Ye Olde Red-Letter


If God should exist, what do you figure he thinks about? Does he say to himself, “My back aches,” or “My arthritis kept me awake last night”? No, that fucker has it easy, living in a state of bliss while gazing adoringly down upon us, the most exalted beings in the universe. How odd then, that 3,000 years ago, he should have repeatedly thrown hissy-fits over the evil-doings of his “Chosen People” in the backwater nation of Iron Age Israel. Amazing, isn’t it, that of all the peoples upon the face of planet earth, Jehovah would have concluded that those old Jews were the crème de la crème? I should think that that right there would have cast doubts upon his stupendousness, but he’s still worshiped by millions, so maybe I’m wrong.

Peggy is off visiting her Southern relations (it only took three days for her accent to return even after 29-years in Yankee Land), so I have a lot of time to myself, and the cat and I are batching-it in isolation (right now, I’m tanked, but Brewsky only had three snorts of catnip, in case we need to get the car out). Last night, we (me more than he) dug out my old King James faux-leather, red-lettered Bible that I paid $3.50 for on April 2, 1963 (the price is on the box, and the date on the first page), so I could look something up. I used that Bible for years, and, being a neat-nick, I underlined passages with black ink and a ruler instead of doing it freehand (there were no highlighters back then), and there are a lot of underlinings. Last night, I right away came to I Thessalonians 7-8: “And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus should be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God…”

I guess that would be the end of moi, but if you’re a Christian why wouldn’t you “rest” in such a passage!? “Tough shit, Grandma, I told you that you should stop worshiping them old Roman gods, and now you’re going to catch hell (ha). See you later (NOT!), I’m off to heaven.”

I can’t for the life of me understand how, 50 years ago, I breezed by so many Biblical teachings that would be huge red flags for me today if I were to come across them for the first time. While I had my first serious doubt eleven years out of the womb, I more or less hung in there for a lot more years while doing my best to ignore my instincts in favor of what everyone around me knew to be true. The result is that I eventually lost ALL faith in the wisdom of ANY group or leader because what are leaders but, for the most part, stupid individuals who take group stupidity and multiply it many times over. For instance, some of the cruelest Christians are teenagers who suddenly find that one of their number is (God forbid!) an atheist, but I just know that if you were to set one of these Godly assholes down in Denmark where religion is considered a bad joke, he or she would turn atheist in no time, and how different is it for adults? We’re herd animals, and those who don’t go along, or at least pretend they do, have to pay the price.


I really must thank the Church of Christ, because had I been raised a liberal, who knows but what I would still believe in God, but because the C of C stressed the Bible and only the Bible (I never had a single Sunday School primer), I became disgusted early on. It’s really amazing, this image I grew up with of the most holy sort of Christian as being a wise and kindly old man sitting alone and reading the Word of God. The wonder is that I knew some compassionate people in the Church of Christ, but I have no idea how they retained their compassion. If you want to see a miracle, that would be it. Unfortunately, the miracle doesn’t extend to the Islamic State which is out bull-dozing ruins that survived 3,000 years before their sorry 20-year-old asses came along. Obama says that such evil has nothing to do with religion, yet if the Islamic State were doing good things, I bet he would give religion the credit...I wonder what he would say about the night that he had bin Laden murdered. Was that a Godly decision? I just bet he thinks Jesus told him to do it.

11 comments:

PhilipH said...

Pointless for me to comment as I am 100% atheist and proud of it.

I simply wonder how all this religious nonsense will be viewed in 50 years from now. Islam will probably still be going strong but what about the Catholics and other Christian followers? The churches in the UK are usually about 80% empty now and the decline will continue as most of the kids today don't give a toss about God, Jesus and all the rest of the fairy-tales. Even my two grandkids openly say it's a nonsense. They have sessions on religious education (RE) and their teacher for this subject has actually told them that she is an Atheist! Her job is merely to explain all the various religions, Islam, Hinduism, Shintoism, Judaism and any other 'ism' she can think of.

I am pleased that her job is not to influence the kids about any God and that she has been very open with them.

So, in 50 years time? What are the odds that 'Christianity' will go the way of the Greek and Roman Gods? Odds-on, in my opinion.

Elephant's Child said...

From my perspective (admittedly biased) religion has a lot to do with a number of things I consider deplorable. And some religious individuals do good things but I can't at the moment think of any good I would associate with religion rather than individuals.

Stephen Hayes said...

Considering how many Muslims there are in the world, Obama is wise to keep away from a war on this religion. There isn't a way to win it.

lotta joy said...

I wish all churches stressed the bible: We'd have fewer "christians". Very few of them have ever read more than the verses they follow on Sunday as the minister drones them out.

Some have, indeed, read the entire bible yet without comprehending the savagery. And if they do, they insist the New Testament negates the Old Testament. These same people don't realize the Old Testament is where the TEN SUGGESTIONS are listed: none of them being DO NOT RAPE.

Instead, we jump to the newer, kinder version where we are damned to hell if we don't believe, or haven't heard, or are praying to a toad or a tree. This is where they draw their comfort, for they have never felt the urge to pray to a frog - so they're safe..

With so many 'gods' being represented, none being proved, it is reprehensible to feel that one god, over another god is THE god, yet they'll fight to YOUR death to get their point across.

When an atheist and a christian meet, it is the christian's "duty" to reform us, or show us the error of our ways, to protect us from hell. If we don't listen, and time runs out, THEIR last words are usually in agreement with god. "You're going to burn in hell for all eternity" which is their "have a nice day" parting words.

When it is the christian who attacks the atheist, how can an understanding, or a friendship, ever proceed (allowing them more time to twist our lack of faith). Most atheists keep a low profile for we know we are dealing with people who have infinite knowledge of hell and are quick to judge who will be going. Never THEM, but nevermind.

IF there was a god, I'd be extremely angry and feel violence toward people promoting his agenda. Believing NOT in such a cruel and vindictive spirit certainly puts an end to having well deserved hatred for such a deity.

Charles Gramlich said...

I never actually read the whole bible until I was in my 20s. I read the passages that were assigned us in Sunday school and listened to the ones I heard in church, which were carefully selected and interpreted for us. It was quite an eye opening experience to read the whole thing on my own and see some of the stuff without an 'interpreter' handy.

Sparkling Red said...

I agree that leaders and followers are mostly the blind leading the blind, and not in a good way. I have never been a joiner for this reason.

Snowbrush said...

“The churches in the UK are usually about 80% empty ”

Why is that, do you think? Did two world wars have anything to do with it? Religion is in decline here too in terms of numbers, but in terms of visibility, 9/11 caused it to take off. For example, the South (the most religious part of the country) that I grew up in wasn’t nearly so in-your-face religious as the South is today.

“ I can't at the moment think of any good I would associate with religion rather than individuals.”

Here in Eugene, there are “faith-based” charities that no doubt do a lot of good, but the main local charity (Food for Lane County) is secular. I thought that Father Brent was a really good man in terms of trying to help people, and he was also a very religious man. Could I separate the two? No, I simply don’t know how he would be if he didn’t have his liberal religion. A big problem here is that religious groups don’t have to account for how they spend their money, so it’s impossible to know how much good they do, but my impression is once their staff and facilities are paid for, very little goes to helping people. However, I criticize Obama for not acknowledging the bad in religion, so I don’t want to go the other extreme, and outrightly deny that some people aren’t inspired to do good by religion.

“Considering how many Muslims there are in the world, Obama is wise to keep away from a war on this religion.”

He could at least keep his mouth shut though. When someone is being killed every minute of the day by some idiot who is screaming, “God is Great,” it doesn’t pass the straight-face test to hear a politician talk about Islam as being “a religion of peace.” Besides, all religion is treated the same way. If someone shoots an abortion doctor, or carries a sign saying, “God hates fags,” his religious motivation is denied, but if someone feeds the homeless, he’s said to be inspired by religion, as if religion is only one way, and that one way is good. By claiming this, religious people never have to take any responsibility for the crimes committed in the name of their god of choice.

“I wish all churches stressed the bible: We'd have fewer "christians". Very few of them have ever read more than the verses they follow on Sunday”

This was where the Church of Christ was strong. I noted as a kid that that the only kids who seemed to know the Bible went to the same church I did. The rest were as you said. They knew about the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. As for the Hebrew Bible, they knew about such things as Adam and Eve, Noah’s Flood, the Tower of Babel, and David and Goliath, in other words, things that could be easily adapted to picture books.

