WOW #54

Boustrophedon

Here’s another in a long line of words that you’ll never use in polite company – or in any company, I would imagine.

BOUSTROPHÉDON

Languages that are written in the Greek, Cyrillic, or Latin alphabets, are written from left to right. It only makes sense. 90% of people are right-handed, and the right arm moves away from what is being written. Asian languages like Chinese and Japanese are written from the top down, vertically. At least they’re getting out of their own way.

Forgive me for being un-PC, but languages like Hebrew and Arabic are just stupid. Both cultures – Arabs worse than Jews – make a big deal about being left-handed. Somehow it’s evil, allied to Shaitan, The Devil. Yet these languages are written from right to left. It’s only in the last 75 years that technology has partly rescued them, with instant-drying ballpoint ink, and word processors. Before that, writers’ arms covered what had just been written, smudging or smearing the pen or quill ink.

Cuneiform

Boustrophedon is a Greek name for some of the much earlier Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform type of ‘writing.’   This was just wedge-shaped marks, pushed into soft clay tablets. Back and forth – to and fro. Since there was no ink to smudge, a line would be entered from left to right. Then the writer would just drop down a line, and enter the next one from right to left.

The word originally just referred to that form of writing, but the meaning, in Greek, is “oxen turning.” Nowadays, the very few times that it is used, (always by a licensed professional) it can refer to things like the back-and-forth pattern of tweed, or the appearance of an agricultural field which has been plowed – fortunately, with tractors, not oxen – back and forth, up and down, leaving a visual difference between alternating rows or strips.

There Be Atheist Monsters Here

Loch Ness Monster

The atheist and the Loch Ness monster

An atheist was rowing at the lake, when suddenly the Loch Ness monster attacked and grabbed him from his boat. He panicked and shouted “God help me!”, and suddenly, the monster and everything around him just stopped.

A voice from the heavens boomed “You say you don’t believe in me, but now you are asking for my help?”
The atheist looked up and said: Well, ten seconds ago I didn’t believe in the Loch Ness Monster either!

***

Atheists and light bulb

How many atheists does it take to change a light bulb? Two. One to actually change the bulb, and the other to videotape the job so fundamentalists won’t claim that God did it.

***

Rowing in the lake

A Jew, A Catholic, and an atheist are rowing in Lake Erie when their boat springs a huge leak. The Jew looks skyward, and says “Oh, Adonai, if you save me, I promise I’ll sail to Israel and spend the rest of my days trying to reclaim the land you gave us.” The Catholic looks skyward, and says, “Oh, Jesus, if you save me, I promise I’ll fly to the Vatican and spend the rest of my days singing your praises.” The atheist says, “Oh, guys, if you pass me that one life preserver, I promise I’ll swim to Cleveland.” “And how will you spend the rest of your days?” the Jew and the Catholic ask. “Well,” says the atheist, “I’m not sure, but I can tell you one thing: I’ll never go rowing with other atheists.”

***

Martinis before lunch

A minister, a priest, a rabbi, and an atheist meet in a bar at 10:00 a.m. The bartender asks the minister what he’ll have, and the minister orders a martini. The priest also orders a martini, as does the rabbi. When the bartender asks the atheist what he wants, the atheist says he’d like a cup of coffee. “Why aren’t you having a martini like those guys?” asks the bartender. “Oh,” says the atheist, “I don’t believe in martinis before lunch.”

***

Because he does not bother me!

A very religious man lived right next door to an atheist. While the religious one prayed day in, day out, and was constantly on his knees in communion with his Lord, the atheist never even looked twice at a church. However, the atheist’s life was good, he had a well-paying job and a beautiful wife, and his children were healthy and good-natured, whereas the pious man’s job was strenuous and his wages were low, his wife was getting fatter every day and his kids wouldn’t give him the time of the day. So one day, deep in prayer as usual, he raised his eyes towards heaven and asked: “Oh God, I honour you every day, I ask your advice for every problem and confess to you my every sin. Yet my neighbour, who doesn’t even believe in you and certainly never prays, seems blessed with every happiness, while I go poor and suffer many an indignity. Why is this?“  And a great voice was heard from above: “BECAUSE HE DOESN’T BOTHER ME ALL THE TIME!”

***

Doctor, Doctor…

Two doctors and an HMO manager die and line up together at the Pearly Gates. One doctor steps forward and tells St. Peter,
“As a pediatric surgeon, I saved hundreds of children.” St. Peter lets him enter.

The next doctor says, “As a psychiatrist, I helped thousands of people live better lives.” St. Peter tells him to go ahead.

The last man says, “I was an HMO manager. I got countless families cost-effective health care.”

St. Peter replies, “You may enter. But,” he adds, “You can only stay for three days. After that, you can go to hell.”

***

One Of The Differences Between Christians And Atheists

The Christian wakes up, and says, Good Morning God!
The Atheist wakes up, and says, Good God, Morning??

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. 😯

 

A Drive In The Country

pig

The difference between men and women in one
paragraph:

A man is driving up a steep, narrow mountain
road. A woman is driving down the same road.

As they pass each other, the woman leans out
the window and yells, “Pig!”

The man immediately leans out the window and
replies, “Bitch!”

They each continue on their way, and as the
man rounds the next corner, he crashes into
a pig in the middle of the road.

(The sad, real joke about that, is that it took FOUR more paragraphs.)

***

The past, present, and future all walk into a bar. It was tense.

***

A 75-year old man went to his doctor’s office
to get a sperm count. The doctor gave the man
a jar and said, “Take this jar home and bring me
back a sample tomorrow.” The next day, the
75-year old man reappears at the doctor’s office
and gives him the jar, which is as clean and
empty as on the previous day. The doctor asks
what happened, and the man explains, “Well, doc,
it’s like this. First I tried with my right hand,
but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but
nothing. Then I asked my wife for help. She tried
with her right hand, but nothing. Then her left,
but nothing. She even tried with her mouth, first
with the teeth in, then with the teeth out, and
still nothing. Hell, we even called up the lady
next door, and she tried with both hands and her
mouth too, but nothing.” The doctor was shocked.
“You asked your NEIGHBOR?” The old man replied,
“Yep, but no matter what we tried, we couldn’t
get the damn jar open!”

***

Great Signs

In a Dry Cleaner’s Emporium:
“Drop your pants here.”

On an Electrician’s truck:
“Let us remove your shorts.”

On a Butcher’s window:
“Let me meat your needs.”

In a Beauty Shop:
“Dye now!”

On Maternity Room door:
“Push, Push, Push.”

In a Veterinarian’s waiting room:
“Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!”

On the side of a firewood delivery truck:
“Fulfilling all your burning desires!”

At an Optometrist’s Office:
“If you don’t see what you’re looking
for, you’ve come to the right place.”

On a fence:
“Salesmen welcome. Dog food is expensive.”

Outside a Muffler Shop:
“No appointment necessary. We’ll hear you coming.”

Outside a Hotel:
“Help Wanted. We need inn-experienced people.”

In the front yard of a Funeral Home:
“Drive carefully, we’ll wait.”

On a Music Teacher’s door:
“Out Chopin, Bach in a minuet.”

On the door of a Computer Store:
“Out for a quick byte.”

***

Don’t Piss me Off. I’m running out of places to
hide the bodies.

***

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.