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Western (American, British, Canadian etc) atheists should always appreciate and express their freedom from religion. As an African atheist, it was the words of a British atheist that saved my life.
2020.09.25 12:03 NaijaAtheistWestern (American, British, Canadian etc) atheists should always appreciate and express their freedom from religion. As an African atheist, it was the words of a British atheist that saved my life.
I envy those that have the freedom to enjoy their (dis)belief in peace. In my home country, Nigeria, I am not afforded that freedom. I have to live a lie because my business would collapse if I ever become honest with my clients about my beliefs. My parents would be heartbroken if they ever found out that I am an atheist. They never relent to check if I go to church on Sundays- this is despite being a grown man myself. Religion in Nigeria is so powerful and deeply entrenched in the culture. Living a lie is depressing. And for a long time, I have been depressed and even suicidal. What keeps me going is that I do travel to the UK a lot because some of my family members are British. It pleases me to see people living their lives to the fullest without religious people frustrating their freedom. Now, what exactly is depressing about my life and working in Nigeria? Well, imagine at your job, there is a prayer before and after every meeting, despite your job being management in a supposedly secular environment. There was a fellow atheist colleague I had at work who is now ostracised and ignored by other workers. I avoided the same fate by keeping quiet about my atheism. Also imagine fellow workers inviting you to their various church programmes and never considering it rude since they dont even know if you are a christian first. Let's also talk about marriage and family. In Nigeria, when it comes to dating, there are very few atheist men and fewer atheist women. There are also very few progressive christians that would date an atheist- most Nigerian christians are conservative/fundamentalist. I have dated christian girls in the past and it always end the same- it starts all nice and lovely until it becomes clear that I dont pray or go to church; we have the discussion and a few weeks/months later, we break up. "I can't marry someone who doesn't believe in God, I want to have righteous children!". The one that hit me the hardest was when my father fainted when I told him that I was losing my faith. He told me to stop joking and got very angry when he saw that I was serious. He started shaking and fainted. I "repented" because I didnt want to hurt him. Till today, I can't even revisit that topic and tell him that I am an atheist. The happy ending to all this is that, it was a British atheist who inspired me to fight on. I listened to him advice a 16 year old who was having troubles with his parents for being irreligious. I have also read stories on reddit how parents disown late teens who leave their religion. If 16 year olds can survive such frustrations with the support of other atheists, why can't I? Please, my message to you is to keep on talking, keep on debating, keep on advising and keep on fighting for your rights. You never know who you are inspiring to live on. You might not know that you are fighting for those who cant speak up. The best charity is not always giving food or money but talking to and for people to know that they are not alone.
2020.09.21 17:20 partypastorUnreached People Group of the Week - Tianba of China
I cut my finger open like a big dummy while I was making apple pie with my girlfriend this weekend so most of today will be copy paste but now introducing the Tianba of China! How Unreached Are They? Joshua Project has the Tianba at 0.00% Christian. That is inaccurate. However I do not have accurate numbers other than knowing that isn't accurate. So, there are at least a handful of believers in their population of 111,000. There is a New Testament in their language/dialect! (However most of them cannot read) What are they like? Typical qualification that all people groups can't be summed up in small paragraphs and this is an over generalization. The Tianba, as well as most of the Nosu, are traditionally farmers in the mountains. They farm soy, rice, rape seed, and a bunch of other stuff. They keep sheep, goats, water buffalo, and chickens. They are not limited to the old one child policy that China had, so many of them have at least 3 siblings, if not more. They are mostly animist (more on that later). Many of the Nosu peoples have a strong tendency to alcoholism, with the men drinking together all day and the women doing much of the work.
The Tianba Nosu have been influenced by Chinese culture more than the other Nosu groups in Sichuan, although they still retain their traditional dress and most of their ceremonies and customs.
About the Yinuo
Because of the distinctive style of dress formerly worn by the Yinuo Nosu, the region they inhabit is generally known as the "broad-legged trousers region." In the past, the striking characteristic of men's garments was the broad bottoms of the trouser legs. The men no longer where these in daily life. Sometimes there are culture festivals where traditional costumes are worn. The women's traditional dress, however, is still very much in use and can be seen on the streets every day. Women also like to wear wide pleated skirts. The number of pleats sometimes comes to more than one hundred. Girls wear multicolored headscarfs made of black cloth. Married women increase the layers of their headscarfs. After having a baby, they wear leaf-shaped bonnets.
Violent conflict, intertribal and interclan warfare, and the taking of slaves were commonplace among the various branches of the Nosu until recently. When preparing for war, clear rules were followed by the Tianba Nosu. These included "sending out a wooden tablet calling on all members of the clan, its tenants, serfs, and slaves to assemble; each family would assent by making a mark on the tablet; tallying the marks would indicate how large a fighting force might be expected. War costumes were extremely colorful: some wore hats of woven bamboo covered with white cloth, thin woolen felts and yellow satin, with animal hair that would wave in the wind; they would carefully prepare their hair, interweaving it with a strip of cloth and tying it into a horn just above the forehead; some would cap this with a sheep horn wrapped in colorful silk and red pompons. ... The Yi [Nosu] would run forward, shout out their names, and challenge their enemies to fight. The War songs were equally aweinspiring: 'We are the famous Black Nosu! We are the tigers who eat up human flesh! We are the butchers who skin people alive! We are the supermen!'" Joshua Project
What do they believe?
The religious world of the Tianba Nosu is a complicated mixture of polytheism, animism, and ancestor worship. Because of Chinese influence, elements of Buddhism and Daoism are also present. Joshua Project
How can we pray for them?
Praise God for the small but growing number of Tianba Christians. Pray that they would learn the Word of God quickly.
Pray for salvation for heads of families as the Gospel is clearly presented to them.
Ask the Lord to send long term laborers to live among the Tianba and share the love of Christ with them.
Ask the Holy Spirit to open the hearts of Tianba towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
Pray that God will raise up prayer teams to go and break up the soil through worship and intercession.
Ask God to encourage and protect the small number of Tianba who have converted to Christianity.
Pray that these converts will begin to boldly share the Gospel with their own people.
Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Tianba.
Pray that God use the rising number of Chinese people and particularly other Nosu groups that are coming to Christ to reach out and plant churches among the Tianba.
Pray that as we see world leaders demonizing China, that China's hearts are not hardened to workers who present what is perceived as a western religion.
Pray that China's doors are not closed to foreign workers as relationships grow hostile due to this virus.
Pray that Chinese believers pick up the work being done by foreign workers who have had to go home in the midst of this chaos.
Pray that western believers do not let their hearts grow hard, suspicious, or racist towards Chinese people in the midst of all of this
Pray for our nation (the United States), that we Christians can learn to come alongside our hurting brothers and sisters and learn to carry one another's burdens in a more Christlike manner than we have done historically.
Pray that in this time of chaos and panic that the needs of the unreached are not forgotten by the church. Pray that our hearts continue to ache to see the unreached hear the Good News.
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1) ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Here are the previous weeks threads on the UPG of the Week for Reformed
As always, if you have experience in this country or with this people group, feel free to comment or PM me and I will happily edit it so that we can better pray for these peoples! Here is a list of definitions in case you wonder what exactly I mean by words like "Unreached"
2020.09.09 16:44 Leather_TermInside Jeffrey Epstein's abandoned Lolita Express that is now covered in mildew
DailyMail.com 8 September 2020 (updated 9 Sep) EXCLUSIVE: Mirrored walls, pink baby lotion, wet wipes and a bed stocked with extra linens: Inside Jeffrey Epstein's Lolita Express once used to sex traffic his victims now lies abandoned and covered in mildew on a Georgia runway
Exclusive images taken by DailyMail.com reveal how Jeffrey Epstein's infamous Boeing 727, the so-called 'Lolita Express' has fallen into disrepair
Epstein is accused of using the plane to transport his sex trafficking victims
Once the height of luxury, it now sits mothballed beside a Georgia runway racking up thousands of dollars in storage fees
After taking its last flight in July 2016, it's been corroding at a maintenance hangar at Brunswick Golden Isles Airport, costing around $1k a month in storage
The once-plush interior, including deep-pile carpets, throw blankets and fluffy pillows, is now infested with mold and mildew
There are creepy pointers to its notorious former occupant, including a garish red couch, mirrored walls, monogrammed tissues and a bottle of baby lotion
Other mundane items included bedding, toilet paper, water bottles and instant coffee
Federal aviation records reveal the aircraft has been unregistered since 2019, meaning it cannot be legally flown
The plane is currently on a ramp belonging to Stambaugh Aviation, an independent jet maintenance firm that has repaired numerous aircraft
The firm's joint owner Mark Stambaugh said: 'As a father of two daughters, I'm not real thrilled with having it here. But I guess an airplane is just an airplane'
nb: photos within main article, link above! It was once the height of luxury: a swish private airliner befitting a jet-setting billionaire and VIP passengers including Presidents, Princes and Hollywood superstars. But exclusive images taken by DailyMail.com reveal how Jeffrey Epstein's infamous Boeing 727, the so-called 'Lolita Express' has fallen into disrepair as it sits mothballed beside a Georgia runway racking up thousands of dollars in storage fees. In its pomp, the 1969-built plane whisked prominent guests including Bill Clinton, Britain's Prince Andrew and actor Kevin Spacey to exotic locations across the globe. But federal prosecutors say it was also used by Epstein to shuttle young sex trafficking victims between his sprawling homes in New York, New Mexico, Paris, the US Virgin Islands and Palm Beach, where the dead pedophile owned a waterfront mansion. Call sign N90JE took its final flight on July 11, 2016, taking off from Palm Beach International Airport at 11:39am and landing at Georgia's Brunswick Golden Isles Airport 51 minutes later. Since then it has been parked up near a maintenance hangar, slowing corroding in the humid Southern air and costing around $1,000 a month in storage. When DailyMail.com boarded the dormant jet, we found the once-plush interior, including deep-pile carpets, throw blankets and fluffy pillows, infested with mold and mildew. There are numerous creepy pointers to its notorious former occupant, including a garish red couch, mirrored walls, monogrammed tissues and a bottle of baby lotion stored in a wood-paneled bathroom. Mundane items including bedding, toilet paper, water bottles and instant coffee were also reminders that the plane - now badly corroded and virtually worthless - was in regular use as recently as four years ago. Federal aviation records reveal the aircraft has been unregistered since 2019, meaning it cannot be legally flown, a moot point since its three Pratt & Whitney engines were stripped and sold three years ago. It's still registered to Delaware-based JEGE Inc., which is named in several lawsuits as a company linked to 66-year-old Epstein, who hanged himself last August while awaiting trial. DailyMail.com understands that the records are out of date, however, and that it's changed hands several times since 2016. The plane is currently parked up on a ramp belonging to Stambaugh Aviation, an independent jet maintenance firm that has repaired numerous military and civilian aircraft including President Donald Trump's personal Boeing 757 and a 727 belonging to Peter Nygard, another tycoon facing sex trafficking allegations. The firm's joint owner Mark Stambaugh said he was initially happy to store the aircraft for free because he expected to be doing work on it, but he started charging around $1,000 a month when it became clear nothing was happening. 'As a father of two daughters, I'm not real thrilled with having it here. But I guess an airplane is just an airplane,' Stambaugh told DailyMail.com. 'Somebody needs to come and do something with it or it needs to be scrapped because it's just going to sit here and keep deteriorating.' Stambaugh said he's owed $11,000 in unpaid storage, a figure dwarfed by the estimated $2 to $3 million he says it will take to make the 51-year-old plane airworthy. The paint is chalking because it's been sitting in the sun for so long. Until it gets to the point where the paint bubbles out you won't see it, but trust me, there's a lot of corrosion on that airplane,' he added. 'Internally, in the belly, when you open that up you're going to find corrosion and other issues as well. 'As far as the interior, given that it's been sitting in this heat for years it's not in bad shape but I don't know that it has any real value. 'There's a lot of mold and mildew. That just happens, it's the southeast.' It's been frequently reported that Epstein's 727 was given its Lolita Express moniker by curious locals in the US Virgin Islands who would see the warped financier flying into his privately-owned Little St. James Island with numerous young girls. The reality may be more mundane: the name appears to have been conjured up by tabloid journalists eager for a lurid headline. In 2015 Virginia Giuffre filed a lawsuit against Epstein claiming that he recruited her as a 'sex slave' at the age of 15, sexually abusing her for years and forcing her to 'entertain' prominent friends on board the jet. Her alleged abusers include Prince Andrew, as well as Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, whose names appear on flight logs, but both have denied the allegations. The flight logs also list Bill Clinton as a passenger on the plane on 26 occasions, jetting to locations such as Brunei, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, the Azores, Africa, Belgium, China, New York, and Belgium. DailyMail.com published never-before-seen earlier images last month of the 42nd President of the United States receiving a neck and shoulder massage from Epstein victim Chauntae Davies during a stopover in 2002. Spacey and the comedian Chris Tucker were also part of the same mission to raise awareness about poverty and the AIDS crisis in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda and Mozambique. 'President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York,' a statement released by his office read. 'In 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein's airplane: one to Europe, one to Asia, and two to Africa, which included stops in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation,' the statement read. 'Staff, supporters of the Foundation, and his Secret Service detail traveled on every leg of every trip.' Also traveling regularly with Epstein on the private jet was his alleged madame, Ghislaine Maxwell, who is now in custody in New York facing a slew sex trafficking charges for allegedly procuring victims. Stambaugh Aviation said the 727 jet has been owned by Florida-based World Aviation Services since March. When DailyMail.com contacted the firm's owner he responded: 'I don't want to answer questions. I don't want to get involved.'
2020.09.01 09:05 marekvseA religion-less society actually exists right now!
