Fundamentalist Religion – A HUGE Worldwide Problem

fundamentalist religionI posted my thoughts on fundamentalist religion to Facebook and decided to share it here too… Glory!

I’m depressed. There is so much hatred in the world, and sadly, much of it stems from the fact that in the 21st Century, people are still killing each other over mythological religious bullshit that ignorant men dreamed up thousands of years ago. We are still killing each other over whose Imaginary Friend is better or more powerful! Here and now in the 21st Century! I would like to think that most of us know better than that now.

fundamentalist religionFundamentalist religion is a HUGE problem here in the US and throughout the world. Fundamentalist Christians routinely use their religion to hate on gays, transgender folks, and women. It is particularly nauseating to hear hatred against gays regularly preached from the pulpits, yet these hateful, bigoted religious assholes never say a word against eating shellfish or wearing clothes made of mixed fabrics, both of which are condemned by their ancient holy book.

fundamentalist religionChristianity has been anti-woman from the word “go”. According to the ridiculous creation myths in Genesis, it was the woman, Eve, who convinced Adam to eat the magic fruit from the magic tree after the talking snake convinced her to eat it. Eve was the bad gal! Women have been getting the short end of the stick ever since, though obviously, the ridiculous mythical story never actually happened. According to the same silly ancient myth, God in his infinite love, made childbirth extremely painful for all women because Eve made the mistake of listening to a lying talking snake and she ate the magic fruit from the magic tree that God had told them not to fuck with. Religion has been used for centuries to subjugate women and relegate women to the status of second-class citizens. For a very long time, women were little more than property. And according to the Apostle Paul, they should be silent in church and they should not have positions of authority. And in the here and now of the 21st Century, religious Republican politicians are continually trying to deny women the right to decide what they can do with their own bodies! In the minds of these women-hating religious assholes, it would be better for a woman who has a legitimate need for an abortion to get it in a dark alley with a coat hanger than in a much safer modern hospital setting. I’m a guy and I don’t have a vagina, but I am 100% with the women shouting at these assholes to stay out of their vaginas! Oh, and according to many of these religious assholes, rape is consensual or the woman asked for it by the way they dressed! Holy shit!

fundamentalist religionThe Christian religion has a very long and very sad history of suppressing social progress and scientific discovery. The Bible is a flat-earth, geocentric book from cover to cover, and for centuries people believed that the earth was flat and supported by pillars because the Bible says so. And it was believed that the flat earth was covered by a solid dome firmament with the stars stuck in it because the Bible says so! It took Copernicus and Galileo to move us away from this ridiculous primitive cosmology, and the Church resisted every step of the way!

Scientific discovery was flourishing in ancient Greece and in other places in the ancient world, but then Christianity came along and snuffed it out for centuries. The Christian religion is directly responsible for that awful time in history that we know today as the Dark Ages. The Church had tremendous political power, and religious ignorance reigned supreme for centuries. The only place that science had a chance is in the Islamic world, and we owe a debt to Islam today for preserving what scientific knowledge had been gained before the Christian Dark Ages snuffed out the proverbial candle.

The Bible quite clearly teaches that mental illness is caused by demons, and that belief was used to, well, demonize the mentally ill. We know today that mental illness has genetic and environmental causes, and obviously it has nothing to do with mythological evil spirits. But, of course, this same Book claims that the cure for leprosy is a magical incantation and the blood of a slain bird…

In the Islamic world today, fundamentalist religion is still used to marginalize women and to deny them even the most basic human rights. Women have to cover themselves completely, and they can’t vote and they can’t drive a car. I’m pretty sure that in countries such as Saudi Arabia, women are still little more than property… if they do enjoy status better than that, it’s not much…

And fundamentalist religion is being used right now to justify mass murder in the form of suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism.

Isn’t it time for the RELIGIOUS MADNESS TO STOP??

Isn’t it time for the voices of REASON and SANITY to be heard above the din of religious INSANITY and HATRED??

I realize that this post will be ignored by my religious friends and it’s gotten way beyond TL;DR status anyway for most folks… but that’s my 2 cents…

I am tired of the religious hatred and insanity that is tearing this world apart! It is PAST TIME for us to throw off the chains of fundamentalist religion and this ancient mythological religious bullshit that has NO DISCERNIBLE BASIS IN REALITY, and it is time now for us to work together to build a much better and much more peaceful world!!

