Let’s Talk Bible Poetically
Where the Sun Don’t Shine
Books of myth, fiction, fantasy, and magic,
when truth be told, are wonderous, magical,
The darkest are sadistic
lies contained in false truths told,
from pages and pulpits of religious propaganda.
Such cliched moronic nonsense would
make magical mindless fodder if only
some twinkles of truth were told about their
myth, fiction, fantasy, and magic. Of course,
I just did that, did I not?
It Must Be I
To those whose baptisms are no longer valid and to those whose still are (like me):
I know. Who cares? Not the pin-head decision-makers. It’s the fixers who flip out. And rightfully so. They must look into the tearful eyes and sad faces of their faithful and lie because of some Schmutz’s in Rome said “it must be I.”
Here is a quick factsheet on most baptisms and what the Royal Catholic pains in the ass see as three levels of Baptismal judgment.
First is a list of ones they are okey dokey with. (Not a word about I, we, thee, or they.) The second group is a mercifully short list of we got no clues. (Maybe you go to heaven, maybe not.) Third list is of what we consider too fake to count.
If you got baptized in LDS, you need a redo to have a counter as a papist. That third group of no deals includes several religions and denoms who do not baptize at all. I’m Irish, but even I can see why those that don’t baptize ones might be “invalid,” since they don’t freaking baptize in the first place (oh lawdy, what next?).
Anyhow, as a once fully corrupted Roman Catholic (RC) [by some opines], a several times fallen away RC, and now a bona fide and fully convinced atheist (who claims to no longer give damn about such damnation tarnation), I must say that if you feel shocked and dismayed about the RC church bureaucrats tripping over their whacked off foreskins, no matter what you believe, you suffer from diagnosable naivety. This is what they do best. In this case, the office was created for just such purposes. In trying to look ecclesiastically smart (bless their hearts), they succeeded in making the entire RC church and all 1.3 billion members look like as many blind mice. Give them grief. They deserve it!
While the linked list does not appear to include either acceptance or rejection of atheist or agnostic baptisms, it does reject the Bohemian Free Thinkers. What? I did not know of such a group. All the Czechs I knew were RCs or Orthodox. Funny though. They (BFTs) tell ya what to think anyway.
The RC faithful and the semi-not-so-faithful are accustomed to this kind of dribble. It may seem scandalous, but it’s funny, if not silly. Do the bogusly baptized now run down to Father Peterbutt at Saint Flower of the Fold RC church for a redo? Do they sit tight? And what about the dead ones? Oh, I forgot; the Mormons can baptize them. Thank you, BYU. Even Mormon heaven beats the hell out of hades, right?
At the Pearly Gates, good old Saint Peter face palms and says, “Look Lady, I am so sorry. But the dumb shit who did your baptism said We instead of I. We, I mean I, have no record of a redo on you. I checked with JC and He’s adamant that He will not share the glory of your salvation with his Father, the closeted family Ghost, nor with any of the people who thought they were attending a bone fide, blessed event (no refunds, either).”
Perplexed, Peter whispers, “You have been metaphorically screwed by Christ. You need to go stand in line over there with all the atheists, Jews, and Muslims. Here is your ticket to Hell. They still think this is one big party. May someone have mercy on all their embarrassingly happy souls.”
To all you 1.3 billion RCs out there ignoring the rampage of insanity to which you give (much less than 10% of) your hard-earned money every week, you can fix this shit. God does not need your money. The Parish, Diocese, and bumbling snotty bureaucrats in Rome do. In fact, your local poor and homeless need it much more. Must I explain? Good people have been fired and politicians voted out for far less.
I’m So Happy
It is challenging to keep coming up with things to write about having to do with religion and one of the thousands of gods I doubt. But once or twice each month some smatchet* fool just hands me a beer and says, “Now, watch this.” How do they do it? It’s pure fooking magic, I’m a-tellin’ y’all. Wham! No muse required.
I simply open a news link on my computer for a bit of depressing now what. And there it is in all that radiant reading glory. The reason why so many of us will take a royal pass on jumping into the Christian corral (or is it chorale?).
