Frankly, A Great Challenge

Footprints Challenge

AFrankAngle has issued a fiction challenge. He is asking his readers to take the above photo, compose a 150 word story about it, and link to his post.  Stop over there to see what he, and others, have written about footsteps in the sand.  Here is my offering.

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND

Bobby was almost six. A fisherman’s son, he lived on an island off the Carolina coast. He’d had an argument with his Mom.  He wasn’t going to blindly obey her rules any more.  He would run away from home, and live on his own.

He packed what he thought he’d need, and marched down to the shore. The mainland was a blur, and he couldn’t run a boat.  Fine, he’d find a spot in the grass or trees to live.  With his driftwood ‘staff’, he trudged up the beach.

No suitable spot appeared, so he kept slogging – on and on. He finally came around a headland….and there was the dock again.  There was the big log on the beach – and somebody was sitting on it.  It was his Mom.  She just held out her arms and said, “Lunch is almost ready.”

Oh well, he could run away some other time.

Footprints Victory

For Frank, and others, I also offer the story of a devout man who died and went to Heaven. Before God actually ushered him in, He showed him his life with God.  The man saw it as a walk along the shore with God – two parallel lines of footprints in the sand.

At certain spots in his life, there was only one set of prints. When he looked closer, he realized that these had been the hardest times of his life.  He said to God, “How could You have abandoned me when I most needed You?”  God replied, “My child, those were the times when I carried you.”

Oh G.O.D.!

Fishing Boat

So a girl brings her new fiancé home to meet her parents. Boy looks like a hipster (scarf, big bushy beard, etc.) Understandably, her father would like to know the boy better and so he takes him to his study for a private conversation.
Dad: “So, John. What do you do for a living?”
Fiancé: “Well, I’m an artist.”
D: “So you’re doing well?”
F: “I paint, and God provides me with all I need to live.”
So the dad is a bit confused.
D: “And what will you do when you marry my daughter? Will your art provide for the two of you?”
F: “I will paint, and God will provide for us.”
D: “And when you have kids?”
F: “I will paint, and God will provide for my family.”

The dad nods and walks out of the study. Outside, his daughter is anxiously waiting for him. Daughter: “So, daddy? What’d you think of him? He’s great, isn’t he?” “Well, sweetie,” says the father, “I don’t like his job choice. But, on the other hand, I LOVE what he calls me!”

***

A young guy from North Dakota moves to Florida and goes to a big “everything under one roof” store looking for a job.

The Manager says, “Do you have any sales experience?” The young guy says “Yeah. I was a vacuum salesman back in North Dakota.” Well, the boss was unsure, but he liked the kid and figured he’d give him a shot, so he gave him the job. “You start tomorrow. I’ll come down after we close and see how you did.” His first day on the job was rough, but he got through it.

After the store was locked up, the boss came down to the sales floor. “How many customers bought something from you today?” The kid frowns and looks at the floor and mutters, “One”. The boss says “Just one? Our sales people average sales to 25 to 30 customers a day. This is gonna have to change very soon if you’d like to continue your employment here. We have very strict standards for our sales force here in Florida. One sale a day might have been acceptable in North Dakota, but you’re not on the farm anymore, son.”

The kid took his beating, but continued to look at his shoes, so the boss felt kinda bad for chewing him out on his first day. He asked (sarcastically), “So, how much was your one sale for?” The kid looks up at his boss and says “$124,548.88″. The boss, astonished, says $124,548.88??? What the heck did you sell?”

The kid says, “Well, first, I sold him some new fish hooks. Then I sold him a new fishing rod to go with his new hooks. Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down the coast, so I told him he was going to need a boat, so we went down to the boat department and I sold him a twin engine Chris Craft.

Then he said he didn’t think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to the automotive department and sold him that 4×4 Chevrolet Suburban.” The boss said “A guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and a SUV???” The kid said “No, the guy came in here to buy tampons for his wife, and I said, ‘Bro, your weekend’s a mess, you should go fishing.

 

 

 

A Lotto B.S.

lotto

I recently watched a video where Atheist, Richard Dawkins spoke to a group about the non-existence of God, or Jesus, and took questions/comments after his speech.

One well-mannered, deeply-faithful man stood up and said, “You claim that God, and Jesus do not exist, but I experienced Jesus personally. He came to me and stood before me, and said to me that if I believed in him, I would be saved.  What do you say about that?

