Wednesday, March 16, 2016

America is not, nor has it ever been, a Christian nation.

I'm tired of hearing every politician spout it, and every self-aggrandizing, middle-aged, white Christian post about it on Facebook! Seriously folks, read just a little bit of history and see that the phrase: "America was founded on Judaeo-Christian principles and we are, at heart, a Christian Nation!" isn't even remotely true. Don't believe me? No problem, let's just ask the people who actually founded the nation about their personal thoughts on Christianity, shall we?

Thomas Jefferson (3rd President, wrote the Declaration of independence . . . maybe you heard of him?):
Thomas Jefferson was not a Christian. In point of fact, many of his writings clearly question the divinity of Jesus Christ and he held himself to be a Deist, when he allowed that he was member to any organized religion at all.

"The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. ... Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error."
-- Thomas Jefferson, in the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

Benjamin Franklin (Statesman, founding gather, inventor of the stove . . .):

"Here is my Creed, I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable Service we render to him, is doing Good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its Conduct in this ... As for Jesus of Nazareth ... I think the system of Morals and Religion as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw ... but I have ... some Doubts to his Divinity . . ."
-- Benjamin Franklin, letter to Ezra Stiles 1790

"I wish it (Christianity) were more productive of good works ... I mean real good works ... not holy-day keeping, sermon-hearing ... or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments despised by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity."
-- Benjamin Franklin, Works, Vol. VII, p. 75

John Adams (1st Vice President, 2nd President, kind of a famous Boston dude . . .):

The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.
-- John Adams

But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?”
 -- John Adams, letter to FA Van der Kamp, December 27, 1816.

George Washington (1st President and all around America Bad-Ass!!):

"Every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience."
-- George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789

"I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe that the path of true piety is so plain as to require but little political direction. To this consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation, respecting religion, from the Magna-Charta of our country."
 -- George Washington, responding to a group of clergymen who complained that the Constitution lacked mention of Jesus Christ, in 1789, Papers, Presidential Series

"I have diligently perused every line that Washington ever gave to the public, and I do not find one expression in which he pledges, himself as a believer in Christianity. I think anyone who will candidly do as I have done, will come to the conclusion that he was a Deist and nothing more."
 -- The Reverend Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, in an interview with Mr. Robert Dale Owen written on November 13, 1831

James Madison (4th President, Father of the U.S. Constitution, and married to the ice cream chick!):

"We hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth 'that religion, or the duty which we owe our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.' The religion, then, of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man: and that it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate."
 -- James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

"Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity in exclusion of all other religions may establish, with the same ease, any particular sect of Christians in exclusion of all other sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute threepence only of his property for the support of any one establishment may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?"
 -- James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

In point of fact, most of the "Founding Fathers" of this nation were Deist, not Christian at all. Deism believes in the existence of a divine being, without the trappings of any religion and, in particular, Deists are noted for their disbelief in the Judaeo-Christian concepts of worship. Deists prefer the concept of man's rational enlightenment, and peaceful co-existence, leading them towards a closer relation with the "Supreme Architect" of the Universe. So, for all of you who keep spouting about America, the Great Christian Nation . . . please just stop. Your mommy and daddy were not present at the creation of this nation and the beliefs they taught you in no way apply to this nation as a whole.

Oh, and just for fun - here are a few quotes from some other famous Americans you may have heard of:

Abraham Lincoln (16th President, Great Emancipator, and he was in those Bill & Ted films . . .):

"The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession." --Abraham Lincoln

His former law partner, William Herndon, said of him after his assassination: "[Mr. Lincoln] never mentioned the name of Jesus, except to scorn and detest the idea of a miraculous conception.  He did write a little work on infidelity in 1835-6, and never recanted.  He was an out-and-out infidel, and about that there is no mistake."   He also said that Lincoln "assimilated into his own being" the heretical book Age of Reason by Thomas Paine.

Thomas Payne (Author of "Common Sense" and "The Age of Reason" and if you've never read those, you're not entitled to take part in this here conversation!):

"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
--Thomas Paine

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church,  nor by any Church that I know of.  My own mind is my own Church.  Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all."
--Thomas Paine

I'll throw my lot in with those voices any day . . .

Monday, March 14, 2016

Making Progress

So, I got some decent progress on my current novel done tonight, which pleases me. For some reason, I've been struggling with this book - I'm close to the end (down to the last 2-3 chapters) and I know exactly what's going to happen but I've been really panicked at the idea of trying to put those events down on paper (or, ya' know: digital paper as it were!) I think i'm just worried about not being able to effectively write out the scenes I have painted so vividly in my brain. This is some seriously epic battle type stuff going down, with a lot of intense emotions and if it's done right, it will be the kind of ending where folks will be like: "Damn! That was insane!"

