Archive for the ‘atheism’ Category
I got some really awesome swag from Athleta today, including another running skort (my new favorite piece of running gear!) and a new bathing suit that I can exercise in!!
I tried on my stuff, they all fit great, very true to size.
When I put my tankini on, I was pretty shocked. I had been cussing about how I wasn’t making any progress. The scale was moving down, but I just wasn’t seeing it. It was frustrating.
So. Well, thanks, Universe.
After (Today May 2013)
This is about 37lbs or so. Plenty more work to do, but I’m feeling like I’ve made progress!
After watching Forks Over Knives and Vegucated yesterday, the twinge in the back of my brain about eating less meat really kicked in to overdrive. I’d been considering it off and on for a while or at least a more concerted move towards the ethical consumption of meat and dairy.
I’m already on board with less cow milk. I mean, cow milk is for baby cows. Human milk for baby humans.
In any event, I’m not morally opposed to eating animals or their products, but trying to square how I feel about ethically raised food with what I currently eat is a problem.
For a while, we were buying a lot from the East Atlanta Farmer’s Market and getting locally raised meat and some dairy. We got off of doing that…and after watching some of the facts about factory farming (facts I already knew in my head, but hadn’t been confronted with visually yet) I don’t think I can continue.
I don’t know that I’ll ever go veggie or vegan, but I’m going to pledge to go veg for one week.
The farming manufacturing industry has some of the poorest safety conditions in the U.S. and even if you don’t care at all about the animals…I know you care about people. Sick and injured workers are bad for everyone and I don’t want to support that. I want workers to be healthy and happy and cared about by their employers.
I appreciate the gift of food provided to me by the animals I eat. I don’t want them to be miserable. So, I’m going veg for a week and thereafter, will be trying to cut out a substantial amount of meat products and pledge that the meats and dairy I do purchase be from farmers who treat their animals with dignity.
Will you join me?
HB 512 recently passed the state house and is now on its way to the Senate. As my representative, I would like to express my fear and frustration at this bill and my encouragement for you to vote “no”.
I graduated last fall with my M.A. In sociology and have been an instructor for the past three semesters. This semester is my first in front of a classroom, rather than teaching online.
I love my students. They are smart and engaged, they let me know in no uncertain terms that I have made the right career choice. I am so grateful to have found my place in the world.
in my first several months in front of the classroom I have dealt with students who may be mentally unstable, who can be combative and who often feel entitled. Allowing students to bring a firearm into the classroom limits the ability of a new instructor to safely learn classroom management and to maintain authority over the setting.
We are gun owners, my husband is a navy veteran, and I firmly believe in the REASONABLE right to own a weapon.
A classroom is sacred. It should be a safe place for fervent and excited discussion, a place where disagreements can happen without fear.
It should be a place without the need to go on the offensive, where minds and hearts are opened and critical thinking is fed!
Each State institution has a police force, security officers and/or agreements with local law enforcement to keep students and faculty safe. These men and women are trained to do such a job and in my personal experience are committed to excellence.
The classroom is not the place for a weapon, unless that weapon is the mighty pen.
I don’t want to fear my students.
Please vote no.
This is my first semester actually in front of students. It’s my third semester teaching and I do just love it. While it is true that most college students seem to do the bare minimum or less when it comes to a class that’s not in their interest group, overall they do well and seem to grasp sociological concepts fairly well.
Of course, I’m learning, too.
Fresh out of grad school with a fire lit under my ass, ready to change hearts and minds and make some people uncomfortable for the greater good.
Things I Have Learned
1. Having a quiz over the syllabus will still not guarantee anyone has read it.
2. Having read the syllabus will still not guarantee a student won’t argue over what’s in it.
3. Students have no qualms about going over your head about real and/or perceived injustices.
4. Even if it was in the syllabus.
5. Academic freedom of speech is a unicorn. It shits rainbows and lives with fairies.
6. No. Srsly.
The data show…
The research says…
are the ace in the hole lecture phrases.