Hello Jodan, I'm sending this letter to you, Sam Harris and Douglas Murray, and hoping that it will reach at least one of you directly as I believe it could move all of your individual viewpoints as well as your future conversations forward. I'm sending it in the interest of possibly alerting you to at least one country, the one I grew up in, which seem to have completely evaded your research efforts and leaving you all, it would seem, agree on one, to me a very curious and strange point, that a successful and happy society without a (major) role of religion in it does not exist or have ever been tried. Sam is sure it would work, you say it did not work in Stalin's Russia case (you also add Hitler, who clearly was not an atheist and his most brutal forces had "God is with us" written right on their belt buckles which pretty much destroys the non-religious assertion), but none of you seem to be aware that it worked and is still currently working already very well. I respect all of you greatly. I identify most with Sam's points of view at matters - perhaps unsurprisingly given the country I grew up in and the personality I am - and least with you Jordan, but that's only because of the religious part of views he seems to insist on deeply. I admire Jordan for your abilities to reason and, most of the time, reason so for clearly logical things. I admire the other two for the same reason without the need for that exception. I've watched a great many videos featuring you 3 plus of course other very intelligent people like Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and others in the past few years. The one thing that always keeps surprising me is the point where the discussion gets to the point of arguing about "how viable would a theoretical society" built basically purely on reason and no religion look like and what state it would end up in. Not even Christopher Hitchens seemed to ever have any other answers than a very good, but yet still purely theoretical arguments regarding such a society. From all of those occasions in those conversations, I am basically forced to believe that you all guys, however much-traveled and intelligent, have completely missed at least this one real-life, well-working example, which is my country - The Czech Republic. I think that if you haven't and if you then talked to a few people who grew up there at least at the time when I did - born 1973 - you would find not theoretical, but very real examples of a great many people who not only grew up completely without any religion or any stories coming from it and yet, still grew up very nice, intelligent and maybe surprisingly to you all VERY HAPPY people. I'm not sure how many people exactly like me you would find because I really set up my life to be very happy, not even knowing how exactly stress would feel - I just maybe get hints of what it may feel like when I'm cold, which is why I have relocated to Queensland, Australia a long time ago - but you would definitely find heaps and heaps of people who are undergoing the same stresses in life as in any other western-type society with handling family, work and the other aspects of life, yet without any regard whatsoever to notions of any religion or any need to any type of any kind of comforting mythical stories. That, of course, is not to say that many of us do not enjoy fiction books or entertaining stories in the form of books, tales, or other arts. We can enjoy it all the same with the full knowledge that those are fiction. All the above is the result of the socialist/communist system we grew up in which not necessarily stifled but certainly did not promote any religion. It is the one thing I am grateful for to that system I grew up in, apart from a very happy childhood since nobody's parents had existential struggles. I do believe that there were efforts to eradicate the religion, many of which may probably be identified as forceful, but we've always kept our history including its buildings like castles and churches as opposed to destroying them, which would be an extreme way to get rid of something. Even clergy was tolerated and some very tiny minority of mostly the old-times people were attending services even at those times. The actual real fact of life was, however, that we never were taught about religion apart from being a part of history, including ours. And we would still go on school trips some of which may include admiring a great cathedral purely for its architecture and art. Strangely, even the name of the "person" who brings the presents at Chrismas (which in the Czech language is called "vanoce", which has nothing to do with Christianity - at least not obviously - I did not study its etymological roots) is "Jezisek", which, funnily and very interestingly enough I personally only realized when I was about 14 years old, means "a little Jezis = Jesus - "little" here meaning a kid, a baby). So the presents were being brought by a baby Jesus and yet, for almost all of us it was just a name, same as the west had Santa Claus or any other name you could use for a fictional character. It had NO religious meaning whatsoever to us, nor any story was attached to it at all. It was (and is for us) simply a holiday with the ritual of decorating a tree and having a very nice, extraordinary family dinner before (mostly the kids) would enjoy the present unwrapping under the tree. (Yes, our Christmas all happen on 24th Dec). We had no idea that it was originally a celebration of the winter solstice or that it was then stolen as a Christian holiday. We enjoyed it and frankly still enjoy it for the same family reasons, all the same. Actually now knowing that it has been for the past many hundreds of years appropriated by a religious cult if anything taints the experience. It probably would not if that cult was a thing simply belonging and part of the history of "less educated" times of us humans. The fact that this magical thinking still sways great sections of global citizens' everyday lives is what taints Christmas for some us Czechs. It surely does for me. I feel more at ease with it knowing that actually it is the winter solstice celebration. I would surely be more fine with it if it was just a date that someone decided to arbitrarily put on a calendar rather than thinking of it in terms of a cult that brutally killed and tortured so many innocent people in history and still thinks that magical thinking is just a fine idea. Similar to Christmas, we in the Czech Republic also celebrate Easter (another holiday appropriated for itself by Christianity as I learned much later in my life). We also enjoy it purely for the tradition or maybe just for the fact that it is a day off work :). In Czech, a part of the tradition regarding Easter is that man create a nice looking weaved supple "sticks" from the branches of a willow tree, and in the morning we go around as many girls/women we know as possible to "hit" their behinds with it so that they stay young and supple too. I'm sure that in today's "politically correct" society many would find something very wrong with it, but the simple fact was that it ended up being a very nice and very social day for everyone. (By the way, I never knew that anybody would consider women as any lesser than men. I grew up in a society where had no reason to even suspect such a thing.) In the afternoon the girls and women had the right on the other hand to pour buckets of water over the men's' heads, even though that part was never really practiced. (At least in our parts of the Czech Republic. There are more traditional areas.) I suppose that is because it is not as convenient to run around with buckets of water around than it would be with sticks. Also, we - boys and men - would get a colorful ribbon bound to the ends of the sticks by each female we've visited and "paid off" - we don't really call it hitting or beating. It would leave the omitted girls and women feel neglected rather than happy not to get hit. I'm sure that the absolute majority of us were always as gentle as myself and my friends in performing that "stick-and-behind" ritual. I actually never wanted or was planning to do this whole thing, but I had a friend who always came on the morning of Easter Monday to my home with a couple of those "sticks" - one for himself, one for me, and basically had to talk me into joining him every single year. And it always ended up being one of the best days of the year, finishing in a mixed group having a great time (including a bit of drinking in our later teenage years). It was very nice and social and NOTHING to do with any religion or anything other than "this tradition actually turns out to be fun" and we did not need some deep explanation for it that I'm sure Jordan would try to dig out at this point. It was the same fun we can end up with when we come up with brand new social events, out of which, when they turn out fun, we often try to make a tradition of too. All that being completely atheist and secular. I really don't understand what seems to be so hard to comprehend even to Sam - not that he could not seem to be able to imagine it - clearly, he very much is - but that it actually has already been tried and is still going on successfully. Admittedly though, traditions like the Easter ones in Czech are fading as the capitalist style of life requiring most of us to work more and more puts a strain on that too, together with an overload of other modern culture distractions obviously. In any case, my point is that what Sam is saying, what Christopher used to say and others too, is NOT a theoretically working "utopia", it IS a reality for millions in just my own country of origin and we suffer no ill effects from it! On the contrary, despite being a tiny nation of 10 million people we have (even though thanks to globalization, corruption, and not in small part thanks to the totalitarianism of the European Union) we are loosing great industry and very clever people. We used to be (before EU) totally self-sufficient in basically everything, were exporting fighter jets, cars, atomic reactors, locomotives, food, and much more to the rest of the world, gave the world some amazing people and inventions like contact lenses, nanofibres, the lighting rod, or even small things like sugar cubes, pencils or Koh-i-Noor snaps for our jeans :) and we needed no religion or the related stories to do that. And that is the one thing I'm happy the "communist" regime gave us - true freedom from religion, freedom from bullshit stories if you pardon me. It lets us concentrate on interesting and important stuff in life instead of trying to solve mute problems like why are we here. We are, so enjoy it. I must say that without the religious ideas surrounding us that most of us don't even think about it as something to worry about. We worry about "we are here now, what can we do to live well" and some of us also "what can we do to leave my imprint on humanity". The more curious of us sure ask "how" did we get here and maybe do think about how in the great scheme of things we are totally insignificant, but I don't think it makes us unhappy. I know it does not make me unhappy for sure. I enjoy learning new things, discovering, making logical conclusions, and, apart from other things, being truthful to myself and others, which is probably why I'm also so happy in my life and have always been, which all of you I'm sure will very easily understand. All of you guys seem to imply or straight away say that "sure, there is not a person who would not have major problems in life, who would not have "demons"" etc. Well, sure, I've encountered problems in my life. I'm solving software problems every day (I'm a software engineer) I've traveled around the world on a motorbike so I've encountered life-threatening situations, I've lost family members (fortunately for me just the ones who naturally died of old age, no tragedies so far, so yes, I've been lucky in that respect). But problems are here, to my eye, to be solved. They are a challenge, not a tragedy. They make life interesting. And demons? No, I do not have any. Things I regret? Maybe, a tiny little ones like not asking that beautiful girl on a bus for a coffee. But I've never done anything I would be ashamed of. That does not mean that I never failed of course. But I freely admit and not try to hide my failings so I have no demons. Am I really the only person in the world you think? I may be rare, but I'm sure I'm not alone. Regardless, many, or basically I'd say almost all of my friends, much as they may have more normal everyday problems and stresses than I have (and it is not at all related to money - I'm not wealthy at all - we even still rent the place where we live), would tell you the same thing regarding the role of religion or religious stories in their lives and their decisions - NONE whatsoever. The Czech Republic is very rich in culture too. Our country has one of the biggest concentrations of castles for example. I do not think that religion was necessary for those structures to be built for powerful people in our history. Yes, many, many churches too. Beautiful buildings. Some of them truly amazing, as some of the castles, too. And our secular society still builds and creates amazing things with no religion required for it. Just yesterday I was sent a link to a video about the biggest chandelier and at the same time, the biggest jewel ever built anywhere. (Link here if you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/embed/AQ2udSvqx28 .) It could very well hang in a cathedral of some type. But it was built by a Czech company for a Saipan casino. Only human talent, work, and lots of money was needed to build this wonder. No religion whatsoever. So I'm pretty sure, Jordan, that you can stop worrying about losing culture if there was no religion. Sure, cassino may not be considered culture by many, but it is simply a fact of today's world that casinos are one of the areas where the money is. If you want to start to argue that we need religion as a way of extracting money from the population to build such marvels, as was historically exactly one of its functions and is one of the reasons those grand structures like great cathedrals exist, then fine. I would, like Sam, argue that it is possible to do without the pretense of magic, but at least that would be a simple point to defend. Not the only way though!! An example - and I'm sure there are also many modern ones too.. The National Theatre in Prague... It is a grandiose building with high ceilings covered with similar gold ornamentry and paintings to any cathedral you may find. It also has a huge painted curtain - a great painting of its own right. This all was built from money collected from donations of the citizens expressly towards building a national theatre, which was opened in 1881. The first idea came in 1844 at a congregation of Czech patriots. As far as I can tell no religion was involved. Certainly, none needed. And that great building is also a part of our and the world's registered cultural heritage sites. So to summarize, the reason for this letter was to let all of you three guys know that you can stop only theorizing about a society without religion. Look at the Czech Republic especially before the Velvet Revolution (after which slowly more and more religion starts very slowly creeping in again), but where still today three-quarters of the population are completely irreligious. We are one of the safest, most educated, and happiest countries in the world. And if you look over the state ideology at any one time, where communism was making some people unhappy with restrictions on travel for example, and capitalism in its demands on sacrificing more of one's private / family time for work time, we are generally really happy people, nice to each other (without having to be threatened by hell or whatever other stupid magic idea), helping each other. And it is probably partly thanks to the LACK of any religion that we are that way. There is one less thing to partition us into opposing groups which argue about something they actually cannot even know. Actually, that makes me think about my friends and people I know. I know and have experienced that my friends or even friends of my parents, for example, would (and in the past have) helped me when I really needed help, despite it being a great inconvenience for them. Yet, I was in similar situations when I only had a religious person to help me and they would not. It would seem to me that religious people like to listen to the stories that Jordan insists are shaping majorly their principles and behavior, rather than actually behave according to them. And then some feel great to tell you how good they are thanks to Jesus. Ok, I think that concrete examples would be good here: I know, that every time I go back to the Czech Republic for the summer I have offers from my friends to take me to the airport - both in Czech and in Australia (still from Czech friends interestingly enough). In both cases, it is over 100km and I do not want to inconvenience them if it is not necessary so I thank them and decline. But I know that even if I called them at three in the morning that I needed an urgent lift to the airport they would just tell me how long it would take them to pick me up. Contrast that with this: I've known a great person for 7 years and actually shared a house with her for 5 of those years. I consider her a very nice person and considered her a very good friend. I still visit her once a year or so when I have a chance, but thinking back on the story I'm about to tell you certainly makes me feel less worm towards her than I always thought she otherwise deserved. So the story: I found a new life partner while again staying for the whole European summer in the Czech Republic. For reasons irrelevant to this story she could not join me permanently in Australia for the first few years of being together, so we were overcoming that problem by her periodically visiting me in Australia for 3 months, then we would not see each other for another 3, then I would go to Czech for 3 and a bit, again 3 months apart and then the cycle would repeat. At the end of one of her stays in Australia with me, while I was still sharing the house with my friend, Jean, my partner was flying home the next day and I, shortly before that, decided I would actually fly back with her. I could not get a seat on the same flight so my flight was at 8 AM and hers the same day at 1 PM. My partner is a bit lost when traveling and she did not speak English at that time yet either, so we decided to travel the 150km to Brisbane in the evening before and arranged to stay with a friend there overnight. We were supposed to catch the second one of the only two trains that goes from that place to Brisbane daily. It was leaving around 9 PM. The nearest train station is about 8km from the place I lived in with Jean, who agreed or maybe even offered to take us to that train station, I can't remember that bit for sure. What is for sure is that once we got there it become clear that the train was not coming as the train tracks were not there and the workers currently working there under the floodlights confirmed that the trains were not operating on that track for the past 14 days and will not be going for another 14 more. I was amazed and surprised, especially after we got back home and I confirmed on the computer that the online time schedule directly on the Queensland Rail website still insists that there are no exceptions or delays and that that train is scheduled as per normal. There was no other public transport for us to use from that place. So after another couple of hours of trying to figure out any other possibility of getting us there on time, I finally asked Jean if she would be so kind and took us to the airport (we did not want to bother the friend in Brisbane to sleep over anymore because we would arrive too late for that we felt) so that we could make our flights. Jean told us that "she would but that she promised her sister to accompany her to a church service the next morning and that if she took us she would be too sleepy for that the next day".................. I probably don't have to say that I was a bit disappointed that someone I considered a friend and a good person would refuse to help us in a situation in which I would have no other safe viable option. I never analyzed it further beyond the disappointment. However, a couple of years later I was telling this story to a friend and he, I think very spot on, pointed out that "So she would rather go to church to listen to the preacher to tell her that she should be helping people rather than take the opportunity to actually help someone in a real need.". How is that for "Christian" values? I know my non-religious friends would not hesitate to help me in that situation as I'll give you an example of in a couple of lines. Just to finish the story, Jean was "nice enough" to suggest that we can try hitchhiking on the highway (at 1 AM no less!!) and "kindly" offered to take us there. We had no other choice so we accepted. To start with, there were literally 2 cars in 40 minutes we stood there. Fortunately, the second car actually stopped for us, and also fortunately we survived that. I say the second "fortunately" since it was a German traveler who told us that he stopped because he needed someone to keep him awake since he has been driving at that point non-stop for 16 hours from Cairns. Needless to say that traveling in a car 20km over the highway speed limit with someone who is grossly falling to sleep is quite scary... The story still developed into having quite a few very interesting twists, but those are not relevant to this anymore. So now a concrete matching example: When I was 15 I was to travel by bus 150 km to my brand new high school. I was obviously gonna have to be staying at a boarding school there so I wanted to take an earlier Sunday bus to have a chance to choose my new bed. But after waiting over an hour over the scheduled time for the bus I concluded that it was not coming and I was going to have to take the late afternoon one. After returning to the bus station and waiting for that one for almost an hour again I finally figured out that it was actually a brand new holiday celebrating the two (religious - interestingly enough :)) men who managed to enforce the recognition of our language as a language recognized by the religion, based and thanks to which our writing was established. (Religion would not allow our writing if it did not recognize the language as being worthy.) It was never celebrated before as it was shortly after the Velvet Revolution so I had no idea. Anyway, the result was that there was no other bus that day and that not only I would arrive dead last to the boarding school, but I would also miss probably the important first half of the first day at the actual new school as a freshman since my dad was away somewhere at that time with our only car. That evening, at about 10 PM, a neighbor and my parent's friend came to pick something up from my mum. He was surprised to see me still at home and so he asked how come? When we told him he said that we should have told him earlier because he would have taken me there. He also told us that he was supposed to be at work the next day at 5 or 6 AM so it was too late to drive me there now. I remember thinking that it is easy to say now if he can't prove he would have done it anyway. Three minutes later I hear him saying: "You know what, let's go, I'll take you there." It was a 3-hour drive one way!!! The Czech Republic is quite dense with towns and villages and there were at that time many quite large detours on the way, too. So this man would get home about an hour or two before having to go to work! How big of a difference this is to a church on Sunday where you go by your own volition, you are not required to go and being able to take the highway instead of in that case basically the whole way, so that trip would have cost Jean 3 hours max! So the person who is NOT compulsed to help me for fear of any hell or any other even slightly unpleasant result helps me for purely the good feeling that one gets from helping others by his own choice despite majorly inconveniencing himself is the one that actually helps me and the one that thinks of themselves as the chosen and the most kind people chooses to go listening about how kind they are rather than actually be. Does not that give you a pause? :) Another example. I was renting a room in a home of another of my friends and I happened to accidentally either drop the clear plastic fridge bucket for fruits and veggies or drop something on it (I cannot remember), resulting in its cracking. The, for me absolutely obvious thing to do, despite that it was "just a crack" and the bucket was still capable of fulfilling its function (and in fact until this day I still use it in my garage to store stuff in), I went ahead and spent almost a whole day trying to find where I could buy the correct replacement and spent something like 60 bucks on it at a time I did not have much money at all. Just because it was a normal logical thing for me to do for the pure "golden rule" reason. And Jordan would maybe say "ha, see, Christian values". And I, same as Sam or Christopher or probably Douglas too, would say that that rule is very logical, self-evident, and much older than the Christianity that appropriates that too for itself. It is just logical. I did not ever need any kind of story behind it and definitely not one where I would be punished other than that others may start doing the same to me seeing me do that to others. And since I want others to be nice to me, I, quite logically and without complicated explanations that some try to fit to some ancient stories they happen to believe in, will behave nicely to them. And now again, contrast this to a very similar situation the other way around, this time, however, the other person is a church-going Christian. I now live in a nice big house, which we rent as I mentioned. For the past 10 years, it has been our home and we can only afford it because we are sub-letting one of its rooms directly connected to the main bathroom. And we do this because we fell in love with the house and felt immediately at home as soon as we inspected it. And we originally inspected it purely just as a point of comparison with other houses we went to see afterward because it was available for inspection first that day. Later, comparing it to the other houses, I realized we could make it affordable (same price as the others) by renting out just those two of the 4 rooms that were on the top of what we actually needed. So we did and it has been 10 years since. We look for people who want to stay longer-terms. Last year, a guy from the Christian part of Nigeria was finishing his stay of over 2 years with us. He would go to church every Sunday without fail and was obviously a devout Christian. He was studying nursing and was working as well, earning quite good money too. In the home, we usually all fit in our big fridge together with our boarder. This one, however, said he needed more space so we bought an additional fridge for him. It was one of the smaller ones which still needs to be periodically defrosted. When we noticed that he is leaving the freezer to become overgrown with ice we told him that he will need to do that so that the fridge does not break. We asked him to do that several times over several months until the plastic hinge of the plastic freezer door broke by the ice pushing it out. It was obviously not even an accident. He would ignore that. So eventually I told him that now he, unfortunately, had to find a replacement freezer door for it because otherwise, the fridge will be consuming much more energy (and we are paying all the energy bills, the boarders have it included in a single unchanging rent amount, which is by the way cheapest in this area) and that it will freeze over faster and that the person after him will surely need the door, too. Nothing at all happened until he left. I meant to force him to do that before I'd return his bond when he would eventually be leaving, but it happened just at a time when we were holidaying aborad and I forgot about the freezer door. So I remotely returned his full bond. Sometime after that, when he came to pick up some of his post that he still did not change the address for, I gave him the broken door and asked him if he could please finally get a replacement. It's been almost a year now and he tells me he did not find it. So I asked him obviously if he actually tried. He said he did. A couple of simple questions later it is clear that he actually did not even try but is happy to lie about it. So what exactly has the church taught him?? I know it has neither taught him for sure to be responsible for his own actions nor to be honest. Clearly. Qualities that I and all of my close friends who I grew up with, who have never been touched by religion of any kind, have. I am not necessarily saying that these almost exactly one-to-one comparable examples are totally indicative of the difference of morals between Christians and completely irreligious people, but since it does fit pretty well with many others we see in history and also currently around us, I think it is time to stop theorizing about the necessity or even utility of religious values for modern people. I'm not disputing that religion does have utility for people who follow it, but it certainly is not the necessary or even important tool for people in general. It seems to me that religion has a utility of a rock that you use to beat in a nail. Take the rock from me and you leave me with a hammer that actually makes much more sense, similarly to taking away the stories and threat of hell and replacing it with something that has been there all along - the genuinely nice feeling of helping someone even if I am otherwise not compelled by anything else than the great feeling and the very logical realization that I have a much better chance to be treated nicely if I treat everybody else nicely. And that I am much more likely to be helped by others if I unconditionally help them. And I may help someone who never helps me, but helps somebody else. And somebody I never helped may actually help me because he was also at some point helped or at least sees it as all so logical how this works. Jordan, your well-researched arguments on many societal topics are great and helpful and make sense. But I must say that even though I heard a couple of ways you very interestingly matched biblical stories on some current situations or general human behavior, I also think that you are totally overcomplicating stuff in these cases and you are getting many, myself included, lost as to what you are in fact trying to do other than somehow trying to reconcile your Christian belief with current reality and as you just discussed during the talks with Douglas and Sam, smuggling the Jesus into it where really, it is not necessary at all, objectively. I understand that it is important to many, you including, but it really is not necessary. We can very nicely do completely without it. As an exercise in reasoning it is, or can be, for sure interesting, especially for scholars like you. For us, normal people (or normal engineers like myself :)) it seems pretty pointless otherwise. And the case of the Czech Republic, I think, even takes a base from your case completely, even though I'm sure you could find connections. As an engineer I can tell you I can map anything to anything if I put enough abstractions in between. But the simple truth is, that almost everybody in a real country that has been historically doing well, grew up a perfectly decent person, arguably in a bigger percentage more decent than the majority in much more religious countries. And we do not suffer. Again, I'd say we suffer less because we are not burdened by any traumas like worrying about ending up in hell. Sure, in our folklore we have another tradition where St. Nicholas (we never used the "St" part, for us it was just "Mikulas") comes on 5. December together with one or more devils to our home and gives our children presents or coal if "they were not good". And yes, for most children the devils are scary and some parents use that to elicit the promise of being good "from now on", but I think that at least most parents (certainly mine) were not trying to persuade us these were real beings. It was a (scary) theatre happening in almost everybody's homes. And as soon as you figure out those under the masks are just normal people you feel clever as a kid. And you feel like you've grown and maybe also that you outsmarted the adults who would not tell you straight away those are just people. When you are like 6, 7, or 8, you are looking forward to running outside with the Mikulases and devils despite sometimes still being scared by them if they play the role well. It is thrilling. But it never needed to be shoved down our throats as a reality and not even a story was needed. We have folklore fairytales that feature devils punishing bad people, yes. But we do not need them to tell us what is right and what is wrong. We can figure that out for ourselves and the stories are just a nice entertainment, if done well. And yes, we can see the useful allegory in it. We would still, however, know quite naturally the difference between clear right and wrong, between hurting others and not hurting others. But we recognize the difference between entertainment and reality. We still enjoy stories all the same. You do not need organizations that actually believe those, are exempt from paying taxes and are praying on those who cannot reason themselves out well enough or prevent themselves being reasoned in by these fantastical stories and the ability of the storyteller to manipulate. I'd say that the about 25% of people in the Czech Republic who identify themselves as somehow religious are exactly those types of people. Ones who severely lack logical thinking. I have an uncle and a stepdaughter both like that. Neither of them has very good reasoning ability and so they are hanging there to be hooked on by the use of fantastical and magical stories, despite the fact that they were not indoctrinated into it as children, which then makes it more understandable when even pretty intelligent people still have this illogical partition in their brain reserved for god. OK, that's it. Quite a bit longer than I intended it to be, but I hope it will eventually reach at least one of you in person and maybe give you some more arsenal for good arguments. It is obvious that you are very busy people so I do not expect any reply at all, but it would be great to get something like: "Hey Marek, it reached me, thanks." so that I know that I haven't completely wasted almost the whole day today instead of fixing my server and getting back to my coding in which I'm so much behind. Wish you all all the best. Sincerely, Marek Vsechovsky Aside: As I'm reading what I wrote after myself I realize that although not absolutely necessary to explain this, you may wonder if I'm not "telling you stories" since at one point I mention that I am a software engineer and in another talk about affordability of rent. Well, I really don't revolve my life around money. And since I very much enjoy my job and have large amounts of ideas, I'm trying to implement them running it as my own business. However, I am kind of a Wozniak without a Jobs, meaning that rather than marketing a finished product I immediately start working on the next one since I just can't wait to work on it, so I end up with no income to my business and so from time to time I have to accept a paid outside contract. Since my expertise is large and well valued, and since I am a very frugal person (if I compare myself to most other people who say they are too :) ) I only need to work for about 3 months to be able to live from that for the next two years developing my own ideas. That's why I'm still renting rather than owning. I do what I love, I spend as much time on it as I want and I live at a very nice place where I can take a 30-minute holiday jumping in the surf basically all-year-round, so I'm really happy.
