’21 A To Z Challenge – U

 

 

I want to believe as many true things, and as few false things, as I can.
I want my internal, mental world-view to match observed reality as closely as possible.

The wife claims that, in the last 5 or 10 years, I have become intolerant and nasty toward religion and Christianity.

I think that it’s just that I’ve been more and more exposed to people who believe – and want me to believe – religious positions based on observably false claims, and I’m just getting more chances to express my discontent.

The wife’s Catholic Father died of cancer when she was 13.  He was sick for 5 years.  His teen-aged children cared for him for a year, but he was moved to the Catholic hospital, and given palliative care for 3 years.  Hospices did not exist back then, and hospitals finally realized that they could not afford to take up space with someone who would not recover.  He was discharged, to die at home.

At the end of the fifth year, he was terminal.  Four times, the local Catholic priest had to put on his cassock, and come over in the middle of the night, to give him last rites.  The first time, he rallied.  Two weeks later, the priest was back with another serving of last rites.  Again, he rallied.  Two weeks later, the tired priest made a third late-night house-call.  Once more, he rallied, but the end was inevitable.

The wife told me that, on his final visit, the priest gave her Father, not the last rites, but

EXTRA MUNCTION

I had been exposed in my youth to Baptist, Presbyterian, United, Pentecostal and Anglican, but not much Catholic.  I knew that The Church had all kinds of rites and rituals, and amulets, and potions, and spells, but I’d never heard of MUNCTION.  I asked, “What the Hell is munction?  Why did he need any, much less, extra??  Is it some kind of herbal remedy, or an opiate to ease his suffering??”

“I don’t know, but he must have needed it, because the priest gave him some extra.”   😯

Years later, I was reading a book about a Catholic who was dying, and the priest attended him, to give him

Extreme UNCTION

noun Roman Catholic Church.
anointing of the sick.
From: unction
an act of anointing, especially as a medical treatment or religious rite.
an unguent or ointment; salve.
something soothing or comforting.

I can’t fault the wife.  Shortly after that, she left the Church because she asked questions that they wouldn’t/couldn’t answer, so she didn’t get the complete indoctrination into the arcane, magical, mystical, mythical, mumbo-jumbo.  I have talked to other people who have been Catholics all their lives, but are no better informed about the Church’s tenets and ceremonies.  From the wife’s aggressive defense, even half a century later, I don’t think that she’s shed all the propaganda, but has obvious discomfort at my criticisms and doubts.

I am strangely reminded of the ‘60s British comedy movie, Carry On Doctor, which revolves around a hospital ward, with 8 stereotypical English males.  One is the brash, loud-mouthed know-it-all, who irritates fellow patients and staff alike.  Finally, a long-suffering nurse tells him to roll on his stomach, and get up on his knees.  She is going to take his temperature rectally.

He hoists his butt into the air, and something slender, round and cool is inserted.  Almost immediately, The Matron enters the ward, and demands to know from him, why his jiggly bits are hanging out in the breeze.  He says, “Have you never seen a man having his temperature taken?”  She replies, “Yes.  Many times.  But never with a daffodil!”   😯  😳  Just go along with it, because someone who claims to have authority, tells you to do something ultimately meaningless, no matter how foolish you look in the end.

It is difficult to take Christian Apologists, and their claims and arguments, seriously, when it appears obvious that there is something going on behind their…. back, and they have no idea that it’s happening, or what it is.

Edison On Religion


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Alva Edison:

…What I have denied and what my reason compels me to deny, is the existence of a Being throned above us as a god, directing our mundane affairs in detail, regarding us as individuals, punishing us, rewarding us as human judges might.  When the churches learn to take this rational view of things, when they become true schools of ethics and stop teaching fables, they will be more effective than they are to-day… If they would turn all that ability to teaching this one thing – the fact that honesty is best, that selfishness and lies of any sort must surely fail to produce happiness – they would accomplish actual things.

