Passions

I promise to deliver more upbeat posts. My desire to blog came from a passion I needed to get out there in the world. To help inspire readers who may be interested in similar things and to gain inspiration from others.

Atheism and religion aren’t topics that play on my mind every moment of everyday. They are the ones however that I reflect on the most. Often in small doses when something triggers it in conversation or in nature, leading to a snowballing of thoughts and evaluations that I would prefer to preserve and discuss than to fade away and forget.

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I took this picture yesterday shortly before a storm. Nothing to do with religion, I just love the view. I feel I give the impression that I am nothing but an atheist, it could be compared to how I view a news reporter. I only ever see them for one thing, the news. It doesn’t cross my mind that they do other things in their spare time, nor would I know what exactly. I don’t live purely to speak out against ideas that I feel limit our freedom and quality of life, sometimes I want to simply enjoy that freedom and use it to have the greatest quality of life. I cannot ignore that a non-religious outlook helped me personally with this.

I will take snaps wherever I go and I will have some great ones in the next few months as I travel to Spain, Singapore and Australia. Some posts will purely be my love of taking photographs and my desire to travel.* Some posts will be in response to the great- and the stupid- things I hear throughout this journey.

As much as I want to blog everyday about the shit that goes on in this illogical and diverse world, I cannot do it everyday. I don’t have many answers anyway, just a perspective.

*Forgive me, professional photographers, for I will sin via poor photography techniques and more that likely, a smartphone camera.

Reflection

‘Back in my day, people used to blow themselves up. Everyday you would hear of this happening somewhere in the world. It was normal to me.’

This is the conversation I hope to be having with my grand-kids in the year 2059. Not that I take pride in this, more that it will be something future generations will have to find in history books and not witness first hand.

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I can remember the horror when my grandparents told me of the relaxed health and safety rules in the workplace. Of actually being in a war. Of course I would much prefer to be alive today then in any other period of history, not that we are faultless by any means. I can understand a little better why stupid shut happened way back when.* Most of the time they didn’t know any better. The crazy superstitions and countless gods, that was their best attempts to gain an understanding. They didn’t have a great deal of scientific research to delve into, there was no ‘option B’ to choose from. Today there is and yet we still find ourselves being easily led by myths and sweet nothings. 

*I’m talking hundreds of years, not my grandparents era.

Suicide bombings a should have ceased 500 years ago. The fact that I can pick up my smart phone, capable of receiving signals from space, only to read about another beheading or stoning blows my mind. It’s like we are trapped between ages.

My hope is that the future will not replicate the past. I worry that I won’t be able to shock my kids with such a story. That the story won’t be something learned by future generations but compared to. Will futuristic weapons be used to kill infidels? Will threatening messages appear anywhere via hologram? If the scripture won’t change, what hope do I have that the fundamentalists will?
 

Proximity

It is an annual tradition that the Red Arrows perform a flyover of the quayside to signify the start of the Great North Run, the largest half marathon in the world. The Red Arrows make me happy. I feel a great sense of pride and awe when they do their thing, one year rudely waking me up as I slept in, the sound of those engines so close to the ground had me jump up in sheer panic thinking the building was collapsing. I checked the flight path this time around, instead of following the River Tyne from the west and flying over the famous seven bridges, they flew in formation from the north and directly over what would have been busy traffic had it not been for the 57,000 runners. I made it with a minute to spare (seriously, I was exhausted) to record them flying over. The above image isn’t a photograph but a screenshot of my video.

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I pass this hotel everyday. Sadly, two teenage employees went to Manchester on the 22nd of this month and did not make it home. I did not know them. I do however know two people that did make it back home safely. To think that world leaders and international superstars had these people in their thoughts in the past couple days is pretty surreal. As I have said previously with similar experiences, I am unsure whether its a sign of the times or spending longer on this planet that I feel such stories are seemingly closer to home.

I will be the first to admit I am incredibly lucky to live in a nation with relative peace and security. In no way do I believe otherwise. Some regions of Earth experience similar atrocities with relentlessness frequency and I can only attempt to fathom such hardships. This does not mean that I want to play down the severity of the losses experienced in Manchester, nor do I want to pretend I have no concerns of the potential for an increasing number of tragedies within the UK and Europe.

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The same building can be seen above, between the Sage on the left and the Tyne Bridge in the center. I feel this building will be a constant reminder that terror is becoming more of a norm, paired with the heavy armed presence at every busy venue this week. I want to talk about that. The fact that I had rarely seen officers with guns growing up and now it looks like my children will grow up feeling strange if they don’t see armed police.

Strangely, the more attacks I hear of the more I am forced to respect religion or be labeled a bigot. The more I want to talk about the perils of blind faith in the 21st century I can’t without people losing it, and I’m finding more and more reasons to do so. Saying that, I live in one of only a handful of nations in which we can speak out as atheists freely. Most people here are non-religious, with a reeaaallly big urge to hug theism when religion demonstrates a hatred for diversity and a desire for death. I won’t blame a whole religion, just the aspects that deserve it. I will make the most of life in a non religious country to speak up about a religion that I guarantee so many people would do too given the chance. If flogging, beating, murder, honour killings, prison time, torture and slavery weren’t repercussions for questioning reality for some people, I would have a lot more time for religion. Millions more would have time to be free.

I don’t want the light to go out on free speech. I want to see red, white and blue trailed in the air from the Red Arrows, not lighting up the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building in sympathy after another attack. This of course is how I feel about every nation, I can only talk of mine. I trust that many of you are doing a great job fighting similar battles, keep fighting.

