Reasons – A poem

Reasons

 

It the face of eternity

It is only human to seek reasons.

When there are none to be found

We can always invent them.

 

Our brain has evolved

To interpret patterns,

Find answers,

Seek solutions.

 

When faced with infinity

We are unable to see it

As anything other

Than finity.

 

We invent beginnings

Ends and continuations

Where none

Exist.

 

Our limitations

Dictate our dogma

And create a range

Of irrational beliefs.

 

Opher – 14.10.2019

 

 

It seems to me that we are entering a new age of irrationality. Superstition and irrational thought is on the rise hand in hand with extremism, isolation and retraction.

Instead of reaching out confidently to investigate the unknown we are retracting back into ourselves and looking to unsubstantiated beliefs to give us solace.

The Dark Ages are descending.

Time to turn on the light!

Advertisements

Poetry – Bullshit – a poem about suicide bombers, ISIS and fanaticism.

Poetry – Bullshit – a poem about suicide bombers, ISIS and fanaticism.

The whole spectre of suicide bombings, religious fanaticism and violence has taken on a greater and greater significance.

the extremists seem to be pushing for an all-out war with the West. It is a clash of ideologies. They want to impose their religious beliefs on the world. They see it as a battle between Islam and Christianity.

I do not see it that way at all. For centuries Muslims and Christians and Jews have lived together in harmony. Every now and then a fanatical element, or politically inspired prejudice, or seeker of power, uses the religious card to further their ends.

We have to put the present situation in context with the past.

There is a battle going on. It is between the people who wish to live in a world of diversity and harmony, where all people’s views are respected and we learn to accept our differences, or a world of fundamental intolerance.

I know which I would fight for.

This poem was written from the perspective of a bomber who woke up to the fact that he was being used and was merely a pawn in a power struggle.

Bullshit

They told me I’d go to heaven

When I strapped on that bomb

That paradise would be mine

And everything would be fine

 

In the bus on the way to market

Fidgeting with my change

Cherishing each second and trying to mark it

As the end comes into range

 

They said there was no other way

It was hidden in the genes

To draw attention to the day

The end justifies the means

 

But I’ve thought about it

And I’ve weighed up the blend

There is only ever just the means

And there never is an end.

 

Opher 11.3.96

Time to terminate Faith Schools and Madrassas!

Time to terminate Faith Schools and Madrassas!

Following David Cameron’s speech regarding the reason so many of our Muslim youth are turning to extreme, barbaric, violent ideology it is wise to look at the ways of solving the problem.

One of the main reasons identified for the turning to extremism was the lack of integration into British society and culture. Many Muslims felt excluded, threatened and marginalised. They did not know, accept or value the British values of tolerance, freedom and democracy. They felt themselves to be outsiders.

There is also the problem of indoctrination at a young age. Once an ideology is introduced at an age prior to the mind being able to assess its validity it is assimilated without being processed. This evil of indoctrination is pernicious.

Part of the answer is simple: shut the Faith Schools and Madrassas. We need our children growing up together with respect, tolerance and empathy. We need a shared set of values that goes across all faiths, races and creeds. We all need to buy in to the shared culture and contribute to its enrichment. We need inclusivity.

What we do not need is separation, isolation, differing values, and indoctrination.

If people are British they should be integrated. If they reject British values perhaps they should not be here. For Muslim children to be taken off after school to be indoctrinated is wrong. For Faith schools, including Hindu, Catholic and Protestant, to preach their ‘brand’ of religion to children too young to think is child abuse. It is as bad as the Creationists peddling their propaganda and distorted views to children.

Religion in schools is simply wrong!

Indoctrinating children is child abuse!

Education is a big part in the creation of shared values, integration, self-esteem, empathy, respect, thinking, civilised behaviour and a wider perspective. The evil suppression, misogyny, violence and barbaric intolerance of ISIS needs countering with a superior view of a harmonious, tolerant world.

Education builds a better zeitgeist.

I simply do not agree with the ridiculous idea that religion is somehow related to morally. I think ISIL, the Crusades, Inquisition, Pogroms and witch burning, to name a few of the atrocities carried out in the name of religion,  put pay to any attempt to equate religion with morality.

Poetry – God – the musings of a mystical antitheist.

Poetry – God – the musings of a mystical antitheist.

I’m an atheist. I do not believe in god or religion. I believe in science, carbon dating, Darwin, evolution and the Big Bang.

I believe the Bible and Koran were written by men. They are not ‘the word of god’.

