“19 A To Z Challenge – V

AtoZ2019Letter V

 

Stalling, distraction, avoidance, procrastination!

I had a month…. Actually, I had a year from when I chose to do this year’s version of the A To Z Challenge – but realistically, I had a month to get this post for the letter V ready. I had posts composed for the letters T and U, so I had four weeks to get my act in gear – four weeks to choose a V-shaped word, pick a theme, light a flame of composition under it, and bring it to the boil of intelligent presentation.

Did I do that??! OH NO!!

Instead, I spent an inordinate amount of time debating with Christian Apologists. Some guy who styles himself TheistThug, and lives up down to the name, really needed an opinion readjustment, and I was just the guy to do it. Saturday night, instead of dutifully typing, I watched some fool build a log cabin in Alaska, and read part of a book…. because it has 800 pages, and needs to be returned to the Library in 17 days.

A character in the book returned to her tough childhood neighborhood after escaping it at 15, and being away for another 15 years. She observed that the worldly-wise woman that she was now, barely matched the frightened teen who left it years before.

There were all my V-word candidates
venal
vivacious
vapid
vicinity

VENN DIAGRAM

vainglorious
vacuous

Venn

when suddenly “Venn diagram” stood out. Venn diagrams visually indicate how and where two or more different sets of data do, or do not, overlap. They help making decisions which will satisfy the greatest number.

For most of us, the Venn diagram of our early life, compared to our current life, need not be quite as severe as hers, where only a tiny point intersected the two segments. Still, it seems a good idea to strive for continual change and improvement. Get smarter, better, and happier. I know that I am not the same naïve, trusting, callow young man who ventured into the World and wedlock 52 years ago. If I could only enlarge that “Get Projects Finished On Time” section a bit…. 😉

I’m Not Sure That They’re Sure

Big Bang

Here are some extracts from Atheist/Christian Apologist arguments debates.

So, how do you explain the empty tomb of Christ and the 500 witnesses to His post-death appearances?

I’d explain it the same way I’d explain Harry Potter waving a non-existent wand, and shouting ‘Petronus!’ Somebody wrote it down, who hoped that you’d buy into it.

The odds of Life arising spontaneously, are 1 with 41,000 zeroes behind it.

It didn’t have to go all the way to the last zero to be successful. It might have happened on the first – or the tenth – or the thousandth time. And all the attempts need not be sequential. In Earth’s reported early ages, the chemical soup in the oceans was thick, and there were tens of thousands of lightning strikes PER DAY, which might have catalyzed primitive life.

Question: Was there ever a time when there was no chemical soup, no oceans, no lightning strikes or electricity, no Earth?

Yes. What’s your point?

Was there ever a time when there was no chemical soup, no oceans, no lightning strikes or electricity, no Earth?

(Well, that certainly clarifies that! 😛 )
In the beginning, if the scientific and mathematical evidence is valid, 13.8 Billion years ago, ‘The Big Bang’ allowed a hyper-dense singularity, containing all matter, to expand and become the Universe of today.

If geological research is correct, the Earth came into existence about 4.5 billion years ago. This leaves over 9 Billion years in-between, twice the time that the Earth has existed, when stars were born and died. Some exploded into novas, and super-novas, fusing hydrogen and helium into the heavier and heavier elements necessary for the rise of life. Eventually gravitational tides caused some of it to agglomerate, and coalesce into our galaxy, our sun, our solar system, our planet.

Even then, it took over a billion years for the Earth to cool enough to allow the existence of liquid water, and the chemical soup that life was spurred from. Yes, once upon a time – actually, for a really long time – there was no Earth, no oceans, no soup, no lightning, no life. So what??! There is also no proof – no vague indication – that the butler God did it.

I think I answered this (a claim that Atheists can’t be happy without God) in my final paragraph in the article, for those who believe in Genesis 1:1; it’s the verse that divides. I actually think you’d agree with that statement.

Actually, I don’t agree with it, because, actually, you didn’t ’answer’ it. You made a statement – an unproven claim – which buttresses your opinions, ignoring the statements of Atheists. This is merely the first of dozens – hundreds – of verses which divide, not merely Christians from Atheists, but often one sect of Christians from the rest. I have a file with 23 pages of examples of mistakes and contradictions in the Bible. One verse says one thing, and a page or two later, another verse says something entirely different.

