Incommunicado

 

Bible Dictionary

 

 

 

 

 

Is there something about religion, especially Christianity here in North America, which warps reality, halts comprehension and communication, defeats logic, and fans the flames of paranoia? There’s definitely something which fertilizes the feeling of entitlement, and encourages complaints about the expression of any unwelcome facts or opinions.

After my Dazed And Confused Op-Ed post, letters kept trickling in from Christians, dismayed and defiant, about things that were not said, and claims that were not made.

I was away on vacation, so I’m not familiar with what led up to the last letter about prayer. But two thoughts come to me in reading it, the first is that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

The second thought I have is that Christianity and its beliefs seem to be fair game these days for skeptics and pundits alike. We would not tolerate a public discussion of another religion’s deity or its practices in the glib and derisive way the writer does. Irreverently speaking or writing about God amounts to blasphemy, and I for one am offended by it.

So, you don’t know what’s going on, but you’d like to add your 2 cents worth anyway. I don’t see how you relate ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ to the previous letter, but you prove that it applies to your own.

Christianity is not the only religion these days which is fair game for skeptics and pundits, but it’s the one closest to (your) home. When you publicly broadcast your blind faith and belief without any proof, you create skeptics in job lots.

There’s no glib and derisive treatment of any other religion? Really??!  There’s even a word for it – Islamophobia.  Perhaps you’ve noticed some other ‘Good Christians’ doing it.

Speaking of ‘a little knowledge’ – a pundit is a learned person, not merely some street yob, spray painting anti-religious graffiti.  Scientific studies prove that most Atheists and Agnostics know more about Christianity than most Christians, often including priests/preachers.

Merely writing about what God (allegedly) does, or does not, do, is a statement of fact, not an irreverence. It is not blasphemy.  (See ‘little knowledge’, above)  Other people have faith and belief that your ‘God’ does not exist.  Respect their opinions.  I am offended that you worked so hard to be offended.

Pray? What For?s writer does not realize that those of us who pray do not need to justify it to him or anyone else, for that matter. Prayer is simply a relationship with or a conversation with God. He must know this, but for some reason seems to need to attack those of us who pray. And to attack people because of religion or because we pray for those affected by Irma is a new low. Perhaps this says more about him than it does about anyone else. He is free not to pray but those of us who do are doing just fine. Who is he trying to convince that prayer does not work, him or me? He should remember the saying that, “There are no Atheists in foxholes.” and it seems to me that someday he will realize this.

Despite your fevered, misplaced paranoia, the writer – Did not ask or expect anyone to justify their praying. – Did not attack anyone, especially for praying, or for their religion, or praying for the victims of Hurricane Irma. – Did not suggest that anyone must stop praying – though I doubt that he’ll join you.  You even admit that it’s “simply a conversation with God,” not actually productive.  What he did, was point out that, after all your self-congratulatory, self-satisfied praying – the Southern U.S. is still a mess.

Much of it is still flooded. Hundreds are dead.  Hundreds of thousands are without homes, food, water, and clothing.  Billions of dollars of property damage has been inflicted.  A National Day of Prayer has been held, and your God is throwing another hurricane toward Florida.  Aside from making yourself feel good – YOUR PRAYER CHANGED NOTHING!

Even if, somehow, some Southern victims were aware of your prayers, they might still give you the evil eye and ask why you didn’t donate – money, food, clothing, your time and energy to drive or fly down and help clean up and rebuild. Organizations like Red Cross and FEMA are doing that – without all the useless, feel-good prayers.  (Your perhaps imaginary) God helps those who help themselves – and others.  Get off your prayer beads and actually do something – besides whining about how attacked you feel.

An Atheist in a foxhole might strongly wish that there were a God, a Heaven, and a life after death. If wishes were horses, then beggars might ride.  Faith is when hope replaces reason.

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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.

 

The Red Phone

Red Phone

Once upon a time, there was a simple and little Hindu priest who lived in Mathura, India. One time he had the chance to go visit the Pope at the Vatican in Italy. After traveling to the Vatican, he walked up the steps and through the halls of the opulent building where the Pope stayed. He looked in awe at the beautiful marble floors and majestic columns.

