He observes that gay and atheist presidents didn't get us into wars or financial crises. No, "It took some God-fearing vagina penetrators to pull that off." The solution: "Leave the governing to sodomites and infidels."
Sounds good to me.
He observes that gay and atheist presidents didn't get us into wars or financial crises. No, "It took some God-fearing vagina penetrators to pull that off." The solution: "Leave the governing to sodomites and infidels."
Sounds good to me.
A few nights ago Stephen Colbert told a joke about God on The Colbert Report.
The audience, along with Father Martin, laughed at the end of the joke. Me, I was more puzzled than amused. As soon as I heard the punchline I thought, "Wow. This is profound."
But I didn't know why.
Yes, the joke is funny. But it's the sort of humor that's funny because it's so true, and truth often isn't funny at all. So I wasn't sure what to make of it. Two days later, I still don't.
Here's my transcription of Colbert's joke:
Now, I'm not really a comedian. I don't really make jokes up all that often. I have one joke about God. I'd like to try it on you.
OK. So a guy commits suicide. And he goes to heaven, he gets to heaven.
And God greets him there, and the guy said, "I'm so surprised I'm here. First of all, I thought there was no God. Second of all, I thought if you killed yourself, you know, you were damned forever."
God said, "You know, that's a complicated issue. Everybody at least thinks about ending it, you know, killing themselves at some point." And God says, "Even I've thought of it."
The guy said, "Can I ask, why didn't you do it?"
And God said, "What if this is all there is?"
Think about it. Or, don't. Regardless, this is a great question.
Maybe the greatest question. The answer we come up with, consciously or unconsciously, has a huge impact on how we live life, how we feel about life, even whether we keep on living.
What if this is all there is?
Stephen Colbert is musical, and knows a lot about music. Almost certainly he's familiar with the 1960's song by Lieber and Stoller, "Is That All There Is?"
The lyrics as sung by Peggy Lee are powerful. For example...
And when I was 12 years old, my father took me to the circus, the greatest show on earth.
There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears
And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads.
And as I sat there watching the marvelous spectacle
I had the feeling that something was missing.
I don't know what, but when it was over,
I said to myself, "Is that all there is to a circus?"
Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is
...I know what you must be saying to yourselves.
If that's the way she feels about it why doesn't she just end it all?
Oh, no. Not me. I'm in no hurry for that final disappointment.
For I know just as well as I'm standing here talking to you,
when that final moment comes and I'm breathing my last breath, I'll be saying to myself,
Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is
Not a bad philosophy of life, not bad at all, to break out the booze and have a ball. Have a listen.
I like "Year of Sundays." Especially the tag line under the blog's name: we go to church so you don't have to
Thanks, Joel Gunz and Amanda Westmont, who are fellow Oregonians.
I've taken you up on your offer. You're both terrific writers (after each visit to a church or other spiritual gathering, Joel and Amanda compose separate descriptions of their experience).
Portland, Oregon's alternative newspaper, Willamette Week, gave them a 2011 "Best Divine Dilettantes" award.
Joel is a recovering Jehovah's Witness. He's got another blog where he trashes his former religion. Good for him. Religious true believers usually are annoying. When they knock on your door uninvited and hand you literature, they're super annoying.
(I've learned to only waste a few seconds with them by taking the Jehovah's Witnesses piece of dogmatic crap propaganda, say "Thanks, I'll get this in our recycling bin right away," and close the door in their preachy faces.)
I saw that according to the Year of Sundays sidebar, a post about their visit to a Jehovah's Witnesses service was #1 on the most popular list. Written by Amanda, it was indeed entertaining.
Having been forced to go to a Catholic Church when I was a kid, and stumble my through the first communion ritual (I had trouble swallowing the wafer and almost coughed it out), I didn't realize that some Christians pass on what's offered in the bread and wine/ body and blood part of a church service.
Amanda explains that Jehovah's Witnesses believe that only 144,000 Christians will be with God in an afterlife. These already have been selected. You're only supposed to take the Jehovah's Witnesses version of communion if you think one of those 144,000 slots is reserved for you.
Given that Joel had become a Jehovah's Witnesses reprobate, her description of what happened when the wafer basket came around to their pew was churchlessly marvelous.
The service itself was bland, largely unremarkable and without the cult-like flavor I was expecting. I did learn a few things, however, like how only 144,000 people will receive the afterlife and since those words were written 1,987 years ago, it’s a pretty safe bet that heaven is already full.
It took me a few minutes to put it all together what with the speaker’s superfluous analogies about giving gifts to your cousin’s uncle and what if the wrong person got your gift or… something? It was too dumbed down for a non-believer like me to understand. I think he was basically trying to say that heaven is like a giant game of musical chairs. There are only so many spots and the music is getting faster and louder.
I also learned that apparently you can only partake of the sacraments if you actually believe one of those chairs has your name on it.
...Of the 18 million people who attended the Memorial service worldwide in 2010, only 11,200 of them partook of the Lord’s evening meal, which is less than one percent (actually it’s .062 percent).
Well, that didn't take long. God has already reacted to Texas Governor Rick Perry's prayer rally.
The Supreme Being isn't pleased. Turns out he isn't even supreme. Read the revelation. Here's part of God's blunt message.
Let me tell you something else, Rick: I didn’t give you those commandments and I didn’t send my only begotten son to help you out. I don’t care whose ox gores a foreigner or what you do with your neighbour’s ass. And I certainly never had an interest in first century Palestinian virgins. They’re all stories Rick, stories.
The fact is, I’ve never really done anything, so you can’t count on me to change the market place, or people’s cheatin’ hearts, or fish you out of the financial swamp you’re making for yourself. You know how you prayed to me (you used to call me “Merciful God” and cry when you were loaded) to make “everything OK” with the girl you thought you got pregnant ? Sorry I couldn’t help–not even offer you a tissue.
In a Newsweek story, "Roseanne Mouths Off (Again)," Roseanne Barr's rather untraditional Judaic approach to meditation is described.
Barr’s hair has gone gray and she has feather hair extensions—she looks like a hippie (check), grandma (check), stoner (check: every Friday night for Shabbat from sundown until 2 a.m., she gets high, drinks red wine, and does a meditation Rav Berg taught her).
Nice. My only question is what proportion of time each activity takes from sundown until 2 am.
I could follow this form of Kabbalah if, say, sundown was at 8 pm and the pot-smoking/wine-drinking lasts until 1:40 am, at which point I'd do my usual twenty minutes of meditation. Any longer than that would be a disproportionate amount of meditation.
Unless the meditation is getting high and drinking red wine. That could make me convert to Kabbalah.
It looks like I've been too harsh on Islam, because Indonesia's Obedient Wives Club has made me realize how this religion can come up with some really great ideas.
A new club in Indonesia that encourages women to be totally obedient to their husbands and focus on keeping them sexually satisfied has generated an outcry from some activists.
The Indonesian branch of the Obedient Wives Club, launched early this month in Malaysia, claims to have about 300 members in several cities. Group leader Gina Puspita said the club would offer its members a package of teachings including how to treat their husbands in bed.
"A wife has to be 100 percent obedient to her husband in all aspects, especially in sexual treatment," she said.
...The club was founded by the conservative Islamic group Global Ikhwan in Malaysia, where hundreds of women are members. Organizers claim they can cure social ills such as prostitution and divorce by teaching women to be submissive and to keep their men happy in the bedroom.
