Agree or Disagree: The Podcast-Danielle Smith and the WRP Crossing

Agree or Disagree: The Podcast-Danielle Smith and the WRP Crossing.

My friend Kevin Olenick has gathered some interesting people to talk about the now notorious crossing of Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and the 8 other members of the party, better known now as the Wildrose Nine.

Steven Britton is an outspoken libertarian, affiliated to no party, but a well known prior supporter of Wildrose.

Derek Fildebrandt was once the defender of the Canadian taxpayer, and now a spokesperson for the Oil Industry. While not a member of any known party, he considers himself to be politically right in general, and a facinating person to know.

Robyn Moser is one of Calgary’s brightest real estate stars. Stunning, clever and charming, she’s a staunch self proclaimed PC supporter, and one who sees Premier Prentice as a true leader.

It’s an interesting mix of people , all on the right, who have their unique outlook on Alberta politics, and by far have great unique insight on the crossing that most Albertans do NOT know and should. And more importantly, they’re the ones to know to see the story still unfolding in the backgroud.

Terry’s Old PI Files – The First Wife Stalker

One of my first cases was probably one of the simplest ones I’ve ever been involved in, but easily the most memorable.

Frustration... but who's at fault?

Frustration… but who’s at fault?

A woman walked into my office and stated that her husband was being incredibly unfaithful. There was quite a story after, but it still boiled down to infidelity and wanting proof for divorce hearings. After explaining my pricing, she opted to just put a GPS tracker on the family car, so she could always find his whereabouts.

The GPS Tracker

The GPS Tracker

That was that. I thought that would be the last of this, but it’s interesting where circumstances falls in the strangest places. About a week later, a fellow walks in and tells me about the week from hell he’d been in. You see, he was separated from his insanely jealous wife, and had started to build a life for himself. He had a new bachelor pad, social friends and more importantly, a new girlfriend. But suddenly, his soon-to-be-ex wife was showing up everywhere he and his girl went. They could be in a picnic in the woods, there she would be. A public restaurant? There the wife would be in the next booth. He even saw her trying to find him in a movie theatre during the show! Needless to say, he really wasn’t quite thrilled.

Equally Frustrated... but why?

Equally Frustrated… but why?

When he told me when the timing as well, the proverbial lightbulb magically clicked on above me. My heart kinda sank as I was absolutely sure that his wife was the lady last week, but what to do? I couldn’t explain that his wife had probably bought a GPS tracker from me. So, girding myself for possible discovery, I sat him down and explained that someone may have put a GPS tracker onto his vehicle. We went through the defense options, and in the end, he opted to buy a special Radio Frequency detector that could find such GPS devices.

All was well in the world again… or so I thought. A week passed by, and I honestly put this whole affair out of my mind. Strange how when you’re right, fate seems to always want to have a hand with the joke!

The original woman who came in, and asked for my help again! You see, the tracker had done it’s job too well, and she was always able to find her “wayward” husband. She was able to prove he was “cheating”, but then suddenly she noticed her husband started going back and forth to Edmonton. So one day, she started to follow the signal for a full day, only to find out she was following a GREYHOUND bus. She didn’t know what else to do, but we chatted for awhile after…. (what happened later is another tale)

Catch the Greyhound!

Catch the Greyhound!

Not long after, I received a phone call from the gent, who told me that he DID find a GPS device and attached it to a bus out of town. He was pretty sure that was the problem, because he had 3 days of uninterrupted peace and quiet from his wife. Needless to say, I found the whole thing amusing.

So what lesson to impart? Nothing that’s mind breaking or soul shattering, except maybe… what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. ūüôā

From Terry’s PI Files : The 3 Wives – Wife #1 and the Teen Lover

Through the years I worked in investigations officially and unofficially, none were as enigmatic to me as the 3 wives. These 3 women, all in successful businesses, relationships and so on, were mothers, power negotiators and more. Yet from when I first met them (all within the same year), to when I saw them last, they all had the same problem, philandering husbands and yet refused to break away.

Today, I’m going to cover the first one. She’s since threw the jerk out, but there was a pretty long period where she just wouldn’t pull the trigger on this guy. She was clearly an emotionally abused woman, without much self confidence. Attractive and still young, she had apparently caught her husband once with her neighbor but refused to give me the full details.

Still, what she DID give me was more than enough to work with. And more importantly, the guy had the habit of using her laptop to contact his lover through messenger and the like. EVEN more so, he liked to use her car for quick trips out to the office or wherever as opposed to his ridiculously powered Hummer.

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It was a fairly easy sting as stings go. I placed a GPS tracking device onto her car, so I would have a record of his comings and goings. With her permission, I put a data logging program into the computer. There, now I had whatever he would write online. (By the way, if you ever find yourself in the need to find out if your computers are being abused by your employees or kids, I can’t begin to recommend properly the software Spector Pro. Trust me on this.) Finally, I resorted to plain old PI work.

