Tag Archives: belief

Rooster Riding

Image

Do I believe in the little people?  Of course not.  If Tinkerbell depends on me, she is dead meat… or maybe dead fairy dust.

But if they do exist, then they are like the rooster riders in my picture, exploiting the world in the same way the big old slow ones do.  

They are not our inferiors or our superiors.  They are us.  They mirror us and our beliefs, our dreams… our nightmares, and all the things deep within us that could ever possibly go bump in the night.

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Notes From the Archangel Michael

I was born and raised a Methodist.  But I married into the Jehovah’s Witness faith.  Yes, those annoying little people who come knocking at your door offering free Bible studies and wanting to talk to you about the “good news from God’s Word the Bible”.  I was one of them for the better part of 20 years.  And I want to tell you from the outset that I have been guilty of knocking on doors.  I have been threatened to have the dogs sicked on me.  I have been threatened with guns by Winchuks, Hickenloopers, and other rednecks.  Laughingboy Larry, a seventh and eighth grade former student of mine even begged me to come to his door so he could throw a pie in my face.  I requested lemon meringue pie because… mmm, lemon meringue!  Jehovah’s Witnesses are not bad people.  They are real honest-to-God Christians who believe and teach the essential lessons of Christianity, Love and Forgiveness.  Some of the finest people I have ever met are self-sacrificing, hard-working Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I would never speak against them.  But this post has to explain why I no longer am one of them.

20151204_131433

 

I have always been a reader of the Bible.  I began seriously reading it in my youth when I was a victim of sexual assault and the life-threatening depression that can cause.  A very thoughtful and loving Methodist minister, the father of my best friend, taught me how to use the Bible to seek answers and find comfort.  As a Jehovah’s Witness, I have read the entire Bible cover to cover twice.

But I have also always been a Christian Existentialist, even before I knew what that was.  I believe that existence precedes essence.  There has to be a real, observable rock in front of me before I grant faith in the existence of a rock.  I don’t accept “rock-ness” as something that is real because other people tell me that “rock” exists.  If God is going to be the rock upon which I build my faith, then I have to observe that God is real.  I need proof.  Superstition is acceptance of something without proof.  As far as I can tell, almost all religions… organized religions… are based on superstitions.  “How do you know that Jesus loves me?”  “Because the Bible tells me so.”  “Why must I believe I go to Heaven when I die?”   “Because your father and his father before him believed it.”  “Can I accept these as real reasons… as evidence?”  “Of course not.  These things follow the patterns of superstition.”

“Kill the infidel! Die a hero’s death, and you will be granted 99 virgins in paradise.”  “How do you know this to be true?”  “Allah has told me in a dream.”

 

So, if you follow any of this (undoubtedly due to the same curse of relentless intelligence that plagues me), you are probably wondering why I don’t just come out and claim to be an atheist like Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens?  Well, because I believe in God.  I have seen the proof.  When I talk to God, he answers me.  When I ask him to guide me, he sends signs and leads me to the answers I seek.  He comforts me, even though it is only by helping me to find comfort in my own mind… my own self.  He helps me find the power within me to do what is right and overcome what is wrong.  Why, then, am I not still a Jehovah’s Witness?  Why am I not still knocking on doors?

The truth, as I see it, is… each of us must find God for ourselves.  Each of us must obtain the certainty we seek with our own efforts, or be satisfied with a perpetual state of not knowing all the answers.  Either result is perfectly acceptable.  Jehovah’s Witnesses will tell you that you can’t obtain eternal life unless you believe what they believe, do what they do, and accept everything just as they interpret it from their magic book.  Personally, I believe there is no eternal life.  I am made of star stuff (as Carl Sagan used to say, because science has mathematically proven it is true).  When I die, the configuration of star stuff that is me will simply be no more.  But I have existed.  And my atoms will go through a large number of processes that disperse them and turn them into something else.  My individual consciousness will be disbanded, but the overall consciousness of the universe will remain.  The universe is greater than I am.  In fact, the whole human race could wink out of existence in a massive fireball that consumes planet Earth, and the whole still remains.  I don’t have to worry about any of it.  I am the author of my own story.  I am responsible for its content, both good and bad.  And I am not sorry for any of it.

lamour-a-lepine

Most of the angels used in this post are by William-Adolphe Bouguereau…and one is by me.

Now you know the awful truth.  Mickey is a humanist.  He thinks for himself about everything… even matters of religion.  How horrible!

