WOW #58

 

I am the walrus…. No, wait. That was John Lennon.

philosopher

I AM THE ARCHON

And I have been since a high school history class in 1958, when we studied the Classic Greeks. The king of Sparta was killed in a battle, and his son was only 11. The law stated that he needed to be 18 before he officially succeeded his father.

Seven of the king’s closest friends and advisors formed a committee, and offered to protect and mentor the young teen until he could take over. They became ‘The Archons.’   True to their word, they trained and advised the young man for years, and when he came of age, they crowned and installed him as king.

Impressed by their wisdom and honesty, I decided that I wanted to be an Archon – a tribal elder, a senior statesman – passing along knowledge and integrity. It is a self-appointed title that I’ve held for over 60 years.

Somewhat sadly, the word/name/concept did not begin with the ancient Greeks. It actually goes back to, or beyond, the time of Gilgamesh and the Mesopotamian Empire. The original meaning was of beings that held power and positions which they were not authorized to hold.

Modern Christian Apologists have decided that these tales were about demons afflicting mankind. I have been unceremoniously dismissed by Christian debaters, because my ‘Archon’s Den’ website is obviously a home for the Devil.

Well, now that I’ve made it all about me, it’s about time that I dragged out the Word Of the Week, gave credit where it is due, and explained why.

Once upon a time, I claimed that I was ‘The Archon,’ and blogger buddy Jim replied that, of course I was, and he was the

POLEMARCH

That had me quickly scurrying for a dictionary and a history text. It turns out that, while an Archon may be a noble, a member of the aristocracy, one who makes the laws to rule a country – the POLEMARCH is a senior civilian bureaucrat, charged with the administration and enforcing of the rules.

Fasces

I hope that Jim is not dismayed when I say that the Polemarch is Fascist. Like the swastika symbol, the poor word ‘Fascist’ has suffered a reversal of fortunes and meaning, which may not be set right for another hundred years. The left-hand, reverse swastika has been the symbol of the Zuni Indians’ Sun God for centuries.

Swastika

The right-hand version, presented flat and square, instead of the diamond Nazi method, had been a good-luck symbol to the Hindu and Jain religions for millennia. It has even been accepted by various Christian sects as the cross of Saint John.

The Greek concept of the Polemarch was adopted and modified (along with so many other things) by the Romans. Administrators named Magistrates – a word, which in English, means ‘master’ – patrolled Roman cities, dispensing justice. They were accompanied by one or more assistants, bearing their badge of office, called ‘Fasces.’ (fass-case) These consisted of an axe, the blade visible and facing outward, surrounded by a sheaf of wooden rods.

Actually, only the rods were fasces, but the whole assembly soon took on the name. The axe (more than) symbolized the power of death – by beheading – capital punishment.   The wooden sticks were used to administer a beating or flogging – corporal punishment, for lesser crimes.

Instant justice, delivered hot and fresh, on the spot – today’s lawyers would be aghast at the lack of fee-producing stays and appeals. The term ‘fasces’ produced the word Fascist when Mussolini’s WWII Brown-shirts co-opted it, and the symbol, to show the government’s seizure of the right of life and death over the population.

One Thing At A Time

Boxer

Battered, bruised and bleeding, the Christian Apologist scuttles forward. Desperate to level the debate playing field, and to achieve some validation, relevance and equivalency for his arguments, he claims, ‘Atheism Is A Religion.’

No, it’s not! We refuted that.

Well then, ‘Atheism Is A World-View.’

No it’s not! How dumb do you come??! The only reason that any two Atheists share a world-view, is that there are more Atheists than there are basic world-views.

Waaah! Atheists claim to be intellectual and logical, but they’re using emotion-based ridicule against Christians. (That emotion-based belief stuff should be reserved for the Christians.)

If you’d accept fact-based evidence, instead of dismissing it out of hand, we wouldn’t have to. We’re merely fighting fire with fire – or in this case, mud-slinging and name-calling. We know that you’re busy, campaigning for Trump. Atheism is only the lack of belief in God, or gods.