Some Pentecostal pinhead preacher in the far east parts of Nashville was literally told, directed, and commanded by none other than the main God himself, personally spoken in English, to cancel a bogus communion thingy and instead have a good old-fashioned book burning. Just like mort old Grandpa Adolph used to do, only this holocaust called specifically for some young adult fiction. It appears that God wanted to mess Satan over with a Harry Potter hot foot, of all things.
Preacher Pinhead claimed his followers had a “biblical right” (well hell yes. God told them to do it) to burn cultish books (as I clear my throat and raise both brows) and such, which they deem as threatening to their religious rights and freedoms. Yep. There ya have it, that ever-loving godly dude who gave his only son, etc.
Videos show a bonfire and people tossing books and other papers into the blaze. Praise god almighty!!! No more gall dang witchery from that ‘Hairy Pooter’ and his kind.
To be fair, no real news here. Harry Potter books were burned when first released. Other members of this panicked sleazeball-slime branch of Christianity, with similar religious loons claim such things encourage witchcraft.
I called J.K. Rowling. She said that she is heartbroken that her publisher will now have to print (and sell) more books to replace those burned. Wink, wink.
Why did this guy do this? This book burning party wasn’t the first time Dudly Dumbass made headlines. He’s denied the entire pandemic (clearly, he’s not an undertaker on the side), he preached that the Tennessee Governor, Bill Lee, was a “coward” for activating the National Guard to help hospitals battle it, and he is full of Trump-related BS conspiracy theories. He and his followers are also full of dangerous buzzard bait and swallowing every bit of it.
But look what I got. Blogger fodder as this snarkastic atheist points and laughs; and all the other Christians yell, “He’s not one of us.” I heard that same yell when Planned Parenthood medical clinics were bombed and killed people. Yes. He is exactly one of you!
And as for burning, here’s what else he said, “I ain’t messing with witches no more. I ain’t messing with witchcraft…I ain’t messing with demons.”
Should I send him a thank you letter?
P.S. *English contains an embarrassment of riches for when we want to say something colorful about someone. A contemptible person may be a blighter, cockloche, dandiprat, dirtbag, dogbolt, shagrag, stinkard bastard, beast, bleeder, blighter, bounder, or boor. They may be a bugger, buzzard, cad, chuff, churl, clown, creep, cretin, crud, crumb, or cur. Also, a dirty dog, rat fink, heel, hound, jerk, joker, louse, lout, pill, pinhead, rat, reptile, rotter, or a Yiddish schmuck; some are scum or scumbags, scuzzballs, or skunks. Anyone can be a sleaze, sleazebag, sleazeball, slime, slimeball, slob, snake, or a plain old so-and-so. Brits can also be sods, stinkards, stinkers, swine, toads, varmints, or any of various vermin. So why do we need smatchet? Just because there be so many contemptible people out there.
Truths About Choices
By what process do we make most important decisions? How do most of us select a religion or denomination to follow?
What do Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, and Evangelical Christianity have in common? With each other, about as much as they share with Judaism or Islam, and little more than those last two have in common with each other.
Within and between many religious or Christian groups the divisions are astounding, even to a cynical skeptic like me. They’ve pretty much all killed one another in the name of the god they claim to believe in. The god who knows and is responsible for everything, including them.
One thing they do share is the opinion that all atheists are immoral, criminal crackpots and meanies. Most recently I’ve been accosted for not thinking like a true American. Wowzer. Me?
Six of seven sacraments, a Boy Scout, several US Department of Defense careers (two honorably in uniform), Christian education and Bible Study teacher, Parish Council President; a father, and grandfather to about a dozen; and some right-wing crack-pot thinks it’s his job to enlighten me!?
Buddhism is a religious exception. There may be others. Many followers of this path are not a good fit as I define a religion (you need a god). I see Buddhism as more of a philosophical tradition. However, much of that philosophy and tradition can be woven with other religious beliefs. While Buddhists don’t believe in any gods, there are things that can help (or hinder) such people toward enlightenment. Meanwhile, back at the Reality Ranch…
The rest of us, mostly Christians in America, have several methods for choosing a tribe or religion to follow.