“Tell me, oh great and powerful, Vishnu, will I be offered 99 virgins in paradise if I kill him for you?”

“No, Singh-Rama O’Malley.  You are simply being stupid and superstitious.  And besides, that particular superstition doesn’t belong to my religion.  You are mixing things up.”

“Oh, sorry, Lord Vishnu.  But is it okay if I don’t kill myself for my error?”

“Singh-Rama, you are a child of the universe… no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding… as it should.”  (Note; These last words are the words of the poet Max Ehrmann in his wise poem, Desiderata.)

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Filed under philosophy, Uncategorized

Skyscape

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It is difficult to look at the sky and not feel that the power of Heaven is real.  As I approach the halfway point of my sixtieth year, and the darkness of the future draws ever nearer, I am forced to think about what I really believe.  Being smarter than the average bear has its drawbacks.  I understand why most of the writers I most admire were atheists, and all of the philosophers I have read and found agreement with are decidedly atheist.   Science, rationality, and reason all suggest that there is nothing beyond the physical realm.  Should that matter?  Faith, according to Mark Twain, is fervently believing in your heart what your mind tells you ain’t so.  In fact, Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.”  Even the Bible is saying you have to believe it even though you shouldn’t believe it.

So, will I go to Heaven when I die?  For me, the question is meaningless.  I look up at the miracle of a blue sky on a partly cloudy day and see the life-giving sun.  I am alive… here and now… and nothing else is really relevant.  I am a part of the great, vast universe of reality.  My existence is real and cannot be unmade… even by God, if He were inclined to do such a thing.  I am a small, insignificant part of reality, and I can be gone in the next instant like a puff of smoke in the wind.  But I am here and I am alive and I took the Paffooney picture that I used to illustrate this post.  And I face whatever comes with a smile on my face.  I am alive… and life is good.

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Filed under insight, inspiration, philosophy, photo paffoonies, Uncategorized

Notes From the Archangel Michael

I was born and raised a Methodist.  But I married into the Jehovah’s Witness faith.  Yes, those annoying little people who come knocking at your door offering free Bible studies and wanting to talk to you about the “good news from God’s Word the Bible”.  I was one of them for the better part of 20 years.  And I want to tell you from the outset that I have been guilty of knocking on doors.  I have been threatened to have the dogs sicked on me.  I have been threatened with guns by Winchuks, Hickenloopers, and other rednecks.  Laughingboy Larry, a seventh and eighth grade former student of mine even begged me to come to his door so he could throw a pie in my face.  I requested lemon meringue pie because… mmm, lemon meringue!  Jehovah’s Witnesses are not bad people.  They are real honest-to-God Christians who believe and teach the essential lessons of Christianity, Love and Forgiveness.  Some of the finest people I have ever met are self-sacrificing, hard-working Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I would never speak against them.  But this post has to explain why I no longer am one of them.

20151204_131433

 

I have always been a reader of the Bible.  I began seriously reading it in my youth when I was a victim of sexual assault and the life-threatening depression that can cause.  A very thoughtful and loving Methodist minister, the father of my best friend, taught me how to use the Bible to seek answers and find comfort.  As a Jehovah’s Witness, I have read the entire Bible cover to cover twice.

But I have also always been a Christian Existentialist, even before I knew what that was.  I believe that existence precedes essence.  There has to be a real, observable rock in front of me before I grant faith in the existence of a rock.  I don’t accept “rock-ness” as something that is real because other people tell me that “rock” exists.  If God is going to be the rock upon which I build my faith, then I have to observe that God is real.  I need proof.  Superstition is acceptance of something without proof.  As far as I can tell, almost all religions… organized religions… are based on superstitions.  “How do you know that Jesus loves me?”  “Because the Bible tells me so.”  “Why must I believe I go to Heaven when I die?”   “Because your father and his father before him believed it.”  “Can I accept these as real reasons… as evidence?”  “Of course not.  These things follow the patterns of superstition.”

“Kill the infidel! Die a hero’s death, and you will be granted 99 virgins in paradise.”  “How do you know this to be true?”  “Allah has told me in a dream.”

 

So, if you follow any of this (undoubtedly due to the same curse of relentless intelligence that plagues me), you are probably wondering why I don’t just come out and claim to be an atheist like Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens?  Well, because I believe in God.  I have seen the proof.  When I talk to God, he answers me.  When I ask him to guide me, he sends signs and leads me to the answers I seek.  He comforts me, even though it is only by helping me to find comfort in my own mind… my own self.  He helps me find the power within me to do what is right and overcome what is wrong.  Why, then, am I not still a Jehovah’s Witness?  Why am I not still knocking on doors?