8. You will need name/face flash cards.
9. Yes, you are fucking old.
10. Don’t say “fucking”. EVAR.
To be continued.
I have not died.
My laptop did and a new one is on its way to me.
My mentor (my new mentor) is leaving.
I am moving in with Jim.
My son’s father is moving to another state.
My grandparents need LOTS AND LOTS of help and I’m trying to provide some of that.
Religious Roundtable is no more.
And I’m spending a lot of time developing friendships in my BDSM life.
I’m also trying to come back around here, so, I’ll try to derp harder and post more.
Behind the Official Story
We all practice some form of subjugation in our day to day lives. Every person is aware (some of us more than others) of the need for impression management. I need to make sure that he, or she or whomever understand who I am…in the way I want. Maybe not full reality, but the reality I wish to create.
I’m not a Kardashian, but I use her make-up techniques. You’ll see me how I want you to see me…and then you’ll thank me for it.
As the country moves through the current election cycle, we see candidates, men who are rich, white, clearly part of the “1%”; men with great access to the overall power structure.
(This clown car, this shitshow, this obnoxious display of wealth, power and my frustration.)
These men carefully construct the type of perception they would like the American people to have. When their back stage or off stage attitudes come forward; for instance, in Mitt Romney’s gaffe “I can’t have illegals working for me, I’m running for president for Christ’s sake!” it is obviously a break in his personal, elite mentality and the projection he would like to emit to the people. The projection that he is “one of them.”
One of Scott’s points, particularly profound, is the addition of the Jamaican proverb “Play fool, to catch wise.” Things are not always as they seem and the oppressed are, as institutional ethnography says, experts in their own lives. Rarely, if ever, are they as unintelligent as the dominant force purports them to be, but maintain their own impression management as a means of survival and personal dignity. Dorothy Smith** has reminded us in her criticism of patriarchal attitudes and societal pressures that those who are oppressed, those outside the power structure are often those best able to apply critical analysis to that structure.
I’ll invite the Republican elite to remember this about women, our place in a democratic society, and our power as a voting bloc come November.
While reading Scott, I made a note, “The more wide the divide of the power (between subordinates and dominants) the greater the mistrust (particularly of the subjugated by the elites). I wonder if this is because of a hidden (internal/off-stage dialogue) acknowledgement of wrong-doing?” But, just as we cannot make assumptions of authenticity of the subordinate discourse, we can neither make assumptions of the internal attitudes of those in power without talking to those in that class.
The hidden transcript is a pervasive narrative of the subordinates that, while it takes place in the discourse of that which happens off-stage, is the undercurrent of the front-stage activities; the “elephant in the room” that is never acknowledged in that area of discourse. These off-stage narratives are places where the subordinates rehearse their lines, their discourse of revolt, where they practice “speaking truth to power.” (As best they can.)
A thing I believe most of us do.
(We are all, with few exceptions, subordinates to someone or something)
We rehearse our feelings and wait for that specific rightness of timing, as Mrs. Poyser; allowing us the opportunity to speak for others in our situation and giving the “little guy” an opportunity to reject being a leaky barrel. It is the difference between yelling at the pundits on the television and picking up tent to join OccupyWallStreet.
The Public Transcript as a Respectable Performance
The domination of one group over another is work. We don’t acknowledge it. We avoid it. We demonize anyway, but the facts remain the same. It limits the freedom also, of the elites in power, and reduces their own ability to “be themselves.” They must constantly reinforce their power, never flinching, for fear that the “fourth wall” may be breach and the whole illusion of who should or should not be in power will be broken.
In essences, the domination of the subordinate is a shit job. Everything about the power structure sucks, more for the subjugated, but in some sense, for us all.
