Two days


The first day

If the number of hours that the average believer prays for himself and his loved ones was stacked-up against the time spent praying for world peace and an end to hunger, which stack would be higher? It was a funny question to wake up to, but it’s the one I had after a horrific night last night, a night spent, frankly, looking forward to death. I thought I would have beaten this broken back problem by now—just as I once thought I would beat my shoulder problems—but this is the two month anniversary of my fall, and Im nowhere near well, and it scares me so much that I’ve shed tears over it, this being the first time in my life that I cried because I was afraid.

In America, at least, when you complain of pain to whomever you see before you see your doctor, you’re asked to rate it on a scale of one to ten with ten being the worst pain imaginable and none of the other numbers being defined. If you ask your questioner to define the difference between, say, a pain level of four and a pain level of six, what do you think she (it’s always a she) will say? “Well, six is two points worse than four.” The query becomes a game in which the patient tries to guess which number he needs to give in order to have his problem taken seriously while avoiding any suspicion on the doctor’s part that he might be exaggerating. I realized last night that I’m no longer going to answer the question because it’s bullshit, and I’m sick of bullshit. I put up with way more of it than would seem necessary, and I’m sure you do too.

I prayed last night—my situation being that desperate—not to some supernatural entity but to a place within myself that I used to visit when I needed guidance, but the existence of which I have come to doubt. My prayer went, “Wisdom be in my head, and in my understanding. Wisdom be in my eyes, and in my seeing. Wisdom be in my mouth and in my speaking. Wisdom be in my heart and in my thinking. Wisdom be at my death, and at my departing,” these being close to the words that I loved when Father Hale said them every Sunday at Redeemer Episcopal forty years ago. Last night, they came from my lips like a stillborn baby so decayed that it disintegrated in the hands of the midwife. I was shocked, even horrified. I had expected little of good from the ancient words—a momentary connection with peace, youth, health, safety, community, idealism, and the beauty of morning light through stained glass, perhaps—but I didn’t foresee disgust, and it hurt me to realize how hardened Ive become. I’ve tried to hold, at least metaphorically, to that which I once found beautiful, while gently letting go of the ugliness, but I have failed.

Then a song about heaven (from my fundamentalist childhood) came to mind, but I can’t remember which one. Christian music touches me more than spoken prayers, even really old and quaint spoken prayers like the one I had just said. Who wouldn’t want to go to a place where everyday is a picnic with your loved ones in resplendent surroundings? Singing holy, holy, holy forever-and-ever-and-ever might sound like a complete bore, but having your every dream realized would be okay, or at least I thought so when I was a child who loved to run for joy well past dark and had no desire whatsoever to “get things done.” Like the pain scale, church is a game with serious overtones, or at least it became that way for me. As for how it affects other people, I can only take their words and compare them to their actions, and on that basis, church appears to do more harm than good.

Of course, that is religion. God is another matter. I don’t know why I think about God more, I suspect, than almost anyone who believes in God. I have often said that I too would like to believe in God, and so here I stand, ripe for conversion, so convert me. Show me the error of my ways, so that I too can hold a happy view, a view that gives meaning to a life of pain, a life from which I will be extricated within twenty years or so as if I had never lived, all this pain for nothing, and with the sure knowledge that nothing I did in life will have mattered except to a very few people who will also be dead soon if they’re not already dead. Like the believer, I would like to wake up in the morning to see God peeping lovingly through my window, instead of awakening to a universe of insensate matter and energy that rumbles through the hallways of time and space, knocking against one another for no reason while creating and destroying an endless succession of worlds in the cold, dark void of space. All I ask is that you make your God consistent with the facts. Not a perfect God who nonetheless created an imperfect universe and was forced to die so that he could forgive its imperfection, but a God who provides answers rather than provocations, a God who is both worthy of worship and consistent—as opposed to oxymoronic—with reality. 

