All over the world our lives are shaped by our beliefs. Some believe that there is but one God, others say there are 3. Some believe there are no gods whilst others swear that spiritual forces exist, yet others believe in the theory of the 'Big Bang'. Some believe they are white witches, some choose the way of satanism, whilst others still put it all down to random causality.
We label ourselves with all these titles in order to let the world know where we stand, and what we believe.
Further still, there are many more religions for want of a better word, that people follow and adhere to.
Though we may believe in different things, what we all have in common is that our beliefs control what we do in life. If we behave differently, it is because we believe differently.
We set our morals around our beliefs, we set aside certain days and/or times of the week to practice it, we refuse to eat particular foods/drinks because of it, we may dress in a particular style as required by it, we may even choose to marry someone from our own group because of it.
We close our ears and shun outsiders who don't think as we do. We mock and ridicule those who dare question our beliefs - innocent as it may be at times. We threaten war due to it, and ultimately we beat our chests in defiance to all, that we have the utmost truth.
OK, so you believe what you believe, whatever that may be. But have you ever asked yourself where this belief came from? Or why do you believe what you believe?
Do you believe as your parents did? If so is it really your belief? If not, why not?
Or have you had an out of the ordinary, supernatural experience that moved you from believing one thing to another?
Do you rely on your reason? If so, how do you account for others, as intelligent as you, who are of a different opinion?
Where do beliefs come from? Is it possible to 'invent' a new belief, or can it only come from the inspiration of a 'higher power'?
If you claim to have no beliefs, then why do you believe in nothing? Is it even possible to believe in nothing? Isn't to believe in nothing an act of faith?
Do you just rely on your gut feeling in the pit of your stomach? What makes your gut so trustworthy?
Did you do any type of research into what you believe or do you believe by default, without even questioning?
I'm not looking to abuse or challenge what anyone believes, in fact, I don't even need to know what you believe. What I'm trying to get at is how you came to believe it, in the light of the questions above.
Friday, 29 June 2012
Friday, 22 June 2012
As you start to read this you get a call from the hospital. The love of your life (whoever that may be) has had a serious accident. You arrive at the hospital as next of kin, and you are told by the consultant that your loved one not only has a slim chance of recovery but if they do recover (in the doctor's opinion) there is a possibility that they could be severely disabled physically and mentally for life, and will need 24/7 care day and night. Within days you are given the option to say your goodbyes and turn off the life support. What would you do?
And this is where I need your help. For those of you who said yes, do you feel that you have assisted someone to die, irrespective of who turned the switch off?
Right now in the High Courts of the UK there is an ongoing case regarding a man called Tony Nicklinson who had a stroke 7 yrs ago and now has 'locked-In Syndrome', meaning that he is trapped inside his own body. His mind is unaffected, but he is paralysed from the neck downwards, he communicates by blinking (using a computer) and says his 'life is a living hell'. His legal team is at the High Courts petitioning for his right to have an assisted death as he is physically unable to end his own life without assistance.
I'm not trying to provoke a religious argument on life or death, but rather look at the wider implications that this can have on all of us in a matter of years if this case succeeds. Could this be the thin end of the wedge? A trojan horse for full euthanasia.
Could this 'right to die' case today be extended tomorrow to people suffering from any debilitating illness? Later still, could it not broaden even more, to those who have disabilities that are too hard to cope with, or further still, to the elderly who can't look after themselves? Can you see where I'm going with this? After all, wouldn't it take a great pressure off the National Health Service system, freeing up valuable resources? Wouldn't it lessen the burden on carers?
This has already happened with 'abortion'. It seems to me that it is being used more and more as a viable option for birth control, rather than what it was originally intended for.
Now on the flip side of all this, suppose the person did recover, but had severe mental and/or physical impairment? We may have no idea how much pain that person may be suffering. It is fortunate that Mr Nicklinson can communicate, even just by blinking his eyes. Otherwise, how would we know when they are in pain and when to give medication to ease it? If we knew when to turn them over they wouldn't get bed sores. If we knew when they wanted to go to the toilet, they wouldn't have to wear nappies/incontinence pads, and suffer more indignity every time they soiled the bedding. If we knew what they wanted to eat we wouldn't be giving them half the stuff they may not like or probably force them to eat it, when if fact they weren't actually hungry. We wouldn't turn the light off putting them to bed when they weren't even tired. The reality is, that most people cannot afford to pay for care, so it may be a family member who gets to do all this. What a flip side.