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After about 2 weeks, I was ready. We’re all people of habit. You and I might like going to a certain cafe a few times a week, or certain restaurants, a bus stop, a favorite path to jog around in. These are all examples that with the help of GPS, I had his. I also had a LOT of rather incriminating emails written in code names that indicated that there was not only an affair going on, but a pretty hot and heavy one.

On Tuesday I noticed that he would go to a certain parking lot at 3 pm every day. It was close to a good sized strip mall, a city community rec centre, and… a large high school. This got me thinking, as my client still hadn’t told me much about the neighbor. Doing a routine check, I found out that 3 persons lived there, a father, mother and a daughter. As the mother was in her late 30s, I assumed that was the possible partner. But now… was it the daughter? I went to the parking lot to find out.

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It didn’t take long. A rather attractive teenager, maybe 16-17 ran across the street, and into his car. They then sped off, and not far behind, I followed them to a house that apparently had a basement suite. Well, that was enough info (and pics), and I went off. I asked to meet the client, and she asked me to see what else I can find online before meeting.

I had done a cursory examination of the email files before. Nothing too serious, just looking for anything that might be a smoking gun (which was most of it), but all of it was still under code names. This time, I looked into it seriously, and soon found quite a few pics that made the word compromising seem mild.

I won’t go any further into the lurid details. The client had proof that her husband had seduced a teenager and kept a secret love nest. The girl, as distasteful as it was, was officially at the age of consent at the time (over 14 yrs of age), and as she was the one who did a ton of porn selfies, the law wasn’t quite clear on whether to charge her with creating her OWN self child porn willingly.

She stayed the with guy for another 2 years before kicking his ass onto the curb. There were other related matters she would bring me in, but none as surprising as those early days.

As for any lessons? Well, I guess, never be so cheap or stupid to use the laptop and car of the wife you’re cheating on? Outside of that, nope, no idea of anything else.

But as she was the first of three who stayed as my clients throughout the years, I never quite understand the power of love, hate, obsession, safety and security until I met them. Wait until next week.

 

From Terry’s PI Files – Bizarre Family Relations & The Shawarma Shop

Now that I’m more or less out of the game, there’s a few of my more bizarre cases that I always wanted to write about but couldn’t. Just to let you know, no names will be mentioned, or which business involved (as I understand it, it’s since changed ownership), but it was beyond weird.

A few years back, a young attractive woman walks into the shop with a number of kids. She asks for some information on what I did, what was possible and what could be done. She explains that she and her family owns a restaurant, and that her husband has been having an affair with someone there during the day. She needed to have proof and it had to be indisputable. A typical case in the private eye biz, more or less. A few nights later, I was putting up a disguised smoke detector in the kitchen and a recorder. It has a good resolution, battery life, and I was able to install it quickly. Angled it. Pointed it. All done, and now time to wait and see.

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A Smoke Detector… but also a disguised Hidden Camera System all in one

I didn’t have to wait long. According to the time stamp, it was roughly during the lunch rush, with what I could probably guess was a full dining room and a line up at the cash. From the angle of the camera, I had a great shot of a prep table, the door to the dining room and the stove. And there was the client’s husband, and a pretty attractive woman in her 40s. And then….

A few days later, I had retrieved the camera and looked at the recorded footage and captured the incriminating evidence. Job done, I went off to meet the client and we watched the footage together. It was… well… pretty graphic admittedly, but nothing I’ve never seen before. But while I wasn’t really fazed at all by the video, I was by my client’s reaction to it. ZERO. Nothing. She might as well have been reading the menu at a McDonald’s. This struck me as completely odd, as most clients have always reacted with some satisfaction, some sort of relief, anger, fear, even laughter. But this gal? She was stone cold still.

I almost jumped when she turned my way and asked me, “Can you play that again in a few minutes? My Dad is coming home.” Now let me explain the significance of this comment. This client was from an east Asian background, one of those that are very patriarchal in their views. Even after all of the years living in Canada, the concept of equality between man and woman wasn’t exactly very high on their list. The client had long since known about her husband’s infidelities, but no one would take her seriously whatsoever. Worse, she was even beaten up by both her husband and her father for making such accusations without proof. It was after such a beating that she had decided to come get professional help. She needed to make a point.

I thought the request was a little odd, but I didn’t dispute it. The client was paying my time, and my presence probably would have saved her from an immediate beating if her dad went ballistic. Either way, the video was hers now, and sure, why the hell not. Her dad was a man in his late 50s or so, but still in pretty good shape. He did however look pretty darn stern, the serious type of guy who always seems to be disapproving of anyone or anything that’s not of his world. Still, he calmly sat down as his daughter told him who I was, Well, the video started again. The husband was prepping some food with another attractive woman. He puts down the knife, and then quickly grabs the woman, flips up her skirt and I’ll leave the rest to you.