There’s no compelling reason for another atheist to adopt your moral imperative as their own, and many don’t. If no God created, then why should they have to? Yours is no doubt better for your neighbours than some of the things other atheists have adopted, and it may be better in practice than some who claim to be Christians do. But still, it comes back to the fact that you are the one who has decided it, and it has no answer for death. You are supreme while you are alive but you will submit to death, so your supremacy is limited. Death is supreme for you — you claim supremacy now, but you know it is only temporary.

I realize that it makes you feel better to phrase statements like this, in a way that reinforces your stance and beliefs. Of course there is no compelling reason for anyone to accept my beliefs except me. Each person should be free within their own mind. There need be no imperative. There is no dogma among Atheists, as there is in Christian churches. This whole statement seriously disturbs me. People who compel others are – at best, bullies – at worst, criminals.

This appetite for compulsion and competition is worrying. Life is not a game, to be lost or won. Rather, we all should do the best we can with what we have. I make no claim of supremacy, whether over Death, or anyone else, and I have no answer for Death. It is inevitable. Life, indeed, is temporary. Make the most of it that you can, while you have it. Don’t wait for God to (maybe) iron out your wrinkles, once you’re gone.   😳

***

BTW:

I just had an epiphany. Atheists are allowed to have them. While I was getting the above post ready to publish, I heard (All Christmas – All The Time) The Little Drummer Boy song. For years, it has drifted in one ear and out the other, with no thought. Suddenly, I realized what is being unwittingly portrayed.

“A Little Drummer Boy is not just some kid in an elementary school band. A drummer boy is the child, trained to beat out the cadences for ancient armies. The bugler conveyed the orders to march, attack, retreat, wheel left, etc. The drummer boy set the pace for thousands of men to kill and maim each other.

It is disturbing that this song shows him displaying his martial abilities…. to the Prince of Peace. 👿

Even other Christians are disturbed at a new trend this Christmas.  More and more ‘Good Christians’ are adding crosses to their Nativity scenes.  There are two, very different stories within the New Testament.  One is about the birth of the Christ child.  The other is about the death of the Messiah.  They should not be confused for one another.  This just seems to say, “Open your eyes, kid.  See what they have in store for you.”  😯

Some Thoughts – Domestic And Foreign

All teachings are mere references.
The true experience is living your own life.
Then, even the holiest of words are only words.
Deng Ming-Dao

To determine the true rulers of any society, you must ask this question; “Who am I not allowed to criticize?”

‘All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician [to keep the hoi-polloi in order], and ridiculous to the philosopher.’

“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon was not an Atheist. He was Catholic and realized how he could use religion to rule the masses.

“Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for Atheism ever conceived.”
Isaac Asimov

If prayer actually worked, we’d see two things:
1 – Ambulances would take patients to churches
2 – Christians would have longer life spans than the rest of the population

Most people are not looking for provable truths. Truth is often accompanied by terrible pain, and almost no-one is looking for painful truths. What people need are beautiful, comforting stories that make them feel as if their lives have some meaning. This is where religion comes from.

My favorite part of the Bible is where God gives everyone free will, and then drowns everybody in a flood for not acting the way He wanted.

CREATIONISM
The idea that we are not related to apes, no matter how many genes we share, but are in fact, descended from dirt.

Religion has at every age kept the human mind in darkness and held it in ignorance of its true relations, of its real duties, and its true interests. It is but in removing its clouds and phantoms that we may find the source of truth, reason, morality, and the actual motives which inspire virtue—Jean Messlier 1704

How many religious people does it take to change a light bulb?
None! They just sit in the dark and demand that you believe that the light is still on.

The cold, hard truth is worth so much more than a comforting lie.

“In religions and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are, in almost every case, gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who themselves have not examined the questions at issue, but have taken them second-hand from other examiners, whose opinions about them are not worth a brass farthing.”
Mark Twain

When you have to ignore mountains of evidence to hold a belief; when your words are those of others to preserve your faith; when you refuse to use logic, to protect your fantasy, your willful ignorance does not make you a unique individual. It doesn’t afford you special consideration.

