It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. Antoine de Saint-Exupery



I wouldn’t criticize the religion of this song, because I consider it irrelevant whether it is based upon actual events. I think that some of you whom I have hurt over the years with my diatribes against religion probably exemplify such a faith, and I want you to know that, in my heart, I didn’t mean you. I meant those who hurt people who don’t measure up to their standards, standards that they themselves don’t meet. I would like to believe that we all do the best we can, and that we can all be reached through love, but when it comes right down to it, I don’t believe these things, and so I go on the attack. My challenge is to avoid becoming that which I hate, and I can best do this by embracing beauty no matter where I find it, whether through a hymn or a daffodil. I wouldn’t call such beauty God, but it’s a choice of nomenclature rather than meaning, and I have no desire for a wall composed of nomenclature.

Thank you for the riches that you have brought into my life.


37 comments:

ellen abbott said...

Embracing beauty is a devotion.

Snowbrush said...

I've missed you, Ellen. It seems that a lot of us are like myself in that we both post and visit more during some periods than others, but this doesn't mean that I don't think about my blog friends during those less active periods. I even consider it possible that I think about them more because my focus isn't on their latest thoughts or the latest events of their lives, but on the importance of their existence in my life, if that makes sense. During these periods, I realize that, in one way, there is a distance between us because we are out of touch, but its also true that I look with happiness upon the day that our contact is reestablished, as I know it will be with you and others with whom I now go back years. This trust in our continuation as friends means a lot to me.

Elephant's Child said...

Hugs.

Stephen Hayes said...

I think that no matter how much life turns us off, we are still alive if we can embrace beauty. If I couldn't find anything in the grand banquet of life to enjoy I don't know how I'd continue. And I do think it possible to revel in the wonders of this world without faith in a supreme being.

ellen abbott said...

Thank you Snow. I feel the same way.

I have been reading but I've been busy and have failed to comment, usually because I do not have the time to comment as I would like or I would just chastise you for climbing back up the ladder even though I totally get why you did or I have absolutely nothing to add.

angela said...

I agree snow brush. Sometimes those that have hurt in the name of their god make us so mad we lash out. But we don't mean to hurt those that are kind and gentle. Beauty is just that beauty. Do we need to attribute it to a someone. Just enjoy I say xx

kylie said...

hi snow!
i've just been reading your previous post, i read it at the time but had nothing to say that wouldnt sound trite and i guess nothing has changed in that respect but i do wish your pain would subside.
the idea of giving up gluten is interesting, i have a friend who suffers fibromyalgia and has had some pain relief since she took on a gluten free diet in solidarity with her young son, the difference is that you have actual injury and she has unexplained inflammation.

i always say that everyone does the best they can but then i think of people who clearly could do better so i suppose i'm kidding myself. making the assumption that people do their best helps me to be more compassionate so i continue to indulge in the lie

take care, my friend

possum said...

AH, Snow.
I used to have a friend who used to say I was one of the best Christians she had even known, and that used to so tick me off. I would shout "I am NOT a Christian!" but eventually I understood what she meant. She meant I was a good Buddhist, but she didn't know what being a Buddhist meant. Then it means many things to many people, just as being a Christian does.
With no offense intended, Snow... you are a good Buddhist. That is meant as a very high compliment.

Mim said...

embracing beauty and love is really the only way to go. Blindly following dogma is cowardice I think.

and you Snow, with your difficult questions and contentious views, have bought so much into my life - thanks

Charles Gramlich said...

although I think about religious kinds of things at times and have been working off and on about such elements in a book, I'm often quite relieved to be agnostic and not really feel emotionally torn by either side.

Paula said...

Sometimes we just need to open our eyes (and our hearts) to see the beauty that is all around us. And many times that is a hard thing to do! Hope your day is a good one

kj said...

It's funny because I kind of believe in god but don't often think in that realm and you don 't believe in god and you often do think about such matters

I am fortunate that most of the people who affect my life are decent and kind. I know to be grateful. I also live in places where beauty finds me everywhere.

Count me among the folks were are better by knowing you, snow xo

Love
kj

Linda said...

When I see beauty and comment in front of a Christian who intends to beat me to death with their words and wisdom, I hear, "See, you see beauty, so you see God's work. You are really a believer. You just don't know it yet."

