Saturday, 14 November 2015

13 November 2015 in Paris

I woke up this morning to the shocking news of the events in Paris overnight.
A friend, who lives between her homes in the US and Paris, posted on Facebook that she was “not in Paris”. I wondered why she’d said that, so I googled “what’s happened in Paris” to read the shocking news of, at this stage, 153 people having been killed by terrorists.
Once again a group of religious fanatics have taken it upon themselves to attack and kill innocent people simply going about their lives, not even thinking about religion, just having a good time on a Friday night at the start of their winter.
I am sad. I have a family of children who love to travel, one of them having recently visited France with her father, so the risk of one of mine being caught in the middle of a fanatic’s attack is very real. I feel for the families of these young people, my heart goes out to the people of Paris.
Some people on “social media” are asking, “but what about Beirut,” “what about Pakistan”, what about the people who die every day in the Middle East?
This fundamentalist murderous inclination is a sickness that needs a cure. We know what is the cause of the sickness. It’s caused by religions steeped in the belief of a vengeful god, invented by desert dwellers at a time when knowledge of the world was limited to knowledge of their very small part of the earth, and fear of the unexplained was placed into the hands of this vengeful, murderous, misogynistic god who also hated children.
This belief leads to the people who close their minds to the greater world, and the knowledge we have to explain everything their ancestors, 3,000 years ago didn’t understand, remaining within the comfort of their belief for reasons only they can explain. I think the reasons are that through the lack of secular education in their world, they actually believe in the promises of rewards in the afterlife. Whatever those rewards are, whether they are countless virgins to rape, or being returned to the land promised to them by their murderous god, they truly believe that those rewards will come to them. Why else would someone strap a bomb to their chest to die, while yelling out “God is great!”?
But what about the innocents in their own countries who are either killed by fundamentalists or who lose children, and family members to the insanity? Should I not feel sad about them, about the refugees who are fleeing the insanity to go to the west for safety? Of course I feel sad for them. Of course I would like their pain to end, for them to be able live freely in their home countries without the threat of their lives, and those of their children being taken by fanatics. Feeling sad about Paris today does not mean that I don't feel for the family of the child who dies by falling off a raft while trying to escape the violence at home.
The solution is a simple one. Religion has to become a private matter, something we do in the privacy of our own homes and not in public. The only way to stop the insanity is to remove religion from public life, ALL religion. Not only the fanatics, but all religion, even the mild forms of it.
I’m not saying that I want everyone to drop their firmly-held beliefs in whatever it is they believe in, I just want it to be private. Turn all churches and places of worship into schools. Remove all the clerics from public office, put them on retirement, and make the younger ones teach “mythology” at the previous churches, and in that teaching, they should be made to teach the tenets of all religions as part of the mythology teaching, including their own mythology and those of ancient times, until they all become old enough to retire and people are no longer interested in learning about mythology, preferring more valuable studies instead.
While we’re removing religion, let us also remove the people who see themselves as having been placed over us by their deities. Let’s force kings and princes, and "defenders of the faith” be made to work at jobs outside of their palaces. Turn their palaces into places of education too.
The philosopher Denis Diderot famously said: “man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” This is metaphorically speaking of course. I don’t want kings and priests to be violently removed, I want to see them relegated to the past. Organised religion, the belief in “divine rights”, mythological beings dictating that people who worship differently should be put to death, are an anachronism. They do not belong in a world where most people want all wars to end. That will not happen until we do away with organised religion and the ideologies they foster.
Children will not die, young people will not be sent to fight wars, and they won’t strap bombs to their chests,  if they don’t have outdated reasons for them to do so.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Books of the Apocrypha

Like most ordinary people who simply reject the idea of God, and the need for religion, I thought that all I needed to do to become more informed about Judeo-Christian religion, would be to “read the Bible” as I was so urgently encouraged to do by someone I debated on the internet, in 2009.

This blog site contains my journey through the pages of the King James Version of the Old and New Testaments, the reading of which caused me to embark on a long period of writing about what I discovered. In the process I became something of a biblical scholar.

However, my knowledge of the Bible would not be complete without having read what was not included in the version I was reading.

To complete this knowledge, it is now necessary to give attention to the Apocrypha: that set of books that were deemed by some versions of Christianity, and Judaism, to not have been inspired by God, and therefore not worthy of being included in the Jewish Tanakh, or the Protestant Bible. In this week, I have learnt that the Bible given to me in childhood, by my Jewish father, was that supported by the religion of my Christian mother, not the complete set of works contained in the other forms of Christianity’s Bibles.

This has now sparked a new book. 

In this one, I have a short overview of why the books were not included, and the history of their inclusion, or being discarded, and then commentary on all the books, with observations about how their inclusion either influences a religion, or why it would change the way people worship if it were included.

My conclusion from having researched these books, and a search for a complete anthology of both the Old and New Testament Apocrypha or pseudographia is that if the Bible, the Holy Bible were inspired by God, then why do some religions discard some or all of the books (the reason being they deem them to be uninspired), if these believers all worship the same God? Surely if God is all-powerful, all-knowing, unchanging, and able to inspire people to write, he would have made sure that they have everything he has to say to them. Also he would have known that some of the writing was going to be discarded, so why did some people not discard that writing if God didn’t inspire the people who do discard them to throw them out?

This only shows that God was created by humans for whichever reason they created him - mostly to control other humans. It is another nail in the coffin of the god of Judeo-Christian religion. If he does indeed exist, then it is even more important for people who believe he does, to provide evidence for his existence. For me, this discovery has only deepened my disbelief in his existence.