The next day

Yesterday, I became so desperate to escape the pain and fear that I put on a great big Fentanyl patch (big for Fentanyl is about an inch square), and it left me wide awake and deliriously happy last night, not every moment of the night, but most moments of the night. How am I to wrap my mind around the fact that the things that I think make me happy or sad have no power except inasmuch as they stimulate various parts of my brain, and that no person or event can stimulate those parts quite so profoundly as drugs? I love nothing and no one like I love Peggy, yet even my happiest moments with her are accompanied by the crushing knowledge that, before too many more years, one of us will die and leave the other alone. After enough Fentanyl, I can say with the apostle:

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

Drugs make the universe into a toy that was put here for my pleasure. Why then, am I not an addict? I don’t think I have any choice in the matter. Flip one chromosomal switch, and I’m one way; flip another, and I’m the opposite. Maybe this is why 5% of people are atheists, but even if we’re right about the irrationality of theism, how much credit can we take for our insight? 


Brewsky was behind me as I finished this post, so I took his picture. As you can see, he is sitting on a small ladder, and, yes, I have been using that ladder as well as the ladder that I fell from two months ago. I re-floored and repainted this room just before my fall.

28 comments:

Rob-bear said...

Sorry you're in so much pain, Snow. I've worked my way out of most of my chronic pain, with a combination of medication and activity. I've even shovelling snow and splitting firewood.

But I know what it is like to live with chronic pain. I still have troupe from time to time. I'd lift you out of yours if I could. But I can't.

Interesting question at the beginning. Sorry, no answer. For me, not very much time on me and my family. But a lot more on people living with sickness and poverty, and a lot of related stuff. People suffering injustice, and terror, and war. They are the ones who get the "prayer time."

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Snowbrush said...

"Interesting question at the beginning. "

The question was inspired by someone I know who defines prayer as the act of aligning her will with the will of God, God's will being synonymous with goodness. When I noted that the content of her prayers was mostly limited to things that were primarily of concern to herself and those she is close to, things like getting a good job, a good parking place, or overcoming an illness, things that, however convenient and rewarding, don't seem to me to relate to goodness to any great extent, I started to wonder how different most people's prayers are from her prayers, and I concluded that they're not.

Stephen Hayes said...

You ask for a god consistent with the facts but God isn't about facts, just like he isn't about faith; God is about need. I must confess that sometimes, out of habit, I pray for something. Usually it's something selfish and then I feel small and foolish but I was raised a Catholic and a lifetime of habit is hard to break. I do wish there was something or some way for you to find relief from all the pain. I think about you a lot and send positive thoughts your way for a few pain free days. Take care.

kylie said...

snow,
prayers for good parking spots and relief from illness, when they are the majority of ones prayer life, come from relative spiritual immaturity. i can say that because i am guilty of it but i can also say that if one continues with the right intentions then maturity should develop and then there will be a broader perspective.

were you daring us to try converting you? because honestly snow, conversion is a matter of the will of the converted, not one of us in the Christian world can convert you to something you adamantly refuse to contemplate and anyone who knows you knows better than to try.

i'm so sorry about the pain, pain can very quickly erode all joy. all i can say is that one step at a time you should overcome

love
k

Paula said...

I am sorry for your constant pain. I would not do well at all with chronic pain because I am a big baby with pain of any kind. As a nurse I have asked the 'rate your pain from 1-10' question so many times it is embarrassing even to me. I hate that doctors and nurses look at you with suspicious minds when you are only seeking to relieve your agony. But the drug users of the world who are lying and whining as they are drug-seeking are the ones to be pissed at, not the doctors and the nurses. It is sometimes hard to tell who is having real pain and who is just looking for his next fix. I wish you a pain free night tonight. I'll leave the religion and God answer for another time.....

Snowbrush said...

"God is about need."

Which, I think, explains a lot about the kinds of things that many people do in the name of religion. But in all fairness to Jesus (for one), he did express a great many specific expectations about how his followers were to express their love for others. For example, they are to renounce the "ways of the world," show limitless generosity to everyone in need, and, rather than retaliate when someone does them wrong, they're supposed to show that person nothing but kindness and agreeableness. I think he went a bit far with some of his teachings, but I can appreciate what he was trying to do. I can't see that popular Christianity has much to do with Jesus. What I do see is one "Christian" president after another sending people off to war, and I see the Catholic Church doing everything possible to deny justice to the victims of its own priests in lengthy court battles, and I see the nation's most avowedly Christian political party doing its best to cut benefits to old people and deny healthcare to poor people while at the same time showing enormous favoritism to the wealthy, etc. It's really extraordinary, the difference between what Jesus said and the way his religion is openly and unapologetically practiced by the majority of his people, at least here in America where it's most visible representatives (meaning well-known clergy people and politicians) are among the most hateful and vicious people you would ever not want to meet, yet they act as if they just can't praise Jesus often enough. Where there are Christians, I would expect them to be quiet and modest people who are humbly doing their best to do good for everyone around them without the least regard for wealth or respectability, and I could look up to people like that without the least concern about whether I agreed with them. Just as Jesus and his followers were despised in their society, I think any Christian worthy of the name would be despised in any society because he or she would have to go against the grain of what practically everyone else in that society wanted, valued, read, talked about, and watched on TV. My suspicion is that there is probably nothing so detrimental to Christianity as public acceptance because once it becomes status quo, it is going to have every shred of decency and loving kindness ripped right out of it at its most visible levels.

