Atheism Isn’t Supposed To Be A Luxury

http://i2.wp.com/thebluegrassskeptic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/think.jpgI recently attended a freethinker meet up in my area. I was looking forward to the meeting since we were all bringing food to donate to a local food bank called the Freestore Foodbank. This is a cause I’m always up and ready to contribute my time to since I know pretty often what it’s like to live on a scrap food budget. My cupboard is chock full of discounted food like scratch and dent can goods, re taped dry good boxes, and tons of dollar bags of beans and rice. Yes, I appreciate all too well the assistance of a food bank.

This group get together wasn’t just about the food drive though. There was also a guest speaker by the name of Derrick Strobl, who was visiting on behalf of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio. His visit was to better clarify what humanism was all about. In that process, he shared quite a bit of his personal experiences as a youth that brought him along the path to becoming a humanist. imagesThere were several stories he related that I had completely identified with. I was probably shaking my head in agreement during most of his talk without even realizing I was doing so. One story in particular was to do with a Sunday school class, and being taught via a construction paper book, the colors of salvation: black is sin, red is the blood of christ, white is purity, and gold represented Heaven.

I distinctly remember this same lesson, but not with a homemade booklet. My teacher used large cuts of fabric in those colors, and he would drape himself with them as he explained each one. Except, he had two black drapes instead of one. This youth pastor would always start with the black of sin, explaining how it permeates every aspect of who we are. Then he would wrap over Christ’s redeeming blood, which cancelled out the sin for those who repented. White, being purity, was the result of said redemption. And then he would drape the yellow-gold cloth on the cross on the wall by the podium, explaining we had eternal reward waiting for us since we accepted God.

resized_creepy-willy-wonka-meme-generator-oh-you-became-a-youth-pastor-you-had-such-a-promising-future-as-a-film-actor-617011Then our pastor would get very quiet, still clutching the mis cut draperies around his body, nothing showing but the toes of his shoes and his stern face bobbling on his exposed neck. He would walk over to the second piece of black cloth, telling us how once we accepted God there was no going back to sinning. If you went back to sinning? He would then dramatically cover the previous three layers with the extra piece of black cloth saying seriously, his eyes looking almost wrathful,”You get nothing but darkness in your life. No rewards. No blessings. Nothing.” That son of a bitch would walk around like that the rest of the lesson! I must have seen this routine at least half a dozen times while attending that church, and it always riveted me.

It did more than that really. That black cloth quite literally colored my thinking. It covered every redeeming quality I thought I had going for myself. Just knowing that any good I had done could be so quickly discounted to nothing because of sin really upset me. imagesI already was living in a home of impossible standards. Now this? I was overwhelmed. Of course, I knew that all I would have to do was pray for forgiveness every time I sinned, but how many times were allowed? Was there a limit to how much sinning I could be forgiven for? And I was also skeptical. If you pray for forgiveness, part of your motivation is trying to keep on God’s good side, so was it really genuine repentance if part of your brain evenly remotely worried about going to Hell and wanting forgiveness to avoid it?

I believe in my case, lessons like the colors for salvation do more harm than good. At least, the way my youth pastor delivered it wasn’t the best example. I left those speeches always focused on trying to be rid of sin. I never invested time in the purity part because I was constantly praying to be forgiven for thinking about my mom in mean ways, or for sneaking into the pantry and having eaten half the canister of the French’s fried onions. There was never any purity because all I saw were the mistakes I made. That programming is still very much present my mind today. It is very hard for me to recognize any benefit I bring to the table in relationships, whether they are personal or social. For my entire childhood my home echoed with constant criticism of who I was.

Some have often told me after hearing this part of my Bible studies as a child that obviously my church focused more on “talents” than grace. Grace, which according to some and not others, should be all you need to get into Heaven. Which never made sense to me either. Why have a judgement day if I accepted God? Does it matter how much I sinned if I’m automatically saved by grace? I thought you didn’t lose grace. confusion_bibleThese were questions I never received a good answer to simply because no one could completely agree. I walked away from the question with the idea that I’m saved by grace, but the palace high life is optional. After all, why should I care if I had a nice palace or lived on the streets of Heaven? I mean, we’re talking about Heaven here. Anywhere in Heaven. A street corner was suitable enough to me so long as I didn’t burn forever.

This type of psychological abuse was taught to me in church, and taught to me at home. This is all I’d come to learn about understanding myself in the first twenty-five years of my life. The phrase “It’s all your fault” became “It’s all Kate’s fault” and I embraced it wholeheartedly, totally believing that there was always something I was doing wrong that was ruining the happiness of others. But it didn’t stop at just letting myself be the whipping boy so to speak. No, this programming took an even more sinister turn as I got older.

So, if I was black with sin, God could reject me. Essentially, He could potentially take away that which Jesus–which is ironically part of Yahweh in mortal form–granted me. Kind of like the way my parents would take away their approval of me over the littlest of things, and it was such a bear to earn that favor to begin with. Or like the way a lover demands the return of all he has invested after a break up, even if the relationship lasted nearly fifteen years. And sure enough, my distrust of those offering help, gifts, and even love, was born. civilization-5Everything had a hook, and I decided that I just wasn’t a good risk to bet on. The hook wasn’t a normal type of tit for tat catch though. The hook was something worse. It was a disbelief that this person really knew who I was and still wanted to be with me, and at some point I was going to trip a switch and send this person running for the hills angry and hurt by me. This led to a very controlling nature about my environment, my personal possessions, and willingness to be vulnerable. Distance became my best friend. Despair flavored every sip of life I tried to drink.

This is just one small layer of the damage I’ve been peeling away year by year, day by day, sometimes hour by hour. I went through a lot in order to get myself out of the emotional battering of my mind in a religious community, and the physical abuse still follows me around. But there are those who have it worse. There are those who are stuck. Completely helpless at the mercies of a doctrine they don’t even want to believe! Some of the things these closeted skeptics go through easily dwarf my own experiences growing up religious.Sophia-trapped Can you imagine being denied contact with the outside world if you don’t attend church? What about mandatory corporal punishment when you’re nearly twenty years old? There are things that go on in this country that many in the atheist/skeptic/humanist societies do not realize. Some say,”How hard can it be to say no and just move out?” If you aren’t raised in an environment where you have personal liberty, it’s hard to even realize you can say no to begin with.

