WOW #20

Stunned*

I just knew that, sooner or later, my love of language and my general disdain for organized religion would crash into each other, and cause me grief. In scanning some Atheist/anti-Atheist blog-posts recently, I came upon the Word Of the Week, which is

CATHOLIC

adjective

broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all;
broad-minded; liberal.
universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all.
pertaining to the whole Christian body or church.

Origin of catholic

1300-1350; Middle English < Latin catholicus < Greek katholikós general, equivalent to kathól(ou) universally (contraction of phrase katà hólou according to the whole; see cata-, holo- ) + -ikos -ic

The word ‘catholic’ is a Janus-word, one of a few in English which have 2 different, contradictory meanings, like ‘cleave’, which can mean to split into pieces – or to make pieces into one solid whole, or the verb ‘table’, which can mean to set aside and not deal with – or to deal with immediately.

Even when the word catholic was first used to describe the Christian church/religion, the existence of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., clearly show that it violated definition #2. It was not universal!  It did not involve or was of interest to all!

The longer it has existed, the more it has diverged from definition #1. Instead of being broad-minded, liberal, and sympathetic to all, it has become increasingly more hidebound, narrow-minded and dogmatic.

The Roman Catholic Church even violates the third definition. It does not represent the entire body of the Christian faith, as proved by the existence of 33,000 Protestant denominations.  It split, or was split from, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Russian Orthodox Church.  Even just linguistically, it cannot claim to be an only child, when it obviously has two brothers.

I hear/read Christian Apologetics try to deny evolution by asking questions like, “If we came from monkeys/apes, why are there still monkeys/apes?” I just want to scream, “Are you really as stupid and narrow-minded as that question makes you appear? Read a book – not just The Good Book.”  If all dogs came from wolves, why are there still wolves?  Or better, if all Christian denominations came from Catholic, why are there still Catholics?  We didn’t ‘come from apes/monkeys.’  Apes, monkeys and humans all came from a common ancestor.  It’s just that some of us are a little more evolved than others.

In arguments/discussions about Christianity/Faith/Bible, Christian Apologetics have answers to explain away every single thing, but not for everything.  If doubt were a building, they have individual arguments to refute bricks, doors, windows, floors and roofs – but not the entire house.  Their arguments against bricks contradict their claims denying the existence of windows, etc., etc., etc.!   😦  😯

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Dazed And Confused Op-Ed

Extra Extra

PRAY! BUT TO WHOM?

Re: ‘Pray for everyone in Florida-Sept. 11

Who would not want to respond to the heartfelt cry from Florida Gov. Rick Scott? It calls to us again in this harrowing description of Irma’s relentless advances, indeed a terrifying and devastating onslaught.

Pray! But to whom?

The U.S. Supreme Court has banned prayer in schools. In Canada, courts found that the use of The Lord’s Prayer in schools infringed on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Defining the above rulings, as has been done, to mean that teaching religion in school is illegal, teaching about religion in school is legal, has excited argument rather than agreement.

Veteran education journalist Linda K. Wertheimer has written a book, “Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance.” She explores the diversity of cultures and religions as they meet in the classrooms and community, with many stories of teacher-pupil episodes, as well as parents getting involved.  Pray! But To Whom?  That’s a book I plan to read.

Cora Wright

Cambridge

***

Pray Where?

Cora Wright’s Sept. 16 letter confuses and disappoints. “Pray! But To Whom?”  Doesn’t she know?  A clergyman could direct her.

Perhaps she could pray to an English teacher, who would help her differentiate between ‘where’, and ‘to whom.’ She expends much ink and angst, listing public places where the Christian religion may not be monopolistically imposed on the multicultural population.  She fails to mention her chosen place of worship, the privacy of her home, or the sanctity of her own mind.

As for whom she may pray to, in these locations she is free to pray to God, or Yahweh or Allah or Zeus or Odin, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster. It doesn’t really matter.  The observed results are all indistinguishable from random chance.

Yours truly

Grumpy Old (logical, freethinker) Archon

***

Aside from my negating arguments above, here in Ontario, in schools run by the Catholic School Board, teaching religion is still legal, although this unique privilege is being considered for cancellation. Catholic schools accept non-Catholic students (to increase their declining enrollment-generated Government grants), but they, and even Catholic students, are allowed to opt out of religious studies.

