Is Atheism A Bad Idea?

Atheism

He was an Atheist for 40 years, then one day, he became Catholic. (Or so he claims. I suspect a troll.) Not A Catholic – merely Catholic. He and I had some words. They grew too numerous for a comments column…. so here we are again.

And how miserable does atheism make you? Choosing it is a bit like choosing to be fatherless in the world. Left to your own devices.

For someone claiming to be Atheist for forty years, his assumptions and questions are bewildering. He seems to imply that morality must be applied from outside. A moral framework must be accepted internally, even if it is supplied from the outside. I know “Good Catholics” who believe in divorce and remarriage, gay marriage, and priests being married – all ‘sins’ to the church. Atheism does not make people miserable. It frees them to enjoy the natural beauty of the world and the Universe, revel in the companionship of friends and family, and be proud of how much better they’ve made and left it all.

He seems to feel that he needs some kind of social and moral crutch. Most Atheists want to be left to their own devices. They have the strength of will and character to deal with life and reality on their own. Is he too stupid or lazy to formulate and apply his own moral code??

True Atheists simply do not see convincing evidence of the existence of God, or gods. They do not “choose” to be Atheist. Anyone who claims they do, or that someone else did, is mistaken and often an intentional liar.

Do you have children? Do you have a set of values? How do you pass them on? Do you even want to pass them on or do you want to just let the thousands of ancestors of yours who struggled to survive only for you to say, “eff it, my line is OUT”? (He wants me to continue to be Christian – and fruitful – simply to please my dead predecessors??!)

I have a set of values – Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you. – which is neither original, nor exclusive, to the Bible. Do the greatest good for the greatest number. I passed them on to my children, and now to our grandson – who received a small award in college for his assistance to others. I not only told them to aid and be kind to others. I showed them how, by doing it myself. From empirical observation, our practiced moral values are better than many ‘Good Christians.’

I certainly feel my/our moral values should be passed on. Some of my ancestors were deeply religious. Others were completely not, but I’m sure that all of them would agree and be proud of me and the good I do.

I hear you and agree with most of what you say, however, I don’t condemn all of Christianity because some people abuse it or make it look bad. But let me ask you this question, beyond those phrases like “do unto others” how do you guide someone to resolve complicated moral issues? Do you ever talk with your children about morals? Is that enough to lead a person through every moral quagmire he or she might face? Not in my view.

He doesn’t say why he feels that’s not enough. Perhaps I’m simplistic, but I do. Adultery is wrong – not necessarily a sin – but wrong. Her husband may beat her, or ignore her. That makes it more complicated, but that’s social, not moral. It’s still wrong. You wouldn’t want to be her husband, nor her to be your wife. You’re not doing unto others, nor the greatest good for the greatest number.

I grew up in an atheist household, and we had some discussion of morals but it was very infrequent. Until atheism offers me the discipline of continually working to be a good person, I decided I’m done with it. And given that atheists or secularists tend to not marry or have kids at nearly the rates of religious people, how do you expect your values to live on beyond a generation or two?

I don’t view life – or religion – as a contest to be won. I hope to influence my descendants, and society in general, by my example. I would not dare to attempt to impose my code on others. People who do that are called ISIS. I believe my opinion to be the best, but if it dies out after I do, that’s not my problem.

Unlike Religion, Atheism has no real structure. There is no Pope, no hierarchy, no Bible, no tenets, no dogma, no sin, and no handy rule-book with a ready-made list of acceptable actions. People have to work that out on their own. He makes no mention of belief in God, Jesus Christ, salvation, Heaven, or everlasting life. He just wants someone to hold his moral hand and lead him down the Holy Garden path. It’s like someone wanting to save the Earth from Global Warming, but buying a Hummer because it has cool wheels.

Hummer

Jim says

“The reason you returned to religion is self interest. That’s how it always is. Just because you failed to find a meaningful life outside of faith, you have joined the herd to find solace. I, and many like me, find complete satisfaction finding our own way in the world. You on the other hand, profess belief in something you don’t believe, to have community. That is hypocrisy and lacks integrity.

There is no meaning but what you make it. Searching for it inside of prearranged dogma is cheating yourself of possibilities. Spirituality comes in billions of options that are quite fulfilling outside the plug-and-play religions. It’s even true inside religion. Everyone just picks the parts they want to believe anyway. Your mind has now been hijacked by the herd.”

 

Advertisements

Halloween In A Graveyard

Gravestone

I once got the chance to patrol a graveyard on a Halloween night.  I know, I know!  The excitement!  The prestige!  Where do I go to apply for a keen job like that?  Sadly, the unemployment office.

When an unethical manager had pulled the cube-drone carpet out from underneath me, I had found temporary employment with a security-guard company.  They had placed me at a St. Joseph’s Hospital as a glorified ‘Lollipop Lady’ crossing guard.  I didn’t even get to wear an orange, don’t-run-me-down vest.