- We’re born or adopted into it by our parents or guardians.
- We convert into it for any number of reasons.
- We are forced into it in various ways.
- For community and social reasons. Like, we want a church home for our family, and we find something that seems to work okay.
- We discover it through careful analytical thought and examination of all religious beliefs, practices, philosophies, dogma, and whatever else belongs to the trappings of a religion. (Yeah, right.)
My wife, Yolonda, and her three siblings were raised in The Church of Christ. They grew up in Texas. The entire family of kids moved on to other Christian denominations in adulthood because of their displeasure with the denomination of their parents.
Yolonda converted into the Catholic Church about twenty years ago (I was born Catholic), at least in part because I was giving the denomination a final attempt.
One day she said to me, “What I like about being Catholic is that you can be a normal human being and still go to Heaven.” If you know much about the Church of Christ, you know why she said that. Her decision to join me in that, and our eventual decision to leave it twelve years later, is another story. But we gave the faith lots of pray, pay, and obey for as long as we could.
While I piddled with eastern religion and philosophies prior to the making one last run at the faith of my birth, neither of us ever took any path other than Christian and Catholic, until we both gave that up.
Looking back. the religious trek in our long marriage may seem chaotic, but that is what real searching looks like in hindsight. It’s called street cred. You must jump into the pool to feel the water. It is kind of like watching a pinball bounce around inside the machine. It seems chaotic, but the player knows what he or she is doing until the ball passes the flippers and is lost. To the ball, it is all random.
I was not born into atheism. I cannot name one atheist person I knew prior to age 21. Even after that, I’m not 100% sure I knew any names until I staked my claim. Atheism was never suggested to me as an option, nor was I forced into it. I resisted for socio-cultural reasons even as I slowly and continually moved toward it. There was no community satisfaction or social attraction similar to having a church home to being atheist.
If anything, it was the opposite as I noticed a few folks moving away from me socially. However, I did get to hear other friends confess their somewhat closeted atheism to me later. That still happens, although seldom.
I simply decided that I do not believe any god exists (as in is real), and I should be true to myself (see #5 above).
This is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, not the Bible, where Polonius says to Laertes, “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” I enthusiastically, atheistically, and poetically agree.
Can It Be Naught?
I forget what I read this week that put me onto this line of thinking. I read a lot of stuff that I do not understand or get. That’s fine. This whole business is crazy. One guy even told me that it was his job to get me to think like him. I am envisioning those of you who know me wanting to see him try to do that. Right?
Just to be clear, he not only wants me to be Christian; it’s with the Evangelical crowd that I must swear allegiance. On top of that, he called me a leftist for no reason. I liked the idea and told him so, but the real lefties might not agree. He wants me to be a right-wing guy. It seems I do not think like an American is supposed to think.
But when I peeked at his blog thingy, I noticed that he supports the creation of everything from nothing hypothesis. I am not sure what drug I need to take to help me comprehend nothingness. They talk about it, but how can they conceive of that? I cannot.
It is all something. We cannot portray or imagine anything but something. The movie clip from The NeverEnding Story attempts to portray the power of nothing, but it is all something. Evil is something. Absence implies something. There absolutely cannot be nothing.
In nothingness there is neither a beginning nor an end. When the Universe came to exist, nothing would cease because something existed. If there ever was a when of nothing, but there was a god or gods, then either god was nothing and still is, or god invented God.
So, all this buzz about creating everything (anything, something) from nothing makes zero sense. But at least that is something. Right?
What Matters More?
I am far from being an expert on the workings of the LDS religion, church, cult, or whatever it is. A friend told me about his father who was a convert to Mormonism. Apparently, if one is a good LDS, God will grant an enlightenment at some point. I have no idea what that is, but it sounds like speaking in tongues for some other denominations.
Anyway, my friend told me that his father went to an LDS bishop late in life to complain about either God or the Mormon religion not delivering on the promised epiphany. The bishop apparently then confessed that not everyone gets it. I’m unclear on the details, but I suspect a deconversion. My friend’s dad died shortly thereafter. So, then what?