Again, my 2 cents… Glory!

Sister Lynn Prays for My Conversion

I have a chronic illness (bipolar disorder) that required a short hospital stay recently. I have been battling a bout of severe depression that sent me to the Providence Psych ER four nights in a row and then to an inpatient hospital for a couple days after that. I am much better now, and a couple of days ago or so I published this status update to Facebook:

Feeling well enough to publicly bash religion again. Not everybody will be happy about that, lol… but I am happy to still be here to be able to piss religious people off and, perhaps, get them to THINK too. Glory!

Sister Lynn, who is evidently unaware of my status an ex-Christian anti-theist atheist, replied with the following comment:

Well Jeff I’m keeping the faith & continue praying for your recovery. I will also pray for GOD to open your eyes and all other atheists. Without him the world would be a worse off place! Now that I know your atheist your name will be forever on our church’s pray list for you conversion! God Bless

My response to Sister Lynn was as follows:

I am not just an atheist. I am EX-Christian anti-theist atheist. I got sucked into the fundamentalist Christian cult when I was 19, and I didn’t FREE until I was 34. My suffering from then undiagnosed bipolar disorder was made much worse than it had to be by doctrines such as sin and trying to please an imaginary god who never gave me any feedback. I spent 15 years of my life worrying about pissing Jesus off and worrying that my family and friends might be going to Hell. NO WAY IN HELL will I EVER be returning to that kind of mental slavery to fear-based doctrines and ancient myths and lies.

You are welcome to pray for me and to put me on all of the prayer lists you care to. I can tell you right now that it will not do one bit of good. Prayer has no power whatsoever other than making the person doing the praying feel good.

You can pray for me all you like, but you are not likely to convince me again that the world is the way that it is because a talking snake convinced two obviously mythical people to eat magic fruit from the magic tree that god ordered them not to fuck with. I’m also not likely to believe again that god had to sacrifice himself to himself to save us from himself due to such a ridiculous alleged event.

There is not a shred of credible evidence that a god of any kind actually exists. God never says, thinks, or does anything at all in the real world, except in the minds of believers. To me, that is a huge clue to his actual nonexistence.

Religion is the greatest tragedy to ever afflict mankind. The world would be MUCH better off without it. Without religion, the world would not have the history that it does of Inquisitions, Crusades, religious wars, and religion-based terrorism (such as Christians bombing abortion clinics or Muslims bombing just about everybody). The world also would be much more scientifically and socially progressed if the tragedy of religion had not occurred, because there would not have been the religion-based resistance to social and scientific progress.

Atheists do not need to have their eyes opened. We already accept and deal with the world as it actually is. Religious people DO need their eyes opened, and they need and deserve the opportunity to be FREE from religion and religion-based fear, guilt, shame, and ignorance (the four driving forces behind fundamentalist religion).

Sorry if that’s not the friendly response you were hoping for. It’s nothing personal. I have had a very rough time lately and I’m really not in the mood to discuss religion or the associated ancient myths and legends in a very friendly manner at the moment.

From Atheism to Christianity – A Review – Part 5

This is Part 5 of this glorious series responding to this article.

As Lewis puts it in Mere Christianity, the difficulty we face as fallen human beings, whether we realise it or not, is that we are alienated from our Creator because the moral imperfection we have inherited from our rebellious ancestors – our wrong thoughts and motives, as well as our bad behaviour – inevitably separates us from God. This may seem unjust, extreme, and hard to believe, since we are accustomed to being a mixture of good and bad (‘nobody’s perfect!’ we say), and cannot, in our fallen state, altogether help being imperfect. But the problem is that our Creator God is not only Love, but Goodness and Justice personified, and therefore infinitely ‘holy’ – to use the language of the Bible. This means that He cannot overlook our moral failings and be united to us in love, since His perfect character is repelled by our sinfulness. His justice demands that the human race should bear the full destructive consequences of turning away from Him and flouting His will. We personally may not have rebelled against God at the dawn of history, but like all human beings since that time, we have been morally and spiritually damaged by the severance of that spiritual umbilical cord between God and Man which used to exist in the Garden of Eden. God’s love and goodness and joy can no longer flow unimpeded through us, because our human nature has been corrupted and we have become broken vessels that cannot retain the water of divine life. That is to look at our situation from God’s point of view. If we examine it from our own human perspective, the problem doesn’t get any easier. In order to be reconciled to God, the debt owed to Him by our wrong-doing must be paid, but we are morally and spiritually bankrupt. Reconciliation with God also requires perfect repentance, but it takes a good person to repent since repentance involves not only eating humble pie and saying sorry to God, but also surrendering our lives to Him. If we want to reconnect with our Creator, we must abandon our self-centredness, but the problem is that the worse we are, and the prouder we are, the harder it is for us to do this.