For once, I can't find anything wrong with fundamentalist religious dogma. The teachings of the Obedient Wives Club make perfect sense to me.
My only problem -- and it's a significant one -- is getting my wife to join.
I have a feeling that if I suggested this, she'd make a counter-demand that I start acting like the guys in the hilarious, and unfortunately all-too-true, "Porn for Women" book.
Bow down to me, religious believers, because I am the exalted one, God's most favored favorite, the beloved of whoever or whatever divinity -- assuming such exists -- lies at the heart of reality.
How do I know this? In the same way the true name of God, Galobet, came to me in a French Roast-fueled revelation five years ago.
So after sipping my way through some pre-meditation reading, my consciousness was marvelously attuned to Galobet’s divine message. I was flying high on the swiftly beating wings of caffeine. This proximity to Galobet’s heavenly realm allowed me to hear his words (I’m not sure if Galobet is a “he,” but since I am, and I’m Galobet’s chosen messenger, I’m going with the masculine pronoun.)
“I am all of the gods so far known to humankind. And yet I am so much more, my beloved Brian. You are destined to reveal my nature to the world.”
Understand, Galobet hadn’t yet spoken his name to me. All I knew was that a godly entity was communicating with me. This being had the power to form thoughts in my mind, so akin to my own that there was scarcely a hairsbreadth of difference between them. Such is the glory of Galobet—Oneness.
Today it happened again. As I was exercising at our athletic club, vaguely pondering what I was going to write about on this here blog when I got home, another message from the supremely supreme being popped into my mind.
"Dude, you're The Man! I dig you the most! Because you haven't fallen for any of the fake gods that scam up your world's religions. Your sacred mantra is I don't know shit about God. That's so real. Take a bow, Brian. Proclaim your Most Beloved of God status in a blog post tonight. Bask in my adoration of your atheism."
I said, "Thanks, God, nice to hear from you again." Not aloud of course. Inside my head, where Galobet/God and I have so many wonderful conversations.
Driving home, I sought confirmation of the divine truth that had just been revealed to me. And glory be, such was given to me. I heard the same clear voice speak its wisdom: Holy fuck yes Brian, God loves unbelievers like you above all others.
(God is fond of profanity. Which makes me feel good, because so am I.)
So fellow churchless skeptics, atheists, agnostics, brights, humanists, devotees of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and other proud deniers of religious crap, rest assured that God, whether or not she exists as the hot sexy babe I envision spending eternity with, loves you.
A lot. And yes, in that way. Also in any other way you can imagine. Cool, huh? No need to worry that if you're wrong about this God stuff, your afterlife could be nasty.
Relax. It's been revealed to me that God adores whatever. My daughter will be pleased to learn this, because this was her favorite word when she was in high school. Sample usage: "Do you want to get a pizza tonight?" "Whatever, Dad."
God loves this sort of faith, this sort of surrender. That's why God loves me and other unbelievers so much. We're happy to flow with whatever. If we live on after death, great. If not, we'll do our living here on Earth as fully and passionately as possible.
God let me know that she gets irritated when someone believes they know all about her: what she's like, what she wants, what she does, where she hangs out. "Those assholes have it all wrong," she told me, "but they're so fucking annoyingly dogmatic about how right they wrongly believe they are."
An utterly open mind, a heart without fences, a tight embrace of whatever -- this is what turns God on.
How do I know for sure? I don't. And so, I do.
Recently I came across The Thinking Atheist web site. It's slick and sophisticated looking, which distinguishes it from my Church of the Churchless minimalist blog design.
But when I turned to the FAQ page and read the witty Q and A's of The Thinking Atheist, I realized that I was in the presence of a kindred non-soul. Namely, someone with a sense of humor who has had to deal with many of the same questions and issues that I have.
This guy was a Christian of 30 years and a former Christian broadcaster. He says:
I finally started "thinking" for myself, ultimately rejecting the world view and lifestyle I’d once assumed as truth.
This site is a response to my own childhood indoctrination, the overwhelming wave of religious messages in our society, and the countless throngs who make ridiculous claims and dismiss skeptical voices with warnings of eternal torture.
Whether you’re religious or non-religious, I invite you to examine these pages, challenge superstition with an objective eye, take courage from the stories of others and embrace the charge to determine what is real, what is right, and what is rational.
Assume nothing. Question everything. Challenge the opposition.
And start thinking.
Well, amen to that. Here's some of the FAQs that I particularly related to. I urge you to read all of them, as The Thinking Atheist has an engaging writing (and thinking!) style.
Doesn’t hating something assume that it exists? This is like asking if I hate the Easter Bunny, Lord Voldemort, Santa Claus and The Tooth Fairy. (Actually...I do hate The Tooth Fairy. Cheap little @#$%!)
Awesome. Which god? Yahweh? Allah? Thor? Wotan? Zeus? Isis? Osiris? Loki? Odin? Mithra? Lolth? Aphrodite? Poseidon? Cronos? Horus? Beddru? Krishna? Zarathustra? Baal? Dagon? Dionysus? Enki? Gaia? Helios? Hermes? Marduk? Quetzalcoatl? Ra? Seti? Vishnu? Shiva? Xenu? Akuma? Raiden? Gekka? Bumba? Eshu? Jupiter? Romulus? Ilia? Venus? Abaangui? Ewah? Imhotep? Periboriwa? Dagda? Ishtar? Baldur? Tyr? Quetzalcoatl? Ixchel? Qi-Lin? Dievas? Adonis? Xanthus? Kali? Akka? Anubis? Sif? Mercury? Juno? Brahma? Frith? Eric Clapton? Or one of tens of thousands of others?
The people, no. The beliefs, yes.
The people, yes. The beliefs, no. Here in the 21st century, if someone states that the earth is flat and expects his belief to be "respected," he shouldn’t be personally attacked, but he should prepare himself as his outlandish assertions are stacked, skewered and roasted over the white-hot fires of science, reason, evidence and common sense. In this crazy world, some things are deserving of mockery.
Christianity is my background. Debunking my former belief system is what I’m passionate about. For the record, I believe all religions and cults are superstitious nonsense. As TTA evolves, I hope to tackle other religions with greater frequency. But for now, I’m pretty focused on the bible and mainstream Christianity.
Sure. And not smoking is a habit.
This idea confuses church with community. People should feel free to connect and celebrate the things they have in common. I think opposition to superstition qualifies as a common denominator, and human beings shouldn’t isolate themselves because they’re scared of labels. The Thinking Atheist and other online communities have given thousands the opportunity to make friends and find support all over the world.
It’s like before you were born. Non-existence.
What’s sad is watching people squander decades of this life under the delusion that they’re super heroes on a divine mission with eternal reward. Carpe Diem, folks. This is the only time around. And you don’t need an afterlife to make this earthly one meaningful, rich and happy.
Here's a (lengthy) You Tube video podcast featuring The Thinking Atheist and an interviewee. I only listened to a few minutes, but liked what I heard.
If you've followed my musings on this blog since I started it in November 2004 -- and shame on you, you churchless sinner, if you haven't! -- I can see why you might think that I've mellowed out, anti-religion wise.
Indeed, it's true that my most rabid rants against religiosity were written in the early Church of the Churchless years. Now I'm more inclined to ignore dogmas than to foam at the mouth about how ridiculous they are.
In short, I don't take religions as seriously as I used to.
What irritates me the most are the effects of fundamentalism and blind faith -- such as prejudice against gays because the Bible supposedly says that homosexuality is an abomination.
