As Popes go........

As popes go, and they should, Pope William I, the Apostate would be an improvement.  We have lots of talk now about how different Pope Francis is from his predecessor clowns.   Still he has not dumped any of the catholic magic nor prosecuted any abusers nor protectors that I know of.  But we need to think out of the confessional box and wonder:  What would a suitably different pope be like: Look no further.  I am glad to offer my services a Pope William the I-th.  Couldn't get much differenter that that.

No problem with my apostical beliefes.  We had Pope Leo X in the Muddled Ages saying something like, "We all know how profitable this fable of Jesus Christ is for our company."  He should know. And he had lots of company among his buddy con artists.  Back then they actually did make ordinary guys with some kind of useful clout into popes.  So I should be good to go, which is what all popes should do - go away, far, far away.  Hit the road, hack, and don't come back no more.

Could happen. Maybe next if this Francis guy doesn't pan out or is poisoned in the honored tradition. And I've had inquiries from the curia.  They want to know of my clothing needs when they elect me. To be suitably different, I would need a different suit.  I have some faded yellow cord trousers but they are warn thin where I crossed my legs before I got my arthritic hips from a former god.  But I don't want to prance about in Judy Garland's ruby Slippers and all the skirts and trash that popes are fond of.  Oh, and I do love the turtleneck, long sleeve,waffle weave shirts for winter here in Minnesota where my new papacy will be installed with barrels of champagne, beer, martinis and community consentual lusty dancing girls or men if you like. I don't but to each his or her own.

I will pontificate big time.  For zample; you CAN have any erotic lust you enjoy as long as no one is abused and that includes priests and nuns who will be able to do whatever the hell they want if no children are troubled.  NO, you cannot bugger children any more, boys or girls and you can not tell them any lies about imaginary, magical two, three four or more part gods in the sky.

What the hell, I will eliminate the nastiness altogether and reserve hell for eternal vacations on pure white sand with charming pale blue water where everyone comes for retirement in their peak condition or better, in many cases.

My pontifical motto will be Chacun A son Gout -- for everyone according to her/his taste long as no one is abused.

Those who disobey will be straightway dispatched to heaven where they will be condemned to sing gawawfully long praises eternally until their throats are destroyed and then they play a harp until their fingers wither.  Oh, but then they will be forced to kiss the ass of Jesus and god until they die of infection or puke out their guts, whichever is last.

FINDING TRUTH THROUGH HUMOR


A BEDTIME READER FOR THE RELIGIOUSLY CURIOUS
WITH OTHER STORIES TO HELP YOU FALL ASLEEP


BY ME, BILL VAN DRUTEN


INTRODUCTION


How and why did a nice guy like me become religiously challenged and the founder of the Lake Superior Freethinkers? 


It all started when I became a fetus in 1932 CE.  No one asked my permission for that construction job.  Then, on the early side of nine months, I was “untimely ripped from my mothers womb” (thank you Mr. Shakespeare, whoever you are).  Again, I was not consulted when they hauled me out of my warm, if cramped, headquarters. I don't remember it, except that, as most babies, I was unprepared and sharply offended.  Then a big person in a white clown suit attacked my plumbing equipment, also without my signed consent. Everything was a shock or a curiosity from then on. What the hell is going on here” were my exact words.  Yet I adapted and gradually learned a language and such stuff as you did, too.  


My parents had post high school educations at Stanford; Dad, an MD, Mom, a nursing degree.  It was depression time in San Francisco.  We ate some very boring foods: Purple potatoes were cheaper, purple from iodine in soil, carrots, peas and some chicken if my father got paid in chickens.  Lunch was usually a homemade apple sauce sandwich on soggy white bread.  I never knew it was depression. It was just the way things rolled then, haltingly. Though educated, they told me precious little of how the world worked and nothing about religion.  


Thus, I was entirely unprepared for the horrendous news from my playmate, Eileen Farley.  She told our playgroup that because we were not Catholic, we and our parents would be going to an agonizing place, and forever, after we died.  But you can read all about that in my essay, "Do you know what happened to Eileen Farley?"  If you don’t buy my book and read that cautionary story, likely you will go to the same agony place.  Just a kindly warning!  The book is so reasonably priced and has so much worthwhile bed time reading inside the covers, (that is where the good stuff is).  