Or, "You can see beauty, so you can see God."

Wordsworth is the person who introduced the idea that beauty or a baby is where we can see God. However, that thought offends them, too.

There is no way to turn some of these people off, shut them up without getting very aggressive because they are relentless in their attempt to convert me and get a star in their crown.

Convert me? They have no idea what I think. One person I know makes all sorts of assumptions about me and my beliefs and spreads the assumptions about to discredit me with others.

It takes a bit of raving some days to shut these people up.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Snow, I'm more a live and let live person. Your beliefs in no way diminish mine. And vice versa..

Seeking beauty makes this life tolerable.

All Consuming said...

There is a kind of peace that comes from recognizing and taking time to really appreciate the beauty around us, and the people in our lives too. "Thank you for the riches that you have brought into my life." - And thank you for being the man you are, for the feeling is most reciprocated. Xx

lotta joy said...

I do good because I'm human and doing good is part of who I am.

I do bad because I'm human and doing bad is part of who I am.

But my ability to do bad is tempered by my personality and I have never caused harm to anyone, or anything.

The only difference between me and those who do good because their religion teaches them to is...well...I don't need to be taught to do good.

I'm not trying to earn my way into heaven.

I don't feel proud that I did something good "fo dah lawd".

No one is going to hear about it on Sunday.

And no one is left with a token word of blessing that merely serves to shine a light upon myself.

And loving you is easy to do anyway.

Helen said...

I wonder if you know how often I (we) think of you? It comes quite naturally ... like the yellow jonquils popping up all over the place. Have a good weekend.

Furry Bottoms said...

I was referred to your site and I have to say wow, you're deep. You sound much like my uncle bob, who believes himself to be a shaman. I always thought of him as a mountain man, with lots of inner turmoil as well as the urgent drive to seek enlightenment. He does not like to refer to anything as God either. I think we are simply what we are. We are just shaped by our own experiences and that's that.

rhymeswithplague said...

Snow, I like this post a lot. It reminds me of what Keats said in "Ode on a Grecian Urn":

"Beauty is truth; truth, beauty -- that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

If I wanted to wax philosophical, I could bring up the Bible verse that says, "Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" -- if what some say is holiness does not appear beautiful to others, perhaps it is because it is not holiness at all.

Furry Bottoms said...

I came back to this post. You've got a way with words. I've not seen that word "nomenclature" since school. Anyway, I was just thinking. If you have the ability to SEE the beauty in things, like that daffodil, or in a hymn, whether in the words of the hymn or the sound of the hymn, isn't that enough? If it brings to your soul some measure of peace, I'd be happy. See, your words invoke thoughts to move in other people's minds.

Snowbrush said...

"I wonder if you know how often I (we) think of you?"

Yes, it helps me to keep going.

"if what some say is holiness does not appear beautiful to others, perhaps it is because it is not holiness at all."

Would you agree with Henri Nouwen: "The authentic spiritual life finds its basis in the human condition, which all people--whether they are Christian or not--have in common"? I thought this a remarkable statement for a Catholic priest, and I wondered how you felt about it. If you agree, it gives you and me a oneness, but you don't, it paints you as the sheep--and me as the goat--about which Christ spoke, does it not?

"If you have the ability to SEE the beauty in things, like that daffodil, or in a hymn, whether in the words of the hymn or the sound of the hymn, isn't that enough?"

I wish, but it's bittersweet, the moreso now that I'm getting up in years somewhat, being 65. I don't know why I can't content myself with the HERE and the NOW, but death ever overshadows me. The flower, you, me, Peggy, we're all on a slide toward loss with our own deaths being the final loss. No doubt, living with considerable pain makes it harder for me to be of good cheer because it's nigh on impossible to relax--much less sleep-- when I'm hurting, and I'm hurting all the time. I couldn't sleep last night for the pain, so I tried to take a nap just now, but I couldn't even do that. It gets me down, it really does, sometimes a lot more than others depending upon how bad the pain is. I go through times when it's hard for me to simply fight back panic, much less think happy thoughts.

rhymeswithplague said...

I will not allow you to trip me up with your questions. I am capable of tripping myself up all by myself. But thanks for asking. I sent you an interesting email earlier today.