Dawkins quietly replied, “You suffered a delusion.”

The man did not relinquish his spot at the front of the line, and instead said, “My friend has allowed me to take his place. God and Jesus must exist.  I cannot afford to be in error about my salvation.  I have too much invested in it. I have seen the face of Christ!  He has spoken to me!   What is your response to that??!

Again, quietly, Dawkins told him, “You have experienced an hallucination.”

But there, ladies and gentlemen, you have the truth about religion, and it’s not an honest truth. Unwittingly, he has revealed that Religion is a commercial transaction – “cannot afford – too much invested”.  If you do something for me now, later on, when nobody can see, or prove anything, I promise to do something nice for you.”  Police break up similar scams and people go to prison on a weekly basis, for cons like that.

A moderator on the Atheist Experience show had a similar protest. (They are all too common.)  His response was, “It’s like the man who, all through his working life, took every dollar not spent on food, clothing, housing, etc. and bought lottery tickets. Now that retirement is looming, and he has nothing in a retirement fund, he is forced to keep buying lottery tickets in a desperate attempt to beat the already-proven shitty odds.”

Which brings us, strangely, sideways, to Bob. I worked with Bob.  He was a gorgeous creature.  He could have married anyone he pleased – he just didn’t please anyone.  He had the body of an Adonis….and the mind of a milk-cow.  Strong like ox – almost as smart.  No-one ever suggested that was because his gym membership included an all-you-can-eat steroid buffet, because they might have caused ‘roid-rage’ or testosterone-induced posturing.  If Bob had been any meeker, someone would have had to water him twice a week.

My wife worked with a young woman in her late twenties, who had gone to school with him. Bob had no wife or kids.  He lived in a nice apartment, owned a nice car, a big flat-screen TV, a high-end computer when they were expensive and not common, stereo, and furniture almost as gorgeous as he was.

The two met one day in a supermarket, and Bob bragged about all his beautiful possessions. Somewhere, he had obtained black satin sheets for his bed, and insisted that she come to his apartment to see them.  (Yeah, right! Oh well, could be a fun tumble.)

He showed her all his fabulous furniture, and took her into his bedroom and showed her his magnificent black satin sheets and then, having bragged about his beautiful possessions (again), he all but pushed her out the door.

When our standard, net, weekly take-home pay was $383, one week Bob decided that everything was paid for. Instead of depositing his paycheck in a bank, he took it to a Lottery kiosk, and spent the entire sum on Lotto tickets.

He told people at the shop what he had done.  Me??  I’d have kept my mouth shut.  When the inevitable question was asked, “How much did you win?” the answer was, absolutely nothing! Not $10.  Not $5. Not $2.  Not even a free ticket for next week’s draw.  $383 for a handful of something that couldn’t even be used as toilet paper.

I could never afford to do that, and probably wouldn’t, even if I could….but some people can and do. A young, dot-com millionaire received a half-million dollar bonus that he hadn’t expected.  He flew from LA to Vegas, dumped $500,000 in cash on a roulette table, and bet it all on black.  It came up red.  He shrugged, and picked up his empty briefcase.

When someone asked him how he could calmly do such a thing, he replied that he still had a small fortune; as much as he’d had yesterday, and he’d had fun. He said that, if he’d won, he’d probably just have wasted it on something.  Not a church, though.  You always lose, betting on salvation.

 

You Better, You Better, You Bet

coke-vs-pepsi

O Great God CONFORMITY, give us the power to make everyone else, just like us!

conformity

Yea, verily, in the beginning was the EGO. And the EGO begat an Opinion.  And the Opinion fed upon the EGO, and the EGO raised up the Opinion, until it was greater than Creation itself.

fixing-others

This was going to be a light, fluffy piece about the cola wars and pizza, until I realized how serious and ongoing this idea actually is.

The very history of the human race is a history of those with any kind of power, forcing the rest to agree with their often-incorrect opinions.

It was already old 4000 years ago, when Moses climbed a mountain. When he finally came back down with the Ten Commandments, the first thing he and his cadre of cronies did, was disobey Commandment number four – Thou Shalt Not Kill – and executed 3000 Israelites without a chance to recant, for holding an opinion that wasn’t even officially prohibited before Moses left.