I see no evidence of creation in the human body or the universe. I see a lot of things we do not understand with out limited intelligence and perhaps we never will.

I acknowledge the good things that religion has produced: the cathedrals, works of great beauty, poems and writings that move people, morality that helps people live their lives happily, comfort and purpose in times of desolation.

I believe in tolerance, peace, love, free speech and the right of people to believe what ever they want. I think we should argue our case with passion.

We don’t all have to agree – just respect each other.

I also see the terrible things that have been carried out in the name of religion (and still are), the slaughter of unbelievers, pogroms, crusades, jihads, persecution, holocausts, genocides, crucifixions, beheadings, burnings and discrimination. I see the crazed fanaticism of the fundamentalists and the intolerance, bigotry and hatred it induces. I see the indoctrination of small children and cultural brainwashing.

I find the beliefs of creationists and fundamentalists (along with the dogged quoting of religious texts) absurd. I have studied how those texts were put together and find their formation, translation and content all extremely suspect. They were written by various men, long after the events, passed down generations by oral tradition and accrued into books. These books were then further culled to remove ‘heretic’ works and mistranslated. What we have is a mish-mash of contradictory offerings, purporting to be the word of god but really a collection of writings from many suspect sources. No more the word of god than my poems.

We seem to have a need to believe in some deity and magic. It is a psychological need. We’ve worshipped suns, moons, rocks, idols, ancestors, cats, trees, and supernatural superbeings who we have placed in the sky in heavens, valhallas, cloud palaces above Olympus, paradises and the rest. We have had gods and goddesses cavorting in human form, creating catastrophes, drinking, fornicating and causing mayhem. We have idolised, worshipped, sacrificed and beseeched them all. Most of the ones that were previously idolised to the point of martyrdom and believed in to the point of death have fallen by the wayside. Once they ‘ruled’ over millions but now we no longer know their names.

It just so happens that we have a few that are presently flavour of the month. Wars will be fought over them, sacrifices made, much prayer and offerings will be carried out. The only trouble is that they do not exist. They were invented by men (few by women) and are now being used to gain power.

Our present religions will fade and die. No doubt they will be replaced by others equally incredible.

Meanwhile science continues to push back the frontiers of knowledge so that we understand more and more.

I believe all religion is a product of human imagination but I can be persuaded that there are mystical forces at work in the universe. They are probably scientifically verifiable – given time.

My idea of a ‘god’ is more akin to atomic energy. It’s an incredible force that pervades the entire universe. I do not think it is conscious, has purpose or thinks we humans are anything special. It is. It is something in the midst of nothing. It came into being and that in itself is miraculous. Forget the rest.

I am an antitheist because I believe all religion is false, it creates more harm than it does good and it is used by the powerful to gain more power and wealth. It is one more cause of misery, hatred, violence, bigotry, intolerance and arrogance. We’re better off without it.

The end verse is meant to be humorous.

God

God is energy

God is light

God is sound

God holds the atoms

That swirl in the ground

 

God is flowing

Through you and me

God is the galaxy

And electricity

 

Religion is dogma

Religion is a lie

That separates us from energy

And puts God in the sky

 

I don’t believe in God

Jesus, Buddha, Krishna or Mohammed

They’re all just people

That lived on this planet

 

I don’t believe in prayer

Or a God that cares

A force for good or evil

With a face that stares

 

Religion is an evil

Full of pomp and hypocrisy

Useful by the powerful

There for all to see

 

If God were alive

In such simplicity

Guiding our lives

On a planet in this galaxy

One tiny speck of dust

In a raging sea

He’d appear the same to you

As he does to me

 

Not as Jesus to some

Just the chosen few

Jehovah to some others

Creating pagans and true

Giving out commands

Ordering us around

With strange beliefs

And dictats profound

 

No – God is the atom and the energy

The fuse that makes them dance

And the time to let them be

God is around within and without

With no Heaven or Hell

On this magic roundabout

 

When I think about religion

Perhaps there’s something I missed

Maybe God’s just punishing me

For being an atheist.

 

Opher 8.2.99

The rise of ISIS and Islamic extremism is a result of the failure of the West.

The rise of ISIS and Islamic extremism is a result of the failure of the West.

Over the course of the last century there has been unparalleled growth and prosperity. Globally science has delivered huge benefits and technology has created massive profits.

The world has never been more prosperous.

The end result of this is extreme fanaticism, war, overpopulation, poverty, misery and the destruction of the natural environment.

Why?