Yeah its long... Angela & Michael: After Angela Ubered off into the Nigerian night last week, Aunt Lydia questioned if Michael was prepared to tolerate outbursts like this from his wife (Here’s your late pass from the last 3 years, Aunt Lydia). He assured her of his ability to handle Angela, as he set off driving back to their apartment, nervously gripping his fake Louis Vuitton steering wheel cover the entire way, knowing what awaited him. He found Angela in the apartment sitting in the kitchen wearing one of her sensible toting camisole tops, waiting for her prey to arrive. She wasted no time letting Michael have it, giving him the hard facts that she will NOT be anyone’s submissive wife. Michael persistently tried to calm her rage, even using a quiet tone and trying to talk through the angry fury raining down upon him, but no such luck. For those that could only see the fight as a bunch of yelling, the meat of it was this; Michael has been agreeing with Angela all along that they will be (whatever Angela considers to be) equal partners in their marriage, but also telling his family that he will be the head of the household/She will be the submissive wife. I’m sure given the Facebook courtship, the age difference, and the fact that Michael once did the bj forreal all have been stored in Angela’s internal hard drive, so any discrepancies shown on Michael’s part are met with a category 5 Hurricane Angela. Combine that with the struggle over leaving her gravely ill mother at home to be on “Bridezillas- Nigeria” (which she didn’t want to do in the first place), and it’s the recipe for the perfect storm. Some of the screaming highlights included “there’s only one person I bow down to and that’s Jesus” (who’s up in Heaven, dropping his mic right about now…). I would appreciate it if Dr. Pettigrew would recheck Angela’s blood pressure at this point, as I’m not so sure if it would be as perfect. Michael followed Angela from the initial fight location of the kitchen, to the bedroom where the door was slammed in his face. Michael really does deserve some bowing down, as he has had the patience of a Saint, ignoring all of the yelling and has shown dogged determination to get through to his non-submissive fiance. Each time the camera showed Michael he appeared to have aged, and lost an article of clothing. The following morning, Angela had started to slip out of her Hulk mode, and actually listened to Michael as he claimed that he would tell his family he was choosing the least submissive wife ever. Only caring about Michael’s Mother’s opinion, she invited Mama Michael over, along with a neutral third party translator to make sure Mama officially approved of their marriage, and to make sure Michael wasn’t pulling any fast ones over on her. Angela was looking very put together in her black top and coordinating headband, complimented by her matching gold chain/rhinestone lips necklace and earrings set from Rainbow. (I am loving all of her “love” themed jewelry this season). Mama showed up looking fabulous as ever in her pink outfit and headpiece. Angela started the conversation, welcoming Mama and making sure she was okay with the fact that she had no intentions of, and I quote, “Kissing Michael’s ass”. Mama agreed, and even continued on to give them her blessing for marriage. After that meeting went so well, Michael asked Angela what today’s wedding status would be, and she said “Game On”. Looks like my toaster might actually have a forever home! (That is, until production set up poor Michael once again for a beat down. Looks like next week there are female strippers at a joint bachelobachelorette party. I hope Michael is wearing a protective cup.) Elizabeth & Undrrrrei: The lackluster apology at the war museum must have had an impact last week, because Elizabeth and Undrrrei were all smiles as they headed to the airport yet again to pick up Mother Elizabeth, her poor unsuspecting surprise husband, and sister Jen.(It’s kind of crazy that this is the first we are hearing about Elizabeth’s parents being divorced, and there’s a stepfather in the picture. Maybe the poor guy didn’t want to be pulled into the 90 Day circus? Well, welcome aboard!) Sister Jen decided she was going to pretend Moldova was France, as she sported her black beret and made a face like she was smelling stinky cheese as soon as she landed (which is actually a possibility). The Family Elizabeth all went back to the AirBNB owned by the heir to the Oscar Meyer corporation, where Undrrrei’s mom had prepared a feast. There was pig fat and festive finger foods; it was truly a tempting shmear. She is bold with her cooking and even more bold with her mixing of patterns for her outfit. Both families from near and far seemed to be getting along well and everyone was on their best behavior. The next morning, Jen and Mother Elizabeth were hating on their first breakfast in Moldy-O, which really seemed to be nothing more than some Folgers, croissants and grapes. Elder Chuck mentioned it was like eating “peasant food”, though in fairy tales, most peasants eat crumbs, not meat jello. Get your facts straight, Chuckles! The Chucks bring the ladies up to speed on the latest Undrrrei drama, and they are appalled. The smartest one of this bunch is the newly introduced Stepfather who chose to stay in bed for this conversation (and hopefully brought a granola bar that he doesn’t intend to share). Next on the agenda, Libby, Jen, their mother, and sister in law Inna all went shopping at a traditional Moldovan dress shop to find an outfit for Libby to wear to her ceremony. I’m not going to lie… I thought the dresses would be made out of cold cuts, but they were actually pretty cute (and would ironically be considered “peasant tops”). While Elizabeth was busy in the fitting room, Jen, Mother Elizabeth and Sister in Law Inna had a chance to gossip about what a jerk Undrrrei is. They had to use a translator app as well as a sales girl to relay their questions and information back and forth. Inna admitted to not being “team Undrrrei”, as she had previously had her own “beef” with Undrrrrei (In Moldova, when you fight, you always refer to it as having “beef”). All of the ladies concluded that they don’t know how Libby can put up with Undrrrei and his “fots”. Of course Elizabeth pops out of the fitting room in her “peasant” attire, pissed off that they are all talking about her husband-to-be-again, and defending her decision to have left with Undrrrei after family fight night. It feels like all of this ridiculousness is just a build up to more anticlimactic drama for next week. And now I’m in the mood for bologna…. Kalani & Asuelu: Kalani put on her game face as she strutted down the pier for the big meet with the two money hungry thugs, aka her Mother and Sister in Law. She tried to explain that she and Asuelu did not have extra money to support his mother, though they do give to her when they can. Of course this wasn’t good enough for Asuelu’s dear old mom, as well as his sister Tammy (who was giving off a little Samoan Rosie Perez vibes), as they accused Kalani of not being “Sam-wan” enough, brainwashing Asuelu, and even tormenting him with her pregnancy. His mother may have also sealed her fate as becoming the most hated mom of the series (surpassing Debbie, Mother Pedro, and even Mother Chantal herself) when she blatantly said that she didn’t care about the kids, she just wants to harvest the American dollar. She even suggested that maybe Asuelu should move back to Sam-wa and work so he could once again give her all of his money. Kalani had finally had enough of the great Samoan Shakedown, so she decided to leave in tears, with Tammy trailing behind, threatening to beat her up. The whole thing seemed extremely scripted, except Kalani seemed genuinely upset. (Also, I may be wrong, but I thought I remembered Asuelu once saying he was one of like 10 children. So is he the top earner of his family??? Shouldn’t his mother have a few other kids she could be shaking down? I mean if they all pitch in like $1 they can get her a bottle of John Frieda Frizz Ease for both her head and mustache..) Back at the house, Kalani fills Asuelu in on the meeting, and how his mother and sister basically only care about money, even more than the kids. Asuelu seems to agree that they are in fact crazy and seems like he is team Kalani all the way….. That is until Kalani mentions that his family are assholes, and that his sister should be glad she didn’t attempt to beat her up, since if Tammy would have touched her body, she would have “dropped her…period”. This is when the conversation veered left, and Asuelu seemed more concerned with who would win in a fight between his wife and sister than the actual moral of the story. She left the room feeling defeated, while Asuelu cursed at her, once again. (If we say Kalani’s father’s name 3 times, do you think he would appear?? We need Low, stat!!) Kalani is feeling hopeless, and confides in her sister Kolini, who advises her to stop wasting her energy on someone who isn’t willing to be supportive, and who is only trying to place bets on her fighting abilities. Poor Kalani… period. Colt-ee & Debbie & Jess via satellite: Colt-ee was showing us a little thigh action AGAIN this week, just to keep everyone’s gag reflexes in check. Nothing much really happened with these two jigglypuffs, it was more about setting up the scene for next week when Jess arrives in Vegas to visit. It appears that since his Brazilian tour, Colt-ee has been caught lying yet again to Jess and their relationship has been on and off ever since. Jess explains that she needs Colt to stop lying to her, and also to stop calling her his little “boo-buh” (I actually need him to stop doing that. What the hell was that!). He told Jess she could stay at the house in his bedroom, which of course is going to give Debbie major Larissa flashbacks, especially once Jess reacts to Colt-ee’s confession that he’s been talking to other girls in the interim of their 3000 breakups per week. Please, if you or someone you know speaks romantically to Colt-ee, hoping to be his next “Boo-buh”, send me their number. We can get them the help they need. Colt took Debbie on a day date to some place with these amazing ice cream concoctions to discuss the current state of the Colt/Jess relationship. I tried to concentrate on what they were saying, but the ice cream was honestly way more interesting. It seemed like Colt-ee told Debbie that though their relationship has its “ups and downs” he still wants to pursue things with Jess by having her come visit Las Vegas. Debbie is not thrilled, and probably is already planning another bomb to drop for next week. That ice cream though… Tania & Cinnamon: Synergy’s family all came together for a “braai”, or South African Barbeque. Everyone is enjoying each other’s company (well, not Tania’s company, but everyone else’s), and Syringe brings up wanting to buy property in South Africa. This of course sets Tania off on a tear, mentioning how she doesn’t want to have little Tanios or Taniyettes in South Africa, since she feels there is a lot of racism there and prefers her multicultural upbringing in the sheds of Connecticut. Of course she is saying all of this out loud in front of Synergy’s South African family, in South Africa, shoveling South African food down her gullet… Cinnamon counters her points by mentioning that he’s not even sure if he wants kids, which just about made Tania’s head fall off. She started yelling, crying, saying that Synonym has no direction and it’s unfair to her that he doesn’t have goals. One might bring up the fact that when you meet a barefoot bartender on vacation who isn’t sure he wants to have kids and is torn between the career options of fireman, actor, or opera singer and is cool with living in a shed as long as he can day-drink in a bathrobe, he is not exactly a “5 year plan” type of guy (Unless her goal was to live out the plot to the movie “Cocktails”. In which case, carry on). Tania was so upset with Syngerella that she got up and hobbled off, leaving him to awkwardly apologize to his family for the weird tension. But fear not, she returned a minute later, trying to have the last word and make Cinnabon feel like everything was his fault, but in reality she had just forgotten to take her plate of food with her the first time she left. (Most people eat their feelings AFTER something happens, not during. But you know how Tania likes to do things no one expects…. ) Cinnamon’s family acknowledged that he is a bit of a dreamer and noncommittal, but they also are all in agreement that Tania is waaay too much.His brother was sitting there looking like a shell shocked Kenny G and a pirate just had a baby who had knee surgery, while his sister was now terrified of the idea of marriage altogether. Syncinatti went into the bedroom to find Tania shoveling steak into her mouth hole while she sulked. She copped a major attitude, as she explained that she was the only reason he made it to the U.S. (which was never a goal of his in the first place..especially since he has none), and explained that she has wasted 2 precious years (well, 1 year and a few months… the other months she was in Costa Rica) hoping he would pick a direction. We get it, Tania… you want your kids to have his fabulous hair, you just have to come to terms with the fact that you married the South African version of “the Dude” from “The Big Lebowski”. Synergy finally had enough, and decided to grab his beer and go, but not before the cameras panned to his feet, which were completely black from his “free spirit” way of life, that is also free of wearing shoes. Hopefully the universe will point Cinnabon to one of my suggestions on how to ditch Tania, and then to get a pedicure. Larissa-ee: I have noticed that production likes to reuse story lines, such as having Larissa and Eric-ee go furniture shopping, just like they already had Larissa couch shopping once before with Debbie (I’ll bet Larissa is really jealous of Colt-ee’s chic-ee “realtree” couch….) I could understand her desire to want to spruce up Eric-ee’s dorm room decor, but they could at least have hit up Ikea, instead of jumping from the free section of Craigslist straight to an $11,000 couch. Larissa used the furniture store as an opening to discuss how “cheap-ee” Eric has been, and how she would like to borrow money for a boob job (and a nose job, tummy tuck etc. But let’s talk boob job-ee first). She claims to be unhappy with her original parts and would like to get a tune up. Eric-ee agrees to loan her the money (plus interest, hopefully at a fixed percentage rate) and she promised he would not regret it. Next we see these two back in their joint living quarters discussing (with many hand motions) the boob-ee situation again. Larissa explains this enhancement will help her build confidence and hopefully entice him to propose, which was a new development. Eric-ee suspected that she could possibly be making all of these adjustments to throw her new life in Colt-ee’s face, though she claims to just want to be an “angus steak” in a world full of ground sirloins (watch out for Tania,she was on a steak bender this entire episode). Pol & Kreeknee: Missing this week were Pol and Kreeknee who were off chasing each other around somewhere and making awkward Cameos.
2020.08.24 19:42 partypastorUnreached People Group of the Week - Lyuli in Uzbekistan
Sup guys, I accidentally slept till 9 today, so my day is all wonky but I'm sitting in class now so its the perfect time to work on this post right? I always pick massive people groups so here is a smaller one that we can pray for! Meet the Lyuli in Uzbekistan! Also, I couldn't get the wikipedia articles to link well, so they're bolded instead and you'll just have to trust me, sorry bout it. How Unreached Are They? Math is easy but sad today. The Lyuli people are 0% Christian. That means there is maybe (and hopefully) a few believers out of their entire population of 12,000 people. There are portions of Scripture translated but not an entire bible nor even the New Testament as a whole, What are they like?
Most of the Lyuli people live in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan. A smaller number live in Russia. Their language is a dialect of Tajik, a bigger Turkic language. Lyuli families have clans and sub-clans. They are closed towards anyone outside the Lyuli community, especially since they are not accepted by many of the peoples they meet. They might be better accepted by Tajiks than other Central Asian peoples because of the similar language. Joshua Project Women do not have an equal status to men in Roma society. They do not have the same rights, but they have many obligations. They have to give birth to many children whether they want to or not — a large family is a way to gain respect among the community, and the first question [women] get is how many children they have. The only chance for female education is before marriage, and that is extremely rare. Particularly because marriages are held at a very young age; girls are married at the age of 14 or 15. Medium
The ancestors of the Lyuli people were probably a caste of singers and dancers who, because of economic hardship, had to move elsewhere. They were scattered to several countries including what is now Uzbekistan. Joshua Project There are several names for the Lyuli: Jughi, Multani or Luli. However, they refer to themselves as Mugat or Mughat (Persian: مغان, derived from Old Persian magi, "fire-worshipper"), as well as Ghurbat (Arabic: غربات), which means "lonely". The term Multani signifies a person who originates from the city of Multan (in modern-day Pakistan), because some of the Lyuli emigrated from Multan around 1380 AD. Wikipedia
What do they believe? The Lyuli people are 100 percent Sunni Muslim.