"were you daring us to try converting you?"

Not unless you hold a non-supernaturalist view of God with which I'm unacquainted. Otherwise, I would have already made a considerable effort to learn of your arguments, and would have found them lacking from my perspective.

"But the drug users of the world who are lying and whining as they are drug-seeking are the ones to be pissed at, not the doctors and the nurses."

Ever try trusting someone who treats you like a druggie by requiring you to pay for a drug test every time you go to see him, this based entirely upon the fact that you sought his or her help for a well-documented injury? It's degrading what pain specialists put people through, and I won't do it (well, if I met one who was willing to pay for the lab tests that proved me innocent, I would do it, but what do you figure the odds of that are?). I've been to two pain specialists for as many as two visits so I could learn what they had to offer, and then I got it from someone else. And what's with doctors who won't give narcotics to people who are dying because of addiction concerns? I think there is WAY too much weirdness around psychoactive drugs to blame it all on the druggies, and I am well aware of how the system makes people who are not druggies act like druggies because they never know when their pain meds are going to be taken away.

Linda said...

I hate you and I have so much pain. Like you said about your pain, mine is well-documented. When the last vertebrae sits on bone and there are two herniated discs, anyone should know I am in pain. So far, the orthopedist believes me. The others? not so much.

The people who are the most hateful to me are Christians. "You should have prayed and your back would not be damaged." "You don't need surgery; all you need is prayer." "Just pray when the pain starts and do like Jesus said, 'Rise up and walk.'" "Don't go to doctors anymore. They just like to operate. God can help you." I get very upset and talk in a very harsh tone to them. They look so hurt. Oh well!

When I can afford the lift chair I must have, ordered by the doctor, I will have surgery. The doctor is willing. I think you actually need surgery, too.

I hate it when I go to a doctor about something that is causing me pain, and the receptionist or nurse says loudly and with little patience that the doctor is NOT going to give me anything for pain. I hurt so that I tremble sometimes. Often I can only stand in the kitchen for three minutes. The pain is blinding, but I take nothing.
Okay. About once a month I take an aspirin. The various meds they gave me did not help pain at all, did not help with swelling. I would willing to have a baby and all the labor pains every other day If I could be free of back pain and the pain of two torn meniscus, one in each knee. And, I have two torn rotator cuffs. All this is nothing compared to yours, Maybe by a small measure can I understand your pain.

I cannot even sit up while I type or eat.

PhilipH said...

Hate your pain Snowy. I understand your desperation and your thoughts about death's sting. Back/spinal pain triggers so many nervous pathways and the brain convulses as a result - or that's my view anyway.

It's distressing and depressing and I can only say I hope it eases sooner than later.

Great photo of Brewsky. I have just finished a birthday present book about a cat: A Streetcat Named Bob.

Lovely story about a recovering junkie and the love he found with a stray ginger tomcat. His downward spiral of drugs, living rough on the streets of London and his joyous partnership with Bob. If you haven't seen it I hope you can give it a try:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MePaWG7g5FA

Best wishes, Phil

Charles Gramlich said...

Sorry to hear of so much pain, my friend. I can see how some could so easily become addicted to pain meds.

All Consuming said...

