I Don’t Believe So

Priest

An Atheist and a Christian walk into a discussion. The Christian – surprisingly politely – asks for an explanation. I thought that I might provide one.

Thank you for your polite response. I respect your right of choice. If you don’t mind would you please share what first caused you to question the validity of Christianity when you began believing otherwise? I’m just curious. Was it something someone did or the church you were attending or a major life experience? For you to believe one thing for so long and then decide to believe differently had to be a major life changing moment.

You have made two fundamental unsupported assumptions in your question.

First, no-one chooses to believe anything, Atheism, or otherwise. Anyone who claims that they, or anyone else does, is either mistaken, or lying. We all believe what we do, only when we become convinced. It’s just that some people are more easily convinced than others.

Second, most people who leave Christianity to become Atheists, do not have a single, major, life-changing moment. It’s like Chinese water torture – drip, drip, drip, drip. Or like a new-born baby, growing into a full adult. There’s never a day when they are what they were yesterday, but it’s a constant series of tiny, un-noticed, incremental changes. For many, these changes are powered by a slew of social, secular, and saintly causes.

Read the Bible, it will give you Faith and Belief

Don’t read the Bible, you might not ‘interpret it’ correctly – says the priest/preacher who is interpreting it.

You have free will – but don’t use it to think for yourself. Accept what you are told, and DON”T QUESTION!
The church which preaches love and acceptance – discriminates against LGBTQ.

The ‘infallible’ Pope just finished changing a ruling that a previous infallible Pope made.

There are hundreds of religions in the world, and they all insist that they are right and Christianity is wrong. The three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, all disagree with each other. “Catholic” means ‘universal in extent, pertaining to the entire Christian body, or church’, yet there are three ‘universal’ Catholic sects, Greek, Russian, and Roman. At least two of them must be wrong – along with more than 20,000 Protestant divisions.

We are told, especially by the RC Church that, “There is no supermarket Christianity. You must accept all of it.” But the Holy Church picked and chose what gospels to put in, when the Bible was created. The Gospel of Mary, Christ’s supposed mother, was not put in. The Gospel of Peter, the Rock upon whom the Church was built, was not put in. They voted on whether Jesus was God or not. If Jesus was God, who did He pray to, in the Garden of Gethsemane?

And the ‘Inerrant’ Bible…. 😯 I have a Word file with 23 pages of mistakes and contradictions. There are two versions of Creation in Genesis. One says that Adam was created before the animals; the other says that the animals came first. There are two versions of Eve’s story. The first says that she was made from the dust, like Adam; the other testosterone-driven drivel claims that she was made from Adam’s rib. In neither was she present when God forbade eating the magic fruit.

Moses came down from the mountain twice, but the two pairs of tablets hold different sets of the Ten Commandments. Could God not remember the first set? One says to remember the Sabbath, and keep it Holy. Check with a Jew, a Muslim, a Seventh-Day Adventist, or your calendar – Saturday is the Sabbath, not Sunday. A pope made all Christians into sinners

Two different people supposedly constructed the Ark of the Covenant. Two different people are credited with killing Goliath, only one of whom was David, and that was with a sword, after the stone had stunned him. Both accounts contain historical inaccuracies. In one, he was a Philistine, in the other, an Amalekite. There are two different versions of the death of Judas.

One version of Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus says that those with him saw the figure of Christ, but heard nothing. The next one says that his companions heard the voice, but saw nothing.

Drip! Drip! Drip! Eventually they wake up one day and realize that it’s all exceptions, and no rule – no great, life-changing decision. Believe it all – or nothing. Okay, Nothing it is. Reading the Bible is the best way to create Atheists. Other than carefully selected and justified passages, most Christians haven’t. If a Power exists which created the universe and us, it neither needs nor wants our puny adoration and obedience – and it need not be called God. We’re just an ant farm. The “God” that Atheists don’t believe in, is the one in your imagination.

I imagine that there will be a Flash Fiction or a WOW on Friday. There’s only one version of the story of me being happy if you show up. 😀

May I Have Another Word?

Stunned Emoji

PROS

Slithers of tectonic plates were driven down – They slithered to the dictionary page with slivers on it.

The wide birth of the cave is peculiar – A woman with large hips would give it a wide berth.

Brian slipped out of the in – English classes were being held at the inn.

A grizzly murder had been committed – apparently by a bear. That misspelling is just grisly.

‘Fast And Furious’s a suped– up series – No soup for you till you learn to spell it.

Roberts County Spelllimg Bee – We’re paying some teachers wayyy too much.

Looking for a Labary Assistant to work in the College Labaries – An applicant will never find it, spelled like that.

