Dr. Who’s Questions

The Doctor (He doesn’t say, ‘of what.’) claims that he just wants to ask some respectful questions of Atheists – no trick or gotcha ones.  He wants to amass the information, and sift and sort it, to produce a published report.  When asked when he might submit it, and to whom, he was delightfully vague.

He and his wife were Atheists, until each of them had a revelation from the Christian God, and they became Jews For Jesus.  His questions natter on and on – and on, full of presuppositions and leading statements.  Another blogger graciously simplified the list, although I included part of his number six, for context and clarity.  I thought I’d have a go at them.

  • Is Your Atheism Based on Study or Experience? …

Yes!, to both.  As young as seven or eight, I regarded stories that started with “In The Beginning” to be no more believable than those that began, “Once Upon A Time.”  I didn’t realize until I became an adult myself, that other children, and adults, took them seriously.  I became curious enough to begin a long-term investigation.  I spent a great deal of time looking at arguments for or against God’s existence, and eventually had to conclude that there just wasn’t any evidence for God that stood up to examination.

  • Do You Have Purpose and Destiny? …

Yes.  I have had many ‘Purposes,” and will probably have more before I die, but each of them was created and affixed by me, or those close to me, not by some supernatural entity.  I believe that I have a destiny.  It’s just that I am not enough of a fortune-teller to see far enough into the future to get a clear glimpse of what it might be.

  • Does God Exist? …

This might seem a strange question to be asking of Atheists.  In the original long-winded version, he wanted Atheists to provide total, complete, 100% proof, that there was absolutely no chance that God exists.  This is the philosophical equivalent to home invasion.  There are almost no things that can be utterly proved not to exist.  He appeared to want a tiny gap, where he could wedge his definition of God into.  I consider the possibility of God existing, only slightly more likely than the existence of a married bachelor.

  • Can Science Explain the Origin of Life? …

Science has explained the origin of life!  There is one major, largely-accepted (by biologists and related scientists) theory, and a couple of minor variations.  They all entail the chemical soup present in early Earth seas, with geothermal energy and solar radiation fueling and mutating the chemical reactions, until self-replicating RNA strands evolved upward to cells and DNA.  All that free energy powered the increasing DNA complexity.

  • Have You Questioned Your Atheism? …

Constantly and continuously!  I have never been convinced that I can’t be wrong.  Over the years I have done considerable reading and study.  Now, with YouTube, I can watch debates and lectures.  Atheism is merely the lack of belief in God/gods – the failure by theists to provide sufficiently convincing evidence.  (See above) With all the research and investigation that I have done, I continue not to be convinced that God is guilty of existing.

  • Are You Materialistic? …
    Are you completely materialistic in your mindset, meaning, human beings are entirely physical, human consciousness is an illusion, and there is no spiritual realm of any kind?

First, a pedantic language lesson, I think that phrasing should be ‘are you a materialist?’. ‘Materialistic’ refers to someone who prioritizes obtaining money and possessions!  I believe that humans, and all else within our Universe, are material.  I don’t think it makes much sense to say that consciousness is an illusion.  I think a more accurate phrasing of the materialist position on consciousness would be that it’s the product of material things/physical laws.  I continue to see no evidence of a spiritual realm of any kind, except in the hopes and dreams of the gullible.  I do not believe in tarot, Ouija boards, crystals, ghosts, mind-reading, fortune-telling, or a miracle-producing God.

  • Would You Be Willing to Follow the God of the Bible?

It depends which part of the Bible you’re talking about when you say ‘God of the Bible’.

From reading the earlier part of the Old Testament, I remember a god laden with petty jealousy, orchestrating hideous mass deaths, with archaic views on rape and slavery and some strange gaps in his scientific knowledge. The existence of this god would be bad news.

In the later part of the Old Testament, I glimpsed a different and better kind of god; the god of Ezekiel 18 and similar passages, expecting us to take personal responsibility but also willing to see our virtues and our efforts and to judge us fairly. The existence of this god would be good news, and, yes, I would follow and honor him.

In the New Testament, we get the most hideous god of all; the one who condemns all non-Christians to an eternity of torment, who blames the Jews for sticking to the laws that He himself strictly instructed them to keep to forever, who expects us to overlook the ways he acted back in the early books, and who tries to convince us that all these things are really signs of great love and concern on his part. The existence of this god would be terrible news. And, to answer the question, I could never honor such a god, and while I suppose I’d follow him because ‘Or burn in hell’ isn’t really much of an option, it would never be willingly.