Take the story of Lauren and Jennifer. Home schooled in a Christian setting. Mother controls nearly every aspect of what they think, do, dress, eat, or even read. No major extra curricular events. Total isolation. No freedom. The eldest sister gets out, but had to leave her younger sister behind. Her sister almost didn’t go to college because her parents took the liberty of planning her life for her. No choice in the matter. The sisters had to communicate secretly since all email and phone calls were monitored. Christ, the younger sister wasn’t even allowed a key to the house. It took until her 18th birthday to get out, and her older sister had to come and get her. That mad dash for freedom still ended up in a physical altercation with their mother. Without her older sister, Jennifer might not be attending college, possibly set up for marriage by a man of her father’s choosing.

the-big-prison-family-orange-is-the-new-black-35320444-600-369Now, this isn’t the norm, but it isn’t uncommon either. Most religious families aren’t going to let one of their members “just say no and move out”. You’re their property because you’re their child. That’s how you are viewed, even in biblical doctrine. And I’ve seen instances of extreme control like I showcased above in families where all the children are grown and in their thirties. If you substituted mom with boyfriend or girlfriend in the story of Lauren and Jennifer, one would automatically think this was a notable domestic abuse situation. And this is where the problem lies. Many atheists do not recognize that the type of control exerted on Lauren and her sister is indeed domestic abuse. The only difference is that the violence is being perpetrated by a parent in the name of belief. In this country, it’s pretty much a protected type of abuse unless it makes headlines because of a “God told me to drown my kids” type of situation.

ignoranceI ran into this the other night at a Freethinker meeting I had attended. At the end of the meeting, when everyone kind of wanders around and takes a few minutes to talk with the guest speaker or event organizers, I took a few minutes to ask a few members about what the group does to help those wanting to escape, or are just biding their time while hiding their growing disbelief. Looks of confusion greeted the question. I clarified a little bit, explained I was wondering if there were any support for individuals who were literally trapped in religiously abusive situations, like with family that won’t let them leave the home, or those who are subjected to excessive priest interventions because a mother cannot handle her child rejecting God. The reply I received from one was,”I wasn’t aware that these kind of situations occurred.”

Now, I’m not in any way trying to criticize someone’s ignorance. How can I? If you didn’t know, you didn’t know. To clarify, it was explained to me that Recovering From Religion has branches within both of these skeptic groups, which I am thankful to hear. The guest speaker’s own organization has crisis line information to be offered as well, but not in relation to domestic abuse. This initial lack of understanding was probably a surprise to me and these two members I spoke with. More than anything though, it really highlighted what I’ve been seeing in attitude around the web and at other skeptic groups the last eighteen months.

indexAtheism has become a thing of privilege.

I’m not talking about money here. I’m talking about privilege of personal freedom. While atheist and humanist groups all over the United States will have guest speakers who escaped cults like the Branch Davidians, or former ex-Muslim soldiers who are now atheist, there is almost zero dialog about those escaping the mainstream Christian faith. I expect this lack of coverage if I were attending a faith ministry, but not a skeptic society. There is a genuine need for activism on the parts of the helpless in the Christian faith community. If you read the story I linked to Lauren and her sister, you can see that even their own faith community didn’t want to step up until after things had reached critical mass and their mother had physically struck Jennifer in the face. And it seems the skeptic community hasn’t even reached that place yet.

I don’t know if it is a situation where unbelievers want to see that others in their community have “earned their stripes”, or if religious domestic abuse isn’t a territory we’re ready to start addressing head on. But for all the cries of how religious indoctrination shouldn’t be forced on the young, that religion doesn’t belong in the classroom, and teaching children that they are grievously imperfect is abuse, how can we not be ready? I would wager if more cases of domestic abuse of a religious nature were brought to court, we might see a clearer path to more definitive legislation that guarantees the right to choose what you believe without abusive retribution.signmonkies

Look how we rally against towns that have a large Haredi Jew majority that won’t allow their women to drive? The cause for the disbelievers at the mercy of religious parents isn’t any different in importance, regardless of the brand of faith. Right now there are grown men who had to move back home to be able to finish college, and if his parents have made it clear he must renew his faith or leave to the streets. Don’t you see? We do have a social form of Sharia being practiced in this country already, and it isn’t just utilized by some members of Islam, but by its sister’s believers in Christianity.

emma_goldman_quote_4Atheism is about liberty of thought. The freedom of self to decide what you want to believe or not. There are many who know they don’t believe, know they need out, but they don’t know how to accomplish this. This is where many humanism and atheism groups could step in and at the very least have information to succeed in doing so safely. I’m not saying we need a team of special atheist forces to storm castles and rescue people, but sometimes just simply having a resource to vent with, a regular meeting once a month, or even an anonymous online group, just to have a haven for information to be shared can make a huge difference in the lives of those who are trapped.

For those who would like to read more about the types of difficulties today’s generation of youth face when coming out atheist, please check out this link. Here is a prime example of the absolute extortion some grown adults go through even when they are out in the open atheists. The problem is real.

Brother Jeff Responds to Brother Derek

I have recently been carrying on an interesting and amusing conversation with a very religious Catholic named Brother Derek. He wants the Lard Jesus to magically do something about my glorious Facebook Page and my glorious website. LOL… 🙂 Here’s the conversation so far, and as far as I am concerned, it has run it’s course…

Brother Derek
May 2nd, 7:38am
Jesus I surrender this to you , please take care of it …

Brother Derek
May 6th, 8:25am
live in your nothing world and have no final eternity which is what we are chosen for

Religion is Bullshit
May 20th, 6:00pm
Are you expecting your Imaginary Friend to magically do something about my glorious Page?

Religion is Bullshit
May 20th, 6:01pm
None of us is going to live forever. When we die, we really die! Enjoy this life while you have it because it’s the only one you are ever going to get!