Sunni Islam is the largest denomination of Islam, followed by 80–90% of the world's Muslims, characterized by a greater emphasis upon the traditions of the prophet and his companions. Its name comes from the word Sunnah, referring to the behaviour of the Islamic prophet Prophet Muhammad. Wikipedia The Lyuli Roma identify as Sunni Muslims. They observe prayers, as well as all the other religious requirements and celebrations. In lay Muslim society they face discrimination from Uzbeks and Tajiks, who do not consider them “real” Muslims because of pagan elements to their religious practices, their caste system, and worship of fire. The Lyuli community’s understanding of Islam is more about a popular Islamic spiritualism combined with elements of the pre-Islamic past, which remain to this day in the lives of the Lyuli Roma. Medium
How can we pray for them?
Pray for the Lyuli people to rise above the discrimination they experience and gain their dignity through a relationship with God the Father.
Pray that the Lord will raise the Lyuli people up as His children, and give them the chance to become part of His family.
Pray for believers to reach out to the Lyuli people in love and compassion.
Pray for a Disciple-Making Movement to emerge among the Lyuli people of Uzbekistan.
Pray for our nation (the United States), that we Christians can learn to come alongside our hurting brothers and sisters and learn to carry one another's burdens in a more Christlike manner than we have done historically.
Pray that in this time of chaos and panic that the needs of the unreached are not forgotten by the church. Pray that our hearts continue to ache to see the unreached hear the Good News.
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1) ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Here are the previous weeks threads on the UPG of the Week for Reformed
As always, if you have experience in this country or with this people group, feel free to comment or PM me and I will happily edit it so that we can better pray for these peoples! Here is a list of definitions in case you wonder what exactly I mean by words like "Unreached"
2020.08.21 05:35 vegasbmGetting a National ID card takes up to 4 years in Nigeria
In Nigeria, attempts at creating a National ID card dates back to 1986. After several decades and millions of dollars, the government is now looking to take the process digital In Nigeria, getting any accepted means of identification can be difficult. A driver’s licence costs up to ₦10,450 ($27) while a Nigerian passport with 10-year validity is ₦70,000 ($181). While the pricing of these documents means many Nigerians cannot afford them, the process of getting them is still slow. It is not unusual for public officials to demand bribes before you can get a passport or driver’s licence in good time. The free alternatives to a national identification card is the voters card. While the voters card is issued during election season, the national identity card is supposed to be issued all year long. Yet, in five years, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has had trouble issuing cards to millions of people who have registered. Innocent Chizaram, a Nigerian writer shared in this opinion piece that although he registered for an ID card in 2016, he is yet to receive it. This kind of experience is why many Nigerians do not have any form of identification. In June 2020, the Director-General of the NIMC, Aliyu Aziz said only 38% of Nigerians have any form of identification. According to Aziz: “over 100 million Nigerians have no identity (ID). These include the poorest and the most vulnerable groups, such as the marginalised – women and girls, the less-educated people, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, people with disabilities and people living in rural and remote areas.” https://techcabal.com/2020/08/20/national-id-card/
Currently apostasy (leaving Islam) is punishable by execution in 13 countries, including Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and northern Nigeria. In 2014, the brutal Saudi dictatorship declared all irreligious to be terrorists. I have no problem with people choosing to be religious by choice (I respect one's right to choose religion for theirselves if they want that), but what annoys me a lot is religious people who try to force their beliefs and views on other people. I have read stories of children being kicked out of their Christian households for being gay. There are still many religious countries in the world that have the death sentence for homosexuality. Recently, a girl in Brazil was harassed on her way to an abortion clinic. This girl is 10 and she was raped by her uncle. She would probably die if she carried to term or sustain serious injuries. All of these people protesting are religious Christian extremists who couldn't care less if this girl died or was damaged physically or mentally by the pregnancy. While I have nothing against the people who practice religion and mind their own business and allow others to choose, I do hate the people who think it's okay to force religion on others. Don't like homosexual sex? Don't have it. Don't like abortion? Don't have one. Freedom of religion is you being able to choose whether YOU want to adhere to a certain religion and its values, NOT you being able to choose whether someone else adheres to a certain religion and its values. That's forcing religion on people, which is not okay. If a certain religion is bullying you into staying or shaming you for being gay or seeking reproductive healthcare, you're not in a religion, you're in a cult.
Yeah Jehovah’s Witnesses have no way to exit the religion without being shunned by all its members (with no exceptions for family). When I decided I was an atheist and didn’t want to be a JW anymore my parents told me they wanted me to move out and I’ve barely talked to them since then. Such a fucking cult.
This is why I feel that there is a need for greater solidarity among atheists. Many Muslims when talking about us say that we're the only group that attacks their former religion consistently after leaving it, completely ignorant of the fact that exmormons and exjw's do this as well. They fail to see the similarity in all three cases, that people are leaving highly organized religions that put a high price on freedom of thought. Islam is unmatched in this regard, all those countries in chart that OP posted are Muslim. If all of us from different religions and denominations like this cooperate more, we'll be able to help each other to a great degree.
A joking definition I've always laughed at was, "In a cult, there is a person or people at the top who know it's all bullshit. In a religion, that person is dead." Too accurate, much of the time, I think, so you have a point. The original use of the word had no negative connotations. It applied to a subgroup of a religion that especially venerated a specific character or object within that faith. So ancient Greece would have a cult of Aphrodite, or the Catholics might have a Cult of St. Francis, etc. In modern parlance, however, the word "cult" has taken on a different meaning, related to control. In western society, most religion is cultural rather than controlling, Nobody polices the behavior of most religious people, the sermons are feel-good, non-judgemental affairs. Cults are those faiths that require strict rules be followed, police their memberships, control behavior, association, and do not allow for differences of opinion. Jehovah's Witnesses, Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Scientologists, Most sects of Islam, and occasionally Catholicism and a few others really meet that definition.
When my Aunt left Jehovahs witnesses she got stalked. Her uncle (relatively high up in the organisation) flew to the country where she was living to chew out the elders on 'how could they let her leave' Typically the elders will continue to drop in, to 'encourage' you back to meetings, for years. I've even heard of this continuing even after people have moved into a different area where the old congregation passes the info onto the local one and local elders will turn up for 'encouragement'
Invited them to dinner, but Haven’t heard from them since.
You have to remember, they aren't really trying to get you to come back, but rather using you to reinforce it to the missionaries. The council was hoping you would get aggressive and abusive because of their constant harassment, and instead those two girls came back seeing that you can be happy and whole without their cult. It's like the supposed thing where saying you are apostate will get them to leave you alone. They already know if you are and have those records, but if you know that much you are already too knowledgeable for their missionaries and you then become a danger of getting their young and impressionable to think for themselves instead of following dogma.
For the benefit of all: /exjw/exmormon/exmuslim/exjew All of these four subreddits have something in common - they represent people (like myself, raised as a Jehovah's Witness) who have left highly controlling, cult-like organizations. (For exjew, that pretty much only applies to the much more orthodox or strict Hasidic type faiths.) What has always struck me as amazing, is how, once you remove the dogma that serves as stylistic trappings for each religion, how similar the experience is for people that left. It never surprised me how similar the populations of exjw and exmormon are -- we refer to each other as "cousins" - the experience of growing up in either cult is remarkably similar. But something surprised me. One day I decided to look at the experiences of exmuslims, many of whom are in other countries with very differing cultures. It's funny, due to preconceived notions, it's too easy to assume that the difference in cultural background will make their experience alien to us, but once you put that ex- prefix up there, all the differences fade away. Some things require more explaining (like when they asked me about my background, and I explained remaining nominally a JW in order to help my wife and kids, someone asked me if it was a "love marriage or an arranged marriage"), but the attitudes, the beliefs (or lack thereof), everything is the same. It's never been so apparent to me the harm religion does to the world than when you see the solidarity and compassion we can all have when you remove it.
Yep. Used to put on a whole hail Satan display for jehovas witnesses, but have found that being friendly, kind and showing them your way of life and it's benefits while inviting them to it with open arms ends that particular church sending them to your home. They want you to be mean and nasty for the reason you mentioned above, but also so try face rejection from the outside world and come back to their group where it's reinforced that the world will oppress them and they are safe in the church. It's more a psychology operation on the members they send them it is on the people who's houses they visit.
2020.08.11 02:57 fractalfayA Glass on the Floor Just Shattered: Recap of Happily Ever After, S05E09
Every week 90DF’s producers project a giant ME into the sky to announce the presence of a new episode. They issued no warning that this miserable 80 minute affair would be stitched into my eyes. You have to give a medical warning for this kind of sickness in COVID times. And speaking if infections, Debbie and Colt continue to put other people in the middle of their relationship, for their favorite hobby, gaslighting and manipulating Brazilian women. We are now approaching the climax, where Colt twists the narrative from “angry response to lies,” to “out of control spicy Latina” that he’s forced to placate with simpering expressions. This is also Debbie’s queue to feign victimhood. “I did not know bringing up Vanessa would upset her,” Debbie lies. “I think Colt’s realizing that maybe he made a mistake, and we should start taking baths together.” “Out of control,” Colt adjusts his glasses. “Meaning, not controlled by me.’ “I’m thinking she might come back and cause some real problems,” Debbie has a whole script for this. “It’s not just Vanessa. I think she’s going to have a problem with anyone in Colt’s life.” Oddly, this is not Debbie describing herself. “This is me pretending to acknowledge her feelings. My eyebrows go up like praying hands. It’s not convincing, but sometimes sex happens.” “You can move your stuff down here, Colt. I don’t want her to find a loose rock in the parking lot to bash your skull into smithereens.” Debbie is really destroying the credibility of their previous domestic violence claims. “Remember when she put her hand in my face?” Everyone: No. “She just wants a green card,’ Debbie warbles in narf. “And I don’t know why he won’t suckle anymore.” Producer: Would you like to be on sMothered? I think we have a slam dunk here. “Well I don’t think of him as being smothered,” Debbie takes offense. “I let him come up for air three times a day, and then he goes face down again all by himself.” Colt goes looking for Jess, but she’s outside with Colt’s phone, collecting evidence for her binder. Turns out Colt sent her fake screenshots of fake conversations that he and Vanessa didn’t have. Jess sends a text to Vanessa, and Vanessa confirms they’re still talking, which is enough to escalate Jess’ to unfiltered rage. She storms back to the hotel room, where she takes her shoes off to throw them at Colt, and regrets that she has but two feet. “She trew a shoe!” Jesse comes in with the defense. Colt follows her to the elevator after she reports he’ll be fucking himself tonight, and she struggles with her bags herself, and declares she’s going to go fuck her ex boyfriend. Savage. “Why are you so mad. You’re a violent person!” Yep, domestic violence sympathy right out the door. “It’s so weird how this keeps happening. Should I file a domestic violence claim, or should I wait until she’s in America and terrified of being deported to one of the camps at the border?” Kalani continues to have adorable children, and hey, Asuelu is down for parenting them today. Congratulations for doing that shit you’re supposed to do. Kalani says that he apologized, and Asuelu reports that he didn’t sleep last night because he saw a polter-ghost. “I went to the bathroom, because I really want to poop,” Asuelu is a toddler. “I saw a shadow of a little girl. I feel like I’m standing in the air and I feel like I have big head. I didn’t really go to sleep after that.” There’s my autobiography in three sentences. For her part, Kalani is blown away, as she also detected the presence of a ghost. No one offers to burn some sage or invoke some angels to take care of that spirit, so great, it’s just stuck in that house. Nice work, KALANI. She says that she heard someone talking and was too afraid to go to the bathroom. “That was me talking to my anus,” Asuelu corrects. Koloni arrives before we delve any deeper into poop conversation #2. She’s there because Kalani needs witnesses, and help with childcare, since hanging with Asuelu’s family is going to bring the baby total to six. As they drive into Portland, they proceed to have the conversation everyone has the minute they land in PDX. “This is my dream place to live,” Kalani swoons. “All the green and the trees, and I’m not just talking about the bottomless well of weed.” “I don’t like raining all the time,” Asuelu presents the common counter argument. “But have you tried the trees?” Kalani has. Turns out that ghost is the giver of gifts, because they cruise into downtown and get a parking space right away, and make it all the way to the center of the square without a single Japanese tourist asking them to take a photo of their perfectly arranged crew of friends. COVID-19 hasn’t slowed this request — everyone just puts on a mask first. Tammy, Rosa, and Mother Asuelu appear, eager to welcome their human ATM. Mother Asuelu lives a caps lock life, and greets the children with a loud announcement that she loves them so much, and didn’t realize they would age when she wasn’t around to witness it. She says that she prays so much for them when she isn’t asking for spare change. Then she grabs Asuelu and mashes his face into hers, holding this awkward pose for WAY too long. “I don’t see anything wrong with that,” says Debbie, crossing her arms over exactly the sort of shirt Debbie always wears. The producers summon Kalani and Asuelu to start a fight, and Kalani can’t let the mommy and me makeout session slide. Asuelu gets sick of her insistence that the kiss was lip to lip just because she saw it that way, and flounces away. Kalani calls him a crybaby, and is left to stare at the producers, who consider asking what it says about her dating choices if he’s a baby. Later on the family heads to Piedmont Station food carts, one of many cart pods strapping feed bags to tourists throughout the city. “This place is soooOooooOOO Portland,” Kalani declares, reading the next line in her I Like Portland Book of Expected Statements. Asuelu is taking a different approach. “In Samoa there is no truck food. I think in Portland there is only truck food.” That’s not true. We also have Door Dash, which brings truck food to our homes. Asuelu goes from cart to cart, asking for the best of the best. At one of these stops, he expresses a desire to procure that food for free. I’ll endorse unsubtle solicitation of edible donations, which is a truer course than demanding a family fall bankrupt so they can send loot to a church in Samoa. This entire feast is brought to a table where Mother Asuelu and her henchwomen are waiting to be served. Koloni notes that this food has barely touched down, and already the only topic is money. “Some people like, ask how you’re doing, or what you’re doing for work. This is called conversation.” Koloni is not in the right place. Mother Asuelu says that she’d like to invite them to her home for the everyday, great low price of 999.99, and Asuelu accepts, and says that they brought gifts. Tammy demands to know how much money he brought. Asuelu reports the agreed $100 sum. Mom and the broke sisters are appalled, and insist that in their culture they take care of adults capable of working, even if that means neglecting the small beings ineligible for unemployment. Rosa, who is hearing impaired, signs in just to ask how much money they’re giving, and to claim it isn’t enough. Mother Asuelu says diapers and food are no excuse, and that Kalani’s family is “rich” and can take care of his children. Then she says he used to always send money, every time she asked, and now just because he claims two dependents on his income tax returns, she’s expected to take care of herself? Kalani tries to reign it in before this becomes an episode of Young and Pregnant where someone is gobsmacked they need to get a job, but after Tammy launches into yet another hectoring diatribe about how every child sends money back to Samoa, Kalani can no longer resists, and asks if Tammy sends money back. Realizing Kalani pulled her card, the two exchange a long, long look, where Kalani’s eyes transmit that she knows the manipulative bullshit that’s been going on for years, and if they insist she’s going to read all night long like she’s starting a library. Tammy finally says, “None of your business,” which is code for $0. Mother Asuelu sees this conversation getting WAY off topic, and concurs with Tammy. “WHERE IS YOUR MIND?” She shouts. When repeated attempts to shame him over the sum fails to move either party, Mother Asuelu stands up and announces she wants to go home. The sisters join her, before the conversations steers toward their own financial contributions again. “I’m thinking Kalani is right about my family only caring about money,” Asuelu concedes. “I want to go back to poop ghost.” Larissa is at Carmen’s house, announcing that Eric is officially uninvited to game night. She’s worried that Eric is going to call the police on her about the phone that wasn’t a gift, so she goes to return it. She knocks on the window because she doesn’t have her key, and all her self esteem is still inside. They sit down to talk, and Larissa expresses how appalled she is that he talked about their sex life, and declared it horrible. Eric insists that whatever he said then was something he said out of anger, and all should be forgiven since he’s a winner with tiger’s blood. Larissa says she’s never going to forgive him for this. “She assured me she would not get jealous. I mean, she’s not jealous, but angry that I talked shit on how she has sex, and FUCK HER, amirite? Are you a winner? I’m a fucking winner, guy. No I’m not on FUCKING COCAINE! What’s good?” Eric begins chewing the fence. Larissa says she doesn’t have a lot of sexual experience, and what she’s done has either resulted in pregnancy or been with Colt and Eric, so what did they expect? She insists that if she was doing something wrong he should have told her, and not some stranger he met in a bar. Then they go check out what’s on Netflix, and tell the producers they will totally fight better tomorrow, but Larissa is going to have to wear makeup again. Tania and Syngin wake up and prepare to visit Syngin’s brother, Dylan. As they start to pull away, Syngin’s flawed memories of driving stick cause the car to lurch forward. The fear on Tania’s face is real, and after she cries out Syngin starts laughing. Tania then bursts into tears. This is a solid example of how PTSD goes down: event, reaction, emotional flood. This is the first time I’ve felt empathy for her, and I don’t know who I am anymore. Tania recovers enough to visit with Dylan, who is wearing an impressive leg brace as part of his blood clot recovery. He describes it as the worst experience of his life (so far) and he’s glad to be alive. Then Dylan asks how the US of A is treating him, and Syngin responds, “Speaking of the worst experience of your life…” Syngin tells Dylan that he’s upset about being away from his family, and missing so much, and since he’s moved away he’s become a much more open and emotional man. All the same, he has no social life whatsoever, unless you count completing yard work for Mother Tania a cookout. Dylan admits the family have their doubts about this relationship, and Syngin’s decision to move. Later on Syngin is prepping for a night out with the boys, so Tania goes out with femme members of the fam to shop in a market and scrawl bitter truths in their Burn Book. Tania’s slightly disappointed that visiting family and friends involves his family and friends, but she comforts herself with the knowledge that he’ll be isolated and freezing his ass off again soon enough. Tania walks the market, while talking about the great sacrifices she’s made in being with Syngin. Mother Syngin wants to know if Tania wants to change him. “Do you know what you’re asking me to do, Azan?” Dammit, I knew this would invoke Nicole. “Change, Azan. You’re asking me to change.” Syngin’s sister says that it sounds like they both need to compromise, and Tania says she agrees that Syngin needs to compromise, if compromise means agree with her. Then she mentions grandkids to try and drag mom over to her team. It doesn’t work. “I don’t think Tania really knows how much he’s sacrificed,” she says. “He’s a free spirit. This isn’t about fear of commitment. It’s about a fear of being committed.” Since we’ve made it this far into the episode, let’s return to the ridiculous Moldovan restaurant shoving match, because why not. Does anyone care what Andrei did at this point? All the questioning and alcohol has Andrei seeing red, and he wants Chuck and Charlie to pack their bags and beat feet to America, so he can spend Father Libby’s money in peace. Charlie is wobbling around like a Weeble, pretending this wouldn’t have ended poorly for him, because how could it, he said “what’s good?” Andrei’s team tries to tell Charlie that no one likes an interrogation unless reduced jail time is on the table, and Charlie is unmoved. “In America we do what we want and we say what we want,” whites Charlie. The male Karen shall henceforth be known as a Charlie. He wants to know why his interrogation was ineffective, and why they’re less than eager to rat Andrei out on national television. Father Libby says Andrei is wearing a different face, kinda like the disgust he’s used to, with an added twinge of fatigue. Sis-in-law Ina tries to intervene, and reminds Andrei that the guy he’s asking to leave is his father-in-law, and Andrei says no, that’s his checkbook. Since they’re not leaving Andrei is, and he’s dragging Libby along with him, so she can pretend to take a stand outside. “We just don’t do that in America,” father Libby lies. “We save this kind of behavior for real issues, like having to wear face masks in Costco.” Marcel, a friend of Andrei’s, joins Andrei on the train to Fuck This, because 30 minutes with this crew is enough for him to understand Andrei leaning towards violent solutions. “Who is this man, and why does he take census?” Marcel wants to know. “They talk too much, and ask same question one hundred times.” “In America, we count to 101,” Father Libby corrects. Libby declares the night is ruined and it’s not okay. Outside they argue some more, and Andrei threatens to go back inside to beat Charlie for sport. Instead Andrei’s brother and Ina come out to try and calm his fire. Libby insists that Andrei started it and he’s in the wrong, and stamps her foot and swears that she’s drawing an invisible line with this invisible pen in invisible sand. “You’re not going to stay here, you’re my wife,” Pigs Andrei. ANNNNND she gets in the car. Father Libby and