Un/Covered

A Mennonite bonnet, a Muslim hijab: Why do many of us feel differently about them?

A Toronto, Muslim, assimilation-assisting group recently brought an assortment of hijabs, niqabs, and burkas, and installed them beside bonnets, caps and snoods, in the local Mennonite Museum, as a prompt for debate and discussion, with the above question.

As with so many other things, each of these sets is far more than what it merely appears to be, women’s head-coverings.  Each of them is representative – a sort of visual shorthand – of an entire subculture.  Here in Canada, we have had 200 years to accustom ourselves to what Mennonites are, peaceful, law-abiding and reserved.

Sadly, after 50 years of immigration, the same cannot be said of all Muslims.  There is no Mennonite jihad – a drive to force the world to obey its tenets.  There is no published agenda to establish a Mennonite Caliphate.  Mennonites don’t put people in cages and drown them, or throw them off tall buildings, or burn them alive, or blow their heads off with explosive cord.

In many people’s minds, these actions and attitudes are represented – at least condoned – by these head coverings.  If you come to Canada to be Canadian, don’t continue to wave the bullfighter’s red cape that reinforces the Us and Them stance, and expect to be accepted.

Like many Muslim women, Conservative Amish and Mennonite women wear an bonnet in obedience to the Biblical commands given in 1 Tim. 2:9-15, 1 Peter 3:1-6, and Titus 2:3-5 that a Christian woman should be discreet, chaste, modest, sober-minded, in subjection, (Emphasis mine) meek and quiet, and shamefaced.

A local Mennonite lady took offence at the printed statement that such headwear was a symbol of oppression.  Her Op-Ed letter read, “I read with interest the article by the female columnist.  I am a Mennonite woman who wears a head covering, and I was disappointed the real reason we wear them was not explained.  Mennonites are Bible-believing Christians, and we believe the head-covering is a God-ordained requirement for a Christian woman.

I find it offensive that the Mennonite head covering is seen as a symbol of oppression.  There may be some such cases, but I am convinced that the majority of Mennonite women feel very secure and protected, and not oppressed.

In society, it is perfectly acceptable for businesses to have people with different levels of authority, from CEOs, down to janitors.  A business functions best this way and we believe that a marriage also functions best when we follow God’s pattern for it.  This is for the man to have the leadership role, and the woman to be his helpmeet.  My head covering is a symbol of that headship order.  I find it unfortunate that the Mennonite woman’s head covering is so misunderstood.”

I don’t think that there’s much misunderstanding.  This just an updated version of The Scarlet Letter.  I feel badly for her.  I respect her – just not her beliefs.  From an objective, external viewpoint, this has all the hallmarks of an abusive relationship.  She might be accepting, even happy, with the order of things in her (religious) life, but probably because she’s undergone the Stockholm Syndrome conditioning..  She may have been convinced, or convinced herself, that this mind-set is valid.


Only children’s bonnets may be bright and gay.
Those of mature women must be plain and drab.

Even if it were, like the displays of burkas, etc. just flaunt the I’m-better-than-you, Holier-Than-Thou belief, she’s setting up another Us vs. Them situation, and doing neither group much good.

***

Lest We Forget/Nevermore

REMEMBER

 Remember that tomorrow is Remembrance Day, or Veterans’ Day in the US, if Canada is too boring to remember.  Remember to wear a poppy, if it’s available to you.  I’ve remembered to wear mine for about three weeks.  Remember that this day is not about the wars that have been fought, but the peace that has been achieved.

Remember the Alamo.  Remember the Maine.  Remember that much of the world, especially here in North America, lives safely, stably, happily, and prosperously.  Remember that, all it takes for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.  Remember the members of the Armed Forces, present and past, who have refused to do nothing, and have put themselves in harm’s way, to ensure that we live as we do.

Remember to thank a Service-Person today (and every day).  Remember to shake his or her hand.  Remember to give a hug, if it’s appropriate and welcomed.  Remember to face the flag, and stand quietly and respectfully at 11:00 AM.  Remember that they volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way, so that we wouldn’t be.  It’s the least you can do.

Remember the sacrifices that others have made, that we might have what we do.  Remember those who have lost lives and limbs, and mental and emotional well-being, careers, education and even families, for us and ours.

