Chamblee54

Believe Your Way To Hell

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion by chamblee54 on November 15, 2017


These 666 words are a repost from 2010. It is based on a post at 22 Words. At that time, 22 Words was a quirky blog, with the emphasis on comments of 22 words or less. Today, 22 Words is a corporate blog. The top trending story now is “This Is Why You Should NEVER Put Toilet Paper On a Toilet Seat.” If you want to skip over the text, and look at the pictures, you will be forgiven. These monochrome pictures are from the FSA/PWI collection at The Library of Congress.

This post is about life after death and belief. Originally, the comment was going to be about gaining life after death through belief in Jesus, but the comment was over the 22 word limit. To get to the limit, the reference to Jesus was taken out. Did this substantially alter the meaning of the statement? Is it the matter of belief that counts, or does it have to be a specific belief about Jesus? And why should this matter to living people?

PG feels the pain that Jesus has caused him on a daily basis. He is not likely to change his mind about this religion, no matter how many people talk about it. It is unlikely that very many Jesus worshipers have changed their mind either…questioning your beliefs is the opposite of “faith”, and many are scared of going to hell if they have the wrong opinions. Somehow, this is not how PG wants to live.

22 Words is a regular stop for PG. The idea is to say what you need to say in 22 words or less. The owner of the blog does not enforce this rule, and few commenters practice it. The opening serve of the thread was “Do difficult times make you more or less empathetic? For me the answer is both. Some struggles I’ve faced make me more understanding of others. But sometimes I feel like: “I got over it; why can’t you?” (36 words). The comments took on the colors of Jesus Worship, which is to be expected at TwentyTwoWords.

Chamblee54/ “I feel that way about life after death obsessed Jesus Worshipers. Is there an etymological link between arrogant and air head?” Christen “Speaking of life after death, I’m just starting Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven and very convinced on the importance of being much more focused on our life after death. What did you mean by that, Chamblee?” chamblee54 “I feel the emphasis placed on life after death is mistaken. I disagree with the Jesus worship beliefs on life after death.” christen “Thanks for the reply, chamblee. I think I’m either inexperienced in “the emphasis placed on life after death” debate/issue (?) and “Jesus worship beliefs” or just don’t understand what you’re saying. Either way, I know I can’t wait to be in that place with that person !”

At this point, PG saw the dialog spinning off topic. This was his fault, to a degree, and he felt a responsibility to bring it back into line. The suspicion was that Christen was a Jesus Worshiper, who had never questioned a set of beliefs handed to her. A key portion of this was the life after death issue, which to PG is a fundamental flaw with Jesus Worship Religion. (PG disagrees with the concept of attaining life after death through holding certain beliefs about Jesus. PG also disagrees with the emphasis place on life after death in Jesus Worship.)

Chamblee54 “This is starting to get off topic. I suspect you have never questioned the concept of acquiring life after death through beliefs.” That clocks in at precisely 22 words. The original comment was about acquiring life after death through belief in Jesus. To bring the comment under the 22 word limit, PG decided to eliminate the reference to Jesus. And there was a realization that the fundamental meaning of the comment was not changed. If the status of one’s soul post mortem can be changed by a belief during life…a highly suspect concept to PG…does it matter what the belief is?

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The Church Sign

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on October 19, 2017

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Religion is very personal. When you have a miserable experience with Jesus, it will not go away because of glib expressions of someone else’s beliefs. When you put a sign by the road, you don’t know who is going to see it. You don’t know how they are going to be feeling.

I was driving to dinner one night, when I drove by Briarcliff United Methodist Church. This facility is on a busy road. They have a sign in front, with a message that changes from time to time. This night, I was in a bad mood. I was thinking about people who have humiliated me for Jesus. The sign in front of BUMC said “When was the last time you prayed?”

The concept of prayer is collateral damage in my struggle with Jesus. As I became alienated from Jesus, the idea of a person talking to G-d seems selfish and self aggrandizing. There is something about having an angry bully for Jesus snarling “I’m going to pray for you brother” that makes the concept of prayer repulsive. Prayer should not be a weapon in an argument.

There is another thing to consider here. Pushy Jesus worshipers assume that they have the right to grill you about a sensitive personal issue. The idea of saying this to passing motorists is incredibly disrespectful. It is none of your business if I pray.

