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Thursday, 09 January 2014


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"First of all, this was a religion that puts you - yes, you! - the individual you! - at the very heart of its sacrament… this is just between you and God whose message has been brought to you via his son on earth."

You would seem to be a Protestant atheist, Duffers. The Catholic church eventually intruded a priest between "you" and God. I once received a startled look when I remarked in a conversation that Protestants often found it difficult to see where (Roman) Catholicism stopped and Paganism began: the older I get the more I think my point was pretty good.

A 'Protestant agnostic', describes me better, I think, DM. Also, I thought I had covered in general terms your point about the malfeasance of the organised churches in my penultimate paragraph. But, hey, that's Mankind for you!

DM, you're a bad, bad influence! Right, maybe, but bad, bad, boy!I'll have to be in time out for just reading that comment.

Uncountable zillions? People have actually counted, and, altogether, they are thought to be about a million over 2000 years. These include, of course, casualties in the Thirty Years War, such a "religious" conflict that Catholic France was allied with Protestant Northern Germany.

The contrasting numbers are, ten million for Islam, and a hundred million, or twice that, for various forms of atheistic socialism. The existence of God is metaphysical, since God, by definition, is outside the physical universe. The numbers of the dead are rather knowable in this quite physical world. Exaggerating the numbers is part of the propaganda to advance the Rouseavian line that the bourgeoisie and bourgeois institutions are responsible for all the evils in the world. The actual arithmetic does not support this silly idea, nor several of his other ones.

The world could have been spared a huge amount of suffering if Rousseau had had access to Lithium carbonate, and had been induced to take it.

I guess to the extent that I think about religion at all, I would have to consider myself agnostic, like you, and like you I have this strange attachment to Christianity. It might be because I grew up in a blighted inner city, and I stuttered badly, and I would have been a huge target for everyone if it were not for the nuns and priests who taught me. In any case, when I'm in a conversation with atheists, I usually try to defend Christianity.

My usual take is this: Assume Christ did not exist, he was just a fiction invented by Paul and the others. What is that fiction? That a man was arrested, tortured, put to death, and while hanging on a cross cried out, "Forgive them".

Christianity may be wrong the way all religions are wrong, but it is still a remarkable, and unexplainable, milestone in human development.

As our "common e-pal" David, Dom, has observed despite his well known atheism, (admitting I'll not phrase this precisely) 'Society in the absence of a Religious grounding is maladaptive'

I'll send along an email and perhaps he'll drop by and add more precisely than I can.

As to the "speed" David, I'd just say Paul was a prolific letter writer.

On a religious note.

The Last Day of Life

All arrivals in heaven now have to go through a bureaucratic examination to determine whether admission will be granted.

One room has a clerk who inputs computerized records of what each applicant did on his or her last day of life.

The first applicant of the day explains that his last day was not a good one. "I came home early and found my wife lying naked in bed. She claimed she had just gotten out of the shower. Well, her hair was dry and I checked the shower and it was completely dry too. I knew she was into some hanky-panky and I began to look for her lover. I went onto the balcony of our 9th floor apartment and found the SOB clinging to the rail by his finger tips. I was so angry that I began bashing his fingers with a flower pot. He let go and fell, but his fall was broken by some awnings and bushes. On seeing he was still alive I found super human strength to drag our antique cedar chest to the balcony and throw it over. It hit the man and killed him. At this point the stress got to me and I suffered a massive heart attack and died." The clerk thanked him and sent him on to the next office.

The second applicant said that his last day was his worst. "I was on the roof of an apartment building working on the AC equipment. I stumbled over my tools and toppled off the building. I managed to grab onto the balcony rail of a 9th floor apartment but some idiot came rushing out on the balcony and bashed my hands with a flower pot. I fell but hit some awnings and bushes and survived, but as I looked up I saw a huge chest falling toward me. I tried to crawl out of the way but failed and was hit and killed by the chest." The clerk couldn't help but chuckle as he directs the man to the next room.

He is still giggling when his third customer of the day enters. He apologizes and says "I doubt that your last day was as interesting as the fellow in here just before you."

"I don't know" replies the man, "picture this, I'm buck naked hiding in this antique cedar chest... "


Taking your comments in reverse order, thanks, AussieD, for starting my morning with a laugh!