The truth, as I see it, is… each of us must find God for ourselves.  Each of us must obtain the certainty we seek with our own efforts, or be satisfied with a perpetual state of not knowing all the answers.  Either result is perfectly acceptable.  Jehovah’s Witnesses will tell you that you can’t obtain eternal life unless you believe what they believe, do what they do, and accept everything just as they interpret it from their magic book.  Personally, I believe there is no eternal life.  I am made of star stuff (as Carl Sagan used to say, because science has mathematically proven it is true).  When I die, the configuration of star stuff that is me will simply be no more.  But I have existed.  And my atoms will go through a large number of processes that disperse them and turn them into something else.  My individual consciousness will be disbanded, but the overall consciousness of the universe will remain.  The universe is greater than I am.  In fact, the whole human race could wink out of existence in a massive fireball that consumes planet Earth, and the whole still remains.  I don’t have to worry about any of it.  I am the author of my own story.  I am responsible for its content, both good and bad.  And I am not sorry for any of it.

lamour-a-lepine

Most of the angels used in this post are by William-Adolphe Bouguereau…and one is by me.

Now you know the awful truth.  Mickey is a humanist.  He thinks for himself about everything… even matters of religion.  How horrible!

“Tell me, oh great and powerful, Vishnu, will I be offered 99 virgins in paradise if I kill him for you?”

“No, Singh-Rama O’Malley.  You are simply being stupid and superstitious.  And besides, that particular superstition doesn’t belong to my religion.  You are mixing things up.”

“Oh, sorry, Lord Vishnu.  But is it okay if I don’t kill myself for my error?”

“Singh-Rama, you are a child of the universe… no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding… as it should.”  (Note; These last words are the words of the poet Max Ehrmann in his wise poem, Desiderata.)

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Filed under philosophy, Uncategorized

A Sense of Wonder

Flower val memeI have told you repeatedly (if you are foolish enough to read more of my blog than is probably healthy for normal people) that I am a pessimist.  Like Benjamin Franklin, I believe it is best to always prepare for the worst that can happen and actually expect it.  With current gun laws in this nation, and the way corrupt politicians and businessmen continue to profit off the suffering of the rest of us, and people’s basic selfishness and cruelty to others in word, thought, and deed, we rarely get a glimpse of anything but the worst of human nature.  We are never disappointed when we expect the worst to happen.  And yet, since I am never taken by surprise by bad things, only by unexpected good things, all that is surprising is wonderful and made up of very good things.  Human beings are capable of amazing goodness and works of wonder, not in spite of their many failings, but because of them.  The miracle of life is how the lowly worm turns into a beautiful butterfly.  How the tiny brown seed becomes the brightly colored blossom in a vast field of other flowers.

swallowtail

When I tell others that I believe that people are basically good and that I believe all students can learn, I often get an argument.  Mass shooters like we had last week and wars and terrorists crop up by the multitudes in order to refute my belief.  People who think I am an atheist tell me i’m being a hypocrite to think we should operate our lives around facts and proof and then hold a difficult-to-prove belief like this.  Maybe it is an act of faith… but an act of faith that my theocratic friends call a belief in humanism, which they prefer to see as something from Satan.  Well, I do believe in God.  I just don’t believe in a god who waves a magic wand and intervenes.  I believe that God Jehovah (or possibly Allah or the godhead or whatever you want to name Him) made us like the flower seed, meant to grow and transform, and to be winnowed like grain by the winds and rains of life experience.  Not all flowers blossom.  But more of them do when you water and weed and nurture them.  And what is true for flowers is true for men and women.  What can I say more about human beings to convince you that I am not wrong to be in awe of them… even the weedy ones?  Probably nothing.  If you are not open to such ideas, you haven’t read this far.  But whether you read this far or not, I am fascinated by you, and will always want to know more.  And I am not going to start a new church or something.  I am merely going to continue to watch and to wonder.