Why are the edges of coins rigid? – The entire coins are rigid. Only the edges are ridged.

AMATEURS

arguments against same-sex mirage – In many Bible-belt areas, that’s all same-sex marriage is.

Catholic Church hired a loyer – Shoulda hired an English teacher

Those cowereds will not debate real Christians – Maybe I’m a coward cuz I cowered when I read that

Self-sufficiency is tooted as a good thing – Literacy is also touted as a good thing.

Such coal-hearted policies give me a bad name – Santa gives you coal, but he’s not cold-hearted

A ballistic midsole attack – apparently, someone’s throwing shoes at us

As though of us were taught – Those of us who listened in school, know otherwise

Ajan 007 always gets the girl – Perhaps his agent could help him spell it

I’m of Caribbean decent – and your English usage has gone down also

Like Bell, from Beauty and the Beast – The belle of this bawl, is a ding-dong.

I want to see the I fold tower in Paris – see it quick, before it collapses

Your maken yourself look bad – but not as bad as you’re makin’ that misusage look

Well, this is akward – it would be a lot less awkward if you put another W in it

I don’t sensor his Twitter account – You should censor your own, or at least proofread it.

I needed to look for I’dI’d suggest that you look for it

For sale – crystal shandaler – It’s crystal-clear, he doesn’t know what a chandelier is.

For sale – full set of Hooked On Phoenix – I prefer Cincinnati, where I got hooked on phonics.

Freud spoke of bewaring of crusaders – These are how new words reach the language

I don’t deserve the commisery – non-standard portmanteau of misery, and commiseration. – see above

The rain runs down the ease-drop – actually, it runs down the downspout, from the eaves-trough

Crosswords

Rug, slangily = toupee – No! No! No! Toupee, slangily, is a rug, but not the other way around.

Nautical time unit = bell – A bell (or bells) is a point in time. It is no more a “time unit, than two o’clock is.

Addenda

“It’s unclear how serious the driver’s injuries were after the driver was passed on to Waterloo Regional paramedics.” The driver received injuries after the paramedics arrived?? Did they drop the gurney as they were putting him into the ambulance? And I don’t think that I like the term ‘passed on’ and ‘paramedics’ in the same sentence.

“Speed, impaired driving, distracted driving, and not wearing seatbelts are the “fatal four” causes of such crashes, police say.” Unfastened seatbelts cause accidents?? Only if you’re not wearing one, spot a roadside checkpoint, and glance down to put it on.

 

A Sign Of The Times

A man rushes into a bar and demands a rubber band martini. “A rubber band martini??” says the bartender. “Yes, and make it snappy.”

***

My boss says that a company’s most valuable asset is its people, but I don’t think that’s right. The people sit in open cubicles, but the toilet paper is in a locked steel box, bolted to the wall.

***

Reverend Jones was the pastor of the large First Baptist Church in town and Reverend Griggs was the pastor at the non-denominational church across the street. The two were working hard together at the side of the road, pounding a sign into the ground that read:

THE END IS NEAR!
TURN AROUND NOW
BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

As they hammered away they held a deep theological discussion on the end times. Just as the sign was in the ground, an expensive Tesla went speeding by. The driver leaned out his window and shouted, “You religious nuts!”

As the car rounded a curve, they heard the sound of screeching tires followed by a big splash. Rev. Jones looked at Rev. Griggs and asked, “Do you think maybe the sign should have just said, ‘Bridge Out?”

***

It’s a 4 minute walk from my house to the neighborhood bar.
It’s a 45 minute walk from the bar, back to my house.

***

My teacher said that unison is not a proper word.
That’s ridiculous; she should know that it’s one buffalo, standing by itself.
If there are two buffaloes, then it’s bison.

***

I tried to sue the local hospital. I explained that after her operation there, my wife had lost all interest in sex.
The hospital representative replied, “Your wife was admitted for cataract surgery. All we did was improve her eyesight.”

***

A young frog hears the story about the beautiful girl who kisses a frog and turns him into a prince. He goes to a frog fortune teller and asks if he will ever meet a beautiful young girl. The fortune teller tells him, “Yes, you will and very soon.” The frog replies, “Where? By the lake? By the river?” The fortune teller answers, “In biology class.”

***

Moon

Two blondes were sunning themselves on a California beach. One looks up in the sky and asks the other, “Which do you think is further away, the Moon, or Florida?” “Florida” her friend responds. “Why?” she asks. “Duuhh – you can’t see Florida.”