I looked up BUMC on the internet when I got home. They have a modern website. The top tab on the menu said “Prayer Requests.” This is probably for people who are facing a crisis, and want someone to pray for them. Maybe you can leave a prayer non-request. Ask them to respect discomfort with their religion, and don’t put offensive messages by the roadside.

Further down on the website is an email address (church@briarcliffumc.com.) While not expecting a miracle, I decided to send them an email. Here is the text of that message.

You have a message board in front of your church. The message when I went by was “When was the last time you prayed?” I was offended by this message.

I have had a tough time with religion. I have been humiliated many, many times because of Jesus. I have heard about your scheme for life after death thousands of times, and simply do not agree with it. An intrusive roadway sign is not going to change my mind.

My belief is that my opinions about G-d, the bible, Jesus, and life after death, are none of your business. If I trust you enough to discuss these matters, then we can have a discussion. Having a rude sign by the road side is not going to enable me to trust you.

Even though it is none of your business, I am going to answer your question. Even though I was talking to G-d, and not to you, I am going to repeat what I said. “G-d please help these people to have respect for their neighbor, and take that awful sign down”.

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It had been a week since PG drove past the church sign at Briarcliff United Methodist Church. The church sent a thoughtful email, in response to the complaining message. The traffic on Briarcliff Road was just as rude as ever. PG took a look when he drove past the church. The new message this week: “In what missions did U last serve?

Maybe they didn’t have a YO to spare. Maybe they are trying to appeal to the text message crowd. Maybe the comment was directed at nearby Mercer University. Maybe a Synagogue borrowed an OY.

When the Jesus worship church talks about missions, they usually mean an effort to convert people to their brand of religion. This is a part of Christianism that many find tasteless. This product promotion frequently turns into a violation of the third commandment… the injunction against improper use of a sacred name. When you create ill will, you are speaking in vain.

When PG got home, he decided to create a meme poem. He also did not feel moved to write fresh text. A decision was made to use already created material, out of the public domain. A search of the book of Psalms located a short chapter, with a number that is popular at this blog. Hence, the current presentation of Psalm 54.

While this effort was in production, PG thought about the mission he was on. The idea was to rescue this text from the improper way in which it is used. It should be a source of beauty, not a weapon to bludgeon people into agreement. Psalm 54 is a poem, written by a human being, not a message from G-d. When you make a G-d out of a book, you do no favor to either the G-d, or the book.

In the end, the effort had mixed results. The text has an air of vengeance. G-d was supposed to get even with your enemies. The idea that your enemies might be the children of G-d is forgotten.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These are Union soldiers from the War Between the States. They served on a tough mission. This is a double repost.





The Parable

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion by chamblee54 on October 7, 2017






A facebook friend gave PG the link to a video, The Power of Parable , and set some events into motion. It did not end well.
TPOP is an interview with Peter Rollins. He says that “a parable tries to get beyond something in the head, and rupture something in the heart.” A parable is like a painting, with a different meaning every time you look at it. It should make you think, it should move and transform you. A parable “is not giving water to those who are thirsty, it is giving them salt to make them thirsty.”
PG had been thinking of the story of The Prodigal Son , and decided to publish this story on his blog. He found the text, in Luke 15. PG’s late father was named Luke.
The story of The Prodigal Son (a phrase that does not appear in Luke 15) had long been a favorite of PG. It is about family, acceptance, forgiveness, and welcome. The disgust that PG feels for the abusive ways of Jesus worshipers does not affect his enjoyment of this story.
At about this time, PG saw a comment thread at a blog . The writer of this blog, ZSB, had butted heads with PG before. A few comments were made, including one snide remark by Frank Turk. For some reason, PG decided to send a link to The Prodigal Son , The story was about forgiveness and kindness, and PG hoped to build a bridge.