Many displays of power are necessary to maintain the status of the elites; Scott asks how many? As seen in the dictatorships in the Middle East and North Korea, it can be decade’s worth, and then some. The ways in which subordinates are framed in the public discourse reinforce the rules. In the current discourse, even NPR labels the Syrian resisters as “rebellious pockets” rather than other terms such as revolutionaries or protestors.
Large displays of grandeur and power regurgitate the system to both the subordinates and the dominant classes, as both are consumers of such pageantry. In North Korea, where growth has been stunted as a result of horrible malnutrition, the people are almost completely brainwashed of any independent thought (at least, according the National Geographic’s expose by Lisa Ling “Inside North Korea“) and yet the government has resources to put on a huge display of military might in the front stage. In this instance, it could be posited that many in the subordinate class may no longer have a hidden transcript in their off-stage. The Dear Leader is pictured everywhere, He may always be watching, the perpetual all-seeing eye that denies the people of any off-stage at all.
This Big Brother, Orwellian type of control is noted by the Scott through the story of Owen’s silent monitor. This silent monitor uses a method of judgment that equates work (or allegiance to the Dear Leader, in the case of N. Korea) with strength of character. This one type of assessment, the assessment of work and productivity only, excludes other types, much in the same way that standardized exams in K-12 education judge the knowledge of students to the exclusion of all other types of possible learning assessments.
Lastly, Scott mentions through the example of Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”*** that this pageantry and front-stage performance is so important, that even the health and well-being of any one member of the elite party come secondary to the maintenance of the status-quo. In the story, it is not the fear of dying and becoming a trampled grinning corpse that worries the narrator, but the fact that the Indians might laugh at him, upsetting the natural order of the hierarchy his class works so hard to protect.
I haven’t subjected to you all to any academic wax-sociologic in a while, so…hey!
*This writing is in response to the work of James Scott on resistance and state formation. I’d encourage any and all to take it up, it’s brilliant, brilliant reading.
Scott, James. (1990). Domination and the Arts of Resistance. New Haven: Yale University Press. (Pp. 1-16, 45 – 70, 136 – 183)
***Orwell. Shooting an Elephant
To Whom It May Concern:
Earlier this week, Northeastern University took a stand for equality and human rights on its campus. Deciding that the move would not be consistent with its values of inclusivity and diversity, it rejected an application by Chic-Fil-A to be included in its on-campus eatery options. Due to the University of West Georgia’s similar commitment to its students and community, it is my opinion that the University should choose to end its relationship with the company in a show of solidarity with the campus’ LGBTQ student body.
Many students and other readers may be aware that Chic-Fil-A is a Christian institution, holding true to their ideals by refusing to serve on Sunday. Unfortunately, the company also promotes more extreme principles through their fundraising and charities. Their money goes to support anti-LGBTQ causes including Exodus International and Focus on the Family, while the Human Rights Campaign has given the company an equality score of *0* (zero) for having no protections for their LGBTQ employees.
While I respect the right of any person or business to support and acknowledge their own firmly held beliefs, I do not agree with the University of West Georgia supporting a company that so clearly does not fall in line with our mission of support and inclusion. As this campus continues to progress in the areas of academics, sports and humanitarian service, I humbly request an evaluation by the student body, the faculty and the administration as to whether or not this contract is in line with our beliefs and values.
Pecan, BS Sociology
Graduate Research Assistant
Here we go again!
I’m on food stamps so my opinion doesn’t matter.
Worked since I was 15 years old.
Paid into the system for over 15 years.
Work in the dean’s office of a respected university.
Earn an income from that same university.
Plan to use my loan dollars to earn a PhD from those federal dollars.
Paid into the system that supplies those dollars.
Am engaged to a man that supplies taxes to those dollars.
OWE TAXES EVERY YEAR EITHER TO THE STATE OR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND PAY WILLINGLY!
Is this thing on, Morans?
I’ve had a long standing interest in public service. I’ve worked on two campaigns, one as a volunteer and one as a paid consultant. Both were personally very enriching and I genuinely enjoy the proud feeling I get from being part of the process. I love voting (especially since my precinct is so small and old people voting is adorable!) I get frustrated when I find I’ve missed a local election.
