Do Not Resuscitate: Archives

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January 22, 2009

Driving For More genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Hip-Gnosis & Rhyme-N-Reason

Driving For More

I drove a Dodge
He drove a bargain
I asked for more,
He left me starvin'

Easy street may never get you there
But the expressed way seems vacant
And the bus driver stares

Life passes us by
On the way to the grave
You can drop in your tokens
But the bill's never paid

If your debts are defined
But the numbers won't sum
Is the soul so sublime,
If we live on the come?

The bargains we make
May make us feel fine
But the living it takes
Negates the divine

I'm driving for more
I hope to arrive
To those keeping score
Fuck death...today I'm alive

Tagged as: Death, Faith, Poetry, Religion

Daniel DiRito | January 22, 2009 | 3:38 PM | link | Comments (1)
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July 17, 2008

HIV's Achilles Heel Discovered? genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Little Red Ribbon-Hood

AchillesHeel.jpg

Over the years, I've grown accustomed to regularly reading about the latest findings in HIV research. Early on, it was the only glimmer of hope in the environment of certain death that surrounded the disease. In recent years, the findings have enabled those infected to live relatively normal lives...albeit still vulnerable to the clandestine efforts of a clever virus.

Every now and then, I come across a study or a piece of research that titillates my hopes that science is on the verge of defeating the disease. A new article at Science Daily is just that. Yes, I'm always excited to read about the success of a drug still in trials or the discovery of a compound that shows great treatment potential. Unfortunately, such findings rarely offer the kind of hope found in this latest discovery.

According to this new report, a group of scientists believe they have found a site on the virus that offers the potential to permanently disable the virus in the body...rendering it incapable of infecting the cells of its host. Were that possible, the ramifications are mind boggling.

The Achilles heel, a tiny stretch of amino acids numbered 421-433 on gp120, is now under study as a target for therapeutic intervention. Sudhir Paul, Ph.D., pathology professor in the UT Medical School, said, "Unlike the changeable regions of its envelope, HIV needs at least one region that must remain constant to attach to cells. If this region changes, HIV cannot infect cells. Equally important, HIV does not want this constant region to provoke the body's defense system. So, HIV uses the same constant cellular attachment site to silence B lymphocytes - the antibody producing cells. The result is that the body is fooled into making abundant antibodies to the changeable regions of HIV but not to its cellular attachment site.

Paul's group has engineered antibodies with enzymatic activity, also known as abzymes, which can attack the Achilles heel of the virus in a precise way. "The abzymes recognize essentially all of the diverse HIV forms found across the world. This solves the problem of HIV changeability. The next step is to confirm our theory in human clinical trials," Paul said.

Unlike regular antibodies, abzymes degrade the virus permanently. A single abzyme molecule inactivates thousands of virus particles. Regular antibodies inactivate only one virus particle, and their anti-viral HIV effect is weaker.

"The work of Dr. Paul's group is highly innovative. They have identified antibodies that, instead of passively binding to the target molecule, are able to fragment it and destroy its function. Their recent work indicates that naturally occurring catalytic antibodies, particularly those of the IgA subtype, may be useful in the treatment and prevention of HIV infection," said Steven J. Norris, Ph.D., holder of the Robert Greer Professorship in the Biomedical Sciences and vice chair for research in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the UT Medical School at Houston.

While this research is still in its infancy, it is an indication of the cumulative benefit that can emerge as a result of prior studies of the virus and its function. Optimistic though it may be, I suspect that progress of this nature will at some point, in the near future, begin to dismantle the advantage the virus has held for nearly three decades. I would equate this protracted battle to defeat HIV with one of my favorite expressions, "Everything is shit until it isn't."

In other words, our perceptions can be inaccurate due to a reliance upon past history. Regardless, the ongoing absence of a definitive victory over the virus doesn't preclude the fact that one may be just around the corner. While projections are typically based upon prior experience (appropriately), probability tells us that time and research are apt to eventually close the knowledge gap and reveal a major finding capable of overcoming the advantage the virus has long held.

History is filled with examples of this phenomenon of unrevealed progress just waiting for that critical moment of substantiation. This discovery could be such a transformative moment. Let's hope so.

Tagged as: Abzymes, AIDS, Disease, Gay, Health, HIV, LGBT, Research, Science, Science Daily, Virus

Daniel DiRito | July 17, 2008 | 1:32 PM | link | Comments (0)
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July 9, 2008

Sam Harris On The Ramifications Of Rapture Rhetoric genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Hip-Gnosis

In the following video, an excerpt from the movie, The God Who Wasn't There, Sam Harris comments on the prevalence of those who believe in the rapture and the impact it can have on politics and global conflict. A full forty-four percent of Americans are inclined to believe that the end of days (the return of Jesus) will occur within their lifetime.

As I watched the other gentleman speak about his belief in the coming rapture, I took note of his linking of current events with verses from scripture to provide evidence of the coming end. His arguments reminded me of the rationale that has been created to suggest that the positions of celestial objects will dictate the personality traits we possess. It's virtually a never ending attempt to apply order to the random nature of our existence.

It's akin to those who state, in the aftermath of a natural disaster, that the lone survivor is a miracle, an indication that God has a plan for that individual, and a sign that God works in mysterious ways. Frankly, the only portion of that view that has a kernel of truth is the acceptance of an element of mystery that cannot be fully understood.

I equate that acknowledgment with a tacit admission that the world in which we live is primarily influenced by random events which are beyond our control. In my way of thinking, when religious folks attempt to apply heavenly attributions to these random acts of misfortune, they are merely seeking the means to accept the accompanying trauma.

While I don't begrudge their desire to establish coping mechanisms, I am troubled when they utilize these methods to judge others or to make predictions about the future. I say as much because when someone thinks they know the future, it often impacts the actions they take in the present. Hence, the fact that nearly half of all Americans believe the world will end in their lifetime is likely to modify the course of events. The blind faith they espouse may be consoling, but it is, in my opinion, embraced without any real supporting evidence.

As such, they're actions are apt to alter the future based solely upon unfounded expectations. In a number of scenarios, those actions have the potential to wreak havoc upon the lives of others as well as jeopardize the safety and stability of the world we all share. I don't believe this should be the case.

Tagged as: Bible, Conflict, Death, End of Days, Faith, Politics, Random, Rapture, Religion, Sam Harris, War

Daniel DiRito | July 9, 2008 | 8:36 PM | link | Comments (1)
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July 4, 2008

Jesse Helms: A Legacy To Die For? genre: Do Not Resuscitate

JesseHelms.jpg

Controversial former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms has died at the age of 86. The following two quotes from Jesse Helms are not, on their surface, offensive...which is why they are so important.

I believe they provide insight into understanding the motivations behind all of the other reprehensible Jesse Helms quotations. You see, what you will find in the hearts of many who are outspoken is an unfortunate and misguided righteousness derived from their religious beliefs. He had every right to his beliefs. Unfortunately, some of his actions suggest he didn't support the same for others.

"I want our government to encourage and protect freedom as well as our traditions of faith and family."

"I have tried at every point to seek God's wisdom on the decisions I made, and I made it my business to speak up on behalf of the things God tells us are important to Him."

Note in the first quote how the protection of freedom is modified by the need to support traditions of faith and family. In other words, freedom should be available to those whose notions of faith and family comports with his own. The inference is that those who do not support his notion of faith and family may not deserve the same freedoms.

In the second quote, we see the certainty to enact the beliefs expressed in the first quote...and to do so unabashedly. Again, this Helms quote implies that God spoke to him...which entitled him to speak his mind...regardless of who it injured.

Further, I suspect he was convinced that it also granted him the authority to pass legislation to abridge the rights of those who didn't follow his interpretation of God's edicts or to block the passage of measures intended to grant equality to those he deemed inferior.

Helms' legacy is therefore a testament to intolerance and intransigence. Rather than see himself as a cog in the wheel of humanity, he saw himself as the pilot designated to steer the course of his fellow man. In the end, his legacy is steeped in arrogance and wholly lacking in the ability to demonstrate the very humanity he must have believed his actions were upholding.

And now the quotes that the history books will undoubtedly use when defining Jesse Helms.

"I've been portrayed as a caveman by some. That's not true. I'm a conservative progressive, and that means I think all men are equal, be they slants, beaners, or niggers."
- Jesse Helms, North Carolina Progressive, February 6, 1985, quoted from the Democratic Alliance.

"There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy."
-States News Service, 5/17/88

"I've never heard once in this chamber anybody say to the homosexuals, 'stop what you're doing.' If they would stop what they're doing there would not be one additional case of AIDS in the United State."

"To rob the Negro of his reputation of thinking through a problem in his own fashion is about the same as trying to pretend that he doesn't have a natural instinct for rhythm and for singing and dancing."

"The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men's rights."

"Homosexuals are weak, morally sick wretches."
- 1995 radio broadcast

"She's a damn lesbian. I am not going to put a lesbian in a position like that. If you want to call me a bigot, fine."
- Explaining why he was opposing the appointment of a woman for a cabinet post.