Religious faiths and creeds have greatly hampered our development. They have absorbed and wasted some fine intellects. That creeds are getting to be less and less important to the average mind with every passing year is a good sign, I think, although I do not wish to talk about what is commonly called theology.

The criticisms which have been hurled at me have not worried me. A man cannot control his beliefs. If he is honest in his frank expression of them, that is all that can in justice be required of him. Professor Thomson and a thousand others do not in the least agree with me. His criticism of me, as I read it, charged that because I doubted the soul’s immortality, or ‘personality,’ as he called it, my mind must be abnormal, ‘pathological,’ in other, words, diseased…

I try to say exactly what I honestly believe to be the truth, and more than that no man can do. I honestly believe that creedists have built up a mighty structure of inaccuracy, based, curiously, on those fundamental truths which I, with every honest man, must not alone admit but earnestly acclaim.

I have been working on the same lines for many years. I have tried to go as far as possible toward the bottom of each subject I have studied. I have not reached my conclusions through study of traditions; I have reached them through the study of hard fact. I cannot see that unproved theories or sentiment should be permitted to have influence in the building of conviction upon matters so important. Science proves its theories or it rejects them. I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God.

I earnestly believe that I am right; I cannot help believing as I do… I cannot accept as final any theory which is not provable. The theories of the theologians cannot be proved. Proof, proof! That is what I always have been after; that is what my mind requires before it can accept a theory as fact. Some things are provable, some things disprovable, some things are doubtful. All the problems which perplex us, now, will, soon or late, be solved, and solved beyond a question through scientific investigation.

The thing which most impresses me about theology is that it does not seem to be investigating. It seems to be asserting, merely, without actual study….Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now.

Irish Humor

St. Patricks

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, you get a dose of Irish humor. It would have been posted on Saturday, the actual St. Paddy’s day, but I’m still a little green around the gills, and just recovering from a Guinness hangover.  😉

  1. When the Irish say that St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland, what they don’t tell you is that he was the only one who saw any snakes!
  2. His wife had been killed in an accident and the police were questioning Finnegan. “Did she say anything before she died?” asked the sergeant. “She spoke without interruption for about forty years,” said the Finnegan.
  3. Pat and Kieran were getting ready to go on a camping trip. The first one said “I’m taking along a gallon of whiskey just in case of rattlesnake bites. What are you taking?” The other one said “Two rattlesnakes!”
  4. Seamus do you understand French, I do if its spoken in Irish
  5. Two farmers were driving their tractor down the middle of a country road. A car comes around the corner brakes hard to avoid them, skids, tumbles twice and lands in a field. Jimmy says to Eamonn, It’s just as well we got out of that field.
  6. Two drunks coming home, stumbled up the country road in the dark. “Faith, Mike, we’ve stumbled into the graveyard and here’s the stone of a man lived to the age of 103!” “Glory be, Patrick and was it anybody we knew?” “No, ’twas someone named ‘Miles from Dublin’!”
  7. Twas the Irish what invented the pipes, you know, and they gave them to the Scots as a joke. And you Scots haven’t gotten the joke yet!!”
  8. One night I was chatting with my Mum about how she had changed as a mother from the first child to the last. She told me she had mellowed a lot over the years: “When your oldest sister coughed or sneezed, I called the ambulance. When your youngest brother swallowed a penny, I just told him it was coming out of his allowance.”
  9. I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.
  10. 42.7 Percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
  11. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
  12. If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving isn’t for you.
  13. Honk if you love peace and quiet.
  14. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
  15. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
  16. He who laughs last thinks slowest.
  17. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  18. I intend to live forever – so far so good.
  19. Borrow money from a pessimist – they don’t expect it back.
  20. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
  21. Support bacteria – they’re the only culture some people have.
  22. Love may be blind but marriage is a real eye-opener.
  23. If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
  24. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
  25. For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.
  26. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.
  27. No one is listening until you make a mistake.
  28. Success always occurs in private and failure in full view.
  29. The hardness of butter is directly proportional to the softness of the bread.
  30. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with the regularly scheduled A To Z Challenge – X. I X-pect to see you there.