Brother Derek
May 20th, 6:41pm
another man who has only belief in himself just like SOLOMON or SATAN !!!! It is not your knowledge and NOTHING WORLD but it is by the child within us accepting and believing and following his eternal way that we will be brought into his eternal Kingdom which is more wast and beyond anything inside of your pea brained head !!! In Genesis one of the first things he did was to create light which travels at the distance of which is 299792458 meters per second …. and that is only the beginning … or neglect me !!! Persecute me !! Condemn me !!! Sacrifice me !! And say there is nothing !!!

Religion is Bullshit
May 20th, 9:07pm
I believe in plenty of other things besides myself. You obviously don’t have a clue about what atheism is or what it means. Atheism is, quite simply, a lack of belief in a god or gods. Satan (the Talking Snake) obviously doesn’t exist. Heaven doesn’t exist either. The contradictory and absurd Genesis creation myths are laughably hilarious by today’s standards. But if you read the text, you’ll find that plant life was created before the sun was! LOL. Day and night were also created before the sun was. How, exactly can you have Day without light? LOL. I have no interest in persecuting or condemning you, but I do want to see you FREE! Glory!

Brother Derek
May 20th, 9:45pm
and you ain’t seen nothing yet …. the Holy Spirit is within me and is greater and more than each and all of what you demand and need to believe … MIRACLES our what we are !!! We are his light and his way each day to bring in more of his love and friendship FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE … I am not what I was and there is not much I am capable , today , but by him and through him more and more people find him in me and find happiness in there heart from my ability to put myself into burden to help them with their burden which I hope in time they will help me with my burden for it is through his Glory and Power and Kingdom forever and ever Amen Amen …

Religion is Bullshit
May 20th, 9:56pm
Wow. You managed to write an entire paragraph of bullshit! Congratulations! Glory!

The holy spirit doesn’t exist, and you can’t be free and be religious at the same time. It’s impossible. Religion might make people happy temporarily, until they realize that the beliefs are myths and the promises are false.

We are not miracles. There is no such thing as a miracle. Like the rest of the life that exists on this planet, we are the product of millions of years of biological evolution.

Brother Derek
May 20th, 10:05pm
live in your nothing having just it and the HOLY SPIRIT fulfills me helping me to become FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE and I am a KNIGHT OF COLUMBUS and we give $$$1,000 up to $$$$1,000,000,000 saving our world , ending abortions , helping those becoming flooded , tsunami victims , children with disabilities or sicknesses ALL OVER THE WORLD .. for CENTURIES .. Praise GOD Praise his name !!! Praise Jesus !!! Praise Mary !!! Praise Joseph !!! Praise Paul !! Praise Peter !!! Praise Barabus , who , as you , believed he knew all .. and his name is SON OF MAN !!! Praise you !! Celebrate in Thanksgiving for we our a Miracle and a fire for our God .. Amen Amen … Jesus I leave this difficulty up to you .. please take care of it …

Religion is Bullshit
May 21st, 8:24pm
The Holy Spirit doesn’t exist, and you cannot be religious and be FREE at the same time. As I’ve told you before, that is impossible. Praising your Imaginary Friend accomplishes absolutely nothing. Same goes for your other imaginary/dead friends. The Jesus of the Gospels is a myth. The historical Jesus has been dead for a very long time, and he can’t help you do anything about this glorious Page or my glorious website.

Brother Derek
May 21st, 9:04pm
yes he can !! yes he does !! Forever more !! Making me a follower and a Ctholic !!! FREE FREE FREE FREE

Religion is Bullshit
May 21st, 10:26pm
You are not even close to being FREE, Brother Derek. You obviously have religion really bad, but there is hope for you to return to the REAL WORLD! I did it, many others who were trapped in religion have done it, and you can too!

Brother Derek
The real world ?? Lucifer was thrown down from Heaven from being a defiant , prejudice angel , just as a 1/3 of the Angels that disobeyed and were unwilling to follow in GODS way which is what is on Earth and is trying to take from our Eternal GOD , but , sounds like you have nothing , believe in nothing , are nothing and keep living in a negative , SATN consumed fall away position that , as a CAtholic , we ask for you to try and believe in his TRUE way so , you too , may become FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE because either you believe and follow in his way or you are very short in understanding and belief which we are willing to help and expose his true way !!! There are different levels of understanding .. the first .. when you are given something as in food or shelter , that is the first , the second is when you are sending me this insane / backward information because you are taking your time and effort to make an attempt [ WHICH IS WRONG !!! ] to achieve a goal , the third is when you give of yourself entirely for the help of another individual to help them and give to them for their option , and the fourth [ WHICH YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND ] is BELIEF !!!!!!

Brother Derek
May 22nd, 8:08am
I pray for you and beg of the Lords’ mercy to help you and praise you because you are one of his many children !!! Amen Amen !!! Jesus I surrender this to you , please take care of it !!!

Religion is Bullshit
May 25th, 11:50am
Lucifer? Angels? They don’t exist. That’s the stuff of ancient mythology, not reality. As I have told you before, I believe in plenty of things besides myself, and my life is certainly not “nothing’. My life is amazing, and it has great meaning to me. Of course I understand what it means to help others. I do it every chance I get quite happily, and it’s the driving force behind my glorious website. I am passionate about helping others get FREE of religion!

You can pray for me all you want and I do appreciate the sentiment, but it won’t do any good, Prayer, quite obviously, does not work. There is no God out there to hear or respond to it, and the only thing it does is make the person doing the praying feel good for accomplishing absolutely nothing! The “Lord” does not exist and he cannot help me or you or anyone else. The Jesus of the Gospels is a myth, and the historical Jesus has been dead for a very long time…

Brother Derek
May 25th, 2:30pm
Baptisms !! First Communions !!! Penance !! Confirmation !!! Marriage !!! Holy Orders !!
Blessing of past individuals !!! The Eucharist !!! His WIne !!! Jesus I surrender this to you please take care of it !!! I have a 4″ hole in my left forehead that the Almighty Lord helped me to recover and spread of his Spirit and Freedom his has given to me !!! Bless you !! Praise you !!! Celebrate in all Thanksgiving as we have always done to be thankful and praise because we our children !!! Amen Amen !!!