“I never actually read the whole bible until I was in my 20s. I read the passages that were assigned us in Sunday school and listened to the ones I heard in church, which were carefully selected and interpreted for us. It was quite an eye opening experience to read the whole thing on my own”

I hadn’t read it in years and years until maybe six years ago when, due to an error that wasn’t mine, I took WAY too big a dose of Demerol. For three days, it was all I could do to make it to the kitchen and the bathroom, so I thought that, well, here I sit, unable to do anything but wait for this to wear off, so how do I pass the time. I realized that I hadn’t read the Bible for a while, and that a lot of the stories were easy enough reading that I could take them in, so I got one out, and that was a mistake because it seemed that every place I opened it to was simply one more God-inspired nightmare. Without the Demerol, I could have held it at an emotional arm’s length, but because I was so fragile, it was as if I were one of those characters, and that vicious, angry, jealous, punitive God was a reality. I think that Christians survive the Bible by (a) being largely ignorant of it, and (b) turning off their minds and hearts to the many parts of it that they don’t want to see.

Joe Pereira said...

Ha ha , old God must have created the nasty illnesses that decimate humanity, if the bible is to be believed. Nasty Shit I say. If I'm wrong I want to go to hell anyway, because those who go to hell have the best stories to tell 😄

Fram Actual said...

You are a far more complicated individual than I realized based on your comment at my post.

In any case, I think I will read you a bit longer before I begin arguing/debating with you .... or, sometimes, agreeing with you.

As an opening line, I do think the greatest fools on earth are the ones who absolutely believe in a supreme being and the ones who absolutely deny the possibility of a supreme being. It seems to me both types are enraptured by their own sense of self/being, which I would define as the "mirror, mirror syndrome." These things may or may not be related to organized religion.

Anyway, nice to meet you, Snowbrush.

Snowbrush said...

"Ha ha , old God must have created the nasty illnesses that decimate humanity, if the bible is to be believed."

Or even if the Bible isn't to be believed, I should think.

“I do think the greatest fools on earth are the ones who absolutely believe in a supreme being and the ones who absolutely deny the possibility of a supreme being.”

Is it not ironic that you are as confident in uncertainty as those whom you consider food because they are confident in belief/non-belief? …I don’t consider anyone a fool based simply upon his or her belief in the existence or non-existence of God because “fool” is an emotionally-laden word with no precise meaning, and one that I would connect with an egregious and unremitting pattern of improvident behavior rather than an intellectual position.

I don’t really know if it’s possible for anyone to be a 100% atheist, but I think it entirely possible that anyone could be a 100% theist if, for example, God should intervene in his or her life in some undeniable way, although theists, I’ve observed, usually move up and down along a scale of belief as they encounter emotional challenges to their faith. Still, if I were to have a personal experience of God, I would have to decide whether I was unhinged (something that any of us can be at times) or whether my perception was well-founded. I’ve heard of people whose perceptions were so strong as to be undeniable, so I suppose they would count in your 100% category. I don’t know that I could ever get to such a point, but I can’t deny the possibility, and I would even like it if it should happen because I’m not an atheist by choice (I really don’t think that any of us has a choice in such matters—or in any matter actually).

As for atheists, they are mostly of the position that, as someone put it, the existence of God constitutes a hypothesis with an extremely low order of probability, or as Pierre-Simon Laplace said to Napoleon when Napoleon commented, "M. Laplace, they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its Creator,” "I had no need of that hypothesis.” In other words, atheists are to God much as they are to other claims that could be true but have little if anything to recommend them. This doesn’t mean that they go about confidently proclaiming that God is an impossibility.

To be an agnostic suggests that you (if you consider yourself an agnostic) have weighed the evidence for theism and found at least some of it reasonable but not conclusive, so does this mean that you see the odds for belief/non-belief as 50/50?. Surely, if you’re at 40/60, you might consider it appropriate to call yourself an atheist, and if you didn’t do so at 20/80, I would wonder if you were unable to take a position about anything regarding which you might be wrong.

"Anyway, nice to meet you, Snowbrush"

Thank you very much. I feel the same. I live in physical pain, and didn't sleep much last night, so I hope you will pardon me if my thoughts aren't as clear as I might have otherwise made them.

Snowbrush said...

"Is it not ironic that you are as confident in uncertainty as those whom you consider food..."

Ha! I make you sound so predatory, but then you do look like a wolf (god but I envy that in you). After finding this mistake just by glancing to see if my long comment was published, I won't even look for others.