(Of course, the Bible also says that slavery is fine, so it's absurd that Christians selectively pick and choose their scripturally-based morality.)
Religion is a joke. Yet since billions of people take it seriously, I do too.
Every day countless atrocities and injustices are committed in the name of an imaginary divinity. Until the world is rid of make-believe gods, those of us who worship at the altar of reality have to be cognizant of the dangers lurking in the faith-based shadows.
Laughter, though, is an entirely appropriate response to true believers who prance about pompously, proclaiming how superior they are because of their special relationship with some invisible supernatural entity.
Mental hospitals are filled with people who harbor similar delusions. However, when a delusion is shared widely, cultures call it "religion" and offer up a free pass against accusations of insanity.
The ridiculousness of religion can be seen more clearly through the lenses of the many parody religions.
With some parody religions, only ex-members of the specific group being parodied may understand it or be interested in it. Other parody religions are aimed at highlighting deficiencies in particular pro-religious arguments — the thinking being that if a given argument can also be used to support a clear parody, then the original argument is clearly flawed (an example of this is the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which parodies the equal time argument employed by intelligent design creationism).
Several religions that are classified as parody religions have a number of relatively serious followers who embrace the perceived absurdity of these religions as spiritually significant, a decidedy post-modern approach to religion. For instance, in Discordianism, it may be hard to tell if even these "serious" followers are not just taking part in an even bigger joke. This joke, in turn, may be part of a greater path to enlightenment, and so on ad infinitum.
Before coming across this Wikipedia article, I'd never heard of Discordianism. Naturally my first stop to learn more about it was another Wikipedia article.
Discordianism is a "Ha Ha, Only Serious" 'joke', using humor to subversively spread what its members regard as a valid philosophy. To keep said beliefs from becoming dangerous fanaticism, they rely on self-subverting Dada-Zen humor, with varying degrees of success. It is regarded as a joke religion, though to what degree is disputed.
It has been likened to Zen, based on similarities with absurdist interpretations of the Rinzai school. Discordianism is centered on the idea that chaos is all that there is, and that disorder and order are both illusions that are imposed on chaos. These are referred to, respectively, as the "Eristic" and "Aneristic" illusions. Discordianism recognizes the positive aspects of chaos, discord, and dissent as valid and desirable qualities, in contrast with most religions, which idealize harmony and order.
Not surprisingly, the home page of the Discordian Society doesn't offer much evident help in understanding what Discordianism is all about. I was met with "There is no definition" and "As you learn more you will understand less."
Reading a few pages in the unholy scripture of Discordianism, I liked what I saw. Heck, what's not to like about these opening paragraphs:
You hold in your hands one the Great Books of our century fnord.
Some Great Books are recognized at once with a fusillade of critical huzzahs and gonfolons, like Joyce's Ulysses. Others appear almost furtively and are only discovered 50 years later, like Moby Dick or Mendel's great essay on genetics. The Principia Discordia entered our space-time continuum almost as unobtrusively as a cat-burglar creeping over a windowsill.
In 1968, virtually nobody had heard of this wonderful book. In 1970, hundreds of people coast to coast were talking about it and asking the identity of the mysterious author, Malaclypse the Younger. Rumors swept across the continent, from New York to Los Angeles, from Seattle to St. Joe. Malaclypse was actually Alan Watts, one heard. No, said another legend -- the Principia was actually the work of the Sufi Order. A third, very intriguing myth held that Malaclypse was a pen-name for Richard M. Nixon, who had allegedly composed the Principia during a few moments of lucidity. I enjoyed each of these yarns and did my part to help spread them. I was also careful never to contradict the occasional rumors that I had actually written the whole thing myself during an acid trip.
Wanting to learn (but not understand) the ultimate secret of the cosmos as quickly as possible, I clicked on the final chapter in the table of contents: Salvation. Hey, sounds good to me.
The human race will begin solving it's problems on the day that it ceases taking itself so seriously.
Here's a classic (all the way from 2002) expose of the ridiculousness of some entities that deserve to be ridiculed: the Old Testament and Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination.
End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them: [here's one of many]
...Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
Thanks to Brook, my wife's churchless niece, for passing on this link. And to the Humanists of Utah for hosting it. Being a humanist in Utah must be as challenging as being a vegetarian in an Eskimo village.
Wow, who knew? I had no idea that Muhammad was this good looking. And that he was a woman. Plus, alive!
Check out what she has to say in a You Tube video, "Muhammad tells it like it is." It's a whole new Sharia law, Muslims.
The proof of spiritual attainment is shown by transcending "I." Is anyone else made a wee bit suspicious that "I" believe this?
Along this line, after I watched about half of The Advaita Trap cartoon I figured out that the dark brown creature must have written most of the books that I've bought about non-duality.
Check it out. I confess that once I got to the five minute mark my head felt like it was going to explode, so I didn't watch the rest.
I watched the first half of the rally on C-Span, so got to see Father Sarducci's benediction. It was appealingly comedic, though not without some fairly serious philosophising at the expense of true believers.
Noting that there lots of religions in the world, each of which believes that it knows the truth about God while the rest are mistaken, Sarducci asked God to send a sign to the massive crowd: let us know which religion is right in some unmistakable fashion.
So he called out the names of various Christian denominations and other religions, then waited for a miracle to materialize in the sunny, clear October sky, or on ground level. I can't remember all the choices -- Baptist, Catholic, Judaism, Islam, Rastafarianism, Buddhism, these come to mind.
Cleverly (I bet most people didn't get the joke), after saying "Buddhism" and waiting a few seconds before saying "nothing," Sarducci added "But that could be the sign." After all, Buddhism is big on nothing.
Since there was no evident sign of God at the rally, just as there is no evident sign of God anywhere else, nor has there been at any time in the past, it makes sense to worship Nothing -- if someone feels a need to worship anything.
As would be expected, when Father Sarducci called out the names of the denominations and religions he'd get cheers from people in the crowd. (As might also have been expected, given the seemingly youthful tilt of the attendees, Rastafarian supporters seemed to outnumber Buddhists.)
After the first cheer, Sarducci told the crowd that these displays didn't count as signs of God, since God wouldn't show him/her/itself in that fashion.
Great point. But that's the only evidence religions have for God: human "cheering" of various varieties. "God spoke to me!" "I had a vision of God!" "These are God's commandments!"
There's never any objective, unarguable, super-persuasive sign of God's presence. Like another Sarducci request to God during his benediction:
Since you haven't responded when the names of the various denominations and religions were called out, could you annoint a person in the crowd with a halo, or an instant tattoo on their face? Then we can ask that person, "What religion are you?" That'll tell us which faith God favors.
Sarducci asked rally attendees to make friends with those around them, given that no one can see his or her own face and would need to be told if they have a miracle halo or miracle tattoo.
He waited for responses. Again, nothing. God continued to be a no-show. Which means that churchlessness is still the best unfaith for those who seek truthful sanity.
There's a lot to say about the pros and cons of a metaphysical belief in cosmic oneness, but it's hard to put it much better than the Duh Master does.
We're all connected, like one big organism.
So, no, I would not say that "I" still have "your" lawnmower.
Because it's sort of scary when ridiculous stories can be taken seriously by lots of people. How can the United States, or the world, manage its affairs properly when a near-majority of so-called Homo sapiens are more validly called village idiots?
The New York Times story is called "A Niche of the Unreal in a World of Credulity."