One-Liners Rub off On You

Comedy

I got a new dry-erase board at work….
….It’s remarkable

People who can’t distinguish between etymology and entomology….
….bug me in ways that I cannot put into words

I could tell you about my addiction to reading books….
….but that’s another story

If you boil a funny-bone….
….you get a laughing-stock
….This is humerus.

I didn’t think that my orthopedic shoes would work….
….but I stand corrected

Why did the coffee file a police report?….
….It got mugged

A toothpick saw a hedgehog….
….”Oh, wow, a bus.” it said.

How do you teach schoolchildren about God?….
….Gather them all in a classroom, and then don’t show up.

I swallowed a laxative with Holy water….
….I’m going to start a religious movement

I nearly bought a hill today….
….but it was too steep

Some people think my puns are juvenile….
….but I like to think of them as full groan

I once had a job prospecting for gold….
….but it didn’t pan out

I got a job in a guillotine factory….
….I’ll be heading there soon

I had amnesia once….
…or twice???

They told me that I was gullible….
….and I believed them

You shouldn’t try to write with a broken pencil….
….It’s pointless

I was addicted to the Hokey-Pokey….
….but I turned myself around

Never argue with a fool….
….they will lower you to their level, and beat you with experience

How do you seduce a fat woman?….
….piece of cake

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way….
….so I stole a bike, and asked for forgiveness

Practice makes perfect….
….but nobody’s perfect, so why practice?

The floor was so dusty….
…. that it seemed to be suffering from sweep deprivation.

IS ATHEISM A RELIGION?

Religions

‘Theism’ means ‘belief in a god or gods’. Believers usually sign up to the values and principles of a godly belief system: it’s an ideology. Theistic ideologies are commonly known as faiths or religions. Many ideologies have the suffix ‘ism’; for example, liberalism, socialism, and communism but, in the case of ‘atheism’, the ‘ism’ ending has merely been inherited from its root: ‘theism’. The prefix ‘a’ turns the meaning around to the negative, that is, ‘not a belief in a god’, so ‘atheism’ is as far from a faith or religion as it’s possible to get.

Atheism is not a belief system, so that should end this article right here, but theists will likely not be satisfied. They might point to the things atheists and religions have in common: religions form churches, atheists form associations; churches and atheist associations appoint members to formal roles such as bishop and president; church members give offerings, atheists pay subscriptions; churches hold services, atheist hold meetings. Churches and Atheists both have literature they value and people they admire.

The problem is, these are superficial similarities and if they make Atheism a religion, they make political parties and table tennis clubs religions too. That is obviously absurd.

There is one organization in the United States which makes it their job to decide which group is a religion and which is not, and that’s The Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Religions receive highly favorable treatment in the USA and the IRS wants to avoid giving these advantages to organizations that are not genuine religions. So the IRS has a set of criteria they apply to any group claiming to be a religion. The primary criteria are listed below with how Atheist groups qualify [shown in parenthesis].

  1. Distinct legal existence [Some Atheist groups are legal entities.]
  2. Recognized creed and form of worship [No creed or forms of worship.]
  3. Definite and distinct ecclesiastical government [No ecclesiastical governance.]
  4. Formal code of doctrine and discipline [No doctrine.]
  5. Distinct religious history [No religious history.]
  6. Membership not associated with any other church or denomination [Atheists may join any number of atheist groups.]
  7. Organization of ordained ministers [No ministers of any kind.]
  8. Ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of study [No courses of study.]
  9. Literature of its own [No literature reserved for one group.]
  10. Established places of worship [No worship.]
  11. Regular religious services [No religious services.]
  12. Sunday schools for the religious instruction of the young [No instructing the young.]
  13. Schools for the preparation of its members [No atheist schools.]

With only one criterion applicable to Atheists (and that one all political parties and many clubs share), the IRS won’t be granting religious tax exemptions to Atheist groups any time soon.

Theists might follow-up by asking why Atheists bother to meet to talk about gods they do not believe in. There are several reasons atheists meet but none of them are to talk about gods they don’t believe in. A common reason, especially in very religious countries, is to find some time to socialize with like-minded people who are not preoccupied with religious beliefs.

In many cases, atheists meet as a reaction against religious intolerance, the infiltration of religious dogma into schools and legislation, or the entanglement of church and state. They meet to get organized in an attempt to combat these religious excesses.

Let’s spell this out; Atheists have no beliefs in common, no gods of any kind, nothing they worship, no scripture, no shared values, and no dogma. They have no clergy, no schools, and no sacred buildings. The only thing all Atheists share is a lack of belief in gods.