Strangely enough, my only reaction was that this guy was having sex with some woman on the prep table during lunch service. Having some relations with the restaurant industry, that was just disturbing to me. Well, the father was simply stone cold silent, but now you could kinda feel a seething amount of anger, even disgust now. That old saying, you can cut the tension with a knife? I doubt a machete could have gotten through that! My client simply turned around and said, “Dad, I told you MOM and (…) were having an affair!” Well, that was pretty much it. I stood up, simply asked for my cheque, and left. Given how supremely awkward this event had become, “discretion is the better part of valor” and all that. I left.

Now admittedly it probably wasn’t the best thing to leave the client alone, but I really didn’t want to be stuck in the middle of that mess. Would you? As for a tidy ending? Not really. I was paid for the job, so I know that the client survived and was going through divorce hearings. No idea about what happened to the mom or the husband, but some things are better left unsaid.

But I do have one quick tip. Next time you go to a shawarma shop/restaurant in town, are you really sure the garlic sauce is just that? Just sayin’.

The Days Before Tomorrow: The 10th Anniversary of Her Passing

“Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that‚Äôs all. You can‚Äôt see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.” –¬†Mitch Albom

“Though lovers be lost love shall not.” –¬†Dylan Thomas

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Almost 30 years ago I met her. A bit over 20 years ago I broke both our hearts. 10 years and a few days, she broke mine, and those of “our” children one more time forever, when she was killed by a drunk driver.

The daughter of my heart, if not by genetics and marriage, my dear sweet Georgia will be coming to Calgary in a few days for a friend’s bachelorette party. I’ll see her for an evening, and then she’s back to Vancouver, all 3-4 months pregnant as well. But I know that while our reunion is in her mind, today of all days 10 years past is there as well, as in my son Terry’s too, as it was her death that profoundly changed things in all of our lives those days long ago.

As I think upon her, and of the path not taken, I still wonder what it would have been like to have had her in my life and to have raised the kids as my own. Would we have finally fit in the cosmic scheme of things? Would all doubts I had towards reconciliation broke us apart again? I really just don’t know.

But I do know this, and it’s something I’m simply so amazed by my wife, WK, is so understanding about. There will always be a part of me that was with her, despite the madness, the insanity of the situation and secret unspoken longings that we both shared yet never uttered to one another.

She was my muse of beauty and light, a mystery within, an enigma wrapped in a smile that could dazzle and warm the coldest of hearts. She was a lover of fine music and arts, curious of the glorious stars and galaxies above and a shield maiden to those who threatened her family. She hated high heels and the illusion of fashion, yet stood for all that was right in the world without, even if not satisfied personally within. She was that rare spirit that yearned to be free, yet was determined to be tied to the chains of love and memory. She was a warrior against fate, and saw that fate was in large part what we made of it, and fought for the chance for the both of us to reunite.

In the end…. she was as rare as lightning in a bottle and just as electric to the touch. The memory of her kiss, her skin, the deepness in her eyes, and the simple way … the way she embraced joy¬†in the dance of thunder above still aches in me deep inside. She was my 1st love, and no matter how strange things came to be, I am thankful that she was a part of my life.

Good night my sweet these 10 years now past. While I may not believe in a heaven, if there is one, I hope you have found it and that you have found peace now and forever now that your… no… OUR children and I have been reunited after all this time.

Good night. I miss you. Terry, Georgia and I. We miss you.

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The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 1 – An Introduction

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 2 – Shattered

The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 3 – Betrayal and Hurts

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword

Adventures in the Spy Biz : What NOT to do when you’re Cheating Pt 1

A few years back, I was requested by a client to see if I could give her a hand. I had been working at Spy City as the store manager for a while, and we had long since established ourselves in Calgary as a place of last resort.¬† We dealt with the people who couldn’t get help from the police, needed to get evidence and find a means to protect themselves.

In the almost 7 years I’ve been there, I can honestly say that I’ve prevented some child abductions and saved I don’t know how many women from serious physical and emotional abuse. There are stores and restaurants that I’ve stopped internal theft and¬†outright assaults. Information I’ve gathered have stopped a murder and made life easier for helpless seniors. Needless to say, I really have to write a book about all this one day, but the most prevalent type of case I’m involved in usually has something to do with infidelity and the like.

Well, with my work, I’ve gotten much more involved in some cases than simply selling product or advising companies. Why take the risk? I’d like to say it’s because I love being a spy for hire, or try to emulate my favorite childhood tv show Magnum PI. I might even say that with my strong belief in Chivalry, that maybe it has something to do with being a White Knight and helping the damsel in distress. But really, in the end, if I ever do get involved in a case, it’s more because the person in trouble simply trusts me and her situation is dire, and I just can’t look away.