In both the American, and Canadian rulings, what has been banned is the exclusive use of Christian prayers, to the omission of all other religions.

While her letter seems to show her as open-minded, she puts a lot of energy into the Christian faith.  She may be surprised and disappointed when she finds that Wertheimer’s book doesn’t treat Christianity as an only child.

***

Someone else had a Word to say.

Pray? What For?

Re: Trump’s National Day of Prayer

If we are to believe our religious friends, everything that happens is the handiwork of their all-powerful God. If this were true, it would be logical to assume that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were the creations of their omnipotent and loving God.

With this in mind, I find it difficult to understand the declaration by Donald Trump of a National Day of Prayer, following Hurricane Harvey. It is a mystery to me what the prayers are meant to accomplish.  The devastation and destruction having already occurred to lives and property, it seems illogical to appeal through prayer to the very entity that created these hurricanes, guided their paths, and allowed said devastation and destruction to happen.

It is noteworthy that Trump did not declare a second National Day of Prayer following Hurricane Irma. Perhaps he was not impressed with God’s response to the first one.  😳

 

Flash Fiction #137

God's Dice

PHOTO PROMPT© CEAyr

CONNECT THE DOTS

Steeped in the all-permeating Christian culture of the early Twentieth Century, Albert Einstein is said to have claimed that, “God does not play dice with the Universe.”

No less religious, but perhaps more pragmatic, Stephen Hawking insists that, “Of course God plays dice with the Universe. Just sometimes He throws them where we can’t see them.”

I don’t think that I’ve found evidence of God playing dice, but this might be proof of a minor god, or a giant, playing dominoes.  (Not ordering Domino’s – all gods and giants eat at Papa John’s or Pizza Hut.)  Is that a double six?

***

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

The Smartest People Say The Dumbest Things

atheist-i-am

Perhaps tired of having ‘God’ and Christianity shoved down their throats, in their Government, and into their schools, many Atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers can become a little bit testy and aggressive.

The older, wiser, calmer leaders of the movements often advise the firebrands not to call Christians or Christianity stupid. “They’ll just try harder to defend their position.  You’ll never change their minds with insults.”

Personally, I’d settle for ‘Live And Let Live.’ Minds are not going to change, not when a well-known scientist, a PhD in Paleontology, who knows about evolution and that the Earth is really 4.5 billion years old, says that, when he goes home, he believes that the world is only 6000 years old, because that’s what his religion tells him, despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

If the above admonition is to be taken seriously, then, the smartest people in the world say the dumbest things. There is a group of people, both professional and amateur, known as Christian Apologetics, from the Greek word ‘apologia’, meaning speaking in defense.

They make it their crusade to provide answers for questions, and explanations for the doubts, of non-believers. They could be named Pretzels, for the mental gymnastics and theosophical knots they tie themselves in, trying to buttress their blind faith.

Some of their claims are amazing, and just mind-numbing.
Atheists really believe in God, but they don’t believe in Satan, so that they can sin.

Yin Yang

This is like believing in Bugs Bunny, but not Elmer Fudd – Sonny, without Cher – salt, but no pepper, or Yin, with no Yang! They come in matched sets.  Belief in one of them enforces the need to believe in the other.

BTW, nice backhand insult, that Atheists sin….because we all know that believers in God never sin.

Atheists are angry at God for something He did, and deny His existence.

This is dumber than the first one. If I believed in ‘God’, to be angry at Him, I’d believe in His omniscience, and know that, even if something happened that angered me, He works in mysterious ways, and it would be for my good, or the good of all.

Even if I were angry at God, I’d still believe in His power, and know that denying Him would result in everlasting torment. This is like a five-year-old, running around with his fingers in his ears, yelling La La La.  Mommy will still spank.  Angry or not, I gotta believe.

Atheists really believe in God, they just don’t know they do.

This one confuses the Hell out of me – so to speak. Does this mean that, even if I deny that God exists, I still get to go to Heaven??  If that’s the case, what’s the fuss?

If someone showed you proof that God existed, would you believe in Him then?
Duh! That’s what this dispute is all about, but nobody’s done it, in 2000 years.  Atheists and Agnostics are not petulant children, rebelling simply for the attention.  This belief by ‘smart’ Christians, simply shows how foolishly desperate they are.