ZSB … Chamblee, I like the photos (although, as usual, they seem unlrelated to the post), am ambivalent about the video,dig the rainbow-text effect, and LOVE the words contained in the text… but what on earth does it have to do with this post or this meta? Oh, wait, I get it—you’re further showcasing how the Internet often fosters random non-sequitur-style communication. September 15, 2011 3:27 PM

chamblee54 …. 1- I did not read the complete dialog. I seldom have the patience for long discussions like this. When I saw the comment “G-d has given us a perfect bible”, I realized that this was built on a shaky foundation. I simply do not agree with that concept. 2- The story that I used is The prodigal son. It is about not giving up on people. It is about not labeling someone a troll, and ignoring everything they say. I see that as highly relevant to the dialog between Mr. Turk and myself. 3- I linked to a video in the story. It is a monolog about the value of parables. It is about taking a text and thinking about the many different meanings that it can have. This is different from calling this text the “word of G-d”, and saying that it has a literal meaning. The story of the prodigal son can have many meanings. 4- The Prodigal Son was a parable. It was a made up story, used to teach a lesson. When you call a text a literal piece of work, you contradict the nature of parables. The Prodigal Son story may have happened, or may not have. This is beside the point to the overall story. 5- The video is a song by Tom Waits. While not a direct cause and effect companion to the story, there is a connection. Whatever happens to little boys who never comb their hair? September 15, 2011 3:42 PM

ZSB … Chamblee54 said… “. [The Prodigal Son] is about not giving up on people. It is about not labeling someone a troll, and ignoring everything they say. ”
Um, no. No, a thousand times no! That is not what the Lord’s parable of the lost son is about. Look at the context. It’s about salvation. It’s about something you won’t hear because you’re tripped up by the words “God has given us a perfect Bible.” Reject it, laugh at it, spit on it, but don’t turn it into a benign little collection of nice-isms that you can live with, because, while it doesn’t harm God’s Word, it makes you look silly to do so. September 15, 2011 4:27 PM

chamblee54 … My point exactly. A parable is like a poem … it should have a different meaning every time you hear it. When you take an allegory, and call it a literal work, you are not always going to have the “correct” interpretation.
This story was written by someone. It was written many years after Jesus had his ministry. It was translated at least twice. It was copied by hand, probably more than once. It was compiled into a book by the council of nicea. This is not a copy/paste of a word document written by Jesus.
But, when someone disagrees with your view, and you have a hissy fit, then it makes YOU look silly. September 15, 2011 5:01 PM

ZSB … Okay, I’ve dealth with the tired, ill-founded claim of “twice-translated” words of Jesus, allegedly far-removed from his ministry here . And parables aren’t allegory. Fairly common rookie mistake.
And this comment thread is actually about the subject of the blogpost. Like all of my blog comment threads, it’s not about your beef (and borderline obsession) with Frank Turk.
Comment thread is now un-hijacked. i.e. all comments unrelated to the post (particularly by those who admit to not having read it) will be deleted post-haste. That is all. September 15, 2011 5:15 PM

PG was had many ups and downs with Jesus. Some of the bad experiences were not his fault. In this case, he should have known better. You don’t discuss poetry with Jesus worshipers, at least ones who care mostly about life after death. It is a “fairly common rookie mistake”. Jesus was spoiled for PG a while back. This visit was a reminder. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.





I’m Christian, Butt I’m Not

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on October 2, 2017

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PG does not keep up with viral videos. He depends on warm-and-fuzzies like Matt Walsh and Mollie Ziegler Hemingway for periodic outrage alerts. The latest target of the screed stoppers is from Buzzfeed Yellow, I’m Christian, But I’m Not. The latest report from YouTube shows 765,694 views. Viral is not as hot as it used to be. This is a repost.

The video shows some well scrubbed younguns. They say things like “I’m Christian but I’m not close-minded … but I am not judgmental … but I don’t place myself on a pedestal.” (Thank you Mollie Ziegler Hemingway for the transcript.)

The next part is the answer to the question “What are you?” The high point of this is where the girl says “I do believe in monogamy before sex but I will give you sex advice if you need it.” The last part is answers to “What do you want people to know about Christianity?” “We shouldn’t be judged on just the people that you see in the media, or just the people that you’ve met in everyday life. every Christian is different, and we deserve a chance to explain ourselves.”

Well, no you don’t. PG has had a horrendous experience with Jesus. The “bad Christians” are often the loudest, and make the deepest impressions. The “bad Christians” are usually supported by the “good Christians.” The sorry behavior is somehow excused by the ideology. After all, Jesus died for your sins, we are going to heaven, and you are going to hell. And we deserve a chance to shove that rhetoric in your face one more time.