Religion is Bullshit
May 25th, 3:14pm
So you have nothing intelligent to say in response? Just religious nonsense?

Brother Derek, I believe our conversation has run it’s course. Take care, and I wish you well. And, of course, I wish for you to someday soon find FREEDOM from religious belief. Glory!

EDIT: Brother Derek failed to comprehend the fact that our conversation was over. I took the time to respond to him one more time, but I’m not likely to do it again.

Brother Derek
May 25th, 10:00pm
Have you not heard of Elijah ?? Elisha ?? Malachi ?? Ezekiel ?? Zechariah ?? Amos ?? Hosea ?? Mathew ? mark ?? luke ?? John ?? Moses ?? Abraham ?? Saul ? David ?? Solomon ?? Yet you defy and ridicule his word in your own defiance and neglect casting vipers and scorpions as if you believe you are true ?? I AM !!! We are eternally saved and free within his kingdom which will only become available when you say that he is the lord God of all eternal Kingdom , my heart is hardened and torn that another individual I do not know is crucifing me .. sacrificing me .. and you do not know who your brother is and what you eternal spirit and freedom has the ability to achieve by GOD’S LOVE !!!! Amen Amen

Religion is Bullshit
May 25th, 10:54pm
What did you not understand about the fact that our conversation has run it’s course?

Sigh… of course I have heard of those people. I am quite familiar with the Bible and its contents, which is one big reason that I don’t believe it and that it it is impossible for me to take it seriously as the “word” of a god.

Moses and Abraham are mythical. It is extremely likely that they never actually existed. If you knew anything at all about modern biblical scholarship, you would know that. If you knew anything about biblical scholarship, you would know that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not write the gospels that bear their names. The gospels were written anonymously, and the names we know them by were added much later. It may be church tradition that those men wrote the gospels, but it’s NOT reality.

There is no such thing as salvation, and there is no such thing as “saved” or “unsaved”. Those are false distinctions made by a demonstrably false religion. God does not have a kingdom since God does not exist. I do not have a eternal spirit. There is no such thing as a soul or a spirit. Those are the stuff of myth, not reality.

The Bible God is NOT love. The biblical God is a murderous, genocidal maniac who makes Hitler look like an awesome guy by comparison. READ YOUR OWN DAMN HOLY BOOK! If you had, you would know this!

I am FREE, but you are not! Not even close!

I will mock the Bible as much as I care to as publicly as I care to. It’s ridiculous, and it is a huge amount of fun to mock and ridicule it! Glory!

Now… I am DONE with this discussion. Like most religious people, you have completely lost touch with REALITY and you are impossible to reason with. When was the last time you had a rational thought? Ever?

I am not likely to waste my time responding to you again.

There Is A Time And Place To Be A Hero

It seems my workplace has a never-ending fount of social no-no’s and religiously related eye rolling. This is something I kind of value about my job in a small Southern federal office in the Bible Belt. That attitude kind of bit me in the ass the other morning, and it took me a few days to process this because I was completely caught off guard by a supervisor’s audacity during a conversation. I really had to take time to reflect on his motives behind his words.

anotherheroA little background is in order, I guess. First of all, this supervisor is just temporarily wearing the big hat, but he takes the role seriously and is overall likable guy. Yes, he’s religious, and I would even say sometimes a bit pushy about it, but not in a proselytizing kind of way. It just shows through during general conversation sometimes, but he generally doesn’t push his beliefs at you, just shares them. And that is a difference I really appreciate him demonstrating. It’s hard to find folks like this fellow in my area of Kentucky.

So, let’s go back to Saturday morning. I was pretty miserable when I woke up, didn’t want to work, but I am responsible and know there are bills to be paid. I show up, start putting the onslaught of Good Housekeeping and Vogue magazines into their assigned case holders, and try to ignore the growing ache in my abdomen. I have uterine tumors, you see.  I can’t afford a hysterectomy right now, so am just miserably existing with good days and bad days when it comes to cramping, bleeding, and nasty medicinal side effects. I’ve been floating in between pain gauges for almost a year now, and that has obviously affected my depressive side a bit more than normal too.

And I have hay fever. I live in the Ohio Valley. You get the picture of me in Spring pretty clearly now, right?

Cramps, nausea from pills, and sneezing like crazy. This Saturday morning is a bad one, and I’m not really bantering back and forth that much with my case mates like I normally would. Finally, a particularly nasty round of sneezing hits, and a co-worker next to me asks if I’m going to make it. I offhandedly remark that I would gladly take a bullet at this point, he laughs telling me I am awfully dark that morning, and I join him in laughing, making it clear that some days a bullet isn’t so bad to what I have now. After all, a bullet means no more pain a split second after it scrambles my brain against a wall. I was immediately agreed with in my logic, and the two who were agreeing with me know how I am.

melancholyseasI do genuinely wake up hating life sometimes. I do contemplate finally being done. Like many in this world, I’ve lived way too much life for my own good in such a short span of time, and it can be overwhelming sometimes. My coworkers know my dark humor isn’t an attention tactic whatsoever. They know if I could guarantee no pain or hardship for my children, family, and friends, I’d already be gone from this world. There isn’t anything wrong with feeling like this. There isn’t anything wrong with acknowledging this kind of thinking. Obviously I have my priorities straight because I am still living and participating in life. I don’t sit at home and stare at bullets all night, and I most certainly am making the most of my life. I am not a danger to myself or anyone else, so leave my darkness to be what it is. A release of pain.

My supervisor doesn’t understand this about me though. While we’ve had some interesting conversations, they are shallow in nature. Typical discussions of the weather, the volume of magazines we have to deliver, or vacation plans. The big issues of politics, faith, and society rarely grace our talks because he’s a listener of sorts. He’s overheard me interact with others who pushed the lines with me, and I think he already knows what direction I lean if pushed on issues like sexuality, God in schools, and so on. He can’t handle that level of a discourse and doesn’t want to, because it’s work and he does know that work is my sanctuary from such things. Firsthand he has watched me run off Jehovah Witnesses that were harassing us in our vehicle lot. He has watched me step out of my case and identify myself as one of the government benefit receiving “moochers” that my coworkers would rant about being lazy, abusers of the system..