The Inquisition was 500 years of torture and murder of anyone who dared stray from a very narrow religious path. The Crusades were a series of long distance religious disputes.  The Thirty Years War was not fought for riches or territory, but for the right to impose opposing Christian dogma on individuals, cities and nations.

Towns near the ever-changing line of combat could have their religious allegiances forcibly changed from Catholic, to Protestant, and back to Catholic, half a dozen times in a year. One town was known to have a number of….weirdos – vegetarians, artists, free-thinkers, Gnostics – heretics of the worst sort.  When Tilley and his forces arrived, he gave the order, “Kill them all!  Let God sort them out.”

Every man, woman and child; every dog, cat, pig and chicken was slaughtered. The town was burned and pulled down, razed to the ground till no stone stood upon another.  Thousands of innocents were slaughtered, just to ensure the elimination of a few who held contrary opinions.

Too often I’ve heard the Coke is better than Pepsi claim, or listened to gearheads argue whether Ford or Chevy is better.  When I researched for my P Is For Pizza post I was amazed at the vehemence of opinions.  Theirs was right, and everybody else was wrong.  Thick crust!  No, thin crust!  New York style!  New York sucks, Chicago style rules!

This might be understandable, if all people, and all colas, were the same, and some folks were willfully disagreeing, just to be disagreeable. To some people’s taste buds (mine included), Pepsi is refreshing, and Coke is too sweet.  It makes no sense to hold forth on whether Doc Martins are better shoes than UGGS, to a person in a wheelchair.

Other than my (often) aforementioned ‘Ego And Insecurity’, I don’t understand the driving need of so many people to foist their opinions upon others. ‘Live and Let Live’, or the Biblical, ‘Do Unto Others as You Would Have Done Unto You’ doesn’t seem to enter into the equation.

I know that none of my gentle readers would force their beliefs on others, but I’ll bet that you have seen, and been peeved by, all too many who have.  Anybody want to cite specific examples??

Religious Addiction

Bible

A letter came to a pastor recently, from a middle-aged woman determined to take her own life. She has already made an attempt.  She suffers from extremely low self-esteem, depression and other afflictions.

She feels desperate, “cut off from God” and beyond divine forgiveness. Certain readers will already be saying to themselves that she needs to be “saved,” to be “born again,” and to join a church where they “preach the Gospel.”

However, this woman has already been through all that. A Theologian read her letter and felt it was quite obvious that she suffered from far too much literalistic fundamentalism already.  Like hundreds of similar others over the years, she is being tormented by the very religion she once turned to for comfort and “salvation.”

Briefly stated, she is suffering from a form of religion that is ‘bad religion.’ It’s growing and becoming very powerful in some quarters today.  It can look successful on the outside, even imparting a glazed but glowing countenance, but it can tear apart people’s souls.

This form of ‘addictive’ religiosity is not confined to circles dominated by TV evangelists or excessively zealous priests. It cuts across all Christian denominations and, in varying degrees, all other faiths.

Here are some of its major characteristics. It touts black and white answers to every problem – from hormone issues (sex), to when and how the universe was formed.  It encourages passive dependence on a host of authorities, from sacred texts, to faith leaders at every level.  It fosters simplistic, ‘magical’ thinking.  It diminishes one’s autonomy, self-reliance, confidence in one’s own inner voice and ability to grow either emotionally or intellectually.

It views all other faith stances as wrong – or even Satanic, leading to “Hell.”  Such a system whines a lot about what “miserable sinners” we all are and yet never asks itself why it leaves such incredible guilt, anxiety and loss of self-esteem in its wake.

Priest

Yes, it can produce an overinflated ‘high’ at being on the “winning side,” as “God’s elect,” but at a terrible price. This is referred to as loss of authenticity and of one’s inner convictions.  The God being served is too often a narrow, small, vengeful, tribal deity, who is nonetheless supposedly loving.

The Churchman reflected on this phenomenon as he worked on answering the suicide note. Suddenly, with a genuine synchronicity, his mail arrived with a copy of an article from Pastoral Psychology, a magazine dedicated to learned articles on various aspects of soul-care – mainly for clergy, psychotherapists and other counsellors.

