Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

The absurdity behind the idea of God

godEver since I realized I was an atheist and came out of the religious cloud I had been brainwashed into since childbirth, I find myself constantly shaking my head when I see adults talking about God as if they were 5 year olds waiting anxiously for a glimpse of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

It is acceptable to believe in God when you are a child. You are surrounded by authority figures: your mother and father, your teacher, your nanny, your grandparents. God is just one more. As a child, you also lack the reasoning skills to examine what does and does not make sense behind the idea of fantastic beings, tales, monsters, fairies and Santa Claus. Many of these beings inspire fear, idolatry or respect in you. When adults, books or TV shows talk about them, you believe them. After all, they are authority figures who know better.

Once someone reaches their teenage years and has access to more information, it is normal to discredit these beings one by one. Santa Claus and monsters are the first to go. You might still believe in aliens and the Loch Ness monster, because maybe there could be a scientific explanation for them after all. And you sometimes carry on believing in ghosts because you still think there might be life after death-and because there are so many ghost movies around.

Why is that this discovery process does not apply to the notion of a God? Why is it that only a few people reach the conclusion by themselves that God is just one more mythological figure? I would say some people are just more skeptical by nature. They have an inquisitive mind and they like Science. They read about and investigate Evolution, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Or they came across an atheist blog, website or book and have a AHA moment. Or they were fortunate enough to grow up in a secular household.

I grew up with Catholic parents. I used to hear this sentence with frequency: “Let’s leave it in the hands of God”. How can someone with a normal intelligence level and intellect believe that this is a sensible way to conduct your life? Leave it to the hands of God? If you are having a surgery, who will be responsible for the success of the operation, God or your surgeon and anesthesiologist? If you have a job interview, should you be ready and prepared or leave it to the hands of God?

The idea that a power/man/woman/old man with a white beard is responsible for everyone in the planet is daunting. Why would one being have that much power? Who wants to be watched every single second? Why would we want to die and go to heaven for ever and ever floating around? Why would this power (some more open minded people, in the process of becoming agnostics, say they don’t believe in God but in a “higher power”: what is the difference anyway?) make so many mistakes and punish so many innocent people?

We all know that the belief in God is comforting for so many people who need a father figure to feel safe. We also know that many people erroneously associate belief in God with being good and moral. We know that in the early centuries the belief in God was a way to explain natural phenomenon which Science was not yet able to explain. Still, the notion of a God Almighty is a lot more absurd than the need to have that father figure. However, we see many educated people believing and defending their belief with passion. There are those who also believe they have a guardian angel watching their back. My first thought is: “crazy much”?

Pen Jillette described in one sentence the disappointment I feel that so many people in this country hang on to the notion of God. He said, when explaining to Joy Behar why he is a hardcore atheist: “I don’t believe that there are people who believe in God”

November 13, 2009 Posted by | Atheism | 1 Comment

Should you tell your boyfriend you want to get married?

Hmm…I can see some feminists saying I am telling women to be manipulative. I can see people comparing my advice to “The Rules”. Still, I am not the kind of woman who thinks women have to bend over backwards to please men, and I certainly am for women speaking their mind.

However, from living for several decades and seeing women get into all sorts of trouble with the whole proposal/engagement/marriage thing, I have a tiny suspicion: the more you show a man you want to get married (to him, hopefully), the less he will want it. It is sooo biological. We cannot deny evolution, and we cannot deny that men are usually less eager to get married. All those fears about losing their freedom, being accountable, being responsible, not being able to sleep with other women (unless they become rich and famous like David Letterman:)), etc, come into play. So we often hear more stories about men postponing marriage or not wanting to talk about it than women (read my post about commitment phobia from 2008).

Here is the deal: men used to be hunters. They like challenges, and they quickly lose interest in a woman who is too easy a catch. That’s why some of them don’t call after they had sex with you on that one night stand. You can be the most beautiful woman with model looks, have the brain of an Einstein and the kindness of Mother Theresa, but if you pressure him to get married, or indicate that you badlweddingy want to get married (even after 2 years of dating), he will drag his feet.

Why? Because he wants it to be HIS IDEA. He wants to have to convince you!

What if many years go by, you never say anything, and he still doesn’t ask you to marry him? In that case dear, he really doesn’t want to get married, unless he came from a planet where there is no marriage. You then may want to cut your losses and move on to greener pastures, or accept having a relationship without marriage if you love him so much that you can’t live without him (and without making you bitter in the process).

Last Sunday I read an interesting article in the “Love Me” section of the Washington Post. This woman was 32 and divorced. She met this really nice guy, and she told him she did not want to get married again; that she thougt it was an opressive institution for women (??, are we back in the 70’s?). Bingo. That did it. Her BF of course did not take long to propose and asked her to marry him with this original line: “Do you want to grow extremely old with me”? I loved it.

So girls…if the subject of marriage comes up (YOU did not start it!) and your BF asks your opinion, how about saying you are not thinking of marriage? Do you feel that is acting? That it goes against your principles? That you just cannot lie to him? In that case, how about saying: “I will consider getting married when I find the right person”. That does not make you a manipulator or a liar, and might well make him want to become that right person.

