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Interview with Rainer part Two … About God

Well, it’s been a few years, but here is part two.  In light of the New Zealand massacre I feel obliged, again, to Never Forget,

Not so much obliged.  It is my honor.  My duty, as a human.

It is important.  I never stopped.

And, Rainer is important.

He is a huge part of my past and my memories.  And has dedicated his life to um, not, ‘reversing’ but, healing the scars of his ancestry.

He made me grow as a person.

I always fall head first into anything that intrigues me, and yes, at first, it was the documentary.  But, once I knew him, I felt so comfortable and safe and later so loved.

But, that was years ago.

We managed, somehow, to reconnect.

I asked him, “What haven’t you been asked about, that you want to answer?”

I think the best way to share this interview is in our emails.

I should mention, he’s ill.  And, in keeping with our friendship – and secrets – I can’t divulge the facts.

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So, thinking on a topic, I decided (after he declined) God. To choose Religion.

Having death in our path causes one to ponder no?

I lost one of my best friends to cancer.  She was an advocate for children.  Unselfish.  Completely fucking amazing – and – told me, “I don’t wan’t to go, I’m not ready.”

What ‘God’ takes someone who gives so much on the planet?

How is it that completely awful people still stride this earth and those with love and compassion in their hearts are taken??

And in keeping with my personal theory, here are our emails.

Me: Do you believe in God?  Why or why not?

Him:

How can you believe in the church with all the atrocities in the world?
When I look at the news, especially what has just happened in New Zealand. Wars of faith wherever you look. And all this in the name of faith or ethnicity, how terrible.
Who sets the standards for faith? The church in my eyes. I believe in something beyond our imagination in a power that is certainly not earthly, but I would never call it “church”.
Church is an institution that advertises with the promise of a life after death in paradise. Using the artifacts of a bygone era to bind the so-called believers to itself.
The one who indoctrinates, no less bad than political groups of all colours. Church promotes wars and of course tries to eliminate other faith communities, to take their dominance away from them.
See the Catholic Church, it is a clear proof of such action and procedure.
The Vatican was deeply involved in National Socialism and also helped to eliminate another ethnic or non-national church. Later, the help of the murderers to escape to other countries. The so-called rat line to South America. Church as an institution is a group of companies in my eyes, a profit center which is financed by faith in God, which already over centuries.
What is faith ? What does the institution church tell me that it is?
What it wants to inoculate the believers, and the fact that it is only this redemption and the acquittal for our transgressions. In the Middle Ages in Germany there was the debt relief with the church, by a document which promised against a large sum of money that with it the debt after death was settled. I have never seen or met anyone who could confirm this, who came back from the realm of death to confirm it.
But man is kept in faith in God like a large flock of sheep. You only need a handful of Christian shepherd dogs to control them.
And the church also canonizes people, for what? What is so extraordinary about these people? Isn’t every person extraordinary or only believers who have dedicated themselves completely to the church? Religious madness !
Or there is still the witch burnings world-wide, which was called also by the church into being. For the witch hunters a profitable business, as well as for the church. She has thereby secured herself the ultimate power on earth. So what is church and what does church do in a person’s life?  It certainly helps one or the other, but does God really exist?
Couldn’t God also be called IT?
Where does the faith originate, who brought it into being, every church has its own opinion and interpretation which fits to its own cult of faith and everyone says it is the true church, the true faith and all others are just fakes.
Or the rape and abuse of children in the church, and the fact that the church concealed this for centuries.
In Germany, more and more of these cases are coming to light. The church even has its own court for this, and shows that it does not belong in the normal jurisdiction of everyone. Another point to reject the institution church. Because here the law is trampled underfoot and twisted as one needs it right now.

Me: I also think, what kind of ‘father’ would allow such horror, as you mentioned.  So many good things hurt and harmed that were innocent.  I also asked “In pain or in despair you don’t reach out to something ‘bigger’ than you or the planet?”

 

Him: Unfortunately I have to disappoint you, with my heart operation it was not possible any more in time, everything went so fast.

With everything else I also ask of course: Why me ?

But I do not address it to God, I can explain it to you also only with difficulty.

I was also too much disappointed by the Protestant Church, which is why I left it long ago. There you don’t get adequate help, pious sayings that mean nothing to me and can do without you.