An entire paragraph of religious nonsense written by a man clearly unfamiliar with the Old Testament or even with the unpleasant and brutal parts of the New Testament. As I have pointed out before, the God of the Bible is not loving and he is certainly not moral or holy. He is a murderous, genocidal maniac who makes Hitler look like an awesome guy by comparison. Goodness, Love, and Justice personified would not order or directly commit mass murder and genocide on multiple occasions. Goodness, Love, and Justice personified would not kill billions of people in very unpleasant ways (see the book of Revelation, if it were to come true in today’s modern world) simply for failing to believe the right things about the correct god in the correct way. Goodness, Love, and Justice would not send even a single human being to a place where they would be tormented endlessly without any hope of reprieve, forever, for ANY reason.

Fallen human beings? That myth is based on an absurd ancient creation myth involving two obviously mythical people, a talking snake, magic trees, and magic fruit! Mankind is not “fallen”. We simply are what we are as a result of millions of years of biological evolution, and like every other creature on this planet, we have evolved to be suited to our environment. Otherwise, we would not be capable of surviving. We are not perfect, but there never was a time when we were! Human nature is not broken or corrupted. I have been on this earth for 48 years now, and yes I have met some bad people in my time, but the vast majority of the people I have met have been good, whether they were religious or not. And, it just so happens that I have many friends online at http://www.ex-christian.net who, like me, used to Christians. We are not bad people because we don’t believe in God and we don’t believe in Jesus anymore. The people I know over there are all good, kind, decent, moral, loving, caring and compassionate. And they almost all are now atheists! Glory!

Given this dilemma, what did God have to do to resolve it? How could He reconcile His justice with His mercy? How could He save the human beings He had created in love from the consequences they had brought upon themselves by the misuse of their free will? How, in other words, could God save us from death and separation from Him in eternity? And let’s be clear what this involves, however upsetting it may be. To be separated from God in eternity, means to be consciously and forever separated from the source of all life, all love, all joy, all truth, and all beauty. That is an indescribably terrible fate, about which Jesus spoke with real horror in the Gospels, but it is what we all risk if we refuse to accept God’s rescue plan for ourselves. So what, then, is God’s rescue plan? How can we be reconnected with our Creator?

The God of the Bible is not just and he is not merciful. God did not create us. Like all other living creatures on this planet, we are the product of millions of years of biological evolution. If I remember correctly, the earliest hominid species is approximately two billion years old, but don’t quote me on that… Consequences because two obviously mythical people ate magic fruit from a magic tree because a lying talking snake talked them into it? Gimme a fucking break… The God of the Bible is not life, love, joy, truth, or beauty. READ YOUR OWN DAMN HOLY BOOK and rip those damn Jesus Goggles off when you do it, and you will see that for yourself! The words which Jesus allegedly spoke were put into his mouth decades after he allegedly lived and died by anonymous authors who most certainly were not eyewitnesses of the events portrayed in the Gospels. It’s been a while since I actually read any of the Gospels, but I’m pretty sure it was Jesus who introduced the morally reprehensible concept of Hell to scripture. If he would send me or any other human being there for ANY reason at all, then he is not good, loving, or holy and he is not worthy of worship. God’s rescue plan was to sacrifice Himself to Himself to save us from Himself, which is absurd!

