May 4, 2012

Are religion bashers atheists looking for a new cause

With all the hatred in the world today, especially towards foreigners, and more especially towards Muslims, another group of people, the atheists, have also come upon the scene and added to the vitriol against particular groups. Believing in God is a mental sickness, they say. They would laugh God out of existence. We all have the right to choose our own faith and when you’re older determine if you are where you think you should be. Unfortunately, this is hard to do as we inherit the teachings of our parents and don’t know any better.

A child born into Christianity, Islam or Judaism knows who he is by the time he is four. He knows he goes to church, the synagogue or mosque. He has to have an identity. And so he takes on the teachings and the scriptures which his parents have taught him. By the time he reaches the age of thirty his beliefs are well entrenched. He lives his life as a Christian or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Jew, and a wise man will not interfere in the choice of his faith. One day he meets a man on the street and they discuss God and he finds out that they have very many of the same beliefs and are not so different after all.

What right does a non-believer or one who does not believe in God have that he has the right to bash another person’s faith? In his own way, he is a believer himself because he is an atheist, which is a belief system in itself. Just this afternoon I read in an article a quip by a writer who commented on a post, that bashing religion is fun because the Muslims have no sense of humor. Another one commented as follows: ‘There’s not a moral code atheists have to go by; bollocks to it, I hope to laugh religion out of existence. It deserves to be made fun of.’

Of course not all atheists are religion bashers; there are atheists who believe in the exact same things non atheists believe in, but they have difficulty articulating God. They are still in the midst of who they are and what they really believe – and so there are false claims made in the name of God, that unless you believe in a particular way that you cannot be a real child of God. Jesus belongs to the Christians; He is God. People who are not Christian do not have a God. Why do we have to fight over who God is, who is the number one God, and who God’s children are? If you are immersed in your faith and you really believe in it you do not have to fight so hard to convince those who do not share your beliefs.

Is volunteering good for the soul

Indeed it is. For the most part we live selfish lives and giving back is a way to say thank you to God. We don’t have to have money to do it; there are many ways to volunteer. We could help out at hospice, a shelter, read to sick children, orphans, assist with sick babies or children with HIV. The best way to start is to inquire at an organization where your talents can most be used. We all have talent. Being patient is a talent; also a virtue. Other virtues which could be employed are kindness, compassion, generosity. If you don’t like giving money, give loaves of bread, packets of rice, fish oil to cook, sugar for tea. These small items will help someone out. If you are a teacher you could help with educational needs. You could also help with children, animals, and children with special educational needs.

How to go about finding the best fit for you

• If you have a talent or a particular interest, you could teach that to anyone who is interested in the knowledge. Writing for example can be taught in the comfort of your home.

• Speak to a volunteer adviser and find out where your talents could most be used.

• People of any age should be welcome to join and seniors should not be excluded. For some seniors being useful will be good for them, particularly if they are indoors all day with nothing to do. It will be a kindness to help them start something new in their lives.

• If you know of work at home jobs for women who are eager to learn and earn, there are many jobs that can be done from home allowing women with young children to stay home.

• Volunteer for the right reasons; because you want to and not to earn money. Your reason for being there is to help someone change his or her life.

• There are always new projects or new programs springing up. Put your name on the list of volunteers who are interested in being involved.

• Be sincere. Don’t volunteer because you have ulterior motives. Volunteering your services to help others is a good thing to do as it requires your time, and for some people, particularly for people in business time is something they can ill afford. Such a person would have the right frame of mind of what volunteering entails.

• Once you start on a program, don’t quit just because you didn’t know how much work it would be. Give of yourself whenever you can.

Surviving a panic attack when it happens

It is said that one might forget the angst that happens during a panic attack, but that the body never forgets. The muscles in the body remember the pain and the fear as you struggle to overcome it. It is the same for every attack. The anxiety and fear spins out of control and you think you are going to collapse in the middle of the street and pass out. You feel weak and dizzy. Your heart beats at a phenomenal rate, you have difficulty swallowing. The attack has you in its grip as your heart races and you think you are going to die. The first thing you immediately have to tell yourself is that you are not going to die and that you have had these attacks before and survived.

How it starts

Usually a panic attack starts when you are under stress, or when someone dies, or you fear something; there are many reasons for an attack. You can be naturally fearful and anxious and worry too much about things. What happens is you feel suddenly weird for no reason at all. You notice an increase in your heart rate. Your hands feel sweaty. You perspire. Your breathing is out of control. You panic. The first thing you have to tell yourself is that you are NOT going to die. You have to focus on that one thought. This writer has already fainted in a public place due to fear, and as recently as a few months ago panicked in the underground section of the airport when it was difficult to push the trolley up the ramp. A friend was with me. I was heaving over the trolley holding onto him so as not to drop to the ground. He acted as if nothing was happening. He told me to remain where I was and fetched a bottle of water. We stayed at the airport until I was feeling better, and got into a taxi and came home. The best thing the friend did was to ignore my panic and keep calm. His calmness calmed me.

What you can do

What you have to remember during an attack is that you are not going to die, and focus on your breathing by taking long slow breaths and exhaling slowly. Push everything out of your mind and just do this for ten minutes. Your heavy breathing will stop. Your heartbeat will normalize. Have sips of water in between. Sometimes the panic is also eased when you go to the toilet. If you have survived these attacks in the past you know that you should try to aim for a less stressful life. Anxiety comes as a result of stress. Don’t take pills and get your body used to medication. You should see someone for your anxiety and look for natural remedies to keep calm.