Water – becomes holy when they boil the hell out of it. It is used to be born again or to be baptized. Slung around in Catholic churches because people want free showers on Sunday mornings. Best used for bathing or swimming, but is truly essential for life (as we know it) to exist.
Warlocks, Wizards, and Witches – are apparently not the same, two male and the other female. A warlock is a deceiver or one who breaks his word. The word was used to designate Satan, wizards, sorcerers, and (incorrectly) male witches. Witches are what Christians burned when they thought something was wrong (Exodus xxii, 18). While they were seen to be involved with Satan (often sexually), people who claim to be modern day witches eschew all that in favor of a new age view of nature religions such as Wicca or modern-day Druidism. Wizards are more often considered wise persons.
Werewolves – do not happen. There is no evidence that anyone has turned into a wolf and then back. However, a delusion known as lycanthropy is real, and there are cases of people who believed they were werewolves. Again, ok entertainment (and the first thing I think about during full moons), but it does not happen. To believe it does happen to one’s self is probably due to some medical disorder.
Wicca – is a neo-pagan nature religion based on beliefs and rites said to be of ancient origin. I see wiccans not as members of a religion, but as people with a shared spiritual basis in natural phenomena. They practice their rituals but have no formal doctrine or must-do stuff. However, local covens may have their own rules. I await my invitation to dance naked in the forest during the next full moon.
Willful Ignorance – is related to wishful thinking, misinterpretation, falsification, dissembling, and perversion of the truth. One should never do this sober. Have you ever tried to show or explain something to someone, only to have them put their fingers in their ears or their hands over their eyes? Ignorance may be bliss, but only to a point. The ignorance of others is always annoying.
Talismans – are objects held or worn to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortunes. Simply put, they’re lucky charms. Requires belief otherwise it is jewelry. I have worn Saint Christopher, Miraculous (Mary) medals, crucifixes, and scapula in my life. They were talismans. What I might wear today is jewelry.
Tantra – is a type of Hindu or Buddhist scripture, or the rituals and practices described therein. They deal with meditation and sexual techniques. More fun.
Tarot Cards – are used in fortune telling. Fun, but woo-woo.
Telepathy – is mind reading, as in mental. Read anyone’s thoughts with ESP?
Teleportation – Beam me up Scotty (he never said that). Don’t we wish? Someday, maybe.
Theists (theism) – are persons who deny that gods do not exist. I say there are no gods. Most agree with me in every case except one. Close, right?
True-believer Syndrome – is a wow. It’s very real. Many continue to believe in the reality of the paranormal despite overwhelming evidence of fraud. People still follow psychics, religious charlatans, phony channelers, faith healers, taro card readers, and other phony mediums despite proof they are fake. (Political figures?) No amount of logic or evidence can shatter their faith, which is why such fakes are as abundant as ever.
Quantum Entanglement – is when pairs or groups of particles are generated, interact in ways where the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the state of the other(s), even when separated by a large universe-size distance. It’s weird. Einstein questioned it. It’s hard to understand (or care) but is included here because of its current spin with metaphysics. I also recently became aware of the QE relationship with the term synchronicity. If Einstein was skeptical, but this is real, then what? Things are just as they are, understood, true, or not. The youtube videos are better than I at explaining this. To save space I’ve provided links here and here.
Quackery and quacks – are currently referred to as alternative health practices (very profitable) in the medical fields. When people want this, if no harm is done, I don’t object until I do see harm. But a spade is a spade. It is quackery. It is also legal. It can be harmful and is usually wasteful (like religion).
In general, quacks are people making showy pretenses of knowledge or abilities. They are charlatans willing to do and say virtually anything to remain in the spotlight. And it works. But they’re still quack-a-roos.
Religious quacks are often on radio and television to take money from foolish and ignorant listeners, thus channeling money away from real churches, legitimate charities, and followers who need it. There have been, are, and will continue to be thousands of these religious quacks. Many today are new age, but most work main-line protestant/Christian/Zen/some form of whatever.
Q (Star Trek) – was the closest thing to a god on the show, but never identified as such. He was an extra-dimensional being of unknown origin who possessed immeasurable power over normal human notions of time, space, the laws of physics, and reality itself. Despite his vast knowledge and experience spanning untold eons, he enjoyed practical jokes for his own personal amusement. He was said to be nigh-omnipotent and was evasive regarding his motivations. He sounds damn godish to me. I was a bit of a treky, but Q could be such a dick.
