THE ANGRY OLD MAN
MY THOUGHTS AND VIEWS
Some years ago, before I had a computer, I began to write down some of my views and thoughts about the world. Something to leave to my grandkids so they might under- stand their ol' gramps just a little better. What you will find here is some of that material.
The views and opinions expressed here are subject to change and have changed over the years. No one, at least no one should, stay static in their thinking. Change happens, we learn new things, rethink old ideas. We learn. The only time you stop learning is when you are dead.
I would like to start off with this simple but important rule of life: EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE, AND IF YOU ARE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE, YOU CAN HAVE, BE, OR DO ANYTHING YOU WANT. If my grandkids don't learn anything else from me, I hope they do learn this simple fact of life.
That price can take many forms and only you can decide if the benefits are worth the price. Do you want to be a professional in a particular field or sport, then hard work and dedication is the price. If you feel that the extra effort is worth the benefits of reaching your goal, then do it. This is not a one time thing. You will have to make this choice many times in your life. In my personal life, in order to make the money that was needed to provide us with what I felt was needed, I had to work jobs I didn't like, work hours I didn't like. But that was a price I had to pay for having a good paying job.
Now we come to my opinions and views. What are they, what subjects are they on. Well, they vary, from religion to government to UFO's to schools. So read on and I hope you don't get bored.
This is my favorite subject. Maybe because I like to make people uncomfortable, maybe because what ever you say no one can prove you wrong. Or maybe I'm hoping someone can answer the many questions I have. Because I don't know the answers. I just have a lot of questions and opinions.
I find the discussion of religion both interesting and stimulating because there are no "right" answers. It evokes very strong and emotional reactions in others, especially when I disagree with their belief or viewpoint. It also gives me a perspective of the other person that I wouldn't normally get.
WILL I GO TO HELL?
I don't know. Is there a hell to go to? Many of those that I discuss religion with are sure I'll go to hell. Why? Because I have the audacity to disagree with their views and beliefs. They also like to label me as an atheist. I am not an atheist. But I do like to pull their strings.
WHAT DO I BELIEVE?
That's a hard question to answer because I'm not sure myself. I don't disbelieve in God, but then I can't blindly accept, without more proof that has been presented, the idea of an all knowing benevolent God either. I have to say, based on the evidence we have today, I just don't know. If I did have to put a tag on my beliefs and feelings, I would have to say I fall in as a secular humanist, at least in sprit if not in practice. If you'll not sure what a humanist is, I've included a link to the Humanist Web Site, which tells what the humanist philosophy is.
BELOW ARE A FEW QUOTES, MADE BY OTHERS, MORE EDUCATED AND BETTER AT EXPRESSING THEIR VIEWS, THAN I AM. BUT THEY DO EXPRESS WHAT I FEEL ABOUT THE SUBJECT AND I AGREE WITH THEIR COMMENTS. THAT'S WHY I CHOSE THESE PARTICULAR QUOTES.
1.The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything. Once God is accepted as the first cause of everything which happens in the mortal world, nothing is left to chance or change. Religious mania is one of the few infallible ways of responding to the world's vagaries, because it totally eliminates pure accident. To the true religious maniac, it's all on purpose.
2. Humans are meaning-seeking animals and even the illusion of meaning will do. True or false, it doesn't matter, as long as what is believed is emotionally satisfying.
3. Man believes what man wants to believe.
4. Postulating a heaven gives man an out for having been unable to retain the paradise he was given here on earth.
5. Humans have made up their minds that if some- thing shouldn't exist, then it can't.
6. The human capacity for self-deception, willing to believe what we want to believe, is another major stumbling block on the road to truth.
7. Faith is the gift of believing without evidence.
8. The drive to convert people's minds and hearts has caused more grief more suffering, more loss of life than any desire for property, riches or even the necessities of survival.
9. You always have a hard time convincing people to do anything on the basis of logic. But put the same thing in emotional terms and they're ready to act.
WHAT ARE MY VIEWS OF THE BIBLE?
One of the problems that religious minder individuals have with me is that I don't consider the Bible, or any of the other "Holy Books" of the major faiths, to be divinely inspired or the definitive word of any Supreme Being. Why do I feel this way?
1. One of the very first and basic questions I have is: "Who were the individuals who wrote the various manuscripts that make up the Bible", or the varied other "Holy Books". Were they scholars of that era or just common men. What motivated them to write? Was it an honest effort to record what happened or an effort to promote a particular belief? Were they an eye-witness to what they recorded, or is this handed down from other individuals.
2. A second set of questions, mainly about the Christian Bible, centers around the choice of manuscripts that make up the Bible. Apparently there were a large number of religious writings to chose from. I ask, a) What individual or individuals decided what and what wouldn't be included. b) What was the basis of their selections. Was it a scholarly attempt to record accurately what had happened earlier or were they looking for material that would support their particular beliefs. Did they ignore or destroy material that didn't support their belief.
