WOW #19

Icon

Iconoclastic

Definitions for iconoclastic
attacking or ignoring cherished beliefs and long-held traditions, etc., as being based on error, superstition, or lack of creativity:
an iconoclastic architect whose buildings are like monumental sculptures.
breaking or destroying images, especially those set up for religious veneration.

Origin of iconoclastic

Iconoclastic is an adjective derived from the nouns iconoclasm “image smashing” and iconoclast “image smasher.” The Greek noun eikn means “image, likeness,” whether a painting or a statue; -clast and -clastic- derive from the Greek adjective klastós “broken in pieces.” The most famous instance of iconoclasm began under the Byzantine emperor Leo III the Isaurian (c680–741). It lasted from about 726 to 787 and was partly based on the injunction against graven images in the Hebrew Bible (the second of the Ten Commandments recorded in Exodus and Deuteronomy). A second period of iconoclasm occurred in Switzerland, the Holy Roman Empire, France, and elsewhere in Western Europe in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation. Iconoclastic entered English in the 17th century. The modern nonreligious, secular sense arose in the 19th century.

I’ve never really been one to follow the rank and file; especially when I found that ‘rank’ means having a foul, offensive odor, and ‘file’ is an abrasive tool.  To the Brits, a ‘file’ can be a sly, cunning, or artful person, like Oliver Twist’s Artful Dodger pickpocket.  I’ve known a lot of foul-smelling, abrasive, dodgy tools in my time.  I did it my way, long before Frank Sinatra sang about it.

I tried to be part of the sheep herd, but, even before I was out of short pants, I realized that their baa-ing didn’t describe reality. I was a goat among the sheep, and I was often made the goat, when I pointed that out.

Respect politicians??! They put on their bullied, bought, coerced and cozened pants, one nepotistic leg at a time, the same as honest people.  Even the few who start out with the best of intentions, soon are turned rotten or disillusioned.

Respect police??! The people whose enforcement of the laws tends to make them believe that there are two sets of laws, one for you and me, and another (complete with free passes) for them?  I respect the work they do and the Police Forces, but it’s hard to respect a group of folks which include testosterone-soaked alpha-males who severely beat citizens – not criminals, not even suspects, but innocent civilians – simply because they do not immediately, and unquestioningly, obey illegal commands.

I have unkind thoughts and words for officers who take a 6-pack of beer along on a midnight patrol. I regard as unsafe, but typically entitled, an officer who flicks on his cruiser’s lights and siren to skate through a red light, and turns them off again a block later, to turn into a coffee/donut shop.

Save the best for last, because, even the definition emphasises it – RELIGION – which, in this area, means all the many different, mutually incorrect branches of Christianity.   Whether by Atheists, Jews, Muslims, or just another Christian sect, any time the particular and peculiar aspects of any given denomination are questioned or contradicted, there is always the outcry that, “You have to respect religious practices.” Why?  You don’t!  What you really mean is that your religious practices should be respected.  The only reason that the assertion is broadly stated, is so that your group is included.

Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. So also, your faith and reverence does not mean that I must show reverence, when I find your beliefs and ceremonies, rites and rituals to be superstitious, foolish and misguided.  Screw you and your commandment-violating icons and paintings and statues, as you worship and show reverence on the commandment-violating wrong day of the week.

I’m not usually enough of an asshole to go out and actively be Iconoclastic, but when some other asshole proudly shows me “To Serve And Protect”, and I know it’s only to serve his/her own best interests and protect his ass; when someone boasts of their ‘inerrant Bible, or Koran’, or their ‘infallible Pope, or Imam’, then my ‘private opinions’ become a little more public.

A lot of people don’t even form opinions about things that they really should. Many of them hesitate to ‘rock the boat’ by disagreeing.  I’ve never had that problem.  I will call a spade a fucking shovel, and then use it to dig out of the bullshit being spread.   😯

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THE BLOG-POST THAT I WAS NEVER GOING TO WRITE

Bible

God is for the wise – religions are for fools.