According to Lewis, God could only save us by becoming a human being and dying on our behalf, because only in this way could He enable us to go through that process of dying to self without which true repentance and reconnection with Him is impossible. Just as we are enabled to think because God created our minds and nurtures our intelligence, so, argues Lewis, we can now repent of our sins and give ourselves to God, because the capacity to die to self is now part of God’s divine nature in Jesus, and can therefore be communicated to us through our union with Him. Our ability, if we choose, to be reunited with God, was also won for us by Jesus because, as Man, and therefore our representative, His death on the cross paid the debt owed to God’s justice by human sin. Like a judge who imposes a fine on his guilty son and then takes off his judge’s robe and pays that fine himself, so Jesus, God the Son Incarnate, suffered the penalty of sin in our place. But since He was and is divine as well as human, He overcame death and rose from the grave on our behalf, having torn down the barrier separating fallen human beings from their Creator. That is the meaning of the Atonement and the Resurrection.

Stories of dying and rising gods were around long before the time in which Jesus supposedly lived and died. This is yet another paragraph of mythological and ridiculous religious nonsense. God did not create our minds and he does not nurture our intelligence. Our brains and our minds evolved over a period of several million years, as did our intelligence. Vicarious substitutionary atonement is a barbaric doctrine that has no place in our modern civilized world, yet it is embedded within our common Western psyche as being something good and holy. I wrote recently on the subject, and here’s the link:

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

This video from Christopher Hitchens on the same subject is also good:

This concludes Part 5 of this glorious series. Part 6 is coming soon! Glory!

From Atheism to Christianity – A Review – Part 1

My friend and brother in Kryasst, Brother Ryan, recently shared this glorious article with me, and I would consider it a blessing to offer a response to it as the Spook of Kryasst who is also somehow magically Him magically commands and inspires it.

I started to read C.S. Lewis, whose Chronicles of Narnia I had enjoyed as a child. I did so for three reasons. First because he had himself been an atheist, and might therefore be able to answer my many questions and objections. Secondly, because I respected his intellect. Here was a man who had graduated from Oxford with Triple First Class Honours in Classics, Philosophy and English, and had then become one of the greatest British academics of his generation. If he could have made the journey from atheism to Christianity, perhaps I was mistaken in thinking that you had to bury your brain in order to believe in God. Furthermore, and this was my third reason for studying his writings, you couldn’t accuse C.S. Lewis of being glib or shallow about suffering. Having lost his mother at the age of 10, been unhappy at school, and then gone on to experience the horrors of trench warfare during the First World War, he was obviously only too aware of the problem of evil. His discussion of these issues would surely, I thought, be illuminating.

This proved indeed to be the case. As I read Lewis’s three most important books, Mere Christianity, Miracles and The Problem of Pain, I found myself not only following in the footsteps of a person who had wrestled with all the issues that were troubling me; I was also discovering intelligent and convincing answers to all my doubts.

I too have enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia. I enjoy the stories even now as a 48-year old adult. Given what we now know about our universe, our world, the Bible, and the history of the Christian religion, you do have to bury your brain in order to believe in the Christian religion. Many intelligent people do believe in some sort of God, but the number of them that are fundamentalist Christian believers is dwindling rapidly. Even in this extremely religious country (America), people are leaving religion behind in droves and the younger generation just now reaching adulthood generally has little interest in organized religion.

The problem of evil is a huge one for Christians, and the writings of C.S. Lewis on the subject have been responded to thoroughly. I myself am not familiar enough with Lewis’s writings or the responses of skeptics to comment intelligently on the subject, but these relevant links offer some food for thought:

http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=assertions

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/essays/the-problem-of-pain/

Since my own father had died when I was only 17, I found what Lewis had to say about the problem of evil particularly pertinent. As he rightly points out, we cannot complain about the existence of evil and suffering, and use that as an argument against the existence and goodness of God, unless we first believe that the standard of right and wrong by which we judge and condemn our world is an objective one. Our sense of justice and fairness has to be a true insight into reality, before we can we be justified in getting angry and indignant about all the pain and injustice we see around us. But if this is the case, what explains the existence within us of this inner moral code or compass? According to atheism, human beings and all their thinking processes are simply the accidental by-products of the mindless movement of atoms within an undesigned, random, and purposeless universe. How then can we attach any ultimate meaning or truth to our thoughts and feelings, including our sense of justice? They have, on this view, no more validity or significance than the sound of the wind in the trees.