Prayer – is an attempt to communicate with a supernatural being. People are taught to pray, it’s not instinctive or logical. Depending on interpretations there are three to seven kinds of prayer. I say three:
Adoration, as a radical Islamist may do before blowing up a bus full of school children, “God is great” or “Allahu Akbar,” which really means a specific god is greater (hairsplitting). This would include any from of blessing or praise of a god.
Petition prayers are for things people want, such as money or health for self or others, or sex. These are the childish gimme a winning lottery ticket or touchdown prayers and are sometimes questioned by believers. It is suggested that one include some kind of ‘thy will be done’ to cover a god’s butt, thus making the prayer even more absurd. It’s the most common type.
Thanksgiving prayers are often for food, family, friendship, being alive, the winning lotto ticket, a safe trip, almost any given touchdown for virtually any team, a win by a political party, or victory on a specific side in a war or battle. First one petitions, then remembering one’s manners, one thanks. It implies that a god will play favorites, if you ask.
To pray, posture must matter because people stand, sit, kneel, lie face down (prostrate), bow, rock, do a hands in the air dance, jump around, speak in tongues, hold god up in the air for all to see, sing, mumble, use Latin or Hebrew, dance with snakes, meditate (centering prayer), and just all manner of things that must matter to a god of some kind. Some even yell “Oh, God!” in gratitude for an orgasm. Cool.
Pluralistic Ignorance – is a situation in which most group members privately reject a norm but go along with it because they incorrectly assume that most others accept it (religion or belief in a god). This is also described as no one believes, but everyone thinks that everyone believes. Kind of related to what is known as the Abilene Paradox.
Pagans – are types of believers. They aren’t atheist or specifically agnostic. However, this word has different meanings. I have had only one person in my life say to me, “I am a pagan.” His intent was to say he was a new age polytheist with Wiccan leanings. Others simply said they were Wiccan (specifically, witches of some kind). They all considered themselves Pagans and followers of a natural, New Age, religious belief.
Many, if not most, Christians use the term pejoratively for anyone who does not accept the god of the Bible. This seems to be how one dictionary defines it and applies synonyms (atheist, heathen, agnostic). So, like the boogie man, people may not know what it is, they just know it is a bad thing and to be avoided (Druids and Wiccans may identify as pagans). Like atheist, clarification of meaning for the term may be necessary for communication to be effective.
Past Life Regression – is a technique of New Age therapists wherein patients may recall something of alleged past lives. I don’t believe it and wouldn’t do it, but it seems harmless enough for the curious (or believer) to try.
Penile plethysmograph (PPG) – is a machine attached to the male member to measure changes to the size of one’s penis while watching or listening to sexually suggestive, pornographic, erotic pictures, or sounds. I will let you determine the usefulness of such a device, but they do exist and are used in more than scientific studies.
Pentagram – is a five-pointed figure used in magic, the occult, or other belief systems. I was walking past a Christmas decoration display for a neighborhood where someone had the bright idea to insert a Star of David (Jewish) into the round wreath (Pagan), with a cross (execution method of Rome) and several angels scattered about. I did not see a traditional crèche scene, but I was amused by what I first considered a pentagram inside of a circle that I’m sure was intended to be inclusive with the Jewish tradition and not the older pagan one. One might inadvertently invoke the evil spirits, if one is careless with symbols.
Problem of Evil – questions how to reconcile the existence of evil with an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient god. Because evil exists, either god doesn’t exist or does not have all three of those properties.
Objective (subjective) morality – addresses the source much more than the moral standard. The objective implication is that morality comes from a god, is fixed, and therefore objective. When someone concludes that there are no gods and rejects all religion, the assumption by some is that morality is no more. That is not correct. Only the source changes from scripture to conscience, culture, law, or agreement. Given that slavery, The Spanish Inquisition, war, physical mutilation of children, and hate (9-11) can be scripturally supported yet easily rejected, objective morality is not valid. One does not have much of a moral unraveling when one abandons religion. The fluidity of secular morality makes it subjective, and therefore more adaptable, realistic, and useful.
Out of the closet (atheist) – means we no longer hide something about us. Sexual preferences, political opinions, and religious beliefs are examples. Atheists frequently hide their conclusions regarding the probably of existence of deities, gods, or spirits of any kind. This is to avoid persecution from family, friends, strangers, government, employers, supervisors, plumbers, electricians, painters, small children, teenagers, college students, evangelists, and people in places where most others believe atheists are evil and are people doomed to be damned forever by said non-existent deity.