All politics is local. -Thomas “Tip” O’Neill former Speaker of the House
I’ve said for a while that when my youngest starts school, I’d like to run for the school board. I think I have good ideas, I’m smart and I also think I have a perspective usually lacking on small school boards. I’d love to sit on a city council, run for state office or maybe more.
I also have a “you love me or ya hate me” personality! I’m made for politics!!
Of course, you and I know that will never happen. Because, even though in Italy a porn star can run and win a seat in public office, in America we punish those who ever think about sex.
Why won’t it happen? I think I’d be great for a genuine liberal bid. I’m educated in social problems, have genuine empathy for all people, hell, I can even find worth in those who truly have the least character of any human on the planet. (Which would bode well for our theistic friends, yes?)
But there’s all these things in the way.
I like sex.
I’ve had two abortions.
I’m pierced, tattooed and *gasp* kinky.
I’m on (dun, dun, duuuunnnnn) FOOD STAMPS!
I’m also kind of an elitist, I love gay people, people of color, people from other places, not so much kids and well…
But, I wonder, couldn’t I relate to more people? I’m a woman, so I’m used to patriarchy. I’m white and hopefully understand the ridiculous privilege I’ve been granted by chance. I’m atheist, so I can relate to religious minorities fighting to have their voice heard. I value education, as evidenced by my own. I’ve been a single parent, gone through divorce and learned how to co-parent with my ex-husband. I have a non-traditional relationship with my partner. I was a breastfeeding “Nazi”. I read C.S. Lewis who’s on my shelf next to Dawkins.
I love to cook, too. With butter. And BACON! (SRSLY, who wouldn’t vote for me based on that?!!)
I dunno. I feel like I have a diverse background…I feel like more people who are like me should run. People who’ve grown up in a way that is wholly different than generations prior, who understand globalization, plurality and fundamental human ethics over other political ideologies. Over any ideologies.
It makes me sad that it would hurt my family more for me to serve my community in a public office capacity than it would for me to be an academic (which I love, but that’s not the point.)
What do you think?
We talk a lot amongst ourselves about what it’s like to be a non-theist. Threats we’ve received, loves lost, friendship abandoned.
I often wish I had a better way to impart how difficult this can be for us, especially those of us who did come from fundamentalist backgrounds and continue to live in the heart of the Bible Belt.
During the Fall semester, I took an institutional ethnography class and (at the encouragement of my professor) decided to focus my research proposal on the work of deconversion. Not work like 9to5, but work like, waiting in line, having a conversation with your family, reading non-theist blogs…the real, every day work we all do from the time we wake up until the time we meet our hopefully very cold pillow.
I’d like to share some of that with you now and if anyone is interested, feel free to read it in its entirety here.
Church is family. It’s a lot of other really shitty things, but it’s community. It’s belonging; sometimes…it’s not belonging at all. But…even when you don’t belong, you sortofkindastilldo.
In working on this project, I heard stories of women…heartbreaking stories, of women who were in danger of being ostracized by their parents, in fear of losing their spouse, and in my case, just in fear of being a disappointment yet again.
“In high school, I wrote a paper for a satire exercise titled ‘A World without Religion’ (I seriously wish I still had that paper.) I guess that was the seeding of my skepticism. Anyway, once I got clean, I really took stock of what I believed. I began to read A LOT. Atheist Universe, God is not Great, The God Delusion, and so on. One day, my mom and I were in the car and she said, ‘Well, it’s not like you’re an atheist or something!’ ‘Well, Mom, yeah…I am.’ And that was it. She looked shocked and devastated, but out of the closet I came!” Thelittlepecan
(Cool story. In IE, you get to talk about yourself. Selfish self-promoting atheism, FTW!)
