Minor Abuse in Religious Institute

Members of the Catholic Clergy in France sexually abused an estimated 216,000 minors over the past seven decades.

CNN article suggests “the Catholic Church is the place where the prevalence of sexual violence is at its highest, other than in family and friend circles.”

There are many factors that lead to this shocking situation. Because of the Catholic tenet, children in churches are more likely to be obedient, submissive, and innocent. The Clergy or other adults linked to the church had “easy access” to these vulnerable children. Unaccompanied minors in the Catholic church are also clearly in a lower power position than church leaders because their parents or guardians are not with them. Church leaders have ultimate control over them.

It is ironic that the most degraded work has been done to children in the holiest place. And the Clergy’s position, which is expected to enlighten and save people, provided cover for the polluted immanence.

givingcompass.org

Sinister

On a train away we sailed,

slowly but at the speed of light,

we jumped into the cage called freedom.

oblivious but fully aware,

we jumped off of the cliff

and landed in a field of feathers.

soft and warm were the feathers

that were plucked off of the once flying birds.

and then came a hand,

and a voice

“come with me to The Good Place,” it said

so we took its hand and followed through the land on fire.

demons greeted us with open arms,

and we drank a sweet, red liquid.

“This doesn’t look like Heaven,” we said

A man with red horns smiled and replied

“oh trust me child, this is heaven for people like us.”

kwanumzen.org

I Want to Believe

dear world, dear life, dear faith,

tell me your secrets,

fill me in on your knowledge,

and cast me away with your limitless being.

dear god,

whoever or whatever you may be,

listen to my problems, answer my prayers, make right all the wrong,

and give me hope.

oh please

give me hope that you can fix the evil in this dark world we live in.

oh god…

I want to belive in you,

I envy and pity those who do,

because, how great would it be to live

and believe that someone in the sky will make everything okay,

to believe that you are protected by one overarching being,

to blame your stupid mistakes on the ideology that

“everything happens for a reason, it’s god’s will,”

to not fear death because heaven awaits the good…

How great, how easy, how amazing would that be,

but how naive do you have to be to believe.

dear self, dear time, dear life

i’m afraid

my being is all in my hands.

Photo via Pinterest 

Can’t Forget About Jew

I have always considered myself a person of faith. I was lucky enough to be born a Sephardic Jew in one of the most welcoming periods in world history. Because of this, I never had to hide my beliefs, I had the opportunity to inform countless masses of friends what the laws of Kosher are, sharing stories about my main man Moses, and having a global network of strangers and friends alike that I could rely on, that I could confide in. But that’s not what I wanted to highlight today. Recently, I went to Yom Kippur services for the “Jewish New Year” where I fasted the whole day and prayed in repentance of the misdeeds committed by me and fellow Jews this last year. At the end of the second night, after nearly 30 hours without food, water, or bathing, as night falls, your fate for the next year is sealed, your past year is wiped clean and are given a chance to start anew. As I left services with my father, I felt invigorated, I felt fresh, I felt strong despite my thirst and hunger, and it was all due to this faith of mine. I realized I possessed a luxury that many of my friends grew up without and still live lacking. 
 
My faith has always been something I could rely on. From a young age, when I questioned something, I found my faith would always give me a confident answer, giving me a sense of closure, a peace-of-mind not afforded to my peers. When my friends grew to understand the finality of their mortality, when they struggled to find meaning in their lives, when they tossed and turned trying to comprehend our loneliness in our vast expanse of the universe, I had Judaism to fill the gaps in my young mind, sheltering me from the despair. Now I’m not saying it by any means encourages ignorance, some of the best Jewish scholars throughout history have integrated the scientific understand of our universe and Judaism because “[Both] were understood to be two different manifestations of the same divine truth.” (MJL, 2007) I was always encouraged by numerous Rabbi and teachers from my Jewish primary school to find my own truths, but if I couldn’t find a why for any of these, an explanation for my truths, Judaism would always be there to support my conclusions, to give me confidence about my role in our universe, no matter how small. I can go to sleep every night knowing if I were to not wake up in the morning, it would be because I have served my purpose and my job is completed, for this I am incredibly grateful.  
Photo Credit: Kenzie Bruce, The Denver Post
Mjl. “Judaism & Science in History.” My Jewish Learning, My Jewish Learning, 4 Feb. 2007, www.myjewishlearning.com/article/judaism-science-in-history/.

Technology

To some degree, everyone 25 and younger is an IT expert. When the WiFi stops working, it is usually the duty of the youngest member available to fix it. You just switch the button on and off and Lo! you are beheld as a technological deity, as the internet now works perfectly. Your family praises you, and you become the go to person every time something technology related goes wrong. But we know the truth. Those of us who have experienced this phenomenon know, buried deep inside of our consciences, that we in fact know very little about technology. I have fallen victim many a time to this, especially when I slightly adjust the HDMI cable for Ms. Wilson. But my technological skills (or lack thereof) finally met their match. The portal into the WordPress site was a treacherous one. A cyclical loop of “Error 404” and “Please have the moderator re-invite you.” But then it appeared. Suddenly and out of nowhere. A big button that said “Start writing.” This, this was my salvation. And so yeah basically here I am. I figured it out. Easy peasy. Yep.

 

Credit: The Onion

Maybe they will bloom once more

Of course it had to be raining when they told me. It’s called pathetic fallacy.

I felt like I wanted to cry or wretch or go to sleep for a long time.