ChristWire has lately reached new levels of popularity, in part thanks to an Aug. 14 column, “Is My Husband Gay?” Written by Stephenson Billings, the piece is a 15-point checklist to help wives detect possibly closeted husbands. “Gym membership but no interest in sports” is one warning sign. So is “Sassy, sarcastic and ironic around his friends” and “Love of pop culture.”
Oh, by the way: ChristWire is all one big joke.
Not the readership — which hit a high of 27 million page views in August — but the content, the opinions and the fake authors who write the stuff. (There is no “Stephenson Billings.”) Neither of the two founders is a conservative Christian. They are just like-minded 28-year-olds who met on the Internet, have never seen each other in person, and until this week had never given their real identities to a reporter.
True to form, the ChristWire folks reacted vehemently to Mark Oppenheimer, who wrote the Times piece.
I cannot begin to understand what lies behind the minds of men like Bryan Butvidas, Kirwin Watson and Mark Oppenheimer. If maybe one of them had contacted me or any of the other representatives of Christwire, we would have set them straight. Maybe they hoped to profit by strong-arming their way into this site. Maybe they hatched some illicit advertising scheme and wanted to cash in. Maybe they are addicted to publicity, like the dimwitted and lonely men who confess to crimes they did not commit. Could this whole blowup be the result of a pharmaceutical insufficiency or a pharmaceutical overindulgence? Looking at the photographs of these two online does make one wonder about mental health. There is also a chance that they are nothing more than highly-placed atheists seeking to discredit established Christian moralism.
I had a great time browsing around ChristWire after I learned about the site today. So far my favorite post is "Gays Invent New Wii Sex Toy, So Blacks Can Have Virtual Sex With White Women."
Two forces have come together to take their sexual lifestyle’s to a whole new level. One side likes inserting their satan scepters into other men’s sewer holes and the other likes to brainwash young white youth with 8-bit music and turn your lady home makers into “ho” makers. The two have combined forces to virtual sneak into your house and violate your American wife while you are hard at work trying to get by while Obama steals you health care plan.
I present to you the WiiRape toy by Nintendo! Now I know you’re asking yourself “Mr. Bowers, why would these two groups need to join forces to create this? I know the African American community is not fond of gays.” well I have a easy answer. The Afro-Saxon community is not very good at building electronics or handling money, so they asked the homo gay agenda to develop the product for them. Also, gays have a lot of money saved up because they work as bar tenders or florists and collect gay welfare at the same time. In return, the Afro-Saxon’s would make sure that each item that is sold, would come with a list of children in the buyers neighborhood. Now what Ellen marriage believer wouldn’t want that? A whole list of fresh meat to pray on?
So now that this product is in “A Store Near You!” Rappers can use the hipped hopped music they play on Bravo or TLC to brainwash your wifes and tell them to goto the nearest Circuit City and purchase the new Wii “Toy” with of course your hard earned cash. The item comes with a free game disgusted as a Opera CD, so that for sure a real male would never bother checking it out. What it really is, is a dating game that displays images of large black twiddle rompus’. Your wife can browse through categories like “Balla”, “Big Playa”, “Deez Nutz” and other hipped hopped lyrical terms. Once she picks what type she wishes to “play” with a video screen appears where your wife can be swindled by satan like sexy speak. Once your wife has been put into a trance, she will be asked to plug in the new Wiimote and on the other end the predator will be able to control the speed and has electric tips so the womens fish cave can be shocked. I think this is what is refereed to as “The Shocker.”
Now, you may ask “Where is little Billy, while mom is playing sin games?” Well, he is alone and looking for attention, which is what a homopedo predator looks for in a victim, before he plays twinkie stick rape games.
Nintendo should be ashamed for such vile inventions. What is next? The Lesbian Lick controller? or the Rainbow Butt Heckler attachment? I say we call for a recall on all Nintendo products before your wife and children are victims of hate crimes. Oh and guess who is a backer and fan of this product?
You also should take a look at "Jezebel.com Claims There Is No Such Things As Pandagators, Pandadogs." The post features a You Tube video that indeed shows proof of China's intent to build animal hybrids that they'll unleash upon our shores.
And there's some difficult-to-argue-with (unless you're a woman, but since you don't have a Y chromosome, your logical arguing faculties are handicapped, so don't bother) theological truths in the post.
Let us also remember that the Bible orders all women to remain in silence and observe. Do not forget that breaking the order from the Bible is a sure-fire way to have Satan order you up with a side of marinated sin, to digest for all times in the lowest belly bowels of hell.
Example #[infinity] of why religions are so ridiculous: Pakistan shuts down Facebook over a page that promotes "Draw Mohammed Day."
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority issued the order a day before "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," scheduled by a Facebook group with the same name. "Obviously it (the blocking of Facebook) is related to the objectionable material that was placed on Facebook. That is why it is blocked," said Khoram Ali Mehran of the telecommunication authority.
Check out Everybody Draw Mohammed Day! on Facebook. No reason not to -- aside from defying the will of Allah and being damned for eternity, along with having your throat slit as a godless infidel. (Seriously...death threats have been made by Islamic crazies._
But I'm a lousy artist.
And on the Facebook page I found a drawing by someone who shares my artistic sensibilities. So I'll share this drawing of Mohammed as my contribution to the cause of laughing at religious fundamentalism.
With all the talk going on these days about sleazy financial deal-making, I've been wondering why Wall Street doesn't hire more religious experts. They seem even better suited than mathematical wizards to be able to fashion can't-miss investment schemes.
By "can't-miss," naturally I'm referring to the 100% certainty that the purveyor of the deal will profit. As is so often the case, the poor suckers who buy into it aren't guaranteed anything -- which is why the scheme is structured as it is.
There are lots of variations on the religious "Invest Now and Reap the Rewards Later" pitch. I'm most familiar with the guru-centered mystical/meditation variety, so that's how my scheme will be focused.
However, this is a template for how most religions try to reel in the gullible and unwary. If you've ever been a true believer, I'm sure you'll be able to recognize your own faith in some or all of the promises below.
Want to be spiritually wealthy?
You've come to the right place!
Invest with us.
We guarantee salvation!
We promise to teach you how to save your soul, know God, become enlightened, and/or reap the reward of heavenly bliss in your eternal afterlife.
Do what we tell you, and results are guaranteed.
But not necessarily in this life. So don't worry if your spiritual investment returns aren't obvious on your deathbed.
In your next life, which might be here on Earth, or it might be in some heavenly region, you'll be able to reap the rewards that you didn't enjoy in this lifetime.
Skeptical? Don't be. Trust us.
You have to. Because regretfully we are able to provide any evidence of the spiritual wealth that our clients have accumulated. This isn't in our control.
The Divine Securities and Exchange Commission has certain regulations that must be complied with. (Sorry, but we can't show you those either; you'll have to trust us about this also.)
If anyone, including our Guru/CEO, revealed the extent of the wealth that has been accumulated by investing with us, those assets would be taken away.
You might be wondering, "Why?" By asking this question, you are demonstrating a lack of trust in our investment approach.
In order to become rich -- not that anyone will ever know you are, maybe not even yourself -- you'll need to stifle the negativity that raises questions. Focus on two simple positive words, "Trust us."
Remember: you can't become spiritually wealthy if you're not actively investing your faith, time, money, emotions, and intellect.
Give up on our investment strategy, even if it seems like your assets are declining or staying steady, and that's how you become a loser.