It was titled “Religious Addiction, The Subtle Destruction Of The Soul.” It was written by Patricia Anne Venderheyden, a psychotherapist in private practice in London, Ontario.  Her Master’s thesis is from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, and was focused on this same issue: religious addiction.

As she told him in an interview, this isn’t a subject that has received much attention in the past. It certainly deserves it today!  She had pondered for many years, beginning with her own experiences of certain faith groups, why it is that so many in every religion gravitate to authoritarian cliques with such alacrity and yet, in the end, with such disastrous results.

She wrote: “I observed how people’s inner authority was compromised in order to fit in with a system of belief whose standards were impeccable – and unattainable. I saw people accepted into groups only if they ‘jumped through the right hoops’, dotted their i’s and watched their p’s and q’s.” The ‘addicts’ had a show of freedom, yet their proclamations seemed ‘hollow and empty.’

She saw many such persons blindly accepting the words and advice of religious elders. All critical awareness and thinking for themselves had long since been suppressed.  “The addicts wanted to be told that he or she was absolutely right, and that any form of questioning is evil.” she said.

Certainly, authorities can help someone at first, but if they are compulsively used ‘as a way of avoiding one’s own reality,’ they ruin one’s hopes of ever becoming mature in either mind or spirit. The addicts she describes are ‘religious junkies,’ obsessed with mood alteration and a quick fix to face life.

There’s no need to assign blame. Religious leaders can nurture an addictive faith unwittingly by never stopping to ask questions of the style and content of their ministry, such as: To whom does it cater, and why?  With what results?

Believers who are really avoiding the shame and pain within by refusing to tackle it, and by ‘leaving it all to God,’ need to stop and realize that the rigidity and exclusivity of addictive religion can one day leave you empty, out of touch with your real self and, hence, engulfed by fear and despair.   😦

 

Book Review #10

Refuting Evolution  Refuting Evolution 2

I bought the above two books for a variety of reasons. First, I got them for $1.50/each.  That’s almost free reading.  Second, added to some books the wife was ordering, the invoice totalled over $25, so the shipping was free.  A third reason was to ‘know thy enemy.’ Last but not least, was the fact that the author is a scientist, and a PhD, and might actually have some valid information that I was not aware of.

The first book is titled Refuting Evolution.  The second, in case you didn’t ‘get it’ the first time, is Refuting Evolution 2, which isn’t really what he does in either book.  I’ve had operators’ manuals for a toaster oven that were longer than the 132-page first book.  Oh well, it only cost a buck and a half.

What he does, or tries to do and fails, is refute well-known evolutionists. He puts words in their mouths, then tries to argue against.  ‘Christopher Hitchens said this about that – but he’s wrong, and I’m right.’  No he didn’t!  And No you’re not!  ‘Richard Dawkins said that, but he means this – to agree with me.’  No he doesn’t.

For an author with a PhD, the cognitive dissonance is thick. He believes in mutations, and natural selection – but not evolution.  A God who created the universe in six days, 7000 years ago is okay – but a God who created the same universe 14 Billion years ago and is guiding its development, isn’t.

While not very good at actually refuting anything, he is quite adept at slinging dismissive language. Friends and scientists who agree with his views, are ‘renowned’, and ‘esteemed’, while Richard Dawkins is merely ‘well-known’.  Am I being finicky if I read that as equivalent to ‘known to police’?  Evolutionary scientists are referred to as ‘the Communist Atheist, Mr. X’ and ‘the Marxist Atheist, Mr. Y.’

Two other of his oft-repeated denial phrases are, ‘particles to people’, and ‘molecules to man.’ His own published fact that 95% of biologists believe in evolution is not a case of the people closest to the situation knowing the most about it; it must be an Atheist Conspiracy.

He claims The Church wasn’t wrong when they declared that the Earth was flat, and the center of creation, and that all orbits were perfect circles.  They had all the facts, but they merely interpreted them incorrectly.  Galileo wasn’t threatened with torture by the Catholic Church…well, he was, but that was because of a bunch of secular politicians who hated him.  (Wait!  Did he just admit that the Pope and the entire Church were led around by the nose by a bunch of bureaucrats?  I find that harder to believe than Creationism.)

He says that the Ptolemaic, flat-Earth, geocentric stuff in the Bible comes from Psalms – but that’s not really ‘the Bible’, that’s just Hebrew poetry, and – it’s been misinterpreted.  Really?  Who could have seen that coming?