And you shouldn’t say: “I am breaking up with you because you don’t want to get married”. He might try to get you back and even propose, but it will still not be his idea, not something he REALLY wants. Basically he is marrying you so he doesn’t lose the relationship entirely, and the consequences are known to many people: a not so committed husband.

So..don’t ooh and ahh when you see an engagement ring ad, when you walk by a wedding dress in a window display or try to have “the talk” with him. He needs to want it too. Badly.

So what do you guys and gals think of this approach? Can we really keep our mouths shut about something so important to us? Is this approach too fake and manipulative, or wise?PS: Now, another little story which disproves this theory (but it can backfire): a woman had just been through a painful break up with a commitment phobic guy. She was tired of dating guys who would not commit. She went to a bar one day not expecting to meet anyone special. A nice guy sat next to her and started a conversation. At a certain point, he asked her: “why are you here alone”? And she said: “because I want to find a guy who will marry me, have 2 kids, the SUV and the single family home”. Did the guy run away? No, he married her. Yes, those things can also happen, so you never know.

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Relationships | 7 Comments

The power of family meals

I was talking to my brother recently and he told me he had discussed a certain issue with his kids over lunch that day. That hit me: wow, it wasn’t even a weekend day, but a work day.

Something almost forgotten these days is the family meal. This is a great habit that bonds parents and kids and provides an opportunity to have important talks with them. In Brazil, they are more common for 2 reasons: parents still come home for lunch, and many families still have maids preparing the main meal of the day, which is lunch. In the US, harried mothers and fathers fix some dinner and many times everyone just grabs their plate and sit in front of the TV, or the computer.

But even in Brazil the family meal is in decline. Less people have maids and more mothers work full jobs. I confess that I only did that with my children on special occasions. Who wants the trouble of setting up the table after working all day? You’re lucky if you have a home cooked meal, as many busy moms just get some ready made food from some supermarket, or even worse, fast food on the way home. Unfortunately, a good opportunity to talk to them without distractions is gone. Maybe we should all use Thanksgiving as that one time a year where we can restore the family meal, a wonderful practice.

family-dinner

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Being a mother, Difference between cultures | Leave a comment

The woman’s checklist

beauty-tipsIt seems that women have so much to do in order to keep up the appearances, literally. Especially as we age, there are so many things we need to do on a regular basis not only to look good but to be healthy. 

There are only 24 hours in a day, and most of us work full time,  sleep about 7 hours a night and sometimes have a husband, boyfriend (or a girlfriend), children or a pet. We also want to watch a favorite show on TV, read the news, listen to music or browse the internet. Some of us even try to keep a blog, however sparingly we write on it 🙂

On top of all that, there are the little things we need to do to ensure we don’t look like old hags from the outside, and all the healthful things to ensure that our insides don’t look like raggedy as well. Because after a certain age, all those annoying things start happening to our bodies, and if we don’t prevent them, we will be just like our old great-aunt who complained of every pain under the sun. Tennis elbow, hemroids, Aquilles tendon, heartburn, restless legs syndrome, cellulite, ingrown nail, cervical cancer, high cholesterol….the list goes on.

So besides eating healthy foods and getting your daily exercise, what other things do we normally have to do to keep ourselves looking good inside and out?

-floss daily

-take multivatimins and calcium daily

-do our nails, once a week or so

-wax or shave pubic hair, underarm hair, legs, moustache..:)

-tweeze those unwanted hairs on our chin that start after the age of 30

-pluck or wax your eyebrows

-retouch your roots every time they show, whether they are dark or grey.

-style or blowdry your hair after you wash it

-botox once every 6 months

-fillers if you are over 45 +

-Pap smear (every year)

-colonoscopy every 10 years if you have no polyps

-mammography every one or two years

-endoscopy if you have any stomach ache/heartburn

-densitometry

-moisturize your face every morning and evening

-moisturize your hands

-moisturize your feet

-moisturize your whole body!

-get a tan, whether a suntan or fake tan to look better

-walk on uncomfortable high heels to look sexy

-have a complete check up every year-heart, blood tests, etc

-put on make up every single day

-wear jewelry almost every day

-make sure your shoes match your outfit and your purse

-go shopping for clothes from the “new season”

-take a shower every day

-make sure you have bowel movements and defecate every day 🙂

-brush your teeth completely twice a day

-pluck those nose hairs if you have them

-file your nails

-have plastic surgery when things start going downhill too much

Some men also follow many of the items listed above, and some metrossexuals do it all, but it is clear that the modern woman has many things to remember on her day to day. Whenever we forget any of the above we feel miserable, as if we were neglecting ourselves.  A lot of women know that feeling. The thing is: we are not perfect, and we cannot control everything. Let’s not beat ourselves on the head if we aren’t able to do it all. Life is too short!

 

 

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Being a woman | Leave a comment