The hospital had two, parallel, one-way driveways down one side.  Traffic came in on one, swung around past Receiving and the kitchens, and exited on the other.  Work on water mains had them alternatively dug up for about a week.

We stationed a guard at the front and the back, with portable radios.  If a vehicle came in, the guard at the back held any outgoing traffic until the single lane was clear, and vice versa.  Out of sight of any street traffic, the guard at the back could rest in a lawn chair until called.  We alternated every hour….until the Mother Superior looked out the window, and decided that that wasn’t fair, and decreed that no-one could rest.

It was especially busy late in the morning, because they had a Meals On Wheels program.  Civilian volunteers picked up a few meals each and delivered them.  We wouldn’t want them smashing into each other, and spilling all that delicious hospital food.

As Halloween approached, and I still hadn’t found suitable employment, the scheduler asked me if I would consider patrolling a graveyard, from 6PM till 2AM that night to prevent any vandalism or skullduggery.

The hospital sat in the middle of a long stretch of main road that didn’t have any cross-streets.  The Catholic cemetery behind the hospital (where the doctors buried their mistakes) extended back to the next road.  Two pedestrian-access walkways converged through it in a V, toward the hospital.

Another guard and I followed each other around the block-long legs of the triangle.  It never occurred to us to patrol in opposite directions, to stop and talk, and compare notes occasionally.  All went well for the first couple of hours – until the sun set.

That’s when we discovered that there were no street lights on the adjoining road, no light-posts within the cemetery, and no lights between the hospital and the cemetery.  It was a typical cloudy Halloween night…. it was pitch-black DARK back there, and nobody thought to give us flashlights.

At about 9:30, I had emerged from one of the exits, and was walking toward the other, when I saw three 15/16-year-old males enter ahead of me.  While it was light, I had found a two-foot piece of 1½ inch PVC electrical conduit on the path – a tripping hazard, especially in the dark, so I picked it up, and was carrying it, just in case.

I could hear them walking, and conversing, a hundred feet ahead of me in the Stygian gloom, although I couldn’t make out the words.  Then it got quiet.  Often, that’s not a good thing.  Suddenly, something smacked into the gravestone beside me.  Something whizzed past my ear.  Something struck the grass beside me!  Holy Crap, those little f**kers are throwing things at me.

I ducked behind a nearby gravestone, and the barrage continued.  Something bounced off the gravestone beside me.  I felt around in the dark, and found a pulped crab apple.  CLANG!  That wasn’t a crab apple that hit my cover.  More crab apples, splat, whiz, then, another CLANG off the tombstone next to me.  The moon, through a slight rift in the clouds, revealed a sharp stone, as big as a golf ball.

What in Hell am I going to do??!  We don’t have our traffic-directing radios, and if this keeps up, my fellow-guard is going to walk around the corner any moment, right into the middle of this.

“It’s okay, Bobby.  You can come out now.  We won’t throw anything else at you.”  I’m not Bobby!  “Who the hell are you?”  I’m the security guard who’s supposed to keep you from damaging anything.  Are you idiots??!  Throwing crab apples is dangerous enough, but throwing rocks at someone you can’t see, or identify – in the dark….  You could blind or kill someone!  “Sorry, we didn’t think.”  Said every teenage boy ever, just before he qualified for the Darwin Award.

Patrolling a graveyard on Halloween is an…. interesting task.  Ghosts and ghouls don’t exist, so they’re no problem.  It’s the live ones who cause all the troubles.  😯

Jack O Lantern

Happy Halloween!  Trick or Treat.  😀

’18 A To Z Challenge – I

 

Challenge '18Letter I

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven days without deciding, makes one weak….blog-post.  Four months of not choosing, is just

INDECISION

Back in April, as prompts for the letter I, I only put down ‘idle worship’, and ‘ineffectual.’  Well….I’ve got ineffectual taken care of – four months, and nothing written.  For idle worship, I was going to try for a pun-ny twist on ‘idol worship,’ about the upcoming trip to DC, to visit my favorite blogger, and his favorite blogger wife.

But I’ve already published a couple of ‘Going To Rants’ posts, and, in two weeks, the J For Journey there one  will go up.  It will be far better than this excuse, as will the K submission two weeks later, when I do a double-header.

So, here I sit, at a quarter to the appointed time, desperately trying to pound something out.  I can’t even ask the Governor for a stay of execution, because I’m the governor of my publishing schedule.  Perhaps idle worship is an apt prompt, after all.  I certainly have been idle about deciding.