JK, you really must make an effort to differentiate between subject and object in your sentences which are becoming increasingly serpentine in their construction. I had to read your comment three times to be sure who you were quoting! Fifty lines to DM before lunchtime!

Dom, you are entirely right to stress what a truly remarkable story it is in that it combines courage and moral fibre of the very highest order plus a gateway to salvation if, but only if, you live your life to certain standards which are inherently decent. I am happy to accept all that, it's just the 'God bit' that I can't quite swallow!

Of course you are right, Michael, to remind us that other religions, including, perhaps especially, 'non-religious' ones, have caused huge death rates. However, none of that excuses the earlier Christian churches who struggled, not for men's souls, but for good old-fashioned power. What is ironic - and sickening - is that the squabbles over interpretation began almost immediately! Mankind- heh!

Religion is the curse of the thinking mind as what the mind does not know it invents. That philosophical view I believe to be mine though I cannot be sure as I may have read it or something like it elsewhere. I am an avowed atheist and in my formative years did some research into the origins of religions particularly Christianity as I had my doubts about the existence of god or gods but wanted to look for evidence that did or did not prove the existence of god. In the event I found none that proved the existence of god and so new it was true that it has to be by faith alone. I found no evidence that there was not a god but that I realised was hardly surprising as proving a negative is extremely difficult. However what evidence that did exist pointed to an overwhelming number of flaws in the reasons theists have for believing in god and that religions were not constructs from designs supplied by god or gods. A number of things struck me during my research into religions in general and Christianity in particular and they are;

1) Religious scriptures and the like are not worth the papyrus they are written on because they are just lists of myths, some wisdom and rather doubtful historical facts.
2) One person can be very influential in promoting a religion. If the Epicurean school of thought had become more popular than that of Aristotle and Plato ones then perhaps religion today would have been very much a minority pursuit in the west at least. If Paul had not taken Christ's teachings which were mainly about attacking the Jewish hierarchy of the day and perverted them there would never have been a Christian religion. One has to wonder whether Christian religion is taken from the teachings of Christ or of that of the Essen sect that pre-date him. If Constantine had not made Christianity the state religion one has to wonder where it would stand today.
3) Religion is a device that benefits the powerful especially one that promotes a wonderful afterlife. Islam also of course falls into that category. As the downtrodden are more likely to be acquiescent in this life if promised a better life in the next one. As Karl Marx someone I never agree with except for this "religion is the opiate of the people".

The list above is not exhaustive and I could ramble on increasing it all day but I believe from what is listed you get a flavour of where my beliefs are. So on that note I say " may your god or gods be with you or not as the case may be".

Antis, It's been a long day and I'm turning in early so I will respond you comment later on tomorrow.

JK, you really must make an effort to differentiate between subject and object in your sentences which are becoming increasingly serpentine in their construction.

Why, Thank You very much David. (Though I'll admit to having to look to my dictionary to find out what you meant - why didn't you just say?)

JK, you're a gem!

David. The Catholic indoctrination was chosen by Constantine according to history just like Islam was chosen by some Islamist. This was followed by war, torture child abuse etc which is with us today and before the aforementioned existed.
To sum it up not a lot has changed.

Not a lot has changed since Constantine?


Did some one rewrite history again? I understood, from his own words as well as his contempories, that he supported the Arian postion, not the Catholic positon?

Religion should be banned.

"what the mind does not know it invents". Alas, Antis, not quite an original thought. Karl Popper proposed something very similar in his philosophy of science in which he proposed that faced with puzzles Mankind always attempts to set up theories to explain them. The scientific ones are eventually tested and may be found wanting. Religious ones, containing as they do a certain amount of wish fulfilment, are harder to deal with. I would suggest that there is not too much wrong with religious *belief* but that it is religious *organisation* that causes trouble. In so far as I know anything about his teachings, Jesus maintained that you did not need an organised church to abide by his words - you either observed his precepts or you didn't and there is nothing very complicated about them requiring the 'services' of popes and prelates and priests!

JK, you are, indeed, "a gem" and definitely *not* 'a snake in the grass'!

Hank. I should have said Christian and not Catholic although the Catholics seemed to have come out on top eventually.

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