One person commented on this blog that I must confess my belief in God before it is “too late.” The too late being when I am already dead, and God (who is love, who is forgiving, who sort of died for our sins) punishes my soul with Hell for eternity because I would not, could not, or did not believe that he, or she, or it was real. That commentator was trying to tell me what much of Christianity teaches. Goodness does not matter. Belief is all that counts. It sounds crazy and stupid, but the Bible backs them up on this.
Bottom line, if you do not believe in any god, or if you have serious doubts, you are doomed for eternity, according to the “good book.” That’s the theory, anyway. Nothing else in your life matters. In fact, you can be a lying scum bag, a murderer, a rapist, or all of these, and still be forgiven and spend eternity in Heaven, provided you claim that you think God is real (i.e., profess belief). This makes sense to millions of people. But not to all of us.
In her memoir, Anne Rice raved about her Secular Humanist friends and how wonderful and kind and caring and what good people they were. How they do all these wonderful things for others. Many are, of course, people who do not hold much belief (or faith) in any god. Anne was at times a very devout Catholic. In that Christian denomination, belief was taken for granted. But it was (and still is) how you live and treat others that matters most. For them, ass holes burn regardless of belief status.
I sat face-to-face in a confessional one day. The Priest said, “God does not care about all that, Bill. What He cares about is how we treat one another.” Two other Priests told me essentially the same thing.
No matter what I believe about the existence of any god, I am convinced that how we treat each other is paramount. Therefore, if I treat my fellow man, nature, and the environment (God’s creation?) as well as I can, I’ll bet God would give me the same break he would give Anne or any of her wonderful friends. As for the Christian jerks, if there is a god, I have my opinion.
Poetry: well, shut my mouth.
My crank goal is to write
in Southern USA states,
a few up north;
and every country
on the Catholic Church
shit-list so only Bishops
and Cardinals may
read my magic without sin.
May they touch themselves
with impure thoughts. May I
make a Baptist want a martini.
I want the ghost of Spiro Agnew to
haunt my poems as blatant
anarchist propaganda that threatens
to sap our national strength,
(unlike criminal conspiracy,
bribery, extortion, and tax fraud).
I want priests, rabbis, and mullahs
to denounce my freedom
five times every day from
their pits of pull on up to
minareted gravelly loudspeakers.
Let me be the de Mello or Merton
of modern skeptical letters. Bless me
with the censorship of weak minded
control freaks. May the young
bogart tabooed copies of my posey
into secret unsanctioned rooms.
Damn me to literary dungeon-hood
till the cows come home
and the ravens
Let sweet Jesus find me
one toke over the line, sitting
in a downtown railway station,
eyes opened, hoping
the literal reality freight train
is on time.
Let them hate me
country mile honesty
Gloss: In the first line (title), Crank in the sense of having or expressing feelings of joy or triumph.
Agnew was investigated for those crimes (and subsequently resigned as VP of the USA), but that is essentially what he had to say about the song, One Toke Over the Line (which was also banned).
Extra: Yeah, right. If you wanna hear from a couple old folk rockers (older then I), and the story of their one hit, the video is not high quality and about 7 minutes, but not bad. I watched the video of the Lawrence Welk Show number they mention being sung. The ironic humor is of that is beyond great and they agree.
Were You Really?
Are we what we do, what we say, or what we think and feel? Would the real me please stand up?
I usually take folks at face value regarding their claims. I accept that they are what they say they are. Why not? However, when I observe their behavior, I may become skeptical, or I may decide they lied. It happens.
I have met and heard of several people who, once firmly spirited into religious life, claim that they had been atheist before they found God, or vice-versa.
And things do change: “I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind, but now I see,” etc. Are people less likely to be honest, or more likely confused, when they use past tense? Maybe so. I also know people who will not say the word wretch when they sing the hymn, Amazing Grace. I agree. They probably never were miserable wretches.
I read a blog post where a former minister, now an atheist, theorized that most Christians who claim to be converted former atheists were probably not atheists, but were nones. He made a good case for his opinion. I have no way of knowing, but I’ve decided that I agree for several reasons.
