I think these ceramics are amazing.
Isn’t this spectacular???
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With his hand upon the TV
He invokes Jesus and the scriptures,
Inviting the faithful followers
To join him in his raptures.
Fighting with the demons
He drives Covid from the sick.
All you have to do
Is present him with a cheque.
He drives in his limo
To his mansion on the hill.
Then to his waiting learjet
Servants tending to his will.
He wears the most expensive suits
And eats like a king.
In the business converting lost souls
Who’ll give him everything.
Preying on the stupid
Who all their lives did toil.
He’s the holy moly charlatan
The purveyor of snake oil.
Opher – 31.8.2020
We walked all around the temple site and then went inside. It was all very bright, gaudy (by our standards) and amazing.
Inside were hundreds of gold statues.
At the top, we had views over the jungle.
In the distance we could see the giant Buddha.
Back inside there was much in the way of artwork. All showing the Buddha and his disciples.
Mirrors made it seem as if there were even more gold statues!
Egypt is at war with itself. It is in the midst of civil war. Many of its people want to move into the 21st century with its consumerism and affluence. The religious fanatics want it to stay in the 7th century with conservative values and strict religious laws.
It feels as if it is stuck in the past.
There is much about the modern life and its greed and consumerism that I despise. It is a valueless culture. But there is much about the strict religious fundamentalism with its intolerance that I despise even more.
Egypt has so much poverty and hardship.
Everywhere we went there were armed militia, machine-gun posts and the promise of violence.
Surely there is a middle way?
Religion is a hot potato. Trying to look objectively at it is extremely difficult. We are born into cultures steeped in religious dogma. It is a process of brainwashing that is impossible to escape.
Freud said religion was a mass psychosis. I agree with him.
Is there any evidence of a supernatural being? None that I have seen or heard.
We live in an amazing universe. It is mind-boggling. But does that necessary infer an intelligence behind it? I say no.
We have an amazing brain that provides us with consciousness. Does that infer a god? I say no.
Religions came out of the Stone-Age with their costumes, rituals and customs – often racist, intolerant and misogynistic. I believe they are all creations of man.
We love ritual and pageant. We find it fulfilling. We love answers to problems. There are none bigger than life and the universe. We fear death. We are eager to clutch at straws that say this life isn’t all there is. But is there evidence for anything – a future life, a god creator? No, not really. Yet we manufacture ghosts, angels and heaven. We like to think of our loved ones and ourselves living forever, reunited. It is reassuring.
Looking, as a biologist at our bodies, they are not miracles. They are riddled with flaws and ‘design’ faults. We could easily design something far superior.
We believe tales from individuals up mountains, in caves and in the wilderness from people who claim to have spoken to god. But really, if someone made those claims today they would be ridiculed. Why does god choose not to speak to us all? Why only to solitary individuals?
Perhaps, because there is no god? Perhaps many people ‘hear voices’?
Has religion done much good? The history of religion has been the tale of a struggle for power with much persecution, intolerance, hatred, war and violence.
On the positive side, it has produced much succour and comfort for the bereaved and reduced anxiety over death. It has provided help and comfort for those in need. Many religious people have done a lot of good. But is it a false hope, based on a false premise?
Does the bad outweigh the good? I think it does.
As religions developed in the age of science, they have changed. For example, the Catholic Church believed that Heaven was above and hell below. That the earth was the centre of the universe and that the stars were pinpricks through which the light of heaven showed through. They tortured and burnt people who disagreed.
As science demonstrated that the earth was not the centre, that stars were suns, that there was no heaven in the sky or hell below, they changed their dogma. It clearly demonstrates to me that they do not know what they are talking about.
Is this blasphemous? Or is it possible to have an intelligent discussion about religion?
Now spirituality – that’s something else altogether!!
As we approached the Maldives in the early morning light it was plain to see how low-lying it was. These sandy islands (many artificially created as holiday resorts by crushing coral into sand) are a great holiday resort – a magnet for western tourists interested in a beach holiday with watersports and scuba diving.
I think that with global warming and rises in sea levels it is going to find itself with major problems.
The city of Male is on an island. You cannot see the island. It just looks like buildings sitting on the water.
It is not very picturesque. The Maldivians are all crammed in here. They then go off to service all the tourists in the plush hotels on the other islands.
We visited one of the few places of interest – The Masjid Mosque. One of the things that worried me most was that religion was compulsory. You had to be a worshipping Muslim to live there. I found that scary. I hate totalitarianism and brainwashing.
I also hate hypocrisy. There was no alcohol allowed – though they could sell it freely to the Western tourists.
Of course, instead of having a look at the place, we could have opted for a luxurious day on the beach being cosseted by the people who live crammed into the city of Male.