As a cub scout age nine to twelve, I learned even more about religions.  We were polished up and brought to this or that Sunday Ceremony.  Exceedingly boring there, but I discovered more shocks.  Some amazing stories were told in these sessions and even more astonishing, the adults seemed to believe whatever they were told even though the stories and various plans for when they would get dead differed wildly.  I should never have listened, but rather squirmed and poked my pew mates as they did.  Pew?  Sorry, that is their word for the harsh plank we wriggled on for an hour.  Well, you can read what happened to me in my essay, "Revelations 9-13, (years old that is)".  Now you see why you bought my book.  You will be much improved by reading it.  Though actually, you don’t have to read it; just buy it for MY sake and tell all your friends to buy it, too.  Tell them how wonderful it is; lie if you need.  Even though I am 81 years well ripened now, I can still use the proceeds - if any.  


All this and much more learned information is now available to you but I warn that it is best to take it in small doses.  


Me, Bill


FORWARD BY             the real, ME, GOD


After I created this entire shooting match for you, I rested.  Then I split up the corporation into three divisions, which is to say, me at the top of course, a baby named Jesus and a ghost.  I can’t remember why I made that ghost nor what it does now to earn its keep.  I only used it once, that was to tell the cute little Jewish gal, Mary, that she was to be the uterus for my boy.  Perhaps you believe she was grateful, as all the photos and statues show. But no! She was pissed because she had the hots for a local guy named Joe!   Plus she objected to being stoned to death by the ME-fearing Jewish crowd - as most unmarried girls that got preggers were.  Oh, just read about; it is all in my book.   After that, I made a whole bunch of officers: angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, powers, each with a salary and perks.  And I had another son, Satan, brother to Jesus, who has my permission to generally raise hell with you earthlings.  Yes, I made hell for you too.  All that was all a ton of work, and frankly folks, I was pooped.  


My only mistake was that I made Bill.   No ghosts or virgins used on that job, just the ordinary system.  Satan doesn’t bother him as Bill makes plenty of problems for me on his own.  You all should be grateful to me and stop already with the prayers; you know I don’t even read them! Can’t you just let me sit here in my battery heated clouds for a couple of eternities without twerps like Bill pestering me? 


To be fair though, Bill makes some very good points in this book, which you had best buy quickly before I have my fellow god up here, THOR, crisp up Bill and his book and you with exciting bolts of electric current. 


God



A POSSIBLE BUT UNLIKELY CONVERSATION OF A CHILD AND A GRANDFATHER

Child:  What religion should I be grandfather?
Grandfather: What an important but unusual question!

C: Why is it unusual?
G: Because almost all children assume the religion of their parent without checking any of the other possibilities.

C: Yes, but you know that my father is a Mormon and mother a Jehovah's Witness.
G: Sure and I see your problem.

C: I can't see the difference and they won't talk about it.  And it seems wrong for me just to pick one. Which is the real one grandfather?
G: Yes, it might upset one of your parents if you chose the other's religion.

C: And I have heard of some other religions. My playmate Eileen says her religion has the only real god and that my parents and I will die and go to a horrid place where we will be tortured for ever.  Is that true?
G: I see that you have thought and worried a lot about this so lets think it over together.  In the end though you are free to and must decide for yourself and there is no hurry at all.

C:  But what is your religion grandfather and what do you think?  I would like to be what you are.
G:  I will tell you what I think later but first I will say that I go by the best evidence that I can find and even then I am still curious and ready to change my mind if I learn of better evidence.

C: But you are old and you know a lot that I don't.  How do I find what you call evidence?
G:  Evidence is information or experience that you have collected and checked to see if it is real and fits with other things you know.

C:  That will take a long time for me and it seems hard and I will always be in doubt.
G:  Yes, that is right but it is the only way I know and it has worked very well for me.   If you start now you will be on your way and ahead of most of your friends.