Actually, it means that you are just plain wrong. It means that you have nothing to add to intelligent conversation. Believers show all the hallmarks of long-term abuse, unable to distinguish threats, fear and degradation, from kindness, love and self-worth.

Atheism says absolutely nothing about the issues of Northern Ireland, Shia/Sunni wars, genocide in Rwanda, questions of religious freedom, stem cell research, or gay marriage.  Atheism is not a belief, it’s not a set of values, it’s not a political movement, it’s not even a platform.  It merely is the understanding that all the religions seem made up.  And since we have no way to figure out if any of them are real, we must deal with life on our own.  We must use our brains.  So let’s quit being dicks to each other, roll up our sleeves, and figure these things out.  And keep making fun of religions.

PopeClown

***

 

The Whichness Of The Why

Rene DesCartes

Philosophers have nothing to say, but will take all day (or all of their lives) to say it.

In my ongoing attempts to get psychological explanations for why people – often Christians, but also Atheists – believe what they do, I kept running into philosophers. I thought that Philosophers were deep-thinkers, who used the power of their intellect to uncover important social revelations.

The more I read though, the more I realized that this was not so. One of them, like René Descartes (above) might make a significant claim, like; “Cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore I am” then the rest of them would discuss and debate it. If only one Philosopher contended a theory, it was like mental masturbation. If a group of them worried it like a dog with a bone, it was more like a circle-jerk. It made them all feel good, without actually accomplishing anything.

Often, no-one really proved anything. They just kept arguing with one another until observed facts finally showed one of them to be the closest guesser. Then folks would congratulate him as if he’d discovered something.

Even the winner of a debate, or series of debates, did not reveal, or prove, any particular truth. The champion became the victor by looking the best, yelling the loudest, and waving his hands the most. One Philosopher had a mortal enemy, another debater. There was only one subject about which the two agreed. Mr. Ego challenged his opponent to a debate, and took the ‘anti’ side. He won the debate by disproving an opinion that he held.

Despite the fact that colleges and Universities teach Philosophy, we have no Philosophers any more. What we have today are authors, bloggers, podcasters, and Christian Apologetics. All of them are full of strongly-held opinions, but if you laid them all end-to-end, they wouldn’t reach a valid conclusion.

Gilileo Goes To Jail

Case in point, a book that I recently read, titled Galileo Goes To Jail, 25 myths about Science and Religion. Seldom have I seen hairs split so finely, with no purpose other than to make the contributors appear learned and impressive. All 25 writers tiptoed through the minefield of truth and logic, but I felt the worst among them was the jackass who set out to prove that

Giordano Bruno Was Not The First Martyr Of Modern Science

Now, the first of anything is going to look different from what has gone before. This genius wanted to play the “Own The Definition” game. He started by claiming that Bruno was not a scientist, or was not teaching science. Of course not! Back then, the words, the definitions, the very concepts of “science” and “scientist” did not exist. Everything was Natural Philosophy.

‘Science’ did not exist, and Bruno wasn’t ‘teaching’ it. He did however publicly express and debate his opinions and conclusions about reality. He openly held Galileo’s position, that the Earth moved, and the sun didn’t, contrary to the Church’s dogma of a fixed and unmoving Earth. His claims were heresy to The Holy Catholic Church, which owned the definition of heresy.

Heresy they might have been, but as the equivalents of modern Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Mathematics, they were a Hell of a lot more like science than say, if the Pope might not be infallible, God did not exist in three parts, or we had to eat fish on Friday.

I try not to be hidebound in my opinions, and not get caught in confirmation bias. I invite, and delight in, discussion and debate about anything I publish. If you prove me wrong about any claim I make, I will accept defeat Philosophically. 😉

***

Oops, I left a link to a 1949 Sci-Fi story at the end of this draft.  Rather than delete it –  anybody want to access and read it??

Edmond Hamilton – Alien Earth

https://archive.org/details/Thrilling_Wonder_Stories_v34n01_1949-04/page/n51

 

’19 A To Z Challenge – H

AtoZ2019Letter H

What a difference a day makes (click to hear Dinah Washington, if you don’t believe me)– or a single letter. The English language has so many words, that you sometimes need to look very carefully, to be sure that you’ve read the correct one.