3. Then we have the language of the original manuscripts as well as the numerous translations and interpretations that have been made over the years. How are we to know if the text we are reading today is an accurate translation of the original text. How much did the personal beliefs of those doing the translation affect their work. How much "emotional effect" did they employ to make it more interesting.
4. Two examples of what I mean in number three; A Bible Scholar claims that the term "ANGEL", which has special meaning and connotations for Christians, simply means "Messenger". Now 'messenger' in no way has the emotional effect that 'angel' does. Another example he points out is the story of Lot's wife turning to a pillar of stone. He says that the original text translates as "having an heart attack". Who, in the long list of translators, decided that having a heart attack wasn't exciting enough and changed it to changing into a pillar of stone. What else have they changed.
5. A few years ago a group of Christian Scholars released a report that redefined the role that Jesus played. Spurred by new findings in two ancient libraries, the DEAD SEA SCROLLS discovered in Palestine in 1947 and the NAG HAMMADI manuscripts found in Egypt in 1945, these scholars say that : a) Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. b) Jesus had brothers and sisters and Mary was not a virgin. c) Jesus said only about 18% of the words and phrases attributed to him. c) he didn't rise from the dead.
6. The above material appears in a book by some of these scholars titled, THE FIVE GOSPELS. Another book that has caused a stir in Christian circles is John Crossan's book JESUS, A REVOLUTIONARY BIOGRAPHY. This author says that Jesus was a political agitator who never claimed to be divine.
7. One last item should not be forgotten when discussing the Bible. And that is the Bible is not the only Holy Book that is accepted as the word of God. Every major religion or belief has it's DIVINELY INSPIRED writings that is used to justify and validate their beliefs and actions.
8. So, to end this, WHICH HOLY BOOK IS THE TRUE WORD OF GOD. Or is any of them?
Some general comments concerning religion
Why do we have religion? Religion seems to have features that enhance survival and reproduction. It also promotes the bonding together of tribal groups. It makes the idea of mortality bearable, mortality being the curse of conscious intelligence.
Further, religion played an important role in organizing information about the world in mythic form before science undertook more naturalistic explanation.
A FEW TRUTHS ABOUT RELIGION! 1. No one knows if God exist, or any other supreme being. You may believe, have faith, accept, assume, feel, etc. but you don't know. No one has any special knowledge that everyone else on this earth doesn't have.
2. For the sake of convenience, lets say God does exist. No human being on earth has any idea of what God feels, thinks, wants or does. You can postulate, predict, think, assume or feel, but in the true sense of knowing something, you don't know. The lowest drunk in the alley has as much knowledge about what God thinks, wants, etc. as does the highest church official of any religion.
3. All religions, by their existence, are both dictatorial and oppressive. They cannot tolerate dissension, conflicting views or beliefs or different interpretations. To accept any other view or belief weakens their own doctrine.
4. There has always been a priest class. A group of individuals who claim special knowledge about how their fellow man should live. They are safe in making these rules because no one can dispute their claims that God told them the rules.
5. The priest class, and religion, has risen as a result of man-kinds inherent need to explain his existence and why he's here.
6. Most individuals who claim to be looking for a spiritual truth are in reality just looking for support for their own myopic narrow minded belief. They need justification for their actions.
7. God is a creation of man in response to death. We can't defeat death, we don't know what, if anything, is after death. Death is a mystery and something to fear. To combat this we invented a hereafter inhabited by God.
8. Education is a threat to most fundamentalist. They rely on half-truths, innuendos and ignorance to promote their agenda. They play on our ignorance. They often use big important sounding words. They get someone with a PHD to make it sound official. We don't know, so we can't dispute their word. We are awed by the PhD behind their name.
9. Do we want the truth? Or are we like those in Africa who won't accept the fact that the deadly virus Embolia is a physical threat. They want it to be magic. That way they aren't to blame for their actions which foster the spread of the virus. Instead of taking responsibility for our actions we like to say "the devil made me do it" or "it was Satan's work". It lets us off the hook.
10. Now If you can get past or ignore the outcries of blasphemy, being labeled a heretic, being Satan controlled and the out-burst of the radical right, then here are a few questions you can ask:
a) Who were the SONS OF GOD who mated with the DAUGHTERS OF MAN that is told in Genesis. Is this an eyewitness account, mythology, or an embellishment by the translators.
b) Who were the giants that the Bible says roamed the world. Were they visitors from outer space. Or maybe descendants from an earlier civilization.
c) Could man be an experiment placed on earth by some other race or scientists. Or maybe we are the offspring's of a mating between the primitive people that were here and the survivors of a stranded UFO. Never say never!
Now that you know my basic views on religion take a look at some of my other views and opinions. Let me know what you think.
The Angry Old Man