If you type in “I’m Christian but I’m not” to Google, and it’s wholly owned subsidiary YouTube, you will see the critics loud and clear. Many have pointed out that ICBIN does not say the name “Jesus.” Others say that Christians are supposed to be hated. The YouTube comments are bizarre, as usual.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

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How To Choose A Guru

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion by chamblee54 on September 9, 2017








PG has reread How to choose a guru, by Rick Chapman. The book is a look at spirituality of all sorts, with a special emphasis on Meher Baba.

HTCAG can be a frustrating book. The main focus is on finding a “perfect master”, and the path to enlightenment under his guidance. If one is not inclined to this level of dedication, you can be left feeling inferior. This is similar to the despair people feel when they think they are going to go to hell, because they don’t have the correct ideas about Jesus.

Thie book takes a look at spirit from the perspective of all religions. A central concept is the avatar, the idea of G-d become man. (This was long before the movie with a similar title.) The avatars of recorded history include Zoroaster, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed. Some say that Meher Baba is the modern avatar.

Mr. Chapman has a knack for phrasing. There are expressions that PG remembers from reading HTCAG in 1978. They are still there 34 years later.

Creation First, there was G-d. Then, there’s you. Then, there is G-d.
Speculation The average persons speculation about consciousness…has “the stink but not the weight of his turd”
Evangelism An authentic Master will encourage you to let your life itself be his message.
Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds Don’t be sidetracked by elaborate creeds and doctrines- the truth is as simple as it is profound. From the ancient teachings of Zoraster to today, these three principles have been the heart of the message of every G-d realized Master.
Books “Excellent guides until you find the Way.”–Abu Sa’id
Books Part Two …the scriptures of the past compare to the writings of a present-day Perfect Master just about the way that dust compares to honey.
Satan Worship If you have been toying with the thought that any form of Satan worship can lead you to higher consciousness, sober up by reading the story of Dr. Faustus. There are many paths to enlightenment, but this back alley isn’t one of them.
Sex A real guru never has any form of sexual relations with his followers. If a person posing as a guru tries to seduce you in the physical sense, then you can have no clearer indication that he is a phony, a pathetic and hypocritical collection of unresolved desires.
Truth, Old and New One time the Buddha was approached by a young man who was skeptical about Gautama’s renowned divine status. “Does the Blessed One teach a path that is new and original?” he asked. One of the Buddha’s close disciples, Sariputta, turned his gaze from the Master to the skeptic and replied, “If the Blessed One taught a path that was new and original, He would not be the Blessed One!” “Well said, Sariputta,” smiled the Buddha, “well said.”

Several of these quotes are available in copy/paste form at Meher Baba Information, for which this reporter says thank you. This site says that Rick Chapman is a follower of Meher Baba, and met him in 1966. This relationship is never made explicit in HTCAG. A glowing chapter is devoted to Meher Baba, and this relationship is not surprising. Still, HTCAG might be a bit more upfront if this relationship was clearly spelled out.

Meher Baba was born February 25, 1894 with the name Merwan Sheriar Irani. The name Meher Baba means “compassionate father”. From July 10, 1925 until his death January 31, 1969, he maintained silence, and communicated by gestures that were interpreted by his followers. Meher Baba believed that he was the avatar of our age.

With all of it’s human imperfections, HTCAG is a valuable book. It is easy to read, will expose you to ideas about spirit, and get you to think. When you grow up in a Jesus Worship tradition, one can be aware of a spirit within. At the same time, you get tired of the obsession with life after death. You sense that there is more to G-d than scheming to live after you die. HTCAG shows one path.

This is a repost. It was written like Vladimir Nabokov. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.







One History Of Religion

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Religion by chamblee54 on August 6, 2017

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I was a southern baptist all my life. Arguably, I became a baptist when my mother converted in 1938, but really didn’t get with the program until I was born in 1954. The story is that Daddy called the choir director at six in the morning to sign me up.

First Baptist in Atlanta was a big church on Peachtree street, about a mile north of downtown. (A few years ago, they sold the land to a developer, and moved to the suburbs. I was working a block away when they tore down the building, and got some chips of brick as a souvenir.) I sang in the “cherub” choir. This was quite an experience when we performed in front of a full house. I have good memories of Sunday school, vacation bible school, and the choir program.