Now there are plenty of pretty serious cases, but there are a few that were also pretty hilarious. So let’s get to a few tips to the Cheater on what NOT to do, and I’ll give a bit of a summary.

1) When you’re having a nooner, do NOT use the Company Van

A few years back, a wife had intercepted her husband’s cell phone message from his secret lover. He was supposed to go to a motel at the outskirts of town, and be available for an hour of bedroom acrobatics. Since the wife was a housewife who didn’t drive, she turned to me to see if I can get some evidence¬†ASAP.¬† My problem, he was going to his nooner the next day, and the exact motel wasn’t mentioned. ¬†Still, I knew that there were only so many possible places, so I drove up and down this strip of 16 Ave NW and tried to figure it out.

I had barely gone 2 blocks when I noticed the work van. Now, normally, trying to find a single work vehicle in a large neighbourhood would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But this particular vehicle was with a company that’s quite popular in Calgary, with especially visible cartoon like characters all over the sides. Needless to say, it took me less than 2 min to find the place, and being a motel, I just waited around with a camera and got the evidence when the client’s husband and lover left the motel. Easiest tracking of a client EVER.

2) Don’t post your topless pics to try to impress your lover on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

You would think that this would be a no-brainer, eh? I mean, Anthony Weiner is by far a great example of what can be found out. Apparently, NO!

My client was admittedly had a bit of a tech-phobia. She had barely any idea how to use her computer, and had not touched social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and the like.¬†Her husband, being a little tech saavy, had no such restrictions, and was using his own Facebook page as a means to impress a friend with topless beach pics and the like. Worse, he was encouraging the target of his affections to make comments and so on. It really didn’t take me very long to get evidence obviously.

3) Do NOT get a mother angry. Not unless you really want to become a eunuch.

There’s an old saying, the female is the deadlier of the species. I prefer the ol’ saying, “Hell hath no fury than¬†a woman scorned.”

When a family is about to be broken up or endangered and young kids are involved, I find that women are always going to find unusual levels of strength and anger to protect her cubs. I’ve also found that they tend to be ESPECIALLY vengeful for the family being damaged in the first place.

To my experience, when a guy is cheated on, 9 out of 10 times he’ll just do what’s needed to confirm and then leave or break things off. When a gal is though, and kids are involved….. well,¬†6 out of 10 times she’ll do what’s necessary… and THEN do even more to continue to make his life a living HELL long after the breakup!¬† I’ve got cases that has lasted over 5-6 years where I found the evidence a long long time ago and they’re still after the guy’s head. Needless to say, I should give presentations at wedding encounter workshops.

That’s enough for a start for now… but I guarantee that you’ll be more than a little amused.¬† Same bat-title, same bat-channel!

#MondayBlogs – Rants on Faith: What Went Wrong Pt 3

So a few weeks back, I began my explanation on why I left faith and belief in a supernatural being altogether, and embraced what can be proven, explained but more importantly, what was right for me.

I was very much the Catholic zealot at one time. I envied those who gave more of themselves for the greater glory of God, was fearful of eternal flames and so on, I followed the lessons given me, and kept up with the schools of Christian thought. There was what was right and wrong, seen through the rose shaded glasses of the Vatican, and tried my best to follow the tenets. But there was always something that was dissonant between what was taught, and yet what was actually done and what I felt in my gut.

As the years past, there were little things here and there that changed my views ever so slightly. But what made me start on a new path were a few things here and there…

I’ve explained about how science fiction and how the concepts embodied within had put some nagging doubts I’ve had into some form of perspective. The story “Dead Run” especially resonated with me much later in life, that is the concept that I was taught, and the Vatican confirmed after the new Pope’s recent comments, that atheists are doomed to eternal damnation no matter what good they did in life. Add the fact that I had just started dating a non-believer herself, I was getting especially pissed if anything.

That thought stabbed deep in me, as I couldn’t believe a loving God would just gladly damn my then girlfriend to Hell, especially someone fundamentally good as she was. ¬†Worse, there was the thought that at any time since the founding of the Catholic faith, something between 99.9999% (the beginning of Christianity) to 5/6 (modern days) of the world’s population has been doomed to Hell because they were not of the correct faith or by the simple fact that they would have never even had a chance to even hear of Him let alone convert. If God was all powerful, forgiving and loving, then what the HECK was casting the majority of the world’s population to Hell in the last 2000 years. That’s the act of a spiteful child, a cruel sadist and an outright sore loser.

Add my doubts in regards to abortion/women’s rights, women priests, the treatment of the LGBT community, the questionable politics, the ever expanding rape of thousands of children and women by priests and deacons the world over and the resulting deplorable actions and cover-ups by the so-called leadership in the Vatican… and I found that I was on the wrong side both as what I believe to be moral and as a simple human being.