The point is, is that there is this YUGE disjuncture between what a new, not-yet-out atheist is feeling and the discourse provided to them by their conservative Christian upbringing. With little to no support, it’s just a big, wide ocean of confusion and fear.
This has me thinking about interfaith relationships.
Bob, I have the perviest readers.
Interfaith relationships can affect lovers, friends, parents and children, neighbors and colleagues. We need to think about all the ways we already get along with people we don’t share beliefs with and use those to our advantage (I’m talking to you, religious people).
Anyway, the point of my paper is this…it’s hard work deconverting.
Here’s a picture!
Now an explanation, I quote myself (yes, it’s long)…
Figure 5 is a map beginning with the standpoint of the female deconverted to explain the relations involved. At the bottom is our heroine, the Christian (now former Christian) who is working through the process of deconversion. Connected strongly to this work are three things: the ability to continue being an active friend and/or family member within her support group; the discourse of Christianity, both in the public sphere and in the specific texts of the denomination or brand of Christianity she previously (or maybe currently, this process can get very complicated when it comes to self-identification) identified with; and the discourse of atheism, which is mostly in the public sphere and includes promotional campaigns by groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation (Figure 6), books by prominent atheists like Richard Dawkins or discussion groups like the one our heroine belongs to on the internet, which encourages judgment free dialogue about non-belief.
From there, the interconnectedness gets a bit convoluted and much more complicated. The discourse of Christianity is a key component for the denomination(s) which she has previously identified. As a Jehovah’s Witness, our heroine has been exposed to and at some earlier time ascribed to the doctrine and theology of The Watch Tower publication (an example of this is given in the text section of this article) which states explicitly several things; that “good” people do not go to Heaven, that excommunication is a viable and acceptable for those who do not follow the rules (both explicit and implied) and that atheism/non-belief/change of belief to something other than J.W. is the work of Satan (Figure 7). Her family is also Jehovah’s Witnesses and so the family institution is affected by the discourse of Christianity and this affects their ability to be involved in a support system for her, but also affects her ability to remain involved with them in return. While being a friend or active family member is not specifically connected to religion on any real-world, tangible level, the family institution is affected by this discourse of Christianity, which is connected to the umbrella institution of religion, thereby influencing it indirectly.
While all of this interaction is going on, our heroine is now connected to a new ruling relation, which is the discourse of atheism. This discourse is by its very nature connected to religion, as it is the antithesis of religion (be that Christian, Muslim, Hindu or any number of other belief systems that focus on a god-typology). Some of this discourse is focused on positive messages; “Be Good without God”, etc. (Figure 6), while others are focused on anti-theism; “The God Delusion” (Dawkins 2006) and yet others are a combination of both; such as the discussion group where our entire collection of heroines congregate.
It has been said in the discourse that getting atheists to come together is like “herding cats.” It is specifically because of this problem that I find this to be a sociology for the people of this project; the deconverted. Leaving something so familiar can be traumatic, but the added distress of considering the consequences family and friends may dole upon you is often just too much to bear. Through a better understanding of the ruling relations impacting the discourse and decisions of their support system, they may better understand why the process is so difficult and why things happening to them are happening in the way that they are. Through a better understanding of how those ruling relations impact the discourse of atheism or non-belief, they may be better able to find a new support system or utilize the new one they have already found to more positively impact their continued work of going from “deconverted” to “out atheist”. It is my personal hope, that through research like this, both the believing and the unbelieving have a better understanding of each other as a whole, so that vital family, friend and social relationships are not discouraged, or worse, dismantled. (Berry 2011)
What I’m trying to say…is this…
It’s life changing.
We need to remember that in all of the “our movement” rhetoric, we’re also humans struggling with big changes. We need to support each other, not only in our deconversions, but in our struggle to find peace within our existing social support systems. Don’t chastise each other for maintaining friendships and other relationships with believers and be understanding at the devastation when those people abandon our comrades. Even if we think they are wrong…it still hurts to lose a friend.
Now go and for Bob’s sake, be good to each other!