“The totally convinced and the totally stupid have too much in common for the resemblance to be accidental.” ~Robert Anton Wilson

Dear God (if you’ll excuse the expression), how can they so casually dismiss everybody else’s religious claims, yet profess to unflinchingly believe the exact, same thing, with a different color paint on it.

I don’t call myself an Atheist.  I don’t call myself much of anything.  If I have to, I like the son’s definition – A Militant Agnostic.  I don’t know, and neither do you.  I have been called many things by ‘religious people.’  Every person, and every religion, creates a ‘God’ in the way they want Him to be.  I like to think that there’s a unifying force in/to the universe, so I believe in a God, just not your God, subject to your imaginings, and all the man-made rules and restrictions of your particular (or anybody else’s) religion.

Muslims fight with Jews, who feel that Christians are mistaken. Catholics look down on Protestants.  ‘Good Christians’ claim that Mormons are ‘not Christians,’ even though they worship the same God, and accept Jesus as their savior.  They just don’t believe that Christ was the last person to hear from God.

If there is a Divine Being who created Heaven and Earth, there’s only one of Him/It, but you’d never know that from some Christian claims.  A caller to the Atheist Experience show railed that the Atheists, “are almost as bad as those Godless Muslims”, not seeing the contradiction.

Steam ears

The moderator insisted that Muslims are not Godless. “In fact, they worship the same God that you do.”  I thought the caller was going to explode!  Apparently a good Catholic, he insisted, “They do not!  We worship God in three parts!  They only worship one God.”….but it’s the same God.  The problem is not with different Gods.  The problem is how different people worship, view, pray to, and react with, one God, in different ways. You see Him in three parts.  They see Him as one unified whole.  People were burned at the stake over how many Angels could dance on the head of a pin.  Far too many exclusionary fools seem far too worried about irrelevant, unimportant details.  Who’s right?  All of them – and none.

A well-known Atheist, sarcastically claimed that, “We’re all Atheists.  I just worship one less God than you do.”  The words were scarcely out of his mouth, before the Christian Apologetics, obviously missing the irony, insisted that, ‘Well, that’s okay for those gods, but ours is the REAL God, the particular imaginary one that we believe in and expect you to believe in, with no more proof of existence than Odin, Zeus, Jove, Yahweh or Allah.’

A good Catholic, who thought that my That’s Not Funny post wasn’t that funny, sent me some more Christian vs. Atheists jokes.

  1. Q: What do you get when you cross an atheist and a Jehovah’s Witness?
    A: Somebody knocking at your door for no reason.

2.  Q: Why did the Atheist cross the road?
A: He thought there might be a street on the other side, but he wouldn’t believe it until he tested his hypothesis.

and finally…
3.  Q: What is so ironic about Atheists?
A: They’re always talking about God.

The third joke is especially true of you non believers. How many articles do you see written on my blog professing the existence of the Lord? I don’t write many because I know He is there. This is the same reason I have absolutely no blog posts on the legs of the chair I am sitting on…I know they are there.

That’s fine – until you sit down on that chair that you know is there – and it isn’t.  We’ve all done it; some of us more than once.  The same thing could happen with ‘your God.’  A little double-checking couldn’t hurt.

You don’t even need to be Atheist, to feel that Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on people’s doors for no reason. Christians will belittle and make fun of ‘Jovies,’ but, when push comes to shove, they’ll cut them some slack, “Because they are Christians, after all – sadly mistaken Christians – but ‘one of us.’”