Charlie seem to share a boner over repeatedly describing Andrei as “out of control,” which warms the cold slab of mucus Colt calls a heart. Chuck is still talking about the same fucking shit, and declares that Andrei doesn’t act like this in America, because apparently he’s never seen this show. “We won’t hold that negative over Moldova,” says the guy who owed almost $20K in child support, and regularly bails his children out of jail. The entire country breathes a sigh of relief, and everyone present suddenly understands what Andrei has been reporting. Chuck isn’t done. “Wow, this is really great wine. Is this made from actual grapes? Wow. I didn’t know they even had grapes here. Do they also have water? Weird. Hey, did Andrei ever perform sexual favors for cash? I just get a feeling something isn’t right.” “I wouldn’t have gotten my ass kciked, he would have gotten his ass kicked,” Charlie scoffs. “He’s the one with the he’s the one. Duh. What’s good, right?” Michael hasn’t pissed Angela off in seconds, but he’s got a new idea: “Are you going to smoke on our wedding day?” “QUIT TRYING TO MAKE ME BE SOMETHING I’M NOT!” Angela explodes. “You know what you’re asking me to do, Azan?” “Nicole get the fuck out of my storyline!” Angela is not having it. “Am I going to smoke? Does a bear shit in the woods?” Michael isn’t sure. “What kind of bear?” “Don’t make me go full pie on the rind.” “Please, Angela. Speak English please.” “If you think I’m gonna chew on this menthol your cornbread’s not cooked in the middle, and you’d know this if you stuck a fork in it and watched it come out wet!” “My mother is afraid that if you stop smoking, your system will collapse. Then we will not know where to bury you.” “Well I got to quit if I’m gonna tote a baby. I gotta quit smoking and get the weight off, so can we both agree this is never going to happen?” Angela works hard to summon the baked good gods with a little cake chant. Michael’s Aunt Lydia and half-sister Bukky are meeting them at the bakery, and they’re happy Angela and Michael are getting married in Nigeria. Angela insists that all references to Nigerian culture must be banished during this Nigerian wedding, and Michael isn’t sure how his family will feel. Still, they need this wedding to be a lavish affair, for the sake of crafting a believable spousal visa application. After some unsubtle nudging, Aunt Lydia insists the family will take care of the two of them, and will contribute to the wedding funds. This makes Angela happy, and she’s ready to sample some cake. Question: Is it possible to go to a cake tasting if you’re not getting married? What if at the end of it, I order a cake, just for myself? The topic of Angela’s uterus is brought up again, because Lydia wants to believe her prayers are so powerful that they stop time. Confronted with this, Angela goes full Yoda, and says, “It really health risks me.” She goes on to remind them that she’s not doing side chicks or surrogacy or second wives or any of that, and much like incorporating any element of Nigerian culture in their wedding, Angela is not going to change her mind. “You need to think about his feelings, because I’m not.” Michael is embarrassed, and realizes that Angela doesn’t understand how important having a child is to him. He says that he’s scared to lose Angela, but also afraid about not having a child of his own. Lydia reports that Michael’s mother, Iya Bieu, is not going to be happy with this. Angela declares that his mother will get over it, unlike her, who never gets over anything. “It’s time to make sacrifices for me,” Angela says about the man isolated from his friends, who will be leaving his family and country, and placing his desire for children on hold. Speaking of sacrifices, Paul is crawling inside a trashbag in a bid to suffocate himself so that lost nail clippers reappear. During the hunt he broke their salad tongs, and yes, he brought $2 tongs all the way from Brazil. Karine assures him they have six more pairs, and wonders when Paul is going to leave her alone for five minutes and get a job. Paul says that he’s there all the time, networking, which is not the question she asked, but he already used the ‘convicted felon’ excuse on his mom. Finally, Karine says she’ll give him two months, then she’s getting a restrainer order like every other woman he’s ever been with, and will be heading back to Brazil. “A glass on the floor just shattered,” Paul salads. “I’m going to do my very best.” Karine doesn’t react, knowing Paul’s best is everyone else’s salad tongs. NEXT WEEK! Syngin dares to have unsupervised fun in SA, Libby insists that what happens every episode with Andrei is just a fluke, Mother Asuelu’s broken record continues to play, Jess returns to scream at Colt some more, Paul runs and I hope Karine runs faster, and Angela announces that the wedding is off for the 5,324 time. Thank you, Patreon supporters! Patreon.com/fractalfay
2020.08.05 02:29 gregathon_1If someone tells you we live in a patriarchy, show them this post.
According to a study done in 2012, men usually receive 63% longer sentencing for the same crime than women do.  There are clearly large gender gaps favoring women throughout the sentence length distribution. Another meta-analysis found that it was advantageous for defendants to be physically attractive, female, white, and of high socioeconomic status.  Men receive capital punishment 100x as much as women.  In a study done by the University of San Fransisco Law, it found that women guilty of capital murder were far less likely to receive the death penalty than men who had done capital murder and that people who killed women were more likely to receive capital punishment than people who killed men.  In the U.K., women are only jailed for serious crimes as the new Justice Secretary revealed in July of 2018.  While men get jailed for the most minor offenses, such as smoking weed in their own home (and get large prison sentences), women only get jailed for actually serious crimes such as murder, treason, or robbery. This is not even a new concept, as in the 1800s, whatever crime a woman committed, her husband served time for it.  How is this patriarchy? Feminists seem to think that chivalry was misogynistic or sexist against women, but, in reality, it protected and privileged them in almost every way. Faculty in STEM fields have demonstrated a preference for female applicants over equally qualified male applicants by a factor of 2:1.  If women were being pushed away from STEM, how would this be the case? A paper just published in the British Journal of Psychology led by Steve Stewart-Williams found that people respond to research on sex differences in ways that favor females. In two studies, participants were asked to read a popular science article that was experimentally manipulated to suggest that either men or women have a more desirable quality (for example, men/women are better at drawing or men/women lie less often). Participants evaluated the female-favoring research more favorably than male-favoring research. Specifically, participants found the female-favoring research more important, more plausible, and more well-conducted and found the male-favoring research more offensive, more harmful, more upsetting, and more inherently sexist. This pro-female bias was observed among both male and female participants, and in study two, the researchers replicated the results in a south-east Asian sample.  We have also found that people have a stronger desire to censor science that disfavors women. In this study, participants were asked to read a series of passages from books and to decide whether the text should be censored (for example, whether it should be removed from the library, whether a professor should not be allowed to require it for class). One passage argued that either men or women make better leaders. The results showed that people wanted to censor the book more when it argued that men make better leaders than women than when it argued the opposite.  According to a study done by Developmental Science, on the development of implicit and explicit gender attitudes, found that both sexes are significantly biased towards females over males. “Findings demonstrate that implicit and explicit own-gender preferences emerge early in both boys and girls, but implicit own-gender preferences are stronger in young girls than boys. In addition, female participants’ attitudes remain largely stable over development, whereas male participants’ implicit and explicit attitudes show an age-related shift towards increasing female positivity. Gender attitudes are an anomaly in that social evaluations dissociate from social status, with both male and female participants tending to evaluate female more positively than male.”  A meta-analysis found that women, on average, receive substantially more help than men, and men give more help than they receive.  This is backed up by the literally innumerable amount of money spent on female causes. For instance, federal and state money subsidizes more than 15,000 women’s studies courses versus a measly 91 men’s studies courses. In Canada, Canada’s Department of Education helps fund the Canadian equivalent of the National Organization for Women 7 and every Canadian province has a Women’s Directorate (Ontario’s has a staff of fifty-one and a budget of $8 million per year). A Google Scholar search for misogyny yielded 114,000 results, whereas a search for misandry yielded only 2,340. The data is pretty clear: people are vastly more sympathetic toward women and their causes than they are to men. Boys also receive vastly more corporal punishment than girls (such as getting paddled), along with African-Americans and Hispanics.  Why do boys have to receive violent education when women who misbehave and do the exact same offense do not? Girls earn significantly better grades than boys in the education system unlike what is found in scholastic achievement tests, according to a meta-analysis done by the University of New Brunswick. Another study done by OECD confirmed this very fact: when the teacher does not know that the student is a boy, his grade is put at least ⅓ higher than it already is.  This shows a significant bias towards girls in terms of grading since it has nothing to do with scores. The pressure to be masculine amongst men is also significantly greater than the pressure to feminine amongst girls. The teenage suicide rate amongst gays is 3x as high as the suicide rate amongst lesbians.  This implies that effeminate men are more likely to get bullied than women who act more manly. Think about it: if a girl showed up to school or work dressed manly (say with a suit), no one would bat an eye; but, if a boy showed up anywhere with a dress, he would be completely laughed at and made fun of. Additionally, in family courts, women win 90% of all child custody cases.  This is plain and simple misandry (or sexism against men) in the court system, and no one talks about it. There is absolutely no reason why a woman has more of a right to her own child than a man, and to claim otherwise would be discriminatory. Men also pay 97% of alimony (or financial support to their spouse post-divorce).  Men don’t make that much more money than women (considering the wage gap is not that large), and, therefore, should not have to pay that much alimony. Once again, plain and simple misandry. Men are also exploited as cash machines by other women in relationships. 70% of U.K. women would instantly change their minds about leaving a boring man if he won a lottery jackpot.  78% of US women said a partner with a steady job was the most important trait in a future spouse.  75% of women say that they would have a problem with dating someone who doesn’t have a job, and only 4% of women would go out with an unemployed man.  In China, women expect men to provide apartments along with a cash marriage offer in order to have a relationship.  Women are seen as sex objects, but men are seen as success and money objects. A man’s success and wealth matter more than his individual character. In life-threatening situations (such as abandoned ships), women and children are always saved first.  When a man and woman fail to protect, the results are always different. For instance, when a male captain failed to control his ship and the resultant oil spill destroyed wildlife, the names Exxon Valdez and Captain Joseph Hazelwood became infamous. Captain Hazelwood was put on trial, fined, and imprisoned. He became the pitiful butt of jokes by Johnny Carson and Jay Leno. His drinking was highlighted. The fact that a sudden schedule change had pushed an exhausted captain and crew back to sea and into a ruined career was ignored. So, what happens when a female captain does that? When a female air traffic controller failed at her job and the resultant air crash killed thirty-four humans (not wildlife), her colleagues took her to a hotel to shield her from publicity. They spent days comforting her. Instead of being the butt of jokes, she received humor therapy, paid for by taxes. Rather than sue her, the Federal Aviation Administration provided her with a counselor. Instead of publicizing her name, the National Transportation Safety Board cooperated in keeping her identity secret from the public. To this day, her name remains virtually unknown. Headlines in papers from the Los Angeles Times to The New York Times focused on her grief, not the grief of the families of those killed or the ruined lives of those injured, for instance: “Controller Was Stricken by Grief, Tears after Crash.” If this is true, then how would the misogyny theory make sense? We clearly accept female error a lot better than we do male error, so this would point to an entirely different narrative than most feminists push. Male genital mutilation is also legal, but female genital mutilation is not. While some forms of female genital mutilation are a lot worse than male genital mutilation, both are not O.K. If you look at the procedure of circumcision, it is quite horrible; the baby is screaming and crying as his penis’ foreskin is retracted using a clamp.  - Warning: Graphic The fact that male babies should be allowed to get tortured and reduced sexual pleasure should be something eliminated and removed from society if we want to get anywhere towards gender equality. In terms of domestic violence, 70.7% of domestic violence is female-perpetrated ; and according to the CDC, 53.3% percent of men had been the victims of intimate partner violence in the past 12 months.  So, the question remains: why are there no domestic violence shelters for men? Even though it is true that a lot of domestic violence against females go unreported, the media still paints domestic violence as a female-only issue when the statistics (of reported cases) shows otherwise. Every time, women are killed somewhere, in the news headline, it is almost unanimously made clear that, indeed, a woman was killed; but when a man is killed, he is usually referred to as a person., Take for instance, the Chibok schoolgirl kidnappings where hundreds of schoolgirls were kidnapped by a terrorist group called Boko Haram ; everyone from Barack and Michelle Obama  to the U.K. government  denounced the kidnappings as misogynistically intended kidnappings made to take away education from girls. However, almost none of these girls were actually killed; they were put into an arranged marriage with the chance to escape. The boys, on the other hand, were burned and killed; and mind you, they were called “people,” “students,” and “villagers,” not “boys” or “men.” , , , , , ,  In one of the reports written by AFP, it is said: “A hundred and six people, including an old woman, have been killed by the attackers, suspected to be Boko Haram gunmen…”  According to an Oxfam protection survey, 41% more killings were of men and boys by Boko Haram than of women and girls ; the number was even higher amongst adults, with 77% more men killed than women. Whenever girls are killed (or kidnapped), their gender must be mentioned since it has to do with that; but when it’s boys killed, it’s just a group of individuals dead and must never have anything to do with their gender. Studies have confirmed this as well, that female victims (and especially white females) are focused most in the media.  This plays into the concept of “male expendability,” or the idea that in society, female life matters more than male life. In 1998, shortly after the Rwandan genocide, Hillary Clinton gave a speech in El Salvador, saying: “Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat.”  This implies that the men who died aren’t really the victims of war; it is women who matter because they are impacted by the death of men, not because the men, in and of themselves, died. The “male disposability hypothesis” is also backed up by many studies. In 2016, a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science where it found that people would be significantly more willing to sacrifice men than women in times of crisis; they are also more willing to inflict harm upon men rather than women.  A study done in Poland (in 2017) found that people were 3 times as likely to deliver severe electric shocks to men when asked by an experimenter to do so than to women.  A study done in 2000, found that amongst vehicular homicides, drivers who kill women very often get much higher sentences than drivers who kill men.  This is also true in regards to all crimes; according to a study done in 2004, criminals who victimized females received vastly more punishment than those who victimized males.  A husband whose wife died is way more likely to commit suicide and be depressed than a wife whose husband died.  It explains why 93% of workplace fatalities are male ; men are forced to do dangerous jobs, which gets them killed and society simply doesn’t care. This is confirmed by a study done by the USBLS, which found that the most hazardous jobs (the ones with the highest-death percentage) were almost exclusively male , : Firefighting 99% male Ironworking 99% male Trucking 98% male Construction 98% male Logging 98% male Coal Mining 97% male Whereas the least hazardous jobs (ones with the lowest-death percentages) were always almost completely exclusively female : Secretary 99% female Receptionist 97% female The Jobs Related Almanac ranked 250 jobs from best to worst based on a combination of salary, stress, work environment, outlook, security, and physical demands. 24/25 out of these jobs were 95-100% male-dominated.  Military deaths are largely male as well. According to the FAS, in the Korean War, 99.9% of all deaths were male. In the Vietnam War, once again, 99.9% of all deaths were male. During the Persian Gulf War, 95% of all deaths were male. During Panama, 100% of deaths were male. During OEF and OIF, 98% percent of deaths were male. Why is this such a persistent theme? “I think women are too valuable to be in combat.” - Casper Weinberger, U.S. Secretary of Defense (under Reagan) “It is not appropriate for women to engage in combat... to be captured or to be shot, as opposed to pushing a button someplace in a missile silo.” - Sandra Day O’Connor, Supreme Court Justice “If there’s a fire at sea and you have to slam down a hatch to save the ship, you might do it on a man. But on a woman…” According to the feminist, this must be due to sexism, since women have to stay in the kitchen. I also don’t think, however, that being brutally killed in war is all that much better than being a caretaker due to evolutionary instincts. As all this evidence (including the quotes) shows, it is female life being placed as more valuable than the male life, that is an explanation for this male disposability. If feminism is about, “aiming to establish and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes,” then why does it never talk about these issues? Why does it stay silent on the issues that really matter? Why are there no gender studies classes on any of these topics? It’s almost as if the media, politicians, and radicals don’t actually care about the equality of the sexes, but are only looking to drive an oppression narrative to which it can gain political standings off of. These are serious examples of structural sexism that have long-standing impacts, and all we can ramble about is how it’s harder to pronounce ‘woman’ rather than ‘man?’ Or how insults against a man in English also insult women in some subtle way? Saying the word ‘policeman’ will discourage little girls and even grown women from becoming police officers, but calling the force of evil that oppresses women after men (patriarchy) and the force of good that will bring gender equality after women (feminism) is completely fine? We can’t carry on this absurdity as a society of claiming structural oppression against women. We have to focus on real issues, and then truly work to achieve some form of gender equality. This idea that patriarchy exists and male privilege is a harmful myth that helps no one. Men who want to feel guilt for something that they’re not even guilty of in the first place are plain and simple simps. They want to pretend like they share guilt for all female problems. Response to common feminist myths: Some feminists may object by pointing out the wage gap, and that women earn less than men (specifically 77 cents to the dollar a man makes). But, the reason is that this merely divides the annual salary of men with women. It does not take into account career professions, where women have statistically been shown to go to careers that pay less and careers where men get paid more vice-versa.  For the same job and qualifications, the wage gap is 98 cents to the dollar a man makes.  However, this still does not account for the number of hours worked, which men work a lot more of.  Also, it has been found that young, single, and childless women earn 17% more than men.  Going by feminist standards, we have just proved that we live under a misandrist matriarchy! Asking why male CEOs make more than female CEOs is seriously like asking why female models get paid more than male models. Some women get paid 180 grand to sell feet pics.  Seriously, taking one picture a day or week of their own feet and getting paid fortunes. The “pay gap” is something that is really appalling because it displays a lack of basic common sense. Women have been, evolutionarily speaking, caretakers.  In hunter-gatherer societies, women gathered and took care of kids, whereas, men cooperatively hunted.  So, they often make career choices that make less money and sometimes, even no money. Women, therefore, naturally thrive under jobs such as nursing or even abstinence of jobs altogether in the pursuit of taking care of offspring. The fact that women tend to choose fewer STEM careers is not the result of cultural prejudice because a study done in countries (where there’s higher national gender equality) found that sex differences in the magnitude of relative academic strengths and pursuit of STEM degrees rose.  This isn’t sexism, it’s just basic biology. But, why do women hold less than 25% of governmental positions in the U.S. nationwide? Why can’t women become leaders like men? Why do men take up the top 1%? The problem with this is that it ignores everything else. Men take up 70% of the homeless  and are 2x as likely to be drug-addicted.  This takes up about 15% of the population, according to the CDC.  So, the fact that men take up the top 1% means absolutely nothing if they also take up the bottom 15%. Also, looking at men in government and saying they have all the power is like looking at women in grocery stores and saying they have all the food. It’s a matter of choice, not adding a gendered prefix next to a suffix. Plus, most of these congressmen, CEO’s, etc… have wives and children that benefit from the money that they make; the spouses of CEO’s end up inevitably doing less work than the CEO’s themselves. In Japan, overwork resulting in death is called karoshi. So, far, in the past 20 years, sudden deaths amongst executives have gone up by a lot. And, as usual, men in their 40’s take up the vast majority of these deaths.  Another method that feminists use to justify patriarchy is rape culture; men have the privilege of not being raped whereas women do. However, this is just false; men are actually raped way more often than women when accounting for the number of prison rapes (over 900,000 male inmates raped), according to The Guardian and the American Public Health Association. ,  Feminists will also bring up slut-shaming against women as an example of societal sexism against women; women are slut-shamed for being promiscuous, whereas men can be as promiscuous as they want. But, this is actually completely incorrect. In fact, a study done by George Washington University found that on Facebook, promiscuous males are slut-shamed much more than promiscuous women.  And for those that do slut-shame women, a large majority are women themselves.  But, what about sexual harassment? Don’t women get sexually harassed and men don’t have to deal with that? Male privilege! Actually, let’s look at the facts. Since 1988, making a dirty joke, looking at a woman’s short skirt, calling a female employee “honey,” can all be illegal and considered sexual harassment if a woman decides she doesn’t like it and the man has perpetrated the act.  In other words, women have the power to imprison men for "sexual harassment" if they do anything that could be interpreted as sexually suggestive. When you actually delve into the politics of sexual harassment, a different image other than the feminist model of misogyny emerges. Thank you guys for reading!