I don't have all the answers. Some days I don't have any of the answers.

rhymeswithplague said...

Ah, yes, the human condition. I refer again to that email.

To say that all people have the human condition seems to me to be a circular definition, isn't it? It doesn't explain exactly what the human condition is.

To paraphrase what a Supreme Court judge said about pornography, I don't know what the human condition is, but I know it when I see it.

It's way too early in the day to try to be cute. I will cease and desist.

Snowbrush said...

"To say that all people have the human condition seems to me to be a circular definition, isn't it?"

I think he meant to express an ecumenical sentiment by which people aren't divided into the worthy and the unworthy depending upon how similar to his (Catholic) beliefs their beliefs are. I saw this as contrasting with Jesus parable about the Last Judgment according to which God will separate those deserving of heaven (based upon their acceptance of him, whatever that means) from those deserving of hell (based upon their rejection of him, whatever that means). It seems to me that Christianity as it is commonly practiced--and as Jesus meant it if he really said all that he is reported as having said-- has a strong tribalistic component that separates Christians, not just from non-Christians, but from those who worship in the church around the block. This makes Christian professions of love for their neighbor empty to those whom they don't really regard, on the basis of dogma, as being their neighbor. You might argue, of course, that Christians (as a body) really do see the whole world as their neighbors, but I see no reason to think it true, and my personal experience has been just the opposite. Even in how you and I relate, I often wonder if your primary feeling toward me isn't one of suspicion and fear rather than one of love, this based upon such statements as, "I will not allow you to trip me up with your questions." I'm sure I express myself badly, and I'm obviously more open and loving at times than at other times, but my primary interest in your faith isn't to create occasions to pounce upon your words with the intent of making you look bad, but rather to understand you. You, I think, fearing the former, hold me at arm's length. Maybe it's what Jesus himself would have done. I really don't know because I don't see him (if he really said all that he was reported as having said) as having presented a consistent message. For example, on one occasion he might say, "Return good for evil," or, "Turn the other cheek," and then turn around and say, "Sell your coat if necessary in order to buy a sword," in another. Etc.

rhymeswithplague said...

It's interesting that you brought up the passage where the Son of man will separate the sheep-nations from the goat-nations based on how they treated "the least of these my brethren."

This morning in church -- long before I encountered your comment above -- our pastor said in his sermon (Title: The Devil Goes To Church Every Sunday) that one reason the Devil goes to church every Sunday is that's where "the sheep and the ones on their way to being sheep" are. My immediate thought was "Are goats on their way to being sheep?" and although my immediate answer to myself was "No," a few seconds later this thought came into my head: "With men it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible."

I promise I was not thinking of you, nor am I calling you a goat now. I just think it's an unusual coincidence (and nothing more) that you would bring up that particular passage.

If I were holding you at arms length, I wouldn't be so transparent in these comments. I wouldn't be commenting at all. I do care about both your current physical condition and what Christians call your "eternal destiny" but since we agreed to disagree and still be friends, I won't pursue the latter in such a public forum. This probably makes me a very bad Christian but, I hope, a very good friend.

I believe because otherwise I am, as St. Paul said, of all men most miserable (First Corinthians 15:19). See also Lewis Carroll (Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.")

I'm not trying to be snarky, Snow. Like our old friend Putz, I am a riddle wrapped up in an enigma. And so are you. That's part of the human condition.

Snowbrush said...

That sleeping pill I mentioned is hitting me hard, but I'm going to try make sense here briefly.

"one reason the Devil goes to church every Sunday is that's where "the sheep and the ones on their way to being sheep" are."

One becomes a sheep by embracing the proper dogma and submitting to the proper rituals that are observed within a particular denomination, which means that a sheep in one church would be a goat in another. Christ wasn't specific about many such things, maybe because he wanted to move away from dogma, and therefore differences over how much water (if any) to use during baptism, when to take communion, whether one believed in the Trinity, etc. didn't matter to him.

"I believe because otherwise I am, as St. Paul said, of all men most miserable"

This is motive for wanting to believe, but it doesn't tell me how you manage to believe in a way that brings you peace while at the same time allowing you to maintain honesty and integrity. THAT was ever the problem that I ran into. Because I wasn't acting on the basis of sincere conviction, my attempts to believe resulted in a loss of self-respect, and so it was that I had to finally renounce what was, to me, a charade. In other words, I couldn't carry it off even when I tried because if ALL one's religion consists of is the hoped-for avoidance of personal misery, it's not enough.

rhymeswithplague said...