C:  Do all the other adults do that?
G:  Some do it, some do it a bit, but most just follow any leader or believe any teacher or priest or doctor.  So any one that does it the way I do, always, as a habit is rare I think.

C:  Eileen says I should just have faith in her god that is the best and real one.  But then she said that her god is really three gods all in a bundle.
G:  I see that as a puzzle too and have made up my mind about it.  But if that three in one god should appear in person and tell everyone that would be evidence and I would reconsider it against other evidence that I know.

C: I think I would do that too.
G:  Good.  See, you have started.  But you can also check out Eileen's god with other evidence you know already.  What else does Eileen tell you?

C:  She says I should pray to her god as she does but she never shows me how that worked for her, except you ask god for something in a polite way and you get always it.   I have never seen anything she got.
G:  Well, ask her what she got.  And you can do as she said, try it. Pray nicely to her god or to the gods of mom and dad and see what happens.  That would be real evidence.  Ask the god to bring you something in a day or to move a mountain that you can see and then say that you will believe it.

C:  She says I need to have faith first.  What is faith grandfather?
G:  A famous author said that, "faith is believing what you know ain't so".   I means skipping the evidence part and flat out believing something even if there is good evidence against it.

C:  Do you use faith?
G:  I never use faith.  Sometimes I can't get enough solid evidence and need to go with the probabilities or the odds of something being true.  But that is because there is no other choice yet I can change my mind later.

C:  Will you tell me how you did that?
G:   Yes,  Sometimes I need to cross over a lake or river on a bridge and there is heavy fog and I can not tell if the bridge is really there.  The evidence I have was that it has been ok where the fog is before and I have not heard that the bridge fell down or had bad rust and might fall soon.  So go with the best chances and it has always worked but some day it might not.

C:  Do you do that often?
G:  As little as possible.  You know that airplanes crash and people are killed but when I need to get somewhere I will get on a plane.   The odds are very, very good that it will land safely.  Still, I know that if I flew enough one day I might crash and be killed.

C:  I like talking with you grandfather.  You tell me real things; my parents only shrug me off about the important things.    It puzzles me that there are so many gods and so many churches and some are the first church but I never see a second church.  How many gods are there?
G:  No one knows but I have read that there are at least 2000 and that is just for now.  Most people have had so many gods over the years that they are uncountable and I will tell you a secret.  There will be gods invented in the future to replace the ones we have now.

C:  You said invented.  Does that mean you think they are just made up by people?
G:  Well, yes, I let the cat slip out of the bag I guess.  Yes, I think they are all imaginary and invented by people.

C:  I thought that might be how you think and I want to know why but I am full of things to think over for now.  Can I ask you more later grandfather?
G:  Absolutely, yes.   When you are ready just ask.  



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where is my blog

Churches should pay their share of property tax

Printed in Duluth News Tribune 27 July 2013

Reader's view: Churches should pay their share of property tax


“Stop those who take advantage” by avoiding property tax payments, the News Tribune opined on July 18. Not mentioned, though, was the avoidance by nonprofit institutions, religious and otherwise.
By not paying their share, religions and other nonprofits force citizens of all sects and non-religious people (about 30 percent of the population) to pay for their fire protection, road maintenance, public health and human services costs and much more.
It is estimated that $213 million of religious property in St. Louis County is not taxed, according to county Tax Division Manager Brandon Larson.
Religious institutions are nonprofit and thereby avoid federal taxation as well (which is also unconstitutional).
As St. Louis County Auditor and Treasurer Donald Dicklich noted in a commentary in response to the News Tribune’s editorial, it is up to our state legislators to set property tax boundaries.
Nonprofits pay for water and electricity; they ought to pay for other services, too. That can be accomplished if fees for services in lieu of taxes were established. If legislators would do that it would bring religious institutions into compliance with the Minnesota Constitution’s Article I, Section 16 (“Nor shall any man be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship,” it reads. “Nor shall any money be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious societies.” Currently, both these restrictions are being violated.
Actually, there is no constitutional reason for religions to escape any taxation, so fee-for-service is really not needed.
All state citizens will see a reduction in their taxes if we call on our city, county and state officers and legislators to set the tax laws straight.
And morally, religions will want to pay for services they receive.
William Van Druten
Duluth

Tornadoes and other natural forces don't obey a god or man's begging

Published as Local Editorial View in the Duluth News Tribune, 4 June 2013

Our News Tribune published an editorial from the Oklahoman newspaper, headlined, "Another storm, another prayer for God's mercy on Oklahoma."  This was on May 22 in the wake of a deadly tornado.