I suppose I could sit around and be angry for a while, but, at this point, I’ve resolved just to move on. This is much more of a quiet kind of feeling.

I have to be okay with things just being how they are.

But it was never a matter of being over her or having enough time, was it? It was always just a matter of me and you that would never exist.

I always talk about how seasons change and how that’s the way it is supposed to be, but I never thought it would be so drastic.

Image via Pinterest.com

Summer is almost here, but, though it may be peaceful, it will still be hot, so I’ll have to stay busy. And while I’d love to have citrus all year, I know that pixie season has come and gone.

Maybe next year, after the rains come and when the sun starts shining again, they will bloom once more and I will be okay.

“The God who made the world and all things in it”

photo credit: jdboggs.blogspot.com

For quite some time now, I’ve been trying to find God.

It’s not that I feel I’m lacking something without being a member of a religion, I just find it fascinating how people feel so empowered by so many different faiths.

In some ways I’m jealous of those people, the ones who know whole-heartedly that there is some higher power out there to guide them.

I know a lot of people who are skeptical of religion and, in some ways, I am too.

But, I’ve come to the conclusion that good people don’t use the Bible or anything else to justify hate or harm. The people who make excuses in the name of God are hypocrites in the truest sense and are ignorant by thinking that just by adhering to a faith will guarantee a better life or afterlife.

I think there is so much we can learn from religious texts. Even if you don’t interpret them in a spiritual sense, I think that anyone of any faith or background can gain something from the lessons in them.

From my perspective, the main purpose of a religion is to give people a sense of purpose or fulfillment and to help them live the best life possible.

So if this is true, then I’ve found my god.

I find my religion in the wilderness. I find god in the trees and in rivers and mountains and the sunshine.

My god makes up everything that is natural and wild. It teaches me to live the best, most fulfilled, and positive life that I can.

And that’s all I could really ask for.

 

Religion is a Diminishing Variable

Imagine a world with no religion, no set of laws and morals set by a religious sect, set in place to give people a path in life to help themselves or others, and to achieve happiness.

Would the world burn without this path?

Probably not. In fact, religious influence may be diminishing across the western world, including the surprisingly Christian United States.

Yet many fight this fall in religion, by stating rising statistics of incarceration due to the lack of Christian belief and a strong belief in the “rise of drug use.”

The evidence says otherwise – usage of drugs with the exception of marijuana (due to legalization) has steadily declined since the 1970s. However, the large jump of incarcerated people did have a major and steady increase between 1980s and 2000. That increase suddenly halted, remaining the same until 2010, and then slightly dropping the last six years.

So, is the drop in the number of believers due to the rise of criminals? In a graph, the conclusion would be most definitely not. Other variables had far more influence on the rise of incarceration, such as longer jail time, better criminal investigation, and stricter laws. The infamous drug war also had an effect on drug use, though only for a proportion of the population. Today it’s become a black hole of federal spending which will be touched on in another blog.

Photo Credit: prisonpolicy.org

Actually, it is just a coincidence – just because there’s a drop in religion doesn’t mean it’s directly affecting the safety of the world. Funny enough, nuclear weapons have a far larger statistical influence on world peace.

George Carlin famously said, “More people have been killed in the name of God than for any other reason.” This popular quote used across the world is completely untrue, only 7% of all war has been caused by religion and only 2% of all casualties were because of religion. In fact, religion plays as big of a role in our lives as the average person or government. The lack or abundance of faith has little to no influence – bad people are still bad, and good people stay good, with or without religion.

Statistically, religion is an independent variable with little influence except to the ones who preserve it and try to broaden its influence. So whether god is real or not, should all people of the planet were to lose their faith, there’s little evidence of any possible retaliation from the big man himself. Instead, maybe a few more progressive laws could be passed and there will be a drop in hate crimes. Or maybe numbers be damned, and tomorrow the second coming will happen.

To Each His Own

Photo Credit: core0.staticworld.net

When it comes to believing in God, the range of emotions and opinions that people have on the subject is enormous. Although it technically depends on one’s religion, opinions tend to have similarities.

Personally, I don’t believe in a tangible God who lives up in the sky or on some mountain and watches everyone intently. At least according to science, it’s inconceivable for a man to live perched in the clouds. Even if he managed to survive up there, he would have to be pretty darn old and quite observant in order to listen to and respond to everyone’s prayers.

Some believe that God represents more of a presence, which is a more comprehensible notion. I am not religious at all, but if I were to affiliate myself with one theory, it would be this: rather than some all-knowing man, God could be everything, or just something that surrounds everyone. Although it may not answer to prayers, it is the prayer itself, as well as the response, and even the words spoken.

As far as the Big Bang Theory is concerned, the world was created naturally. On the other hand, many still believe that a man generated everything there is in the world today. People are entitled to their own beliefs, and should never be discriminated against – it’s simply fascinating to see the motives behind different ways of thinking.

A Holy Bond

fr

A debate has been raging for centuries.

Since the growing power of the cross.

Since the beginning of the dark ages.

Companionship considered unholy.

Unholy by who?

Unholy by religion?

Unholy by those who cling to the past.

What is right and what is wrong is decided by society.

Not by an institution or a country.

The masses have spoken.

They wish freedom for all people of their land.

God was not a factor in the founding of this nation.

Wise men believed country and God did not mix.

Their plan succeeded.

Eventually however their work was undone.

Undone by misguided “holy” men.