This Saturday morning though, he tried to step into my head, and I know he was oblivious to the fact he stepped into an ocean of melancholic whirlpools and not just a small puddle of humor because he proclaimed, quite loudly I might add,”Kate, if you ever feel that way, you call me.” He cocked his head slightly when he said that, his tone being like someone explaining how to properly slice a cake into eight pieces. An instructor’s voice.

“I mean it. Kate, you call me if you ever feel that way.”

My buddies next to me that were still dealing with their copies of Time magazine quit laughing. I think they realized how just utterly out-of-place our supervisor’s expressed concern was, let alone the manner in how he showed it. All I could do was just awkwardly laugh and shake my head, thanking him and mumbling,”You have no idea…” He immediately went back to his desk work, the incident two seconds in the past and out of sight.

silenceThe whole event struck me off guard. Not because someone disagreed with how I express my tired attitude with life, but the way in which this person displayed their disagreement. I couldn’t tell if he said it so loudly because that is what supervisor’s do when it comes to work matters, or because he was trying to exonerate himself of any responsibility. It’s in the book of wearing the big hat that if an employee shows signs of self harm, counsel them, and I can understand his feeling the need to do so. Generally though, these counseling attempts are privately done, and most certainly not in a teacher voice. The issue never came back up later after I returned from my delivery route either, so it made me question the whole situation even further.

That’s when it occurred to me what happened, and he’s done this in the past right under my nose. He was being a hero in the name of his own conscience. I see this a lot because it’s a typical human trait. We all do it. We see someone making a bad decision, and we just simply advise them not to without any deeper explanation or insistence not too, and wash our hands of the situation. We have absolved our personal responsibility in our own minds. The thing is, there are certain times and places for doing such a thing. On the main floor of your workplace in response to someone’s morbid humor about desiring death? That is not one of those appropriate situations of flippantly washing your hands of someone’s expression about life problems. Sometimes, keeping your mouth shut is the best tactic.

But much like feeling there is a need to express a belief in God when good things happen, or say “Bless you” after every sneeze, my supervisor went into auto pilot mode and responded in what he deemed socially necessary and appropriate to keep his inner voice at bay. He is wearing a big hat, so every situation must have a response, despite the reality this isn’t necessarily true. Keep this in mind before you insist on making yourself feel better about someone else’s situation. When you function in auto pilot, you lose depth, and there will be times you have zero clue how far down to Davie Jones’ locker you have plummeted, which can make a situation far worse than if you had just kept your heroics to yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

Brother Jeff Responds to Brother Believer

Brother Believer left me this glorious comment a few days ago, and I would like to respond publicly.

You seem to be mad at God for some reason. It seems as though you had a close family member of wife or something die and you preyed to god but nothing happened. So you dedicated your life to discrediting and mocking the Bible.I just want to say if you don’t believe in the Bible keep it to yourself. Your so mad at God that you just have to offende all who believe in him?. Its either you don’t believe or you do. Don’t worrie I wont waist my breath on a nonbeliever that go to great lengths to bad mouth the Bible. Mostly cause the Bible say (Matthew 7:6 ►
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.) So that’s you but I will say that the way things are made the sun, human bodies, the way tree and humans depend upon eachother oxygen and carbon, stars,galaxys,and pretty much everything.I find it hard to believe that all this was created out of pure coincidence. I mean come on when you choose to believe in science you literally choose to believe (absolutely nothing created everything) ie the big bang if you believe in that. Even scientist say if the sun was to close it would burn up the earth and if it was to far the earth would freez. I’m sorry but me myself find it hard to believe that it’s like that purely by chance. While the Bible is nonsense to you its makes perfect sense to me. So why knock what I believe in? Just keep it too yourself and keep quite. It also seems you have some form of biblical knowledge so why not just wait to see if the Bible is wrong or right. We will all find out sooner or later

You seem to be mad at God for some reason.

I am not mad at your Imaginary Friend. I don’t believe that God exists, so being mad at him would be silly and a complete waste of time and emotional energy.

It seems as though you had a close family member of wife or something die and you preyed to god but nothing happened.

There have been two instances where family members died horribly of cancer, and very religious family members prayed and, predictably, absolutely nothing happened. One was my step-father’s grandson’s wife. She suffered much and died horribly from breast cancer at the age of 34 a few years ago. Her body was eaten up with cancer and she suffocated to death in the hospital emergency room when both of her lungs collapsed. The doctors could do nothing to save her. I’m sure she had several very religious family members praying for her, yet their god did NOTHING to alleviate her suffering or cure her cancer. That is 100% predictable given that fact that their god doesn’t actually exist. The other instance of cancer in the family was my very religious young cousin’s husband. I don’t recall what kind of cancer he had, but he suffered much and died horribly, and if I remember correctly, he was 27-years old. He had several very religious family members praying for him and their god predictably did absolutely nothing to alleviate his suffering or cure his cancer. However, these instances of cancer in the family where god predictably did absolutely nothing have nothing to do with my lack of belief in a god or gods.

So you dedicated your life to discrediting and mocking the Bible.

I have not “dedicated my life” to this work. But, totally and completely discrediting the Bible is amazingly easy to do and mocking it and silly religious beliefs is a lot of fun! Glory!

I just want to say if you don’t believe in the Bible keep it to yourself.

No, I will not, because the Bible is bullshit and the fundamentalist Christian religion is dangerous and harmful to individual believers and to the world as a whole.

Your so mad at God that you just have to offende all who believe in him?.

I am not mad at your Imaginary Friend and I’m not really concerned about who I offend. Hearing the truth about their holy book and their religious beliefs is predictably going to offend Christians, but I don’t really care. The truth must be told.

Don’t worrie I wont waist my breath on a nonbeliever

That assertion is contradicted by the fact that you took the time to leave me a somewhat lengthy comment.

Mostly cause the Bible say (Matthew 7:6 ►
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.)