He’s pretty good at ‘interpreting’ things too. If an Evolutionist says, ‘be careful how this information is released’, knowing that there are nuts like him out there who will react badly, he’s all over it, claiming that it must be a lie. If a Paleontologist admits that a fossil of an expected transitional form has not yet been found, he claims that it’s because one does not exist.

If scientists don’t have the answer to every question yet, you shouldn’t believe anything they say.  Trust in him, because he has the same answer to every question, drawn from faith in only one book of the Bible, Genesis, which he is constantly interpreting.

Putting words in people’s mouths again, he says that Evolutionists claim that we came from simple aquatic beings like jellyfish – yet no-one has ever found a jellyfish fossil. No, and no-one has ever found the grape Jell-O my kid spilled on the sidewalk last week, just before it rained.  He says we killed millions of buffalo (bison) on the plains last century, but no-one has ever found a buffalo fossil.  I guess if you categorically deny that something happened, you don’t bother to find out how.

The same day that I read his claim that turtles were created in their present form by GOD, because there were no fossils of any transitional form, I read that they had found a transitional-form turtle fossil in the mountains of Germany.  He denies that any fossils were created by sand turning into sandstone through sedimentation, because a few have been found giving birth, or eating.  “They’d have just moved out of the way.” as if they could just sidestep an opening sinkhole, or a flash flood, or a collapsing riverbank, and were later buried in silt.

Like the bumblebee which can’t fly, he mathematically ‘proves’ that the number of mutational occurrences necessary to arrive at Man, would have taken 85 Billion years, not the 4.5 Billion Evolutionists claim.

My Statistics professor stated that, “Figures lie, and liars figure.” The above might be true, if they happened one at a time. On any given day, it is estimated that there are 86,000 lightning strikes, about half of them over the ocean.  It was probably more than twice that, when the atmosphere and seas were still thick with chemicals.  Possibilities for that energy to fuse some of them into a primitive type of protein occurred simultaneously, dozens of times every second.

The other thing Mr. Scientist got wrong, is that statistics say that there may be 85 billion chances, but it doesn’t have to go all the way to the last one to happen. Life may have arisen on the hundredth, or the tenth, or even the first time.

It wasn’t long before I was reading just for entertainment and amusement. He got a rant about atomic deterioration wrong on a scale of 10/7th power, a minor mistake which would have blasted the Earth to dust.  The second book is a bit longer than the first, but he offers no new arguments, just the same old ones, only SHOUTED LOUDER, and repeated more often.

These books are printed and distributed from six places in the world, Australia, New Zealand, England, Kansas/USA, Japan (?), and five miles away, in our sister city, Waterloo, Ontario. I’m a bit worried.  Are Mennonites involved?   😕

Now Just Back Up A Second!

Backspace

Why is there a backspace key on the keyboard? Actually, my PC doesn’t have one, clearly marked ‘Backspage’bBackspace’, handily located in the lower right corner of the keyboarkeyboard. Mine is an inconvenierinconverinconveniently located button in the upper right, vaguely labelled(?) with a left-pointing arrow.

The backspace key is obviously therthere so that we can go back and correct our typing errors. Mine usually gets quite a waorkoutworkout. I’d have never passed a high school typing test. With words or strokes being subtracted for errors, I’d have ended up owing words.

Mistype

As I get older, it gets worse. Sometimes it’s as if my hands have a mind of their own. This shows up especially when I’m doing crossword puzzles. Clue – wondrous….solution – epic. The mind says, “That’s spelled E>>>PE…P…I…C” – and I look down, and my fingers have already written the C where the E should be. When I’m typing, the lesftleft little finger really likes to add randonrandom a’s.

I recently read a post like this, where the author had been challenged to publish a document, with strikethroughs to show where mistakes had been made. Like him/her, in several cases, the hands automatically backspaced and corrected, but I then retyped thmistakesthe mistakes to show where they’d been.

How about you, my faithfifaithful readers? Are you all perfect typists, with no strikethroughs? Would any of you like to accept this secodsecond-hand challenge, and publish a little missive to show how much you go through to bring us your perfect prose?