And to muddy the waters even more, what if the doctor's prognosis was wrong and they happened to be the 1 in a 1000 that made a full recovery? After all, doctors can make mistakes.
Would anyone like to clarify how you view assisted suicide, 'do not resuscitate', euthanasia, or 'the right to die'?
I'm really interested to hear your views on this, particularly if you have had to care for someone or have medical experience of this issue.
Aren't doctors supposed to save lives and not assist you in dying?
Friday, 15 June 2012
First of all, I need to make a very strong point before I start. I do not condone anything that a paedophile does in any way, shape or form. Paedophiles commit serious sexual offences against our vulnerable children. But I also on the other hand, feel that we have a responsibility to not play into their hands too. This is a long one.
Paedophiles are not people who stand out from the crowd, they do not bring attention to themselves, they blend in with society very well. They look like US, they come in all shapes and sizes, come from different backgrounds, male and female- yes females have their part in this too. Paedophiles are single, married, in relationships, have children and lead successful lives. In the last few days 76 people were arrested around the country in a police raid when a suspected internet paedophile ring was smashed.
Amongst those arrested were a pathologist, fireman, teacher, scout leader, computer programmer and government employees. Paedophile rings use highly sophisticated systems in order to hide what they are doing. They are not stupid people.
Parents, family members and friends play very important roles in a child's life.
It grieves me when I see children's clothes shops selling clothes that sexualize our children. The skimpy shorts/skirts, the cropped tops showing off the chest, bikinis that barely fit, sparkly make-up and nail varnish for children and high heels. These things may look cute in a shop but am I fair to say that children should be allowed to be 'children', and we should not be dressing them up as sexy adults? Could your child be bringing unwanted sexual attention to some sick people? Those shops are only in business because we buy from them. Do you really think about the gifts you buy for any child? This kind of cute don't cut it for me.
We seem to laugh at parties when a small child wearing provocative clothing emulates suggestive dances they have seen from watching sexually explicit images contained in a number of pop videos. It really isn't that funny. Isn't this effectively grooming the young generation, exposing them to age inappropriate images and behaviours and normalising what is effectively soft porn? Children act out what they see. If what they see is Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyonce or a rap video filled with strippers, how do we expect them to behave?
I often see extremley young children playing out on the streets during the evenings with no adult around. Ideal opportunity for stranger-danger. Where is your child tonight?
Some parents allow their children to sleep over at a friend's house. Have you ever really taken time to get to know the parents first? Or do you just see it as a chance to have a well earned break? Whilst your child is surfing the net, do you ever keep an eye on what they are doing? or are you happy just to know the child is keeping quiet whilst you watch part 2 of the reality show? Are you the type of parent that your child can discuss things with, or would they sooner confide in a friend if they felt uncomfortable about the way an adult was beginning to approach them? You should be their first port of call.
Do you make any effort to ensure that your childminder has an up to date Criminal Records Bureau check? Or are you too much in a hurry? in other words, the neighbour down the road will do!
If you just stopped and thought about what paedophiles actually do to children you may be a little more cautious. I know you can't be expected to stop every paedophile or child sex offender, and you can't be expected to be there at every turn. But the care you take could stop one person taking serious liberties against your child or someone else's.
Child sex offenders go to a lot of trouble to hide what they are doing, so why don't we spend the same amount of time and trouble protecting our children?
So let's safeguard our children against paedophiles.
I would be interested to hear your views, experiences and opinions on this.
Friday, 8 June 2012
LOVE. A 4-letter word whose profound sense has become cheapened. Over the years the word 'love' has become watered down to a point where it really no longer has much meaning. It has become a word that we know how to use in appropriate moments and at the most convenient of times. People often associate love with a gooey emotional feeling - but feelings are notoriously fickle. So, what exactly is love and what does it mean to love?
Is it love when your best friend tells you that your husband/wife is having an affair?
Is it love when you say 'no' to a child who wants something that is not good for them?