Thanks for Insulting me for Jesus and for sharing the love of Jesus in such an glorious way! Glory!

So that’s you but I will say that the way things are made the sun, human bodies, the way tree and humans depend upon eachother oxygen and carbon, stars,galaxys,and pretty much everything.I find it hard to believe that all this was created out of pure coincidence. I mean come on when you choose to believe in science you literally choose to believe (absolutely nothing created everything) ie the big bang if you believe in that. Even scientist say if the sun was to close it would burn up the earth and if it was to far the earth would freez. I’m sorry but me myself find it hard to believe that it’s like that purely by chance.

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about and no idea what science is or how it actually works. That is sadly typical for a Christian. Our universe and our world were not created by coincidence or chance, but by purely natural processes which we now have very good explanations for. Modern cosmology beautifully explains how our universe and world came to be and the science of biological evolution beautifully explains the diversity of life on this planet. As far as the orbit of the Earth goes, the natural forces that determine the orbits of the planets in our solar system, including the Earth, have been understood for centuries now, and predictably, it has absolutely nothing to do with your god or with any of the thousands of others gods dreamed up by mankind.

While the Bible is nonsense to you its makes perfect sense to me.

A collection of ancient religious mythology riddled with hundreds of meaningful contradictions, several hilarious absurdities, and many horrific atrocities (see also this link and this link) makes perfect sense to you? You don’t know much about the book you claim to revere as the Word of God, do you? That too is sadly typical of a Christian.

So why knock what I believe in?

Because what you believe in is dangerous, harmful bullshit. And because it needs to be done. And because doing it can be fun! Glory!

Just keep it too yourself and keep quite.

Nope, I will not keep it to myself and I will not keep quiet. The truth about your holy book, your god, and your religion must be publicly made known for the good of everyone who hears it.

It also seems you have some form of biblical knowledge so why not just wait to see if the Bible is wrong or right. We will all find out sooner or later

I know a hell of a lot more about the Bible than you do and a hell of a lot more than most Christians do about their own damn holy book. I don’t have to “wait and see” if the Bible is right or wrong. I already know that it is wrong about just about every claim it makes (predictable for a collection of religious mythology that is thousands of years old), and that is very easy to prove.

Glory!

No Tattoo For You!

For the last few months, I’ve been scrimping away money to restart my tattoo collecting. I currently have three altogether, all from different shops in my area, and out of the three who did the work, I decided to return to one in particular. I liked the artists that worked there, and trusted their professionalism so much so that I’ve unfailingly recommended this tattoo parlor to everyone that would ask me where to go for quality artistry.

That all changed this morning when I received a response to an inquiry I’d sent a week ago. now, I’d already contacted the shop prior to the message I received this morning, and even had a Saturday appointment set. The email said the following about the piece I’d requested to be done:

 

“What on earth did you request to be tattooed?” , you might be wondering. Take a look for yourself, and keep in mind where the turtle is, I was wanting a stack of holy books instead. You know, the Bible, the Qur’an, and probably the Talmud. Essentially a sci fi Alice in Wonderland being depicted as having conquered religious fantasy. I really wanted her as a centerpiece to my science fiction themed sleeve I planned to create.

 

Now, I found his response to my original design inquiry to be preposterous. Especially as this refusal is on behalf of the entire shop, and not just a particular artist not wanting to do it. Even more frustrating is the fact they’ve already done an anti religious fashioned tattoo for me a few years ago, and Alice is a sweet picnic in a park compared to the previous tattoo I am talking about now. Check it out.

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So, I responded as civilly as I could muster. I mean, I felt my anti religious attitude was being equated to racists or gang behavior. I was angry and confused at the change in standards. I wanted to know why anything anti religious was taboo, and more importantly, why this shop didn’t recognize the hate inspired by crosses, bible verses, and so on. All I got for an answer was a whole lotta avoidance.

At this point, I realized it was hopeless to argue, but I called out his obvious discrimination, and made it clear this kind of supported societal “correctness” flew in the face of the freedom of expression that is intrinsic to tattoo art. And of course I said I’d quit crediting his shop.

Now, in my mind this discussion has ended. And frankly, I am the one ending it, so this is a business owner’s dream scenario when disappointing a customer. He wasn’t going to really explain why he lumps anti religious material in with gang art or racist propaganda. I was wrong about that. In fact, Godwin’s Law came into full display. Yes. He played the Hitler card! Insert the Reductio Ad Hitlerum.

Sci fi Alice in Wonderland conquering dogma? Bad.

Hitler…because…history? Acceptable.

See this big pond full of what looks like excrement? It’s a mile deep, and he went for a dip in it. Hitler, as a historical reference is okay, he claims. Alice stepping lightly on neatly stacked holy books is a no go.

Just…wow.

 

I could understand if she were resting a foot on the executed corpse of Christ, and you have Allah laying on the other side of the ground with his head cut off while she towers over them both with a gun in one hand and her trusty light saber in her other. I just wanted holy books, but you’d think I was asking for the head of John the Baptist.

Even more insulting is he then turns it around like he is doing me a favor for refusing to do the work. He is somehow protecting me from the bad things people do because of images and words they are exposed to. He is saving the entirety of northern Kentucky from my anti religious inspired blood bath by insisting he will not create my requested art. I guess he figured how ridiculous that sounded because he ended the whole poorly thought out philosophized excuse by declaring we all are entitled to our own opinions.

 

So, here is my opinion that I am entitled to. This wasn’t a professional denial of service at all. It was a personal one. I would bet money he started perusing my social media profile and didn’t like it. It has nothing to with being worried about offending the public or going against whatever barely believable social correctness he wants to follow. Look at the tattoos this shop has gladly put to skin over the last eighteen months.

 

I see anti religious content.

I definitely see gang related art.

Oh, and the politics he claims to not like tattooing? Funny. Seems there is that too.

The bottom line here is that I was blatantly discriminated against on a personal level. There’s no other way to ice this cake, but I did manage to sweeten the frosting to something I like. I went to four other equally rated shops in the area, all of them agreed to do Alice, no problem. THEN, I showed them this shop’s bullshit refusal. Now the competition has a nice little edge in competition to show clients who considered this “politically correct” shop.