They should rather change their politics and also admit if they have done something wrong and do not hide behind the institution church.

And to know exactly, they regulate that so that it does not cast a bad permanent light on the church.

No I do not pray.

It comes as it has to come, that doesn’t change the church either.

 

 

 

I believe in true love and friendship, even if it was denied me often enough in my life, or even abused. But I continue to believe in it, and at some point it will be true.

And I believe in what I am doing and that it is sincere and good and helps even if it is a slow success but it is one to see. I believe in many things but not in the institution church.

Me: Notice, the door to the cage is open.  Even a fake birdcage I can’t close.  I care too much.  I agree, love and friendship is a higher power.  And, I’m hoping the bible was right when it said, Jesus can see into your heart.   I’m not religious, but, should I be judged, ‘it’ will see the real me in my heart.  I do have one question for you.  What do you to regret?  If you could say something different or be different, what would it be?

 

Him: Our situation back then that I deeply regret, but otherwise I don’t really regret anything.

I see it all in a certain area of fate… You can’t change it in advance anyway, it comes as it comes.

Every day is a new challenge.

And I don’t mean by fate the biblical variant… I have done the most possible thing in my life that I can do to make my environment more beautiful.

I’ve always been faithful in life, I don’t drink, I don’t take drugs…I think more doesn’t work…and I’ve always treated friends as friends and stood by their side like a rock in the surf in an emergency.

I take care of people who need help, I have taken care of my mum self-sacrificingly without thinking of myself. I have always been a good caring father and grandfather.

 

 

We continue this journey together as friends.  And, he IS an amazing father and grand-father.  And friend. I will be forever grateful that our paths crossed.

 

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As a side note, which, seems completely awful calling it so – I also interviewed a survivor – and I didn’t want to make this a piece about the past.  But, (again) in light of current events, supremacists are gaining ground and feeling comfortable.  I shall never forget the survivor who told me more than any history book could.  That they ate their own lice for protein in the camp.  I shudder.  I’m disgusted and am SO proud that New Zealand has instantly said they are going to change their gun laws.  That’s my personal opinion,  not Rainer’s or any one else.

 

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A Non-Practicing Agnostic’s 2 Cents Worth – OR “Now I’m going to hell for SURE”

I was going to name this post “God is a Terrorist”.

Pretty harsh – but fearing God is no small thing.

Terrorism: ‘The systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion’

I think burning in the fiery pits of hell for eternity if you don’t adhere to a set of rules qualifies.

I stopped short though – because even after all of what I’m sharing below, I’m STILL scared I’m going to hell.

fear god

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I do fear God.

Man’s God.

The God of the books.

Who, in my opinion, due to purposefully edited pages for period relevant agendas – is misrepresented in the conglomeration.

I wanted to believe for years simply because I did not want to go to hell.

I was afraid not to believe.

Today I have,  a ‘God’.

And it is love. And it is good. And it is hope.

 

I believe we are born believing in those things – it’s inherently in us.

We expect good before we even know what ‘good’ is.  A baby will cry when angry voices are raised and I doubt it’s processing anything more than the negative energy, inherently knowing that only in positive energy will it survive and thrive.

A small child when abused for the first time, registers shock with the pain – it knows the parental action is contrary to love without anyone having to explain that to them.

The young have no prejudice – are open-minded – filled with wonder, hope, faith and dreams.

Then something happens along the way, I suppose the jaded of us knock those things right out of them.

We fuck it all up and then need to be reminded to be good.

Not to kill.

Not to steal.

Not to do the most basic of sins that we were born not wanting to do in the first place!

(In the interest of fairness, here’s a great article based on experiments that somewhat disagrees with me HERE)

I have to concede that in order for ‘good’ to encounter ‘bad’ – it must exist, and therefore, some of us are not born entirely ‘good’.  Evil?  I choose to call it Mentally Unhealthy.  A gene … a predisposition that when coupled with a negative environment can only breed something dark.

I’ll once again share my favorite quote of all time:

evil

To my mind, there’s no disputing that the monsters under our bed are based on the monsters that sleep atop them.

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So let’s stick  with the premise that we’re fundamentally good.