I'm so glad its a ladder and not what I first saw it a with my poor eyesight today - a zimmer frame with Brewsky sat on looking like you need ask his permission before you even think of using it - which as it is actually a ladder I blame him not one jot.
I feel for you sweetheart, you're living in hell most of the time and with the drugs either helping or not, and just the scale of the pain, your brain will be doing all manner of somersaults and not playing fair either I suspect.
I do not pray to God, but the words you spoke of as a prayer and very similar to that which I do say to myself when things get way too dark. At least by praying to yourself for help, there's a chance said prayers may be granted. Do they supply morphine over there to people in as much pain as you? Or are you already taking something as near as damnit?
Personally, I think you should spend less time thinking about God, whether he's there, here, or no-where and force yourself to consider other philosophical quandaries. Purely because you don't seem to gain any pleasure nor release from doing so. Au contraire in fact. Best I have. That and believe in yourself and Peggy and do a great deal in the way of cuddling each other, blocking out the fears of impending death and it's ultimate consequences with in the minute, right now love. I appreciate she'll have to find some part of you to cuddle that doesn't hurt and that may take some time. Draw her a map. xxx

Strayer said...

Pain at night is a monster with bloody dripping fangs. I've not healed yet, from a fall in late November, that tore tendons or ligaments or something. So I don't think your back would heal that quickly, either. I remember it took four months for my heel injury a year ago to heal, which took patience.

I can't speak to your search for god or meaning. All I can say is now I live only in the moment and try not to judge myself (other people do that for me). I try to look for something to enjoy right now and forget the future. Like the cup of coffee I am finishing at this moment. I like to lay in bed nights and watch the stars in the night sky. I enjoyed the sunrise, very colorful, which usually means a storm is coming. As for what is out there, in the great beyond, how in the world would we know? Earth could be nothing more than a cell in a giant giant body or growth or....there may be other dimensions too, but it's all beyond me to understand. I never will know much of anything.

I like to look at the stars at night. It's comforting. Makes me understand I am less than insignificant, which also makes my problems seem even smaller. Makes me not worry about "making something of myself", which is a laughable concept when staring into infinite space. It really does help me with perspective.

Joe Todd said...

Snow always wishing the best for you... Really really cold here in Ohio

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Oh Snow! I'm so very sorry! Pain is a bitch! I hope you get some relief soon!

rhymeswithplague said...

Snow, I'm so sorry you're having such excruciating pain. I wish I had answers to give you, but I don't. My faith in God gets me through dark times and things I don't understand, but I know you don't want to hear about that. So I sit here without words, silently commiserating with a friend I've never met and hoping things will get better for him soon.

I know that prayer of Father Hale's but with the word "Christ" in place of the word "Wisdom"... did you know they're really interchangeable? If you read about Wisdom in the first nine chapters of the Book of Proverbs, many times a verse will remind you (well, me) of Christian teachings about Christ (being there from the beginning, and so forth). Wisdom is not this neutral thing. The Greek word christos (anointed or chosen one) is masculine and takes masculine pronouns and the Greek word sophia (wisdom) is feminine and takes feminine pronouns, but there's really no difference. I hope knowing this doesn't ruin the prayer for you.

Leave it to me to get all esoteric and out in left field. I apologize. I don't want to antagonize you. I want you to be in perfect health and 25 years old with your whole life in front of you with Peggy. Unfortunately, I can't give that to you. All I can do is care that you're hurting.

I'm going to give you one verse from the New Testament (don't throw rocks at me, please): For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

I love you, man. I just have a weird way of showing it.

Joe Pereira said...

I'm sorry for your pain and discomfort Snow. If drugs are the only source of comfort then I hope you indulge as much as you can.

Winifred said...

Sad that you are in so much pain Snowbrush.

I don't have any answers. Like you I think about how little time there is left so I just try to enjoy the simplest everyday things along with whatever else comes. I wish I'd taken more time to smell the roses!

Have to say that Brewsky is a beautiful cat. You made a wonderful job of that room. The floor is gorgeous & I love that carpet.

Take care! No more ladders!

Snowbrush said...

"My faith in God gets me through dark times and things I don't understand, but I know you don't want to hear about that."

Don't want to hear about what--an elaboration upon what you just said? Heck, quote John 3:16, and follow it up with a summary of your ten favorite sermons if you want to. I wouldn't want you to feel censored. Just know that, from my point of view, testimonials about what Jesus has done for a given person rank zero in terms of persuasiveness. It's not that I don't believe the person is telling the truth, but simply that what he or she ascribes to God, I would consider it more logical to ascribe to less exalted influences. For example, if a person was shipwrecked on a desert island, and convinced himself on the basis of a dream that a rescue ship was going to arrive at 4:00 Tuesday week, I would have every expectation that that person would become giddy with happiness, but I would have a very low expectation that his happiness would be based upon anything that was factually true. So it is with prayer. If you believe in it, the odds are good that praying will make you feel better about a bad situation, but if you don't believe in it, you won't benefit in the least.