Remember: all of our clients become rich. Some day. In some life. Outside of sight. Secretly. You can take that to the bank. Some day...
You can rest easy knowing that each of our clients enjoys a deeply personal relationship with his or her very own investment advisor, a clone of our CEO. The clone will be with you every moment of every day, overseeing your spiritual wealth-building.
You won't see any sign of this person. The clone isn't visible. And won't communicate with you. Or show any other sign of its presence.
But as we like to say, trust us.
None of our clients has failed to gain tremendous spiritual wealth. You'll see for yourself after you sign up with us.
Eventually. Probably in another life-time. Because our CEO clones like to preserve your new riches by not letting you be aware of them.
That way you won't be able to waste your capital by spending it on silly stuff. Like knowing that you've saved your soul, known God, become enlightened, and/or reaped the reward of heavenly bliss in your eternal afterlife.
The richest person is the one who doesn't know that he or she is rich. That motto works for us, for sure.
So sign up now for our 100% guaranteed spiritual wealth-building program. It'll take a hell of a lot of time and effort for you to make it work, but here's the best thing about it:
You'll never know if it worked. You can't lose, if you have no way of knowing whether you won!
I can't explain why, but I'm pretty sure this You Tube video contains the secret of the universe.
Watching it, I had an overwhelming feeling of "Yes! That's exactly what life is all about!"
However, I still have no idea what life is all about. Just that whatever it is, this is how it works.
Some forty-two years ago, back in 1968, I had a revelation: The universe is a paper bag turned inside out.
Now, at the time I had some reasons to doubt the veracity of this insight into ultimate reality, since it was fueled by mescaline and dissipated the following day. But another guy and I intuited this truth at the exact same moment.
Today I've gotten confirmation that, indeed, the universe is a bag turned inside out. Tucson, a regular Church of the Churchless visitor, left a comment on this blog post that said, in part:
Our perception is like a plain plastic bag. Turn it inside out and it is the same yet entirely different.
We do have a doctrinal difference, though. Is our perception of the universe a paper or plastic bag turned inside out? I don't want to get into a holy war over this. Let's just say that I'm right on that detail and Tucson is wrong. (Makes sense to me.)
The important thing is the confirmation that ultimate reality really is best explained by viewing it as a bag turned inside out. Those of us who have experienced this truth, via psychedelics or otherwise, know what we know because we know that our knowing is really knowledge.
While that last statement certainly should convince the skeptics, I devoted five minutes this afternoon to producing concrete experimental photographic evidence of the truthiness of what I and Tucson speak.
Here is a paper bag. It is covered with information. This is the universe as normally perceived. Happiness is 15% off Everything.
Here is the paper bag turned inside out. Doing this teaches valuable lessons. First, it's damn difficult to turn a large paper bag inside out. I ended up crumpling and ripping the bag. But that's the price of enlightenment.
Second, all is one. The appearance of the bag now is a seamless whole. (Leaving aside the crumpling, the rips, the dents, and the lettering that can be glimpsed through the paper if you look close enough.)
Third, samsara is nirvana, illusion is reality, atman is brahman, and whatever other out-dated non-dual adage people used to spout before the revelation the universe is a paper bag turned inside out replaced those lesser insights.
From my iPhone's God's-eye view we see that everything still is 15% off at Office Max. Manyness is completely compatible with oneness. Now it is just hidden on the inside rather than obvious on the outside -- having changed places with formless unity.
So all is revealed, praise Bag.
(However, if what I've said and shown isn't totally revelatory to you, consider taking some mescaline and then re-reading this post.)
Saying that, of course, means that I haven't learned a thing. But who gives a shit? A smile is close to enlightenment, which is one of the idiotic cliches that MonkMojo enjoys demolishing.
Here's some sample MonkMojo tweets. (RT means a re-tweet; what follows the || is MonkMojo's add-on).
RT @Yojinbo: wasn't impressed w/ the response I got from Houston Zen Center when I was in prison: no response. || Sounds pretty Zen 2 me ;)
Me to wife: While you're out there doing all your "important" stuff, I'm tweeting the fuckin' answers to life!
RT @TaoTeaKing: @MonkMojo i don`t believe that you got "the point" . Believe me ... :-) || Pretty much sums up my life. ;)
All I want to do is hang on to my stories and die bitter. Is that too much to fuckin' ask?
RT @amoz1939: Being excluded / Agony undergoing / The loss of good friends #haiku || Fuck'em ~#itiswhatitis
RT @ookiee: What's more important: that you believe in God, or believe in yourself?|| Which hot coal should one grasp more tightly? Neither.
Kindness happens, then a me swoops in and kills it with a my.
MonkMojo also has a web site.
MonkMojo sums up the human condition.
I've shared this link before, but MonkMojo's "The Ten Cat Herding Pictures of Enlightenment" is well worth a repeat.
Since I love my iPhone, and it can reliably guide me to earthly destinations, I figured that spiritual enlightenment also would be available via one of the many downloadable applications for this marvelous device.
And yes, it was. In the form of Guided Insight Meditation.
Buddha must have been looking out for me, because I came across this app on the very last day, October 17, that it was still free. (As of now, you'll have to fork out $2.99 for enlightenment. Plus the cost of an iPhone, if you've got bad karma and don't have one yet.)
I liked how most of the meditation lessons fit on a single iPhone screen. The introduction was a bit wordier, requiring some scrolling, but ended with an appealing offer.
Meditation is about developing your mind. It requires a significant amount of energy, determination, discipline and patience. The goal is awareness and concentration. The reward is real and unconditioned happiness, peace and a true understanding of what, why and how things are.
Cool. At least the reward part was.
I wasn't so wild about the significant amount part. Hey, this is an iPhone app! I assumed that Guided Insight Meditation should go as quickly and smoothly as everything else Apple'ish does.
So I was ready for instant enlightenment yesterday morning. I took my iPhone with me onto my meditation cushion, as I always do.
(Making my way past another level of Ragdoll Blaster each day is a big part of my spiritual path, for reasons that won't be understandable to anyone who hasn't experienced the mystic bliss of shooting ragdolls out of a cannon while figuring how to hit a target in a manner guided by immutable laws of physics.)
After dutifully spending five minutes or so reading about meditation misconceptions -- for example, I wouldn't be running away from reality, or, sadly, getting high -- and the correct attitude (accept yourself; experience everything; let go; and so on), I was ready for my guided meditation.
I pressed the "start session" button. A male voice led me through ten minutes of instruction.
I sent out loving feelings of kindness toward everyone and everything in existence (I wanted to make an exception for Fox News, but stifled the urge). I took three deep cleansing breaths. I followed my inhalations and exhalations. I was especially conscious of certain sensors in my nostrils (upper right corner of my right nostril seemed acutely breath aware).
Wanting to assure my rapid spiritual progress, I kept on meditating for ten minutes after the instruction stopped. Twenty minutes total. The timer on my iPhone chimed.
Yay! I was enlightened. Had to be! iPhone apps almost always work as promised.
It's difficult for me to convey what enlightenment is like. Just as Zen masters say, my life doesn't seem to have changed, in line with the adage "first there is a mountain, then there isn't, then there is."
Yet obviously I now have a true understanding of what, why and how things are. This is what the Guided Insight Meditation app promised, and so this is what I must have achieved.
