Chamblee54

Is Prayer That Great?

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion by chamblee54 on May 16, 2021


Prayer is not always a good idea.
That is up there with G-d and Motherhood, but somebody has to say it.
Many of my objections are in the phrase,
“Prayer is talking to G-d, and Meditation is Listening.”. In our culture, we love to talk, and don’t have time to listen. Talking is yang, active, power. Listening is ying, receptive, passive, and indicates respect for the person you are paying attention to. This is difficult for many.
No one ever says
“I am going to meditate for you”. Although maybe you should.
Prayer is used as an aggressive weapon.
“I am going to pray for you” is the condescending conclusion of many a religious argument. I have had it shouted at me like a curse.
There is the matter of prayer as entertainment. While this may be cool to those who are on the program, it can be repulsive to others. Once I volunteered to lead the prayer before a dinner. The story is repeated below.

Now, prayer is not a completely bad thing. One of the cherished memories of my father is the brief, commonsense blessings he would give before meals. In the context of a church service, prayer plays a useful function. Some famous prayers are beautiful poetry. In Islam, the daily prayers are an important part of the observance. Who am I to say it is wrong? (A note to the Muslim haters, and opportunistic republicans …We are all G-d’s children.)

When someone is in a bad way, people want to think they can help. Arguably it does not hurt to pray for someone, but it is nothing to boast about.
My problem is when people are proud of their prayers. There are few as prideful as a “humble servant”. While it may mean something to you, not everyone is impressed. And in a religion obsessed with converting others, you should care what man thinks.


So much for world affairs. It is time to tell a story, with no moral and no redeeming social value.

In 1980, I was staying at a place called the Sea Haven Hostel, affectionately known as Sleaze Haven. This was in Seattle WA, as far as you can get from Atlanta, and still be in the lower 48. I was working through Manpower, and staying in a semi private room for $68 a month.

There was a Christian group that met in the basement on Sunday Night. Now, as some of you may know, I am a recovering baptist, who hasn’t been to church since 1971. However, the lure of a free meal was hard to resist, so I went to a few meetings.

One night, after doing quality control work on the local beer supply, I cheerfully joined in the discussion. This was the night when I realized that the Bible is not the Word of G-d. This concept has been very handy in dealing with the ravings of our Jesus-mad culture.

They seemed to like me, though, and welcomed me back. Maybe it was the southern accent.

One Sunday, after the dinner was finished , it was time to have a prayer to begin the meeting. I raised my hand. Now, Jesus Worshipers enjoy prayer as entertainment. When they bow their heads, you see them stretching and deep breathing, in anticipation of a good, lengthy, message to G-d.

My message was a bit of a disappointment. Instead of a long winded lecture about Jesus and the magic book, I said what was on my mind. “Lord, thank you for letting us be here today.” What else do you need to say? This double repost has pictures from The Library of Congress.

The Buddha

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Religion by chamblee54 on April 28, 2021


“The Buddha” is available for online viewing. 43 minutes into the PBS production, Gautama Siddhartha (pronounced sid HART ha) turned away from asceticism. He accepted a bowl of rice pudding from a lady, and was a step farther on the path to enlightenment.

Buddhism has always seemed “too asian” for PG, or perhaps he is too western/christian to follow. There are some things, confirmed by this video, that PG finds appealing. The stories of Buddha are understood to be legends, with no one (that we know of) claiming them to be literal history. This is not like the book worship of Christians. Stories about Jesus are said to be literal truth. The ideas that Buddha taught are not changed by “mistakes” in telling his life story.

There is a story about Buddha seeing his ascetic buddies, after he ate the bowl of rice pudding. He got the ascetics to listen to him, until he won them over. From what PG has seen of humans, especially spiritually charged ones, he finds it tough to imagine these people listening that long. The average Jesus worshiper cannot be quiet long enough for you to finish a single sentence.

Christianity is obsessed with life after death. The Buddha of this show takes a different approach: “There are stories of people coming to the Buddha, and saying, “I am leaving your teaching because you have not told me about whether there is a life after death, or whether there is another world. And the Buddha says, ‘Did I ever say that I would give you the answers to these things?’ ‘No, Lord, you didn’t.’ ‘Why do you think that I ever said that I would give you the answer to these things? Because these are not the things that you need to know. The thing that you need to know is how to deal with suffering, because at this very moment, what made you ask that question was suffering.”

The focus is on the life of Buddha, not his death. The focus is on this life, not on life after death. Buddha lived to an old age, teaching up until his departure. Maybe if Jesus had been better at human relationships, he would not have been executed.

Maybe PG is so scarred by Jesus that he cannot benefit from any other source of wisdom. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. The men are Confederate soldiers from the War Between the States. Many resources are available for those who wish to learn more.

Did Joseph Think It Was His Kid?

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Religion, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on March 16, 2021





NOTE: This feature was originally published in March 26, 2013. This is the day after March 25, nine months before Christmas. IOW, a crucial day in the most famous unconsummated marriage in history. PG began to ponder the traditional marriage of Joseph and Mary. The question of the day is “when did Joseph and Mary get married?” Facilities such as Liberty Gospel Tracts and Fish Eaters Traditional Catholic Forum have answers.

LGT (the B got kicked out for some reason) contributes a bible passage, Matthew 1:18-19.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
Put her away in the privy? That is some kinky business there. Maybe the Christians and Jews have it all wrong. The thirds Abrahamic religion, Islam, might have the answer. A site, TurnToIslam, has another point of view about the traditional definition of marriage.

What about Mary, Jesus’ Mother peace be upon both of them? How old was she when she got pregnant? Not only was it a custom in the Arab society to Engage/Marry a young girl it was also common in the Jewish society. The case of Mary the mother of Jesus comes to mind, in non biblical sources she was between 11-14 years old when she conceived Jesus. Mary had already been “BETROTHED” to Joseph before conceiving Jesus. Joseph was a much older man. therefore Mary was younger than 11-14 years of age when she was “BETHROED” to Joseph. We Muslims would never call Joseph a Child Molester, nor would we refer to the “Holy Ghost” of the Bible, that “Impregnated” Mary as a “Rapist” or “Adulterer”.

“….it is possible that Mary gave birth to her Son when she was about thirteen or fourteen years of age….”Mary was approximately 14 years old when she got pregnant with Jesus. Joseph, Mary’s Husband is believed to be around 36. Mary was only 13 when she married Joseph. When she first was arranged with Joseph she was between 7 to 9 years old.”

According to the “Oxford Dictionary Bible” commentary, Mary (peace be upon her) was was 12 years old when she became impregnated. So if I want to be as silly and ridiculous as many of the Christians, I would respond to them by saying that Mary was psychologically and emotionally devastated for getting pregnant at a very young age. And speaking of “child molesting”, since most Christians believe that Jesus is the Creator of this universe, then why did G-D allow himself to enter life through a 12-year old young girl’s vagina? Please note that we Muslims love and respect Allah Almighty, Mary, Jesus and Allah’s Message to the People of the Book (The Jews and Christians). In other words, we Muslims would never make fun of Christianity through such childish topic like this one as many ridiculous Christians do make fun of Islam through our Prophet’s (peace be upon him) marriage.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress.




Atheism Number Two

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on March 3, 2021







Whenever someone writes a book about religion, the writer pays tribute to mammon. Interviews are given, TED talks are given, and the printed donkey flogged within an inch of its life. The book of the moment is Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion. The author is Alain de Botton. A chat on blogginheadstv goes over the same material. The idea is that atheists can learn a thing or two from the believers. Mr. de Botton gave a TED Talk about this concept.

We could begin by questioning the entire belief paradigm. Christians believe G-d exists, and a few other things. Atheists do not believe G-d exists. What no one seems to be questioning is whether belief is the best way to go about the G-d issue. The word gnosis (the root of agnostic) refers to having a knowledge of G-d… to feeling her presence in your soul. There are some who say that man and G-d are one and the same. When all you have is a belief… a strongly felt thought… you just might be missing most of the picture.

Christianity is a religion based on beliefs. One of the central beliefs is the notion that having the correct beliefs will cause you to be “saved”… to go to heaven when you die, instead of hell. This is a big deal to Christians, who find it difficult to deal with someone who is not fascinated by “salvation.”

Atheism seems to be a reaction to Christianity/salvation promotion. If they Christians did not tell them about G-d, how would atheists know what to not believe in?

“they’ve argued that believing in G-d is akin to believing in fairies and essentially that the whole thing is a childish game.” Oh my, what a terrible thing to say about faeries. Maybe faeries are not something to believe in either. Just wear the fabulous fashions, and don’t worry about that silly religion business.

Mr. de Botton laments the lack of community is atheism, and he may have a point. PG has often envied the sense of extended family that churches seem to offer. If only those pesky beliefs didn’t get in the way. Does religion fulfill a tribal need for conformity, rather than spiritual fulfillment?

It is a common rule of public speaking… you treat children as though they were adults, and adults as though they were children. The concept of being “born again”, of having a second childhood… these are very appealing notions. Can an atheist church offer these good times? Or would it spoil the fun by treating “worshipers” as adults?

PG has a big, big problem with one issue. Jesus worship is an emotional affair. Powerful feelings are stirred up. This power, and fury, can be a terrifying thing if it is used against you.

This use of Jesus driven emotions is an issue in American politics today. The force and thunder of a screaming Jesus worshiper, leading his flock of angry sheep, is a terrible thing to have used against you. It is hoped that an Atheist church would be more “humanistic”.

Two wrongs do not make a right. Jesus worshipers are notorious for interrupting you if something is said they do not like. Perhaps this is another function of the belief based religion. When you believe something, and do not understand why someone does not share your belief, you don’t have time to listen. This rudeness does not speak well for Jesus. Hopefully, atheists can be a bit better.

This is a repost. Today’s edition has been edited for easier consumption. The TL/DR version linked above goes into more detail about some of the points. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. Russell Lee took the pictures in October, 1938. “Crowd, listening to the Cajun band at National Rice Festival, Crowley, Louisiana.”






Mithras Is Born

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Religion by chamblee54 on December 23, 2020

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Until 2009, PG had never heard of Mithras.

Mithras is a Persian deity, from the Zoroaster tradition.(That is pronounced Zor uh THRUS ta.) Not much is known about Mithras … did he really exist, or was he a legend? There was a cult of Mithras in the first century Roman empire.

There are supposed to be similarities between Mithras and Jesus. These include the virgin birth, the birth on December 25, and rising from the dead after three days. Some spoilsports say the early christians grafted Jesus onto the legend of Mithras.

One indication that this might be true is The Catholic Encyclopedia.
“Some apparent similarities exist; but … it is quite probable that Mithraism was the borrower from Christianity.” This repost has pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.


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German Pastry Christmas

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Religion by chamblee54 on December 5, 2020

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PG got an email today from Allen Hunt, a radio announcer. The letter had a Christmas message. PG read the story, and heard the ding ding ding of his BS detector. Here is the story.

Merry Christmas! As the wars about the public celebration of Christmas become filled with pettiness and hostility on all sides, be not dismayed. Your celebration of Christmas depends solely on you and nobody else. I heard the story of Oswald Goulter years ago and it reminds me of that simple fact. I am responsible for how I embrace the gift of Christmas.
Oswald Goulter served as an agri-missionary to China. On his way back to the USA for furlough during World War II. His sponsor mission agency gave him a ticket to get home by boat. When Oswald arrived in the port of India, New Delhi, he found boats filled with Jews, housed there to protect their lives from Nazi Germany. The Jewish boats couldn’t land anywhere. They were not accepted or welcome anywhere at the time
Oswald went to see them and said, “Merry Christmas!”
“We’re Jewish,” they responded.
“I know, I know. But what would you like for Christmas. Merry Christmas!”
“Don’t you understand? We are JEWISH.”
“Merry Christmas. What do you want?”
To get rid of this nuisance, they said, “How about some German pastry? That sure would be grand.”
Oswald scoured the city until he found a bakery that made German pastry. Oswald sold his ticket for home to get money to purchase some pastry. He went back to the boat and shared it with them.
As he spoke about this experience later in one of his supporting churches, a very prim member of the congregation stood and asked, “Why did you do that? They were Jewish. They don’t even believe in Jesus.””I know,” Oswald replied, “but I do.”

PG sent a reply to the original email. This post is being written an hour later, so it is not unreasonable that Mr. Hunt has not replied.

Allen do you have any proof that Oswald Goulter existed? This story seems a bit far fetched. I googled Oswald Goulter, and all I see is the same story told over and over.
Why did he go to India? This is over the Himalayan mountains, or around Vietnam. Couldn’t he do just as well in North Asia, or even Russia?
When did this incident happen? There are mixed indications in the versions I read, and no exact dates. If this was after WW2, then restrictions about admitting Jews would start to loosen up.
Why German pastries? After all that the German people had done to them, this seems a bit strange.
There are hundreds of real, verifiable Christmas stories out there. This one seems a bit fishy.

After sending the email, PG hunkered down in the google.(Snopes never heard of Oswald Goulter) It seems that Oswald John Goulter was born June 22, 1890 in Oklahoma. (His nickname was O.J.) He died in March, 1985, in Santa Clara, California. He was interviewed in 1971 as part of a project involving missionaries to China.
“This interview supplements the account of Goulter’s life in Wilfred Powell’s Scattered Seed. Mr. Goulter portrays the disruption in Chinese life in the area of Lu-chou (Hofei) in Anhwei province during the years 1922 to 1951. He tells how the Communists were able to take advantage of the disorder caused by warlords and bandits and the Japanese invasion to drive the nationalists from power. He also discusses … practical Christianity and its applicability in China.”
There is another story about Mr. Goulter. After the communist takeover, Mr. Goulter and his wife, Irene, were taken into custody. Mr. Goulter was beaten repeatedly, but refused to renounce his faith. Finally he was released (or, in some versions, escaped). This imprisonment is generally agreed to for three years. If he left in 1951, that would be consistent with the time line of the communist takeover.

In the Hunt version of the story, Oswald Goulter left during World War 2.

This does not answer the question of why Mr. Goulter would go to India, before America. It also does not account for the appearance of the Jews in India, six years after the end of World War 2. It should also be noted that India was in chaos, with the advent of Independence and the partition. Would they have Jews hiding in the city?

There is a book, Scattered Seed: The Story of the Oswald Goulters, Missionaries in China 1922-51. PG does not know if it discusses German pastries.

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This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. The original had several comments about Mr. Goulter, which we will share below. Allen Hunt sent a reply, which was lost in a hard drive crash. It was rather snide. Dr. Hunt has quit sending emails to PG. His radio show is no longer being broadcast.

Lindsay goulter said, on February 26, 2010 at 3:26 am Hi oswald goulter was my great uncle.Born in Auss. If you would like to know more about him please reply to my e/mail. lindsay g

Teena Anderson said, on October 30, 2010 at 10:02 pm
Oswald Goulter is my grandfather. He was a missionary to China for 30 years. His story is told in the book Scattered Seed by Wilfred Powell. Oswald and Irene had 3 daughters, Lovena, Doris ( who is still living!) and Jean. Doris and Jean were born in China. Jean was my mother-she spoke excellent chinese with a Hefei accent. I am the eldest grandchild. They lost a baby boy born in China and buried him in the mountains of Kuling, where the missionaries would go for the summer.
My husband, Hugh Anderson (Presbyterian minister) and I have taught in China with the Amity Foundation. Our first summer of teaching we traveled to Hefei and met Rev. Zhu who helped Oswald after he had been confined in the internment camps. They were great friends. Rev. Zhu’s son is now a Disciple of Christ minister here in the United States. Teena Anderson, Medford, Oregon.

chamblee54 said, on October 30, 2010 at 10:09 pm
Thanks for stopping by. Do you know if the story about the German Pastries was true? It is an inspiring story, but as I noted in my post, there are a few issues with it.

Miaohua Jiang said, on January 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm
The book by Wilfred E. Powell titled Scattered Seed came in mail yesterday. I searched in the book for any evidence that this story might actually happened. Unfortunately, the story as it is stated never happened. At least it did not happen in India.

The sabbatical year was between 1936 and 1937. The family did take the western route going through Europe to return to US. They arrived in US in September 1936. Christmas of 1936 was their first Christmas in US in many many years. They were not able to return to China because of Japenese invasion until late 1937. Mr. Goulter did help refugees in Shanghai around Christmas time 1937. The book did mention that Shanghai also had ships with Jewish refugees. So, the story could have happened in Shanghai, China, instead of India. It did not involve boat tickets. Mr. Goulter had clothings shipped from Los Angeles to Shanghai. Also Mr. Goulter was interned by Japenese for many years, not communists.

chamblee54 said, on January 20, 2011 at 12:02 am
Thank you for following through. That is an inspiring story, too bad it can’t be proven to be true.

Miaohua Jiang said, on January 1, 2011 at 10:13 pm
Doris is visting us this new year’s day of 2011!

Miaohua Jiang said, on January 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm
This is what I got from my conversation with Doris, O.J.’s second daughter. According to Doris, Mr. Goulter did not like his first name. Chinese people would simply call him Gou Shee-Sang (Mr. Gou). Doris was born in Hefei in 1924. Her mother homeschooled the girls. By the time she was 10, they felt it was time for girls to have a more formal education in Shanghai. Before they left for Shanghai, they travelled for a year to Europe, going through possibly the Hongkong – India route. So, it was around 1934 – a time Jews were forced to escape Germany. So, the story is credible. The girls stayed in Shanghai until 3 month before Pearl Harbor was attacked when American government ordered evacuation of women and children. Mr. Goulter stayed behind and was imprisoned by invading Japenese because of his British citizenship. I am ordering this book and hopefully when Doris visits again next time I will have a chance to verify a few more details with her. Amazingly, after leaving Hefei for more than 75 years, she can still speak the local dialect and sing local children songs forgotten even by the local people.

Teena Anderson said, on October 30, 2010 at 10:09 pm
Oswald Goulter was my grandfather. He was born in Australia. He heard about the Boxer rebellion and felt called to go to China. He came to the U. S. to get more education. He married Irene Goucher (my grandmother) in Oklahoma and they spent 30 years together in China. They had 3 daughters, 2 of whom were born in China. My mother was born in Tsingtao but spent 10 years in Hefei (Lu Chow Fu). She had a great Hefei accent. They also had a baby boy that died and was buried in the Kuling mountains. (Lu Shan) Oswald Goulters life was written by Wildfred Powell in the book Scattered Seed. Our family still have ties to Chinese that were ministered by my grandfather. There are many more accounts of what my grandfather accomplished in China. He loved the Chinese and they loved him. Teena Anderson of Medford, Or.

Lauri Penry said, on March 25, 2012 at 8:27 am
My grandparents (Dr. and Mrs. Paul R. Slater) served as medical missionaries in China with the Goulters. I have heard the story many times of how my grandfather met up with Mr. Goulter, and he wasn’t wearing shoes. So my grandfather gave him his. The next time they crossed each other’s paths, Mr. Goulter was again without shoes. He told my grandfather that he found someone who needed them more than he did.

I was just going through some pictures at my parents’ house this weekend, and found one with Mr. Goulter in it. I am in the process of reading Scattered Seed now. My parents were attending Phillips University when Mr. Goulter was a member of the faculty. From what I have always heard about this man, he was exceptional, and a true servant!

John McBride said, on May 10, 2012 at 10:10 am
Oswald Goulter is my grand uncle and he was born in Australia. I had the pleasure of meeting him and Irene in in either 1973/4 when they visited Australia and later in San Jose in 1981. He was quite some bloke who’s achievements were quite incrediable. My grand father was a potato farmer at a place called Irrewillipe, about 100 miles west of Melbourne. One year my brother and I spent our Easter weekend (4 days in Australia) helping dig up the crop. At night, my grandfather read Oswald’s letters to us by kerosene lamp beside the wood stove in the kitchen. As a ten year old, those letters were more exciting to listen to than reading my Superman comics.

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Teachable Moment

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Race, Religion by chamblee54 on December 4, 2020


PG was invited to view a zoom reading. A group of people submitted poems for an anthology. Some of the poems were selected for publication. Wednesday night, some of these poets read their work.

Before the linked video, a man spoke. He said that racism would not be tolerated. If you said anything racist, you would be kicked out of the presentation. PG found this a bit odd. Poets tend to be painfully woke. Telling poets not to say anything racist is like telling preachers not to worship Satan.

The poets spoke. There was one Latino, no African Americans, and White People. Anything they read had been chosen for publication. Did the editors include a racist poem in the anthology?

Facebook had another well intended meme. It was about a teacher, telling her class about the Salem witch trials. PG does not know the full story of the SWT. He suspects the legend does not accurately describe the real event. However, the SWT story provides a “teachable moment.” It is easy to substitute “racist” for “witch”.

“One of my friends told me about a powerful lesson in her daughter’s high school class this winter. They’re learning about the Salem Witch Trials, and their teacher told them they were going to play a game. “I’m going to come around and whisper to each of you whether you’re a racist or a normal person. Your goal is to build the largest group possible that does NOT have a racist in it. At the end, any group found to include a racist gets a failing grade.”

The teens dove into grilling each other. One fairly large group formed, but most of the students broke into small, exclusive groups, turning away anyone they thought gave off even a hint of guilt.

“Okay,” the teacher said. “You’ve got your groups. Time to find out which ones fail. All racists, please raise your hands.” No one raised a hand. The kids said the teacher had messed up the game.

“Did I? Was anyone in Salem an actual racist? Or did everyone just believe what they’d been told?” And that is how you teach kids how easy it is to divide a community. Keep being welcoming, beautiful people. Shunning, scapegoating and dividing destroy far more than they protect. We’re all in this together.” Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on November 18, 2020

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There has been talk about the flying spagetti monster. FSM was originally created in response to the Kansas State Board of Education. KSBE ruled that alternatives to evolution needed to be taught in public schools, including some contraption known as intelligent design. There was talk about whirlwinds rampaging through warehouses, and creating jet engines.

FSM is a satire religion, in the footsteps of the invisible pink unicorn. Bertrand Russell wrote of an interplanetary teapot, which can contain the beverage for the spaghetti supper. FSM is often used as a substitute for the G word, G-d. Whether or not Mr. Dammit approves is uncertain. OTOH, nobody ever said the FSM got an under-aged virgin pregnant.

In this rumble for the hearts and minds of the unwashed masses, G-d has an advantage over FSM. The G word is a marketing dream. It is short, easy to say, and understood by almost everyone who speaks English. While people have different ideas about G-d, everyone recognizes the name.

FSM, has eight syllables. Spaghetti is notoriously tough to spell. Unless you have heard about the antics of the FSM, you can expect some empty stares when you talk about her.

When PG was in school, he wrote a restaurant article. He did not know how to spell spaghetti. The dictionary showed nothing of value in under spe and spi, where logic tells you to look. Finally, PG got the yellow pages out, and looked for a spaghetti restaurant.

This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress.

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Be Kind To Your Enemy

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Religion by chamblee54 on October 18, 2020









Did Jesus say to “Love your enemy”? Some believe this, and do it. Some claim to believe this, and practice the opposite. There are others who claim to love their enemies, but you have to understand what they mean by it. It can be very confusing. This is a repost.

PG went to a source for documentation. Oh, the blessed conjunction of copy paste with public domain. When PG entered enemy (singular) in the search engine, 100 verses came up. When the request was made plural (enemies), 237 entries popped up. The last mention of enemies is Revelation 11:12 “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” Loving your enemies does not include bringing them to heaven with you.
There is also the star of the show.
Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

There is scholarly debate about what Jesus did, or did not, say. The words available to modern man have been copied by hand, edited, translated, and interpreted. PG does not know Aramaic from Alabama. Like anyone else, PG can only read and listen, and think for himself.

In a sense it does not matter what Jesus “really” said. The cult of Jesus Worship is going to believe what it wants. More important, it is going to practice what it wants. As far as the difference between what Jesus “really” said, and what his believers say and do…they can explain.