As each scandal went by, each news headline, each action by a bishop, each reply from the Vatican and more, I found myself questioning why was I a Catholic? More so, I have always believed in a modern form of chivalry, whereas defending the right and the weak was what mattered. ¬†This was my state of belief, one foot out, one foot in right into my early-30’s.

What tipped things over was the election of Pope Benedict, the former Nazi pope. With his election, and his dedication to bring the Church back to the 12th century, I found that my membership in the Catholic church completely untenable. I broke off completely, and started to look for a Protestant option. Yes, I still believed in God at that point, but just refused to have anything to do with His chosen agents.

And in this modern age of YouTube and the internet, I would be soon introduced to even more ideas that I never had access as a child, a teen or a college student, that shed more doubt about the Catholic faith, but this time from a roundabout way via the unlikely combination of minds, South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Monty Python’s John Cleese. A particular episode covered the origins of the Mormon faith, which was all founded upon the story of how Joseph Smith found these mystic plates telling of the New Adventure of Jesus in the New World and so on.

South Park – Joseph Smith and the Creation of Mormonism from swingitjack on Vimeo.

I won’t go into it, but it was so incredulous, that I just shook my head in puzzlement for the absurdity of the premise. But not long after, I caught a chance argument between John Cleese and the Catholic Church in an old documentary. In this, Cleese made a key comment about how ridiculous it was for the Catholic Church to follow the books of the Disciples, seeing as they were (go ahead and verify this… won’t take long):

1) Based on scrolls from various ages in various ancient languages, that contradict one another with translation problems galore;

2)  Based on INCOMPLETE knowledge as thousands of other scrolls were deliberately discounted and destroyed by the leaders of the Catholic faith in the 15th century

3) Many of the scrolls and books were written centuries after the original subjects lived, in an age where documentation and recorded history was spotty at best. Virtually all of these were written based on stories told time and time again each generation. Ever play the game Broken Telephone as a kid where the original sentence changes radically only 10-20 people down the line? Now imagine THOUSANDS of people down the line over hundreds of years. I would definitely say there’s some poetic licence involved here.

4) Most of the early scrolls were written by various factions, each who had their own version of the stories involved, and all around the 4th century. It was for this EXACT reason why Constantine convened the Nicean council to get everyone on the same page!

4) Books and scrolls were cherry-picked in the 17th century in what would become the King James Bible, of which the 49-54 or so writers apparently had very specific instructions to make it politically acceptable, and then was “Shakespeare-ized” by Sir Francis Bacon to make it more reader friendly.

So… the modern bible we all were taught with was a translated book, written under various political and personal rules dictated by King James to be acceptable, fluffed up to be easier to read, based on scrolls written in ancient languages in the 4th century, based on retelling of oral stories by hundreds to thousands of people over 400 years, all written by various competing factions with their own agendas, and still cherry picked for what was convenient by the (then) modern church.

This was totally and absolutely absurd. Now every lesson, parable and reading is now called into question, and Christianity as a whole is in some way centered around this??

This was a HUGE hole in my belief in Christianity. Corrupt and vile leadership was one thing, but to know that the documented heart of the religion was so fundamentally flawed was another. So now I was spiritually rudderless so to speak… or was I. ¬†It was then I finally was introduced to Christopher Hitchens.

End of Pt 3

Rants on Faith: Why are some atheists so angry at religion?

A few weeks back, I read this letter from Timothy Havener, the son of a Fundamentalist Christian minister and an atheist.  And what he wrote here brought my feelings in recent years to light.

As a child, I was a devout Catholic, going to morning mass, serving as a Pastoral reader, the Church Choir, and even aspired to religious service.¬† As I got older though, and strangely thanks to the Jesuits who asked me to really think about why I believed, I found myself falling completely out of faith altogether and into a place where I feel deep inside where I should have been a long time ago.¬† But despite it all, I still find myself being drawn to a almost militant fervour in my rejection of religion, even as I am so dedicated to growing as a citizen of my city and country. But I still didn’t quite understand why I was so angry at religion as a whole, and the Catholic Church in particular.¬† Mr. Havener, in this letter of realization of himself, explains it so well as he, and so many other of my fellow atheists, have found themselves in the same place.¬† It’s betrayal.¬† I could say more… but I think I’ll let Mr. Havener explain it all himself:

Since I have become an atheist there is a growing anger inside me that sometimes flowers into a quiet, and other times not so quiet, rage. Theists and even some atheists do not seem to understand this emotion, or they trivialize it. Even I have not fully understood this causal effect of my deconversion. I know that I am angry about the lost years of my life wasted on delusions of grandeur and superstitious nonsense, but I have felt that was not really an accurate depiction of the deep emotional undercurrents I have experienced coming out of faith.