Frantic to have ANY handle to hang an argument on, the Apologist grasps at the word, ‘only.’ “Atheism must be more than ONLY!   Atheists believe in Science. Atheists accept the Theory of Evolution. Atheists claim that they have morals, and that they are ‘Good Without God.’ It must, somehow, be more than only.”

Hold on, cowboy. Climb down off your hobby-horse. One thing at a time!
What do you do for a living? Truck-driver? Are you only a truck-driver??! For example, you’re not a truck-driver and a guitar player – or a Jeopardy! fan? Do you have to be a Christian to be a trucker? Are all truckers Christians? Do all truckers hate faggots? Do all truckers feel that a wall should be built, to keep illegal aliens out? Are only truckers moral?

You can be Only about one issue, but still be very involved in many others, some of which are only vaguely connected to the one under consideration. Some Atheists believe in evolution. Some don’t. Some Christians believe in evolution. Some don’t. Some Atheists trust science. Some don’t. Some Christians trust science. Some don’t. Many Atheists are highly moral. A disappointing number of Christians aren’t.

Prove that Atheism is true.

There is so much semantic, social, emotional and Theistic baggage attached to that challenge, that I’m surprised the writer didn’t throw his back out, just wrestling it onto the screen. In attempting to prove equivalence, this Christian apparently thinks that Atheism has similar many and magnificent claims and beliefs that his religion does.

Compared to say, Christianity, the footprint of Atheism is small. It is only the lack of belief in the existence of God. On a personal basis, my Atheism is the rejection of all your bullshit claims. What do I believe? I believe that you are deluded and desperate. The mere fact that I write that, and make that statement, makes my Atheism true.

Many Apologists get so intense at winning the argument – at trying to prove Atheists wrong – that they forget what the original point of discussion was. DOES GOD EXIST, OR NOT??! Can you prove it? Even if, tomorrow, we found that everything that we think we know about The Big Bang and Evolution is wrong, (And, with the mountain of scientific results we have, that is vanishingly unlikely.) it still doesn’t justify a claim that God did it. One thing at a time.

“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…. 😉

Ego And Insecurity – Episode 2

Bible

Trying to debate the existence of God, with someone who has renounced critical, rational, logical thinking, is like trying to administer medication to a dead body.

A Fundamentalist Christian recently declared that, if he found a passage in the Bible which stated that two plus two equaled five, he would unquestioningly believe it. Another was quoted as saying that, if it was proved to him that the entire Bible had been written by forgers, he would still believe that they were Divinely-inspired forgers. Who could have a meaningful debate, or even an intelligent conversation, with someone with such desperately hidebound assumptions?

A recent Christian response to anyone presenting Biblical mistakes or contradictions, has been to defensively ask (demand), “Do you think that you are smarter than me?” That question is as vague, insecure, irrelevant and meaningless as all their unproven beliefs and claims. Smartness is almost impossible to define or measure. I’ve written of a woman so clueless that she didn’t realize that she had Polish ancestry. Yet she owned three homes, while my MENSA-grade IQ was still paying rent.

“Smart” is not the matter at hand. Instead, it is the gullible, sheep-like, unthinking, dogmatic rejection of any portion of evidence of reality that conflicts with their (and their church/religion’s) unthinking hope/wish that their existence was exactly the way they needed it to be, to make them feel good about their life choices.

I realize that ‘salvation’, and ‘eternal life’, are very important concepts. It’s just that far too many people put far too much belief and energy into things that have no real connection to God. In a legal sense, I’ll stipulate to the existence of God. That means that I may, or may not, accept the concept, but I’ll allow it for the purposes of discussion. I’ll also, grudgingly, agree to ‘Christ as Savior.’

ALL the rest, is bullshit! Petty rules and orders, dreamed up by men, for the benefit of men. God doesn’t need you to kneel. Even if He did, he’d want you down on BOTH knees, not just the right one, with the left foot forward. He doesn’t care if you accept Him, dabbed with ashes, or oil, with a little water sprinkled on you, or dunked whole-hog in a creek or pond.

I can manage to get born, married and die without some guy in a funny hat and dress being there to demand his 10% – not for GOD, but for him, and his church. Ritual actions can be important, not in terms of God, Jesus, and salvation, but for ‘the group – the congregation,’ as well as those performing them, so that the group will accept them.

