Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I am human, hear me roar!

The photo you are about to see (or probably noticed already) was posted to Facebook this morning.  It sparked the desire in me to reply.

One of the mainstays of the Christian Proselytizer is to prey on the vulnerable.  The weak, the insecure, the ones who are hurting from some times years of failures or defeats in life.  Many times, those who have lost loved ones.

My answer to these apologist pleas:

Of course you stumble through life, you are human.  Life doesn't come with an owner's manual.  All of us are just doing the best we can.  If you look around and try a bit of self help reading, there are plenty of folks who can and do give out some very good advice about how to get ahead.  Go to your library, they're free.

The best advice you'll hear?  Get a plan.  Not someone else's plan, not a plan based on superstition, but one personalized to you and your circumstances.  Don't sit and whine about how you've been victimized, get out there and take action!  Prayer isn't action, it's a self-directed pity party.

Get off your ass and find help.

Professing weakness isn't a strength.  It's is an apologetic argument to pull you into surrendering your hard earned money and time to a community that needs the compiled time and money of others like you so it can keep on pulling in others..... Over and over and over again.

Professing failure is much the same.

Being weak and failing isn't something to be ashamed about, and it isn't a reason to seek imaginary help.  All human beings are, at one point or another, weak and fail.  We all have our strong points, too.  This apologetic argument plays to your weaknesses to pull you in.  What you need to do for yourself is to recognize your strong points and plan around them for a way forward in your life.

Misery loves company, don't fall for the oldest line in the book!

Oh, the sting of pain!  Look, all of us have at one point or another, lost a loved one, or a pet, or a job, or a best friend.  It's called living.  At some point, we'll all lose our parents.  Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to say its easy.  It isn't.  Living is hard.

There's an old joke, it says, you come into this life cold, naked and hungry, then it gets worse!

It isn't a joke, for millions of kids, it is a cold hard fact.  You think you've got it hard?

Millions of kids a year die of starvation, disease and neglect.  Many of them are already orphans when they die - they've already lost their parents to either violence or disease.  That is the reality for many third world countries.  Warfare, violence, starvation, disease, it is all in a day's living.

If you live in this country or another First World country, you've already got it good - automatically!  (With the exception of being one of millions of families living with incomes under the poverty line.  Even then, there are advantages of living here instead of someplace like, say, Somalia. Like a lack of civil war, for instance.)

But you know what?  It really isn't that bad.  There are billions of people on this planet, and the vast majority of them will live their lives in good health, find a mate, have kids and live what is to them a decent existence according to their culture's values of what a decent life should be.

The pessimism exhibited in the Christian Apologist's attempts to hook you and pull you in (fishers of men, right?) is misplaced.

Human beings are strong!  We live through and survive starvation, warfare, personal violence, the death of loved ones and often, institutionalized discrimination and oppression.  Humans get raped, beaten, stabbed, and attacked in an amazing variety of ways, yet still come out swinging.  We endure disease, injury, heartache, political oppression, personal insult and oppression, yet still, somehow, we  continue to live our lives and often prosper.

Every human has the ability to be strong.  We all are born with the strength to grow, learn, and be a positive influence in the society in which we live.  The trick is in how we respond to those indignities and travails that we are exposed to.

You can either allow yourself to be cowed and held down, or you can stand back up, look misfortune in the eye, and spit therein, with feeling!  You don't need outside help, you just need to look inside yourself - we are all born with that strength, we just have to find it.

Facebook is often rife with postings about sick kids, vets who have lost limbs, and others who have had misfortune visit them with disasterous results.  But they are still alive!  They persevere, struggle and push forwards.

How?  By dipping into that internal reservoir of strength all humans possess.  God doesn't grow limbs back.  Prayer doesn't work that way.  As a matter of fact, scientific studies have shown it has no affect at all on the recovery rates of people who are ill or injured.

What does?  Human interactions, human support.  If you've no family or friends, your doctor can help you find a support group.  Many hospitals have access to such groups, or you can google for groups in your area. 

The most important thing I can tell you is that in situations where one needs some support, the first action that has to happen is for YOU to reach out.  It takes YOU to make the first move, and to follow through.  Nobody is going to do it for you.

The most important person in your life is you.  Just you.  You have to get to know yourself, what you want, what your weaknesses are and what your strengths are.  What makes you happy?  What doesn't?  Find those things and make a plan.

Take that plan and DO IT!!  If things don't work out, find out what went wrong and make changes, then act on the changes.  Make friends, network yourself into groups that have interests similar to yours.

Most importantly, REACH OUT!  Nobody is going to knock on your door first, unless they want something from you!

This is the essence of humanism.  In order for the world to work, it takes people, networked into a tightly woven web of family, professional contacts, friends, neighbors, social contacts, and acquaintances.  All of us have to agree to do the best we can to foster those contacts in the best, friendliest and most productive ways possible, with the mutual value of working towards the greater good of society as a whole.

The first step is for the individual, you and I, individually and together, to make the first move and to do our best to make it work.

No gods needed.  Just people, working together for the common good, and helping each other in our own quest for the best each of us can be.  

We don't do that by encouraging each other to profess and exclaim our weaknesses.  That's apologetics, and it is an insidious part of an age old plan to draw in the weak and the insecure.

You're human, you don't need to be weak.  You are strong, let the universe hear you roar!

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