Atheism makes no such claims about such things. Atheism, quite simply, is the lack of belief in a god or gods. It is nothing more and nothing less than that. Atheism has no creeds or rituals or anything else that would define it as a belief system, philosophy, or religion. It is the religious who claim that we possess an inner moral code or compass, yet to my knowledge, they have never been able to prove that such a thing exists. I am by no means an expert on issues involving morality or ethics or their origins, but it seems to me that human beings derive their sense of morality from the society in which they live. There is no such thing as a divine moral code or compass and no such thing as universal morality. Different societies always have and always will have differing moral values. Indeed, if we all possess a divine moral law written on our hearts, how do theists explain murderers, psychopaths, and sociopaths? How do they explain pedophiles? What happened the moral compass they were supposedly born with? Claims that such actions are caused by “sin” explains nothing because sin is a religious concept with no discernible basis in reality.

And, then, we have the problem of the character of God. Christians such as C.S. Lewis and, of course, millions of others, firmly believe that the God of the Bible possesses a flawless, perfectly good and perfectly moral character. But, the Bible itself clearly refutes this notion of the character of its God from very early on in the book. The two contradictory creation myths presented in the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis are absurd, but within the story, which involves two obviously mythical people and a talking snake, magic trees and magic fruit, the character of God is clearly brought into question. Within the pages of the Old Testament, God is clearly depicted as a mass murdering, genocidal maniac, and his character doesn’t improve much in the New Testament. In Acts 5, God murders two people simply for lying to him about their finances. And, if the book of Revelation were to come true in our modern day world, billions of non-Christian people would die horrible deaths and then be sent to hell to be tormented endlessly without any hope of reprieve, forever. For more on the character of the Biblical God:

http://religionisbullshit.me/the-character-of-the-bible-god-2/

http://religionisbullshit.me/character-god-revisited/

Human beings derive their sense of justice from the moral values present within the society in which they are living. And even within individual societies, ideas on what constitutes justice in a given situation can differ greatly among good, thinking people. Our thoughts and feelings certainly have more value and significance than wind blowing through trees. In my opinion, love and our ability to express it to others that we care about and to the whole world with this wonderful technology that we call the Internet, has tremendous value! Certainly much more value than wind mindlessly blowing through trees…

But if, on the other hand, we refuse to accept this conclusion, insisting, for example, that it is always and objectively true that you should love your neighbour and you shouldn’t torture children, we are led away from atheism. The presence within us of an objective moral law ‘written on our hearts’ points instead to the existence of an eternal Goodness and Intelligence which created us and our universe, enables us to think, and is the eternal source of our best and deepest values. In other words, Lewis argues, atheism cuts its own throat philosophically, because it discredits all human reasoning, including the arguments for atheism. “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.” (Mere Christianity). Only by acknowledging that there is a God, he concludes, can we hope to make sense of human existence, the world we inhabit, and, paradoxically, the problem of evil.

Morality may or may not be objective and it may or may not be relative. And, it may depend on the situation in question. There is plenty of debate on the subject among philosophers, atheists and religious believers, and average everyday people. The Bible does speak of loving your neighbor as yourself, but it also speaks of and condones child abuse. Psalm 137:9, for example, makes it clear that happiness comes from bashing the head of infants against rocks. It also states that disobedient children should be stoned to death. For more of what the Bible says concerning how children should be treated see:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/children.html

I have already addressed the issue of a supposed moral code within us and the character of God as depicted in the Bible, but atheism cannot and does not “cut its own throat”. Atheism is not a philosophy, and it certainly does not discredit human reasoning. Human reasoning, along with taking the time and making the effort to actually read the Bible in its entirety without religious blinders on, invariably leads one to the conclusion of atheism! Again, atheism is, quite simply, a lack of belief in a god or gods. It says absolutely nothing about morality, ethics, or philosophy in and of itself.

Evil and the problem of it in the world is a human concept, and it does not require God or religious concepts or answers to explain it and why it exists. Science has thoroughly explained where we came from and how we got here, and it has absolutely nothing to do with obviously mythical people, talking animals, or magic trees or magic fruit. Human beings evolved over the course of a couple of billion years through the process known as biological evolution. Humans have existed in their current form for a few hundred thousand years, I believe, and the sciences of psychology and sociology and others, I am sure, adequately explain human beings and their behavior without reference to a divine being or beings or religious concepts.