That was the position that I found myself in while trying to find a word-theme for the letter H. At first I thought I’d had an old-timers’ moment, and duplicated a word on my list. Closer inspection though, revealed the fraternal twins I’d like to introduce you to.

Hominy and Homily

Hominy [Hom-uh-nee]

whole or ground hulled corn from which the bran and germ have been removed by bleaching the whole kernels in a lye bath (lye hominy) or by crushing and sifting (pearl hominy).

mainly US – coarsely ground maize prepared as a food by boiling in milk or water

RELATED WORDS

porridge, cereal, samp

Origin of hominy

1620–30, Americanism; <Virginia Algonquian

South of the Mason-Dixon Line, it’s often served like mashed potatoes at almost every meal, and the coarser variety is known as grits. Or an egg is mixed into it, to hold it together, formed and baked like a bread loaf, and called corn-pone. Formed into balls and deep-fried, it’s known as hush-puppies. Its look-alike brother-from-another-mother is

Homily [Hom-uh-lee]

a sermon, usually on a Biblical topic and usually of a non-doctrinal nature.
an admonitory or moralizing discourse.
an inspirational saying or cliché.

RELATED WORDS

lecture, lesson, doctrine

Origin of homily

1545–55; < Late Latin homīlia < Greek homīlía assembly, sermon

The similarities go beyond nearly-identical spelling. Again, mostly in the American South, any precept which is not Evangelical Christian ideology or theology has its strong, supporting cover and any germ of an idea removed, ground down, and served constantly as boring, tasteless, mental-conditioning pap.

Dear Lord; You created me with a fully functional, highly capable brain. Please allow me to use it to the best advantage of myself and others. Amen!

 

Laugh – It’s The Christian Thing To Do

Nun

Two nuns are doing their grocery shopping.

As they pass the cooler full of beer, one nun says longingly to the other one, “A cold beer would go down great tonight!”

“Indeed,” the other nun replies, “but how can we show up with beer at the check-out counter?”

“Don’t worry, I have a plan,” the first nun answers. “Grab a six-pack.”

The cashier is surprised when he sees the beer, but the one nun is ready with an explanation.

“We use the beer to wash our hair,” she says, “At the convent, we call it ‘Catholic shampoo.’”

Without hesitation the cashier bends down, grabs a package of pretzels, and throws it in one of the nuns’ grocery bags, saying “The curlers are on the house.”

***

A man suffered a serious heart attack and had an open heart bypass surgery. He awakened from the surgery to find himself in the care of nuns at a Catholic Hospital.

As he was recovering, a nun asked him questions regarding how he was going to pay for his treatment. She asked if he had health insurance.

He replied, in a raspy voice, “No health insurance.”

The nun asked if he had money in the bank.

He replied, “No money in the bank.”

The nun asked, “Do you have a relative who could help you?”

He said, “I only have a spinster sister, who is a nun.”

The nun became agitated and announced loudly, “Nuns are not spinsters! Nuns are married to God.”

The patient replied, “Send the bill to my Brother-in-law.

***

ON THE OTHER HAND

I was walking across a bridge one day and I saw a man standing on a ledge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it!”
“Why shouldn’t I?” he said.
“Well, there’s so much to live for.” “Like what?” “Well, are you religious?” He said yes. I said, “Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?” “Christian.” “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?”
“Protestant.” “Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”
“Baptist.” “Wow, me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”
“Reformed Baptist Church of God.” “Me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1789 or Reformed Baptist Church of God, 1915?”
He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915.”
I said, “Die, heretic scum!!” and pushed him off the bridge.

***

Priest

The priest was preparing a dying man for his voyage into the great beyond.

Whispering firmly, the priest said, “Denounce the devil! Let him know how little you think of his evil!”

The dying man said nothing.

The priest repeated his order.

Still the dying man said nothing.

The priest asked, “Why do you refuse to denounce the devil and his evil?”

The dying man said, “Until I know where I’m heading, I don’t think I ought to aggravate anybody.”

***

One pleasant afternoon, a Priest and a Nun were out golfing. The father deferred to the Nun on the first hole, and she hit a nice ball towards the green. The Father tees up, then smacks the ball into the woods. “Damn it! #$*^&%$#%^@$# %#&^%&!$, I MISSED!” he cries. “Father!” says the Nun, “You should watch your language. The Lord will not like it.”