Or is it love when a person gives up their job and career to nurse a sick relative, and resents them for it?
How about the parents who participated in their daughter's death, because they thought the daughter dishonoured the family? Is that concept of family honour an expression of family love?
How about the wife who convinces her husband how much she loves him, yet she can be found in the arms of another man on a regular basis, whilst he waits patiently at home?
How about the man who batters a woman, because of his fear that she might leave him... because he loves her so much?
How about those special occasions when you have a lovely big birthday bash? Listen to some of those speeches, how your friends make a big deal about how they love you and would do anything for you, but where exactly were they when you called for help in the middle of the night, did they even return your call? You hardly get to see them from one year to another but yet they always manage to make the party!
How about the parent who forced her daughter to go to the police to confess her part in the London riots last summer? Was it tough love? A lesson learned in time before her daughter went further down the criminal path? Or a betrayal of parental care?
Oh, how about the dreaded funerals, the ones where everyone is totally in love with the deceased but yet when the deceased was alive, people wouldn't even spit on them if they were on fire, so is it love?
Is it love when someone is in a vegetative state, being kept alive by a machine, with no hope of recovery, and you choose to switch that machine off? Or would love keep the machine on?
LOVE. Such a little word, designed to be filled with a big meaning, but so often sounding empty and hollow.
Prince Edward gave up the crown because he loved Mrs Simpson. But shouldn't he have loved his country more instead, and done his duty? What would you have done?
I had an example close to home. My neighbour died of a heart attack, leaving behind a husband who told me that he could not live without the love of his life, his wife of 60 years. He loved her. He died within 3 months of a broken heart.
Upon reflection of all this, what does love mean to you?
Friday, 1 June 2012
Why is it so hard for many of us to accept the bodies that we have been given? Why can't we just look in the mirror without a snarl or snigger, prod or poke and applaud who we are? What's so wrong about loving certain parts of our bodies that some may call flaws or imperfections? After all, we are all unique human beings anyway, so what's up with looking different?
So many people are resorting to comestic surgery in order to enhance their beautiful body, but enhancing is not always the end result. I'm not debating the fact that some people have illnesses/diseases that require some type of restorative or cosmetic surgery but rather I'm talking about the people who have no qualms about going under the knife when nothing is physically wrong with them. The bigger the breasts the more attention a girl gets. The larger the 'pects' the more masculine a man is perceived to be, you know exactly what I mean.
Remember all the saga about the french company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) who sold breast implants which contained industrial grade silicone rather than the medical grade? Only now are we finding out how there was an increased risk of this product rupturing in the body. This same french company has apparently also sold many of these implants to men who wanted to enhance their masculine look. You need only search the internet to check these facts.
For the sake of beauty many lives have been lost. You can suffer loss of sensation, nerve damage, infections, allergic reactions, heart attacks, blood clots, physical scarring and many other complications.
Now these same patients are being left in a far worse condition with an added cost and element of risk to remove or replace them.
Should we not concentrate more on getting to know the character and personality of others, rather than basing our whole perception of them on how they look? Could this lie at the root of the failure of many personal relationships? We already know how much we are manipulated via the media, how photos are doctored using colour to make our skins lighter or darker, how we are made to look thinner or more shapely than we actually are. How a bald person can be made to look as if they have a full head of hair. The list is endless.
There is one point that I have been thinking about for a while. You can cosmetically change nearly every part of your body to make yourself feel great. But if you are still that loud mouthed uncontrollable witch with no sympathy, empathy, no heart, then you are still exactly the same person you were before. You see, old problems and baggage won't go away unless you deal with them and no surgeon's knife will change that fact.
You see, I'm not perfect looking. I should have looked after my body more as I was growing up, so there are bits n pieces that don't exactly fall in the right place. I loathe it, but surgery's 'not for me'. First I need to deal with my inner perception of myself and at the same time, work on the outside with a healthy diet and exercise.
Should it matter whether others find me handsome or attractive? Surely the important thing is having confidence in my own body and being comfortable in my own skin.
Can cosmetic surgery ever be a solution?
Are you comfortable in your own skin?
You are welcome to share your thoughts, experiences and struggles.