Were they really atheists? Were they just ducking religion as so many claim atheists are doing? Did these people openly embrace atheism during the period of their lives when they claim to have been atheist.
Were they agnostic? Were they once practitioners of some religion before they left, sometimes angrily? Did they mentally equate some religion with the existence of God where they tossed the baby (God) out with the dirty bath water (religion)?
Setting aside false claims of unlikely death bed conversions, or someone laser-locking onto a flippant comment (like okay, maybe there is something), or confusion with the meanings of words, I suspect it is extremely rare for a convinced atheist to reach another conclusion and embrace any religion, much less Christianity. I suppose it happens. But very seldom.
The whole sociological and psychological phenomena of human religion and other beliefs are fascinating to me. When I openly declared my atheism, my wife’s comment was, “I’m not ready to go that far yet.” I doubt that she will ever say she is atheist.
Since I believe there is no god in the sense claimed by Abrahamic religions, virtually all religion becomes an interesting, often bizarre, form of human behavior for me.
I am not in the dark. I am informed and aware. I am neither lost nor wretched. I am happier being openly atheist than I ever was as a pay, pray, and obey Christian. While I may have been atheist in my thoughts and practices (or lack of) long before I said I was, it is hard for me to imagine someone like me honestly jumping back on the believer band wagon.
They were nones.
May you have a wonderful year 2022,
Essay: God Speaks to Him
Or her. Not an angel, messenger, inspiration, or idea; but the one and only true deity who created everything from nothing: “God spoke to me,” they tell us. That’s revelation with a capital R. There’s no OMFG! with this.
It happens all the time. Every single day. Twice on some Sundays. And they know who it is: it’s God. They tell us, and many of us believe them. God wanted us to know, told them, then they tell us. That’s how it works. We are communicated with, second-handedly, by God! God needs middlemen and scapegoats. No chance someone is lying about who said what, is there?
Googling god speaks to us got me more than two billion hits. His Lordship must be something of a chatter box. When I asked for examples, I got 758 million googly hits. Each one I glanced at said, Yes! God speaks to us. When such a claim is inclusive, as many are, they mean to metaphorically “speak” through scripture or some experience. It’s not like hearing a literal voice.
When I speak to people, words (noises) come out of my mouth. My vocal cords vibrate the air. If someone’s ears function normally and their brain works; if I am loud enough and near enough, they should hear me. They may understand me. They may speak or talk back to me. Communication could happen. Cats hiss or meow. Dogs growl or bark. Snakes may rattle. Birds chirp. Gorillas may grunt. God talks.
These days we are supposed to believe that the main God or Jesus “speaks.” The Holy Ghost (or Spirit) may move to inspire someone, but the Father and Son speak words. Often, it’s English with no Italian, Hebrew, or Aramaic accent. Only special people can hear God. They’re the “anointed” ones.
I’ve known a lot of Catholic Priests. All claim the apostolic successional ability to change bread and wine into the actual, real, body and blood of Jesus Christ during Mass. They can forgive sins. They can keep people out of Hell. Very special and powerful stuff. However, none of them ever claimed the experience of God speaking to them unless it was metaphorically. Nor did any of them, to my knowledge, speak in tongues, but that’s another post.
When confronted with hearing voices, the chosen to whom God talks often equivocate to hearing without actually “hearing.” Some claim reading scripture as God’s voice. Men and women wrote all the holy books ever penned. Humans wrote every word of scripture. God, you see, seems unable to write. Jesus wrote nothing. Nothing!
These circumlocutory claims of God speaking are pure charlatanism. It’s obvious. I knew all this when I was a teenager. It never changed. I may have believed in God, but this crap was all lies. And yet.
Ironically, people will vigorously challenge the Catholic Church’s claims about what their priests can do. But the very same souls don’t bat an eye when some TV preacher says God told him or her to raise cash for new private jet. They will sit right down and write that quack a check. Cuz, God told him to, for Christ’s sake.
Peace and love to y’all in this New Year.