Fat typist

 

Click Clique

E-F Dictionary

That title is mostly for my American readers, and any of the rest of you who have not been afflicted with the French language.  I studied Parisian French in high school for five years; therefore I pronounce that second word as Cleek, not Click.  I also pronounce the word ‘niche’ as Neesh, rather than Nish, or Nitch, the way most Americans do.

Jim Wheeler’s most recent comment about ‘Tribalism’ made me think back to life in my small home town.  I have previously written about how just about everybody got along with just about everybody.  Some people have complained about moving/retiring to a small town, and not being accepted, ‘Yea, verily unto the third generation.’

The reason for all the comity was the (lack of) size of the population.  There just weren’t enough people to form ‘us’ and ’them’ groups.  The old couple who owned and ran the local movie theater finally retired and sold it to a businessman from Toronto.  He and his wife moved during the summer school vacation.  They brought their son, another “Bob”, a year younger than me, who started Grade 11 that September.  It was a Hell of a culture shock.

Football

Bob had played High School football in Toronto.  Bob was good!  Bob thought he would just come north and play football on our high school’s football team, and be a star.  Bob was absolutely astounded that our school didn’t have a football team, or a hockey team, or a track team….or a track!

There were more students in his Toronto high school (3500), than there were people in our entire (2000) town.  Our Regional high school, located in another nearby (2000) small town, didn’t have jocks, or dweebs, or keeners, or Goths.  If we had, there’d only have been enough for one of each.  At a tenth the size of Bob’s school, our little 350-body school just had students, most of them poor, dumb and untalented.  Somebody gotta pump gas fer them tourists.

Canada and the United States are the two largest diversely acceptant countries on earth, although, some subtle, unexpected, unanticipated tipping point seems to be looming.  I have ranted about exclusion vs. inclusion, and questioned why ‘we all’ can’t just get along together.

Psychologists and sociologists have done studies on that thought, and the answer seems to be on a sliding scale.  Individually, and as part of the hive-mind of a group, there seems to be a cumulative limit as to just how far we can stretch our acceptance.

It seems to be related to the strength of belief and faith; the stronger it is, the smaller the groups get.  The Republican Party begot The Tea Party.  Christians split into Catholics and Protestants.  The Muslims split into Shiite and Sunni.  Christians started to get funny with Mormon and Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The Muslims responded with al Qaeda and Boko Haram.  With the Christians, the strong belief/small groups have come down to Westboro Baptists and Duck Dynasty.  I’m probably fortunate not to know what the Muslim equivalents are.

As with everything else, there is a fine line between not believing in anything, and believing too strongly in the wrong things.  The apathetic would vote for a guy who might be Superman – if he were smart enough to find his way out of the phone booth after changing.  The faithful believe in bringing on ‘End Of Days’, so that they, and only they, may ascend to Heaven.  Me??  I believe I’ll have another beer.   🙄

#468

People Of Privilege

Bible

Much has been made in the media recently about “White Privilege.”  On the average, white people receive and achieve things better than people of other colors, generally the darker the hue, the greater the exclusion.  This ‘Angel Aura’ thing extends from jobs, wages and promotion, to housing, education, banking/financing, and general treatment by those in power (AKA lighter skin), particularly police.

White men came to this continent, and made it in their image.  They marginalized the Indians and other natives, and imported black slaves.  There were some who did disreputable things for financial and social gain, and there were some who performed unspeakable acts to justify eliminating anyone who ‘wasn’t them.’  Mostly, they did it from the perhaps-mistaken, but honestly-held belief that they and their way of life were superior.

So too, did the Christians come here and mold society so that they would reap the benefits, and all others would be ignored and excluded.  Some questions and comments on my recent Religism post, as well as some predictable “Christmas” articles, show that many Christians just don’t get it – or believe it.

Religism is real.  It’s the hatred of a particular faith or set of beliefs.  Some ‘Good Christians’ hate Jews. Many Muslims hate Jews, and also Christians.  Catholics hate Protestants.  Ego and insecurity drives it, and the hatred is often for the wrong reason, or for no reason at all.

The blind, unquestioning faith in the pre-eminence of Christianity often has its proponents mistakenly claiming Religism, when other groups’ rituals are included in secular life.  A woman writer recently spoke of knowing about Chanukah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Wiccan Solstice and the like – but wondered why they would want to celebrate at the same time as Christians, and exclude Jesus.