"I'm going to give you one verse from the New Testament (don't throw rocks at me, please): For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

Well, so there you go, you did quote a Bible verse, and even though I can by no stretch of the imagination conceive of why you thought it would have the least chance of reaching me (my best guess is that you felt "led" to share it), I wasn't tempted to throw rocks. In fact, I challenge you to find even one instance of an atheist ever stoning a Christian despite numerous examples of the reverse, which, I'm sure, involved Christians very unlike yourself.

"I know that prayer of Father Hale's but with the word "Christ" in place of the word "Wisdom"... did you know they're really interchangeable?"

The prayer is from the Sarum Primer and is therefore called the Sarum Prayer. It's about 800 years old. As for the two words being interchangeable, that would depend upon how wise one thinks Christ was. He is portrayed so contradictorily (for example, "Turn the other cheek," is found in one place, and,"Sell your coat and use the money to buy a sword," in another) that my best guess about him is that he really did live, and that some of what he is quoted as saying, he really did say, but that other supposed quotes were inserted by other people in order to give credence to their own views.

"I love you, man. I just have a weird way of showing it."

Thank you. I love you too.

"Really really cold here in Ohio"

Western Oregon is showing signs of early Spring, and I sure do look forward to better weather.

"I hope you get some relief soon!
Thank you.

"If drugs are the only source of comfort then I hope you indulge as much as you can."

Hey, hey! Let's do it then! Wish you were here to share.

"Have to say that Brewsky is a beautiful cat. You made a wonderful job of that room. The floor is gorgeous & I love that carpet."

Thanks, Winifred.

Snowbrush said...

"I hate it when I go to a doctor about something that is causing me pain, and the receptionist or nurse says loudly and with little patience that the doctor is NOT going to give me anything for pain."

After my last post, someone wrote that her doctor is of the opinion that everyone is in pain from one thing or another, so get used to it. I wonder how much of the condemnation and insinuations of weakness that sufferers have to put up with from doctors comes from the Christian view that suffering is supposed to ennoble, and that we should look to God for solace instead of a pill bottle, etc. Doctors charge so much and what do you get for it? Very little actual help and a steady stream of arrogance and insults. Surely, you can find a better doctor than this one though.

Philip, I will look at your book as soon as I'm don't done here. By the way, do you know anything about a cartoon series entitled Archie and Mehitabel, Archie being a cockroach and Mehitabel being his friend who is of late an alley cat but was formerly Cleopatra? The author was Don Marquis, and the series dates from about 90 or 100 years ago.

"I can see how some could so easily become addicted to pain meds."

I think it might be like being gay, black, redheaded, and all manner of other things in that you either are or you're not.

"Personally, I think you should spend less time thinking about God, whether he's there, here, or no-where and force yourself to consider other philosophical quandaries."

This is a seemingly great idea, and I would love to do it, but sometimes I can't, and I'm not really sure that it would be for the best if I could.

"believe in yourself and Peggy and do a great deal in the way of cuddling each other, blocking out the fears of impending death and it's ultimate consequences with in the minute, right now love."

This is another seemingly great idea, but, perhaps, you have a greater ability than I to set aside thoughts that appear to be sad, senseless, illogical, and so forth, and replace them with thoughts that are cheerful, uplifting, life-enhancing, etc. On the other hand, forgetting the fact that some of my thought tracks appear to be destructive, counterproductive, and so forth, do you think it possible that you could swap your thoughts for mine even if, for some strange reason, you should want to? For my part, I can never be so sure that I am not on the very most profitable track that I could be on, and this makes me ambivalent in regard to changing it even if I could, which I very much doubt. Finally, what, do you think, makes one line of thought preferable to another line of thought? Happiness?--where is the evidence, that is unless you consider happiness to be life's highest good? Rationality?--even if a train of thought gives every appearance of being irrational, how can one be sure that it's not a necessary part of a larger process, the whole of which is rational?