I’m going to take a couple of Mea Culpas out of the ex-Catholic wife’s petty cash, and hope to see you here on Wednesday, to read something far more interesting and prepared.  Excelsior!  😳

WTF

I Confess

confession-box

I went to confession after a long break I was feeling depressed, and life wasn’t going so well, when walking down the street I passed the church. It had been many years since I went to church, and just as long since I last went to the confessional. Perhaps, I thought, getting right with God would help fix my life.

I went into the church, and the dim light and smell of incense brought it all back. I headed for the confession booth and went straight in. Wow, things had changed in all those years.

There was a comfy chair, a small screen TV, the Wi-Fi password. Then I opened the cupboard and inside was a bottle of fine malt scotch, and some cigars! Suddenly the door opened and the priest appeared, and he said sharply “Get out, you’re on my side!”

Or maybe that guy is confessing because….

A thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre. After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings, and made it safely to his van. However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.

When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied: “Monsieur, that is the reason I stole the paintings. I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh.”

***

THE LAST SUPPER

And it came to pass that they were having a glass or two of vino. Jesus looked but only saw 11 disciples. Yet in the place of Judas was a six pack of Guinness.
“What is that?”
“That´s Judas´ carry out” replied James.
“Will he be along later?”
“I doubt it,” said Thomas.
“What about some music? Peter you are the Rock star. Play some heavy metal.”
And Lo, Peter did play some Nine Inch Nails.
“Why are you dressed in all of those dark clothes?” asked Jesus.
“I thought it was a Black Sabbath,” said Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.
It was a great night, though later on Peter let himself down a bit; you should never wait up for the cock.
And in the morning, Jesus Swept.

***

Texas
The Sheriff pulled up next to the guy unloading garbage out of his pick-up into the ditch. The Sheriff asked, “Why are you dumping garbage in the ditch? Don’t you see that sign right over your head.”

“Yep,” he replied. …. “That’s why I’m dumpin’ it here
’cause it says: …. ‘Fine For Dumping Garbage.’ “

***

Ole was talking with his brother Sven, who lived next door, when Sven said, “Ya know Ole, you and Lena should really get some new curtains.” “Vy’s dat?” Ole asked. “Vel last night I saw you and Lena, vel you know…” Ole thought for awhile, then said, “Ha-ha Sven, da yokes on you! I vasn’t even home last night!”

***

On a recent lunch hour, I decided to take a walk down by the harbor. A big wave washed a lawyer off the dock, and he was drowning. Now I was stuck with a moral dilemma. Do I just ignore it, and continue with my lunch – or stay here and watch?

***

 

2017 A To Z Challenge – J

Challenge2017

When I was looking at others’ A to Z Challenge ideas, searching for inspirational prompts, I didn’t always read the complete posts. I thought it might be from a fan of legalization of marijuana, when I chose
JOINT SUPPORT,
as the title of the post for the letter

Letter J

The wife has tried for years to get knee replacement surgery. Her doctor asked her one time if she was a good Catholic, but her days of kneeling are long past.  Finally, she got referred to the Orthopedic Surgeon who replaced my left shoulder 10 years ago.  He now specializes in knees.

She was told that the first one would be about a year, and the second, six months after. Government funding cutbacks stretched the first to almost 18 months.  Despite hours of hospital interviews and paperwork, they still managed to f….oul things up.

Despite clearly marking that she was allergic to pineapple, they served her fruit salad for every lunch and supper – with pineapple in it. (I loved it.) One night, supper was sweet and sour chicken – with pineapple in the sauce.  She says that, without me bringing her fresh fruit and vegetables, and Tim Horton’s Tim-Bits (do-nut holes) and coffee, she’d have starved.  She lost almost 10 pounds in a 3-day stay.

She also impressed upon her surgeon, that she was allergic to the nickel in (surgical) stainless steel, and insisted that he use sutures, instead of the far more common staples. They still teach suturing techniques in doctor school, but her surgeon has never practiced much.  She had hoped for small, delicate stitches, perhaps in a soft blue silk.  Instead, he put in 18 big, ghastly, bride-of-Frankenstein’s turkey-trussers, with black fishing line.  Still, it healed nicely.

When I had my more complex shoulder surgery, the arm was put in a sling, and I was told not to use it for six weeks, as it healed. Only then could the long, painful process of stretching and strengthening rehab begin.  Knee surgeries have become so easy and common, that she was expected to get out of bed, stand and shuffle a couple of steps, the day after surgery.

I worried about the Princess and the Pea wife not doing painful exercises, but have been pleasantly surprised.  Although she had already been looking forward to having the second knee done, it’s possible that she’s not looking forward quite so hard now.

2017 A To Z Challenge – C

Challenge2017

In mining other people’s prompts for this post, I dug up a lot of other options but, for the letter

Letter C

it all came down to one choice. I have to write about CANADA!