"They should ask their parents if it would be all right for their son or daughter to marry a Negro."
- In response to Duke University students holding a vigil after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, 1968

"We've got to have some common sense about a disease transmitted by people deliberately engaged in unnatural acts."
- Arguing for reduced AIDS funding, The New York Times, 1985

"These people are intellectually dishonest in just about everything they do or say,".... He added, "They start by pretending that it is just another form of love. It's sickening."
- From Variety

I doubt it's possible, but I've often wondered if the dead can look back and see their legacy. It would be nice to know that Jesse Helms would want to modify portions of the one he leaves.

Tagged as: Bigotry, Homophobia, Jesse Helms, Racism, Religion

Daniel DiRito | July 4, 2008 | 10:35 AM | link | Comments (2)
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June 24, 2008

George Carlin: 05/12/37 - 06/22/08 genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Happy Remembrances

George Carlin died on Sunday. He was one of a kind and the comic world can never replace him. I've included some notable quotations below. However, they are only a small sampling since virtually every line he uttered was worth noting.

I thought the video below was worth posting. It contains excerpts of Carlin discussing death during a couple of his shows. It was one of the many sensitive subjects that Carlin wasn't afraid to tackle. I can only hope that his insights brought him comfort during his final days.

I'm sure I'll be watching more of his many performances in the coming days in the hopes of absorbing more of his many insightful observations.

George Carlin Quotations:

"I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it."

"Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist"

"By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth"

"When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day?"

"If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little"

"Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time."

"There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past."

"I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me...they're cramming for their final exam."

"I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death."

"You know the good part about all those executions in Texas? Fewer Texans."

"If churches want to play the game of politics, let them pay admission like everyone else."

"The two big mistakes were the belief in a sky god -- that there's a man in the sky with 10 things he doesn't want you to do and you'll burn for a long time if you do them -- and private property, which I think is at the core of our failure as a species. That's the source of my indignations, my dissatisfactions, however it comes out on the stage. I feel betrayed by the people I'm part of, these creatures, these magnificent creatures."

"I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."

Tagged as: Comedian, Death, George Carlin, Humor

Daniel DiRito | June 24, 2008 | 5:53 PM | link | Comments (0)
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The Onion: "Supremes" Think Death Penalty Is Totally Badass genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

The Supreme Court recently took up the question of whether lethal injection was an acceptable means of enforcing the death penalty. In the following video, The Onion has a little fun with the topic.

Suffice it to say that this Onion segment suggests that the Supreme Court is made up of some "totally badass" justices.

NOTE: The video contains some language that may not be suitable for children or the office.

Tagged as: Anthony Kennedy, Comedy, Death Penalty, Ginsberg, Humor, John Roberts, Lethal Injection, Sam Alito, Scalia, Supreme Court, The Onion

Daniel DiRito | June 24, 2008 | 5:10 PM | link | Comments (0)
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June 3, 2008

Steve Paikin Panel Discussion - Is Faith Inevitable? genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Hip-Gnosis & Video-Philes

The following video clips comprise a recent Steve Paikin program on Canadian television during which a panel discusses faith and the many beliefs people hold regarding the benefits of having faith. On the contrary, the panel looks at whether having faith in God or a higher being can make us better people.

Simply stated, many of the panelists point out that faith is a means to deal with uncertainty. In that construct, people are often able to assert some measure of control over their unrevealed destiny. However, it remains debatable if the insertion of faith is a valid endeavor in coping or simply an efficient method of denial to prevent the individual from confronting the fears of death.

As such, belief and faith may well be two different concepts. One of the panelist explains this important distinction when he points out that belief is subject to evidence and argument...while on the other hand noting that faith is often the ability to believe in something despite the evidence.

The counter argument to this perspective suggests that faith need not be a literalist equation and that it can serve a useful purpose if one foregoes the inclination to then turn around and use faith as the template for explaining all that they encounter. In other words, faith can be an effective tool in dealing with the existential nature of the human condition.

The discussion moves onto look at the atrocities committed in the name of faith or in direct rejection of, or opposition to, religion. In discussing the acts of Stalin and other political ideologies that have made religion the enemy, proponents of religion contend that atheism has, as evidenced by the acts of Marxists, been equally dogmatic and used for negative purposes.

Some of the atheists on the panel suggest that Marxism (and the other examples) is simply a clear demonstration of faith...meaning it was an adherence to a system or a set of beliefs that do little more than demonstrate a replication of the dangers of any form of faith. In other words, many of the political structures we've witnessed are often a form of surrogate or substitute theology.

"I've previously written about "Terror Management Theory"":http://www.thoughttheater.com/2006/08/can_faith_religion_be_acts_of.php. The theory suggests that our human existence is primarily an attempt to deal with the fear (terror) that is created by the knowledge of our pending mortality. It seems to me that the bulk of all of our beliefs and actions spring forth from that innate awareness...and what we do with that awareness can lead to an array of decisions designed to cope with death. Faith and religion are simply one of the preferred constructs to achieve that goal.

Unfortunately, science has continued to provide evidence that contradicts the established religious beliefs designed to reduce that terror. At some point, as science explains more of our existence...in ways that undermine the Bible or other faith based doctrine...these two areas of thought are apt to become more adversarial. Finding a new equilibrium between the two is likely our prevailing task. We will either allow science to explain more of our existence in newly revealed ways, realize the benefits of adapting existing religious doctrine to allow for scientific discovery, or continue down the path of a growing division between science and religion.

Whether we can modify the rigid and/or literal interpretations that often form the basis for unyielding faith remains to be seen. Whether any new understanding of faith (religious ideology)...as modified by science....can be sufficient to allay the fears of death will undoubtedly play a major role in determining the degree to which society remains cohesive...and therefore successful.

Should the divide between science and religious ideology merely create more terror for those seeking explanations of their mortality...despite the advances made by science...we may well move towards increasing conflict and advancing animosity between those who elect to rely on faith and those who embrace science in managing their terror of mortality. In the end, the fact that death is inevitable remains our quintessential conundrum.

Is Faith Inevitable - Part One

Is Faith Inevitable - Part Two

Is Faith Inevitable - Part Three

Is Faith Inevitable - Part Four

Is Faith Inevitable - Part Five

Is Faith Inevitable - Part Six

Is Faith Inevitable - Part Seven

Tagged as: Death, Faith, God, Mortality, Religion, Science, Steve Paikin, Terror Management Theory

Daniel DiRito | June 3, 2008 | 12:30 PM | link | Comments (0)
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May 22, 2008

Bad Day To Be A Climate Change Denying Christian Creationist? genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Hip-Gnosis

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Try as they might to undermine science, those who reject evolution and downplay the impact of man-made climate change will have to work overtime to deny newly revealed evidence of both.

Time and again, creationist's contend that the fossil record lacks the transitional forms of life to support the theory of evolution. Unfortunately, time isn't on their side since each passing day seems to reveal another piece of the evolutionary puzzle. With the discovery of a creature that seems to be a combination of a frog and a salamander (frogmander), creationists will have another formidable hurdle to overcome.

From Yahoo News:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The discovery of a "frogamander," a 290 million-year-old fossil that links modern frogs and salamanders, may resolve a longstanding debate about amphibian ancestry, Canadian scientists said on Wednesday.

Modern amphibians -- frogs, salamanders and earthworm-like caecilians -- have been a bit slippery about divulging their evolutionary ancestry. Gaps in the fossil record showing the transformation of one form into another have led to a lot of scientific debate.

The fossil Gerobatrachus hottoni or elderly frog, described in the journal Nature, may help set the record straight.

"It's a missing link that falls right between where the fossil record of the extinct form and the fossil record for the modern form begins," said Jason Anderson of the University of Calgary, who led the study.

The fossil suggests that modern amphibians may have come from two groups, with frogs and salamanders related to an ancient amphibian known as a temnospondyl, and worm-like caecilians more closely related to the lepospondyls, another group of ancient amphibians.

Many of these same individuals have also taken to denying the existence of man-made climate change ...arguing that God is in charge and has a plan for his creation and that means we needn't spend time and money fretting about carbon emissions or minor shifts in temperature that scientists consider significant. With the finding that western oceans have a rapidly expanding acidity as a result of greenhouse gas pollution, these deniers may want to consider the possibility that God, in granting us free will, expects us to use our brains to preserve the planet on which we live.

From Wired:

Greenhouse gas pollution has acidified the coastal waters of western North America more rapidly than scientists expected, says a study published today in Science.

In a survey of waters stretching from central Canada to northern Mexico, researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Richard Feely found cold, unexpectedly low-pH water "upwelling onto large portions of the continental shelf." In some locations, the degree of acidification observed had not been expected to occur until 2050.

Ocean acidification is a side effect of excessive atmospheric carbon dioxide, lesser-known but no less troubling than climate change.

In September of 2005, Feely was among the authors of a Nature article predicting that acidication would claim Antarctic Ocean waters by 2050, spreading into the subarctic Pacific by 2100. "Our findings indicate that conditions detrimental to high-latitude ecosystems could develop within decades, not centuries as suggested previously," they wrote.

"Water already in transit to upwelling centers is carrying increasing anthropogenic CO2 and more corrosive conditions to the coastal oceans of the future," write the authors. Ocean acidification "could affect some of the most fundamental biological and geochemical processes of the sea in the coming decades." If anything, the clinical language of science only makes their words more disturbing.