2020.08.04 08:56 ThebimbostoriesRole playing pedo female stalker for a year?
I haven't dealt with bullying much in teenagehood, and usually have a strong network of friends but I have dealt with some mentally ill, ghanian lards who tried to defame me but lost. They later send me nudes to marry me, that's another story. Turns out all of them are bi/lesbians cause they don't get dates to stick with them and I was the only one who didn't abuse them or something. This wasn't in teenagehood, this was in adulthood but your nephew needs to know there are bullies in adulthood too in the world. I came across some anonymous writings, and it was really sad the lards in question had no friends who bothered contacting them for years, psychotic breakdowns everyday, health complications, dead parents, broken prospects and poverty. One of them even pretended to be her dead mom for a while to talk to me. This person also catfished as an attractive teen, and pretended to be 17, sometimes 13 and of slavic origins in usa and a nurse online, used to send sexually explicit sext to teens (Imagine pretending to be white blonde when you are ghanian) for a year. I was an attractive female while they were defective people will no career or romantic prospects and a broken mind. They were a bit delusional and talked alot about loneliness and distance issues. Despite knowing the above person's sad life, I'm still going the legal route cause of my principles, mainly cause it guarantees they will be in a mental institution and get therapy if they can't afford it. This is not all, how about How about obesity, online addiction, drug issues, pedophilia and self harming (cutting yourself and dragging nails in during stress), and mood swings. Chain smokes and can't look in the mirror, otherwise self image will be destroyed. Suicidal ideation which you cope by pretending to be someone else online, and asking young boys if you can have oral sex with them. I know someone like that. Imagine someone who can't face their reality so much they pretend to be someone else to cope with it. Like you are Asian and you are pretending to be a blonde 13 year old. That disturbed. How about obesity, online addiction, drug issues, pedophilia and self harming (cutting yourself and dragging nails in during stress), and mood swings. Chain smokes and can't look in the mirror, otherwise self image will be destroyed. Suicidal ideation which you cope by pretending to be someone else online, and asking young boys if you can have oral sex with them. I know someone like that. Imagine someone who can't face their reality so much they pretend to be someone else to cope with it. Like you are Asian and you are pretending to be a blonde 13 year old. That disturbed. This woman was into hardcore role playing and pretending to be other people. I have never seen someone have so much self internalized hatred ever. She hated everyone was better than her without relying on lies, gaslighting and just trying to convince people to not trust their instincts with her. Oh, and I wasn't sure of this especially cause it involves another person, but her younger brother (she told me she has one) and her were in an incestuous relationship. He was fingering her and touching her boobs, and watched her when she was changing clothes, she wore a thin bikini to impress her brother, and raped her. I don't know how much is fan fiction from her psychotic breakdown but she has told me stuff like this 30 times over the past one year, so she is either recalling events, or is a huge pervert. the general rule for me is don't be ugly, poor, mentally ill and obese and with drug issues or into illegal activities which this woman is and people who are clingy and obsessively negative and kind of stupid and mentally stunted which is also her thing. Add that to having zero skills and creativity, and using other people projects for getting by for all the time they have been in for every project in their college(ie the teacher asked the batch to copy their projects) , and still failing couple of years in school and 2 in college at an easy major, being very sick emotionally, mentally, physically, lacking a personality, unemployed from their graduation and only had job opportunities where everytime you stayed a month or two of the trial period before they fired you when the trial got over. Some bad family history, dad beats mom, mom is ill, brother and her had an incestuous (sexual) relationship, no attention from men if you don't put out. Second class citizens in high school. Frauds. Apart from this, I'm partly from an African country (not Nigeria) which has a very high poverty rate and very bad human rights violations. Recently, I got elected to represent my country for something really worthwhile and it was an escalating series of success for years that led me to that point, I was so proud. I dealt with mild racism from some people but it wasn't against my work, more from where I came from and I proudly held it as a badge of honor cause my family had people who had fought for independence from the French. Moreover, I look alot like Megan Markle (by body type too) and am really attractive, so while some women were apprehensive, most men supported me. All women did too though they disliked where I came from and hate the people there. Except people of the African country. I'm kind of rich and more accomplished than my African counterparts in question and better looking so I was garnering attention for it, while meanwhile most of my counterparts were low IQ, rabid women who had dealt with substantial racism due to the darker color of their skin. Due to the culture of my country, it's normal for people to be emotionally damaged, mentally ill and some of these people in question had diagnosed mental illnesses which means they must be severely mentally ill to qualify, my African country has no mental health culture and still puts crazy people in mental wards and does exorcism on them. Despite me gathering incredible amount of positive western media attention (as an immigrant) and winning accolades , the black women from that country decided to initiate a escort scheme to get money from the western people, and defraud them from their money by following me around and bombarding these people with sex offers for money. When I exposed them they started to falsely label me and maliciously created lies so that I don't escape the hole they live in. Some people even said, anyone but her, and offered their comparatively darker asses for sex. Made allegations on my character and tried to defame me in front of Africans and westerners I knew. After figuring out that shit was not working and that I was from a exponentially well off family than them, they started offering themselves to me for a relationship, both men and women. I politely declined but they kept hounding me between defaming me and sending me nudes. I kept those records showed it to authorities. Turns out this was a pattern they were into for years and had been engaging in that kind of escort/drugs/promiscuity for benefits dealing work or so for years. This cost me for a while, but I lodged a complaint in that African country (does nothing) but I'm also taking it to international court. I let everyone know that stuff was not true, and the allegations about me were cleared out. Im back to being as successful as I was, but all of this left me seriously considering giving up my ties with that country cause I'm not the same ethnicity as them and don't share the same values as them. They are very tribal and primitive women who are not very well versed with the outside world and come from very poor and uneducated families, and even had ancestors sold in slavery, while all people in my family are atleast well earning people with high school and two higher qualifications and comparatively rich elite upbringing. I'm also from an ethnicity that was once royalty on the land (though let's be honest, it doesn't matter if it's a backward french former colony and African). I also feel associating with the label holds me back. I have also never spend much time in that country to be called that people, my family moved alot due to my father's job in the petroleum industry where he was well respected. I have higher aspirations and I know that these people will never be at the level I am in anything mainly cause of their inferior genetics. Even in Europe, their population that has been there for ages, was sold into slavery and is known for scams and rapes and selling drugs and sexualizing their women. Some of those women offer sex to men (even in a family) they know around there and get stds. They use religion as a way to look religious but commoditize themselves. This is not for me, I'm a person of faith and want to live my life in alignment with Christ. I also feel they are very anti science and still carry alot of the tribal traditions from their forefathers and are very backward on human rights.The thing is this could be just a case of some bad people, but I think its the problem with that country's people everywhere. Maybe they are mentally ill, prone to being parasitic and just not a good influence for anyone. I hope the lack of infrastructure in the country for healthcare takes them along with it. I am already in another country, but when I eventually have a family here or anywhere else, I will earn my place via meritocracy and by being a positive influence to my adopted community. I am lucky that due to former xenophobia of my ancestors they didn't ethnicity mix much with the country I'm talking about so I don't have to worry about betraying my genetical lineage or something. Even people who are well off from that ethnicity hate their ethnicity so it's not just me. I am already in a mixed race relationship, and hope to wipe out any of my leftover ethnic ties to that country. Maybe the African revolution and new economy in Nigeria may bring them into positive place, in that case I'll tell my kids about history of the place. However in my experience, it's not only how they treated me when I got the opportunity, I figured out none of the people in that country have good human rights. Average girls and boys in that country get sexualized at a very young age and get sold into slavery and deal with extreme abuse from other classes. This is the normal for them, and since my future children (when I do decide to have kids) will not have any ties to that place I don't want to perpetuate that cycle of abuse for my children.
2020.08.02 14:24 AnimastalthI just started watching season 4 for the first time
... and I am in awe. The level of denial of the woman dating the guy from Nigeria and the guy who went to the Philippines. Instead of thanking their lucky stars to get this second chance- no matter how or why ( although Rose looks very sweet and accepting so far), they are jealous, judgemental, possessive... If they had a good personality it would be different, but their personality is shite! I'm near the end, and I HATE Tom and Ed. Tom is mean, he goes out of his way to try to hurt people, like an oppressed drama queen. As for Ed, He was rude, objectifying a girl younger than his own daughter and embarrassed her over and over. He slept with her under false pretenses, and I totally get why she would feel used and betrayed. But most of all I hate Tiffany, his daughter. "He would give ME up?" You are no prize honey, Mean, jealous, bitchy... No wonder he wanted no more kids
2020.08.01 08:12 TejasNair[Weekend Long Read] Representation of Muslims in Malayalam cinema and taking the Riz test
The Riz test, inspired from the Bechdel test and Riz Ahmed’s 2017 speech in the House of Commons on diversity on screen, talks about five criteria to measure how Muslims are portrayed on Film and TV. If the film/show stars at least one character who is identifiably Muslim (by ethnicity, language or clothing) then is the character:
Talking about, the victim of, or the perpetrator of terrorism?
Presented as irrationally angry
Presented as superstitious, culturally backwards or anti-modern?
Presented as a threat to a western way of life?
If the character is male, is he presented as misogynistic? Or if female, is she presented as oppressed by her male counterparts?