A female phoned in to The Atheist Experience podcast, and asked, “If Y’all don’t believe in God, then who do you worship?” She was told that Atheists don’t believe in deities, so they don’t worship any. “Then y’all worship Satan.” They told her that they did not believe in either God or Satan, so they didn’t worship either. “Well, my preacher told me that, if y’all don’t worship God, then you worship Satan.” The one moderator said, “Then he lied to you.” and thereby made a mistake.  He had no more proof that the preacher had actually, intentionally lied, than the preacher had that they worshipped Satan.

“Well, if that ain’t the truth, then why would he have said it?” (Oh, so many reasons!) This gave the moderator a chance to retract his earlier gaffe.  “He may have been in error.  He may have wrongly believed something that someone else told him, but he does not know, and he has no right to make claims about who Atheists may, or may not, worship.”

A recent post that I read, attributed Christians’ belief in an ‘Assault On Christianity,’ to the rise of the internet, but the Information Age stretches back even further than that.  As long as any religion could fester in its own dark little private hole, like the five-year-old above, they could close their eyes, plug their ears and pretend that they were the only, or at least the most important.

Now that TV, movies, videos and all the other new social media keep displaying the fact that there is a large majority of other people on Earth with contrary opinions, insecurity sets in, and they get their particular emotional/religious crutch kicked out from under them.  This ‘new assault’ isn’t new. It’s been there all along.  They’ve just never had it brought to their attention, or had to face it. 😯

I don’t believe that all Christians are stupid….but some of them say real dumb shit!

manure

The Wages Of Sin

ten-commandments

I recently read a post from a young(ish) woman, titled, “I saved myself for marriage, and now I can’t have sex with my husband.” [Tough luck. Looks good on you. Oops – did I type that out loud?]

She had had a string of boyfriends since high school, but had informed each of them that she intended to remain a virgin until she was married. Perhaps that explains the ‘string of boyfriends.’  She was 26, and her husband was 27.  Maybe one or both were beginning to get a bit desperate.

She had been raised in an ultra-conservative, Fundamentalist-Christian home, and had it pounded into her, and pounded into her….and POUNDED into her, that premarital sex was evil, dirty, sinful! She suffered from vaginismus, a painful spasming of the vaginal walls which made it virtually impossible to engage in intercourse.  I find it ‘interesting’ that they did not find this out until they returned from their honeymoon in The Bahamas.

Possibly it was only the diagnosis and name of the affliction that they found out. While not ‘common,’ this problem is well-known in psychiatric circles.  It occurs in many other hyper-Christian families.  The girls are told over and over and over that sex (and by extension, them, if they perform it) is bad, bad, bad.

Nothing is said about the acceptability – inevitability – necessity – of marital relations. When these women try to have sanctioned sex, they are still overwhelmed by the cognitive dissonance.  No-one ever tells them about the good side.  No-one ever tells them about anything except the evil.

She now goes for daily(?) physiotherapy, and weekly psychotherapy. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just hire a hooker to come over a couple of times a week?

When I was young, and learning about sex, my Father obtained a couple of comedy albums by a bawdy Jewish woman who worked in Nevada and Catskills clubs. She said, if you liked her act, her name was Rusty Warren.  If you didn’t, it was Lois Lipchitz.

Come early – get a good seat. She would pick a woman down front wearing a vee-neck sweater, and ask her if the V stood for virgin.  “Hmm, must be an old sweater.”  She told a story that she claimed happened to her.

Every day, as she left for school, her mother sang the same cautionary song.  “Don’t take gum!  Don’t take candy!  Don’t talk to strange men!  Don’t ride in strange cars. Keep your legs crossed, your panties up, and come home from school in a group!  And whatever you do, DON’T DO IT!”

Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3….especially when she went to high school, the admonition was always the same. “Don’t take gum!  Don’t take candy!  Don’t talk to strange men!  Don’t ride in strange cars!  Keep your legs crossed, your panties up, and come home from school in a group.  And remember….DON’T DO IT! Don’t do it!

She finally got a boyfriend, who became her fiancé. On the day of her wedding, her mother was with her at the Synagogue.  As the happy couple ran down the steps to their car, her Mother yelled, “It’s OK!  You’re married!  Now you can do it!”

She stuck her head out the window of the car, with a confused look on her face and said, “Do what??!  You never told me!”