They are an external indication of an internal decision of belief, but no specific rites or actions are any more “right”, (or wrong) than any others. Lutherans will not go to Hell, just because they don’t genuflect, no matter what your priest/preacher tells you. In the Old West, preachers were often not available. Many couples were ‘married’ by gathering friends and family, and performing some overt, ritual act, like ‘jumping over a broom,’ with a Bible present.

“Church” becomes a place where we go once a week, to pass judgement on others. A lot of folks would do well to dispense with the irrelevant details, dreamed up and enforced by men, having nothing to do with God, Christ, or salvation, and concentrate more on ‘Love thy neighbor’, and ‘Do unto others….’

Episode 1 is here, if you’re interested.

’19 A To Z Challenge – B

Letter BAtoZ2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It all started with a block of cheese at Costco.

Balderson

I never know when a language lesson will rear its ugly head. It was on a recent Costco run, when one leaped (or is that leapt??) out at me. The wife wanted to buy another block of Cheddar cheese, to provide dietary source of calcium for me. Instead of taking Costco’s house-brand – Kirkland – she asked me if I would take one that was on sale, named

Balderdash

senseless, stupid, or exaggerated talk or writing; nonsense.

Obsolete . a muddled mixture of liquors.

Related words; jargon, crock, claptrap, rot, bunk, tripe, rigmarole, drivel, moonshine, poppycock, bull, malarkey, fustian, trash, fudge, twaddle, flummery, bosh

For a word that means nothing, it sure has a lot of synonyms. The dictionary omitted the most recent one – Donald Trump. It’s another great old word that the hipsters don’t have time to use, IMHO. The name that she meant to use, was

Balderson

This interesting surname is of medieval English origin, and is an assimilated form of the locational name Balderston(e), which is itself derived from two places so called in Lancashire. The earliest recording in 1172 (Whitaker’s “History of Whalley”‘) appears as “Balderestone”; in the Feet of Fines as “Baldreston” in 1256; and as “Baldreston” in the Court Rolls of 1323. Balderson derives from an Olde English pre 7th Century personal name “Baldhere”, composed of the elements “beold”, brave, and “here”, army, with “tun”, a settlement. During the Middle Ages, when it was becoming more common for people to migrate from their birthplace to seek work elsewhere, they would often adopt the placename as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name.

This is the kind of claptrap, drivel, trash, etc. that I serve you when I’ve been distracted, debating with Apologists, and wait till the last minute to compose an A To Z Challenge post. At least it had cheese sauce on it – tasty little morsel.  I promise that Wednesday’s offering will be a little more entertaining and informative. I hope to see you here then   😀

A To Z - Survivor

Cuz I forgot to add this image to my ‘A’ post, two weeks ago

’18 A To Z Challenge – U

uvula

I luv my Uvula.  It’s that dangly body part that women, as well as men, have.  I thought that it was about as useful as a ‘Best of Keeping Up With the Kardshians DVD, non-functional, merely a plaything for Ear, Nose and Throat doctors, good only for silly cartoons.

Then I desperately needed a word starting with U for the Challenge, and didn’t want to use one that was merely “un” something – unusual, uninspired, unmoving – and had to actually do some research.

Uvula Function:  The main function of uvula is to prevent food going through the breathing passage while you swallow. The uvula function also involves articulation of your voice to form sounds of speech. The uvula functions along with the back of the throat, palate, and air coming up from the lungs to produce a gruffy and other sounds.

Did you know that newborn babies have no need for a uvula??  When we are first born, our throats actually have two separate tubes – one to the lungs, and one to the stomach.  This is why babies can constantly nurse, yet continue breathing.  Only later does throat tissue shrivel to produce one, somewhat dangerous passage.

I’ve got to add that to the (rather large) list of things to mention to the next “Intelligent Design” idiot that I debate.  One of the most famous of them, over the course of a couple of years, gave a number of speeches and produced a few videos, using the banana to “Prove” the existence of God.

‘See how they just fit the curve of the hand, and are just the right size for our mouths, and they’re so nutritious and good for us – GOD must have designed them with us in mind.’