Remember that a man wearing a helmet and defending our country, is worth more than a man wearing a helmet and defending a football – and should be paid accordingly, but sadly, is not.

Remember that the Canadian Thanksgiving is just past, and the American Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Remember to take all the things you’re thankful for and understand that those in uniform ensure that we have most of them.

Remember that the Armed Forces are like insurance.  You don’t want to use it, but it’s very nice to have when you must.  If only the American Congress and Canadian Federal Parliament could remember to play nice with others and remember to pay this vital and respected group.

Remember….sshhh, it will soon be 11:00 AM.  Remember what I told you, and stand quietly, respectfully, at attention, for two minutes.  I will.  I’ll be watching, and I’ll be back in a couple of days.

Putting the Fun In Funeral

Subject: The Italian Funeral

A Jewish man was leaving a convenience store with his coffee when he noticed a most unusual Italian funeral procession approaching the nearby cemetery.

A black hearse was followed by a second black hearse about 50 feet behind the first one.  Behind the second hearse was a solitary Italian man walking a dog on a leash.

Behind him, a short distance back were about 300 men walking in single file.

The Jewish man couldn’t stand the curiosity. He respectfully approached the Italian man walking the dog and said:

“I am so sorry for your loss, and this may be a bad time to disturb you, but I’ve never seen an Italian funeral like this. Whose funeral is it?”

“My wife’s.”

‘What happened to her?”

“She yelled at me and my dog attacked and killed her.”  

He inquired further, “But who is in the second hearse”

“My mother-in-law. She came to help my wife and the dog turned on her and killed her also.”   
A very poignant and touching moment of Jewish and Italian brotherhood and silence passed between the two men.

The Jewish man then asked, “Can I borrow the dog?”

The Italian man replied, “Get in line.”

***

If we could convince the Chinese that Jihadists’ testicles were an aphrodisiac, perhaps in ten years they’d be extinct.

***

Married 50 years 

After being married for 50 years, I took a careful look at my wife one day and said, “Fifty years ago we had a cheap house, a junk car, slept on a sofa-bed and watched a 10-inch black and white TV.  But hey I got to sleep every night with a hot 23-year-old girl.

Now … I have a $750,000 home, a $45,000 car, a nice big bed and a large screen TV, but I’m sleeping with a 73-year-old woman.  So I said to my wife “it seems to me that you’re not holding up your side of things.”

My wife is a very reasonable woman.  She told me to go out and find a hot 23-year-old girl and she would make sure that I would once again be living in a cheap house, driving a junk car, sleeping on a sofa bed and watching a 10-inch black and white TV.

Aren’t older women great?

They really know how to solve an old guy’s problems!

***

The wife and I were sitting on the patio yesterday, each sipping a glass of wine, and she said, “I love you so much.  I don’t think I could ever live without you.”
I said, “Is that you, or the wine, talking?

She replied, “That’s me….talking to the wine.”

***

No one believes seniors . . . everyone thinks they are senile.
The wife and I were celebrating our fifty-fourth anniversary.  We had married as childhood sweethearts and had moved back to our old neighborhood after we retired.  Holding hands, we walked back to our old school.  It was not locked, so we entered, and found the old desk we shared, where I had carved ‘I love you, Sally’.

On our way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armored car, practically landing at our feet.  She quickly picked it up and, not sure what to do with it, we took it home.  There, she counted the money – fifty thousand dollars!

I said, “We’ve got to give it back.”
She said, “Finders keepers.”  She put the money back in the bag and hid it in the attic.
The next day, two police officers were canvassing the neighborhood looking for the money, and knocked on our door, “Pardon me, did either of you find a bag that fell out of an armored car yesterday?”

She said, “No.”
I said, “She’s lying. She hid it up in the attic.”
Sally said, “Don’t believe him, he’s getting senile.”
The agents turned to me and began to question me.  One said: “Tell us the story from the beginning.”
So I said, “Well, when she and I were walking home from school yesterday … “
The first police officer turned to his partner and said, “We’re outta here!”

Mistaken Identity

It’s a pandemic of poseur, Pocahontas Pretendians.  America has had a recent deluge of government functionaries at all levels, falsely claiming to have Native Heritage.  It happened again!  Two more Canadian female Federal politicians, one of them the Assistant Minister of Indigenous Affairs, have been found to be pretending to have Native blood.