A sheep is a sheep no matter what barn it happens to be in. One does not become a sheep "by embracing the proper dogma and submitting to the proper rituals that are observed within a particular denomination" -- one becomes a sheep by having a new heart placed within by the Great Shepherd, who also happens to be the Great Physician.

I think both you and I are prone to way too much introspection and self-analysis. Evangelicals sometimes say, "Let go and let God"....

Faith is not having it all figured out. Faith is trusting when you don't have it all figured out. In some people's minds, that makes faith equivalent to ignorance. I don't mind being called ignorant because there are many, many things about which I know nothing.

Snowbrush said...


"One does not become a sheep "by embracing the proper dogma and submitting to the proper rituals that are observed within a particular denomination" -- one becomes a sheep by having a new heart placed within by the Great Shepherd..."

The greater part of Christendom--by far--has always defined sheep in terms of "right doctrine." For example, I grew up in a denomination that would consider you a follower of Satan because your church practices infant baptism.

"I don't mind being called ignorant"

I didn't call you ignorant, and I didn't think you were ignorant. If anything, you love knowledge, and this makes you erudite. The heart of my comment (and the part I most hoped you would respond to) was:

YOU "I believe because otherwise I am, as St. Paul said, of all men most miserable"

ME "This is motive for wanting to believe, but it doesn't tell me how you manage to believe"

Okay, how do you manage to believe? Lets say you were stranded on a desert island, and it would give you enormous comfort to believe that a ship was coming for you. You might even dream that it was coming on a certain date, and you might even call your belief faith. How is your belief in Christ different? Tell me so that I too can believe and take a cheerful attitude. You see yourself as stranded in an imperfect world, and it gives you enormous comfort to look to the day when you will be rescued from that world and taken to heaven. I understand that, and I wish I had that, but you do, and I don't. Why? Because you're saved and I've lost? Because you humble yourself before the Lord, and I arrogantly follow "the ways of men"? No. Frankly, I don't know why because while I understand very well why you would want to believe, I have no idea you manage to pull it off. It looks to me as if it's nothing more than the acceptance of authority--Biblical authority, church authority, or whatever, but in every case an authority that has nothing to back it other than the fact that it's accepted by a whole lot of people, but, as you know, truth isn't determined by numbers of believers (or else you would be a Roman Catholic Christian instead of a Methodist Christian), but by congruence with reality, and this requires evidence as opposed to wishful thinking that is euphemistically called faith. If I am wrong, point out my error, because I'm not wrong by intent.

rhymeswithplague said...

First of all, you may call me a "Methodist Christian" if you like because that's where I have been for nearly four years now (in addition to 10 years of my childhood), but I think of myself as more of a Jewish-Metho-Bapti-costal-charis-nondenomi-even-somewhat-Anglican-and-closet-Orthodox-odist Christian, which is to say that while I do not think that all paths lead to the top of the same mountain -- some paths lead somewhere else altogether -- some paths, when you get down to basics and strip away all the man-made accretions and paraphernalia of centuries, converge into a single path that arrive at a commonly-hoped-for destination. This is called "the narrow way that leads to life" as opposed to "the broad way that leads to destruction" but it doesn't mean you have to be narrow-minded. When people get to the destination, and people will get there, perhaps some will be surprised at how the place looks, and who is there, and who is not there. (Note. That was probably the longest sentence I have written in quite a while, and I do apologize.)

I am not "managing" to believe, I find that, in spite of many doubts and questions, which all of us undoubtedly have, I really do believe. Jesus said to the disciples once after a mass departure had occurred, "Will you also go away?" and Peter replied, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

The very last thing I want in this lengthy ongoing conversation of ours is to sound "religious" but I am glad (joyful even) to realize that he brought me out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings (Psalm 40). It's not something I can explain. It just is. It's more than wishful thinking.

I know you think I'm crazy, but when all is said and done, I do believe. It's not something a person can force or reason his way to, it's something he discovers along the way. C. S. Lewis once called himself "the most reluctant convert in all England."