I'll do my best to remain humble, though this is difficult for me now that I know so much more about the cosmos than almost everyone else. If you don't believe me, consider this:
I am so enlightened, I don't even feel any difference from my previous unenlightened state. This shows that I've been enlightened from birth, a Bodhisattva. All the iPhone app did was make me aware of my pristine awareness.
I'm not sure what to do next. Traditionally, I gather I'm supposed to help all sentient beings attain Buddha-hood.
I was in an Apple store today and got to play briefly with an iPhone 3Gs, the most powerful iPhone ever. Seemingly my enlightenment would be even more enlightened if it was transmitted over a 3Gs rather than a mere 3G.
Unfortunately for all sentient beings, I'm not eligible to upgrade at a reasonable price for nearly another year.
Recently I got an email alerting me to a revelation: Goat on a Pole.
Praise Goat. And Pole.
For I have learned there is nothing else to know, no greater mystery to decipher, no image of reality better worth contemplating.
From the Holy Goatonapole web site:
"Goatonapole is the philosophy of being that holds that there is a Goat and a Pole and that the Goat is on the Pole. In the relation of Goat and Pole we Goatonapolists find an eternal thread of unfathomable cosmic significance, a point of reference in which all opposites dissolve into a unity of infinite breadth, a universal truth underlying the very fabric of existence. Upon contemplation of the Goat, the Pole, and their relative positions, one cannot help but realize that we've always been talking about Goatonapole. Whether we accept, reject, or live in ignorance of Goatonapole, we are all Goatonapolists."
I haven't absorbed all of the wisdom of Goatonapole yet. But already this passage has filled me with a marvelous sense of yesness.
We as conscious beings are the product of innumerably many acts of balance, new being arising out of extant being and perpetuating its improbable existence upon the substrate of its progenitors. To picture the place of your consciousness in the universe, one must imagine countless goats stacked one upon another, a new goat constantly replacing the uppermost goat as the height of the pole increases. As the Goat-raising progresses, the lower goats cease to be goats and become all one improbably tall pole on which sits a single goat. This is the Goat-raising in its essence.
Yes! Yes! Yes!
What could be more true? And...any more incomprehensible? Naturally it is the sense of huh? and what the fuck? stimulated in me by Goatonapology that leads me to believe in it so deeply.
Goat and Pole work in mysterious ways. That the teachings of Goatonapole are cryptic -- some would blaspheme and say "non-sensical" -- is the best evidence of their validity.
Further, I've received an indisputable sign from Goat and Pole to embrace their truth. This very morning, as I was pondering the possibility of writing this blog post, I was drawn to pick up a copy of "The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin" and found this verse:
Perched motionless at the tip of a hundred-foot pole
The man has attainment, but he hasn't made it real.
He must advance one more step beyond the tip,
Reveal his whole body in the ten directions.
Ah, is this not a foreshadowing of the most blessed Ten Goat Herding Pictures? Here's #7:
"A couple of people whom I sent that website about the goat took it seriously. Am I misinterpreting something? I had found myself laughing out loud and really enjoying how the site was put together. Is it possible that it's for real? I guess in this day and age with so much wacko stuff out there, it could be for real. Yikes."
As for how real Goatonapole is, that's for you, Goat, and Pole to decide.
Hey, it's Labor Day.
Which, rather paradoxically, is a national holiday in the United States where the goal for most people is to do as little as possible -- since the long hot lazy days of summer are coming to an end.
So I'm going to take it easy on my churchless blogging today, simply sharing some multimedia that tackles in cartoonish and musical fashion an important question:
WIll God fuck you up?
One of my favorite comic strips, Pearls Before Swine, seems to argue in the negative in this August 30 offering (I say "seems" because it's tough to tie down a philosophical position in seven cartoon panels).
On the other hand, it might be wise to keep in mind the Biblical alternative: God will fuck you up.I like the guy's sense of humor. Here's part of his self-written bio:
John R. Butler is a Southwest Florida musician/singer/songwriter/forward-slash user. Gross Exaggeration Monthly magazine called him "perhaps the most important songsmith of his--and any other--generation."
Butler has played on stages before thousands of audience members all over the country...just before having been ejected by security, in order that the scheduled acts could get started.
The Tao works in mysterious ways. Mostly, for me, through the Internet. If ultimate truth ever speaks to me, I figure it will be via my MacBook.
So I smiled sagely -- my natural expression -- when I clicked on an email that informed me Bob Tzu now was following me on Twitter.
Twitter etiquette demanded that I take a look at Bob's page to see if his Tweets were interesting enough to make me want to follow him.
Which, they were. Bob Tzu had me at...
Nice. I felt pleasantly de-enlightened already.
So it didn't take me long to absorb the essence (heck, for all I know, the whole shebang) of Duhism. For obvious reasons, to me this seemed to be the most important teaching.
Realizing that I'd found a source of spiritual wisdom that is as attuned to the almighty "Who the hell knows?" as the crap I write, I downloaded for free The Duh of Success.
The price was a bit steep, given what I learned from the book.
But it was nice to be able to start reading it at 9:24 am and be done by 9:25 am. I like my cosmic wisdom to come fast and hard, which is one of the more unintentionally erotic lines I've written recently.
I figured that today would be an auspicious time to make a momentous announcement: by the grace of God, I've realized that my churchlessness has been a dreadful mistake -- the result of egotistical delusion.
So I've decided to simultaneously embrace evangelical Christianity and return to the Sant Mat fold. May my heretical sins and karmas be forgiven by Jesus and the Guru, who I hope will get along as my co-spiritual guides, notwithstanding their doctrinal differences.
In an astounding calendarical synchronicity, today Google also announced an amazing development. We are on the same enlightened wavelength, mine religious, Google's being artificial intelligentish.
So cute! Almost as adorable as Jesus!
Or, on top of. That's one of the great things about this story of a mega-church pastor urging his congregation (married only, please) to have sex for seven days straight.
It lends itself to double entendres.
I watched a story about "Thou Shalt Not Abstain" on CNN and couldn't resist getting out my Flip VIdeo camera and beaming it up to You Tube.
My favorite part is about 1:10 in, when a woman says that the pastor hadn't touched on this subject before. At least, "not in so much depth."
It's refreshing to see religion addressing down-to-earth human needs in such a fine fashion. Now I just have to find a way to talk my wife into joining this church.
For a week, at least. I love God so much (all of a sudden, for some reason), I'd be willing to follow the lead of another pastor and quadruple my devotion.
Earlier this year, a southwest Florida pastor, perhaps having more faith in his congregants' stamina, issued a 30-day sex challenge.
I've been spending so much hours watching the Olympics every evening, I figure I might as well try to suck some cosmic significance out of my TV time.
Some spiritual (and profane) observations:
…How come godless China has way more gold medals than the godly United States? Our president ends every speech with "God bless America." What's gone wrong with our blessing?
…While watching the opening ceremonies that were choreographed for marvelously disciplined thousands, I wanted to move to China and become part of an egoless society where the individual is a cog in a societal machine. But then I realized that I don't even like to stand in line for more than 30 seconds at the grocery checkout lane, and cancelled my immigration application.
…Usain Bolt, the record breaking sprinter from Jamaica, crosses himself while in the blocks and points one finger at the sky. After winning, he then engages in an astoundingly self-centered celebration. Got to admire his cognitive dissonance.
…A Cuban runner had on the biggest gold cross that I've seen yet at the games. So much for godless communism (if you're a star athlete, at least).