"I've not healed yet, from a fall in late November, that tore tendons or ligaments or something. So I don't think your back would heal that quickly, either."

I think of soft tissue as being slower to heal than bones, and I've read that a crushed vertebra will be about as healed as it will ever get after 8-10 weeks. Even so, I realize that it's a bit early to go off the deep end with worry, but when the pain seemed to rocket upwards in intensity, I found it hard not to.

lotta joy said...

My sister is dying in much pain, with unbelievable dignity and acceptance. One thing that causes her such angst is her "knowledge" that she will not see me in heaven. Joe feels the same way.

So, in order to spare them their grief, I tried. I really did. On my own, in the quiet. I TRIED (for them) to be what they are, and want ME to be.

A very learned woman demonstrated tests she had done on chemical brain stimulation on television last night.

She was able to artificially induce a tendency that is necessary in order to have a trusting belief system (contrary to doubt).

She was also able to instill a tendency toward doubt and investigation (contrasting faith). She said that due to certain chemical dispositions, we automatically lean one way or the other.

When the host said "But that doesn't mean we don't have a soul that yearns to be with god" She emphatically said "Yes. Yes it does. It's all chemically motivated."

Some people approach their god like he's a cafeteria style wish granter. "I'll take one of these, and one of those, but don't give me any of THAT." as they selectively pray for what they need/want.

Some people get the mashed potatoes and gravy. Some are given the kimchi and seaweed.

The ones with the mashed potatoes think their prayers were answered.

The ones with the kimchi and seaweed believe 'he has his reasons'.

So, for my sister and husband,I tried. It is not in my makeup to believe the unbelievable or trust thin air to hold me up if I just have enough faith.

So, I finally told my sister she could "stop worrying". She TOOK IT ON FAITH that I meant I'd see her in heaven. I gave her peace.

None of it is rational. But those whose chemicals are pumping in that vein, are able to believe it is and can't look at it from any other angle.

I can't look at it from theirs. So be it.

Those who see themselves as god worthy and heaven bound, do not realize I have my rights: "I know you have religion. I know you have a penis. But don't try to shove either one down my throat."

I'm SO sorry you are in pain. I am too, and so are most of your readers.

My sister is in the dying process. I fear not having any dignity when I'm as close to it as she is.

Are you saying:
*you fear death?
*the possibility of an afterlife?
*Or the fear of NO afterlife?
*your inability to believe?
*the process of dying?
*the proximity of death?
*the loss of dignity?

Be specific lil' buddy. It certainly will help ME to be able to chew on something solid.

rhymeswithplague said...

lotta joy said, "Those who see themselves as god worthy and heaven bound..."

May I humbly suggest that those who see themselves as god worthy are probably not heaven bound at all. Heaven bound people probably view themselves as god unworthy. I know this may go against conventional wisdom but I'm just sayin'...

Putz said...

Snow,it would be easier to just ignore you,but something you said to Bob b woke Me up.....you said you loved him when so much could drive you and him far apart..
I have love for you also.... putz .....lots of it and that love Dozen,t come from religious views.....it comes from your compassion love ideas, love for peace, hate for war and injustice , the way you have teased me and the many things we agree on and the many ways you listen to me ....I have lots of hope your health will improve....

Snowbrush said...

Are the following questions for me? I will assume that they are, and answer them.

Are you saying:
*you fear death?" Yes.
*the possibility of an afterlife?" No
*Or the fear of NO afterlife?" I would like for there to be an afterlife that would be better than this life and that would make sense of this life.
*your inability to believe?" I would not will myself to be believe that which my best thinking says is false, and I do not believe that any deity worthy of worship would require me to accept that he inspired a bunch of semi-literates who lived 2,000-plus years ago and whose writings no two of the thousands of church groups can interpret the same way. I instead believe that he would communicate with every person clearly and individually.
*the process of dying?" Dying can be horrible, and, yes, I fear it.
*the proximity of death?" Yes. Death is relatively close at best at my age, and I haven't realized my potential.
*the loss of dignity?" One loses dignity just by the way he or she is treated upon needing medical care. No more callous people can be found than those who work in doctors' offices, right down to the office staff.

Snowbrush said...

"May I humbly suggest that those who see themselves as god worthy are probably not heaven bound at all. Heaven bound people probably view themselves as god unworthy."