Religious ministers of any kind, politicians, members of fundamentalist religious families, and Hobby Lobby employees will intentionally hide their lack of religion and belief in any gods for their own protection and that of their families. Others may be semi-closeted by not disclosing or by behaving in cooperation with others as a keep the peace gesture. My personal experience is that I prefer to be out for many reasons. But I keep the peace and suffer severe cognitive dissonance headaches because of it.
Ouija board – is a game that I have not enjoyed playing in many years. Out since the late 1800s, it is played with a board containing an alphabet, a yes and no, a maybe, and goodbye. While I reject divination, spiritualism, and the paranormal, I find such things fun (it is a game). However, in the occult sense it has been blamed for many psychic and psychological disturbances and is often rejected for that reason (as is the game D&D).
So why the answers? That is from the ideomotor effect. The players really do force the planchette (three-legged thingy) over the letters and answers, whether they know it, admit it, or not. Play blindfolded and see (chuckling). Also, good people harbor indecent subconscious, or dark side, thoughts which may be revealed playing the game. If it bothers or frightens you, don’t play.
Occultism – includes alchemy, magick, divination, incantations, magic formulas, and other mumbo-jumbo and woo-woo that people (sadly) believe provide hidden powers for some to control both the natural and supernatural worlds. More BS. At the basic level, this is no more or less nonsense than any religious belief.
Magick – is not the same as magic, which is usually the art of conjuring and legerdemain (sleight of hand). Richard Dawkins has another definition in The Reality of Magic, with which I agree. But magick contends to cause physical changes by nonphysical means. It’s associated with paranormal and the occult (astral projection, chakras, ESP, and psychic healing).
Some religious associate this with Satan and call it black magic. To the same folk, if associated with a god, it is white magick or miracles. I consider it appealing in some ways, interesting in others, but mumbo-jumbo in any case. I do like to explain things which I cannot logically explain with the exclamation of pure fucking magic (PFM). These are not bad words, and outside of religion they can be fun and entertaining, for example the Magic Kingdom Theme Park at Disney, or Magic titled songs by ONJ and groups like Pilot, America, Queen, and others. I even wrote a sonnet to magic (read here).
Marfa lights – are included because I have been there at night and looked for them. I did not see them, but I believe that there are lights. About ten miles east of Marfa, Texas, is a viewing area. The Marfa lights, something of an unwanted art culture, and Peter Reading’s book Marfan (also his one-year of residence there) are what the town of about 2,500 is known for. The lights are not caused by ghosts, swamp gas, radioactive bursts, ball lightning, or navigational lights of alien space ships. They are car lights from U.S. Highway 67 in the Chianti Mountains, which is why I did not see them – no cars when I was looking.
Miracle – is a word I try not to use (except in sarcasm). Others use it often without considering the meaning. It has become trite, especially in song. The meaning of miracle is seldom considered. Miracles are supernatural events caused by a god of some sort by defying the laws of nature.
Weather phenomena are not miracles, nor are they punishment for humans being kind to each other regardless of color or sexual preference. Jesus’s face on toast is just toast. Toilet water dripping from a statue is piss water, no matter who drinks it.
Generally, these miraculous events are considered good. Equally amazing but also BS phenomena are things sometimes attributed to the occult. Interesting and weird stuff happens all the time. If you can see it, it’s not supernatural (or you couldn’t). America beating Russia in ice hockey was awesome, but it was not a miracle. It was great hockey.
Junk Science – is an expression used to describe scientific information considered spurious or fraudulent (fake). The concept is often invoked in political, legal, and religious contexts. The term became popular in the 90s. Recently, it has been invoked to criticize research on the environment or public health effects of corporate activities, and occasionally in response to such criticism. There are books on this. One is by Dan Agin, who in his book, Junk Science, harshly criticized those who deny the basic premise of global warming. It is somewhat different from pseudoscience and fringe science.
Jesus Christ – may have been a (perhaps mythical) Jewish male who allegedly performed miracles to prove he was a god or the son of one. His mother was a virgin or was impregnated by the Jewish god. Christ is rumored to have been killed by Romans at the encouragement of some Jews by crucifixion, an unpleasant form of legal execution common about 2,000 years ago. Maybe the largest religious belief in the world today. The original source of the term zombie, since he was supposed to be dead and then walked around and visited old friends before he went physically to heaven with a promise to return soon. Has been seen with Elvis.
Jamais vu – The opposite of déjà vu, which is a feeling of recollection. Jamais vu is when an experience feels like it is the first time even when the experience is a familiar one. This occurs in certain kinds of amnesia and epilepsy.