Society functions better when we are ‘good’ together (Rand and Nietzsche may disagree, but stay with me)

Ironically, think of Christmas time.

For all intents and purposes, let’s take religion out of it.

Think only of the atmosphere – shops playing festive music, decorations adorning the mundane – from lamp posts to our own living rooms.  Strangers are nicer to one another (love) – anticipation is in the air (hope) and we’re thinking of others not ourselves (good).

Yes there’s a flip side to the holiday coin (pun intended), the stress of the material accumulation, preparing for guests, the huge expense of the ever exhausting increase of ‘gifting’ – but the FEELING of goodwill is undeniable.

Goodwill feels so much better naturally than hate.

I personally can’t be angry with someone without it tearing me up inside!  That horrible feeling in the gut I get when I’m in fear or in a bad mood is just awful.

And natural. It’s always been. It’s an internal physical response to adversity.

I couldn’t lie, steal, covet, be a glutton, murder, or any of those other no-no’s without such a feeling.

And I felt that long before I learned they were against ‘the rules’.

Because of our own mortality, we have the sensibility to know the severity of taking another’s life.

Because we feel pain, we’re aware it’s not a good thing and therefore do not inflict it on others – except as punishment.

So let’s just assume that we are hardwired for good – and come with the basic fundamentals of how to behave on this planet.

I tend to research … a LOT when I’m pulled in different directions with a topic. I watched documentary after documentary about religion – about Christianity – about Atheism.

Documentaries that I hoped would be packed with fact and educational material for me, the ignorant seeker.

baggy elephat

(I have a whole other post planned for ‘documentaries’.  I’ve almost completely lost faith in them after getting some firsthand insight into how they are made, and especially after watching someone present themselves in a fashion not practiced in ‘real life’)

But, that is for another day.

 

I watched “The Unbelievers” featuring Dawkins and Krauss. I was in complete agreement with most of all the film.  I wonder sometimes if my mind is too open.  I’m mailable – and I know it.

I fell for a lot of Brian Flemmings “The God Who Wasn’t There”, especially when introduced to the Christ Myth and Graves 16 Crucified Saviors.

16 saviors

I was intrigued.

Then he lost me when he personally attacked someone with a derogatory comment.

I hate that. If your points are valid – stick to them. Don’t resort to name calling to try to win a debate.

It only weakens your reputation in my eyes and takes your argument with it.

I’ve seen 100’s of documentaries – obsessed with truth-seeking.

I’ve been moved to tears, had lifelong opinions challenged and changed and been introduced to people, places and situations I may otherwise never have encountered.

I even found my love through a documentary.

But I don’t believe ALL I read/hear.

I found a great rebuttal to the Jesus/Horus comparisons here: http://www.jonsorensen.net/2012/10/25/horus-manure-debunking-the-jesushorus-connection/    You really have to read the comments to get the full effect.

I love the back and forth – the freedom to disagree.  “Permission to question”.

But there will always be people who pick and choose facts and leave out some details that don’t support their argument. (Another reason I’ve gone off documentaries)

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I got to thinking, if tomorrow God was proven to be nothing but a myth, would I murder? If I no longer feared hell, would I sin just because I could?

No.

No I wouldn’t.

Because there are other repercussions here on earth – it would affect my quality of life and of those around me.  Repercussions of the heart – of our mental health – of our souls.  Yes.  I believe in a soul.

I believe that unexplainable part of us that gives us goosebumps when an achingly beautiful piece of music is played, is our soul.  That part of us that fills with warmth when we watch our children sleeping – is our soul.  That small voice reminding us to choose ‘good’ – is our soul.

We’re wired to want to be a part of something, to commune with others.  We’re born with specific and individual talents and abilities so that when joined with others, we become an orchestra of humanity.

However you want to stay in touch with your humanity is fine by me – and I don’t take task with those who have unbridled Faith and use their powers for good.  It’s those who are almost brainwashed – killing in the name of their religion.  Those who look down on those who do not practice the same rituals, pray the same way or believe the same things that have me shuddering at organized religion.

And I won’t be a part of it.

I’ll stick to continual seeking – an open mind – and a unwavering belief in Love, Hope and Goodness.

 

A Heretics prayer at Christmas

I pray.