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Gone

‘While people are struggling unhappily in the cities against the cruel authorities, a waterfall happily and cheerfully flows in the nature; there is happiness only if there is freedom!’- Mehmet Murat İldan

You could argue that a waterfall is also obeying laws. That it isn’t free at all. These are pictures I snapped from both the Brazillian and Argentinian side of the Iguazú Falls during my trip to South America.

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Have you ever watched a leaf or branch make such a journey down a fall? Within seconds it goes from the edge above to the plungepool below. The sheer size of this thing makes a roar, despite every droplet of water contributing for only a brief moment. Humans are very similar. Our lives are like a waterfall, we only experience life very briefly, we come, we go, the roar is made from the societies we build along the way. The jet engines and police sirens, the subways and the laughter. We contribute as individuals yet not enough to make the whole thing fall apart once our contribution has ended.

What makes every drop of water different? Nothing really. What makes us differ from one another? Do we differ that much? This is one reason why I left religion.

I can’t be too individual nor do I want to. I don’t mind the clothes I wear and the food I eat, enough to refrain from creating or finding my own. I need society as much as it needs me. I want to make the most of my life without completely adhering to everything that is expected of me. I am not an atheist to be rebellious. I do it because I cannot live my life like water during its descent, making up the numbers and fitting in. Life is too short to believe what you are told to and to enjoy life in the same fashion. Life is too beautiful to only consider enjoying after asking permission from oppressive, religious minds.

 

I can’t escape the end, I can look on from a distance until the day comes that I am eventually swept away with it. Enjoy life and every breath until then.

Dreams

After waking up today I looked for this photo. I have no idea what was in the mind of the street artist during this piece but it is one I remember more than most. Whether or not there is method to the apparent madness, I may never know.

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I woke up, wide awake at 3am this morning and realised how many dreams I was having. My mind was incredibly active despite the fact that I have now forgotten most of what I was dreaming. It felt like a conveyor belt of different scenarios, a roller-coaster taking me through new scenes that my mind is conjuring up on the spot. Did you ever play video games in the 90’s/ early 00’s? The way city landscapes only appeared/ generated as you got closer to them? I guess we never know what we are getting into until we arrive.

I also felt like I discovered a whole new level of this thought machine we know so little about, like looking under a plank of wood and seeing a whole army of ants doing their own thing without our acknowledgement. When I woke it felt like I remembered something that I shouldn’t, like kids caught playing when they should be in bed. My brain was just farting out all kinds of weird, wacky, colorful situations that I have no option but to watch as I restore my energy. Although it has almost completely vanished from memory, I know it happened. Sometimes this reality terrifies me, other days it astounds me.

It is hard to believe that I am using my brain to analyse my brain and come to the conclusion that I do not know everything about it. Despite the fact that it is still me. It is pretty incredible that this is our reality.

Do you get so deep in thought about your own life experiences? I guess we all do to an extent. Maybe the art above is just a direct copy of what the artist was thinking just before his or her morning coffee. What is seemingly nonsensical during the day may make complete sense every night, we just forget about it most of the time.

Uprising

This blog is my punching bag. Instead of unleashing my thoughts and views onto social media accounts, I wanted to find a community that actually seeks similar conversation.

Thankfully I have found that here.

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I have nothing against social media, other than it’s ability to draw me into endless scrolling. It is the escape that so many people need in communities that would not accept them otherwise. It is the place in which certain people can be heard or want to finally have a voice without worrying about a backlash.

I have seen so many people defend religion in the aftermath of events. Lets not blame every theist for religious violence but what about the instances in which such criticism is justified? Religion cannot be moral all of the time. Lets take into account the millions of people suffering right now as you read this sentence. Those without rights, those punished for not abiding by controlling religious laws whether they want to or not. The slaughter of humanist bloggers and the enslaving of schoolgirls, the homosexuals thrown from rooftops and women punished for being raped. This is where my priorities lie. I do not mind offending those that aren’t exposed to such lives if it makes us think about the real victims. Those that aren’t offended when I tell them their beliefs are false because they are too busy being forced to believe.

Lets remember that an Arabic translation of The God Delusion has been downloaded over ten million times online. Thirty percent of downloads in Saudi Arabia alone. That is a shit tonne of underground reading.

I personally cannot wait for this atheist uprising, sadly I won’t live to see the year 2567.

I hope they party hard.

Critical

As can be seen from my walk today, the universe couldn’t give two hoots that our terror threat level has been raised to critical. Not that this raise in concern is without justification.

Summer is finally here and there is an understandably low mood after the Manchester bombing. Not that the sun cares. From natures perspective it’s a glorious day, completely conflicting with the moods of most people this morning. I choose to highlight this with an aim to change the myth that the universe cares about us. Depressing? I don’t believe so. The less we feel we are prioritised by the universe, we may start to value ourselves a little more.

As I yanked open the door last night as I have everyday for the past four years, I almost pulled my shoulder out. It didn’t open. The door leading to the back office at work is usually unlocked as I have already input a code to get there. This time I needed to put a second code in to get to the office. With the UK’s terror threat being raised to ‘Critical’, the company I work for had strict measures in place to ensure we adhered to this. It’s fascinating how fast the measures are in place, it must have been an hour after the announcement last night. 21st century communication is amazing, we receive such updates instantaneously, something that would have taken months or even years to pass on between communities centuries ago and on such a large scale.

I noticed more of a police presence yesterday and the sound of a police helicopter flying overhead for a period of time. Whether or not this is another measure or a separate incident, I do not know. Waking up the next morning, I feel two forces at work. One of beautiful nature, treating me to glorious sunshine and a very relaxed state of mind. The other, a conscious threat of human depravity, a constant reminder that another attack may be imminent.

What a weird conflict of feelings in such a strange world.