Are you saying that, of the two of us, you have no idea which is going to heaven and which to hell based upon the fact that you have "faith," and I don't? I find that a bit of a stretch, so I suspect you're playing with words here. In any case, I think that, if I'm wrong about God not existing, then God will be more pleased with my atheism than with the "faith" of most Christians, this due to the fact that my atheism is honest, it's certainly not fawning, and it's what I must believe based upon integrity rather than what I am desperate to believe based upon fear. I have examined my conscience about this many times, and I'm ever of the conviction that I could stand before God and tell him that whereas I did the best I could, it certainly seems as if he--being all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful, and so forth--could have done one hell of a lot better. Of course, if he turns out to be the jealous and angry God who you believe in, the God who can't forgive out of love but can only forgive when an innocent person has been tortured and murdered, then I'm screwed, but could I worship such a God? No, I couldn't worship your deity. I loathe your deity, and I hereto tell him as much. He's not in any way GOOD, or NOBLE, or GENEROUS, or LOVING. He's a fiend whose wrath is only assuaged by blood. In creating him, the Bible writers took the worst attributes of earthly dictators, ascribed them all to their deity, and then bowed down and worshipped him. What all this means to me is that, even if I'm wrong about God, the God I'm wrong about is nothing like the petty and vengeful God of the Bible, but is a God so far beyond our understanding that we can't fathom his ways and purposes, but that his ways and purposes are good, and we have no reason to fear him.

"I have love for you also.... putz .....lots of it and that love Dozen,t come from religious views.....it comes from your compassion love ideas, love for peace, hate for war and injustice , the way you have teased me and the many things we agree on and the many ways you listen to me ..."

That's one of the sweetest things anyone ever said to me. As I have at times said to Rhymes and other believers who read this blog, I modify the way I express my views because of them. What regard I have for their religion, I have because of their ability to, for the most part, take the good in it and leave the bad, something that is indeed possible because there is a lot of good, at least, in the words of Christ and a few other places in the Bible. I can but wish it were all good, but even through Christ comes anger toward those who didn't accept him or simply didn't understand the meaning of his parables, as well as the language of sheep and goats, of God's wrath, of eternal torment, and his awful command to his followers that they should shake the dust of nonbelievers from their feet, and so forth. He makes so bones about the fact that his religion is to be a religion, not of peace and togetherness, but of war and division, and for 2,000 years that is exactly what it has been. What I don't understand--truly and deeply don't understand--is why anyone would think that the way Christianity is in the world comes from what a loving deity would want.

Helen said...

WHEW!! What a way to begin Saturday morning. I love setting aside time to read your posts, the many comments, your responses. I love the way your mind works, though I'm sad your body isn't cooperating ... thinking of you Snow, sending love and warm thoughts your way. Peggy and Brewsky too.

Sissy said...

I'm here tonight looking for a new post from you. Nope; nothing new but please write and tell me about that shallow drawer cabinet at the back of your nice room. I like that and sure would like one for myself - the perfect thing I need!

Snowbrush said...

"please write and tell me about that shallow drawer cabinet at the back of your nice room."

It holds clothing buttons, of which Peggy is an avid collector. It was formerly owned by three different people, all of whom Peggy knew, and all of whom are dead. It became Peggy's when her "Button Mom" (that's what she called herself and what Peggy called her) went blind and sold her collection to Peggy prior to her own death. I find it most unattractive, and am in hope that she will paint it soon, but it has been here for two years and no move has been made to do so. When Peggy started collecting buttons in 1988, I was delighted because I thought it would be a hobby that was cheap and didn't take up much room. I have been sorely disappointed on both accounts. Not only is most of our total household drawer space devoted to buttons, but our garage is too.

Myrna R. said...

Snow, pain is such an overpowering sensation. It refuses to be ignored and it becomes so personal, like an attack from an enemy. So, I can't say I feel your pain. But I feel for you. I hope the pain subsides soon. I'm amazed that you still have the spirit to write, and do it so well. And I appreciate your quest for truth.

The Blog Fodder said...

Hi, Snow
You broke your back two months ago? Oh, man, that was all you needed. I take it that it is mending as you climbed the ladder again but more pain? And more battles with doctors and painkillers? That you can keep on keeping on is amazing. Hugs (gentle ones) and kind thoughts going your way.