I pray because it feels good and it feels right.

It feels right because I’m saying ‘thank you’ without a human audience, and that feels authentic.

It feels right because I’m taking a moment to reflect and ask for guidance – and not things.

It feels good because I pray for positive energy – I ask for blessings for others.

But, I am not a Christian.

I tried to be.  I’ve asked ‘the’ question in the past – with an open mind and willing soul: “Jesus, please come into my heart.”

I tried because it felt like the right thing to do, but mostly because I didn’t want to go to hell.

Then I felt hypocritical asking out of fear.

I wanted so badly to believe – but not at any cost – not because I was afraid not to.

I even convinced myself to some degree that God might actually appreciate an honest heart that at least tried.  Although, probably I am going to hell.  If there is one.

I had to be honest with myself though.  I don’t believe.  I do not believe the stories in the bible happened.

And it’s not just Christianity, every religion to me, seems as if a game of ‘telephone’ (Or ‘Chinese Whispers’) has been played with it.

whisper

If there is any one and only ‘right’ religion, man has dipped his hands into it over time.  As a result, I just don’t feel like what was original, authentic or intended is among the current selections.

I don’t trust man.

But I do have Faith.

I believe in a higher power.  Something bigger than me.  Something I’ll never understand and am not completely meant to … because wouldn’t that be counterproductive to the concept of ‘Faith’?

I do believe in the power of prayer.

I believe there is a source of good – and of love. 

And for all intents and purposes, I call that God.

spiritual

In two weeks it will be Christmas Day.

Although I’m not Christian, I can appreciate a day selected to celebrate the birth of a child that represented love and forgiveness.  I can get behind that.

In fact, I usually adore this time of year.  The extra love and kindness that the Season tends to bring from others.

The lights and the music – the joy and the hope that warms Winter.

I’m not feeling any of that this year.

I have knots in my stomach where excitement should be.

I’m looking away from lights and avoiding the holiday music.

I feel like a deadline is beating down on me that I can’t possibly meet.

I love giving.

I especially love being able to grant a wish – be able to witness a smile that reaches the eyes of someone I love.

It’s been a tough year financially.

I know I’m not the only one – but I can’t write about what other people are feeling.

I only know how I am feeling.

I know that presents aren’t ‘the reason for the season’, but I don’t want to let my son down.

I’ve always found a way.

Always.

Somehow managed to grant a material wish for the boy I would lay down and die for.

I am falling short this year.

And it hurts.

And it makes me wish Christmas wouldn’t come.

I need to pray on that.

Pray on why the need to give is so strong, that I feel ‘less than’ if I can’t do it.

Because that’s a lot different from needing to give and not wanting to do it.

I need to pray on why it upsets me so much to think I’m letting someone down when I can’t provide things they want.

Because that’s a lot different from not providing things they need.

I don’t ever want my motives to be driven by fear.

I will pray they are driven by love.

I’m quite certain they are.

It is Christmas after all, the one time of year when it’s traditional to show love by offering gifts.  To indulge in a few material tokens of our affection.

wrapped gift

There is such good …

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I find myself from time to time almost pleading Earths case to God.

I’ll share with you my nightly prayers.  I always say “Thank you.” I always end with “God bless all those in my heart, on my mind and in the world, Amen.”

The meat of my prayers is usually me asking for guidance –  praying for strength in areas I’m lacking.

Sometimes I pray for more patience, the increased ability to love – to be tolerant.  I pray to know which path I should be taking.

When it’s a particularly sad news day though, when atrocities have been committed and we’re made aware of them – I don my humankind legal defense cap.

As if God doesn’t already know, I plead “God, there is such GOOD in the world too.”  As if I’m afraid he’s going to shut the whole event down because of evil.

I have a favorite quote, by W.H. Auden.

“Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table …”

I love that quote.  I love how the words feel coming out of my mouth  – how the thought provokes – the simple eloquence of it.

And it, for me, is truth.

I watched a documentary this morning called “Hitlers Children.” (If you have Netflix, it’s a streamable selection. )

One particular storyline resonated with me.

It was that of Rainer Hoess – grandson of Rudolf Hoess.

He looked at photographs of his father standing in the garden of the family home on the grounds of Auschwitz.  Other photos showed his grandfather in that same back yard.