Save this answer, because if you ask me again in the middle of a bout of shingles or gastrointestinal bleeding, I may have trouble remembering. (P.S. I do not think that God causes shingles or gastrointestinal bleeding or falls from ladders.)

Wanting to have more knowledge is what got Adam and Eve in to such a pickle in the first place. I end with something I said in an earlier comment: Faith is not having it all figured out. Faith is trusting when you don't have it all figured out. That is a far different thing from being intellectually dishonest. Perhaps I can be a fool for Christ's sake.

Surely we have exhausted this subject -- or at least your other readers are hoping so.

possum said...

Might I suggest some interesting reading - google something like research brain religion or neurotheology... follow the links from these selections.
Some of us are wired to be "believers" and some of us are not. Those of us who are not have trouble understanding how anyone with normal or above average intelligence can believe and probably vice versa.

Snowbrush said...

"I find that, in spite of many doubts and questions, which all of us undoubtedly have, I really do believe."

I've never been able to combine "I believe, yet I doubt." For instance, I never doubt gravity, or evolution, or Peggy's love (except for sometimes when I'm really upset), so I can't think of a good parallel to this sentiment. When it that you have belief and when it is that you doubt? Is it--as I should imagine--when things are good that you believe, and when things are bad that you feel doubt?

"Some of us are wired to be "believers" and some of us are not. Those of us who are not have trouble understanding how anyone with normal or above average intelligence can believe and probably vice versa."

Bingo. I am incredulous that people believe, and many people who believe are incredulous that I do not. We both feel that, if we scratched the other deeply enough, they would turn out to be as we are. While statistics show that nonbelievers tend to be better educated (and arguably smarter), many brilliant and educated people have believed (Isaac Newton for one) and still do believe (Francis Collins comes to mind). It's also true that not all atheists are notable for their learning and intelligence, so there is clearly more at work here than the statistics suggest. So, I think you're entirely right about our species being genetically-wired to believe. This wiring does not force belief in the life of every person, but it does appear to predispose most people in the direction of belief. This suggests that belief has--or a least used to have--survival value. It might also suggest why a few atheists (I'm not your typical atheist) can't believe, yet can't be content with not believing. As I see my own position, it's as if there were a mountainous ridge with atheists on one slope, theists on the other, and me teetering in the middle, intellectually unable to believe, yet unable to escape the notion that belief is emotionally necessary for contentment. Rhymes quoted St. Paul (I think it was) somewhere up above as saying that, "If we have hope for this life only, we are of all men most miserable." It's not a statement of truth, but of theistic perspective in that it applies to NONE of the atheists I have known (unless they were lying, and I see no reason to think they were), and I think it is an overstatement in my case, but I can't say that there is no truth in it where I am concerned.

It's obvious that whether we're genetically-wired for belief or not, belief is on the wane in many places, including much of America (http://religions.pewforum.org/maps), so what does that mean--that the wiring is weakening, or that it is being overcome by other factors? I'm sure I don't know.

rhymeswithplague said...

"I've never been able to combine "I believe, yet I doubt."

Your statement does not compute. To me, believing implies doubt. Believe is the verb form of the noun faith. Faith is one thing; fact is something else. Your statement would make more sense to me if it said, "I've never been able to combine "I know for a fact, yet I doubt." It is those two stances that are are incompatible, not faith and doubt.

Of course, it does wonders for one's faith to read at the end of the Gospel of St. John, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20:30-31). And later on in an epistle known as First John, he said, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (I John 5:13).

Tell me if I'm quoting the Bible too much. I tend to do that. Just read John and First John for yourself.

Snowbrush said...

"Your statement would make more sense to me if it said, "I've never been able to combine "I know for a fact, yet I doubt." It is those two stances that are are incompatible, not faith and doubt."

As I see it, faith is like knowledge in that either (faith no less than knowledge, and knowledge no less than faith) can be called into question and a different way of thinking adopted in response. After all, nothing is ever 100% certain due to the fact that everything rests on various assumptions that cannot themselves be proven (which is why, contrary to popular opinion, almost no atheists take the position that God cannot exist, but rather that there are no valid grounds for thinking that God does exist). As Twain said, "Faith is believing something you know ain't true," so when I hear believers say that they experience periods of doubt, I interpret it to mean that their ability to perform this pretense is at a low ebb, a condition which might pass or might become insurmountable and lead to atheism. Perhaps, I see it this way due to my incredulity in the face of religious belief, and this is simply the best explanation that I can come up with, and maybe (probably) it has nothing to do with you. I would just repeat what I said before about the incredulity going both ways. For instance, I have sometimes been told that I really do know, deep down, that God exists, but am purposefully in denial of the fact, and, just recently, a neighbor told me that she doesn't believe in atheists. It's infuriating to not be taken at ones word, yet I face an enormous challenge in taking believers at their word, so I do understand how hard it is. In expressing myself in a manner that surely sound insulting, my aim is not to insult but to express that which I really do believe based upon the best knowledge that I have, but with the allowance that I could be--and might very well be--completely wrong, if only in the case of a given individual. So, please, don't take me personally.

I will have to continue this in a second response due to length.

Snowbrush said...

"Of course, it does wonders for one's faith to read at the end of the Gospel of St. John, "And many other signs truly did Jesus..."

It's an unsubstantiatable claim. I'm reminded of a preacher saying that Christ's divinity is more certain than Lincoln's presidency due to the large number of witnesses to his miracles, resurrection, and the events accompanying his death (the dead walking, the sky turning black, earthquakes, etc). I was no more than 14 at the time, but I was struck by the fact that the mere existence of these witnesses couldn't be proven, and that the miracles are only mentioned in the Bible, whereas Lincoln's presidency can be verified through thousands of independent references. As I see it, the Biblical account is meaningless in terms of provability.

"I am not "managing" to believe, I find that, in spite of many doubts and questions, which all of us undoubtedly have, I really do believe. Jesus said to the disciples once after a mass departure had occurred, "Will you also go away?" and Peter replied, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

This takes us back to belief in response to an emotional need, a need that, surely you will agree, might reasonably be suspected of clouding ones ability to examine the evidence impartially. Unlike C.S. Lewis (who you mentioned), I wasn't been taken from a willing atheism to an unwilling faith, but rather I went kicking and screaming in the other direction. In other words, I would like to be as you are (that is, I would like to believe in a benevolent deity), but I can't find a single compelling reason to believe, whereas I can come up with scores of compelling reasons to not believe. Even if I could go so far as to accept theism, Christianity is a million miles further in the same, to me, murky direction due to the fact that all varieties of theism are equally unsubstantiable, which means that there are no grounds for thinking that Christianity is more likely to be true than Islam or Zoroastrianism, hence faith nearly always comes down to believing in whatever God one's neighbors believe in, usually with the certainty that the believer would believe the same way if he or she were brought up in another land. I find it a fantastic certainty. If you want to read an interesting book that supports your position, try "Existential Reasons for a Belief in God" by Clifford Williams.

possum said...

Sticking my nose in here again... I find it so frustrating when a Christian quotes the Bible to prove his point to me when I don't believe a word in that Bible.
Consider this:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9qUMzW3-OI

Snowbrush said...

"I find it so frustrating when a Christian quotes the Bible to prove his point to me when I don't believe a word in that Bible."

If you were speaking about the redoubtable Rhymes, I don't think he was quoting the Bible (at least in this instance) to prove anything to me, but as a statement of why he thinks as he does. In general though, I very much agree with you. It's usually a case of a believer saying, "The Bible is the Word of God," the nonbeliever asking, "How do you know," and the believer responding, "Because God said so in II Timothy 3:16." I have often wished that public schools required students to study logic. I suspect they don't because it would lead students to challenge our own version of sacred cows.

possum said...

Well, not just Rhymes but most all those other Christian folk who are so anxious to do something about my apparent atheism. I let a Jehovah's Witness person come in and talk with me on the condition that she give me equal time. LOL! I actually got her to take a copy of the Qu'ran home one time to prove that Jesus and Mary were really in it. But I digress... she insists on quoting the Bible to me and I quote Buddha with as much accuracy! I guess I am always amazed that these people really seem to believe those truly are the words of god in spite of having been translated and manipulated a hundred times or more. And generally they are surprised to hear that I can quote the Bible right back (KJV). That tends to throw them off.