One thing I did not like, even at that young age, was the preacher. He was a greasy haired man who shouted a lot, and had a mean streak. Years later, I heard persistent rumors that he was gay. (I should note that this is not Charles Stanley. It is the man who preceded him.) One Sunday, we were watching him preach, and he shouted, “this is the word of G-d”. He then waved a Bible in the air, and slammed it into the pulpit. I thought, if that is the word of G-d, maybe he shouldn’t slam it down like that.

In 1962, mom and dad decided to move to a church closer to home. I liked Briarcliff Baptist. About this time, I first heard about being “saved from sin”, and thought it was a pretty cool idea. I also was in the cub scouts, and since their meetings were the same day as choir practice, I quit the choir. I attended church regularly the next few years, but never did join the church, and get baptized. The custom of pressuring children to make a “commitment of faith”, and get baptized, reflects poorly on Jesus.There are some other family issues that came up about this time. They are too personal to get into here, but they affected my attitude towards the church.

After a while, I was 17 years old, and working in a restaurant that was open until 1am on Saturday night. I decided one Sunday that I didn’t want to get up for church. I have only been back to that building once in the intervening 36 years. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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More Talk About Life After Death

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on August 4, 2017







Someone is always talking about life after death. Every once in a while, somebody listens. It seems to be a big deal to believe this talk. PG wrote a couple of posts on the subject. They are presented here today. Pictures,from The Library of Congress, are soldiers from the War Between the States.

In January of 2005, PG was at a memorial service. A lady who grew up near PG had passed away. The service, in a Methodist Church, was full of talk about life after death. This talk did not give PG comfort, and served to remind him of why he does not go to church. Some, of the family of the deceased, did find comfort in the talk about life after death.

PG was trolling the blogosphere, looking for good words to put between pictures. He was tired of a number of subjects. None of these subjects were going to go away, although others can be expected to tire of reading about them. Then he found a post in Making Chutney about the ultimate subject that will not go away…life after death.

Life after death is a better phrase than “eternal life” or, G-d forbid, “Salvation”. Jesus Worshipers are obsessed with life after death. It is mentioned at almost all gatherings of Jesus Worshipers. PG finds the whole matter annoying.

So anyway, the New York Times published an op ed piece, written by Charles Blow. It seems as though the “Pew Forum”…which may or may not comment on deodorants…published a survey. The bottom line of the study is that
70 percent of Americans said that they believed religions other than theirs could lead to eternal life. Gee, that’s big of them.
Who says that life after death is a proper matter for a religion to discuss? And even if it is, why do Jesus Worshipers talk about life after death ALL THE TIME? Also, does a belief in life after death justify the rudeness and shouting that Jesus Worship is known for?

Jesus Worship is the dominant religion in our culture. Many people see other religions through the priorities of Jesus Worship. It is a surprise to many to learn that not everyone is as concerned about life after death as they are. Many Jesus worshipers cannot comprehend that many people simply do not agree with the Jesus Worship plan for life after death.

The correct answer to the question “Where will you spend eternity?” is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. The use of cusswords is optional.







This post has been in the works for a long time. It is about life after death. This is a big deal to Jesus worshipers. It is fair to say that the entire religion has devolved into a scheme for life after death. Either you agree, and go to heaven, or disagree, and go to hell. PG has thought long and hard about this, and has a few thoughts.

One problem with this concept is human nature. When you have a religion based on broadcasting a message, some of the believers go overboard. Some will let their pride get in the way. They enjoy the power that seems to come with spreading this message. When a person hears this “good news,” shouted by people who are bad news, then it is natural to doubt the message.

A facebook friend supplied this quote
“More people have been brought into the church by the kindness of real Christian love than by all the theological arguments in the world, and more people have been driven from the church by the hardness and ugliness of so-called Christianity than by all the doubts in the world. ” The $64 question becomes: Do people who have been repelled from Jesus, through exposure to his obnoxious believers, go to hell?
There is also the matter of people who simply do not agree with the scheme for life after death. Of all the standards to use, why would G-d use the doctrine of one branch, of one religion? Does G-d even exist? Are the billions of people who never even heard of Jesus destined for hell?

PG was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition. For various reasons, he resisted the pressure put on children to “make a profession of faith”, and be baptised. When he was 17, he quit going to church. In 1979, there was a week in a Moonie camp in California. There have been many books read, a bit of thinking and talking, and a few odd meetings attended. There were 7 years working closely with an abusive professional Jesus worshiper. After a while, PG got tired of worrying about it all, and just wanted to enjoy the time he has on this planet.