He recently ceased this silliness when an Atheist icon pointed out that the modern banana has only been in existence for several hundred years, and came into its current form through genetic manipulation by human beings.  😳

Flash Fiction #174

Flat Earth

Copyright –Douglas M. MacIlroy

ERROR 404 – NO TITLE FOUND

I know that I shouldn’t bother, but I’ve been debating some Flat Earthers online.  The Flat Earth Society has members all around the world.  They’re as bad as the rabid Bible-thumpers – which many of them are.  Their minds are made up.  Don’t confuse them with the facts.

If the argument for a globe were a house, they can refute windows, or roofs, or walls, but not the entire building.   And their ‘proof’ against floors contradicts their ‘proof’ against chimneys.

Sometimes these discussions can be irritating.  Sometimes they can be amusing and entertaining, but often, they just go ‘round and ‘round.

***

Don’t be afraid to click on ‘Flat Earthers,’ above.  It’s not a deep Wiki article, just a few thoughts I published on the subject a couple of years ago.  Even the less astute of you may notice that I am willing to plagiarise even from myself.  Rochelle’s photo, coupled with Wednesday’s religious rant, joined forces to give the inspiration for this post.  I slipped in an old, previously published Flat Earth joke, and used the same “Round And Round” hook line from my Nov. 30th Flash Fiction.  That’s just flat-out lazy.  😉

***

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

Friday Fictioneers

Bible Man Speak With Forked Tongue

Bible

Once again, I have found Christian Apologetics, the new Defenders of the Faith, doing exactly what they accuse Atheists, Agnostics, and other doubters of doing.  In the past year, I’ve seen at least three Christian blogs critical of a list of Atheist statements.  While each is composed slightly differently, the list of Atheist sins in each, is cut and paste identical.

It is undeniable that they often put forth nearly identical catch-phrases and responses. I mean, just ask yourself how often you heard these Atheist talking points:

  • There is no evidence for God;
  • God is not great;
  • Religion poisons everything;
  • Faith means believing something without evidence;
  • Atheism is just a lack of belief;
  • If you don’t believe in evolution, you’re a fool;
  • If everything has a cause, then what caused God;
  • That’s just a God of the Gaps argument;
  • Well, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence;
  • Religion is just wish-fulfillment;
  • Jesus is a zombie;
  • Metaphysics is bunk, I believe in what works;
  • I want evidence, not arguments;
  • God is just a delusion;
  • Religion is a mind virus;
  • Why doesn’t God heal amputees; and, finally
  • God is evil or a dictator or a maniac.

And these are just some of the catch-phrases that are routinely put forward by Atheists.

It wasn’t until I happened upon this soap opera evil twin triplet, that I realized I had a theme to rant about.  All three of them, and lots of others I’ve read, just complain about not wanting to encounter the routine list of Atheist denials of their unproven claims.

Amusingly, what they all seem to hope for, and invite, are newer, different, more creative and inventive, but easier to dismiss, arguments.  Like what??!  I don’t want to believe in God because he might be Scottish, wearing a kilt, and I don’t want to look up his skirt.  There’s enough big pricks down here on Earth.

I also noticed that, aside from whining about not wanting to be constantly faced with this list of reasons not to believe their claims, none of them actually did anything to refute any of it.  ‘Go ahead, prove the list wrong.  Offer proof of rebuttal for a couple of these claims – not Faith, or Belief – actual, provable facts.’  While a couple of the Atheist points are a bit aggressive, or colloquial, they all appear valid.  Religion poisons everything??  “I’ll gladly book you a trip to ISIS territory.  Take it up with them.”  If they want better rebuttals, they’re going to have to provide better claims, which are based more on evidence, rather than just their faith-based opinions.

Those who are firm in their faith seem willing to nod sagely and ignore all Atheist arguments.  It seems though, that the more unsure and insecure these Apologetics are, the louder and more frantic their wails are.

On that great Cosmic Scorecard in the sky, which they’re sure that Someone is keeping, having even the slightest doubt will get them sent to Hell.  Atheists’ arguments cause doubt, so they just want them to shut up.  What they’re doing is, trying to make it my job to ensure that they go to Heaven.  I’m too busy sinning and having no morals (according to them) to get around to that.  To Hell with them!  😉