What follows is a humble suggestion. Maybe the translators and scribes got it wrong. Maybe Jesus did not say to love your enemy. Maybe what Jesus said was to show kindness to everyone. This is a practice thing, rather than a belief thing.

It is not as much fun to be nice to someone, as it is to scream about life after death. Kindness does not need to be justified by a quote from a magic book. You just need to do it.

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.








The Golden Calf

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion by chamblee54 on September 30, 2020

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When PG was a kid in sunday school, he heard about the the golden calf. It turns out that, splendid allegory aside, he didn’t really know much about the story. With the help of google and Bible Gateway, the text of Exodus 32 showed up. G-d bless public domain, and copy paste. The Bible is the main source for this tale. It doesn’t really matter if it is the inerrant word of G-d, it is a pretty good story. And much of the message rings true today.

1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

This is a modern story. The church is begging the people for gold. The sons are wearing golden earrings. The church takes these ill gotten gains, and forge a make believe G-d. This time, it looks like a cow. Billy Graham will come much later.

7 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 9 And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:

Moving down a few verses, the story gets good. 19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. 20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. 21 And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? 22 And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. 23 For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 24 And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf. 25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies) 26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. 27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord G-d of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. 28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: there fell that day about three thousand men.

Lets get this story right. Moses comes back from somewhere, and sees a naked party by the golden calf. He has a hissy fit, threw the golden calf into the fire, and tells people to start killing each other. Over three thousand men are killed. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Politics, Religion by chamblee54 on September 11, 2020


This is my 911 story. I repeat it every year at this time. Every year I say this will be the last time. This year is a mess. We are destroying the village to save it. The action part of 091101 was over by 11 am. This quagmire drags on and on. Nobody knows how things will turn out.

I was at work, and someone called out that someone had run a plane into the World Trade Center. I didn’t think much of it, until I heard that the second tower had been hit, then the Pentagon, then the towers collapsed, then a plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

I focused on my job most of the day. There was always drama at that facility, and concentrating on my production duties helped to keep me saner. This was roughly the halfway point of my seven year tenure at this place.

One of the other workers was a bully for Jesus. He was a hateful loudmouth. After the extent of the damage became known, he shouted “They are doing this for Allah,” and prayed at his desk. The spectacle of the BFJ praying made me want to puke.

I became alienated from Jesus during these years. Once, I had once been tolerant of Christians and Jesus, as one would be with an eccentric relative. I began to loath the entire affair. I hear of others who found comfort in religion during this difficult time. That option simply was not available for me.

Pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. “This item is part of a collection of images of downtown Atlanta streets that were taken before the viaduct construction of 1927 – 1929. Some of the covered streets became part of Underground Atlanta.”

The Prodigal Son

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Religion by chamblee54 on September 9, 2020

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Luke 15 1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of G-d over one sinner that repenteth. 11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. Text for today’s story is from Bible Gateway. Here is a commentary on The Power of Parable . Here is a discussion about this parable. This is a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Yesterday, this facility published the text of Luke 15, also known as The Prodigal Son. The titular phrase does not appear in the King Jimmy text. The story is a parable, that is, a made up story to teach a lesson. Those who say every word of the Bible is true somehow miss this detail.
The Prodigal Son is a popular story. It is well known, and speaks of forgiveness. Some unkind people say that Jesus worshipers like to be forgiven, and do not like to forgive. There is plenty of evidence for this observation. Lets just say that lots of people don’t want to take responsibility for their actions. If your pie in the sky hero to forgives you, then you can have a cleaner conscience.
PG was at a memorial service once. The guest of honor was a leather wearing pagan. The minister, who had met the deceased one time, told the story of the Prodigal Son. It made PG feel better.
The forgotten character in this story is the older brother. He was faithful to his father, stayed at home and helped out, only to see his wayward brother welcomed back with joy. The father never killed a fatted calf for the elder brother. Maybe the elder brother deserved it more. Sometimes, life is not fair. Some say this is more than a parable. Maybe it is three units of bull.

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