Atheism does not equate to there not being any meaning or purpose to life. There may not be a divine meaning or purpose to life, but life without belief in a god or gods can have plenty of meaning and purpose. We ourselves, by our thoughts and actions, give life meaning and purpose. And, in my opinion, living a life of service to others give tremendous meaning and purpose to life!

But if God is goodness personified and therefore, as our Creator, the divine source of all that is good, true and beautiful, why is there so much evil and suffering? What has gone wrong? The Christian answer to that question, Lewis argues, is that our world has been damaged by rebellion against God. An originally good creation has been spoiled.

God, as he is revealed the Bible, is hardly the personification of goodness, as has already been addressed. The social sciences offer pretty good answers to the questions of evil and suffering the world, and the Christian answer to their origins is absurd. A ridiculous myth involving two obviously mythical people, a talking snake, and magic trees and magic fruit that takes place in an obviously mythical location? Give me a break…

If you find this hard to believe, consider the evidence. Look at all the many examples there are of benevolent and intricate design in Nature: the nest-building instincts of birds, the incredibly complex structure of the human brain, the navigational systems of bats and whales, the biological software of DNA in every cell of our bodies, sexual reproduction, etc. All this exists side by side with harmful viruses, disease and death. Can its obvious implications be ignored? Consider, too, the significance of the fact that human beings possess an inner moral code they cannot get rid of yet seem unable to obey. Does all this not suggest some process of deterioration from hopeful beginnings? Is it not also significant that many ancient peoples and cultures, including the Chinese, have some tradition of a lost Paradise in the dim and distant past?

What evidence?? There is no evidence of divine design in nature. Life in all of its incredible and beautiful diversity on this planet can be and has been beautifully explained by the scientific theory of biological evolution. The nest-building instinct of birds and the navigational systems in bats and whales has perfectly valid and understandable origins through the process of biological evolution, not through divine design. And what of the many examples of bad design in nature, if indeed a God did design it?

http://pandasthumb.org/

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/jury-rigged.html

Many cultures do indeed have many myths of an ancient paradise lost, but so what? These are just myths and nothing more…the same goes for the many creation myths of many different cultures. They are clearly just myths, and nothing more.

Speaking for myself, I find this evidence convincing, but what has really persuaded me of the truthfulness of the Christian explanation of the origin of evil and suffering, is its inherent philosophical credibility. As C.S. Lewis points out, true love is a voluntary union of free individuals giving themselves to each other for their mutual delight and for the mutual enjoyment of life and all its blessings. Consequently, when God created the first human beings, He gave them the gift of free will. He did so in order that they and all their descendants might share His life, His love, His joy and His beauty, with Him and with each other. As part of this gift of free will, God also gave human beings creativity and intelligence in order that they might be good stewards of the world in which he had placed them, sharing its joys and adding to its wonders and beauty. But the problem with free will is that it can be corrupted and misused. Our inner freedom to relate to God and other people in harmony and love, can be turned on its head. We can choose, instead, to reject our Creator and live only for ourselves. And that, sadly, is what has happened to the human race. It is what lies behind the famous biblical story of the ‘Fall of Man’ in the Garden of Eden: our ancestors disobeyed God, with deadly consequences for themselves and posterity.

You find a ridiculous ancient myth to be a convincing explanation for the origin of evil and suffering? As I have already mentioned, it’s all about a talking snake, two obviously mythical people, magic trees and magic fruit! And, it occurs in an obviously mythical location! This is NOT an explanation for the origin of evil and suffering in the world that is acceptable to rational, thinking people living in a scientifically advanced and literate and educated 21st Century society! Christianity has no inherent philosophical credibility whatsoever, and anyone who is familiar with the contents of the Bible and the history of the Christian religion knows that.

Current scientific research on the issue of free will has revealed that it most likely does not exist, but it is an illusion that we humans need, so we will likely hang on to it for a while yet. There is no Creator to reject or to disobey, and most people in this world thankfully do not live only for themselves. Most people in this world are good and caring people who live not just for themselves and their families, but in the service of others, in some capacity.

This is becoming a rather lengthy response, so I will continue with it in a separate post or two… Glory!