Because of her (and many others’) assumption of the universality of Christianity, it just never occurs to her that the members of these other religions all have their own year-end celebrations, which they would still practice if Christ had never existed.  A few of them have done so for thousands of years before Christianity came along.

There are the Christian haters who are the equivalent of the bigots who gave blankets infected with smallpox to the Indians, because they regarded them as sub-human.  Most of these folks however, are just the ones who have been subjected to the constant, low-level religious conditioning.  The Catholic Church calls it responsive reading, and catechism.  The Government does the same thing and labels it ‘brainwashing.’

Protecting one’s religious rituals can be a good thing – until you try to force them on others.  Inclusion of what is important to others is not exclusion of any portion of Christianity.  Falsely claiming Religism to justify a Christian-only secular public, makes Christians guilty of the same exclusionary tactics that they accuse others of.

A usually level-headed male newspaper writer pumped out a column labeled ‘Stop Diluting Christmas Traditions.’  It might better have been titled, ‘I ain’t gonna share!  You can’t make me.  I’m gonna take my ball and go home.’  A previously Catholic hospital had gone public.  Now funded by taxes from ALL citizens, it provided care for people of ALL faiths, and none.  They decided not to put up the usual nativity display.  Well, how DARE they??!

He was lost, because he couldn’t parade his faith, and held no-one else’s valid.  “It waves away the possibility of any faith.  It empties our plate, and bids us to eat.”  Actually, it removes the “His-only, a-la-carte” plate, and sets up a smorgasbord of beliefs to sample and compare, but there’s no trying religious chili or curry for him.  He’s a dedicated meat and potatoes Christian.

He complained that, “It’s like trying to speak language in the abstract, but no specific tongue,” apparently unlike me, studying all languages, or in this case religions, and seeing how they influence my favorite.

“It’s not a generic ‘Holiday Tree’, because there’s no generic holiday.”  It’s a generic Holiday Tree because it’s everybody’s ‘holiday’, Christmas included – just not exclusively Christian, even though that’s what he, and many like him, want and expect.  There’s reverse Religism here.  They just don’t see that they’re giving, not receiving.

The history teacher of the 15-year-old atheist son of one of the Free Thinkers was ranting about people who wouldn’t accept “proven historical facts.”  When one of the other students asked for an example, she came out with ‘the proven existence of Jesus Christ.’  School policy prohibits discussion of any single religion.  She was in the wrong, no matter how well-intentioned, or deluded.

Our lad pointed out that there was no ‘historical proof’ that Christ really existed.  “Well, it’s all right there, in the Bible!”  That may be, but no other contemporary Jewish – or Roman – document mentions Jesus, his exploits, his execution or his resurrection.  The boy was sent to the Principal, who chastised him for causing a disturbance in class.  No thinking allowed.  Believe what we tell you.

A local mall has a public meeting room which various community groups can book to present their particular points of interest.  The Free Thinkers recently requested a booking, and were, at least initially told, “We’re not sure you qualify as a ‘Community Group’.”  The Ontario Civil Rights Tribunal has dealt with Sofree(Southern Ontario Free Thinkers) as a community group dozens of times, establishing a precedent.  The president even has the complaint form document bookmarked on his smart phone.  A few keystrokes will rouse the Government to set them straight.

Too often, Christianity acts as a big, unthinking, entitled bully.  While less bloody, the difference between its head-in-the-sand stance, and ISIS’ off-with-their –heads methods, is one of only a minor degree. President Obama recently compared the atrocities of ISIS with the actions of the medieval Inquisition, and the usual suspects immediately began screaming about being attacked, and how dare he compare ISIS’s actions with those of the church.  That’s not Religism, that’s reality.

Some Religious Thoughts

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” – Epicurus circa 300 BCE

I’ve heard of Christians evolving into Atheists.  Is that possible?

What Would Jesus Do?

Teacher: And remember, boys and girls; always ask yourself ‘What would Jesus do?’

Student #1: Make my friends drink my blood, like a vampire?

Teacher: What?

Student #2: And eat my flesh, like a cannibal?!

Teacher: Wait –

Student #3: Vilify my own people?

Teacher: Now, hold on –

Student #4: Condone slavery? Jesus condoned slavery.