…Lauryn Williams, who dropped a baton for the U.S. team in a relay race (causing disqualification), said that "Maybe someone has a voodoo doll out on the U.S." That's a great theory, since the men's team also dropped the baton. Nice to hear voodoo mentioned on national TV as a supernatural force, rather than Jesus.
…It's amazing to me that Jamaica has so many world class runners who are passing drug tests given the island's reputation for primo ganja. (Of course, so does Oregon, where I live, and Eugene is billed as the nation's track capital.)
--"The Professor," a.k.a. Todd Rogers, strikes me as an enlightened beach volleyball being (guy on right). Maybe I should start wearing my caps backward and shave my beard into a goatee. And, learn to jump like a kangaroo. Or is it the cool shades?
…Being such a moral person, I'd be pleased to support PETA's anti-fur Olympics themed campaign. Especially if swimmer Amanda Beard will show up at my door and ask me personally, looking just as she does in her poster.
Anyone else getting some mystic meaning from the Olympics?
If one person knows nothing, is it possible for two people in the same state to know less than nothing?
This marvelous philosophical question was resolved yesterday on PBS' Car Talk, which features the always entertaining Magliozzi brothers, Tom and Ray (a.k.a Click and Clack, or Clack and Click; I don't know what goes with each brother).
They read a letter from listener Andy Reischman, who thanked them profusely for answering that question – which he said had deviled him for twenty years.
Me too. I'd just never phrased it in such a clear fashion. After all, this really is what religion is all about. (And, I have to admit, much of this blog also).
Namely, two or more people – billions, in the case of the major world religions – getting together to ponder problems that no single individual knows anything about.
Does God exist? What is God's nature? Where do we go after death? Do butterflies have a soul? Is it bad karma to eat meat? How is salvation best attained?
I scribbled down notes on Reischman's letter as I was driving, necessarily incompletely, as I was more concerned with not crashing my car than in getting every detail down.
For a full rendition check out segment 4 on the August 2, 2008 show. I love it. Reischman is a fine writer; he makes some terrific points; Tom and Ray have a great time making fun of themselves (a staple of Car Talk).
Basically, Reischman concludes that, yes, two people can know less than nothing. One person who knows nothing will shrug his shoulders and toss his hands in the air.
But two people…they will egg each other on in a pas de deux of breathtaking speculation. Apologies and gestures of doubt are rendered unnecessary.
Great stuff, Mr. Reischman. You've pretty much summed up just about every metaphysical book in my extensive library.
He went on to say that Car Talk resolved this philosophical question for him when he heard Tom and Ray addressing a caller's query about a problem with electric brakes on a cattle car.
They started off by saying that they'd never heard of electric brakes and, obviously, didn't know how they worked. But they then engaged in an extensive discussion of the whys and wherefores of the electric brake problem.
Well, it's fun to talk about stuff we don't know anything about. Like, God and the hereafter.
We just should recognize when we've gone from knowing nothing on our own, to knowing less than nothing as a member of a religious or spiritual organization.
I'm totally competent at knowing nothing – I don't need any help in knowing less than nothing. Which is why churchlessness appeals to me.
I've been waiting for the proof. Now I've found it. Nothing else to do but embrace Jesus. Praise the Lord!
And a kitten's fur. Because there Jesus is, if you look really closely.
(Actually, I couldn't make him out on this CNN video. But that's probably because my faith isn't at its maximum yet.)
This shows that I need to pay closer attention to our dog's coat when I pat her. I can't believe that the Lord chose a cat to reveal the divinity of His Son, and not a canine – given that dog spelled backwards is you know what.
I learn a lot in the bathroom, thanks largely to Funny Times – which habitually resides in a drawer within convenient reach of my white pondering place.
The May issue features quotes about belief in the Curmudgeon column (using content from "The Big Curmudgeon").
I liked these quotations, because I believe them. The others obviously are wrong, so I left them out.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. – George Bernard Shaw
Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt. – H.L. Mencken
The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums. – G.K. Chesterton
The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind. – H.L. Mencken
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones. – Bertrand Russell
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. – Voltaire
Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand. – Mark Twain
I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong. – Bertrand Russell
We must abandon the prevalent belief in the superior wisdom of the ignorant. – Daniel J. Boorstin
Not knowing is much more interesting than believing an answer which might be wrong. – Richard Feynman
The final delusion is the belief that one has lost all delusions. – Maurice Chapelain
Certitude is not the test of certainty. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand. – Kurt Vonnegut
Nice quotes. But an obvious omission is the best one-sentence metaphysics ever written. At least, that's what I believe.
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. – Philip K. Dick
While perusing a Christian web site that pokes fun at evangelical fundamentalism, today I suddenly thought Cartoons!
Bart and I both were RSSB initiates. We met at a RSSB bhandara (large get-together), introduced by a mutual friend: Victoria, also an artist.
Several times Victoria leaned over to me and whispered, in a decided stage whisper, so Bart could hear, "He's very talented."
Since spiritual cartooning ideas had been running through my head, and my own artistic talent is limited to stick figures, I was eager to chat with Bart.
After some post-bhandara back and forth emailing, here's what Bart produced. I sent them off to RSSB headquarters in India but so far as I know, they haven't been published. At least, not all of them.
I give Bart most of the credit for the cartoons – unless you really like one of them, in which case it must have been my idea.
As recollected in bladder-clenching detail in my "God's here, but I've got to go" post, RSSB gatherings in India, where the guru may hold forth for hours and jumping up to exit is highly discouraged, are notorious for stimulating thoughts of a bathroom rather than spirituality.
Bart threw in a metaphysical cartoon with meaning. Hope he's right. I'd like to keep laughing beyond the grave.
Watch out, Church of the Churchless visitors.
In my never-ending quest to promote honest sin and discourage hypocritical virtue, I've got to warn you about a seemingly innocent product that could be extremely dangerous to your health.
The Holy Drinking Water website has a warning, which may or may not be tongue-in-cheek:
"If you are a sinner or evil in nature, this product may cause burning, intense heat, sweating, skin irritations, rashes, itchiness, vomiting bloodshot and watery eyes, pale skin color, and oral irritations."
Makes me want to buy a bottle just to see if I'm as sinful as I hope I am. But, hey: that's what the Holy Drinking Water folks want me to do. So, I won't.
However, I do appreciate their broad definition of "blessing." Newsweek said that the blessing is done by an Anglican or Roman Catholic priest, but the web site lists a considerably more inclusive bunch of potential water blessers, including a lama (Buddhist priest).
Christians would be better off buying bottled water with Jesus' image on it. This is sold by SpiritualH2O. There are several choices. I like the crown of thorns – just the sort of energizing hydration a good Christian will want to carry into her jazzercise class.
Having mocked these ridiculous products – who really believes that a blessing by a holy person makes any difference? – I need to answer my own question with: Me, in the not so distant past.
Yes, along with hundreds of thousands of other Radha Soami Satsang Beas disciples I used to treasure the food that would be blessed by the guru and distributed to the faithful at special events. Sometimes it was puffed rice, sometimes granular sugar, sometimes something else.
I never was sure how prashad worked (now "placebo effect" comes to mind). But even though I always looked on spirituality with a decidedly scientific bent, I still would make my bag of prashad last as long as possible, eating just a tiny bit each morning before I meditated.
So far as I can tell it never had any effect. At least it was free, though, unlike Holy Drinking Water.
Nonetheless, when I saw that Holy Drinking Water was accepting applications for blessing their drinking water, I got excited. Until I noticed that you had to be an ordained clergy to apply.