If the answer for any of the above is yes, then the film/TV show fails the test. We look at Malayalam cinema that is said to be making the most progressive films in India right now and analyse how many films passed with flying colours and how many barely made it and how many miserably failed. The 50s and 60s had few films that headlined Muslim characters which told normal human stories within the milieu. The 1960 film Umma directed by Kunchako had polygamy as its central theme. There was also Subaidha, Ayisha and Khadeeja in the 60s. “The new wave sidelined women and Muslim characters. While commercial cinema was under the influence of MT Vasudevan Nair and his Valluvandan characters. Stories around upper-caste Hindu families became the norm. Superstar films were also anti-Muslim,” says CS Venkiteswaran, film academician and author. Some of the commonly observed motifs of misrepresentation would be Muslim characters invariably lacked education, practiced polygamy and families were largely patriarchal in nature. Women in typical traditional costumes who get married at a young age, bear several children, languish inside kitchens and put up with patriarchal oppression. While men in white skullcaps, goatee, green belts tied around a lungi and white banians, would propagate polygamy, misogyny, were superstitious, economically backward and uncouth. Statistically mainstream Malayalam films between 80s and 2000 had only a handful of Muslim hero characters. In the action thriller Moonam Mura (1988) directed by K Madhu, written by SN Swami, Mohanlal plays an ex-cop Ali Imran who is assigned for a mission, but his religion doesn’t add any value to the story. Similarly, in His Highness Abdulla (1990), he played Abdulla who eventually wins over the Hindu Thampuran’s heart and marries his adopted daughter. While Mammootty has played the iconic writer Vaikkom Muhammed Basheer in Mathilukal (1990), the evil Murikkum Kunnathu Ahmed Haji in Ranjith’s Palerimanikyam and world war veteran Khader in 1921 directed by IV Sasi and scripted by T Damodaran, based on the Mappila Uprising. Interestingly none of these films were directed or written by those who belonged to the community. If one goes by Census of India figures, Muslims makes 26.56% population in Kerala and by that count, the Muslim representation in mainstream cinema cannot be counted as enough. The 1988 Sathyan Anthikad film, Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu, written by Raghunath Paleri, has an elderly Muslim landlord, Hajiyar (Karamana Janardhanan Nair) who doesn’t allow his third wife, Kalmayi (Parvathy) to step out of the house, petrified that a younger man will snatch her from him. Kalmayi in her traditional attire and gold finery is a typical Muslim woman stereotype who seems content with her confinement, which was also a reflection of the society back then. Amina Tailors (1991) directed by Sajan, reinstates every Muslim stereotype—uneducated, roguish, oppressed women and misogynistic men. Amina is illiterate who learns to read and write for her lover, without her father’s knowledge, while the mother is a mute witness to the father’s boorish, misogynistic behaviour. Ghazal (1993) directed by Kamal has a heroine, who seems to have put the villagers under her spell with her blue eyes. Despite being madly in love with a young man in the village, she agrees to wed the much-married elderly Thangal (Nasser) to seek revenge for raping her years ago. She ends up killing him and herself on the wedding night as she feels she isn’t chaste enough to be with the man who loves her. Set in North Kerala, the film also adds to labels (polygamy, illiteracy, patriarchy, anti-modern, impoverished) associated with the Muslim community in that region. Thangal’s wife is again a silent observer to her husband’s philandering. But Perumazhakalam (2004), about a Hindu woman and Muslim woman who gets acquainted by an bizarre twist of fateengages us with its heartful human-interest story (which is inspired from real life). In Vinayan’s Dada Sahib (2000), Mammootty plays the double role of a Muslim father and son. While the son is an army man, the father is a freedom fighter. The son’s surname and religion typically result in him being arrested for espionage. The elderly father meanwhile runs from pillar to post seeking help from the police and government, doling out fiery speeches to prove his patriotism. In return he gets abused for his religion and being traitors historically! It also speaks about a narrative where the Muslim characters were required to prove their integrity and patriotism in a society which kept doubting their credentials (again reflected the society mindset during that time, which surprisingly remains the same). Suresh Gopy who played Muhammed Sarkar in the Shaji Kailas directed FIR (1999) had to resort to the whole good Muslim speech for those who questioned his intentions in the film. Though in some of the most feted political thrillers of the 90s, Muslim characters are invariably drug peddlers, bomb-creators and anti-nationals. They were either the villain’s henchman or anti-establishment figures scheming against the hero. Or they placed Muslim characters, simply to “represent a community”—like Baputti in Shaji Kailas’ Aaram Thampuran (1997), who is Mohanlal’s buddy and man Friday. While dropping him at Kulappuli Appan Thampuran’s mansion he excuses himself from entering the premise saying—"Namukku paranjittullathu ithreyellu. Ini Bappootti kayari ashudhamakkunnilla.” It’s a sly castiest statement. Jagathy plays Khader Khan in Ranjith’s Rock N Roll, a caricaturish Kozhikode Muslim who lives to eat. In Priyadarshan’s Kilichundan Mambazham (2003), set in Malabar, the template isn’t free of clichés either. Abdu and Ameena are in love but circumstances force Ameena to be the third wife of a rich merchant, Moidhooty Haji. Haji (Sreenivasan) right from the wedding night comes across as this libidinous man who considers women fit only to have sex, procreate and cook. In one scene he asks Ameena— “You get to eat biryani four times a day? What else do you need? When Ameena keeps postponing their consummation, a frustrated Haji drags his first wife to his bedroom for sex. Finally he gives Ameena the triple talaq so that she can go back to her lover (with an odd Muslim custom as an excuse) and chooses to stay with his first wife. That apart, the film and its actors gave the impression of being part of a shoddy fancy dress party with awfully rendered Malabar Muslim slang topped with loud mannerisms. In many mid 90s films, Muslim characters were placed to add humour. Cochin Haneefa used to be at the receiving end of quite a few roles like that. The 2006 Shaji Kailas suspense thriller Baba Kalyani reinstates the favourite Bollywood Muslim stereotype—How Hawala invariably links to Muslims and the Pakistan nexus. In the film Mohanlal’s Baba Kalyani finds out that antagonist, Babu (Indrajith Sukumaran), a college lecturer by the day is a kingpin of a terror organization in the state. He is said to have undergone Jihadi training in Pakistan and is planning a massive explosion. Vineeth Sreenivasan’s love letter to the Muslim woman’s veil, Thattathin Marayathu (2012) has a hero who is mesmerised by the heroine’s face framed inside the veil. “When she puts it, I am unable to focus elsewhere,” is his constant refrain. The heroine meanwhile lives a sheltered existence along with her divorced sister and submissive father in a home ruled by her misogynistic uncle. When her love affair with the Hindu boy is revealed she is beaten with a belt by the Uncle. The girls (her elder sister is blamed for walking out of an abusive marriage) despite being educated are shown to be mere puppets in a toxic patriarchal space. One can’t deny that a reversed narrative would have resulted in Love Jihad. “Earlier in Malayalam cinema, most of the villain characters had Muslim names or very rarely Christian names. I once asked this writer why he made that cruel villain a Muslim character? He replied, “It’s just a name, that’s it.” I think that’s the biggest disaster that can happen to a writer. It’s not just a name, that its name is Islamophobia is what we learnt much later. We need to think before we even pick names. When we start procrastinating, writing becomes dangerous,” observes Writer PF Mathews. In Ustad Hotel (2012) directed by Anwar Rasheed, written by Anjali Menon, the heroine belongs to a rich patriarchal Muslim family where women are expected to cook and bear children. Though she is an architecture student, she agrees to an arranged marriage, and hopes to be “allowed to work” post marriage. Shahana is also seen performing for a rock band at night without the knowledge of her family. While the hero’s sisters though initially are married off, they are later shown to be taking care of the hotel business. And during the beginning of the film the mother is only there as a symbol of procreation (though it can be argued that it’s a reality in many Muslim households). The father is displeased by the daughters she gives birth to and after the son is born, she conveniently dies. The scene where Dulquer Salmaan’s Faizi raises his eyebrows at a Muslim man who admits that the bunch of children rallying around him are his own would again be a stereotype. "A heroine who portrays a Muslim character wears a burkha, jumps over walls and sings rock music for liberation, or when she goes out for work, the family runs behind her and hands her a hijab (Take Off). There is no attempt to go deep into their culture, thinking or aesthetics," says Parari. The Murali Gopy scripted Tiyaan (2017) is strewn with celluloid Muslim stereotypes where they draw kohl-eyed hooligans who rape and kill as Pakistani born bad Muslims and the namaaz reading, good Samaritans who walk in the backdrop of Arabic chants as the good ones. Last year’s B Tech set in the backdrop of an Engineering college in Bangalore is about a group of friends and how the death of their young Muslim friend turns their life upside down. Though a well-intentioned commentary against islamophobia, it dissolves into a middling narrative with cliched social media inspired memes being converted into dialogues. The ones who passed the test The first film which went against every single checklist in the Riz test has to be the Muhsin Parari directed and written KL10 Pathu (2015), set in the backdrop of a place (Malappuram) that has never got its due in the movies. If TV Chandran’s Paadam Onnu Oru Vilaapam depicted the regressive reality of how Muslim girls forced into early marriages are left in the lurch once pregnant, others showcased the youth who indulged in bigotry and treason. Even the recently released Amazon Prime web series, Family Man had a Malayali antagonist, Moosa, who hails from Kasaragod and joins the ISIS after his family gets slaughtered in a riot. But in his debut film, Parari debunks every stereotype associated with the district and creates a democratic, fun space. Be it having a progressive, independent fun-loving heroine who wears a hijab without fuss, to men who planned their days around food and football to an adorable Jinn, with kohl-lined eyes, as the narrator. There are lovely undertones of Sufism, in music, architecture and poetry. It’s a smartly written film that digs deeper into the socio-political milieu of the region, where conversations flow freely, friendships are legendary and people are warm and frothy, along with precisely retaining their dialect and portraying their culture authentically. "It did justice to the tagline we used— “Mazha Mayayudey Paryayamanu” which questioned the inclusiveness of the mainstream Malayalam cinema. Also, KL10 Pathu was the first movie in which a Muslim girl in Hijab was depicted unapologetically," offers Parari. In their next film, Sudani from Nigeria (2018), Muhsin and Zakariya—who makes his directorial debut—achieve the same honesty and integrity in depicting the life of Malappuram residents. The narrative follows Majeed, a Sevens football team manager, and his friendship with an immigrant Nigerian player, who finds himself at the Manager’s home being lovingly tended to by his mother following a broken leg. Considering the landscape, culture and people were always misrepresented, the makers pull all the stops to bring it all back to perspective. Be it their passion for football and food, their ability to open their hearts and homes to a stranger and their quirky sense of humour, naivety and taking pride in their nativity. While there are women who happily thrive in the conditioned patriarchal space, there are also young, financially independent sort who refuse to settle for a partner who aren’t as qualified as them. “Though I thought that was going the extreme, without a single grey character and a village filled with kind-hearted people. I don’t see a balance there,” says CS. In the 2017 film Take Off, based on the real life story of nine Malayali nurses who were held hostage by terrorists in Iraq, Parvathy plays Sameera, a Muslim nurse who gets a posting in Iraq. Sameera, who hails from a lower-middle class family, gets married into an affluent, conservative Muslim family where women are expected to take care of the home and children. When she decides to pursue nursing to help her father pay off the loans, the husband and his family don’t take it well, resulting in a divorce. Sameera is one of the most realistically sketched Muslim female characters in Malayalam cinema — all her battles are fought staying within the system. Even in her husband’s home, it’s not shown as an outright rebellion, but a matter of standing up for herself. She is trying to fit into all the roles as best as she can — be it nurse, wife, mother, daughter or daughter-in-law. Manju Warrier plays Saira, a postwoman wearing a head scarf in C/O Saira Banu—but nowhere in the narrative does the religion or gender have a say in their character arc. The only reminder would be when she talks about getting beaten up by her father when she was in school for removing her hijab to save a pair of kittens from getting soaked in the rain. Films like Big B, Anwar, Annayum Rasoolum have characters who don’t fall into Muslim stereotypes. Big B main leads are named with an eye on communal harmony—Bilal (Muslim), Eddy (Christian), Murugan and Bijo (Hindus) are orphans adopted by a good Samaritan Mary teacher. And none of the characters are pigeon-holed because of their religion. There are interesting unconventional, organic depictions. In Aami, one of the stories in the anthology 5 Sundarikal, Fahad Fasil is a rich Muslim who plays interesting mind games with his wife over the phone during a long journey. While Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi has Dulquer Salmaan belonging to a conservative Muslim family in North Kerala on a journey to find his lover. It also shows his patriarchal and traditional household where the mother is anxious about the son marrying someone outside the caste. The 2017 romance Mayaanadhi about two star-crossed lovers has a track about a popular film actress who is a Muslim and how her life is controlled by her misogynistic brother. When a clip of her midriff gets revealed in a film, he immediately puts a stop to all her film ambitions. However, one has to note that it's a role seldom given to a Muslim woman on screen. While the Soubin Shahir directed Parava is a beautifully framed film in the backdrop of a milieu he comes from, Mattanchery and their passion for pigeon racing. It’s a tribute to a subculture and milieu and their ordinary lives where religion never comes in the way of the narrative. In Aashiq Abu’s Virus, a medical thriller inspired from the Nipah outbreak in North Kerala, the Muslim community are carefully drawn out, there is a lovely spontaneous romance between a young doctor Abid Rehman and his sweetheart Dr Sara Yakub and they hint at the stereotypical demonising the community has to endure when the prime Nipah giver’s lover is questioned about his whereabouts. “That’s why I say that one of the significant developments in Malayalam cinema in this decade has been the phenomenal presence of Muslims in the industry be in direction, cinematography or other technical aspects which in turn helped in creating a more sensitive and productive narrative for the Muslims in cinema,” maintains CS. But then it's also true that one of the most poignant gay romantic stories, that too between two Muslim characters can be seen in the recently released Moothon, directed and written By Geethu Mohandas. The love story between Akbar and Ameer is so organically written, enacted and crafted, making it perhaps the most sensitive and politically perfect depictions of Muslims and homosexuality in Malayalam cinema till date. (By Neelima Menon via Full Picture)
2020.07.31 12:28 ridonkoulousMy Deconversion Story
Hey everyone, This was originally posted to the exchristian subreddit but it was recommended that I post it here as well. First, some background: I (22M) was born in Nigeria and my family relocated to Ireland to live abroad with my Dad when I was 7. I and my siblings grew up there, completing both the rest of our primary and secondary school education. My parents were both devout Christians before and after marriage. So we have always been a very devout Christian family and not only do we hold virtually all fundamentalist Christian beliefs but we also believe very strongly in the devil, witchcraft, ancestral occultism and many types of demons & 'perosnalities' (spirit entities). These sort of beliefs are rife and commonly held in Nigeria so this is where they picked them up from. This of course, heavily affected how we were raised and right from a very young age (I'm not sure exactly at what age at the time of typing this but according to them we weren't able to pronounce certain letters yet) they had us memorize scripture by reciting them. Fom 10 or 11 years old we were fasting till noon (they believe fasting is an essential part of Christian living-that it "keeps the flesh (body) and its desires subdued and allows your spirit to grow"). I still live with my family and we have to fast till 5:30 every Monday. When I was a teenager (man I feel old saying that) we had quite a few restrictions on our relationships with other teens our age who weren't Christians and even with Christian families our parents didn't think were trustworthy. We weren't allowed to go out at night or hang out with any friends whose parents ours didn't know. We definitely weren't allowed to visit our school friends' homes because my parents thought "what if the family is hiding something dark and the police found out and we happened to be there?" My parents had a general mistrust of unbelievers due to their beliefs although racism also played a part in this. We were only allowed to play or hang out around the park behind our house (and even then my mum would get in her car and park in front of one of the houses right next to the park to keep an eye on us, which was SUPER embarrassing because my friends caught on to it and started making fun of me because of it) and it was only until we were 16 that we were allowed to go around our area and see our friends, most of whom didn't live in our area. Facebook and Twitter weren't allowed because they felt it would make me 'wayward'. So any real friendships we had really only existed in school and Church (even other parents' kids were given more freedom than ours ffs) and our friends soon formed stronger friendships with other kids who they could see more frequently, making our only support system our immediate family. As you can imagine, my self confidence and relationship with friends were heavily affected. I was your classic introvert teenager. Shy, socially awkward, not an attractive guy and to make things worse I started losing my hair later on for which I was bullied by classmates. But at 15 I became a devout Christian myself and did so because I thought I was initially living a life that wasn't 'right'. Though I took my schoolwork more seriously than most, I felt I wasn't serious with my studies because my grades were average, and I was doing some things I wasn't proud of, like being dishonest and not being respectful enough to my parents. I thought that the only way I could make things right was to live the way that I was taught was the only right way to live. So I turned a new leaf entirely and began embracing my parents' Christian beliefs and lifestyle. And my parents were thrilled. They were more than happy to answer any questions I had and further indoctrinated me into the faith. Despite all the problems it caused me in my social life and self esteem, I felt happy that I was living life the right way and felt very lucky to be born into the family that knows the life-saving truth so many others don't. Internal struggles: My spiritual life became inconsistent (that's what we refer to our Christian lifestyle as) mainly because of the constant feeling of being left out of a lot of things my friends were enjoying. I couldn't enjoy any conversations other than small talk without getting worried about hearing (and therefore endorsing, as I then believed) swear words or laughing at sex jokes or anything I thought was inappropriate, and 'backsliding' (regressing back into the 'sinful lifestyle'). I didn't live near any of my friends at Church, hell I hardly even had any friends at the Church we went to as most of my old friends were at my former one which we left because we thought some occultic shit was going on behind the scenes. Anyway, I wanted to enjoy music, going to the cinema (which was also banned), have fun with my friends, be accepted into the big social circle, know so many people there and date the girls I Chad crushes on. I wanted to enjoy a lot of what we consider to be 'worldly pleasures and lusts' and that was what would frequently pull me in. I would temporarily enjoy some of these things before feeling guilty/being made to feel very guilty about it by either a weekly bible study sermon or by my parents, and return to the strict, devout Christian lifestyle. It was like this for over a year. I struggled internally with sexual arousal & feelings of sexual attraction towards the opposite sex the most. As you can imagine, at that age hormones are raging and these emotions are hardest to deal with, moreso when a very negative connotation is attached to anything remotely sexual. My dad taught me that these were feelings of lust, that they were 'unclean' and were there because some satanic seed was planted into me either through my dream (we strongly believe dreams are hugely significant and that the devil can attack/affect you physically or spiritually through dreams) or by watching/consuming porn or anything of a sexual nature, in order to 'pollute' me and make me perpetually 'lust' after women. It got to a point that I thought sex for pleasure was forbidden between husband and wife! Having a girlfriend of course, is also a big NO and is seen as practising sexual immorality so I was discouraged from developing any friendships with girls, taught instead to keep relationships with the opposite sex superficial. Corporal punishment and spanking is allowed and seen as a good thing in my family, so anytime my dad or mum caught me looking at inappropriate content online or masturbating, I was beaten thoroughly with a belt either on my hand, all over my body or on my backside and was left with welts on my skin. I also had my phone confiscated. The shaming and punishment made it harder for me to open up about all these intense emotions because I always felt they would have me fast and pray, or punish me for looking at adult content. I became solely reliant on praying to God to 'cleanse' me and get rid of my 'Adamic' nature (sinful nature inherited from Adam) so I could be 'sanctified'. This went on for another year. 6th (Final) Year in Secondary school (2014/15): As I got older I struggled even more with sexual arousal as a result of having no one to open up to or give me practical advice on how to stop watching adult content, and things were about to get worse in my final year in 2015. I became clinically depressed (though I would only come to realise it a year later) and it absolutely wrecked my life. I couldn't do the simplest of things, let alone homework or studying and I got ripped into by my teachers & parents for my massive slump in performance. I was seen as lazy and unserious about school, especially by my parents and despite efforts to talk me out of the 'laziness' and to take me to a more prayer-oriented Church, nothing changed. It affected my studying for my final exams heavily and I was under huge stress because of it. It also impacted my spiritual life as it became really difficult for me to read or pray, and I thought it was some kind of attack on me by the devil. I tried all I could to pray away these problems, begging God to take away the horrible feeling of apathy that made life so damn bleak and unenjoyable. I prayed all manner of prayers against evil spirits and demons, but all to no avail. Several months later in the year after so much struggling I eventually concluded that my problems must be because I'm still practicing sexual immorality by watching porn after I had yet again been caught by my Dad on my phone and falsely accused of doing something wrong. Easter Holidays (Study period for final Exams): I was punished but this time I was determined to take the opportunity to try and make a U-turn in my Christian life. And for a while, I really thought I had restored my relationship with God. I was no longer masturbating, I