The second hole comes up. The father tees off, and the ball once again goes sailing into the woods. “Damn it! #$*^&^%$#%^@$#, I MISSED!” he cries. “Father!” says the Nun, “Watch what you say! It is Blasphemy!”

On the third hole, the father again tees up his ball. Once again, the ball sails wide, this time landing in the water hazard. “Damn it! #$*^&^%$#%^@$#, I MISSED!” he cries. As the Nun starts to speak, a great bolt of lightning sails down from the sky and strikes the Nun, reducing her to ash. From the sky comes a booming voice: “Damn it! #$*^&^%$#%^@$#, I MISSED!”

***

A small-town preacher was known for getting around town on his bicycle.
One day, a neighbor noticed him walking and asked him about his missing bike.

The preacher said, “Can you believe someone stole it?!”
The man replied, “I have an idea. On Sunday, give a sermon on the Ten Commandments. When you get to Thou Shalt Not Steal, really rail on it, and the thief is sure to feel guilty and return your bike.”
The preacher agreed and went on his way.

A week later, the neighbor again ran into the preacher, reunited with his bike.

“So the sermon worked, I see!”
The preacher answered, “Apparently so! I got to Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery and remembered where I left my bike.”

(Self-)Help Is On The Way

Self Help

In order to improve the lot in life of our employees and customers, Archon’s Addled Alliance is offering some free on-line courses. All you need to do is contact us and admit that you need help, and we’ll enroll you in a suitable one from the following list.

SELF IMPROVEMENT

Creative Suffering
Overcoming Peace of Mind
You and Your Birthmarks
Guilt Without Sex
The Primal Shrug
Ego Gratification Through Violence
Moulding Your Child’s Behavior Through Guilt And Fear
Dealing with Post-Realization Depression
Whine Your Way to Alienation
How to Overcome Self-Doubt Through Pretense and Ostentation
Hairstyling by Microwave

BUSINESS AND CAREER

Retire at 26 by Embezzlement
How I made $100 in Real Estate
Money Can Make You Rich
Packaging And Selling Your Children
Career Opportunities in El Salvador
How to Profit From Your Own Body
The Underachievers Guide to Very Small Business Opportunities
Tax Shelters For The Indigent
The Looters Guide to North American Cities
Mortgage Reduction Through Arson
Manipulation – The Key To Success
Hysteria – Motivation and Methodology
Preliminary to Employment Through Nepotism
Dice and Dope – Roll Your Way to Success

ECONOMICS

Counterfeiting Canadian Tire Money (Open to residents of Canada only)
Basic Kitchen Taxidermy
How to Convert a Wheelchair Into a Dune Buggy
Cat Hair Macramé
Christianity and The Art of RV Maintenance
What to do With Your Conversation Pit
Sinus Drainage (Contracts)
1001 Uses For Krazy Glue
Repair and Maintenance of Your Virginity
Burglar-Proof Your Home With Concrete
How to Convert Your Kirby Vacuum-Cleaner Into a Fully Automatic Rifle
How to Build a Patio With Prune Pits – Franchise Program
Second-Hand Tupperware Parties

HEALTH AND FITNESS

Creative Tooth Decay
Fun With Necrophilia
The Joys of Hypochondria
Exorcism and Acne
High Fibre Sex
Suicide and Your Health
Skate Your Way to Regularity
Understanding Nudity
Tap Dance Your Way to Ridicule
Optional Body Functions
The Braille System of Anatomy
Dressing Right/Dressing Left – How It Can Change Your Life
Isometric Fitness For the Lazy
Understanding Underarm Wetness and Wind Direction

ARTS AND CRAFTS

Start Your Own TV Evangelism
Self Actualization Through Macramé
Needlecraft for Junkies
Gifts For the Senile
Cuticle Crafts
How to Draw Genitals
Bonsai Your Pet
Wind Chimes As a Substitute For Religion
25 Creative Uses For a Water-Pik
Crochet Drapes From Dental Floss
Toilet Bowl Reading

Please add any courses that you would like to see offered in the future.