As a child, I remember that I loved to help people. My parents would often take me with them as they ministered to the sick, the elderly, and the needy. I was taught to love people as Jesus loved them. When I grew older my human compassion and empathy was filtered through a world view that instructed me to preach self condemnation and guilt as love. After all, if you truly loved your fellow man, you would do anything to prevent their eternal soul from burning in torment forever. So, I became a missionary to spread the ‚Äėgood news‚Äô to those who needed the salvation of Christ. This became my mission in life and it consumed me.

When the walls of indoctrination started to crumble in my later years, I began to feel a sense of panic and fear. Fear that my mind was betraying me and that Satan was tempting me away from the Lord. At the same time I felt a drive to seek the truth fervently as I had been taught to do. This love for ‚Äėtruth‚Äô and understanding had taken an unexpected detour to a place I never thought I would find myself. I would wrestle in prayer for hours in tears alone in the dark, pleading with a God who was never there. There were nights when I would wake up in cold sweats as if I could feel the fires of hell licking my feet.

After a while, when the fear and guilt subsided, I saw much more clearly what exactly religion had done to me. It had taken the innocence of a child who wanted to love and help people, and twisted me into a pawn to perpetuate its lies and fear. Worst of all, it made me think that this was love. I was taught that only through Christ could I experience true love for others. I was told my own heart was corrupted by the curse of sin I had inherited from Adam. When I would feel compassion and love for the afflicted I would always attribute these feelings to God and give credit to him.

This is where my anger truly comes from.

That love and empathy I felt was always me. The goodness I expressed toward others was always my own compassion and understanding. Religion was taking my identity as a person and the goodness in me, and using it to make itself stronger. But it did not stop there, it twisted the best qualities of my human nature and perverted it to spread a message of fear and lies to those most vulnerable to indoctrination. Looking back, it was if someone had stripped me of who I was and replaced it with a shell of a person.

The biggest betrayal was when I started to really look at the God in whom I placed my trust. The stories in the Bible revealed a psychopathic monster, not a loving father. The message of salvation became insulting to me. Why should I need redemption from such an awful, horrible creature who would slay infants and pregnant mothers because his feelings were hurt. I felt a level of betrayal that reached to the darkest corners of my mind and at the same time felt like I was betraying everyone who I had ever looked up to.

Christians only serve to compound this anger when they attempt to explain away the horrid aspects of Christian faith with nonsensical psychobabble or cherry picking verses. They seem to think that I was somehow flawed and never really a Christian when the truth is I believed more passionately than most of them. I do try to understand that they are just as deluded as I once was, but when you experience such a profound sense of betrayal that comes from seeing your faith with the eyes of reason, it can be an emotionally brutal ordeal that opens up scars you never even knew you had.

The sunlight of reality hurts when you step out of the darkness of ignorance and superstition, but that pain pales in comparison to what that light reveals when you can finally see what you did as a believer and what was done to you. That realization leaves you with an unrelenting anger that burns with a passion hotter than the fires of any imaginary hell. This same compassion that drove me to be a missionary now drives me in my anti theism. I seek to tear down the lies of religion so that not one more child will have to go through the emotional torment I experienced. No one deserves that…no one.

-Timothy Havener

Rants on Faith: Why Are We Celebrating The Wrong Person at the End??

For any Christian family members who may read this, you may want to look away because I know I’m going to upset you.¬† You’ve been warned.

A week ago, I attended the funeral of a friend and co-worker of my wife.¬†I didn’t know her very well, but she was a kind person, one who believed in her friends and family.¬† She was one who was overjoyed about her new baby, her civil law husband, and the community that she contributed to as a whole.¬† And most importantly to her, and many of her friends and family, she was a devoted catholic, almost to the point of zealous.¬† As I understand it, she was someone who had been looking for something that would fulfill her need in something greater than herself.

All of that is fine and well.¬† As those who’ve read my rants about faith in the past, I have found that faith in a higher being is something that brings happiness and comfort to a lot of people.¬† It’s something that I myself was once apart of,¬†before I started to see past what I perceive and believe are simply illusions and parlour tricks.¬† But no matter my own feelings on the matter, if people want to still believe and follow mythology, it’s their choice.¬† I just refuse to support the illusion anymore, and will simply remain silence when encountered in situations where I’m surrounded by the needless ritual.

It was in this exact situation, that I found myself accompanying my wife at the funeral.  That in itself is not unusual, as this was supposed to be a celebration of her life despite disease and adversity.  Instead, I literally found myself getting angrier and angrier as each moment passed.

First, there were a number of speeches about her.¬† The first was a fairly straightforward retelling of the points on her life bit by bit.¬† A bit dull, but at least you get an idea of her history.¬† But then came the next speech, and a video and so on… and so my anger rose.