Now, in the spirit of not trying to create another Memories Pizza incident, I am not naming the parlor that has caused me so much disappointment. I think my sharing with other parlors what has happened will be good enough. And to the tattoo shop owner who believes in opinions over how the world really works?

Yeah, I ‘ve got a right to my opinion, and I hope your business feels its bite, pal.

 

 

 

I Dream Of Mayberry

blog-0460848001427939459“I miss the good old days. You know, when things were simpler and more pure. Like Mayberry.”

This is probably one of the most absolutely ridiculous notions in America today. Seriously. What makes it worse would be the fact that everyone wants things to be like Mayberry. They wish for Mayberry whenever they hear news about legislation that favors quicker immigration is being considered. They cry for Mayberry’s Christian family values whenever they hear yet another state is willing to acknowledge and offer benefits to married gay couples.

Even politicians use the good ole times excuse when passing discriminating legislation. Take Asa Hutchinson, governor of Arkansas for example. He was just about to sign into law one of those Religious Restoration Acts, and after seeing the backlash in Indiana, has become nervous about what he is about to do, deciding to send the legislation back for revision instead. His public statement? “….in ordinary times this bill would not be controversial, but these are not ordinary times.”

Which basically is saying,”Why can’t we be in Mayberry again?”

I hate to break it to you, but the circumstances of Mayberry never existed in America. Never, ever. Never, ever, never, ever, ever, EVER. People see that 1960’s family show and treat it like an honest representation of the all American family. God, common sense, and small government. This governor I was mentioning grew up watching the show, and others with similar themes. He doesn’t understand that Mayberry, while set in the 60’s expanding economy, was based on the simpler times of the 1930’s. There was a desire for nostalgia to be brought into the show, and that is why folk music, church, and focus on family were incorporated.

So, what? Then let’s go back to the 30’s then. They were good times, right?

You tell me.

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The only thing good about the 1930’s was the increased desire for simple living, and that’s mostly because they didn’t have a choice back then. With the desire for simple living came an increased demand for folk music and art. Jobs were scarce thanks to the Depression. Add the agricultural disasters like the Dust Bowl on top of it? Food was scarce too. Tradition became king during that decade before WWII broke out, and so did a tough as nails attitude when faced with desperation to survive. Mayberry never bothered with any of that. It had the lush economy of the 1960’s story setting to keep the ugly struggles of the Depression away.

The Andy Griffith Show was brilliant in its almost seamless meshing of our cultural past with the modern reality of the 1960’s. Writers of the show used the traditions of the past and the modern conveniences of the future to show an ideal situation for us all to admire and look toward for our own lives. But in reality, it was an illusion. It was used to cushion the depressing news of Vietnam’s bloody loss of lives. It was an escape from the torrid television coverage of news coverage of the draft, desegregation, and outright riots in the streets at major university campuses.

Mayberry never truly existed in our history. The good ole days, depending on which generation you look to, never had it as good as Mayberry. The entire purpose of the Andy Griffith Show wasn’t to highlight reality. It hid the ugly racism that demanded blacks sit at the back of the bus. The show didn’t touch on sexual revolution that was occurring in America of the 60’s, preferring to focus on what would be seen as wholesome and Christian like in nature. And that is what a television show is supposed to do. Provide a feel good atmosphere to distract its viewers from the harsh reality of the world around them for a little while.

I doubt the writers ever intended for its young audience to actually twist their story into an unconscious remembrance of actual time and place though, but that is what has happened. Certainly the producers never intended for their little imagined town of impossibility to become an actual goal for modern society. It just won’t work.

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Yet, that is what many who long for the good ole days want. They want modern convenience, traditions of the past, and all the issues of the world to magically go away and just follow their desired story line. Keep things simple by making everyone follow the same structure of reality. If you don’t want to play along, go away and be quiet so everyone else can be comfortable. If you don’t be quiet, then they’ll legislate you away. These ultra conservatives refuse to accept Mayberry’s perfect store fronts, comical barber, and admired sheriff as the illusion they truly were. Much like their bibles, conservative Christians cling to the idea that simpler times are a panacea for all the sin in the world. That in a Mayberry setting, who can say no to God? After all, there is less temptation, less opportunity wander off the divine path to Heaven.

And if everyone is godly, then society will automatically improve. This is something that Mayberry never ever even remotely insisted upon.

Ironically, Mayberry has several characters that never quite fit in. Even more ironic is that, despite not fitting in, or even truly conforming, one character really did have a positive impact on the town. I think you all know who I am referring to in particular.

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Yes, Ernest T. Bass is who I’m talking about. Deputy Fife saw him as a nut. Myself? Ernest was an innovator. He showed ingenuity, determination, a knack for making people think outside their own interest. He even managed to garner support from Sheriff Taylor himself. All the while he completely clashed with the fundamental principles the town operated on. And he wasn’t the only one that showed doubt about the moral reasoning of his fellow townsfolk. I particularly enjoyed an episode where Barney and Andy get into a bit of a debate about psychic phenomena.

Again, there is wiggle room, and even a willingness to understand where the other is coming from, as you see Andy completely indulge Barney’s agnosticism about Aladdin’s Lamp. While this particular scene is meant to be humorous, it shows a willingness to meet in the middle, and at least discuss why a person feels a certain way. On top of that, you also see it is okay to just agree to disagree. This is how society has to work in order to succeed. How all these truly wonderful examples of functioning society have been blatantly ignored in favor of an impossible one size fits all lifestyle is beyond me.

Many evangelicals are simply banding together because they share a common belief structure, with little care of how crude and divisive their behavior is to the society around them. They are removed from the rest of America’s citizenry. Rather being pit against the entire world than be willing to compromise, this mentality will cost them dearly in the future. Someone needs to effectively demonstrate that strength isn’t necessarily in just numbers anymore, but in that of overall unity. Being contrary simply because of cultural differences is both foolish and costly for our future.