The editorial implored, "Have mercy__once again__on Oklahoma __oh, Lord!"  The editor apparently wanted a god (he didn't say which) to undo the destruction that this god and its forces caused.

Tornadoes often are viewed by scientifically ignorant folks, such as opinion editors, as acts of their particular all-seeing, all-knowing, all-causing god, who can be nasty or nice.  In this case, the "show of celestial fury" was nasty, but the editor begged for nice.  He stated that we are at the mercy of "forces that do not answer to man"; then he wrote that we can ask for mercy from the forces if we "stay attuned to a Greater Power that rules our lives and calls forth nature."

His Greater Power called forth nature's storm, so it did what it intended doing to our lives__no more, no less.  Asking a god to refrain or relent is impudent defiance of that god's will.   Such pretzel thinking.

It wasn't stated which of the world's several thousand gods was involved with the Oklahoma tornado.  But America has plenty; alas, they deny and despise each other.  And their devotees carry out their commands to kill and burn.

Consider the word of one god.  "If a man not abide in me he is cast forth as a branch...and men cast them into the fire, and they are burned,"  it reads in the New Testament gospel of John.

Consider this god's report in the gospel of Matthew that he will cause "brother to deliver up the brother to death...and the children shall rise up against their parents and cause them to be put to death."   Or, also in Matthew,  "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth:  I came not to send peace but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father."

And, of course, according to this god, we must put to death homosexuals, supposed witches and believers in other gods.

Consider another current god whose holy book, the Quran, in its chapter of Sura, declares, "Allah is an enemy to unbelievers, ...Slay (unbelievers) wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter, ...Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme."

So much for the "religion of peace."

Consider the Boston Marathon bombing, New York's 9/11 tragedy and President George W. Bush's god telling him to bring shock and awe and death from us to innocents in Iraq.  Christianity vs. Islam vs. Judaism: needless slaughter.

Wake up and wise up, folks.  Natural forces do not obey anyone's gods or human begging.  Wasting thought, energy and money appeasing gods is gross ignorance.  We have important work to do.
Rather, let us help the injured, console the grieved and rebuild more sturdy structures, perhaps with storm cellars a la Dorothy's home in 'The Wizard of Oz."  Didn't we learn from that fine movie that the god guy in the green palace is a fraud?

Most adults gave up Santa and the Tooth Fairy, even if not their invisible frauds in the sky.

Ask your religious leaders to tell the truth to you and the children.  Many of them want to tell the truth but believe you expect them to endorse god magic.  So they present the nice parts of their holy books.  Help your leaders tell it all in truth, and have them see what they can do to help humanity past tribal ignorance.  Jews, Muslims and Christians needn't hate and kill.   Stop frightening children with hell.  Tell them of our evolutionary animal origins, with urges we must control, and of our developed brains that can help us cooperate and thrive.

DR. WILLIAM VAN DRUTEN of Duluth is a retired psychiatrist and founder of the Lake Superior Freethinkers.

BREAKING NEWS


INTERNATIONAL NEWS BULLETIN:  Foreskin of Jesus found at Lester Park in Duluth, Minnesota.  Incredible as it seems, fishermen found the wrinkled thing and were going to use is as bait when a label was noticed on the underside.  Translated from Canadian French it read, "Property of Jesus ben Joseph, if found please return to the nearest Moron Church.  

Historians now believe that Mr. Jesus was born in New York and later went to Quebec and that his father was Joseph Smith, founder of the Moron Church.  It seems that fur trading frenchmen had snatched his thingamabob in a religious massacre and sold it to indians who worshiped it as a piece of the GREAT BOOGA BOOGA, (the indian earth god ).  A scalp found nearby may be associated with the thingamabob.    

We await further developments in this amazing story.

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