These ‘Good Christians’ tell the rest of us that the wages of sin is death, but the wages of this self-righteous hypocrisy is….truly Karmic.   😯

Religism

Bible    Koran

Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘Religism’ as animosity, intolerance, conflict, oppression or bigotry towards religions or belief systems.

Archon’s Street-Usage Dictionary, based on keen observation of desperately insecure individuals and groups, defines it as opposing, doubting, not holding, or even merely QUESTIONING any religion or particular set of beliefs.

It is a particularly useful concept and term for the most adamantly religious, to allow them to hold and foment the most extreme acts and views.  They couch the holding of every position except theirs as an attack, to justify outrageous actions.

He who takes offence, when none is offered, is a fool! – Brigham Young

Groups like the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and ISIS view the very existence of the peaceful, democratic freedom of Western society as an affront to their particular narrow view, and claim that it needs to be met with IEDs, torture and beheadings, to ‘defend’ the Muslim faith.

At home, it is only the rule of law which protects all segments of society, and prevents some of the more Fundamentalist Christian groups and individuals from going that far.  I feel that thugs like the Westboro Baptist Church should be weeded out, root and branch.  I grant them the right to hold their noxious opinions, but not to disrupt polite society by ‘defending’ them with graceless attacks and accusations.

I recently read a quote from the President of the Christian Screenwriters’ Guild.  The very existence of this group says, “We’re better than you, and we’re going to fight for the right to keep telling you that.”  They’re the kind who refuse to be inclusive, and view any attempt to speak of plural ‘Happy Holidays’, and add the year-end celebrations of any other Faiths, as Religism, and an attack on Christmas.

The somewhat dated quote, from Barbara Pelosi said, “I find it beyond naïve, to convince myself that the folks who are lapping up The Da Vinci Code are on a ‘search for truth.’ They’re not. They’re on a crusade to validate their own rejection of the authority of Christ and the Church.”

As an analogy, which she and many other Christians would refuse to accept: – Barack Obama is the President of the United States. Within legal limits, his word is law. He is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and his orders must be obeyed. He has the authority!

But wait. I live in Canada, a completely separate country. I don’t have to obey him, or even respect him, and the truth is, our rejection of him and ‘his authority’ doesn’t make my Prime Minister the Devil, nor do I live in Hell. People like Pelosi have convinced themselves that the ‘authority of Christ and the Church’ is universal and valid, and any rejection is an attack. They simply can’t accept that their faithfully believed “TRUTH” could be wrong, or anyone else’s, right.

If Christians go to other countries to convince ‘misguided’ natives to accept the Christian faith, they are viewed as kindly missionaries.  If the natives object to these interfering do-gooders, and they end up in prison, or dead, they achieve the exalted status of Martyrs.

If people of other faiths attempt to do the same thing to Christians, they are insultingly dismissed as ‘Heathens’, and, until a couple of hundred years ago, would have been tortured and burned at the stake as heretics, by a Church ‘defending itself from an attack on its narrow set of beliefs.’

In a recent MSN article about the 20th anniversary of the movie Pulp Fiction, the line uttered by Samuel L. Jackson’s character, just before he killed someone, was quoted.  “Ezekiel 25:17. The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.”

As an English language purist, I questioned whether the word should have been “iniquities”, so I looked it up in ‘one of my Bibles’.  Ezekiel 25:17 does not exist!  Nor does Ezekiel 17:25.  They say that you can get people to agree with almost anything, if you tell them that, “Benjamin Franklin said it.”  Evangelical Christians just claim, “It’s in the Bible.” whether it is or not.  Pay no attention to that deluded person behind the curtain of a “Holy Book!”

 

The Skeptic’s Fate

The miraculous tale that you tell

I don’t credit.  I’m under no spell.

I don’t swallow events

when there’s no evidence.

So I guess that I’m going to Hell.

 

P.S.

English-speaking Christians have ‘The Bible.’  Sometimes it is ‘The Holy Bible’.  In selecting the picture of the Koran above, I found that English-speaking Muslims have ‘ The Koran, The Holy Koran The Noble Koran, The Glorious Koran, and a companion study volume, whose title firmly states, “There Are No Contradictions in the Koran!”  I am underwhelmed by religion.  🙄

 

Not One Of Us!