Which brings us to today’s post. In no particular order, here is the product.

1- G-d does not write books. The Bible was compiled by the Council of Nicea from a variety of texts. These texts were written in a multitude of languages, and copied by hand. It is possible that the scribes copying them made mistakes. It is possible that errors in translation were made. It is probable that texts were not included in the Bible, for various reasons. The Bible is the product of man’s labor, with possible inspiration by G-d.

The first commandment says Thou shalt have no other gods before me. When you call the Bible the word of G-d, you are, in effect, making a G-d out of a book. When you violate this common sense commandment, you are going to have problems.

2- The first commandment… Thou shalt have no other gods before me. .. does not make an exception for the so called son of G-d.

3- Jesus was killed because he was a trouble maker. His death, and reputed resurrection, have nothing to do with what happens when you die.

4- What happens to people after they die is none of your business. Living people should be concerned with life, and not worry about what will happen when you die.

5- You should have faith in G-d to take care of you when you die. Period. Don’t scream about Jesus. Don’t kill the infidel. Don’t worry about your soul. G-d took care of you before you were born, and she will take care of you after you die.

6- What you say does not become more true the louder you say it. The way you say something is more important than the words you say. It is more important to show kindness to your neighbor, than to scream the so called truth.

7- The decision to end a life is G-d’s job. You are better off when you let her make this call. This applies to war, abortion, captal punishment, and euthanasia, and other forms of humans ending life.

8- G-d should be enjoyed. G-d should bring nourishment to life. G-d should NOT be fought or argued over. The third commandment…Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. … is another common sense rule that is shamelessly violated by those who claim to be “saved”. When you forget this rule, you cause trouble.

9- When copying some commandments for use in this post, PG found this. 23 Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. PG has heard about the ten commandments all his life, and yet has never heard this line. It is just 6 verses after the tenth commandment, which is about coveting. The tenth commandment is obsolete in this era of wealthy churches, and so-called prosperity gospel.






Is Prayer That Great?

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion by chamblee54 on July 14, 2017


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.
Of course, 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 clumsy efforts of our Jesus-mad culture to convert me.

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.

Fighting On Twitter

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion, The English Language, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 17, 2017


There was a twitter battle last week. It was mildly ironic, and amusing to one of the participants. There may, or may not, be a message about Jesus here. If you want to skip over the text, and look at the pictures, you will be excused. The pictures are from The Library of Congress.

PG was on twitter, using his nom de tweet @chamblee54. PG found a tweet from @Phil_Johnson_ . Mr. Johnson is the founder, and copyright holder, of Pyromaniacs, a once popular blog . PG is banned from commenting at Pyromaniacs.

Did God Promise Health and Wealth? is the post linked to in the tweet. Mr. Johnson is a doctrine enthusiast. This post is an example. “I’d rather talk about the truth than concentrate on error. I love doctrine and instruction. … All of us need words of challenge and caution; not always words of blessing and benediction. The faithful preacher is obliged to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort””

PG is a recovering Baptist. He disagrees with most of what he hears of Christian doctrine. To PG, the best way to know Jesus is through the words, and deeds, of his believers. Sometimes Jesus gets dragged into personal quarrels. Believers find a way to work through this, and go on believing. To PG, this is one more reason to stay home on Sunday morning.

For some reason, PG looked at Did God Promise Health and Wealth? He saw some graphic mistakes. Here is a screen shot. The version at the site has been corrected. Of course, the internet never forgets, and here is a cached copy. Here is an ironic example of the graphic errors: “Every Christian has a duty to differentiate between truth and errorCto proclaim truth and refute error.”

