THE BLOG-POST THAT I WAS NEVER GOING TO WRITE

Bible

God is for the wise – religions are for fools.

“The totally convinced and the totally stupid have too much in common for the resemblance to be accidental.” ~Robert Anton Wilson

Dear God (if you’ll excuse the expression), how can they so casually dismiss everybody else’s religious claims, yet profess to unflinchingly believe the exact, same thing, with a different color paint on it.

I don’t call myself an Atheist.  I don’t call myself much of anything.  If I have to, I like the son’s definition – A Militant Agnostic.  I don’t know, and neither do you.  I have been called many things by ‘religious people.’  Every person, and every religion, creates a ‘God’ in the way they want Him to be.  I like to think that there’s a unifying force in/to the universe, so I believe in a God, just not your God, subject to your imaginings, and all the man-made rules and restrictions of your particular (or anybody else’s) religion.

Muslims fight with Jews, who feel that Christians are mistaken. Catholics look down on Protestants.  ‘Good Christians’ claim that Mormons are ‘not Christians,’ even though they worship the same God, and accept Jesus as their savior.  They just don’t believe that Christ was the last person to hear from God.

If there is a Divine Being who created Heaven and Earth, there’s only one of Him/It, but you’d never know that from some Christian claims.  A caller to the Atheist Experience show railed that the Atheists, “are almost as bad as those Godless Muslims”, not seeing the contradiction.

Steam ears

The moderator insisted that Muslims are not Godless. “In fact, they worship the same God that you do.”  I thought the caller was going to explode!  Apparently a good Catholic, he insisted, “They do not!  We worship God in three parts!  They only worship one God.”….but it’s the same God.  The problem is not with different Gods.  The problem is how different people worship, view, pray to, and react with, one God, in different ways. You see Him in three parts.  They see Him as one unified whole.  People were burned at the stake over how many Angels could dance on the head of a pin.  Far too many exclusionary fools seem far too worried about irrelevant, unimportant details.  Who’s right?  All of them – and none.

A well-known Atheist, sarcastically claimed that, “We’re all Atheists.  I just worship one less God than you do.”  The words were scarcely out of his mouth, before the Christian Apologetics, obviously missing the irony, insisted that, ‘Well, that’s okay for those gods, but ours is the REAL God, the particular imaginary one that we believe in and expect you to believe in, with no more proof of existence than Odin, Zeus, Jove, Yahweh or Allah.’

A good Catholic, who thought that my That’s Not Funny post wasn’t that funny, sent me some more Christian vs. Atheists jokes.

  1. Q: What do you get when you cross an atheist and a Jehovah’s Witness?
    A: Somebody knocking at your door for no reason.

2.  Q: Why did the Atheist cross the road?
A: He thought there might be a street on the other side, but he wouldn’t believe it until he tested his hypothesis.

and finally…
3.  Q: What is so ironic about Atheists?
A: They’re always talking about God.

The third joke is especially true of you non believers. How many articles do you see written on my blog professing the existence of the Lord? I don’t write many because I know He is there. This is the same reason I have absolutely no blog posts on the legs of the chair I am sitting on…I know they are there.

That’s fine – until you sit down on that chair that you know is there – and it isn’t.  We’ve all done it; some of us more than once.  The same thing could happen with ‘your God.’  A little double-checking couldn’t hurt.

You don’t even need to be Atheist, to feel that Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on people’s doors for no reason. Christians will belittle and make fun of ‘Jovies,’ but, when push comes to shove, they’ll cut them some slack, “Because they are Christians, after all – sadly mistaken Christians – but ‘one of us.’”

An open mind can always stand a closed one, if it has to – by making room for it in the general picture. But a closed mind can’t stand it near an open one without risking immediate and complete destruction in its own terms.  In a closed mind, there’s no more room. Gordon R. Dickson, author – Tiger Green – 1965

The Atheist-crossing-the –road joke isn’t funny, because it ridicules those who seek the truth.  Truth may not be what you ‘believe’ it to be.  The unquestioning faithful may blindly believe in salvation, but in no other life endeavor, would non-cynical, un-researched participation in a course of action, be considered a good idea.  The ‘God’ that you believe in, is not any other person’s ‘God’, not your husband’s, your wife’s, the person next to you in the church pew – or even the priest/preacher at the front.