An open mind can always stand a closed one, if it has to – by making room for it in the general picture. But a closed mind can’t stand it near an open one without risking immediate and complete destruction in its own terms.  In a closed mind, there’s no more room. Gordon R. Dickson, author – Tiger Green – 1965

The Atheist-crossing-the –road joke isn’t funny, because it ridicules those who seek the truth.  Truth may not be what you ‘believe’ it to be.  The unquestioning faithful may blindly believe in salvation, but in no other life endeavor, would non-cynical, un-researched participation in a course of action, be considered a good idea.  The ‘God’ that you believe in, is not any other person’s ‘God’, not your husband’s, your wife’s, the person next to you in the church pew – or even the priest/preacher at the front.

The third one shows how some Christians mistakenly feel themselves attacked. Atheists don’t ‘always talk about God.’ They talk about Christians, talking about their God – claiming to know what He thinks and wants. If there were more Christians, secure in their own, but quietly acceptant of others’ opinions, and fewer aggressive know-it-alls, there’d be far fewer Atheists pointing out apparent mistakes and contradictions.  If Snidely Smartass hadn’t published his ‘Smart Christian – Dumb Atheist’ joke, I wouldn’t have written my post.  As ye sow, so shall ye reap.   😛

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That’s Not Funny

Comedy

Wait, wait, I gotta go back. I forgot to tell you that the kangaroo was left-handed….

I’m sure that, at least once, you’ve all encountered a joke-teller – really, a joke-killer – like the one above. THAT’S NOT FUNNY!

I suppose that one of the reasons I’m interested in jokes and comedy, is that they require crisp, clear, concise, complete communication. The Devil, and the humor, is often in the details.

I first started hearing and collecting jokes when I entered Grade 1. The worldly-wise Grade 2 boys had worldly-wise (for 6/7 year-olds) jokes.

Bobby’s mother sent him to the store to pick up some groceries. On the way home, he tripped, and he and the bag of groceries fell into a mud puddle.  “Jesus Christ Almighty,” he said angrily.  A passing Minister demanded, “What did you say?”  I just said, “The cheese and rice got all muddy.

That joke is not funny, but a six-year-old boy trying out public profanity for the first time, and desperately attempting to evade adult retribution is.

Some people just should not be allowed to (try to) tell jokes. They may be the same people who wander from lane to lane, make left turns from the right lane or drive at 50MPH in the fast lane on the Interstate.

I was at a business dinner one evening, when I heard the beginnings of a joke, so I jammed my ear in to catch it.

The Good-Old-Boy Southern Sheriff dragged Bubba up before the judge. The judge asked, “What’s the charge?”  The Sheriff answered, “Arson, Your Honor.”  The judge said, “There’s been too much of that going on recently.  That’ll be a $300 fine.”

There were a few polite chuckles, and suddenly, everybody had somewhere else to be. THAT’S NOT FUNNY.  Two years later, I was at another meeting, and heard the beginning of the same joke.

The Good-Old-Boy Southern Sheriff dragged Bubba up before the judge. The judge asked, “What’s the charge?”  The Sheriff answered, “Arson, Your Honor.”  The judge said, “There’s been too much of that going on recently.  Now I want you to marry the girl, and make an honest woman of her.”

Oh, arson/arsin’. How could someone not get that punch line, or think that a fine was funny?

In mining a joke site, I recently downloaded what I, at first, thought was a cute joke that I could include in a comedy post. The more I studied it, the more I realized that, THAT’S NOT FUNNY.

An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned to her and said, “Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”

The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, “What would you want to talk about?” “Oh, I don’t know,” said the atheist. “How about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?” as he smiled smugly.

“Okay,” she said. “Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass, yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?”

The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, “Hmmm, I have no idea.”

To which the little girl replies, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don’t know shit?” And then she went back to reading her book.

With a bit of study and thought, what at first seems innocent and amusing, soon becomes a desperate Christian attempt at an Atheist joke. For a joke to work, like a book or movie, there must be a voluntary suspension of disbelief.  This thing is chock-a-block with heavy-handed failure.

