Tag Archives: church

True meaning of Christmas

It’s that wonderful time of year again. The time when we celebrate the life of that great giver of gifts.
Children believe in him without question. And it’s no wonder: the story of his goodness and kindness has been passed from generation to generation for centuries now.
How could anyone fail to believe in him? Santa Claus.
Of course to share in the gifts children have to be really good and faithful, otherwise he may not come. Why? Well, because he has a way of finding out. Santa can see everything they do. From his Intelligence Agency high above the North Pole, he can read all of their minds – they won’t be chosen otherwise.
All very similar to another story which has targeted children from generation to generation for centuries. A story of a God with a celestial-spy agency which can read our minds and promise us gifts or threaten us with punishment.
Brain-washed parents have passed on the stories from mad-prophets, who claim exclusive rights to the path to paradise . Innocent children will believe anything they are told.
Now, did I once hear a tale of a tooth-fairy?


A new Testament

The bible’s New Testament is aptly named, because in it we are introduced to the guy calling himself Jesus. And he describes to us a new God; well the same old one, but now he’s had a makeover. He is no longer the bloodthirsty monster from the old testament, he has been transformed into a gentle loving and forgiving God, who loves all races: yes, even those with foreskins. And by the way says Jesus – he’s my dad.
There is also a new power in the land of the chosen tribe – Romans. We also have a great big new myth to kick it all off.
There were three wise men from the east; they were Magi: followers of Zoroaster, an ancient prophet. The traditional Christian account tells of a simple fairy tale, which is taught at Sunday schools to trusting children and enacted at nativity plays every year. It implies that the wise men having seen the star in the east believed that it prophesied the birth of Jesus, and they followed it with gifts for the infant.
However, according to Matthew’s account, they messed up big style. First they stopped off in Jerusalem to make enquiries; not a good idea. There an evil bastard called King Herod, heard about the prophecy. He called in on the wise men and asked to be kept informed, so that he too could go and worship. When they heard the king they departed and followed their star. They came to the house and saw the infant with his mother and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
And being warned by God in a dream, that they should not return to Herod, they returned home a different route. Then, the angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream, telling him to flee with his family to Egypt; for Herod will seek to destroy this child. There sure was a lot of dreaming in those days! And why couldn’t God just send a plague of boils to infest Herod to take his mind of events – just like he did with the Pharaohs: is he getting soft?
Herod, when he saw he had been mocked by the wise men, sent forth, and slew all of the children under two years old, in Bethlehem and the coasts thereof.
Of course this tale is taken from that fabulous book, the bible. You won’t find any reference to this event in any real history books, not even by Josephus, a famous chronicler of the times. Surely massacres of children would be big news stories, even in those fantastic days.
It is notable that it is only Matthew who mentions this mass murder. Mark, Luke and John don’t seem to know anything about it – almost as if it was all in the mind of mad Matthew.
Josephus records for history, the facts that Herod had all the members of the royal family murdered, including his own wife, and their two sons. But he doesn’t record any atrocity of two thousand infants being slain by Herod.
Luke doesn’t report Joseph fleeing to Egypt with his wife and new-born son: he has him going to Jerusalem to show him off.
You must admit God is a bit careless, having his son born into such dangerous conditions, but of course it wasn’t possible that any harm could come to him; if the boy had been killed, he wouldn’t have said – tough shit, but that’s life my boy! Now where can I find myself another teenage virgin to plant my seed?
Just one tall biblical tale among the many.

Star Voyagers

The Voyager space crafts left Earth thirty nine years ago. Their mission was first to fly past and take images of Jupiter and Saturn: and then boldly go where no craft has gone before. Travelling at speeds of around 38,000 miles per hour they reached the outer reaches of our solar system in 2013. But to finally break free of any faint tug of gravity from our Sun, they will have to pass through the Oort Cloud; a journey taking 40,000 years – so don’t bother putting it in your diary. If there was anyone on board looking back, the Sun would be just another little star twinkling in the darkness: and even then we would only be half way to our nearest neighbour; Proxima Centaura. As you can see, God’s interstellar space is a very lonely place.
And just in case we make contact with any extra-terrestrial life, we have put together a greeting pack in the form of a gold-plated disc: aka, the golden record.
Of course we hope that the aliens are intelligent; hopefully not like the sort to be found at Mos Eisley Cantina, the inter-galactic bar in Star Wars. What would Jabba the Hutt make of the selection of music found on the golden record? Would he appreciate Beethoven’s Fifth? Maybe not, but I can definitely see him jiving along to Chuck Berry’s Johnny B Goode. What about the Wookies? We know that Chewbacca was a fast learner, so I’m sure that any Wookie would recognise at least one of the fifty five languages chosen to represent us.
What if the golden record ends up in the hands of the evil Sith? We wouldn’t want Darth Sidious finding his way here – and what if mad murdering Moses is really one of them in disguise?  We need our aliens to be god-fearing and upstanding, we need them to be more like the Jedi. We need to hope that they also have a covenant with our creator. God-damn it, any aliens we make contact with must for our sakes be circumcised. Surely Yoda must be; he’s got to be one of the chosen.