Why then do the religious so often claim that Atheism is a religion? I don’t know, you’ll have to ask religious people that question. Perhaps it is to try to establish a false equivalency, an attempt to drag Atheism down to the level of a religion—a set of unsubstantiated beliefs, in a landscape where beliefs are held only on faith. If so, they would be completely wrong about that too. 😯

 

WOW #49

Dandle

I’ve got another old-fashion-y word, as this week’s Word Of the Week. It’s

DANDLE

verb (used with object), dan·dled, dan·dling.

to move (a baby, child, etc.) lightly up and down, as on one’s knee or in one’s arms.

to pet; pamper.

Isn’t that a lovely old word, as warm and nutritious as Scottish oatmeal; as enfolding and supportive as a flannelette blanket? It’s not officially extinct, but it went on the endangered species list in the 60s or 70s.

Nobody dandles babies anymore! There’s no time! Instead, fit, young, Spanx-clad, Bluetooth-sprouting mothers race past, with bewildered, wind-burned children in $4000 Kevlar and Carbon-Fiber walkers, on their way to enrol the kid in pre-pre-pre-kindergarten, or snaffle the last spot in some preppy Day-Care.

I believe that I may have found a preventive for, at least some of, the multiple-killing gun violence. Perhaps if Mom (Or grandma – she remembers how) dandled her child more, he would be more likely to grow up to return love for love, instead of being estranged from society.

Please note that the word is dandle, not diddle. 😯 The Catholic Church seems to finally be getting the word, and that pedophile, Epstein has taken himself out of the game.

Stop back in a couple of days for some more comedy, and the beginning of my (hopefully) final dash for the 200th Flash Fiction milestone.

Where’d He Go?

Huether

View of the North-East corner, across King Street, the main drag.

Some people come here to shit and stink
And scratch their itchy balls
But I come here to sit and think
And write upon the walls

Do pay toilets even exist anymore? The last one I was in, the graffiti read

Here I sit, broken-hearted
Paid to shit, but only farted
Yesterday, I took a chance
Saved a dime, but shit my pants.

One day, when the grandson was in 7th Grade, he put up his hand. The teacher knew what he wanted, but what he said was, “I have to go cogitate.” Now, ‘cogitate’ is not a word which often falls from the mouths of 7th Graders. She thought that he said he was constipated, and sent a note home for the daughter to check his digestion.

Where do I do my thinking? Well, I do most of it at home, some of it even in the bathroom. Once a month though, I save a dime (because it’s free) and do my thinking at a Sunday brunch meeting of the local Free Thinkers.

The meetings are normally held up in our twin city, Waterloo, Ontario, in the Huether Hotel, two feet below the basement level, in the old malt room, which once held a large vat for beer brewing. Click above, if you’d like more details, or enter ‘image Huether Hotel’ into the Bing search engine. It’s historically famous enough to have its own Wikipedia page. She’s a utilitarian old queen, built to provide food, drink and lodging to horse-drawn travellers, long before hipsters needed pretty and comfortable.

The Wiki article doesn’t include the information that further, recent excavations for our new street railroad, found a tunnel which completely crossed under the main street, to surface in what used to be a saddlery and buggy rental building. It is thought that Al Capone’s boys quietly loaded beer out its back door during Prohibition, un-noticed by local police at the micro-brewery across the street.

Huether 2

Management makes a somewhat specious claim, with the very existence of their 1842 Café, even though the place wasn’t built until 1855, as evidenced by the inscribed lintel stone in the malt room doorway.

Huether 1881 Parsell

View of the South-East corner across King St., from an 1881 print. The plain brewery section at the rear has been demolished, and replaced by a bowling alley.

Much work has been done in recent years, to bring the building up to modern safety codes. The old mixes very nicely with the new. A quarter of the old malt room is now taken up by an enclosed stairway, to provide a second exit from the basement, in case of fire.

Huether 3

A print of a slightly newer, and safer, version. Fire escapes have been added.

Your resident nosy old coot had a look at the landing at the bottom of the stairs, and found a table with a dozen 1972 Presbyterian Book Of Praise. I guess if they host the atheistic Free Thinkers, it’s only fair that they allow an occasional Christian prayer meeting.

Huether 6

Like me, they celebrate their antique status, using it for marketing ambience. I’ve got another plate of leftover lasagna, as a prize for any of my fellow hayseed hicks who can identify all of these old tools, most of which are still in use by nearby Mennonites.

Huether 4

I don’t give a shit. I think that I’ll keep attending these meetings. I hope that you enjoyed the tour. Seeya again, soon. 😀

Huether 5

A cabinet full of Heuther trivia and memorabilia, built into a hole in the stone wall, where the big malt tank used to be drained to the brew tanks.