Then he came into the Pope’s office and greeted the Pope who was seated behind his desk. The little Hindu priest sat nearby and they exchanged pleasantries. Then he noticed a red phone sitting at the end of the desk, so he asked what it was.

“Oh, that’s my hotline to God,” replied the Pope. “Whenever things get too difficult and I need to have a personal talk with God, I give Him a call.” “Oh,” said the priest. “Would you mind if I tried it?” “No, not at all,” the Pope responded.

So the little Hindu priest picked up the phone, dialed the number, and sure enough, he got through to God. He offered his respects and prayers, said he was very happy to talk to Him, and then hung up the phone after only five minutes.

He was a simple priest and did not have much more to say to God. He then thanked the Pope for the privilege of using the special red phone. The Pope replied, “Oh that is quite all right. By the way, that will be €75.”

“Seventy-five Euros?” inquired the Hindu priest. “Oh yes,” said the Pope. “For long distance charges. It’s a long way from here to God, you know.” So the priest pulled out his wallet and gave the Pope the seventy-five Euros.

Several months later, the Pope had the opportunity to visit India, and it was arranged for him to come to Mathura and visit the little Hindu priest. So the Pope approached the little hut of the Hindu priest, ducking his head as he walked through the door. He sat in a chair in front of the little table where the Hindu priest was pleased to again meet the Pope.

They exchanged greetings, when the Pope noticed the same kind of red phone on the priest’s table as he had at the Vatican. So the Pope asked what that was. “Why, I also have a hotline to God,” replied the Hindu priest. “Do you mind if I use it?” asked the Pope. “I really have a lot on my mind.” “Please do,” responded the priest.

So the Pope got on the phone and got a good connection and managed to get through to God. He offered his prayers, but then had many things to discuss. He talked about the trouble in the Vatican, the difficulties with the priests and legal charges in the United States, the changing attitudes of the congregation in England and Europe, and so on. Fifteen minutes went by, then a half-hour, then finally, after nearly an hour, he was able to put the phone down.

Then he said, “Thank you very much. I feel a lot better now. I had so much to talk about. By the way, how much will that be?” The Hindu priest thought a moment and then said, “Two rupees.” “What,” the Pope replied, surprised at how inexpensive it was. “Why so cheap?” “Why don’t you know?” asked the little Hindu priest. “Here it is a local call.”

 

 

Cognitive Dissonance II

Bible

A California lawyer has submitted a referendum proposal to outlaw homosexuality in the famously liberal western US state, on pain of execution.

“The abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha,” reads the proposal, registered for comment on the attorney general’s website.

“Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us… the people of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method,” he wrote.

When I read this, I couldn’t understand why this man’s head didn’t explode, I know mine almost did. In seven words in the second line, this lawyer goes immediately from “freedom and liberty” to “commands us to suppress.” The arrogance of this religious Fundamentalist, is matched only by his ignorance.

Only the night before I read this, had I reluctantly watched with the wife, a National Geographic TV documentary about ‘homosexuality’ among animals. In a one-hour show they listed seven examples, including coyotes, dolphins and Canada geese, and mentioned that there were several more. So much for his imagined “crime against nature!”

I don’t know where you’d store an Ego large enough to make you think that you have the right to speak for God. Perhaps in the same twisted, dark corner of the brain where you believe, without proof, that homosexuality is ‘evil’, or that God deigns to command you to do His work, and suppress it.

The Bible does speak against homosexuality, but I have never heard or read of anyone who claimed that ‘God ordered’ them to do something, who could point to anywhere other than their fevered religious imagination, for validating ‘proof’ of their Crusade. These delusions can be suppressed with proper medication and therapy.

This man seems to fear death from a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah destruction. The self-believed expert on the subject even managed to misspell Gomorrah, in his application. If God didn’t take out various 17th century Italian cities, 18th century Paris, or 19th century London, He’s not going to stir himself about a bunch of fags in San Francisco.

Even were such a destruction to occur, does he not believe that the God of Love would forgive him, and the other innocent Lots, and condemn only the sinners? Does he feel that God is too stupid or venal to judge each of us individually?

Like many of his religiously judgemental confreres, his very zealotry proves that he is not actually familiar with the Bible, instead, relying on what he thinks it says, or what someone else told him that they thought it says. I can recommend several good short passages.

