AiTT #4: Literally the Worst Thing
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I want to talk to you today about something that's really important to me and it makes me really nervous to talk about because it's very divisive.
But what are we doing here - unless we're talking about the uncomfortable things? So let's just go into it.
When I first moved out of my ex fiance's house, (my drug addicted ex fiance), I moved into the basement of a Jewish family out in the Bathurst and Finch area of Toronto. It was really a perfect place for me to be at the time. It was very loving and supportive and very family-ish. They invited me in with open arms and they were kind and loving and I've created a bond with with their daughter that continues on Facebook to this day, even though she doesn't live in the country anymore.
I spent a lot of time in their house upstairs.
I spent time with their relatives and guests that came from overseas and came to stay for months.
I was even given a Hebrew name because one of their guests couldn't pronounce Lezley, so she renamed me Aliza - which is actually really beautiful. It means joy in Hebrew, so I have a Jewish name.
Aliza is my Hebrew name. Mordechai ben David P.S. - I don't know anything about this guy; his singing or politics except that his image showed up when I Googled "ben David". By Avinagray (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses /by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I was also told at one point that I am actually secretly Jewish because my last name is Davidson. David means beloved and ben means son, so Davidson is Hebrew for beloved son.
Anyway, I was obviously very welcomed. I felt very at home and I felt safe and it was exactly what I needed at the time to gain my feet and my independence from a pretty toxic relationship. At the same time that I was held in a family like setting - my mum was very happy that I was there as well. She felt very calm and reassured that I would be taken care of as I needed to be.
The second or third year that I was there (I think it was the second year), I was invited to Passover Seder for the first time, and I was very excited because I had been learning a little bit about Judaism. I had gone to synogogue for Yom Kippur, I think.
I'm not sure.
I'd gone to one service and it was interesting because we were separated from the men and they got to do all the things - the reading, the praying, the bowing and the wearing of the things.
The women just sat around and listened in the dark.
We were literally in the dark behind drapes - peeking out every now and then to see what was happening.
I was very interested in Judaism and interested in learning more about it, so I was happy to be invited to a Passover Seder.
My landlord's family came from Israel for Passover. They were staying for many months, and they were having a Passover Seder upstairs at my landlord's house. During the Seder I was having my first bowl of Matzah ball soup (which was actually really good - I don't know why people joke about it because it's actually super yum), and I had squeezed lemon into mine and put it on the table. My landlord's mother reached for the lemon and her sister smacked her hand away, pointed at me, said something in Hebrew and my landlord's mother then reached and took a different lemon and used that one instead.
I was horrified because I knew exactly why she didn't touch it.
She didn't touch it because I'm not Jewish.
As a researched more into it though - it's not only that I wasn't Jewish. It was actually so much worse than that.
It was because I was "unclean".
From Strong's Concordance.
Literally the worst thing
I'm still really bothered by it because it's fundamentally one of the worst things that we do in the world.
Not only was it personally humiliating to me, but there's a much, much bigger problem with that kind of teaching and that kind of thought process and that kind of belief - because it's ultimately a separating of people by value. It's an othering of someone who's not part of your tribe.
It's a fragmenting.
It's a separation problem and what's even a bigger problem is ascribing that separation to God, which not only makes it the "truth", but the truth "forever and for always" as prescribed by the maker of the universe.
I'm going to call bullshit right now.
There's a sense in all of us that we are equal, that we are one and that we always have been and always will be. We're all born into this world knowing on some very deep level that we're all one and we're all the same and that superior / inferior is bullshit.
To believe that God thinks one people are unclean and to have that be a belief about the world becomes something bigger because it's ascribed to God.
It becomes something moral and something "right" and something that has always been and is always intended to be and that there's no questioning it.
You can't question "God" and your religious leaders - not without consequence.
However, believing anyone who is not part of your tribe is "unclean" places some people as more valuable than others and roots that distorted belief at a very deep level. I think we all know that some people being more valuable than others is not true, that's not ever been true and it won't ever be true and has never been the case.
The thing is - if we believe that some people are foul, that some people are unclean and if we believe it to be true - we believe that we're separate from them, how does that open up for all the ways that we can "other" people and dismiss them and dehumanize them?
That kind of belief system is what fundamentally, fundamentally fragments and gives everyone some level of permission to dehumanize, to separate and to treat other people inhumanely and without compassion.
"Othering" people and calling some people unclean or foul or "less than" is a way to discount and dismiss them.
It's a way for us to not have to consider them at all.
This is Humans Work
A super uncomfortable example of what can happen when we see others as less valuable than ourselves is with the East Ramapo region of the New York School District.
This American Life told the story of how one group basically defunded a public school system in favour of their own group. I don't think we can do that if we feel that those people are equal to us and are worth as much and are just as valuable. I don't think that kind of thing can happen.
The belief in that sort of separation, and believing, especially in our religion and in our beliefs about the creator of the universe and God and and how that is a moral thing or right thing is very dangerous. Having beliefs that we are separate from others is just open to ways of dehumanizing each other.
I think it's terrible and I think it's rife in all religions.
That's what I want to make really clear.
This is something that we do as human beings.
This is not something that is a spiritual concept; separation, fragmentation, superior, inferior, clean, unclean.
That's not a spiritual concept.
That's not something that exists in an omnipresent, infinite consciousness - that's human. That's the small, small minds of human beings and I want to make that separation.
Religions make God small - reduce God to something human and small and much, much less than what God actually is.
We separate, we fracture, we create value over, "better than" value. More important, less important.
We do that. We do that.
We like to say it's God - but that is all us. 100% small human mindedness.
God doesn't do that crap. It's never done that. That's not part of the spiritual universe at all. That's what we do, but then we ascribe it to God to give it power and to give it merit and so that you and I will obey and I'm saying, fuck that.
That's not true at all.
That's not true. We're going to call it out.
There is no one unclean.
There is no separation.
There is no fragmentation.
This is the worst thing that we do in the world.
It's literally the worst thing.
It's literally the worst thing that we do, is to separate and then claim that "God said it was so" to separate and then say, oh, well, you're unclean.
We're clean but you're unclean. If you don't want to be unclean, you should come on our team and be clean or less foul or less separated or saved or whatever the fucking buzzword it is that you have for being part of the tribe.
Instead of actually questioning the fundamental wrongness of there being any separation to begin with, it's literally the worst thing that we do because from that, is the belief that you can separate people, that there's any gradation of value and that there's any way to treat someone else's other than you. It's literally the worst thing that we do.
There's no religion, there's no excuse, there's no belief anywhere that you can convince me that it's OK to say that one group is better than another, more holy, more clean, more chosen, more saved.
We know it's bullshit, and it's just a way for the in-group that's talking to ascribe this belief to the "rightness" of God. It's a way to make that "in-group" to be special.
There's no fucking special people.
There's no special.
There's never been.
We're all in it together forever.
We're all in it together, forever.
That's how it's always been.
That's how it's always going to be.
It's literally the worst thing that we do because it's the basis for every cruelty that we commit on one another. It is the basis for every cruelty - this idea that some people don't matter or that some people matter more.
It's the basis for every cruelty.
It's the only way that we can dehumanize someone is to think that they're not as important or as valuable as we are, and the greatest injustice to me is the fact that someone would say that God "says so".
That anyone would claim that God says that, is to me, the biggest hubris in the world.
To ascribe small minded human separation and belief in fragmentation to God is ridiculous.
It's absolutely ridiculous.
I'm going to investigate more fully going forward. I don't know when I'm going to be ready to talk about it, but there's two things that I'm interested in. Three things actually.
One is I want to talk about how the religions are the same and how all the religions of the world fragment and separate us. I want to have frank conversations about that.
More importantly, I want to dig into who has the right to speak for God - who up until now has the right to speak for God and who going forward is going to speak for God?
Who, who now? Because I gotta be honest. All the bibles have said, all the time of miracles are over and there's no more prophets.
Oh my God, that's not true.
That's not even remotely true, but it's a good way to keep people listening to just your own message and not have to change and grow and evolve like we're supposed to.
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