No doubt these two findings are part and parcel of the march towards science fully eclipsing the validity of Bible based beliefs that often form the basis of religious doctrine. Regardless, each discovery appears to generate a new rationalization intended to preserve the literal interpretations that have proven so effective in granting and maintaining the authority of religious leaders and the institutions they promote.

I suspect these two items will simply give fuel to those religious leaders who suggest that we are entering the period that will culminate in the Rapture...the final piece of an end of days prophecy that is also derived from the Bible. Nothing like bending each and every fact to fit a faith based fallacy.

Unfortunately, I'm not yet convinced that the manipulated masses will be willing to follow these zealots into their vision of the fatalistic abyss...even if they promise to deliver the lot of them into the perpetual happiness they guarantee is just beyond the horizon. In the end, I expect most mortals will choose the surety of science over the abstract assertion of an after life.

Tagged as: Bible, Climate Change, Creationism, Evolution, Fossil, Frogmander, Global Warming, God, Intelligent Design, Rapture, Religion, Transitional

Daniel DiRito | May 22, 2008 | 6:35 PM | link | Comments (0)
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May 14, 2008

An Experiment In Critical Thinking: Is Religion Battered Woman's Syndrome? genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions

The following video asks an interesting question - Is religion battered woman's syndrome? While provocative on its surface, the creator of the video makes a number of thoughtful observations.

More than an effort to connect religion with battered woman's syndrome, it is an attempt to force people to consider the pretext upon which they adopt their religious beliefs and to what extent that may be a flawed construct.

In my opinion, all too often people accept the religious beliefs of their parents without ever taking the time to fully understand exactly the meaning of the concepts they're assimilating into their own understanding of the world in which they live.

No doubt beliefs can serve a valuable purpose in a person's life...but they can also preclude the individual from exploring other possibilities...particularly if one has adopted their beliefs as a result of blind acceptance or forcible infliction. Hence, the similarity to the process by which a woman is able to adjust her thinking to accept the abuse of her abuser and forego her rightful ability to make determinations on her own and in her best interest.

I am always amazed at the seeming lack of suspicion with regards to religious ideology. Time and again I witness people refusing to take much of anything they encounter on face value...yet those same individuals are somehow able to compartmentalize their faith such that it is beyond reconsideration or reproach.

I've always felt that the fear of death, and the unknown quality it holds, is an immensely powerful tool in the arsenal of religious institutions. Regardless, it's as if people abdicate large swaths of their lives in order to avoid the fear of losing them. In the end, isn't that little more than a subservient march towards the very death they fear?

Come to think of it, perhaps the comparison is insufficient. After all, many women find the strength to break free of their overlords. The same isn't always true of those who acquiesce to other iterations of divine beings.

Tagged as: Battered Women, Critical Thinking, Death, Domestic Abuse, Faith, Fear, God, Religion

Daniel DiRito | May 14, 2008 | 10:53 AM | link | Comments (3)
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March 29, 2008

Living Life On Death's Game Board genre: Do Not Resuscitate

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In the aftermath of my sisters serious illness this past week, I couldn't help but share my contemplations on life's strange relationship with death. While we often do our best to avoid the subject, it consistently finds the means to inject itself into our consciousness. As she continues to recover, those of us who know and love her are forced to confront our fears.

For most of us, life is an orderly procession towards death. When we're young, death is barely a blip on our radar...and one that we're able to ignore with ease. During our youth, the world seems limitless and time is bountiful. Each day is an adventure with potential and the promises of the future appear to be endless.

As the years pass, the distant drum of death grows more pronounced. Like a surreptitious riff in each song of life, eventually death demands its due and it becomes increasingly unlikely that we can deny its presence. Sometimes it's the untimely death or the unexpected illness of a loved one or a family friend that awakens us to the fragility of life and the indiscriminate nature of dying. Whatever it may be, our introduction to immortality opens a door that can never again be closed.

For some of us, death walks nearby on a daily basis. In fact, for the gay community, even the most basic of acts has become an untoward dance with death. From the moment a gay teenager imagines his first romance, he must also ponder its potential to shorten his life. We are a community that is denied the opportunity to become brides and grooms, yet we live life forever wed to the possibility that a demonstration of love may set the stage for the final act.

Giving oneself to another has always contained an element of vulnerability. However, when catching the love bug has the potential to be accompanied by an infectious interloper, this innocent act of vulnerability is suddenly transformed into a calculation of calamitous consequences. Though passion is an inevitability; vigilance becomes a necessity. Hence, the pleasure of intimacy can be forever shadowed by the fear of fatality.

HIV isn't exclusive to the gay community, but it is an undeniable adjunct. Every parent of a gay son is torn between their hopes for his happiness and their desire to postpone his pursuit of it. In that difficult dichotomy, one could easily conclude that the risks outweigh the rewards and that the lives of gays are forever filled with trepidation. That would be a reasonable assumption...but it would also be wrong.

In fact, it is in witnessing the loss of those who chose to live life large...in spite of the obstacle of AIDS...that has given the gay community much of its resolve and its resiliency. Truth be told, what unites my memories of those I have lost to HIV was their unflinching desire to live. For each of them, life was not measured in years. Instead, their lives were never allowed to be overshadowed by the fear of death. They knew that all lives end in death...and they rejected the deception that believes one can be enriched by purchasing more years at the expense of less living. The richness of the memories they left behind affirms both the quantity and the quality of the living they did.

In that knowledge, my own view of life has been forever altered. While illness and death still give me pause; I refuse to let them dictate life. Death is not negotiable and attempts to barter with it are far more beguiling than beneficial. Death is undoubtedly an endpoint but it needn't be a constantly constricting continuum. Death may be our final visitor but we mustn't feed it by granting it a place at the table of life. Death will kill us but it needn't prevent us from feasting on life. Death is final; it needn't be preceded by famine.

When life is at risk of being overcome by death, we can cease living in order to watch the monitor...hoping for the slightest of movements to assure us that we still reside in the here and now...or we can turn away from the monitor and place our trust in the heart that has sustained us during our darkest of hours. The former adds a flawed footnote; the latter an exclamation mark.

I accept that death will ultimately prevail...but I refuse to let it dictate that the ending must be a slowly measured fade to black. If life is like theater, I prefer to be an actor on the bright and colorful stage of life...in full regalia...when the final act goes dark with the sudden flip of a switch.

When that moment arrives, I'll stop and silently thank my many mentors for teaching me the merits of living...and for the guidance to make a gracious exit.

Tagged as: Death, Dying, HIV, Illness, LGBT, Life

Daniel DiRito | March 29, 2008 | 11:04 PM | link | Comments (2)
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March 4, 2008

More On That Alleged Best Health Care In The World - Part III genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Six Degrees of Speculation

Syringe And Vial

There is an ongoing battle over health care in the United States. Those opposed to universal health care argue that the implementation of such a plan will result in a decline in the quality of care. Time and again, they cite the reported delays in accessing needed procedures in those countries that provide such care as evidence. They also make anecdotal assertions about the growing number of foreigners who seek medical care in the United States...while ignoring the same indications that more Americans are seeking medical care in other countries.

While there may be legitimate concerns about the implementation of a universal health care system, I've previously written about the fallacies contained in many of these arguments. I've also directed readers to studies that offer a less than stellar assessment of the health care we're currently receiving.

The recent report from Nevada on the mishandling of syringes and vials, which may have resulted in potentially exposing 40,000 patients to Hepatitis C, is further evidence that our system has its share of deficiencies.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An outbreak of hepatitis C at a Nevada clinic may represent "the tip of an iceberg" of safety problems at clinics around the country, according to the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The city of Las Vegas shut down the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada last Friday after state health officials determined that six patients had contracted hepatitis C because of unsafe practices including clinic staff reusing syringes and vials. Nevada health officials are trying to contact about 40,000 patients who received anesthesia by injection at the clinic between March 2004 and Jan. 11 to urge them to get tested for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., met Monday with CDC head Dr. Julie Gerberding, and on a media conference call after their meeting both strongly condemned practices at the clinic.

Health care accreditors "would consider this a patient safety error that falls into the category of a 'never event,' meaning this should never happen in contemporary health care organizations," said Gerberding.

"Our concern is that this could represent the tip of an iceberg and we need to be much more aggressive about alerting clinicians about how improper this practice is," she said, "but also continuing to invest in our ability to detect these needles in a haystack at the state level so we recognize when there has been a bad practice and patients can be alerted and tested."

Let me attempt to explain exactly what appears to have happened at these clinics. In performing procedures on patients with Hepatitis C, clinicians may have been reusing the syringes used in sedating these infected individuals on other patients...or they were reusing the same syringe a second time on an individual infected with the disease when drawing a sedating medication from a multi-dose vial...which was then used to draw medication to sedate other patients. The bottom line is that the disease could have contaminated either the syringe or the vial containing the sedating medication.

Look, I'm not a doctor or a scientist...but it isn't that difficult to understand that if you put something (a needle connected to a syringe containing a fluid) into a contaminated substance (blood in the tissue of an infected individual in this case), there is a risk that the infected substance can travel into any connected portion of that device (think backwash from a straw or the basic concept of osmotic transfer) or into any container that device may subsequently come into contact with.

