepts and "facts" that have been changed or downright annihilated by newer science. Religion spoke of spiritual realm -- and a spiritual God within-- long before Carl Sagan spoke about the fourth dimension being  "inside" the 3rd dimension.  The Bible spoke about mountains under the sea, the earth being hung upon nothing, and the earth being one land mass long then being divided long before scientists talked about the continental shift etc. And when atheists start telling me the Bible's historical facts are wrong, it is always clear they've read some old higher critics historical document and never read up on later history or a rebuttal. How many people have lost their faith because the higher critics said there was no such thing as the Hittittes, Pontius Pilate, Ur of the Chaldees, David, Solomon! By the time archeology proved that these people -- only mentioned in the Bible-- actually existed, those folks lost who their faiths had already forgotten why they lost their faith. All they knew was the Bible was "wrong." They didn't research to see if what one book or one teacher taught them was true. For instance, if I hear one more person tell me the shroud of Turin was a hoax! Didn't they see the rebuttal and profuse apologies made by the scientists who got it all wrong.  As C S Lewis said, "A young atheist must hold onto his faith with dear life."

    Let's -- to avoid an argument-- say that those of us who believe in God are deluded and not as emotionally or intellectually strong as our more enlightened western dwellers. Let's say God is my crutch? Why then should someone who has way more money (their crutch, probably) than I do, someone with no children dead or alive, someone not as often as death's door as I am, someone who probably doesn't know what it was like to actually have no food literally -- well, why should this person want to disabuse me of my crutch? And after they have taken away my crutch, what will this very enlightened person give to those of us who have so much less than they do? Sorry, life is unfair. We're rich or at least middle-class, our children are healthy, we have no dead children, and in short your valiant struggle to live -- whether you were a slave in plantation days or a falsely-accused, falsely-imprisoned prisoner is utterly meaningless to anyone but you? So, yeah, I find pushy atheists to be cold and insensitive and whiny and inconsiderate. (Although it must be stated that for weak folks who need crutches to live -- unlike our enlightened and strong atheist friend who needs no such god-crutch-- there have been religious people from many faiths (especially Christians) who have suffered through some very horrible imprisonments and suffering and maintained their strength and their faith. So, perhaps we religious people are strong in our own way.

    The other thing that bothers me about pushy angry atheist is that they all hold to a basic tenet that a religious person who has seen something of God (through a miraculous healing, through a vision, etc) is (of necessity to the atheist's beliefs) lying or deluded. If one has been miraculously healed, if one died and went to hell, if one saw an angel or a demon...and is stupid enough to tell an atheist, one will see this determination to not believe their fellow man. I'm an easygoing person. Not gullible by any means. But if you're my friend and if you tell me you went to the deli, I will believe it. If you tell me you saw the President, I will believe you. If you tell me you saw a ghost, I will believe you. Not so the atheist. The atheist qualifies her friend's statements. This I will believe but in this my dear friend is deluded or is flat-out lying. So, one of the basic tenets of atheism is that they are free to consider their religious friends liars or deluded. Who wants friends who pick and choose what they will believe of what we say?

    I don't mind easygoing atheists and agnostics, though. I can proudly say that I have some very good atheist acquaintances. Not really friends, perhaps...because what do we really have in common? At the core of my life is the belief that much in this world will only matter in the light of a Greater Light. So, I connect with my Jewish atheist friends in their love for justice, and my Roman Catholic atheist friends in their love of the sacramental, and my Mennonite friends in their love for beauty, and even with my Islamic atheist friends in a kind of stoical acceptance of certain things in life. But I don't connect with them as much as I do with my religious friends of whatever religion. And definitely not as much as I connect with my religious Christian friends.

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