Not Alone

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Filed under humor, Paffooney, philosophy

Goofball Conspiracy and Nuthouse Nonsense

If you read my blog more than just taking the passing flyby notice of the odd Paffooney picture, you may have noticed the fact that I have many unfortunate mental quirks basted in a flavorful sauce of vivid imagination and fatally high intelligence.  I am too smart to live, most of the time, and so my mental quirk about constantly searching conspiracy information is probably a self-destructive attempt to get hold of seriously secret information that will probably get me killed.  But conspiracy theories are dangerous in more than just the paranoid delusional way that somebody like Alex Jones always perceives it.

b780bda0f5dba4d43d764bc35a5bed4c9618662a1fd433ffd9ca3526cd072530Since I already mentioned the Infowars  rage-clown, let me talk a little bit about how Alex Jones is a truly dangerous force crying about sinister suppositories of conspiracy constantly…  I do not follow the man.  His website takes all kinds of conspiracy-type information and puts it through the grinder of his manic-orangutan persona and turns it all into a giant salad of poop and nuts covered in puree of mystery meat.  The truth is sometimes in there, but all mangled and bunged-up.  For instance, he claims that the Sandy Hook shooting of all those innocent children and heroic teachers was a false-flag operation by the government.  He claims that no children were actually killed… the event was staged…  The government is simply trying to turn public opinion against gun owners and wants to threaten Second Amendment rights.  Gene Rosen, one of the people who heroically helped students fleeing from the Newtown shooting, was harassed by phone calls calling him a “government stooge”.  Jones’ true believers are not smart enough to leave things like this alone.  They take it upon themselves to press the matter and rub salt in the wounds.  In fact, some Alex-Jones-true-believer criminal types stole the memorial for Grace McDonnell and Chase Kowalski, two seven-year-olds who died at Sandy Hook Elementary, because they didn’t actually exist… they weren’t actual children… and then they phoned those children’s parents to taunt them… all in the name of Infowars’ version of the truth.

Here is the article I used as the source for my information;  Why Conspiracy Theories Aren’t Harmless Fun

These facts about conspiracy theories and the people involved in them make me physically ill over the fact that I am also a believer in some very prominent conspiracy theories.  But unlike Alex Jones, I don’t pull things out of a Pandora’s box of paranoia and mental cesspools.  I try very hard to site my sources and choose them critically.   I believe that John F. Kennedy was assassinated, not by a lone gunman, and probably not by Lee Harvey Oswald at all.  There was a massive conspiracy.  I have dug into the roots of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK.  I know who Jim Garrison is… who Guy Bannister and Cord Meyer are… I know about the mysterious history of questionable deaths of witnesses to the shooting and where the efforts at cover-up become apparent enough to know that somebody powerful was behind the whole thing.  But, although I think I know who and why… there is not enough evidence to name names and try to prosecute anyone.  Kennedy’s death was an important blow to the architecture of my childhood.  It combined with other terrible things to take away any chance I may have had to grow up innocent and happy.  Pursuing the truth will haunt me for the rest of my days.

And there are other places where I want to believe.  How about aliens?  I wrote a comic novel or two about that.  There is a source of endless comedy and clowns.

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But I am a believer here also.  The thing about Roswell and the numerous flying saucer incidents that have grown into an entire conspiracy subculture is that so much of it can be traced back to ingenuous and credible witnesses.  Many of them not only had nothing to gain from lying, many of them lost their reputations, their careers, and sometimes even their lives because they tried to tell us truthfully what they witnessed.

I promised to back that sort of assertion up, so one of the sources of my belief is the astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon.  Here is a video readily available on YouTube to let you hear it in his own words.

I apologize for dumping my strange obsessions on you simply to feed monsters lurking in my silly, questioning head.  I have to make sense of the world for myself, and I do it here in writing.  I pulled you in with the promise of humor, and while I may have salted this essay with a bit of that, I have basically tried to convince you of my pet conspiracies.  Forgive me.  For as long as I keep blogging (especially when I am trying to do it every day and need things to talk about) I will continue to try these same tricks.  Watch me carefully.  Hold me to a standard of truth that makes me better than Alex Jones.

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Filed under aliens, conspiracy theory, humor

Rooster Riding

Image

 

Do I believe in the little people?  Of course not.  If Tinkerbell depends on me, she is dead meat… or maybe dead fairy dust.

But if they do exist, then they are like the rooster riders in my picture, exploiting the world in the same way the big old slow ones do.  

They are not our inferiors or our superiors.  They are us.  They mirror us and our beliefs, our dreams… our nightmares, and all the things deep within us that could ever possibly go bump in the night.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized