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Charity Needs No God

January 29, 2018 Leave a comment

Hungry men and women gather at shelters. They are seeking meals that are provided by various religious groups. The individuals who believe they are doing God’s work are working to help their fellow humans. The congregations provide the funding, sharing in the warm feeling of doing God’s work, helping people in need. Excellent! But what does God have to do with it?

There is no reason why some God of some religion has to be involved in the good and generous works being performed. The generosity of spirit should suffice to satisfy the practitioners. It should not be necessary to display crosses, crescents, stars and what have you. The fact is that God is a myth, and science has proven it with research and facts. Therefore, the generous people that work to do good for others are really doing it for their internal satisfaction. Perhaps that feeling is what many people take to be the spirit of God within each of us.

The recent death in Montreal of Father John, known as “Pops”, brought out a plethora of people that profess to have been saved by Father John – Pops. The man did truly wonderful, selfless work. He operated a large motorhome-like van in a program known as “Dans La Rue”, which is French for “On The Street”.

Pops and his volunteers go out on the night streets of Montreal and provide meals and drinks to the street people. Some are old people who have lost their way in life. Many are young people seeking a way to survive. They have survived thanks to Pops and his generous program of feeding the needy.

The fact is, Pops could do the same work with the same result without the church and the Father John part. Why is God included? I don’t know, but I’m quite sure there is no God.

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Applause for Atheists

January 19, 2018 Leave a comment

The end of the human burden of religion is upon us. The strength of scientific evidence and the frailties of religious practitioners are taking effect. We won’t live to see it, but I believe there will be a time when all peoples adopt the logical position; God is a myth.

There are two choices; choose faith or choose logic. It’s a difficult question for people that believe in divine design. Their faith tells them to have faith in the myth and continue to support the institution of prayer. There is another way to look at it.

Let’s take a moment to consider a Christian television evangelist. He or she literally says, “Send us money and we’ll prayer for you.” The Catholic Church does the same thing, in a much more elegant way. As the pitchmen say, “it’s the flash”. The Catholic headquarters is the Vatican. It’s a private estate, and tax free. The head guy, the Pope preaches the simple life, humble, generous, and faithful. Oh yes, the faith.

While preaching humility, the church is resplendent with gold, jewels, fabulous artworks and objects of great commercial value. They are but decorations in the Pope’s palace. The costumes are another part of the hustle. Tall hats decorated with valuable metals top off sweeping gowns edged in gold, glittering in light from a hundred candelabra and a thousand candles.

It’s just the church’s way of doing the evangelist’s hustle. They possess magic smoke and magic water. They possess wafers made from God’s son. They possess wine made from Jesus’ blood. It’s a powerful hustle and works on the same people that send money to evangelists for a vial of water.

I am encouraged that the myth grows weaker. Atheist broadcasters gain cheers and applause when making points about the futility of belief in a God, any God. They are all simply a bloodthirsty, greedy hustle. If you’re a believer, get over it.

I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ God!

January 9, 2018 1 comment

Some missions to help the poor and disadvantaged do necessary, generous work. In Toronto, The Scott Mission was a landmark. In Montreal, The Old Brewery Mission does all it can for the lost spirits on the streets. I speak out of turn because I’ve never been in either of those establishments. I go by news stories and movies with scenes that depict the true activities.

Most often, a strong religious overtone hangs like a threat over the humble, hungry citizens. Usually Christian I expect, with similar establishments by Muslims, Jews, and the rest of the divisions of godliness.

I do as much good as I can. I live the most honest life I am able to, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal. I don’t mean I’ve never done anything bad or illegal in my life, I just mean that on a day to day basis, I do my level best to be right and good. I don’t believe in God, nor have I ever. I was raised within a religion, I accepted schooling in the meanings of the rituals, but I never believed that an all-powerful God was taking notes.

I have experienced vile behavior by devout, orthodox, religious people. I have experienced superb, dignified behavior by completely atheistic people. They don’t need a God to drive them away from wrong and into what is right. I need no God, because if I was to have one, it would not be a God, just a god. It would be nature throughout the universe, through eternity and infinity, wherein seeming miracles happen every day.

Feed the hungry. Heal the sick. Shelter the homeless. You don’t really need a God influence in it. It is good, generous and right to give, god or no god. Many church going people are evil and dishonest in other parts of their lives. Many atheists are totally honest, with the community and with themselves. No God required, thank you.

A Most Infectious Virus

November 30, 2017 Leave a comment

It spreads like hate. The source is unknown, it infects young children who grow up and sustain it. The virus is perilously infectious and permanently spreads through families. Fathers and mothers tell sons and daughters about it, and so it spreads. The virus is destructive and insidious. Millions of people pass away every year, carrying the virus until their death. Specialists that minister to the infected wear cloaks or uniforms to signal their specialty.

Good parents work to prepare their children for life. Children are warned that fire is hot, do not touch it. Stay away from water because it can drown people. Be sure to look both ways before you cross a street. We are Christians, we believe in god and Christ. And so the child is ‘told’ the virus. If you had not been told your religion and your beliefs, would you have that religious belief? The loving parents that prepared you for some realities in life told you your religion and your beliefs.

I was told I was a Jew. I went to a synagogue school to learn the Jewish language. I had training to perform in Hebrew at my bar mitzvah, the ritual celebration when a boy reaches the age of 13, and he is taken into the Jewish fold as a man.

Immediately after my bar mitzvah, I quit the synagogue, the Hebrew school, and all the ritual nonsense about what to eat, what to not eat, how to behave on certain days, when to fast, how to honour the Sabbath and so on, to ridiculous extremes.

Common sense tells me it’s all bunk. The priest with the funny hat, long gown in brocade fabrics, holy water, candles, smoke, scrolls – it’s all baloney, be it Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and so many other false gods.  It’s all made up bunk by superstitious old people far in the ignorant past. There is no god and religion is a con.

The Plight of the Originals

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

A few hundred years ago, North America was sitting between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, pretty much as it is now. It was not barren, and it was not deserted. It was populated by indigenous people, living quietly and peacefully, with an abundance of land to share.

cheyenne-indian-prisoners

People of the Cheyenne tribe, captured outside of their reservation, awaiting ‘deportation’

The same consuming greed of Europeans who first settled in Canada and the USA is visible in the behavior of the 21st century oligarchs, with Donald Trump as poster boy. In those early days of settling, newcomers were staking claims on large tracts of land. Why? How? Was this land theirs because they stuck a flag in it? Is the moon theirs because they stuck a flag in it?

The invasion of North America by foreign powers is an historic outrage. Considering Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower as wonderful notes in history is to take a very selfish view. The people whose land this really was are the real native North Americans. They are the people that were here for thousands of years, not our puny hundreds of years.

The real outrage is: the people who actually belong on this land are relocated. Back in the day, they were treated like animals, robbed of dignity as well as property. With gun powder against arrows, the newcomers slaughtered with bullets and disease. Thereafter, the rightful residents were shipped off to designated areas, in spite of the fact that they live off the land, and what land they’re on makes an important difference.

apache-indian-prisoners

Apache tribe people captured off their ‘reservation’, waiting for the train to return them.

I remember reading a book by Daniel Boone, in which he told of getting his gang together and preparing to go out to “shoot Indians.” Some American hero, huh?

We can never make restitution for the horrors wrought by our forefathers. Even to this day in the 21st century, northern native peoples live in constant discomfort. It is wrong.

The Sheeny Man

October 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Sheeny man

In the 1950s, one could still see horse-drawn carts on the city streets. Some were the bread men, some were the ice men, some were the milk men, and some were the sheeny men. My sheeny man was Mr. Mintz, and his old horse was Annie.

I say he was my sheeny man because he was the only one I ever met or spoke with. Not too much speaking, of course, because I speak English and he spoke Yiddish. I worked on the weigh scale at a large scrap yard. Mr. Mintz came with Annie and the cart full of scrap about once a week.

It was not good scrap, in fact we’d really rather not have it. It usually consisted of old rusty bedsprings and tin oil cans. It cost more to have two men take it off the cart and throw it onto the scrap heap than it was worth. However, Mr. Mintz was a quiet, poor, religious man, so we accepted his scrap, doubled the weight and paid double the value.