Airlines do not place ‘little girls’ next to random older men, whether Atheist or not. They put them next to their mother or father, or at least nearby.  A random pedophile might start a conversation with a little girl, but an Atheist would know that a parent would soon interfere, since Christians deem them more dangerous than pedophiles.  I just love the insertion of, “smiled smugly.”

Atheists don’t generally discuss, what is an adult theme, with children until they are old enough to think on their own. Cows, horses and deer don’t actually eat the same thing – grass, and there are physiological reasons for the differences in their scat, despite the Atheist’s inability to respond.

The Christian girl is shown to be more intelligent and knowledgeable than the adult Atheist, and the ‘don’t know shit’ line just pounds home Atheists’ apparent ignorance. While not capitalized in the joke, it is obvious that the girl returns to reading, not just ‘her book,’ but her Book, the Holy Bible, from which all knowledge of shit flows.

I’ll be back soon with some jokes that actually are funny.   😆

Condiments’ Comments

ketchup-2

Two tomatoes cross the street. One of the tomatoes gets hit by a car. The other tomato goes “Aw, come on… Catch up!”

A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: “A beer please, and one for the road.”

“TOWEL HEADS”
Recently I received a warning about the use of this politically  incorrect term, so please try to pay attention.  We have been informed that the Islamic terrorists who hate our guts do not like to be called “Towel Heads,” since the item they wear on their heads is actually a small, folded sheet.
Therefore, from this point forward, please refer to them as:
“Little Sheet Heads.”
Thank you for your support and compliance on this delicate matter.

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A little silver-haired lady calls her neighbor and says, “Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can’t figure out how to get started.”
Her neighbor asks, “What is it supposed to be when it’s finished?”

The little silver-haired lady says, “According to the picture on the box, it’s a rooster.”
Her neighbor decides to go over and help with the puzzle. She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.
He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, “First of all, no matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster.”
He takes her hand and says, “Secondly, I want you to relax. Let’s have a nice cup of tea, and then,” he says with a deep sigh……
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corn-flakes

Let’s put all the Corn Flakes back in the box.

MEN AND WOMEN
WHO DOES WHAT

A man and his wife were having an argument about who
Should brew the coffee each morning. The wife said,
‘You should do it because you get up first,

And then we don’t have to wait as long to get our coffee.
The husband said, ‘You are in charge of cooking around here and
You should do it, because that is your job,
and I can just wait for my coffee.’

Wife replies, ‘No, you should do it, and
Besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee.’
Husband replies, ‘I can’t believe that, show me..’
So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament
And showed him at the top of several pages,
That it indeed says ‘HEBREWS’

 

Flash Fiction #116

pigeonhole

PHOTO PROMPT © Claire Fuller

JUDGEMENT DAY

In a way, it must be comforting to have everything ‘figured out’, and have labels for everyone and everything. If only people would keep their mouth shut about them.  People like his dim-witted, red-neck, Bible-thumping, narrow-minded, KKK-supporting, Trump-voting boss. He spewed opinions about everybody.

Negroes (not his term) were stupid, lazy, jungle-bunnies. Chicanos were job-stealing taco benders.  Jews were Christ-killing con artists.  And those homosexual sinners???  Well, he knew which guys walking down the street were gay, just by the way they moved.

It must feel good to put everyone in a pigeonhole, even if they weren’t the right ones.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

 

Religious Addiction

Bible

A letter came to a pastor recently, from a middle-aged woman determined to take her own life. She has already made an attempt.  She suffers from extremely low self-esteem, depression and other afflictions.

She feels desperate, “cut off from God” and beyond divine forgiveness. Certain readers will already be saying to themselves that she needs to be “saved,” to be “born again,” and to join a church where they “preach the Gospel.”

However, this woman has already been through all that. A Theologian read her letter and felt it was quite obvious that she suffered from far too much literalistic fundamentalism already.  Like hundreds of similar others over the years, she is being tormented by the very religion she once turned to for comfort and “salvation.”