This goes back as far as around 1900, when an English writer came to Canada, became a trapper, called himself Grey Owl, and lived with two different Indian women to get experience and information to write a book about ‘Being An Indian.’

In the 1970s, an Italian-American styled himself as an Indian named Iron-Eyes Cody.  The government even paid him to be in an ecological TV advertisement about keeping the highways clean by not throwing trash out of cars.

While there was money to be made, these two were unusual.  Until about fifty years ago, it was considered quite déclassé for a white person to be deemed even partly indigenous, any more than being thought to be even partly Negro.

Slowly that changed.  Twenty years ago, Eileen Edwards, a white chick from Windsor, called herself Shania Twain, in celebration of her non-existent Native Heritage.  Ten years ago, Justin Bieber claimed that he was enough Indian to get free gasoline, when even full-blooded natives had to pay.

It’s become a cottage industry.  Scarcely a week goes by without another claimant being exposed.  It’s hardly an official diagnosis, but I have been told that it is a form of Indigenous Munchausen’s.  People who are nothing and nobody as a white person, claim Native background and receive sympathy as a member of an oppressed minority.  They get undeserved respect, more than their fifteen minutes of fame, and often, impressive and well-paying positions.

It’s often unclear whether these people are intentionally lying, or whether they actually believe their delusions.  A little from Column A (Or here in Canada, Column Eh.), a little from Column B.

IN HONOR – IN MEMORIAM – REDUX

The time has come, the walrus said, to speak of many things, the most important of which is the impending arrival of November 11!

Call it Remembrance Day, as I do.  Call it Memorial Day.  Call it what you will, but Remember to honor those in uniform, past, present, and sadly, probably future, who unstintingly give whatever it takes to keep us and our society safe.

It has been 100 years since Canadian, John McCrae, in the middle of The War to End All Wars, composed the poem, In Flanders Fields.

Wear a poppy.  Honor the living.  Mourn the fallen.  Remember all you have, and who keeps it safe.

Remembrance/Veterans Day

No matter what you call it, this is a little reminder that today is Remembrance/Veterans Day.  Take two minutes at 11:00 AM to stand quietly and remember, respect and honor those in the Armed Services, past and present, who have given so much, so that we can have peace and security.

Take some time today – Hell, take all day if you want, and take a bit of time any other day, whenever it’s possible – to shake the hand of a veteran, or current Serviceman, elbow-bump, or otherwise COVID-acknowledge them.  Smile behind your mask, and say, “Thanks!”

 

30 Day Challenge – Twofer

9: Your Last Kiss
11: Your current relationship, if single, discuss how single life is

I put these two together, because I’m not really going to write about either, yet they kinda go together.

The wife and I are now closing in on 53 years of marriage, but I’m sure that there are readers who would be surprised to find that there is not an abundance of “Love.”  For much of history, and much of the world, marriage was a socio-commercial undertaking.  Even today, ‘arranged marriages’ are common, and their divorce rates are lower than the ‘marriage for love’ ones.  They are based on mutual respect and adaptation.

I’m assuming that the author meant a passionate, ‘love-induced’ kiss, not the How Are You peck on the cheek from a sister-in-law.  At the three-quarters of a century mark, there’s not a lot of passion left.  The son says that he gets strange looks from co-workers when he tells them that we are each just hanging on until the other dies – dark humor, that boy.

Hoggimus-Higgimus
Man is polygamous
Higgimus-Hoggimus
Woman’s monogamous
It is said that a man will trade love for sex, and a woman will trade sex for love.  The wife and I have learned to respect each other, and there certainly has been a great deal of adaptation over the years.  There was a certain degree of love to get the marriage started, but…. 

A man chases a woman – until she catches him.  I came home one day from work, to find that the coffee klatch at my house had not disbanded.  I heard the wife telling the neighborhood women that she picked me, because she felt that I was very intelligent, and she thought that smart men made more money.  Oh, you sexy minx!  You had me at ‘Credit Check.’  I am the victim of an arranged marriage.  It was just my wife who arranged it.

I am not displeased or disappointed with my married life.  Only occasionally do I wonder how things would have gone in other circumstances.  One of my online friends has been divorced and living alone for 30 years.  I don’t have the self-sufficiency to live alone.  I need a zoo-keeper to care for and feed me.  As a mild sociopath, I could probably handle the isolation, but I still value the social and intellectual stimulation from my children, and now grandson and granddaughter-in-law.