Each speech, the music theme for the video, the little mentions of her history and the highlights of her life, were not so much celebrated as almost ignored and even belittled.¬† And worse, virtually everyone in that room saw that that was absolutely natural.¬† You see, the event ceased to be a celebration of her life, but a great thank you to the God almighty for afflicting her with a fatal disease and to just casually take her life just after having given birth.¬†¬† There wasn’t really any mention on how she was a loving mom, or a good friend, just praise be to Him for giving and taking life away for what seems to be totally arbitrary reasons ranging from “only He knows” to “what the hell, why not.”

I was reminded by my wife that this was her friend’s belief, and that of her community, and as it wasn’t my place to say anything, I just sat and remained quiet the entire time.¬† And as I was watching it continue, moment by moment, I just couldn’t help but look at this as a travesty and a disservice to the memory of her friend.

It’s been days since then, and as I looked back on my own life, I started to think about all of the funerals I’ve been to over the years and realized I was looking at a mirror.¬† Both my grandmothers’ funerals.¬† The odd teacher and so on… and I wonder, was I that oblivious?¬† And I really have only one answer… probably.¬† I was quite devout as a kid, and still had some modicum of belief even 3-4 years back.¬† But now I’m also ever more determined to reject religion altogether as well.

After¬†a few years of being lazy, I’ve begun to rewrite my will, as well as a living will for once.¬† I’m also going to have to explain this to my family later this year, as they’re very much the devout Catholics.¬† If anything I’ve done since my rejection of religious faith is going to upset them, it’s probably going to be this…. that should there ever be a service of some sort because something’s happened to me, I don’t want a priest of any sort to get 1,000 miles of me unless he’s a personal friend.¬† I reject the Catholic Church, the Christian faith as a whole in life, and I see absolutely no distinction in that in death.¬† If there’s any service of any sort, it’s going to be a celebration of my friends and family, and bits of their interaction with me, but anyone who even thinks of praising God or Jesus instead of themselves, for the people they are for making me someone who believes in civic duty and familial love, they had better keep it to themselves.¬† I would honestly find that someone thanking God for me being in their lives, or for the way I believe in my family and friends as God or Jesus’ way, as a complete and total insult to myself, and to everyone I love.

Why the hell are we passing the credit to some mythical being that may or may not have ever existed?¬† We create the world we live in, and we are the ones who interact and love and live with one another.¬† Why do we want to strengthen the image of that greater being and a Church or faith of some sort, instead of giving credit where credit is really due, that is with one another.¬† There’s a classic saying, it takes a village to raise a child,¬† I¬†find that so much in line with¬†my own beliefs and my causes.¬† And at the end, it’s those people who¬†made me the person I am who I would want¬†celebrated, not God, Zeus, Odin or The Easter Bunny.

After all, in the end, wouldn’t you want to be remembered for the person you are, and not that you were some mindless automaton that just followed a faith blindly and that every action you’ve taken of note was of your own undertaking?¬† That every one of your triumphs was because you had the drive, the spirit and the guts to achieve it?¬† Stop giving credit to some unknown spirit of the sky,¬† Give the credit to whom in belongs to… yourselves.

A Rant Over Faith

STOP RIGHT HERE.¬† If you are a devout believer in religion, this is probably going to infuriate you.¬† I’m ranting now over an event this evening, and I am COMPLETELY unapologetic.¬† Skip over this unless you’re willing to debate in a logical fashion.¬†

I WAS going to write about a time with me strapped on a roof in a typhoon to impress a certain girl … and I will get back to that story, but I just experienced a phone call from someone I respect in most things of life.¬† He had basically accused me of poor taste based on his personal interpretation that I just attacked Christianity.¬† I just had to answer.

I pretty much made my own statements on what I believe in my blog post, A Matter of Faith. I’ve turned away not only from Catholicism, but from ALL organized religion altogether.¬† While I do believe that people are entitled to believe as they will and quite a few of my friends like to promote that belief, I also believe I am equally entitled to state my own personal belief, or lack of belief that is.

Today, I had posted a joke on my Facebook about religion.  I found it quite funny, and did a routine share.  Here it is (mind telling me where the hell it says Christianity?):

Image

Haven’t you ever been pestered about statements of overt faith?¬† Whether it be the person at the door with the pamphlets, the politician stating that a school shooting was because there wasn’t daily prayer in the classrooms, or the person who accuses you of being a traitor or an infidel because your belief contrasts his or hers, we’ve all been bombarded with religious statements of one way or another.¬† Every single person who tries to push their religious beliefs into our secular institutions just drives me insane.

Nevertheless, out of respect to him, I’ve removed it from Facebook, but I will NOT be silent.¬† I am simply furious with him for imposing his knee jerk interpretation on me.¬† I am simply furious with MYSELF for giving in this once.