Briefly stated, she is suffering from a form of religion that is ‘bad religion.’ It’s growing and becoming very powerful in some quarters today.  It can look successful on the outside, even imparting a glazed but glowing countenance, but it can tear apart people’s souls.

This form of ‘addictive’ religiosity is not confined to circles dominated by TV evangelists or excessively zealous priests. It cuts across all Christian denominations and, in varying degrees, all other faiths.

Here are some of its major characteristics. It touts black and white answers to every problem – from hormone issues (sex), to when and how the universe was formed.  It encourages passive dependence on a host of authorities, from sacred texts, to faith leaders at every level.  It fosters simplistic, ‘magical’ thinking.  It diminishes one’s autonomy, self-reliance, confidence in one’s own inner voice and ability to grow either emotionally or intellectually.

It views all other faith stances as wrong – or even Satanic, leading to “Hell.”  Such a system whines a lot about what “miserable sinners” we all are and yet never asks itself why it leaves such incredible guilt, anxiety and loss of self-esteem in its wake.

Priest

Yes, it can produce an overinflated ‘high’ at being on the “winning side,” as “God’s elect,” but at a terrible price. This is referred to as loss of authenticity and of one’s inner convictions.  The God being served is too often a narrow, small, vengeful, tribal deity, who is nonetheless supposedly loving.

The Churchman reflected on this phenomenon as he worked on answering the suicide note. Suddenly, with a genuine synchronicity, his mail arrived with a copy of an article from Pastoral Psychology, a magazine dedicated to learned articles on various aspects of soul-care – mainly for clergy, psychotherapists and other counsellors.

It was titled “Religious Addiction, The Subtle Destruction Of The Soul.” It was written by Patricia Anne Venderheyden, a psychotherapist in private practice in London, Ontario.  Her Master’s thesis is from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, and was focused on this same issue: religious addiction.

As she told him in an interview, this isn’t a subject that has received much attention in the past. It certainly deserves it today!  She had pondered for many years, beginning with her own experiences of certain faith groups, why it is that so many in every religion gravitate to authoritarian cliques with such alacrity and yet, in the end, with such disastrous results.

She wrote: “I observed how people’s inner authority was compromised in order to fit in with a system of belief whose standards were impeccable – and unattainable. I saw people accepted into groups only if they ‘jumped through the right hoops’, dotted their i’s and watched their p’s and q’s.” The ‘addicts’ had a show of freedom, yet their proclamations seemed ‘hollow and empty.’

She saw many such persons blindly accepting the words and advice of religious elders. All critical awareness and thinking for themselves had long since been suppressed.  “The addicts wanted to be told that he or she was absolutely right, and that any form of questioning is evil.” she said.

Certainly, authorities can help someone at first, but if they are compulsively used ‘as a way of avoiding one’s own reality,’ they ruin one’s hopes of ever becoming mature in either mind or spirit. The addicts she describes are ‘religious junkies,’ obsessed with mood alteration and a quick fix to face life.

There’s no need to assign blame. Religious leaders can nurture an addictive faith unwittingly by never stopping to ask questions of the style and content of their ministry, such as: To whom does it cater, and why?  With what results?

Believers who are really avoiding the shame and pain within by refusing to tackle it, and by ‘leaving it all to God,’ need to stop and realize that the rigidity and exclusivity of addictive religion can one day leave you empty, out of touch with your real self and, hence, engulfed by fear and despair.   😦

 

Flash Fiction #98

Flood

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

HOW DRY I AM

Rain, rain, go away! Come again another day!

Bobby had always been an active boy, into baseball, football and Scout Camp. He wondered how many times he’d made that plea over the years.  Too many, obviously!

Into each life, some rain must fall. All he’d been doing was delaying the inevitable.  How long had it rained in the Bible??   Forty days and forty nights?!!

His family had retreated up this mountain when the floods came. He hoped that the water level would start receding, before clouds gathered, the sky opened up, and he had to wish the rain away again.

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.