There have been few periods in our marriage that could be described as brilliant fireworks.  That’s probably a good thing.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I have seen those whose lives, including their marriage, have been roller-coaster ups and downs.  Eventually the downs seem to be such a contrast, that they decide to give up and change them.  Divorce is survivable.  Suicide is not.

Our marriage has not been boring.  We have been able to travel a bit, and see and experience some interesting places and things.  Now that we are (much) older, and the bodies and the bank account are weak and creaky, we are learning to use our electronics for entertainment and social connections – like this.

Thanx for stopping by to read this unexciting description of Same Old – Same Older.  I’ll haul out more interesting info for next time.  Wanna hear about the neighbor who’s a drug dealer?

***

I’m still (reluctantly) getting used to this damned Block Editor. I’ve figured out most of it but, can someone tell me where to find the control for color of text??

11/11 Remember! Redux

With the exception of a little explanation here at the top, and some added notes at the bottom, this will be a republication of 2016’s, and 2017’s November 11th post. I may not have said it the best that it can be said, but I’ve said it as well as I can say it.

remembrance

No matter what you call it, this is a little reminder that Monday is Remembrance/Veterans Day. Take two minutes at 11:00 AM to stand quietly and remember, respect and honor those in the Armed Services, past and present, who have given so much, so that we can have peace and security.

Take some time Monday – Hell, take all day if you want, and take a bit of time any other day, whenever it’s possible – to shake the hand of a veteran, or current Serviceman. Smile, and say, “Thanks!”

Canadian Flag

veterans

Times, and social situations change. Wars are no longer fought by going to the other guy’s country and shooting him, or just blowing up his shit till he stops being an asshole. In addition to the Vets and current Armed Services personnel, mentioned above, we should also remember to thank and think of (because of the job they do, and the way they must do it, they’re invisible, but invaluable) Intelligence and Internal Security Officers, as well as the folks building SkyNet, who feed info to them, so that they can keep us safe from gas attacks, poison and biological assaults. They also prevent attacks and loss of service to our increasingly technologically-dependent Internet lifestyle, with their Ninja-like handling of all those little 1s and 0s.

I think that it would be nice to see more people wearing poppies, to pay respect for the veterans who fought for us, and fewer people with their heads down, and a cell phone  in their hands.

I want to express my frustration and moral sadness at our skewed priorities regarding the calendar.  Dec. 25 receives far more attention than Nov. 11!  Could we please postpone the Christmas activities and surrounding pageantry, until at least Nov. 12, out of common decency, respect, and gratitude for those who fought and died for the freedoms that we enjoy today??

Good Manners

Smart Phone

Hey you! With the cell phone! – Put that damned thing down in public. I don’t want to sound old, but…. I think the more ‘I’ and ‘me’ we become, the ruder and more disrespectful we become. We’re so full of ourselves that there isn’t much space left for consideration for others.

The bottom line is that unless someone is giving out their credit card information (in which case I need them to speak slowly and enunciate clearly so I can write it down), I don’t want to hear their phone conversations when I’m in a public place.

A person should be able to sit with themselves quietly for a few minutes, without having a phone. You might be surprised at how satisfying it is to be silent, or to be mindful of yourself. There are few enough phone-free zones left in the world – saunas, bathrooms, airplanes. With all the sonic and electronic pollution today, I think that we should work at creating more bubbles of silence – blessed silence.

I know I’m hopelessly old fashioned and not a big believer in multi-tasking, but I still feel that when a person is driving a car, that is all they should actually be doing:  driving the car.  They should not be texting, putting on eye-liner, eating their dinner, or stirring their coffee.  Yes, all of those things can be important, but they aren’t important enough to risk someone’s life in a car accident – theirs, or mine.  They just aren’t.

And at the risk of stating the obvious, I firmly believe that personal business should actually be kept personal.  I don’t believe that social media is the appropriate setting for family conflicts, neighborhood feuds, failing marriages, or imploding friendships.  We all tend to say (or write) things that we shouldn’t in those situations, so why make it worse by doing so in front of the whole world?  These days, privacy seems to be little more than a quaint idea, but I truly believe that not every single detail of our lives needs to be shared. 👿