Teacher: Hang on. What I mean is –

Student #5: Rebel against authority and wind up being executed?

Teacher: Look, it’s not about –

Student #6: I have an uncle called Jesus.

Teacher: Oh… Okay…?

Student #6: He sells drugs in Mexico.

Teacher: Forget it.

Ten Reasons Why Gay Marriage Is Wrong

Being gay is not natural – because Americans always reject un-natural things, like eyeglasses, polyester and air-conditioning.

Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay – in the same way hanging around tall people encourages them to be tall.

Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior.  People will even want to marry their pets – because a dog has legal standing, and can sign a marriage contract.

Straight marriage has been around for a long time, and hasn’t changed at all – women are still property, blacks can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed – the sanctity of Brittany Spears’ 55 hour, just-for-fun marriage, and Larry King’s 10 weddings will be destroyed.

Straight marriages are valid because they produce children – gay couples, infertile couples and seniors should not be allowed to marry – because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

Gay parents will obviously raise gay children – because straight parents raise only straight children.

Gay marriage is not supported by religion.  In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are inflicted on the entire nation.  That’s why we have only one religion in the world.

Children can only succeed if there is a male and a female role model in the home – that’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise kids.

Gay marriage will change the foundation of society – we could never adapt to new social norms, like we failed to adapt to cars, the service-sector economy and longer life-spans.

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During the recent flooding in Alberta, a man took refuge from the rising water on the roof of his house.  A guy in a canoe came along and asked him if he wanted a ride.  He said No, that he was a good Christian, who believed that God would save him.  As the flood waters rose, two men in a motorboat came by and offered to rescue him.  Again, he stated his faith in God, and waved them on their way.

With the waters lapping at the eaves of his house, a helicopter flew over.  He told them to look for others, because he was sure that God would spare him.  Of course, he was swept to his death.

When he arrived at Heaven, he had the audacity to castigate God Himself.  “I believed in You.  I’ve been a good and obedient Christian.  How could You abandon me, and let me die??”  All-forgiving God quietly replied, “I sent you a canoe, a motorboat, and a helicopter.  What more did you wish Me to do?”

The reality is, that’s not really a joke!

The 10 Commandments: A Parody Written in 3 minutes

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me… Because you know, I, God, am a jealous little controlling psychopath. 

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image… But if you must, please, Instagram that shit. 

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain… Jesus Fucking Christ, do I really need to be telling you idiotic cows this? 

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy… Unless the football game is on, then fuck it! 

5. Honour thy father and thy mother… because you ruined their sex life the moment you were conceived.

6. Thou shalt not kill… Only I, the Almighty, can do that – especially the homos, kill the bum boys! 

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery… But by all means, take a few wives, heck, chain the bitches up and call them “concubines”. 

8. Thou shalt not steal… because stealing a loaf of bread is worst than rape, which is absolutely fine by the way. 

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour… Once again, this neighbour shit is way more important than rape and pedophilia.

10. Thou shalt not covet… because you can see, but you can’t touch. 😉

Good Intentions, Misguided Planning

A family of five left Arizona, moved to San Diego, bought a sailboat, and got into trouble on the high seas.  Now, I can think of a couple of places where the average knowledge about sailing would be lower than Arizona.

Two, thirtyish parents, a 3 year-old girl, his father, and she gave birth to another daughter while they spent 91 days, without setting foot on land.  Not members of any denomination, they described themselves as “good Christians”, who didn’t believe in abortion and homosexuality in  ”the state-controlled church.”

Storms damaged their boat, and blew it off course – off almost anybody’s course.  They drifted for weeks, and were rescued by the helicopter of a Venezuelan fishing boat, where they spent five days, before being transferred to a Japanese cargo vessel, where they spent another three weeks, before landing in Chile.

They had “decided to take a leap of faith, and see where God took us.”  God gave them a slap up-side the head, for endangering themselves and others, including two tiny children, and put them back where they belonged, in Arizona.  Do they accept God’s guidance and care, and their own stupidity, and blind arrogance?  Yeah, right!  Now they talk of having to “come up with a new plan.”

Serious comments only please!  I am not attacking or vilifying.  I wish discussion, not a flamewar.  If you are angry, you’re not thinking, only reacting, and probably with someone else’s opinion.  Respectful disagreement is welcomed, but prove your point.