Canada 150

This is Canada’s sesquicentennial. That’s just a sesquipedalian word that means we’re 150 years old this year.  We’ve been at this ‘country’ thing for a century and a half.  The Government is so thrilled that it directed the Bank of Canada to issue a new, commemorative $10 bill, which features people and places that even Canadians have never heard of.

Canadian Bill

The US gained its freedom by revolting, a definition still agreed on by much of the world. Canada became independent by asking nicely.

50 years ago, we celebrated our Centennial. I should apologise to the rest of the world, especially the Americans, for Pamela Anderson.  She was declared Canada’s Official Centennial Baby, being born the soonest after the stroke of midnight that began July 1-1967, CANADA Day.

The problem was that she was born out on the Left-Coast, beautiful-bud, British Columbia. The Centennial was already 5 ½ hours old in Newfoundland and the rest of Canada, by the time it dawned on her.  Continually told throughout her childhood that she was Special, as she grew older she decided to inflict it on prove it to other people, by getting into TV/movies.

The best thing that she ever did for Canada was move to California, where she became the bulbous Baywatch bitch. After that was cancelled, she became a born-again vegetarian, and endured a lackluster career of dressing up in lettuce leaves and shoving her boobs and her unfounded, ill-considered opinions into other people’s faces.

Canada Kicks Ass

The wife and I got married as a Centennial project. We were going to leave it until the next year, but saw little reason to wait, so we moved the date up to Dec. 2 – 1967.  We almost caused an evil-minded, judgemental, Catholic sister-in-law to wear out her fingers, counting the months till the birth of our first child.  The daughter fooled her, and saved her fingers, by being born 10 months and 1 day after our wedding.

When we got married, both we and Canada were filled with naive optimism. For proof, you can click on the YouTube link to see and hear.  The French have the stirring, martial, Le Marseillais.  The Americans have the patriotic Star-Spangled Banner, with bombs bursting in air.  We have Canada’s Centennial Song. One little, two little, three Canadians – Weeee love you. Now we are twenty million. That was then.  Now, 50 years later, we are 33 million – perhaps 34 million, if you count the illegal immigrants being welcomed with open arms by the RCMP, as they leak across the border into Manitoba and Quebec, trying to get away from Trumpetopia.

As the wife and I near our 50th wedding anniversary, both we, and the country, are older if no wiser.  Both have become harder and more cynical, especially now as we endure a Care-Bear, second-generation Prime Minister who is spending the country’s, and our children’s, financial future on frivolous, feel-good, social-engineering plots.  When he visits Donald Trump, he’s on his knees, and not to pray.

This too shall pass! We are tough.  We will prevail.  You can tan my hide and make work boots out of me.

Please use your boots to walk back over here in a couple of weeks, to see what indignities I inflict on poor, unsuspecting Letter D.   😯

Canadian Flag

The Humor Page

Extra Extra

That’s what I thought I was reading – the Humor Page!  Then I looked up at the top, and realized that it was the Religion Page of the newspaper; two Christian articles, both by women.

The first was the usual tale of a young woman being told that having unmarried sex made her a terrible sinner. After slipping, and giving it away once, she lost all self-respect and began throwing it away indiscriminately.

The article was titled, ‘Why I chose abstinence again.’ The sub-title was, ‘Despite feeling let down by my Church, I still want to walk in the way of my faith.’ Oh….  So many qualified psychotherapists!  So few people who really, REALLY need the help, actually getting it.

This is masochism! ‘You’ve hurt me before, so go ahead and hurt me again.’ This is hypocrisy!  She, and others, was told that ‘sex was the cause of all the problems in a romantic relationship,’…. and she wants to let this Church run/ruin her life again.

KARMA, KARMA, KARMA, KAMELEON

The second article had my “Tough luck! Couldn’t happen to a nicer person” meter pegged over to maximum.  It was titled, “On our second date, we went to Church.”

A 26-year-old, single, white female, perhaps getting a little desperate, set up a Meet-A-Pervert (No, wait.  That’s Craigslist) Tinder account.  Seeing several others who listed as atheist or pagan, she made sure to include the descriptor, “Jesus is my homeboy.”

During a nice, restaurant first-date, her Good Christian young lad mentioned that he was surprised at the number of non-Christians listed, and asked her exactly what she meant by her statement. Following a chaste, curbside, goodnight handshake, she suggested that their next date should be going to church.

He laughed, and she thought it was because he felt that she was joking.

He took her to his Catholic Church that Sunday. He taught her when to stand, when to kneel, and when to wave her hands magically in the air – but he wouldn’t let her go up to the front for the juice and cookies buffet.

Still hungry, they went for a lovely brunch afterward, and she believed that God had a plan for her.  They parted company amiably, and she believed that He had provided her a companion.

A couple of days later, choir boy sent her a message, saying that he just felt that something was missing.  He dumped her, by text, because she wasn’t a good enough Christian (Catholic)!   😆