was praying regularly and reading the bible, and was even watching Christian movies with the family on YouTube. I wasn't enjoyed any of it, as my depression made enjoying anything literally impossible, but I was rather relieved and satisfied that my ways were right with God. But that too proved to be a false dawn. And it went steeply downhill from there. Because I was unaware that stress (from long hrs of studying every blessed day, courtesy of my dad, to help me pass my final exams) is practically a catalyst for unhealthy habits like porn addiction and masturbation (which I had been having a hard time with throughout the year) or that my depression accentuated the problem by making it harder to replace it with healthier, more enjoyable habits, it was only a matter of time before I relapsed back into it and it just became harder and harder to quit. Intense feelings of guilt and shame drove me to try and tell my mum about it, hoping she would be more understanding and less condemning considering my change in behaviour. I was dead wrong. Her face dropped as she heard me admit it and she went to tell my dad. Like before, I was beaten with his belt and I remember crying to him that I was trying to change, and him saying that the holy spirit was telling him I was lying. From then on I never told them about any of my relapses. I tried my best to overcome my addiction, asking God for forgiveness over and over again after several relapses. It all proved futile. Eventually, (this part I'll try to recall accurately but the memory is vague for some reason) I think I became so ridden with guilt and fear of God leaving me, but at the same time couldn't stop masturbating, that I began instinctively telling myself that the holy spirit understood me, understood my situation and why I couldn't stop. I got so used to telling myself that, that when I realized this was incompatible with my beliefs, I became afraid immediately and started pleading for mercy from God. What followed scared me even more. I wasn't able to stop like I had been before after praying for forgiveness. God wasn't answering me. I thought "that's ridiculous!" and prayed again and again and again. No change. No grace to overcome these temptations. I became very afraid and no longer felt safe from the dark horrors the devil could unleash on me. Why on earth was he not answering?! Have I crossed the line?? It took some weeks before the reality of the bizarre situation sunk in. I was alone. I couldn't rely on God to heal me of whatever mental struggles I was enduring (my depression) and I couldn't tell my parents because I would surely be accused of being the one who offended God. But I knew very well I tried my absolute hardest not to. I was seriously stuck. This state of limbo carried on through the summer and it took its toll on me. I told my dad I didn't want to go to Uni, that I really needed to sort my head out and wasn't ready for the whole life change. But he insisted, believing there was nothing really wrong with me. I got admission into the University of Westminster in the UK to study Biomedical Sciences and so I essentially had to embrace the change of lifestyle as I would now be living on my own. I was not prepared for that change at all. Not socially, because my upbringing stifled my social development and social skills, which were further hampered by the severe anxiety I developed. Not emotionally, because I had never ever lived or spent time away from my family, my only support system, before in my life. And of course not mentally, because of all the shit I was going through at the time and as a result, I could no longer maintain my Christian lifestyle. My first year in Uni flopped so badly. My depression grew worse and I couldn't go to lectures at all in campus which was an hour away in the middle of London. I stayed holed up in my room, binge eating and watching anime/YouTube on my laptop. My anxiety was so bad that I could only muster up enough courage to go to the shop to buy food and back. My dad who was living with my aunt in Harrow would frequently come and check up on me, and when he found out I wasn't attending lectures band and was lying about it, he and my mum ripped into me for being so lazy and unserious. I tried desperately to tell them I wasn't, that I found out I was depressed, but they wouldn't have any of it. They believed that as long as your ways are right with God, mental health should never be a problem. If anything was wrong, it was you for allowing the devil to into your life to plague you with these problems. They also believe that what you say actually happens and that if you literally admit to being depressed then it will happen. So I was essentially in a double bind. If there was no mental health issue (which they wanted to believe) then I was making a mountain out of a molehill and using it as an excuse to be lazy. If there was a mental health problem then I was either committing sin or talking negatively and making it happen. I would pray and pray and beg for as long as I could for God to help me, to vindicate me and somehow tell them I wasn't at fault, that I was trying so goddamn hard to make the most of my situation, to help me overcome my addiction and anxiety. Nothing changed. I became afraid, scared that I was so vulnerable to evil attacks. My whole life was being wrecked and I couldn't do anything to stop it. And my clinging to the belief that I was the problem, despite how painful it was to tell myself, and that God would forgive and help me was my last desperate attempt at gaining control of the situation. I did have an incredibly encouraging and uplifting dream of a man of God telling me that I wasn't to blame and that God was impressed with how I'd coped and would reward me, but that was where it ended. It got so bad I started having suicidal thoughts and at one point they grew strong enough for me to want to act on them while I was in my student room. I still believe that the only reason that I was able to call the ambulance and not pick something sharp to slit my throat with that day was because I didn't find anything sharp in my room when looking for it. My family was shocked to hear this and my mum was rushed to hospital because of the shock though thankfully she recovered well from it. My parents decided that it was best if I stayed with my dad who now lived in Cardiff (in Wales) because of work, and he introduced me to a doctor who was also a devout Christian and attended the same Church. I was actually relieved to meet him, and hoped that FINALLY someone would actually understand what I was going through and not tell me I was the problem. Boy was I wrong! He practically echoed my dad's opinion on the matter, telling me not to accept that I was depressed, that it wasn't going to help, but to instead rely on the power of God to heal me. I was certain that was the last time I was ever going to open up to ANY Christian about my struggles. I'm only ever going to be the fucking problem in their eyes. That year ended and I spent the summer back in Ireland, receiving nothing but criticism from my parents. I got so sick and fed up with everything at one point that I had a physical fight with my dad and grew distant from my parents even though we were in the same house. It was after this that they were finally willing to admit that maybe I should seek professional help. But they still insisted on me going back to Uni. While I understood their reasons (they felt going into Uni in the same year as my younger brother would boost my confidence and not let my siblings look down on me while I'd stayed at home), I didn't agree with it at all as I couldn't bear the idea of going through the stress of Uni again. But once again, they insisted and I got admission into the University of Central Lancashire. Unsurprisingly, I had a torrid first and second year and the problems of the previous year resurfaced. I couldn't go to lectures, struggled to complete assignments, and was again blamed for being lazy, complacent and was nearly dropped from the course for not attending enough classes. According to my mum: "I didn't have a lion's heart and couldn't face the reality of life". I was so baffled and confused as to why God was so silent and wouldn't speak to me, but I had no one to help explain these experiences and just had to trust that he would vindicate me, tell my family the truth and make life more enjoyable than it had ever been in a long time, all based on that dream I had. I very slowly started to get better and better and the dream really seemed to be happening after so long. But spiritually things remained the exact same. I didn't get any answers to my questions and prayers on why he wouldn't answer me or give me grace to live as true Christian again. It was a very puzzling experience, and I did not tell anyone because I didn't want to go through the emotional turmoil of being blamed and wrestling with intense guilt again, especially when I knew full well that I did everything in my power to change. But the more I tried to make sense of it myself, the more baffling it was. Why on earth would God deliberately take away my salvation but heal me physically? Wasn't your soul and eternal fate the most important thing to him? More important than physical or mental health? Why was I getting better physically but not spiritually? When I tried to search for answers in the bible I became so intimidated by the magnitude of the task of finding something I knew was never there, that I was put off from doing so after several attempts. I was in this same limbo state for a long time all the while struggling with porn addiction, anxiety, and pressure from family to improve my grades. My continuous struggles and my growing irritation at being so stagnant spiritually with God being so damn silent drove me to the point where I was willing to admit that maybe, just MAYBE everything I had been brought up to believe about Christianity wasn't actually true. That took long to admit but and although it felt SO freaking liberating it felt like uncomfortable. How on earth could the entire Church, Pastors, leaders, teachers, my PARENTS, all be wrong about Christianity?? But...I was sure I was doing everything the bible demanded within my power and nothing was changing. That's when I realized that if what I'm going through is valid then I can't be the only one experiencing this. That's when I decided to search for any online exchristian communities and I found this subreddit. The more I began to learn about dogma and manipulative tactics employed by dogmatic groups, the more my whole view of the world began to change. EVERYTHING I had been experiencing up till this point all made so much sense. Some things I'm still trying to figure out but since March when I joined this subreddit, I have been literally binging atheist/exchristian content non-stop. The idea of not doubting my beliefs was the first thing that changed. After watching a video by the atheist YouTuber Theramintrees on 'Punishing doubt', it was clear how claiming to have the infallible truth and at the same time discouraging doubt was counter-intuitive. How can you say the bible is the literal truth and then not be willing to critically analyse it, but dismiss any valid objection to it as "the deception of the enemy" or deny any form of actual evidence that conflicts with the bible? That's when I realised "faith" is the perfect system for protecting inconsistencies and encouraging intellectual dishonesty. The concept of hell was something I'd been very scared of my entire life but I overcame that quicker than I expected. Part of this was due to the fact that prior to my willingness to doubt my faith, I believed that despite living in sin, God knew he didn't give me the power not to live that way and wouldn't ever send me to hell for it because he was a righteous judge of man. He surely had SOME reason for this, and I would know it in good time. So when I realized that sending people who have been indoctrinated into other religions through no fault or desire of their own, which will create a powerful bias towards their religion, sending people who have lived genuinely good and selfless lives on earth but for some reason didn't accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, to ETERNAL TORTURE, was unimaginably cruel and immoral. Hell, (in all irony) sending anyone to suffer FOREVER was unnecessarily excessive. The world, as diverse as it is with so many different individual situations is supposed to be judged by one single standard?? Moronic. From then on hell looked a lot more like an effective fear mongering tactic to scare people away from ever doubting than an actual punishment dished out by a supposed 'all-loving' God. However, the more I learnt the more uncomfortable and intolerant I became of my family's beliefs. The thought of having to leave them/come out as an agnostic to them has been so terrifying that I've struggled to get it out of my head for a good while. Lockdown and the pandemic only made things worse, because we now have to listen to constant sermons of the rapture, hell, dangers of sin and it got to a point where my discomfort became obvious to everyone and I broke down in front of my parents, telling them what I had been through and why I made the decisions I made right from 5 years ago till now. They said I was wrong for not wanting to open up to anyone, and said I should've opened up to the Church pastor or some other leader. I was quite hysterical at the time and didn't remember to tell them that my experience with the doctor had made me lose all trust in telling any Christian about my mental illness, and I also couldn't open up to them because of how much they'd shame me and punish me for my porn addiction. They also said I was wrong for visiting 'bad' (atheist/exchristian) sites and that that was why I had backslidden. I WANTED to tell them so damn badly, but I couldn't no matter how much I tried to bring myself to, and the one time I tried opening up about it I was thoroughly beaten by my dad. What other option did I have?? Who did I have to tell that wouldn't point the finger at me, telling me I was the reason for my depression and addiction?? This constant need to pin the blame on someone when their story conflicts with their beliefs is what triggers me the FUCKING MOST. Am I wrong for searching for answers elsewhere when all the bible and God could give me was FUCK ALL?? How many times did I cry and cry, beg and BEG for help from their supposed Almighty God and was left to suffer on my own?? Now they want to try and sell me this bullshit idea that I was the reason I couldn't open up not God. Fucking nonsense. I need you guys to please tell me if I'm wrong at all or could've done anything different. I tried seeing a therapist at Westminster Uni, but I couldn't go regularly because: 1) The campus was over an hour and a half away and I struggled to even leave my room 2) The sessions weren't frequent at all and 3) During my first session I became paranoid that my counsellor was trying to explain my anxiety away as an issue that had always existed, and not acknowledge that I was going through a level of anxiety I have never experienced before. This deterred me from continuing the sessions. My parents tried taking me to a therapist in Cardiff but because my mum was always coming with me I couldn't open up fully to the therapist and admit that I was depressed. I was having words put in my mouth and didn't want to tell her not to come as I thought it would cause a load of drama. I tried so hard these past 5 years to live truthfully as a Christian. How am I then wrong for no longer believing in God for fucks sake?? Thanks for reading
2020.07.28 02:02 misses_tumblrThe vast majority of 'science' on trans people is garbage: a literature review
I've long had this feeling that 'scientists' were not on our side, even if they say they are. This first occurred to me when they would come to arrasktg and ask the most stupid inane questions and act as the paragons of lgbt acceptance. And if I dared to ask how their 'research' helped actual trans people I was chastised. I put those words in scare quotes because they make a mockery of the scientific method and empiricism. If someone did what I'm about to describe on a chemistry research journal they would be laughed out of the room. This isn't just a minority of trash papers, it's the majority. I'm going to systematically analyze the literature. I'm going to do that by searching pubmed for articles that contain "transgender" in the title, published in 2019 (it takes some time for the articles to appear on sci-hub) sorted by date, so there isn't any selection bias in the articles. Article 1:Is Research on Transgender Children What It Seems? Comments on Recent Research on Transgender Children with High Levels of Parental Support by Walter R Schumm and Duane W Crawford. The first author is a professional homophobe. He authored a book claiming that gay people only want to get married so they can cheat on their partners. He says that based on interpreting gay people saying they want relationship stability as them wanting to cheat. This is a recurring theme with this guy, he's basically going to make the most spurious interpretations in the way that suits him best. He's also going to demand rigor of claims he opposes he does not provide for the claims he makes. The second author hasn't been the main author of any studies since 2009, when he authored "The Influence of Love, Equity, andAlternatives on Commitmentin Romantic Relationships" with two other. In this study he concludes " commitment was moderately associated with love, equity, and alternatives;". He co-authored many similar useless drivel studies. This is not an ad-hominem attack, it's an assessment of conflicts of interest. If academic homophobia ended tomorrow mr Schumm would be out of a job, and probably persona non-grata. His job, which he needed at least 7 year of education to get but probably over 10, depends on the perpetuation of academic bigotry and the writing is on the wall. Another conflict of interest is the fact that the study was sponsoded by the "alliance defending freedom", an american conservative thinktank. The study is basically going to reinterpret the data from a famous study saying trans kids who have supportive parents have the same levels of anxiety and depression as "nontransgender" children (that's a good search term to find transphobic studies). This is the raw data, it basically says that when the children answered questionnaires on anxiety and depression they had the same scores, but when they asked the parents about whether their children have anxiety and depression the parents of trans kids said their children had more. The authors didn't consider that the parents' assessment could be less than completely objective. We all know that all cis people start drooling about a rugby playing manly cishet son the moment they see a penis on the ultrasound. Then they throw a huge tantrum when the kid says they want to transition, and some of them become "supportive" but the manly heterosexual rugby man fantasy never really goes away, therefore they project their own anxiety on the kids. The authors then basically concludes that transitioning doesn't work " This hypothesizes that even if it is assumed that the transgender children express a desire to transition and receive support for doing so, perhaps that transitioning experience is not as satisfying to them as they might have expected, leaving some of the transgender children with anxiety". They also include some typically cis-navel-gazing "Our thought is that many cis-gender boys have a hard time learning what it means to be a man, when they have the biological advantage of being natal males; how much more challenging would it be for a natal girl to figure out howto be a man, without the advantage of being a natal male?". I think it's abundantly clear from that last quote that they never actually talked to any trans people. They're just torturing the statistics for the money conservative christians pay for this shit. Article 2:Chlamydia trachomatis Infection of the Neovagina in Transgender Women by Asa E. Radix, Alexander B. Harris, Uri Belkind, Jess Ting, and Zil G. Goldstein. This is a very good article. I emphatically approve, as it is a preliminary but important step in understanding the manifestations of STIs in post-op trans women. It opens way for more research that actually improves people's lives. Article 3:Breast augmentation in male-to-female transgender patients:Technicalconsiderationsandoutcomes by Travis J. Millera, Stelios C. Wilson, Jonathan P. Massiec, Shane D. Morrison, Thomas Satter White. A meh study. It has lots of statistics about breast augmentation, but no control group comparing to breast augmentation in cis women, which makes it kind of pointless. Article 4:Providing primary care to transgender patients by Catherine Frances Casey. More cis-navel-gazing. Provides no new or useful or usefully compile information. This is basically a cis woman bragging that she accepts the trans. Completely useless. Article 5:Lesbians - gays - bisexuals - transgender (LGBT) and healthcare by Alessandrin A and Bouchard JP. This is in French, so I'm skipping but it doesn't look very good from the abstract. Article 6:Transmitted, Pre-Treatment, and Acquired Antiretroviral Drug Resistance among Men who have Sex with Men and Transgender Women Living with HIV in Nigeria by Trevor A. Crowell, Gustavo H. Kijak, Eric Sanders-Buell, et al. This study has nothing to do with trans women, or gay men for that matter. It's an interesting study about HIV drug resistance, but there's literally nothing about it that makes it about lgbt people. I see this as an attempt to paint lgbt people as dirty and HIV infected. This shit is why I can't do to the doctor without them demanding I take an HIV test, even though I'm nearly celibate. Article 7:A New Era of Care for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community by Lauren Meshkov Bonati, Jared Jagdeo. This is article 4 again. Article 8:Incorporating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Training into a Residency Program by Joseph W. Fakhoury and Steven Daveluy. This is the article 4 pattern again, but mildly more useful. They also say "providers should ask gender identity and obtain a sexual history, which includes gender or genders of sexual partners" unqualified. In a dermatology consult??? What are you gonna do with that information? Again this is the whole wooo lgbt people are dirty and have hiv and you should pester them about that in every opportunity. Article 9:Preexposure Prophylaxis for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection for Men Who Have Sex with Men and Transgender Persons:: What Dermatologists Need to Know. by Katz KA, Park AJ, Marcus JL. Article 6 pattern all over again. This is an article about an infectious disease, it has nothing specifically to do with gay men or trans people. Guess what? Most people who have HIV are cishet, and yet this article is associating it with us all over again. Article 10:Acne and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender Teenager by Ragmanauskaite L, Kahn B, Ly B, Yeung H. This study actually has a reason for talking about trans people, so in this case it's the lesbian, gay and bisexual people who are thrown in unnecessarily. They say "Chest binding involves the use of ace bandages orelastic bands to tightly bind breasts in order toachieve a more masculine contour." and I'm a person who pads my chest, not binds it, but don't most trans men use binders?? I read somewhere that using bandages was dangerous. I would thank you if someone can help me with this in the comments. Otherwise it's a fairly good article. Article 11:Update on Medical Education, Insurance Coverage, and Health Care Policy for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersexual, and Asexual Patients by Tien Viet Nguyen. Article 4 pattern all over again. Says there needs to be more education about lgbt people but does nothing about it. **Article 12: The Patient's Perspective: Reorienting Dermatologic Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and QueeQuestioning Patients. by Ruoss AV, Short WR, Kovarik CL. Article 4 pattern. Verbose even among its peers, very navel-gaze-y. Doesn't help anyone. Article 13:Evaluating the perceptions of the transgender and non-binary communities of pelvic radiotherapy side effect information booklets by H Burton, P Pilkington , P Bridge. This is an alright discussion on a booklet with information on radiotherapy for some types of cancer. Basically the booklets assumed the patients were cishet and they conclude that's a bad thing. Nothing exactly groundbreaking. Article 14:A qualitative study of transgender individuals' experiences of healthcare including radiology by M J Floyd, O Martin, K J Eckloff. Article 4 pattern again. I'm getting really tired of it. Article 15:Promoting Affirmative Transgender Health Care Practice Within Hospitals:An IPE Standardized Patient Simulation for Graduate Health Care Learners by McCave EL, Aptaker D, Hartmann KD, Zucconi R. I really like this one. This is basically what article 4 should have been. The only problem with it is that they have a video with a trans man being played by a cis woman. Basically the video depicts him receiving poor healthcare and then they discuss about it. They don't just say healthcare workers should treat trans people well, they actually go ahead and do something about it.
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