So what does this tell us about our health care? Well, according to the representative from the CDC, these clinicians were conducting practices that are NEVER EVER acceptable. In doing so, they were violating a very basic guideline; not some complex concept beyond those capable of rudimentary rational thought. Frankly, if one can't be sedated for a colonoscopy without the risk of contracting Hepatitis C, what hope should we have that a life saving surgical procedure will follow proper protocol?

To be fair, that isn't an argument that affirms the quality of services one might expect under a universal health care system. However, it is a valid criticism of our existing system as well as a rebuttal to those who sing its praises. Truth be told, health care is only as good as the commitment of those who provide it. The argument that universal health care will make the practice of medicine less lucrative may...and I repeat may...have some merit. At the same time, are we to believe that the hippocratic oath is subject to suspension should the bottom line be diminished?

Given the incidence of malpractice and the other previously referenced negative reports on our health care system, it appears that ever increasing profits are no more a predictor of high quality health care than decreased profits would be of lesser quality care. Further, if those in the field of medicine predicate their performance upon profitability, we're all one bad bottom line away from a botched procedure.

Unless and until we restore the word "care" to our health system, it won't actually matter whether it is administered as a result of an open market construct (think 47 million uninsured) or as a function of some degree of universally mandated insurance. The provision of care ought to be a given; not an endless negotiation. It's time we choose to do the right thing. It's a matter of life and death.

Tagged as: Centers for Disease Control, Health Care, Hepatitis C, Hippocratic Oath, Insurance, Malpractice, Mandates, Medicine, Nevada, Poverty, Universal Health Care

Daniel DiRito | March 4, 2008 | 1:50 PM | link | Comments (0)
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February 11, 2008

Sometimes When You Get Too Close, You Get Too Far genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Nouveau Thoughts & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Generations

"Sometimes when you get too close, you get too far" is one of many pearls of wisdom handed down from my Italian immigrant grandparents. They used the expression to warn their children that all relationships weren't the same and that there are circumstances whereby getting too involved is ill advised. Fortunately, my parents passed those same words along to their children. I've been focused on the saying for several weeks as I've been seeking an understanding of my own indeterminate malaise.

Let me offer some background and then some explanation. I love politics and psychology and I often focus on their overlap when writing. I've done so because I'm convinced that all of our actions can be traced back to the individual's psyche. Try as we might, I suspect we actually understand very little about the mechanics of that entity...other than the fact that it undoubtedly makes each of us uniquely flawed individuals.

If we look close enough, perhaps we can find themes or threads that connect some of us. At the same time, it seems safe to infer that the reverse is true...meaning there are also threadbare holes in this imperfect human tapestry that divide us. Politics is thus the tundra upon which these commonalities and these differences unfold.

This current election cycle is a unique moment in our American history. Never before has it been inevitable that either a woman or an African American would be the nominee of one of our political parties. Part and parcel of that eventuality is the concept of change. Confronting this change, in my estimation, involves many of the same dynamics found in my grandparent's thoughtful insights.

There is a spoken belief that our nation long ago confronted issues of race and gender and set in motion the removal of the barriers associated with either. There is also an unspoken reality that neither has been achieved. As we approach the moment where our lip service may well be forced to acquiesce to the living of these lofty proclamations, we begin to see that the closer we get to its achievement, the further we may be from its existence.

The evidence that exists is no doubt the equivalent of a DNA match. Whether it's a product of our capitalistic mindset that idealizes winning and posits that the opposite is losing, I don't know for sure...but I suspect it may well be. If so, then nothing could be more divisive than to ask voters to affirm one oppressed group over another. It's as if fate is bringing us to the precipice of progress...only to ask us to make a choice that will catapult one group to the pinnacle while seemingly pushing the other into the abyss. While this isn't actually the choice, it may be the perception.

Worse still, those groups who lack a contestant in the competition for the quintessential prize worry that the elevation of one of their fellow second class societal equivalents may well result in the further disproportionate distribution of the spoils of success. Hence, if the perception exists that the proverbial pie isn't large enough to nourish us all, then the thought that one's longtime competitor (for the crumbs that fall off the table) is about to receive not only a place at the table, but a plate...and a bigger piece of the pie, is apt to create angst...and resentment. Therein lies what we must attempt to understand.

An example might be beneficial. I received a distressing call from my younger sister last week. As I picked up the phone and said hello, all I heard on the other end was my sister sobbing...telling me that she had just gotten off the phone with my mother. My heart sunk as my mind raced to guess who had died or was diagnosed with a terminal disease or fallen gravely ill. It's amazing how many thoughts can occupy a few seconds. I immediately asked, "What's the matter?" As I braced for the bad news, she replied, "I told mom I had caucused for Obama and she got mad and hung up on me".

You see my mom is in her seventies...and the thought that a fellow woman would choose to support "the other candidate" (a man who happens to be black) is akin to treason. Add to that the fact that she grew up in a small Colorado community as a Catholic whose Italian immigrant parents had distinct accents and customs that were foreign to those around them and one begins to see the generational impact.

Such is the insidious nature of discrimination and prolonged periods of lost or limited opportunities. Let me be clear...my mom doesn't have a racist bone in her body and I can't recall a single disparaging remark about any minority (save for her angry comments at my announcement many years ago that I was gay). Nonetheless, she is a product of a society that relegated her and other women to a lesser status and in so doing served to rob her and many others of the same opportunities as their male counterparts. The fact that she saw similar limitations placed upon her foreign born parents only exacerbated her awareness of the issue.

When I subsequently spoke with my mother on the phone, the gravity of the situation was revealed when she stated, "I want to see a woman elected to the presidency before I die." Yes, the same woman who idolized the charisma and the hope she found in JFK couldn't envision that my sister had seen the same in Barack Obama. She could only feel her own sense of loss and sadness at the fact that time is cutting short her chances to witness the culmination of her dreams and her hopes.

2008 will be a historical election...but whether it will be a transformative one remains to be seen. Sometimes the closer we get to fulfilling the hopes and dreams of the least of us, the more difficult it can be to preserve them for the rest of us. Hence, transformation can be a double-edged sword.

My love for my mom and my sister is unlimited...and yet it can't always bridge the gaps that come between people from disparate eras. When injustice has been administered and experienced over lengthy periods of time, it may be impossible to repair the damages or remove the regrets that accompany it.

We each see life through our own prisms. We occasionally see the same thing when looking through those prisms...yet if we see those things in our lives at differing chronological points, they will likely have different meanings. In the end, sometimes when you've gone too long without, you've gone too far within. Perhaps the lessons learned in 2008 will bring all of us closer to where we belong.

Tagged as: 2008 election, Aging, Barack Obama, Chauvinism, Death, Gender Inequality, Generation Gap, Hillary Clinton, Immigration, Italian Immigrants, JFK, Misogyny, Racism

Daniel DiRito | February 11, 2008 | 10:01 AM | link | Comments (2)
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January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger: Phelps & Westboro Baptist Respond genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

Should there be any doubt that Fred Phelps and his clan are "religious" lunatics, the following is the Westboro Baptist Church press release on the death of actor, Heath Ledger. This is clearly another example of their atrocious attacks on innocent individuals and their grieving families.

I wonder how much money they spend traveling the country to attend the funerals of U.S. soldiers and others they deem "worthy" of their disgusting protests. Perhaps in their zeal to pass God's judgment, they are actually setting themselves up for the very same. Here's the point. Wouldn't all of that money be better spent helping those in need? Talk about a corruption of Christian values.

Westboro Baptist Church Press Release: Heath Ledger

Tagged as: Bigotry, Christianity, Fred Phelps, Heath Ledger, Homophobia, Kansas, LGBT, Religious Extremism, Shirley Phelps, Topeka, U.S. Military, Westboro Baptist Church

Daniel DiRito | January 23, 2008 | 1:22 PM | link | Comments (5)
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December 28, 2007

Endings & Beginnings: Not The Same Auld Lang Syne genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Happy Remembrances & Rhyme-N-Reason & Tuned Out & Video-Philes

Life can be about symmetry or it can also be about irony...and occasionally it can be about both at the same time. As I've pondered the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008...looking for words to say goodbye to one year as well as to greet the new year...Dan Fogelberg's death came to mind as did his song "Same Old Lang Syne".

Both seemed to fit the moment as well as capture the essence that so often eludes us during the holidays...a realization that in the course of one year, life and death have traveled hand in hand. What one takes, the other returns...though the ledger never seems to satisfy as losses and gains are difficult to measure.

Life and death, one year stacked upon another, the constant parade of seasons...all mark endings and beginnings though none are quite the same...yet each prevails when it arrives. Some bring symmetry, some bring irony, some bring neither, and some bring both.

Regardless, at the end of any journey, all that remains are the stories we tell. As we enter 2008, may your stories be filled with joy, may your losses leave you with treasured tales of times gone by, and may you gain the wisdom to accept what yesterday has brought...as well as what tomorrow may bring.

The following video is a holiday greeting set to Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne". Below it is a poem I wrote many years back while seeking to make sense of the countless dichotomies found in this existence. Today, I simply accept that their constance represents the nature of our uniquely human story.

Season's Greetings

Oh snow,
Weighted,
Not desired,
That which blankets...
Smothers fire.
Be gone now
it is said...
Life shall come;
remove the dead.
Beneath the snow,
The seed survives...
Till when at last,
the sun shall rise.
The freezing wanes
Where life begins...
The water flows,
We start again.
Blazing colors
Will fill our eyes...
Death at bay;
The living thrive.
Visions fury,
Burning bright...
But who shall lead
The blind to light?