Ever since I’ve declared myself Atheist, I’ve been attacked or judged by others (well over a dozen or so) as being very much as being a member of Satan’s crew.¬† Funny thing is that, I have a ton of Jewish and Muslim friends as well, and not a SINGLE one has ever been overtly judgmental.¬† If anything, I’ve actually had some interesting debates about their religion and atheism, but always with mutual respect.¬† (By the by, a lack of belief in god also means a total lack of belief in Satan as well.. so hell and all that.. why do you believe that hell scares me?¬† If anything, I’d probably rather go there since most of the atheists also include the very best mankind has ever had to offer.)

atheisthell

But Christians… Christians…. Why has it always been the Christian ones who attack, without even considering other points of views out of a self-important belief that their view is, and will always be the right one.¬† And to anyone of those who has attacked in the past, don’t you dare even begin to give me the bullshit excuse that that’s not true.¬† Remember, at one time, I was one of you, and even more devout and fanatic than most.

So I simply put this to you…. why?¬† If you’re content with your religion, why do you feel so threatened by my own beliefs on things based on actual proven observable fact? You don’t have to read anything I write.¬† You know I’m not likely to blow up a building or punch you out.¬† Just ignore me, as I try to ignore you if there’s something you choose to post that I don’t like.¬† If you know me, I would respect your point of view in general unless it’s something deliberately promoting hatred and harm.

For the Christians for example, I personally find it totally insane to base your belief on:
– a book like the King James Bible that is an English interpretation of ancient hebraic scrolls;
– translated to an “acceptable” level for approval by the King of England;
– based on a cherry picked pile of scrolls (for example, why only those 4 books of the apostles? Why no mention of the book of Mary Magdelene?);
– that were themselves copies of scrolls written down hundred of years from the original scrolls in 400AD;
– which were written and passed on solely through oral history for the first 400 years.
That’s lunacy. Ever played the game “Broken Telephone” as a kid? Ever hear how the story changed from start to end? Now imagine that with over 100,000 people in the middle of the line!

Hell, those same people who are so certain that there are no morals unless there is one based in religion, I counter that if the only thing keeping Christians, Jews and Muslims from turning into serial killers and arsonists is a belief of a being created by pre-Bronze age people trying to explain why it rains, non-believers has far more to be afraid of Christians, Jews and Muslims.

Yes I attack religion as a whole, and very often the Catholic Church, but never once out of context.¬† If Rabbis or Imams were going around raping children world-wide, I would have GLADLY done the same with the same strength of conviction.¬† I refuse to have anything to do with any organization whose leadership voted in a Nazi to lead them, and openly condoned and protected thousands of child and women rapists world-wide over decades. I refuse to be a part of a religion that subjugate and strikes down women, because a bunch of guys decided to, despite that their own savior had never put such a restriction (such as in the case of Mary Magdalene).¬† Don’t even get me started on the Vatican attack on nuns on the front line, who are actually doing “God’s” work by feeding and helping the homeless, instead of say picketing over birth control.¬† I am truly ashamed of ever being a Catholic, and had long formally demanded to be removed from all rolls in the Vatican, Calgary and Montreal. And in fact, I state this here and now, I do NOT now, or EVER want to be buried or interred in Catholic or Christian grounds.

But I also reject the barbaric actions of the Muslim faith interpreted by conservative extremists.  Is lopping off the hands of thieves because supposedly their own god told them to be the right thing?  Jihad is supposed to be a revolution of the mind and spirit to a belief of love, and instead has been re-interpreted by men to mean violent struggle and massacres.

I’ve attacked religion as I believe in logic and simple compassion for your fellow man far more. For example, why isn’t giving your time or money or whatever because it’s simply the right thing to do is actually not the right thing, but it is right if it’s based on religious reasons out of fear for hell?¬† It strikes me as dead wrong.¬† That belittles all of us as little more than blackmailed children,¬†and I’m not alone in that line of thought.

Those who declare themselves to be religious dropped to 60% in North America.¬† Those who declare themselves to be atheist, agnostic or humanist has risen to 16% of the population.¬† The numbers in many countries in Europe have plummeted to single digits for those declared religious.¬† I find this to be hopeful, as I personally see this as a maturing of society.¬† We are socially still so much to be a people not unlike children, who needed the spectre of a deity saying no-no or else you go to hell.¬† Now we’re slowly changing to be a people who realize that they should say no-no simply because it is the right thing.

So really in the end, it comes down to this.¬† I removed the so-called offensive post on Facebook, but only due to the nature of my relationship with this person.¬† But I learned long ago the saying, all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to remain silent, is correct.¬† This applies to protest.¬† It applies to life.¬† And it very much applies to culture… because where would we be if we stopped everything we found offensive based on our religious beliefs.¬† Everyone finds one thing or another thing offensive, but if you want to dispute something I’ve said or done, do it because there’s a valid reason or argument.¬† If you want me to respect your belief, give me a reason that makes sense.

That’s enough of a rant for today.¬† Back to something normal tomorrow.