Will they ultimately decide to leave our shores and found their own country like the Pilgrims or Puritans? I hope not. The Pilgrims at first found England too corrupt, so they left to Holland. In Holland, their children were assimilating to Dutch culture, and they found that unacceptable and then left again, this time to America. The Puritans left England and started over in America later. What happened once in America? They started to divide against each other, and formed their own separate churches. You had witch trials. Heresy charges. Adultery? Capital charges that could get you jail time, public whipping and more.

The bottom line here is that Christianity has to quit running away from the world and consider picking up a few lessons from other cultures. This doctrine, and its leaders, obviously can’t handle it out there on their own, constantly running away from problems or insisting everyone else must conform to their standards. It’s time for them to make reasonable accommodation for the world around them, not the other way around.

There isn’t a land large enough or a television show’s interpretation well written enough to give these zealots the perfect Christian theocracy they desire. They are the authors of their own destruction, even when on their own with only the same ilk around them.

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Brother Jeff Responds to Brother Jacob

Brother Jacob contacted me today via my Religion is Bullshit Page on Facebook. He had this to say:

“You have obviously never read the bible so you have no room to dis it. Religion is not bullshit, ISLAM and Obama are bulshit. You dumb fuck. Think independently for once”

I can just feel the Christian love! Glory!

Here is the rest of our glorious conversation:

Me: Jacob, thanks so much for your kind, considerate, and well thought out message. I have indeed read the Bible and I am thoroughly familiar with its contents. I agree with you that Islam is bullshit, but so is Christianity. The Bible is bullshit too, and I’ll dis it all I care to as often as I care to. President Obama’s legacy as one of the better presidents we have had in recent times has already been sealed. Overall, he has been an outstanding president and I wholeheartedly applaud the job he has done since he as been in office. Have a nice day. Glory!

Brother Jacob: You are stupid and no nothing about Obama or religion because if you did read the bible you would not think it was bullshit.. You sir are bullshit

Me: Jacob, thanks once again for your kind and considerate response.

I know a great deal about both the Bible and the Christian religion. If you had read this Page or my www.religionisbullshit.me website, you would know that.

Brother Jacob: No I have read it and its a bunch of lies. You sir have done nothing good for this world… Go die in a hole

Brother Jacob: If you did know anything about Obama you would not say he is a better president. Do you know anything about Iran or israel

Me: Yes, I have some knowledge of Israel and Iran, though I am not overly interested in the affairs of either country. However, I am not open to having a discussion with you on the subject unless you can manage to do so in a civil manner. I am done responding to you if you insist on addressing me in such an insulting manner. Once again, have a nice day, and thanks so much for sharing the love of Jesus with me in such an awesome way. Glory!

Me: Everything published on my glorious website is 100% accurate and true. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be there. You are welcome to disagree with me, but you are not welcome to continue to insult me and my work.

Brother Jacob: Jesus is my savor and Muhammad is my enemy. Their is a holy war going on in the middle east and you side with the oppessors?? Obama is the bible villian HAMAN. Do you have any idea what that means

Brother Jacob: Who is haman then smart guy????

Brother Jacob: Exactly you are stupid and are.not interested in those affairs because it connects so deeply to the bible. Fuck you

Me: Fuck you too, Jacob. And, once again, thanks again for sharing the love of Jesus with me in such a glorious way. Glory!

Brother Jacob sent me a few more messages which I chose not to respond to because I’ve got better things to do with my time than argue with a fundie Christian asshole. He claims to be Libertarian rather than a Republican, but it’s obvious that he subscribes to some weird right-wing conspiracy theories involving President Obama, Israel, and Iran… which I also do not have time for…

If Jesus is the Word of God…

Christians consider Jesus to be the Word of God, based on at least two verses of scripture.

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (Rev. 19:13 ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 KJV)

And the Bible is considered to be the Word of God, so when you read the Bible you are reading Jesus! Glory!

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV)

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If Jesus is the Word of God and the Bible is Jesus in written form, then the Bible must be Perfect, right? And, indeed, Christians do believe the Bible to be inerrant and infallible. Believing that Jesus is the Word of God sounds great…until you consider the contents of the Bible. Let’s take a brief look at just a few troublesome verses.

It doesn’t take long to run into trouble. In fact, the very first verse of the Bible is wrong, and things just go rapidly downhill from there.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

The universe was not created by a god, and billions of years separate the beginning of the universe from the formation of our solar system and the earth.

Genesis chapters 1 & 2 contain contradictory creation myths and the account degenerates rapidly into a ridiculous myth involving two obviously mythical people (Adam and Eve), a talking snake, and magic fruit from magic trees.

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If the Bible is the Word of God, shouldn’t it reflect reality as it actually is instead of containing ancient mythology? A real creation account from a real, existing omniscient God would make the fields of cosmology and astronomy and astrophysics superfluous because all of that knowledge would be there for us to simply read, courtesy of God in the Bible.

Christians believe that Isaiah 9:6 refers to Jesus, calling him the prince of peace.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 KJV)

Back in the late 1980’s, Twila Paris had a hit song entitled “Prince of Peace”, which I loved back in my Christian days.

But, if Jesus is the Prince of Peace, shouldn’t the Bible be a book of peace? Shouldn’t it promote love and tolerance and understanding toward all of mankind? What we find instead when we actually read it is a book absolutely loaded with shocking brutality and violence.

Jeremiah 19:9 – “And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.”

Hosea 13:16 – “Samaria will be held guilty, For she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open.”

Psalm 137:9 – “Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!”

Leviticus 26:29 – “And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.”

The Bible contains many shocking atrocities, too numerous to list here, many of them depicting God either ordering or directly committing mass murder or genocide. Relevant link:

http://infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/atrocity.html

The brutal beating that Jesus took while supposedly paying for our sins would be considered an act of brutality today, and if it was in any book other than the Bible, most people today would be repulsed by it.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 KJV)

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I wrote about the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, a barbaric idea by today’s standards, not too long ago. Relevant link:

http://religionisbullshit.me/doctrine-substitutionary-atonement/

I could go on, but I think this post is getting long enough, and I think I have made my point. Glory! 🙂