At least, that's what it should be. Problem is, I'm not sure I have the skill to make it come across as cool as I imagine it. That, I guess, is the true curse of being a writer - you're never sure your talent can achieve the heights of your own ambition. (why do I insist on doing this gig, again???)

I did finally get some sleep after posting the other night (yay!) so getting back to this blog and letting my brain run a bit more freely seems to have helped in at least a small way. I'm writing again and sleeping ok, so let's hope my crazy takes a back seat for a little while, shall we?

Other than that, I'm just crazy busy at the day job. Teaching classes at a client's for the next month straight, so that's gonna be interesting. Good thing is, they're only 1/2 an hour down the road instead of the two hour commute I usually take to my office, so that's a win. I did get a phone call from The Boy last night, which is always awesome. He's all growed up and on his own, conquering the world and such but I do love hearing from him. Little Dumb-Ass still makes me laugh harder than anyone else I know.

Well, it's getting close to a normal person's bedtime here, so I'm off to see if I can pretend to be one for a change! :-)

Night, folks!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

2:00 a.m. Confessions of a Wannabe!

Well, it's 2:30 a.m and I can't sleep . . .

Been thinking about my writing and trying to figure out why I've been avoiding it of late. Two self-published books into the (wishfully!) professional career and I haven't written more than a few thousand words in the last year.Whenever I sit down to write I find a million excuses to avoid it and that's been bothering me a great deal. Plus, I'm pretty sure it's part of why I've been having trouble sleeping lately, so I figure I'll try and work it out here, online, with you (you poor bastards!)

To start with, I know that I've been very disappointed with the lack of interest in my books. I know that I should just be happy that anyone's read them at all and --to be fair -- the folks who did, have all been very complimentary (even the ones who aren't related to me and required to be!) Despite that, the truth is that I had hoped (like every author out there, I suppose) that when my brilliant works of fiction hit the InterWebs, that they would take off for the stratosphere, announcing the arrival of my authorial brilliance to all and sundry! Alas, the reality is my books have languished in the dull mud of earthen reality, as most self published novels do. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not whining about it (at least I'm trying not to!) I just know that the lack of response has left me feeling . . . Untalented? Unmotivated? Uninspired? Unworthy? Not really sure, but I know it's an "Un" word of some sort.

Another thing that's been bugging me is my complete lack of interest in updating/maintaining my blog and website. I was thinking about that quite a bit as I lay staring up at the flat white paint of my bedroom ceiling, yet again. It struck me as odd . . . after all, I kept a blog for years before publishing my books and enjoyed it immensely, yet now that I have my own website, it's been next to impossible for me to work up the motivation to sit down and write a simple post. My thinking has taken me to this: perhaps it's because I've been treating this site as a business marketing tool instead of a place to let my brain run free, like I used to do. Hence, the sitting here and rambling at you in the wee hours of the morning!

At the end of the day, I'm not sure I can approach my writing in quite the same way I do my day job. Marketing, sales, making contacts, pushing product . . . these are thing I comfortably do in my day job (and I'm quite good at them, actually!) but I don't like handling my stories that way.Well, that sure as hell doesn't bode well for my career as a professional novelist, now does it?

Thing is though, writing has always been my escape from the realities of the daily business grind and I've needed that separation to keep my sanity. Mixing the two isn't working well for me so I'm shifting back to older ways of doing things. For starters, you may notice that the blog I had running on this site is gone, replaced by my old Blogger account, so I can go back to writing about the things I want to instead of what i think I need to! I will continue writing my books (hopefully, with a bit more frequency!) and I still plan to continue self-publishing some of them but I think I may also go back to the traditional publishing route and start contacting some agents, etc. In the end, I want to write my stories and get them out there for people to read. The "pro" novelist concept is a nice one but I am not the guy to do all the back-end business of that, while still maintaining a regular creative process. If that's ever going to happen, i'll have to get professionals to help me. if my work isn't good enough to grab their interest, well . . . then I'll just continue dropping my novels out into the frozen wastelands of cyberspace and hope that the few dozen people who stumble across them enjoy the stories.

Either way, I need to move past my personal insecurities and just get back to writing. My plan (we'll see how it goes!) is to start back at it by writing here - not about my books and how great they are, and why you should buy them (bleh!) but about the things going on in my brain and how I feel about the crazy that I call 'my life' on any given day. Typing it out here helps me come to terms with my own stresses and fears and lets my mind go back to focusing on the fun stuff of creating fantasy worlds and stories. Sadly, that means you, gentle reader, will have to suffer through my endless blathering once more . . . or, you'll just be smart and ignore my posts! Ya know, whichever works for you.

Either way, I hope I vented enough for tonight to let my brain relax, so i'm going back to bed and (hopefully!) some needed sleep. G'night, folks!