Somewhere I've got my ordination from the Universal Life Church that I acquired in the '60s, when this was thought to be a way of avoiding the draft. (Smoke enough pot and you'll believe anything, particular if it promised to keep you from going to Vietnam.)
But I see that online ordination now is available. Even easier. Maybe I've got a shot at blessing bottled water after all.
It's good to see that Pastafarianism, the glorious revelation of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, is back in the news.
I was an early embracer of this alternative to both evolution and intelligent design, praising this witty rebuke to creationism several years ago. And supporting the cause by buying a Kansas Museum of Science t-shirt.
Bobby Henderson is the prophet through whom the Flying Spaghetti Monster (blessed be His Noodly Appendage) speaks.
His open letter to the Kansas School Board first revealed the gospel of Pastafarianism to a spaghetti-starved world. I'm proud that Henderson is a recent physics graduate of Oregon State University – which is close to where I live.
May his unemployment be short-lived. This man's talents mustn't be wasted.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster is coming in for serious attention at the American Academy of Religion's Annual Meeting.
Indeed, the tale of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and its followers cuts to the heart of the one of the thorniest questions in religious studies: What defines a religion? Does it require a genuine theological belief? Or simply a set of rituals and a community joining together as a way of signaling their cultural alliances to others?
In short, is an anti-religion like Flying Spaghetti Monsterism actually a religion?
There's a intimate, albeit appropriately mysterious, link between pirates and Pastafarianism. So I think I'll show my devotion to the Flying Spaghetti Monster by getting a Pirate Fish t-shirt.
An iconic image of His Noodly Appendage also is appealing. Likely I shall wear both with the religious zeal of a true believer in non-belief.
Say you're a lapsed Catholic. You haven't seen the inside of a church since Pope what's-his-name was in office. Long ago you forgot the difference between a venial and a mortal sin, but you're pretty sure you've committed bunches of each.
You enjoy being faithless. But deep in your sin-drenched soul there's a longing you're barely willing to admit to yourself, it's so incongruous with the rest of your current debauched lifestyle.
The confession booth. Ah, those were the days.
My own days date back to when I was ten, or thereabouts. I remember my first communion, which included, I'm pretty sure, my first confession. I was too young to have done much serious sinning. I seem to remember that the priest had to jog me into coming up with something confessable.
"So, do you attend Mass every Sunday."
"No, Father, my mother rarely takes me to church."
"Well, you should try to do better. Say ten Our Father's and five Hail Mary's."
I did. And immediately felt better. I knew that I still wasn't going to go to Mass very often, but now I had a time-saving technique that seemed to offer all the benefits of church without the crazy-ass Latin and that damnably hard railing that you had to kneel on a bunch of times during the Mass.
I could whip through ten Our Father's and five Hail Mary's much more quickly than getting dressed up, driving to the Catholic Church, sitting through the impossibly boring service, and going home again – all the while wishing that I was with my friends in Presbyterian Sunday School, where they got to do a lot more fun things than sit, kneel, sit, kneel, sit, kneel while the priest blabbed in a language that nobody could understand.
So confession is cool. Back then I saw it as a shortcut, a quick way to reboot the moral software when you've screwed up the Virtue Operating System (of course, in 1958 slide rules still ruled for almost everybody but a few Univac geeks, so this metaphor wouldn't have applied).
Now that we're in the Internet Age, it figures that online confessions are a trendy approach to absolution. A Los Angeles Times story, "Confessions in Adaptation" mentioned some web sites that enable people to bare their soul anonymously without leaving their laptop.
I kept trying to reach Ivescrewedup.com, offered through Florida's Flamingo Road Church, but it looks like their server is screwed up. Sigh… I'll confess anyway: It pissed me off when I kept getting "The connection was reset" messages and I called this web site some nasty names.
Group Hug is OK, but this was another site with a @#$%&! slow web server that drove me freaking nuts, and I wanted to strangle the bozo who's in charge of it.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
(Ah, web-surfing karmic slate has been wiped clean. Now I can visit sites, like this one, that really bring out the obscenity-filled side of me.)
When a puppet on YouTube makes just about as much sense as any spiritual book I've read, or any mystical guru I've heard, that says a lot.
About what, I've got no idea. But whatever it is, The Truth According to Puppetji vaguely gestures in its direction, insofar as a puppet with arms stuck to rods is able.
No contest, really. Puppetji wins. And it won't cost you $29.95 to learn his take on The Truth.
You can have anything you want. But I ask, "Who is wanting?"
Who desires the need to want?
Who wants and desires the need to want to be needed and to desire to want to need something it only thinks it desires to want? [a rough transcription; Puppetji talks damn fast]
The truth of who you are is…nothing.
So getting the necklace, or the new car, or the house, or the hot crazy Tantric sexual relationship—all merely feeding the ego. And will not bring you happiness.
The desire to have more things and more stuff just perpetuates the grand illusion.
Therefore creating the desire to want more and more desire, and more and more things, and more and more stuff, ultimately leading to…bankruptcy.
And then more suffering. And more desire. And more and more desire not to suffer. Therefore creating more suffering.
Pretty good. For a puppet, or indeed for anybody, the little guy makes more than a little sense.
Puppetji would suggest to you that peace lies not in our past or future, for they are illusions created by the mind. Peace, true freedom and LOVE are not found by following our addictive patterns, for they are but temporary remedies for that which has no meaning and needs no cure.
You will never find that which you seek in any thing outside your temple...or someone else's temple, or Shirley Temple. YOU are that which you seek. Stop the search and remember this... You are not special, you are not important. You are LOVE and Love is all.
Here's his "The Secret" video.
After watching "The Secret," which urged me to frolic in an orgy of positivity, I felt unbalanced. So I prescribed myself fifteen minutes of negative rehab and headed over to Despair, Inc. for some demotivation.
Reading the slogan on The Pessimist's Mug got me started on the road of recovery: "This glass is now half empty." Ah, truth simply spoken.
I was sorry that, being retired, I didn't have any employee morale to crush, as "The Art of Demotivation" looked like an appealing book.
What really got me back to feeling my normal uninspired self, though, was a terrific line of demotivational posters. And Despair, Inc's. introduction to them, which resonated with my churchless soul.
MOTIVATION. Psychology tells us that motivation- true, lasting motivation- can only come from within. Common sense tells us it can't be manufactured or productized. So how is it that a multi-billion dollar industry thrives through the sale of motivational commodities and services? Because, in our world of instant gratification, people desperately want to believe that there are simple solutions to complex problems. And when desperation has disposable income, market opportunities abound.
AT DESPAIR, INC., we believe motivational products create unrealistic expectations, raising hopes only to dash them. That's why we created our soul-crushingly depressing Demotivators® designs, so you can skip the delusions that motivational products induce and head straight for the disappointments that follow!
Chortling my way through the collection with habitual cynical glee, I was back to feeling normal again. Here are some of my favorite images and sayings.
Until you have courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea.
The journey of a thousand miles sometimes ends very, very badly.
It's a short trip from riding the waves of change to being torn apart by the jaws of defeat.
It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black.
Lastly, my favorite, because I know the joy whereof this poster speaks (thanks to all of the politicians, science-deniers, religious fundamentalists, and so many others, for making it possible).
There is no greater joy than soaring high on the wings of your dreams, except maybe the joy of watching a dreamer who has nowhere to land but in the ocean of reality.