Love one another.
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
As ye have done unto these, the least of my brethren, ye have done unto me.
Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
Judge not, lest ye be judged.
Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.
Render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar’s.

I feel sorry for depressing, narrow-minded, opinionated, supposedly-religious assholes like this….no I don’t! If they all died tomorrow, I’d stand in line to volunteer to load them into trucks with a pitchfork.

Amen means a soft, accepting ‘let it be’, not ‘use fire and sword to force your superstition on the infidels.’ We leave that to the likes of ISIS, who recently bulldozed down historic, artistic Iraqi Assyrian statuary. I feel sorry that the rest of us kind, loving people, like Job, are afflicted with them.

#497

Flash Fiction #60

Night sky

PHOTO PROMPT -© Madison Woods

THERE’S NO EXCUSE

It was a dark and stormy night. The clouds looked like God Himself had burned them, like marshmallows over a giant campfire, then stuck one of His fingers through, so that He could see the moon…..

Dear Ms Wisoff

Please forgive Archon for not completing his assignment on time this week. His girlfriend, Erato, abandoned him – again, and he’s been quite depressed.

He’s been in bed for days, with a cheap hooker and expensive blow bad case of flu. If you can excuse this one omission, he promises to have two bright Flash Fictions for next week.

Thanx

Mama Archon

***

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

#490

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.

___________________________________________________

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.

Say What?

I keep bitching about precision of language usage, saying what you mean, and meaning what you say.  Have you mastered the art of effective communication?  The following are excerpts from actual letters received by Welfare Departments, asking for support.

I am forwarding my marriage certificate and six children.  I have seven children, but one died which was baptised on a half sheet of paper.

Mrs. Jones has not had any clothes for a year, and has been regularly visited by the clergy.

I am glad to report that my husband who is missing is dead.

I want my money as quick as I can get it.  I’ve been in bed with the doctor for two weeks and he doesn’t do me any good.  If things don’t improve, I will have to send for another doctor.

In accordance with your instructions, I have given birth to twins in the enclosed envelope.

My husband got his project cut off two weeks ago, and I haven’t had any relief since.

Unless I get my husband’s money pretty soon, I will be forced to live an immortal life.

I am forwarding my marriage certificate and three children, one of which is a mistake as you can see.

This is my eighth child.  What are you going to do about it?

You have changed my little boy to a girl.  Will this make any difference?

In answer to your letter, I have given birth to a boy weighing ten pounds.  I hope this is satisfactory.

I cannot get sick pay.  I have six children.  Can you tell me why?

Please find out for certain if my husband is dead.  The man I am now living with can’t eat or do anything until he knows.

 

This Is His Life

 

From 20 to 30 – If a man lives right, it’s once in the morning and twice at night.

From 30 to 40 – If he still lives right, he misses a morning, and sometimes at night.

From 40 to 50 – It’s just now and then.

From 50 to 60 – Its God knows when.

From 60 to 70 – If he’s still inclined, but don’t let him kid you.  It’s still on his mind.

His sporting days are over, his little light is out.

What used to be his sex appeal, is now his water spout.

It used to be embarrassing to make the thing behave.

For nearly every morning, it stood and watched him shave.

But now it’s getting older, and it sure gives him the blues,

To have it dangling down his legs, and watch him clean his shoes.

 

Cucumbers Are Better Than Men, Because:

 

The average cucumber is AT LEAST six inches long.

Cucumbers stay hard for a week.

A cucumber won’t get TOO excited.

A cucumber never suffers from performance anxiety.

Cucumbers are easy to pick up.

You can eat a cucumber when YOU feel like it.

A cucumber doesn’t care if you’re a virgin.

Cucumbers won’t ask:  Am I the best?  How was it?  Did you come?  How many times?

No matter how old you are, you can always get a fresh cucumber.

A cucumber won’t pout if you have a headache.

With a cucumber, you never have to say you’re sorry.

A cucumber will never leave you for another woman.

You always know where your cucumber has been.

Cucumbers don’t leave you wondering for a month.

It’s easy to drop a cucumber.

No matter how you slice it, you can have your cuke, and eat it too!!