Itelligent Design

I’ve been browsing through a selection of religious blogs, and many of them make sweeping statements about what Atheists believe: as if we all think with one mind, or have some Atheist text-book to coordinate our thoughts – Atheists believe that we got something out of nothing when the Earth was created, seems a popular one.
Personally I am an Atheist for what I don’t believe – and I don’t believe the mad god described in the bible is up to the job of creation. If the apologists of Intelligent Design actually put forward an intelligent argument about creation and their creator they might just be worthy of debate. But their argument for the basis of their faith is the opposite of intelligent. The absolute foundation story of the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam (they are all sects of the same religion) is the meeting between the man called Moses and the god inside his head. All of the evidence in the old testament points to Moses actually being mentally ill. The Genesis story seems to celebrate the fact that he was a mass murderer on a par with the worst monsters in history. He heard voices and imagined he even heard God talk to him from a burning bush. He claims he saw God when he was all alone with him up in the mountain- but only his back – he didn’t dare try and describe him. He had classic symptoms of Schizophrenia.  Intelligent Design can only provide a backward unsophisticated account of creation. No mention of hydrogen or helium providing nuclear fusion to allow the stars to burn and shine: just a simple; let there be light, is the explanation from the  men who wrote the bible.
The biblical creation story of Earth and all life on it, is told in less than nine hundred words; this remarkably includes the five words (he made the stars also) which cover the creation of the entire Universe – with it’s zillions of galaxies, stars and planets. And of course for Intelligent Design, less than nine hundred words, is more than enough to express the sum of their knowledge in the matter of existence.

Religious Enlightenment

Isn’t it strange that the bible, and any other holy books for that matter, provide us with no enlightenment whatsoever. We have the Moses stories from three and a half thousand years ago, allegedly handed down by God: Master of the Universe. God the cosmic creator – gliding across the galaxies, navigating the nebulae on a magic carpet of the elusive dark matter; tweaking the laws of physics as he goes, making sure that the forces of gravity are neither too weak nor too strong. Continue reading


So here we are again; the annual Easter choc-fest-pig-out. All in celebration of the saviour rising from the dead. Now I’ve read the crucifixion yarn many times, and as crucifixions go, Jesus sure had a strange one.
Crucifixion was a Roman punishment, and it was designed to humiliate the victims and make their suffering go on as long as possible. It served as a warning against rebellion and normally took two or three days for the victim to die. If one lingered too long, death could be hastened by an act of mercy: the breaking of the legs with a hammer. The victim no longer able to support his body, would find his head sink into his chest and would suffocate as breathing became impossible.
The crucifixion itself took place on the eve of the Sabbath; the day of preparation. The law forbade any Jew to handle a body on the Sabbath.
The gospel of Mark informs us: they crucified him on the third hour, and he gave up the ghost, on the ninth hour. Matthew describes what happened when he gave up the ghost. “And behold the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the earth did quake and the rocks rent.” Imagine the scent as Matthew goes on.. “and the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose. And many came out of their graves after his resurrection and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” Just like a scene from Shaun of the dead.
The gospels also tell of someone producing a sponge, and of Jesus drinking from it through a reed: after which, he gave up the ghost.
John explains, that because of the preparation for the Sabbath, the Jews besought Pilate for the legs of those on the cross to be broken, so that they could be taken away. He goes on .. ” then came the soldiers and brake the legs of the first, then the other which were crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw he was dead already, they brake not his legs, but, one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came out blood and water.”
So, there we have it, all done and dusted in a mere six hours: they’ve knocked at least forty hours off the average crucifixion. Afterwards, Joseph of Arimathea; who is a wealthy disciple of Jesus, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave to do so.
Surely what we have here, is not a description of Jesus dying on the cross: but him surviving the cross. Why did Jesus; a fit healthy man, give up the ghost so soon? The Zealots on either side of him, were understandably still alive: hence the leg-breaking.
Why didn’t the soldiers follow their orders and break the legs of those on the cross?
Could they tell just by looking up at him that he was dead? Did anyone climb up there and check his pulse or his heartbeat? Doesn’t the fact that Jesus bled profusely when pierced in the side, indicate that his heart was beating and pumping, and that he was still alive?
The only person who would have known, was Joseph of Arimathea, when he removed him and carried him to his private tomb. We are later told that Joseph arrives in the night accompanied by Nicodemus; bringing with them a mixture of myrr and aloes: both of which have healing properties.
On the first day of the week, all of the gospels tell us that the mysterious Mary Magdalene and others come to the sepulchre and find – surprise- surprise: Jesus isn’t there – only a couple of angels sharing a spliff.
But Matthew goes one better: “behold there was a great earthquake, for the angel of the Lord had descended from heaven, and rolled the stone from the door and sat on it.” You must admit; the guy is a bit of a drama queen.
Now when news got out that the blasphemer and rebel, was missing, there would have been an uproar, wouldn’t there? Why wasn’t Joseph of Arimathea  dragged in for questioning, after all, he was the last to be seen with Jesus. The baying mob would have thought there was some conspiracy afoot. They would have had search parties out looking for him; because they certainly didn’t believe that he was the son of God and had risen again.
Then we come to the main event of the whole Jesus story: his ascension to heaven – the thing that has kept him going all along. This surely would have been a wondrous occasion: with the earth quaking and thunder and lightning and a host of angels blowing trumpets. But alas, none of the gospels seem brave enough to describe it – he had just gone, now you see him, now you don’t. But we shouldn’t be too surprised, because the fact is you see: they didn’t write any of it down at the time. The gospels were written many decades after Jesus died. We don’t have any originals; all we have are second or third hand copies: written – edited – fabricated, one hundred years after the event.
Happy Easter – enjoy your chocolate eggs.