@Phil_Johnson_ Did God promise health and wealth? link to post
@chamblee54 “Cand reproof and correction” “Cespecially when false teaching” “truth and errorCto proclaim” Did you proofread this?
@Phil_Johnson_ I didn’t post it. Someone else does that. Looks like the WP conversion changed my em-dashes to capital Cs. Should be fairly obvious.
@chamblee54 do you take responsibility for something published with your name?
@Phil_Johnson_ Not if I’m not the one who published it. Why? Do you think I deserve a fine or a public flogging?
@chamblee54 dude you are a professional You should not allow something like this to go out It makes you, and Jesus, look bad
@Phil_Johnson_ Jesus “looks bad“ to you because someone posted a sermon transcript with typos? I don’t think that’s the real reason you hate Him, Chamblee
@chamblee54 either you are responsible for what goes out under your name, and “in the name of” Jesus, or you are not who said I hate Jesus anyway?
@Phil_Johnson_ You did. Frequently. Here, for instance, you flatly disclaim the Jesus of Scripture:
@chamblee54 #ThingsJesusNeverSaid anything in the bible
@chamblee54 that is not “hate” I don’t believe that the bible is an accurate record of what Jesus said… my tweet is a slight exaggeration
@Phil_Johnson_ Jesus: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
@chamblee54 some scholars say entire book of John is suspect … all you had to do was change web page with typo you must love to quarrel
@Phil_Johnson_ That’s not MY webpage. I don’t post my own sermons. I told you that. If you weren’t looking for a quarrel, why keep pressing the point?
@chamblee54 I am replying to you A web page, with the name of a church that employs you as executive director, would appear to be your responsibility
@Phil_Johnson_ As you know, appearances can be deceiving. Sorry. So what’s your verdict on my original question—fine, or public beating?
@chamblee54 Neither fine or beating are helpful opening tweet: Did God promise health and wealth? Maybe responsibility for grammar from pro editor
@Phil_Johnson_ PS: I am not employed by the church. I’m a lay person.
@Phil_Johnson_ PPS: And I may be an editor, but I’m not such a grammar Nazi that I would demand the keys to every website that botches my transcripts.
@chamblee54 Instead of beating/fine, why not delete the tweet, or suggest that people not retweet it… did anyone else notice this? does anyone read?
@Phil_Johnson_ You could always just listen to the sermon, so your eyes won’t be assaulted with a computer error every time my transcript used an em-dash.
@chamblee54some people don’t like having their doctrine criticized…subject of post… compare to your reaction to having the graphics criticized
@Phil_Johnson_ Criticize all you like. I said in my first reply that the punctuation is wrong. But (as I keep saying) ***I don’t operate that website.***
@chamblee54 you continue to recommend the content, even knowing about mistakes that have your name on them
@Phil_Johnson_ While I do appreciate your deep concern about my editorial credibility, there’s little I can do tonight to correct someone else’s webpage.
@chamblee54 if you do not object, I would like to write about this exchange on my blog… if you do object, then I will not do so
@Phil_Johnson_ Please feel free to write about it. Thanks for asking, but even if I object to your opinion, you have every right to express it.
@Phil_Johnson_ Turns out they fixed it for you: link to post

The tweet #ThingsJesusNeverSaid anything in the bible, deserves a comment. Is this evidence of hatred for Jesus? Does it “flatly disclaim the Jesus of Scripture”? Maybe Jesus is more than the result of translating Aramaic, to Greek, to Latin, to English. Maybe Jesus is a living spirit, seen in the words, and deeds, of those who will not quit talking about him.

When you hear Americans quote the Bible, they almost always use an English translation. This English document is said to be “The Word Of G-d.” When you consider that Jesus spoke Aramaic, not English, you realize that Jesus did not say any of the English sentences that he is given credit for. One of the few things PG believes is the G-d does not write books.

That is it. Two white guys exchanging tweets. Nobody was saved, or damned. Was PG in error by saying that Jesus looks bad as a result of this? Maybe. With all the mud on Jesus’s face these days, a few em-dash errors aren’t going to hurt. Should people tweet links to a post containing unsightly errors? Probably not. Do people like to quarrel on the internet, for the sake of quarreling? Is the topic of debate just an excuse for some good time twitterbashing? Anybody who cares can answer that.

Use Two Boulders This Time

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Religion, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on April 9, 2017


PG used to have a job making local deliveries in Marietta. He often found himself behind a red light next to the Big Chicken. The Big Chicken is his friend. One day PG discovered that he could talk to G-d while waiting for the light to change by the Big Chicken. This is a repost

So G dude, whatever happened to that boy of yours.

Man, I wish I had never met Mary. That boy was more trouble than you can imagine.

He did seem to have a mouth on him. Hey, just one thing before the light changes. The Jesus Worshipers seem to think it was the Jews who offed Jboi

NO NO NO. It was the Romans. They ran the show. They wrote the history to blame the Jews

That sounds like something they would do.