This post could be considered Part 2 of my Ego And Insecurity post   I want to talk about “Those People”.  These are the ones that you find in every social, business, and political situation.  Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems the worst, the most noticeable, are to be found in religion.

These are the people who, to feel good, have to make others feel bad.  For them to stand tall, it must be on the bodies of their enemies and rivals, or at least on top of those they feel inferior to them – pretty much everybody.  For them to be the biggest frog, they just shrink the pond – exclude, exclude, exclude!

I laughed –behind my hand, and behind the back of – one young new-age New Order Mennonite lad that I worked with.  He was a member of a very elite, very select, break-away sect, comprised of all of 15 members, believing that they, and they alone, knew the road to Heaven, and possessed the keys to the holy gates when they got there.  They were SO different – just like all the others.

The logical end to these exclusionary beliefs and actions, lies with a population of one, the solitary psychopath, who believes that only he counts, and the rest of the world is there for him to do with as he wishes.  Evangelical Christianity is therefore but one short step away from both insanity and criminal behavior, and a disturbing number use their religion, to justify committing the others.

It was not a great surprise that there is a term to describe the actions and attitudes I’ve previously observed and written about.  I was somewhat disappointed that I’d reached almost the age of 70, before I found out what it is.  I was greatly disturbed that it was my ancestors (great thinkers they) who produced it, and I was not aware!

It is known as the, “No True Scotsman Theorem.”  No True Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge!  Wait a minute, I put sugar on my porridge.  That just proves my point.  You’re not a true Scotsman.  Christianity is the religion of love and peace.  What about the Crusades, and the Inquisition?  Well, those weren’t True Christians.  If you own the definition, you can’t be wrong.

An eight-year-old girl was expelled from a Catholic school in California, because she didn’t fit the board’s definition of what a girl was.  She was a tom-boy, who wanted to play ball, and wrestle in the mud.  She wanted to dress in sweatshirts and jeans.  They wanted her in skirts and pink dresses.  She was accused of “gender confusion” because she wanted to go into the boys’ washroom – probably just curious, but the curiosity was more dangerous to the status quo than the non-existent sexual content.

The board denied the gender and dress-code accusations, and said that the reason she was expelled, was that she didn’t follow rules – which is true.  When you write the rules, and seize the definitions, she couldn’t be a “True Catholic,” or a “True Girl.”  Another Catholic elementary school quickly accepted her – but they probably weren’t “True Catholics” either.

The wife and I watch a number of British Television series on a specialty channel.  Last fall we got a new one we liked, imported all the way from Australia, titled Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, set in about 1930.

Miss Fisher is a 30ish, flapper-girl, monied Aussie, exempt from the worst of the beginning American Depression.  She is very intelligent, and independent-minded, like the little girl above.  She has joined a circus, traveled the world, learned self-defence, acquired a hammerless, gold-plated .45 calibre revolver, a nasty little garter-dagger, and come back to Melbourne to solve crimes.

She inherits a 20ish, sheltered, naïve, country-girl maid from a society woman she puts away for murder and drug smuggling.  At a time when Australia was PROTESTANT, this girl wears a tiny gold cross around her neck.  The producers and writers apparently like to point out religious hypocrisies, contradictions and exclusions.

The young police constable wants to get to know her, but quickly pulls back when he spots the gold cross – she might be Catholic.  “Go ahead,” his Inspector urges him, “It’s not as if she has two heads!”  “She might as well have, if my mother finds out.”

When she begins work for our heroine, she refuses to answer an often-ringing telephone.  Her priest has told her that this new-fangled gadget is “un-natural,” the electricity leaks into the planet, and too much usage will cause the Earth to explode.

You can protest that this is just the strange opinion of only one man, but, he’s the infallible, heavenly-inspired, to-be-blindly-obeyed, man in a position of authority, who tells her what she may and may not do to ensure her everlasting soul going to Heaven .

One scene shows her going to bed, clad in her voluminous nightgown, kneeling by the side of her bed, saying her prayers, like a six-year-old.  After asking God to protect the well-being of her parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, her new employer and fellow servants, the butcher, and the penguins at the zoo – she finally gets around to asking Him to protect the handsome young Police Constable.

“And, if You have enough time, God, after doing all of that for me, I would really appreciate it if you could give Constable Collins a Signthat You are Catholic.”