Wednesday, March 05, 2014 | | 0 Comments
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.
Saturday, January 04, 2014 | | 0 Comments
Printed in Duluth News Tribune 27 July 2013
Reader's view: Churches should pay their share of property tax
Saturday, July 27, 2013 | | 1 Comments
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.
Tuesday, June 04, 2013 | | 4 Comments
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 | | 2 Comments
Hold it! Hold the presses on the last one! Not just the foreskin, but a substantial part of the larger organ was attached. Yes, it did belong to Jesus as earlier stated. We know that because of the 'Return Requested' label. But it now seems not to have been a circumcision. We experts think that a distant relative of Lorena Bobbitt was involved. Likely some kind of revenge for Jesus' messing around with Mary Magdallane.
On another matter: After my scholarly article on Adam and his Belly Button*, a reader asked if Adam had ever married Eve. WHAT A STUPIT QUESTION! Who the hell was available to do the ceremony? Oh, sure Satan could have but he was just in a gross laughing spasm over the entire show. The snake had caused enough trouble already. So the frisky pair were out of luck marriage-wise. Didn't bother them at all cause marriage and alimony hadn't been invented yet.
*see Compendium of Higher Criticism, Vol. 44, pgs 75 to 844. But skip the ads and girlie pictures for a change, you letch!
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 | | 0 Comments