Tagged as: 2007, 2008, Auld Lang Syne, Dan Fogelberg, Death, Holiday, Music, New Year, Poetry, Same Old Lang Syne, Season's Greetings

Daniel DiRito | December 28, 2007 | 4:08 PM | link | Comments (0)
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December 12, 2007

Murray Had Confrontation At New Life Church In 2004 genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions

Sarah Chrstnnghtmr's MySpace Details

There appears to have been a connection between Matthew Murray and New Life Church in 2004...one that resulted in a confrontation. Perhaps this explains why Matthew chose New Life as a target. Even more significant, the staff at New Life allegedly warned Murray's mother that Matthew might be "planning violence".

The gist of the situation seems to suggest that two staff members told Matthew's mother that he "wasn't walking with the lord and could be planning violence". From that situation, Matthew's mother found his stash of "evil" items (music, books, video games) and confiscated them. It appears he may have blamed this on the folks at New Life.

Stay tuned. I'll soon be updating this posting with additional entries from this latest cache of postings.

EDITOR'S NOTE: See the update below.

Forum Thread Number One:

First Entry:

On 09/04/06 - Chrstnghtmr wrote:

Thread: Growing up in the nightmare of Bill Gothard and Charismatic Christianity (short version) (Healing) (Posted on: 04 Sep : 13:04)

I am 22 years old and I was raised in Bill Gothard's homeschool program all the way through high school. I went to both the Basic and Advanced Seminars. My Mother was fully into both Bill Gothard's programs AND the Charismatic movement. She followed Peter Wagner, Mike Bickle, Joyce Meyer, Ted Haggard of New Life Church, Cindy Jacobs, Dutch Sheets and any other person who was popular in the Charismatic movement at the time.

In addition to all of Bill Gothard's insanity my mother was into all the charismatic/"fanatical evangelical" insanity. Her and her church believed that Satan and demons were everywhere in everything. The rules were VERY strict all the time. We couldn't have ANY christian or non-christian music at all except for a few charismatic worship CDs. There was physical abuse in my home. My mother although used psychotropic drugs because she somehow thought it would make it easier to control me(I've never been diagnosed with any mental illness either). Pastors would always come and interrogate me over video games or TV watching or other things. There were NO FRIENDS outside the church and family and even then only family members who were in the church. You could not trust anyone at all because anyone might be a spy.

At age 17, I decided to "go all out for Jesus" and do my best to practice christianity and live it out. I went to the bible to read for myself how one gets "saved." I found several different versions of getting saved from the gospels. In John it was mainly "have faith" but in Mt, Mk, and Lk, it was as found in Mt 25, that you would have eternal life by doing good works(which of course is considered heresy). So I went to the books from the man that "had all the answers," Bill gothard's Basic and Advanced seminar textbooks.

What I found were all these other rules Irealized I could never live up to, yet, the man seemed to have a biblical basis for everything. In Februrary 2001 at age 17 I plunged into a dark suicidal depression all because I thought I had lost my "salvation" and somehow couldn't live up to the rules. Every single hour of every single day, up until October 2001 I thought about ways of suicide and hating myself for not being worthy enough and failing God. I felt like there was no reason to live because I had lost my salvation and could never live up to the rules. In May of 2001, I told my parents I was depressed and they put me on 2 anti-depressants(in addition to the other crap pills they had me on to try to brainwash me).

None of that touched this depression at all. Everyone prayed, they laid hands on me, spoke in tongues over me, I sought out every kind of christian spiritual help I knew of in charismatic christianity. I through away video games, a few movies, anything that could possibly be "bringing demons" that would cause me to lose God's favour and make me depressed. I never told my parents I was suicidal however, that would have gotten me in big trouble, I just told them I was depressed.

In Oct 2001 I decided it had to end somehow, so I decided to simply reject the idea that Bill Gothard was infallible. The depression mostly cleared right up. I was still a little depressed because I saw other youth in another group doing so well and happy with life. That group was called King's Kids.
King's Kids is a youth ministry of YWAM.
I got involved with King's Kids and went on missions trips with them.

At age 18, in 2002, I went to Youth With A Mission to do their "DTS" program which lasts a total of 5 months, the last two months you go on outreach. On the YWAM base several of the other young men smoked pot, looked at porn, listened to heavy metal, AND were involved in homosexual activities. 6 of the guys made a homosexual porn videotape together on the YWAM Denver campus but only one got kicked out because his face was on the video. 1 week before I was to head out on outreach, I was told by the YWAM Denver staff that I couldn't go because I "wasn't popular and talkative enough for missions work." They admitted that I hadn't done anything wrong, just that they had prayed and felt I wasn't popular/"connected" and talkative enough. I had already raised the $2600 for the 3 month course AND payed the $2200 for the missions trip(I did get a refund).

When I got back home it was back to the good old restriction and that is when I started having serious doubts about christianity. I got on staff with another group that is a program of YWAM called King's Kids. I was on staff with them until mid 2005.

In early 2004, I was still living at home at age 20. I went to a charismatic conference at New Life church with my mother and her church. At the conference I got into a debate with two prayer team staff members. These two staff members watched me throughout the conference to find out who I was with. They found my mother and told her this story that went something along the lines of I "wasn't walking with the lord and could be planning violence." Two weeks later my mother brought over one of the pastors to search my room for "anything evil"(which included my Xbox video game and DVD collection). I tried moving all the video games, DVDs, and a few non-christian books over to a friends house, but that woman was a church member. My mother and the church leadership called that woman, got into her house and basically destroyed at least $900 worth of property. I wasn't involved in anything like drugs or anything like that. I just had video games, some books about other religions, DVDs and such.

After that incident my mother searched my room for the next 3 months EVERY SINGLE DAY. After that I decided it was over, that I had had it with christianity. Seeing how there are all these different churches and interpretations of the bible and what Jesus said, many different views on what a sin actually is and isn't, different views on what God approves of, and all kinds of different views on:On how to get "saved" and how to stay "saved," I realized that Christianity was mostly a big lie. Everyone has different ways of getting and staying saved and staying in God's favor yet somehow there's "only one God, one way to God and only one Word of God."

I had already told my mother to lay off or she'd regret it. After that incident in 2004 I immediately went into all of Marilyn Manson's thinking, ideas and music, believe it or not.

I found a LOT in common with Marilyn Manson and what he had to say, especially on his "Antichrist Superstar" album. I got involved in several other things too.

I never bothered to tell my King's Kids leaders and friends that I had changed beliefs. I just stayed on KK Staff because I enjoyed going on outreaches and helping people. In 2005, I had written some poems about my experiences and sent them to some of my friends, 2 of which were on King's Kids staff. One them got upset about it and forwarded it to the local King's Kids director. He called me up and said he needed to have a meeting right away about "these e-mails you sent." At the meeting I told him that they weren't meant for him or anyone not on the list and that I didn't see how any sin had been done. He admitted that I hadn't done anything wrong by writing poetry, but he was still upset about it because it was talking bad about christians. He told me not to go to anymore meetings and that he would call me every other week to talk. He only called me the next week and has never called again. I had faithfully served them for a totall of 4 years, 3 of them on King's Kids staff. I found out with them just who my friends really are.

After the 2005 King's Kids I have not had any other affiliation with christian groups. however I'd say I left christianity in 2004.

Since leaving christianity I have gone on to the following:
Freemasonry-Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shriners
Everything Alesiter Crowley and Thelemic Magick, Marilyn Manson, Ceremonial Magick, Hermeticism, the Golden Dawn, Kabbalistic magick and studies.
Alice A. Bailey and her books, Lucis Trust, H.P. Blavatsky, Theosophy.

This story is kind of a shortened form. A LOT went on up until age 18, and then a lot happened at age 19(2003) to now.

____________________________________________________
Every man and every woman is a star

UPDATE I:

Sarah Chrstnnghtmr's Interests From MySpace

The following postings provide some poignant and troubling insight into Matthew and his thoughts. If one believes what Matthew has written, he asserts that he is bisexual...and has participated in "every sort of sexual perversion"...a statement which likely reflects some of the very religious judgments he sought to escape.

The last entry in this posting is perhaps the most significant...and perhaps one of the most troubling. I'll offer a note of caution, in that Matthew uses some harsh and crass language in recounting an alleged conversation he had with his mother.

What is clear is his growing resentments and his determination to effect a change. I contend his rejection of his religious ideology unfortunately didn't include the ability to separate his newly chosen activities (drinking, sex, etc) from the construct of sin which had been ingrained in his psyche. While choosing to rebel, it is obvious he still loathes his actions though sees them as equal or superior to the hypocrisy and abuse he believes he experienced while attempting to live his faith.

Sadly, in the end, I suspect he couldn't find a comfortable and comforting choice...hence his decision to end his life. It's unfortunate that he apparently concluded he had no reasonable alternatives to the path he ultimately chose. I find it difficult to fathom being in that state of mind...but then that's the primary reason for this exercise.

Let's hope that our society will decide to be more proactive in the future.

Second Entry:

On 11/05/06 - Chrstnghtmr wrote:

Well I have to say with the news regarding Ted Haggard's homosexuality, methamphetamine use, double life, lying to cover it all up for at least the last several years all while being "filled with the holy spirit"........
I feel somewhat vindicated.

"There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve
been warring against it all of my adult life."

I've known many people, many people my age who've been abused and hurt by people in the "Holy Spirit Filled tongues speaking" "Deliverance spiritual warfare" "Holy Spirit annointed" Pentecostal/Charismatic movements/groups/churches.

Everyone's saying "lets forgive this man and love him and pray for restoration"

I want to know, where was all the love, compassion and mercy for all of my supposed imperfections growing up in church? Where was all the love and forgiveness from YWAM (where several of the missionaries were involved in homosexuality) for me being "not talkative enough"? Where is the restoration, love, mercy, and compassion for the hell and christian nightmare I had to go through?

I believe that certain things have been exposed for the fraud that they are.
Many people will say "it was only one man." But I say, "no, in my life, ZERO christians came to my aid. Most all the christians I knew in all the ministries and churches and groups I grew up in were no better than the rest of the world. I'm sorry, but this man does NOT need "forgive and forget, love and restoration." This particular group, New Life Church and charismatic movement in general has been in large part responsible for the christian nightmare that I've been through.

"You need to move on"

Believe me, I have moved on and now I can see and expose all the lies for what they are.

Christians will say "oh, but it's only one man, there's forgiveness."

"This doesn't mean that God doesn't exist."

Didn't say that it did. I fully believe in God, NOT this manmade christianity, the false doctrines of christianity or other manmade religions. I believe in Light, Life, Love, and Liberty.

The Damage has been done......
Now, it is Christianity that will be mocked, laughed at, ridiculed, judged, and condemned by many.........

______________________________________________________________________
Mister Crowley.......
Every man and every woman is a star

Forum Thread Number Two:

First & Only Entry:

On 09/04/06 - Chrstnghtmr wrote:

This is an interesting topic. In my house, prety much all christian contemporary/christian rock and non-christian rock music was Satanic. I was allowed to listen to christian sermons on christian radio stations, but no CD collections or anything.

It was in 2004 at age 20 when I rebelled against my parents and their church that I immediately went out and bought Marilyn Manson's "Smells Like Children" Album. From there I got all of Marilyn Manson's albums and went on to an assortment of metal and Black Metal groups:

Vital Remains, Slayer, Cradle of Filth, Danzig, Black Sabbath, Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Emperor, Slipknot, Tool, Dark Funeral, Marduk, Gorgoroth etc.

I now have over 150 Metal albums, and yes I listen to many of them and enjoy the music AND the lyrics very much.

In my opinion, I think it's obvious that enforcing such strict rules on teenagers and young adults can cause a rebellion.

All those rules drove me insane worrying that "demons would get me if I heard rock music in a TV commercial"(of course, TV itself is demonic). I would always look down on other church members who listened to contemporary christian music and always wonder "How come they're not being punished? Why doesn't God strike them down?"

I remember, the pastors children got into all kinds of christian rap and christian rock and it was promoted, yet I wasn't allowed to have any of it. This issue helped to alientate me even more from other youth in the church. I always saw it as more hypocrisy in the church, that no one could agree on which music was acceptable and which music actually brought demons into the room you were listening in.

For me, that's all in the past.

I went from sheltered no-music allowed child to hardcore black metal/marilyn manson freak.(kind of like what happened to marilyn manson......)

And pastors aren't getting into my place to go on "room raids" lol
_________________________________________________________
Every man and every woman is a star

Forum Thread Number Three:

First & Only Entry:

Editors Note: The subject of this forum was "Forgiving Gothard".

On 09/04/06 - Chrstnghtmr wrote:

There are different definitions of what "forgiveness" is.

"Forgiving" does not mean "joining their religion/church/group/cult/doctrines."

Forgiving does not mean that it's ok to abuse children nor that it's ok to cover up child abuse.

Forgiving does not mean "going back and submitting" to someone's so-called authority.

For me, I feel I can forgive my parents and family, however, I do not forgive their beliefs/doctrines and I will not tolerate further abuse. I believe that the truth needs to be exposed. People need to see through errornious and destructive doctrines and teachings including Bill Gothard's.

Every man and every woman is a star

Forum Thread Number Four:

First Entry (one other exists but isn't relevant):

Editor's Note: The subject of this forum was "The Subculture of IBLP and ATI and Adapting to The Real Culture".

I have had a very hard time adapting to "the real culture." I started breaking away totally at age 19, I am 22 now. I have found it VERY hard to relate to the opposite sex and get and keep girlfriends, and of course getting laid and figuring out the mechanics of sex. A lot of times I have felt like such a loser when I see even other christian young adults getting married, having sex (outside of marriage), going out with girls all the time etc.

It is so hard trying to get "normal." We were so brainwashed into being afraid of sex and pornography and thinking about sex or liking girls or their bodies. We were forbidden from becoming "men." We were not allowed to be ourselves or think for ourselves or do anything at all that hadn't already been dictated. And all the while we were told, "this is what God wants" "you'll be blessed and live a long life if you do this" "the bible says that you will be destroyed if you disobey."
"the holy spirit will give you gifts if you submit and obey"

I've asked the question of "why did I have to be raised in THIS church and with THIS family?" Why not a peacful mennonite church? or some other version of christianity where things were not so insane and strict?

Obviously, one of the common pieces of advice is to "get out there and live life," which is good, but for me I have found a lot more.

In 2004, at age 20, I found a very interesting person who's childhood was very similar to mine. This man was raised by the Plymouth Brethren, a strict fundamentalist christian group. His mother forbade him from even reading "non-christian" william shakespear and other classical literature. this man was totally sheltered, heard the bible read every single day, his father was a preacher and evangelist. This boy even wanted to become an evangelist when he grew up. There's a lot more that happened.

This boy who was raised in a very strict and abusive christian home was Aleister Crowley.

Discovering Aleister Crowley has helped me a lot in my life. This man wrote a book about his thoughts on christianity called "The World's Tragedy." It is well worth getting.

Of course, Aleister Crowley did a lot in his life.
Aleister Crowley said that "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, love under will. There is no law beyond do what thou wilt"

Everything about Aleister Crowley just completely fascinates and captivates me. This man is like the antidote to what I was raised in.
I have also found a lot in all sorts of Occultism that has been very helpful.

The way I see it, is that christianity had it's fun with me and.....now it's all over.
In a way I've completely exploded out from christianity.
In a way it's like I'm just about completely rebelling against christianity in any way that I can, but this is a little different of a rebellion.

Sure I've done drinking and sex, bi-sexuality, bestiality, blasphemy, every kind of metal and black metal band, every sort of sexual pervsion I can think of that's legal, etc. HOWEVER, I'm somehow different from other people who are of the "wrong crowd." Most of my time is spent doing things other than the activities mentioned. A lot of my time is just spent in....occultism/spirituality.

I guess I'm somehow different from "the wrong crowd" and most "rebels" and "wild" people in that I follow Aleister Crowley in this:

“That religion they call Christianity; the devil they honour they call God. I accept these definitions, as a poet must do, if he is to be at all intelligible to his age, and it is their God and their religion that I hate and will destroy."

p.s.

I've heard all the usual fake sayings and lines people will say.
Growing up I heard "it's about a relationship, not a religion!"
I've heard "don't blame God for what people do" and "you're just talking about a few people in christianity, no group is perfect" "you weren't raised in real christianity you need to join _________ " "instead of looking at people you need to pray directly to God"

Guess what? I've got all those things covered. I prayed and cried out to God, and "called upon the name of the Lord" and I was lead to go this way. I believe that Jesus is God and I believe in what he taught HOWEVER, I don't believe that much of today's christianity follows Jesus. I understand that there are many good and nice christians, but I believe that the doctrines as a whole are false and a lie. I do not blame the one true God for the atrocity that is Christianity.

As I said before, I've prayed and read the bible, I called upon God to show me the truth, and this is the path I have found.

Don't blame me just because I was shown a different path than christianity when I prayed and searched.

I would also say that I have yet to find any real spiritual power in any church or christian that was different from all other religions and spiritual paths. In the bible? Yes I read the bible all the time. I still will not follow Christianity.

I agree with Aleister Crowley himself when he said, "I do not hate God or Christ, but merely the God and Christ of the people whom I hated."

_____________________________________________________
Fiat Lux!
Every man and every woman is a star

Forum Thread Number Five:

First & Only Entry:

On 09/24/07 - Chrstnghtmr wrote:

I found this man to be a wonderful inspiration. In my times of difficulty in trying to heal, when I feel like my life sucks and that there is no hope for a rejected sheltered christian boy like me, this man's life has given me a powerful hope and resolve to take a stand and to know that I'm not the only one who has been a victim of this kind of abuse and insanity.

Earlier this year I wrote a speech about this man's life and gave it at a christian college in one of my classes. What follows is that speech/writing:

Edward Alexander “Aleister" Crowley was born to Edward Crowley in England on October 12, 1875. Aleister Crowley’s parents were members of a strict group of Christians known as the Plymouth Brethren. As an infant Aleister Crowley was baptized by the Plymouth Brethren. Aleister Crowley’s parents raised him in this strict Christian setting. The bible was read and prayers were said daily.

The Crowley family was also wealthy because Aleister's Dad was also a very successful brewer of alcohol. One can immediately see the obvious, apparent contradiction in being an evangelist of the Gospel and a brewer of alcohol. This was a contradiction that little Aleister didn’t fail to recognize. Nevertheless, Crowley was encouraged by his father to love God and to want to grow in the Christian faith. Crowley was receptive to his father’s guidance initially. He used to love reading the Bible as a boy. As Aleister Crowley stated in his Confessions, “The underlying theory of life which was assumed in the household showed itself constantly in practice. The universe was created by God 4004 B.C. The Bible, Authorized Version, was literally true, having been dictated by the Holy Ghost himself to scribes incapable of even clerical errors."

“The second coming of the Lord Jesus was confidently expected to occur at any moment. So imminent was it that preparations for a distant future --- such as signing a lease or insuring one's life --- might he held to imply lack of confidence of the promise, ‘Behold I come quickly.’" “Earthly life was regarded as an ordeal; this was a wicked world and the best thing that could happen to anyone was "to go to be with Christ, which is far better". On the other hand, the unsaved went to the lake of fire and brimstone which burneth for ever and ever" (Crowley, 1929-1930, p.38).
As a child, Aleister Crowley had desired to serve God and become an evangelist.

In May, 1887, when Aleister Crowley was 11 years old, his father died of cancer. This was to be a major turning point in young Crowley’s life. Aleister Crowley’s parents had sent him to a school in Cambridge, run by Plymouth Brethren. According to Aleister, this school was supposed to be run by Christians, they had constant chapel services, and a Reverend. However, Crowley documented that the school was dominated with liars, thieves, physical abuse, homosexuals, and a number of other forms of wickedness. (Crowley, Confessions, p.63-67) The death of Aleister Crowley’s father and the hypocrisy he witnessed at the Christian school caused Aleister Crowley to desire to vigorously rebel against his Christian upbringing and against Christianity.
Aleister Crowley set out to figure out the best way to do this.

Aleister Crowley stated in his Confessions, “I was not content to believe in a personal devil and serve him, in the ordinary sense of the word. I wanted to get hold of him personally and become his chief of staff" (Crowley, 1929-1930, p.67).

When attending College, he was already proud of his homosexual behavior, drunkenness and drug use. While at Cambridge University, Aleister Crowley wrote a poem called “Alcedama-A Place to Bury Strangers In". In that poem, Crowley wrote: “I was in the death struggle with self: God and Satan fought for my soul those three long hours. God conquered - now I have only one doubt left - which of the twain was God?"

Crowley answered his own question by determining that Satan was his god. He went on to write: “I had been almost overwhelmed by the appalling responsibility of ensuring my own damnation and helping others to escape from Jesus." Crowley’s hatred for Christianity was summed up in a book he wrote in 1910 entitled “The World’s Tragedy." In that book he made a statement that reflected his life’s goal:

“That religion they call Christianity; the devil they honour they call God. I accept these definitions, as a poet must do, if he is to be at all intelligible to his age, and it is their God and their religion that I hate and will destroy."

In March, 1904, while traveling with his wife in Egypt, Aleister Crowley wrote the Book of the Law, which he claims was dictated to him by his guardian angel, named “Aiwass." In the Book of the Law Crowley was declared “The Prophet of a New Aeon," a New Age where the old “Aeon of Osiris" would pass away and the “New Aeon of Horus" would be ushered in (Crowley, 1976). Aleister Crowley declared himself “The Great Beast of Revelation" and labeled himself “666." In 1920, Aleister Crowley used a building in Sicily, Italy, and called it his “Abbey of Thelema." The “Abbey of Thelema" was set up for Crowley and his followers to practice magickal rituals and study the occult. After several scandals and a woman dying during a sex magick ritual at the Abbey, Aleister Crowley was expelled from Italy. After being expelled, Aleister Crowley became known internationally as “The wickedest man in the world" and newspapers everywhere were talking about him. Aleister Crowley went on to write many books on Occult and Magickal practices gaining many followers to his cause.

Aleister Crowley went on to become known as “The wickedest man in the world."
Aleister Crowley would go on to write dozens of books on the occult throughout his life, promoting Black Magic and all forms of occultism, including astral projection, divination, ceremonial magick, witchcraft, human sacrifice, the Universality of Magick, and practically anything else that would help him achieve his stated goal -- the destruction of the Christian faith. Crowley believed that Christianity was a gloomy religion, full of despair. He referred to Christianity as the “gloom."

Rebelling against an oppressive and abusive childhood in evangelical christianity, Aleister Crowley wrote many books on occult and magickal topics, become a leader in the world of occultism and one of the most infamous Magicians of the 20th Century. His works became practically it’s own occult religion, influencing much of modern occultism and influencing many people and followers, even to this day.

Every man and every woman is a star

Forum Thread Number Six:

First & Only Entry:

Editor's Note: The subject of this forum was ""God's Will" equals "Parent's Will"

On 02/12/07 - Chrstnghtmr wrote:

I understand what you're saying restored. My parents and their church were very abusive and they always used sayings like "touch not the Lord's annointed" and "what does it say here?"(pointing to the ten commandments and Eph 6:1-3) "it says to honor AND OBEY! it didn't say whether you think they're abusive or not, it says to OBEY....."

That's just too bad because instead of a dead, lifeless, spiritually powerless criminally abusive christianity, I found a new Law that says:

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

I realized that we all have a spark of divinity within us and that the answers can be found within ourselves, rather than from some hyopcrite Ted Faggard pastor or some abusive Gothardite tongues speaking fanatical church. Every man has a right to do his Divine Will that he has been given from the Divine(which of course, must be discovered first.)

It's ironic that I was raised in a "godly loving christian home with two parents" and a church who all told me I would go to hell if I listened to even christian contemporary/rock music and that demons would posses me if I listened to non-christian music because I also found Marilyn Manson who taught me that, there is no heaven and hell and that I have no "original sin" that I need to be forgiven of and to kill myself over guilt over, nor that I need this false theory of salvation that christianity uses to force it's system of enslavement, fear, tithing and abuse upon the world.

_________________________________________________________________
Every man and every woman is a star

Forum Thread Number Seven:

Editor's Note: The subject of this forum was "Ignorance is innocence ? NO SEX! Education and ATI".

First Entry:

On 06/25/07 - Chrstnghtmr wrote:

yeah, I'd agree encourager. I was always this shy timid little boy and always felt guilty for looking at or even talking with girls....
To get past all that..........realize that you have nothing left to lose in this miserable life. Christians have raped and tried to take everything from within me. realize that, nothing really matters anyways, "Jesus"/"God" certainly has not answered any of my prayers all these years....so if "God" has been there......then he obviously doesn't have time....or is getting off watching all the suffering. Believe me, I've heard it all before, "oh, but he is right there even now!" "you just have to ask him"(as if I haven't already done that) "you just have to turn your heart to him!"(so what...do I have to visualize my heart chakra linking to Christ?) "if you'll only have faith and call upon the name of the lord!"(already done that a hundred times)

I can have sex with whatever and whomever I please. If girls or guys get offended that I ask for sex or play or that I ask them to get high or whatever.....then f*** them! I'm already going to Hell for watching the Simpsons and playing video games, leaving my parents church and a ton of other sh**, "God" certainly hasn't said anything about it. I don't have to worry about being turned down or feeling guilty anymore. Considering that watching The Simpsons will send you to hell, might as well watch any and all the pornography you can get your hands on to learn about sex. It's not like "God" is sending a guy/girl to teach you about sex........

I went to God just to see and I was looking at me
I saw that heaven and hell were lies

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law
Every man and every woman is a star

Second Entry:

On 07/01/07 - Chrstnghtmr wrote:

Actually granolagoddess, most people in this world are pretty f***ing stupid.

Most people are stupid enough to believe that their favorite politician would never lie to them, or that their government would never dare break any laws (read about COINTELPRO), or things like "the bible is the only thing that's needed for education and the only source for truth." People are stupid enough to believe that they need to follow a pastor and that pastors can be trusted(i.e. Ted Haggard). Heck, there's even people who believe that they're going to be raptured up into the sky and that some guy died and rose again for their imaginary "sins" that they think everyone in the world is guilty of and that everyone who is not a part of their church/religion and/or does not "speak in tongues" or desires to have sex is going to a lake of fire. Ha ha ha all you stupid people can suck my ****....cause for me, if I ever get sick of it all, suicide is always going to be there......

Sure, most people online are stupid, but most people offline are stupid also. Many people just go around believing what "the experts" tell them to believe.

What do you think about that granolagoddess?

Of course there's also those stupid idiots who think that online internet forums and e-mails are supposed to have perfect grammar and spelling.........

_________________________________________
Mister Crowley....
Every man and every woman is a star

Third Entry:

On 08/09/07 - Chrstnghtmr wrote:

This whole sex thing really discourages me. I didn't learn what sex really was until age 19....unfortanately not by hands on experience. I see all my friends and other people having sex, getting married and all while I can't hardly even get a date even though I'm in excellent shape and "groomed." I try to be nice and considerate and all yet I can never get a (female) date. I am at least able to get some male action but I wish I could just once be with a girl. It kind of sucks to be a young adult like this and to have never been with a girl.

Yeah, I know I suck and a lot of people hate me...but there is hope for getting laid by the end of this year.

I'm working with Marilyn Manson, Decide, Cradle of Filth, Slayer, and Slipknot on this one......and meditating on Liber OZ to come up with some solution, some way of getting laid with a female by years end.

I've realized that it really is all about the Beautiful People....all about everyone hating people like me who are the "horrible people." Telling us "you suck"..."you can't be this way"......all of this is your fault......all of this abuse you went through is YOUR fault...stop whining.....you're just trying to shock.......you haven't really been through anything......"and I don't want you and I don't need you don't bother to resist or I'll beat you, it's not your fault that you're always wrong...you weaker one's are there to justify the strong...."

These days I'm able to have full confidence when approaching girls..I know that all the power I need is within me and that I am my own God...I don't need Bill Gothard's or some Charismatic Jesus People evangelical holy spirit bull**** system to have confidence and success. I didn't know this as a homeschool sheltered teenage boy but I now know that much of christianity is just for the dominionists/Council for National Policy groups to get money and further their political agendas. It's just so that church leaders can get rich, have power over people's live and take in tithes(so they can go buy Meth like Ted Haggard did or something to that effect).

Right now I'm listing to this Marilyn Manson song that says:
"Your christian world is an ashtray, we burn and coil like cigarettes.....
the nature of the leeches.......the virgins are feeling cheated...you've only spent a second of your life...
my world is unaffected..there is an end to this...don't say it isn't it's true.....I went to God just to see and I was looking at me, Saw heaven and hell were lies.....when I'm God....
Scar scar can you feel my Power?"

I believe that as we ex-gothardites/ex-christians heal we ill get this all figured out......Time's going to wash away all pain....

_________________________________________
I was born into this.....everything turns into sh**
the boy that you loved is the man that you fear......
Every man and every woman is a star

Forum Thread Number Eight:

First & Only Entry:

Editor's Note: The subject of this forum was "Crying all alone in pain in the nightmare of christianity....".

On 07/07/07 - Chrstnghtmr wrote:

Note: This is a writing for who deal with insane sh**. This is not a writing for those who "have it all together." This is not a writing for those who "only want to think about happy things and feel better." People condemn these writings just because they were "too dark" and didn't want to acknowledge these things. Other people come and say things like "oh I know how you feel but if you just try hard to not think like this then you'll feel better" or "if you just get counseling then things will be better, believe me, I know what you're going through....."
First, the seeing a licensed therapist routine has already been done...there's no need to chant that tired line of advice.
Second, you probably do not know how people like me feel, so don't act like it. If you think you know about what people like me have been through and want to understand, then here's a razor blade. Drop me a line when you're done and we'll talk.

This writing was written down in early 2006.

For those of us who know about what it's like to grow up in christianity.......
for those who can't deal with hearing about people who have suffered at the hand of christianity .....
welcome to our nightmare.......

Editor's Note: The following was posted in an entry on another site included in the first posting on Matthew but I include it again due to the above introduction provided by Matthew.

Crying all alone in pain...losing all reserve….I can't wake up out of this nightmare........
Insane? Am I the only mother f***** with a brain?........

Maze...psychopathic daze...I create this waste
Back away from tangents, on the verge of drastic
ways...can't escape this place...I deny your face
Sweat gets in my eyes, I think I'm slowly dying

put me in a homemade cellar
put me in a hole for shelter
someone find me please, all I see is hate
I can hardly breathe and I can hardly take it!

HANDSONMYFACEOVERBEARINGICAN'TBREAKOUT!
lost...ran at my own cost...hearing laughter, scoffed
learning from the rush, detached from such and such
bleak...all around me, weak...listening, incomplete
I am not a dog, but I'm the one your dogging……

I am crying here in a buried kennel
I have never felt so final
Someone help me please, losing all reserve
I am f***ing gone, I think I'm fu**ing dying
HANDSONMYFACEOVERBEARINGICAN'TGETOUT!

You all stare, but you'll never see
There is something inside me......

Cut me! beat me! molest me! abuse me! @#%$ me! hate me! break me! Rape me! kill me! show me!
Here is my purity……
Enter this nightmare…..I am willing and able and never any danger to myself
Knowledge in my pain, knowledge in my pain, just....@#%$ acknowledge all my pain, acknowledge all my

pain.....knowledge in my pain......
Or was my tolerance a phase?
Empathy! out of my way!
I can't die.....I can't die.....I can't die.....trancing out into another dark reality as the pain

fades away....my purity.....
You all stare, but you'll never see
There is something in you I despise.....
have you ever seen God?......have you ever seen God?!
have you ever......

_________________________________________
freak on my antics and give me a choice
it doesn't matter if I give a sh** cause it's sh** that you gave me
Every man and every woman is a star

Forum Thread Number Nine:

First & Only Entry:

Editor's Note: The subject of this forum was "Honor Thy Parents".

On 07/22/07 - Chrstnghtmr wrote:

First, there is nothing necessarily wrong with cutting. People like us are already going to hell according to christians. Why should we worry about all these little moral rules when we're already going to spend eternity in hell for not following the "right religion"/"only true relationship with god?"

Why am I going to hell? First, I'm not perfect. Two, I'm an introvert. Three, I'm not popular enough to be a missionary with YWAM or any other church group. Four, I don't pay tithes at all. Five, I don't speak in tongues. Six, I don't worship Bill Gothard. Seven, I'm bisexual. Eight, I don't worship George W. Bush, Israel, and the Republican party. Nine, I believe that America was NOT founded by fundamentalist christians but rather founded for an esoteric purpose (as explained by Manly P. Hall in "America's Secret Destiny" and Paul Foster Case in "The Great Seal"). Ten, I listen to non-christian music(cradle of filth rocks!), watch pornography, and just simply cannot wait to meet this christian god/jesus so I can shove my d*** up his a**.

Really, there's nothing wrong with cutting, nor with suicide, we're already going to hell for some stupid sin and/or not following the "true version of christianity." If you follow Bill Gothard but don't speak in tongues and/or listen to that rock and roll devil music you are probably already worshiping Satan and allowing demons to possess/opress you and into your home. Seriously, I doubt cutting or suicide is going to "cause you to go to hell more."

As far as dealing with parents....I don't think the woman known as my mother really is my mother. She doesn't act like it. My "mother" is just a brainswashed church agent cun,t. The only reason she had me was because she wanted a body/soul she could train into being the next Billy Graham, Bill Gothard, or Peter Wagner. I these idiots whine and complain about their broken homes and about how their mom wanted an abortion. Hell. I wish I was aborted but my mother wouldn't dare do that. She had a "special plan from the Lord" for me. No easy way out for me. Almost every f***ing day and at every church service the pastors and our parents would tell me and the other youth that "God has a very special plan for this generation.....don't break any rules or you'll miss out!!! Honor and OBEY your parents and the pastors("god's annointed") or your life will be cursed and you'll open a doorway for demons!"

I haven't been back to that church and group for a while. I told my mother earlier this year "listen here you little cu,nt, I'm not afraid of any of you christians, and I like screwing men, and I wouldn't mind having a threesome in front of you and dad......hell.....I jack off right here in front of you !@#$%....I'm not afraid of any of your copied wannabe new age charismatic church prophetic powers" and then I told her "listen, I'd be glad to face off against any of your fake church prophetsm, we'll see who's spirituality is REAL.....c,unt"

She just ran over to her room and I went back to my place. I already told her "hey, bit,ch, using drugs, alcohol and having gay sex, I'm just trying to do what any Christian pastor would do, at least I'm not doing meth like Ted Haggard...but maybe I will try it and maybe I'll just OD on stuff just so I don't have to deal with you anymore......"

Yeah....she's left me alone ever since. Point is, don't let these motherf***ers brainwash you....they lie and live double lives while claiming to "have the true way." The most "spiritual power" these christians have is lower psychism and the altered states of mind that they work themselves into with their praise and worship. No, God doesn't give you cancer when you go out and have sex, or get drunk, or smoke a joint, or stop paying tithes. No, demons don't appear in your bedroom at night and posses your mind because you went to a gay dance club or called your mother a c,unt. In fact......none of that sh,it happens. I've left several messages for the christian god to "speak to me" if I'm on the wrong path with my life.......it's been over 2 years and all I ever get spiritualy is to stay on the path that i'm on. I even have one of the prayers from 2004 that I wrote down. No christian or bill gothard god/Jesus has gotten back to me, and yes, I do still read the bible on occassion as well as many other spiritual texts.

Have fun, live life and don't let these christian c,unts brainwash you. Cut if you will, think about suicide if you will, go to church if you will, be mormon if you will, get drunk and high and have sex if you will. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

____________________________________________________
Mister Crowley.....
Every man and every woman is a star

Tagged as: Bible, Christian, Chrstnghtmr, Colorado Shootings, Depression, Evangelical, Faith, Fundamentalism, God, Heavy Metal, Matthew Murray, Mr. Crowley, New Life Church, nghtmrchld26, Occult, Pentecostal, Religion, Sexuality, Ted Haggard, Youth With A Mission, YWAM

Daniel DiRito | December 12, 2007 | 4:33 PM | link | Comments (10)
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