Later in the documentary, he took a trip to Auschwitz – his first one.

One of the questions he pondered, while staring at a photo of his father standing by the garden gate was, how could they not have known – not have seen?

He was afforded entry into that same garden and stood at that very garden gate.  The house was cleverly designed with no views of the crematorium – textured glass windows on the side of the house that might let some truth in.

The garden itself was surrounded by tall walls, offering only a glimpse of outlying buildings.

I wondered what it must have felt like to stand in that location.  To know that your lineage included a monster.  I didn’t need to wonder for long – when Rainer lost his composure, I did too.  I wept on the couch with this man who was riddled with guilt for a crime against humanity that he couldn’t possibly have anything to do with.

During the tour, he agreed to speak to a group.  He was nervous – understandably.  At one point, a holocaust survivor, from that camp, wanted to shake his hand.

My already wet cheeks were wet anew when this old man took his hand and told him, ‘you didn’t do this.’

They hugged and my heart wanted to burst.

There is good.

There is good everywhere if you look for it – take time to avert your eyes from your problems and worries and choose to see it!

On a personal note, I have a friend, who takes care of not only her grandchildren – but her bed ridden mother and her disabled brother and reached out to ME to offer ME help to send my son to England!  She is the epitome of selflessness to me.

She smiles and though she gets tired, she’s happy and grateful and is of service to others.

GOD!  There is SUCH good.

I’ll be praying tonight to be a part of that good.

Bigger than this

I tossed and turned last night.  I wanted to keep reading a book I was so close to finishing, but it was way past my bedtime.  I begrudgingly shut off the lights and closed my eyes.

Deep in thought, couldn’t get comfortable – dog (of course) was staring at me.  I flopped about like a fish on the deck of a boat.

Then from nowhere (in mid-flop), bigger than my irritation at not finding sleep, a sense of assurance.  A voice.  I was being given answers to questions I wasn’t asking.  I was not being ‘still’ but I was knowing God.

“Yes, there is more than this”  “Look for the bigger picture”  “Find me”. 

There were words and shame on me for paraphrasing whoever was speaking, but … how to explain?  It was more of a feeling than a dialogue, although, there were words.  I’m conveying here the gist of those words.

Almost felt like whatever was ‘talking’ to me was lovingly chuckling.  The way we might as we watch a toddler try to accomplish something the hard way because they don’t know better.  Or because the item is too big for them. 

There were no other prerequisites other than ‘getting’ that there was ‘more’.

PHEW!  Because I am of no particular religion, I consider myself ‘spiritual’.  I believe in a power greater than me and I believe in love.  That’s about all I can swear on my life that I believe to be true for me.  I don’t want to fake a Faith in something so important just because I’m afraid to go to hell.

Now, whether that was God, or some internal, wise facet of myself speaking, (although, I don’t know what the heck she was doing up past our bedtime) it was very clear that I needed to hear that message.

This morning, I was peering into my pantry and my eyes took in the canned goods.  I saw my pantry in a different light.  A dimmer light that I knew not so very long ago.  The thought of being jobless crossed my mind out of the blue and suddenly, the cans didn’t seem like enough.  I was meting out meals in my head. 

On the drive to work, I was taking in the buildings, the cars, an emergency vehicle approached, lights flashing and sirens screaming – another voice. “This is not what it’s all about’.

Another assurance there’s more.  This time here – important and valuable, but a place we’re passing through to get to another destination none the less.

Why these thoughts??

Either I’m losing that final marble or …

I know I have an overactive imagination (or do I? ‘ Who’s to say?).  I had a vision as I started my drive to work this morning of being very sick.  Alone. Nic a young adult and I was dying.  Going to work anyway.

I wasn’t in a somber mood – no idea why such a morbid thought would play itself out in my head.

The other night had my mind playing out my death-bed scene.  Nic asks if I’m afraid to die.  I tell him no. “I’m not afraid to die, I’m afraid I’m going to miss you!”

And that’s it in a nut shell for me.  The good times here are SO good.  I am SO glad I was born.  I love the colours, the sounds, the creatures, the smells, the endless things to discover and I love dreaming and loving and laughing.

And there’s something bigger than THIS?  I’m in.