But the Jews screwed up too. When Jboi finally died, I knew he was going to try to pull something. I told the Jews to put two boulders in front of the cave. Two. That way he was going to stay in that stinking cave, and I wouldn’t have to hear his whining any more. But the Jews thought they could save money, and only used one boulder

The car behind PG was honking. The light had turned green. Pictures from The Library of Congress.

Atheism Number Two

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion by chamblee54 on March 23, 2017








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 also gave a TED Talk about this concept. TED provides a transcript, which makes the bloggers endeavor a bit easier. Quotes below,from the transcript, are in blue. Editorial comments, by the house, are in green.

One of the most common ways of dividing the world is into those who believe and those who don’t — into the religious and the atheists. And for the last decade or so, it’s been quite clear what being an atheist means. There have been some very vocal atheists who’ve pointed out, not just that religion is wrong, but that it’s ridiculous. These people, many of whom have lived in North Oxford, have argued — they’ve argued that believing in G-d is akin to believing in fairies and essentially that the whole thing is a childish game.

We may as well began 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 as fascinated by belief in “salvation” as they are. Some say Jesus is appalled by this obsession with life after death.

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

“Now religions start from a very different place indeed. All religions, all major religions, at various points call us children. And like children, they believe that we are in severe need of assistance. We’re only just holding it together. Perhaps this is just me, maybe you. But anyway, we’re only just holding it together. And we need help. Of course, we need help. And we need guidance and we need learning.”

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?

Another point about education: we tend to believe in the modern secular world that if you tell someone something once, they’ll remember it. Sit them in a classroom, tell them about Plato at the age of 20, send them out for a career in management consultancy for 40 years, and that lesson will stick with them. Religions go, “Nonsense. You need to keep repeating the lesson 10 times a day. So get on your knees and repeat it.” That’s what all religions tell us: “Get on you knees and repeat it 10 or 20 or 15 times a day.” Otherwise our minds are like sieves.

So religions are cultures of repetition. They circle the great truths again and again and again. We associate repetition with boredom. “Give us the new,” we’re always saying. “The new is better than the old.” If I said to you, “Okay, we’re not going to have new TED. We’re just going to run through all the old ones and watch them five times because they’re so true. We’re going to watch Elizabeth Gilbert five times because what she says is so clever,” you’d feel cheated.

PG listened to the embedded TED talk twice, the second time taking notes in the transcript. The idea of listening to this lecture three more times is horrific.

The other thing that religions are really aware of is: speak well — I’m not doing a very good job of this here — but oratory, oratory is absolutely key to religions. In the secular world, you can come through the university system and be a lousy speaker and still have a great career. But the religious world doesn’t think that way. What you’re saying needs to be backed up by a convincing way of saying it.

So if you go to an African American Pentecostalist church in the American South and you listen to how they talk, my goodness, they talk well. After every convincing point, people will go, “Amen, amen, amen.” At the end of a really rousing paragraph, they’ll all stand up, and they’ll go, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Christ, thank you Savior.” If we were doing it like they do it — let’s not do it, but if we were to do it — I would tell you something like, “Culture should replace scripture.” And you would go, “Amen, amen, amen.” And at the end of my talk, you would all stand up and you would go, “Thank you Plato, thank you Shakespeare, thank you Jane Austen.” And we’d know that we had a real rhythm going. All right, all right. We’re getting there. We’re getting there.

This is one issue where PG has a big, big problem. 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”.

No, we need to be polite about differences. Politeness is a much-overlooked virtue. It’s seen as hypocrisy. But we need to get to a stage when you’re an atheist and someone says, “Well you know, I did pray the other day,” you politely ignore it. You move on. Because you’ve agreed on 90 percent of things, because you have a shared view on so many things, and you politely differ… That’s what the religious wars of late have ignored. They’ve ignored the possibility of harmonious disagreement.

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, with pictures 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.”






Did Joseph Think It Was His Kid?

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Religion by chamblee54 on March 21, 2017





NOTE: This feature was originally published in March 26, 2013…. As you may have heard, SCOTUS is hearing oral, and possibly anal, arguments about gay marriage today. In a stroke of irony, this is day after March 25, nine months before Christmas. In other words, a crucial day, in the most famous unconsummated marriage in history.

PG began to ponder the traditional marriage of Joseph and Mary. Apparently, Joseph’s last name is lost to history. 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.