One Friday afternoon, Mr. Mintz clopped through the scrap yard gate and positioned Annie so the wagon was on the scale. I weighed the wagon with the load and Mr. Mintz guided Annie to where two of the yard workers could drag the bedsprings, tin cans and rusty pieces of metal off of the cart and onto the scrap heap.

It was the end of my day at the yard. I weighed Mr. Mintz’s empty cart and subtracted the light weight from the loaded weight and paid for the difference. As usual, we cheated in Mr. Mintz’s favour and gave him double the value of his load. I realized that Mr. Mintz would be eager to get home before sundown, in time for the evening Sabbath prayers.

I left the office in time to see Annie and Mr. Mintz clopping along Carmody Street. I had always wondered what Mr. Mintz’s life might be like. Where does he keep his cart? Where does he keep Annie? On impulse, I decided to track Mr. Mintz to his lair. It was a mild evening, I was only 18, and Annie was slow. I could follow him on foot for as far as he was going.

I was surprised that it was barely six blocks to Mr. Mintz’s destination. At first, I was surprised that he went to Bellaire Boulevard, a wide residential street with large, elegant mansions on both sides. These mansions had long since ceased to be single family dwellings with servants. They are rooming houses, divided into small flats, but still, the boulevard is elegant, with old, large maple trees overhanging the street, casting cool shadows.

Annie crossed Bellaire and clopped past the street of mansions until she turned right into a back lane that ran behind the walled, mansion properties. Most of them had old sheds, garages, or parking areas accessible through the lane.

The horse stopped at a row of sheds, taller than the others around it. Mr. Mintz climbed down from the wagon and led Annie a bit farther on before he went to an overhead door in one of the sheds and had the horse back the wagon into the shed. With the wagon in the shed, and the horse outside, Mr. Mintz took the tack off of Annie and opened a swinging garage door to lead the horse into a spacious stall.

Mr. Mintz had seen me following him all along. He looked down the lane at me and waved me over. I stood near him as he saw to Annie’s bedding, grain and hay. She had an open window that looked out on the yard of the mansion beyond it. Mr. Mintz asked if I would like to see inside. Obviously, he perceived my fascination, and I jumped at the chance. He closed Annie’s shed and led me to a pedestrian doorway in the third shed.

One large room was neatly laid out and maintained. A small bathroom contained a toilet and old-fashioned bath tub on claw legs. A small kitchen area with a 4 element stove and small refrigerator covered a wall. A Formica counter carried a sink and dish drying rack, with a large window that looks out at the garden behind the mansion.

There was a full bookcase, but there was no television. An easy chair beside a reading lamp completed the room’s furnishings. I asked where he slept. He opened a door in the wall that faced Annie’s shed. There was a bed between Mr. Mintz’s shed and Annie’s shed. He said he liked to sleep close to her. Her body heat gave him comfort, and his presence gave Annie peace.

I walked back to my car, contemplating the life of Mr. Mintz, the Sheeny man. He was as happy and satisfied as anyone I ever met.

All Our Gods

October 8, 2017 1 comment

Many years ago there was a popular documentary film called, “Mondo Cane” (Konay). It depicted outrageous acts and traditions among various societies, either modern or primitive. There was one sequence in which a small airplane flew over the village of a primitive tribe. It was the only plane they’d ever seen, so it caused much consternation among the simple people.

The sight and sound of the aircraft led the tribal leaders to conclude that it must be a god. The tribe gathered lengths of bamboo with which to build a tower, perhaps 20 meters tall. At the top of the tower was constructed a crude, bamboo version of the small, single engine aircraft.

The new god had the appearance of a basic Piper Cub airplane, with a tail and rudder, and wing-like protrusions out from its sides. The tribe worshipped their new god. They developed holy dances and holy rituals. Annual festivals were held in adoration of the answer to all problems – a bamboo replica of a small aircraft.

The god of that simple, primitive tribe is every bit as valid as any other god. No god is any better or any worse than the bamboo tower god, because there actually is no god at all, nor is one necessary.