The third one shows how some Christians mistakenly feel themselves attacked. Atheists don’t ‘always talk about God.’ They talk about Christians, talking about their God – claiming to know what He thinks and wants. If there were more Christians, secure in their own, but quietly acceptant of others’ opinions, and fewer aggressive know-it-alls, there’d be far fewer Atheists pointing out apparent mistakes and contradictions.  If Snidely Smartass hadn’t published his ‘Smart Christian – Dumb Atheist’ joke, I wouldn’t have written my post.  As ye sow, so shall ye reap.   😛

***

What’s Weird About English?

 

 

Grammar Nazi

 

 

 

 

 

You say Grammar Nazi like it’s a bad thing.  Weird Al Yancovic has just released his most recent album.  To promote it, he has also released 8 music videos of the new songs in 8 days, including one sung to the tune of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.  Not a parody of that song, it’s named Word Crimes, and contains lots of examples of what OCD word-nerds like me, rail about.

Weird Al

 

 

 

 

And so, I almost swooned when I read a recent post about it.  Written by a female English teacher, from south-east England, she had all kinds of strange questions and objections.  With regards to the English language: Why are there rules?  Why is one way correct, and all the other ways wrong?  Why is the pronunciation and usage of the south-east area of England the accepted norm?  That’s Classist!  We all manage to communicate.  English is an evolving language.

Where to start?  Where to start??!  If there are no rules, then in that direction lies anarchy and Babel.  Nowhere, in English, is there the equivalent of L’Office de la Langue Francaise, which insists on what is and is not allowed within the language.  However, like a newspaper style guide, there is an informal association of rather learned scholars, who have decided on the clearest and most accurate constructions and usages.

The speech of south-east England is the norm, because that’s where the Queen lives.  If we’re going to speak the Queen’s English, then we should speak it as she does.  We don’t need to use precisioneer grade language in all situations.  It is often best to speak or write for the level of the audience, but in general, we should aspire to better usage, not be content to roll around in the gutter of the likes of exclusionary Cockney rhyming slang.

We don’t “all communicate.”  We often barely manage to communicate.  Many attempts are laughable, tear-inducing or just eye-rolling.  English is indeed, an evolving language, but I would like the changes driven and guided more by intelligent scholars who have studied it, than by some pot-smoking dude with his name on his shirt – by those who know where it’s been, and where it should go.  We’ve seen some examples from Bob the burger-flipper, and they are not for the better.

She complained that Weird Al’s humorous little rant was too “Prescriptive,” that is, insisting that one way was correct and all others were different levels of wrong.  She felt that we should concentrate on “Descriptive” language, which allows people to be creative.  We had Hippies.  They didn’t work out.

Creative people are really not all that common.  They are the occasional goat among a fieldful of sheep, some of who think they’re creative, when really, they are all baa-ing, just in different accents.  You can be creative within the rules.  Often, the rules show where creativity starts, but a bottle full of urine, with the Pope’s picture in it, isn’t creative “Art,” that’s adolescent scatology.

Would you like some “Descriptive” descriptions of most of these “creative” people??!  Try Lazy, Iconoclastic, Inattentive, Incompetent, Uncaring, Rebellious, Entitled, Incomprehensible, and far too often, (Reverse) Classist.

They look down on education and proper usage, and insist that “they are as good as anybody else.”  Maybe in providing lube jobs, or French nails, but Bubba, there are people who can use words as effectively as you can use a torque-wrench or a nail-buffer.  These are the Bart Simpsons – underachievers, and proud of it.

Jeff Foxworthy admits the Southern U.S. accent is not the most sophisticated in the world, and you may be surprised when you get to Heaven, and St. Peter says, “Y’all git in the truck.  We’s goin’ up the big house.”  Maybe, but I’m betting against it.  If you don’t get out much, and are satisfied with sounding like the rest of the redneck yokels in “yer holler”, or the “known to Police” denizens of your urban slum – that’s okay.  I want to be able to efficiently and accurately communicate with English-speakers all over the country and around the world.

If this is the best that Our Miss Brooks offers to the formative and impressionable minds of her young students, then I truly worry for the future of our language, and our society.  Drop your socks and grab your….dictionaries.  Sound off – comprehensibly.

Not One Of Us!

This post could be considered Part 2 of my Ego And Insecurity post   I want to talk about “Those People”.  These are the ones that you find in every social, business, and political situation.  Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems the worst, the most noticeable, are to be found in religion.

These are the people who, to feel good, have to make others feel bad.  For them to stand tall, it must be on the bodies of their enemies and rivals, or at least on top of those they feel inferior to them – pretty much everybody.  For them to be the biggest frog, they just shrink the pond – exclude, exclude, exclude!

I laughed –behind my hand, and behind the back of – one young new-age New Order Mennonite lad that I worked with.  He was a member of a very elite, very select, break-away sect, comprised of all of 15 members, believing that they, and they alone, knew the road to Heaven, and possessed the keys to the holy gates when they got there.  They were SO different – just like all the others.

The logical end to these exclusionary beliefs and actions, lies with a population of one, the solitary psychopath, who believes that only he counts, and the rest of the world is there for him to do with as he wishes.  Evangelical Christianity is therefore but one short step away from both insanity and criminal behavior, and a disturbing number use their religion, to justify committing the others.

It was not a great surprise that there is a term to describe the actions and attitudes I’ve previously observed and written about.  I was somewhat disappointed that I’d reached almost the age of 70, before I found out what it is.  I was greatly disturbed that it was my ancestors (great thinkers they) who produced it, and I was not aware!

It is known as the, “No True Scotsman Theorem.”  No True Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge!  Wait a minute, I put sugar on my porridge.  That just proves my point.  You’re not a true Scotsman.  Christianity is the religion of love and peace.  What about the Crusades, and the Inquisition?  Well, those weren’t True Christians.  If you own the definition, you can’t be wrong.

An eight-year-old girl was expelled from a Catholic school in California, because she didn’t fit the board’s definition of what a girl was.  She was a tom-boy, who wanted to play ball, and wrestle in the mud.  She wanted to dress in sweatshirts and jeans.  They wanted her in skirts and pink dresses.  She was accused of “gender confusion” because she wanted to go into the boys’ washroom – probably just curious, but the curiosity was more dangerous to the status quo than the non-existent sexual content.

The board denied the gender and dress-code accusations, and said that the reason she was expelled, was that she didn’t follow rules – which is true.  When you write the rules, and seize the definitions, she couldn’t be a “True Catholic,” or a “True Girl.”  Another Catholic elementary school quickly accepted her – but they probably weren’t “True Catholics” either.

The wife and I watch a number of British Television series on a specialty channel.  Last fall we got a new one we liked, imported all the way from Australia, titled Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, set in about 1930.

Miss Fisher is a 30ish, flapper-girl, monied Aussie, exempt from the worst of the beginning American Depression.  She is very intelligent, and independent-minded, like the little girl above.  She has joined a circus, traveled the world, learned self-defence, acquired a hammerless, gold-plated .45 calibre revolver, a nasty little garter-dagger, and come back to Melbourne to solve crimes.

She inherits a 20ish, sheltered, naïve, country-girl maid from a society woman she puts away for murder and drug smuggling.  At a time when Australia was PROTESTANT, this girl wears a tiny gold cross around her neck.  The producers and writers apparently like to point out religious hypocrisies, contradictions and exclusions.

The young police constable wants to get to know her, but quickly pulls back when he spots the gold cross – she might be Catholic.  “Go ahead,” his Inspector urges him, “It’s not as if she has two heads!”  “She might as well have, if my mother finds out.”

When she begins work for our heroine, she refuses to answer an often-ringing telephone.  Her priest has told her that this new-fangled gadget is “un-natural,” the electricity leaks into the planet, and too much usage will cause the Earth to explode.

You can protest that this is just the strange opinion of only one man, but, he’s the infallible, heavenly-inspired, to-be-blindly-obeyed, man in a position of authority, who tells her what she may and may not do to ensure her everlasting soul going to Heaven .

One scene shows her going to bed, clad in her voluminous nightgown, kneeling by the side of her bed, saying her prayers, like a six-year-old.  After asking God to protect the well-being of her parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, her new employer and fellow servants, the butcher, and the penguins at the zoo – she finally gets around to asking Him to protect the handsome young Police Constable.

“And, if You have enough time, God, after doing all of that for me, I would really appreciate it if you could give Constable Collins a Signthat You are Catholic.”