Tag Archives: religion

Where I’m At

21 Oct

I’ve been considering writing this blog post for quite some time (at least 6 months off & on). I’m still not sure if it’s wise or not. However having watched my father need residential care in a Church run facility & his gradual decline into death & followed the various debates around suicide, assisted dying & mental health I’ve decided to commit my thoughts, feelings, rants & considered opinion to record.

I have a history of physical abuse as a child, alcohol & other substance abuse throughout my life & subsequent treatment. I have always had an inquiring mind & a degree of introspection & self-criticism/analysis coupled with a belief in truth & honesty inculcated(brainwashed/punished) into me from a young age. These factors have had a profound effect on my development, my ability (or otherwise) to form healthy (whatever the hell that means given our societal propensity for producing damaged adults) relationships & my ability to have a stable inner personal landscape.

So this blog is intended to be a truthful missive based on where I’m at recently (& possibly now). I don’t intend to edit it, although I will correct spelling mistakes & punctuation.

I’m in my early 60s & live alone. I much prefer to live alone, in my own space. I find it more relaxing & it induces less difficulties presenting a ‘stable’ face to the world. Am I lonely? No. Hardly ever. Certainly l find it less painful to keep my own company than to have to adjust to others on a regular, possibly daily basis ‘in the flesh’.

I cannot say whether I was always prone to mood swings, depression, euphoric episodes & paranoia as a child or adolescent or whether they are a consequence of my drug use. In either case the end result is where I am now. As I age I am fully aware of my changing physical, mental & psychological states. As a functioning & habitual drug user one has to monitor where one’s at on the particular hit in order to figure out when to take the next one. Therefore I KNOW that my physical fitness, suppleness & stamina are deteriorating. I know that my mental faculties are nowhere near as good as they used to be (memory for example), my energy levels & stamina are much less and that this awareness feeds into my insecurities & mood swings to exacerbate depressive episodes. It is an interesting process to experience & I’m not convinced that ‘fighting ‘ it is a wise, productive or efficient use of my time & resources. That said I really am NOT yet ready to lie down & die.

I am at heart a selfish personality although I am/have been loving, supportive & generous with my time & heart in my life. But underneath it all I am who I am & I do what I do & really & truly am answerable only to my maker. I am, as may well be obvious, a product of a Western, Protestant, Christian, UK Public School education, and was, & indeed still am a 60s/70s hippy at heart. I do not believe that the world we live in has been improved since the era of my teens. Indeed the return of racism, the misogyny & blatant disregard for all life appalls me. But I have a spiritual life. I enjoy being alive & take responsibility for my life, my actions & my opinions.

I’m not sure how I came to be (yeah yeah I KNOW the biology). Consciousness fascinates me & my life is MINE. It is a gift given to ME. Therefore it follows (in my logic) that I can end it as I lived it by my choice.

I do not want to end up in a home like so many of my fellow citizens no matter how comfortable it may be. I do not want to be a drain on medical resources. If I have a prayer it is that I die quickly and that the ‘caring’ medical profession does not resuscitate¬† or prolong my life.

I repeat again I am NOT suicidal, nor am I particularly depressed tonight. I just decided to share these thoughts.







Teaching Religion in Primary School

27 Jan

At the moment there is an ongoing discussion about the teaching of religion in Irish State schools especially those “of a religious ethos”¬† i.e. those run by, or in buildings owned by, religious institutions.
So my questions are these:-

1) Why do we “teach religion” in school? Surely the churches & the homes of believers are the places where religious instruction should take place? Unless of course the religious orders do not believe that they are effective in reaching their flock in a church setting & also have little faith in their members’ ability to raise their own children in the faith. In which case why should taxpayer subsidized educational time & space be expected, nay mandated, to rectify their failings?

2) In an era of questioning teaching standards, performance related league tables & providing an education which fits the students for the world in which they live how then are we to judge the effectiveness & value for money of the religious education being provided by our taxes? All the major faiths claim to provide moral & ethical frameworks by which the individual can not only live their own life but also create a more moral & ethical society. So using this criteria how effective have Irish schools been in this regard?

On the personal level? The evidence is not good. During the Celtic Tiger religiously educated Irish adults, across the board spent with no regard for the future, when offered more money than they could possibly repay they just took the cash & now they cast about for others to blame, complain about having to honour their agreements & seek not to repay what they owe. In other words they were greedy, selfish & lacking in the “moral fibre” to face their failings & the courage to accept their punishment. All of this behaviour is contrary to the teachings of the Christ they have been alledgedy educated to follow. So the teaching of religion has failed in this area of education.
On the societal level one only has to look at the duplicitous behaviour of top politicians, church leaders, top business people & the boards of charitable organisations to see that the education system has most certainly failed to instill a Christian moral & ethical framework both in the persons & the institutions in which they serve. The failure is all the more glaring when one considers that many of the “leaders” of our society have come through the leading educational institutions & therefore had the best teachers. So here again “teaching religion” has failed the test.

The only area where religion as it is taught actually passes the test is in familiarizing the children with the rituals of the particular religion i.e. forming a habit of rote observance devoid of context or application to the adult’s daily life.

So I ask again why do we “teach religion” in primary schools? What exactly are we teaching & to what end?