The reasons are very clear:

  • Inequality
  • Inequality
  • Inequality

The system of capitalism has produced winners and losers. The winners are the tiny numbers of businessmen and bankers (almost exclusively men) who have be come multimillionaires, billionaires and trillionaires, the corrupt leaders who cream off the profits, and a few ‘lucky’ individuals who joined the ‘club’ through sport, entertainment or the arts. The losers are, to various degrees, everyone else.

In the West ordinary people enjoy a good lifestyle. They formed unions and fought for social justice. They are still given as little as the ‘bosses’ think will keep them quiet in order to maximise profits.

In the Third World there is a staggering population explosion, no jobs, extreme poverty and early mortality and nothing to look forward to.

Billions of people live on the edge and yet technology now provides them with images of opulence.

People with nothing to lose don’t mind blowing themselves up. People who live in misery buy in to the pernicious philosophy that some fictitious ‘God’ will make it right for them in the end. People without hope latch on to any glimmer for a better future. They will join ISIS and fight ‘a holy war’ for hope of a better life. They are preyed on by religious and political fanatics and radicalised.

They may be in the process of being used by the leaders who seek power but for now they have brotherhood, comradeship and a cause. That’s infinitely better that misery and no hope. They can also vent their spleen against the ‘infidels’ who have ruined their lives.

The sad truth is that we have let them down.

In Britain we have not created an equal society with full integration. Around the world we have not produced a system of fairness and opportunity. We have created third class citizens and fostered the misery. We’ve waged wars, put dictators in place and bolstered up corrupt, vicious tyrannies in order to exploit them.

When the ‘Arab Spring’ happened we let them down.

Desperate people do desperate things.

I have no doubt that both ISIS and the mass migration will come to an end soon. The forces against it are too great. But they are both symptoms of the same disease. Unless we start to deal with the underlying problems of inequality and deal with the global problems of overpopulation, unemployment, war, fundamental religion, environmental degradation, poverty, corruption, pollution, and disease we are sitting on a time-bomb.

So what is stopping us?

The strings are being pulled by the billionaires who run the show and they do not care about anyone else. They are as callous and heartless as ISIS and a thousand times more destructive and vicious.

Atheists have higher IQs and self esteem than religious people…

Atheists have higher IQs and self esteem than religious people…

Sounds reasonable to me! I had to smile when I read this post. I wonder if anybody might like to dispute it?

fluidplans

a recent study shows… Atheists tend to have a higher IQ and fewer self esteem issues..

Psychologists from the University of Rochester define intelligence as ‘ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience’. They go on to define religion as some sort of involvement in part or all of the aspects of a belief process.

A meta-analysis of 63 studies showed a significant negative association between intelligence and religiosity. The association was stronger for college students and the general population than for participants younger than college age; it was also stronger for religious beliefs than religious behavior. 53 from the 63 studies displayed a ‘reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity’, in 10 of the 63 studies that relationship positive.

Three possible interpretations were discussed.

First, intelligent people are less likely to conform and, thus, are more likely to resist religious…

View original post 138 more words

Burqas/Veils – liberating feminist attire or misogynistic throwback to primitive superstition?

Burqas/Veils – liberating feminist attire or misogynistic throwback to primitive superstition?

 

It seems that ISIS is selling the wearing of the complete female body veil known as a Burqa as a liberating, feminist experience. Women wearing this all-covering shapeless body garment are no longer sex objects so this is feminism in action.

Except it isn’t is it?

They might not be sexual objects per se as all of them of whatever age, degree of feminine perfection or shape are made equally nondescript. Though it doesn’t stop the single males in a sexually repressed society imagining what lurks underneath that shapeless mass of cloth. But is it feminism?

Obviously not. The sheer fact that there is no choice in the matter is sufficient to remove all of that notion. The fact that this is imposed on all women regardless of their wishes is not, under any guise, freedom. Some may prefer to remain ‘safe’ behind their masks, hidden from view, but that is no excuse for imposition.

The Burqa is a pre-Islamic uniform imposed on women by a repressive, misogynistic middle-eastern culture. It isn’t even Islamic. To claim that it is liberating is merely spin.

We will see feminism when women are afforded the same rights and freedoms as men. When they can drive, go out without escorts or permission, vote, participate fully in commerce, politics and religion as equals, and are not separated off as chattels of the men.

There may well be a reaction to the decadence of many Western females with their scanty attire, promiscuity and intoxicants but at least they are free to do what they choose; even if what they choose is crass.

The women being enticed over to Syria as ‘brides’ of the Islamists are taking a reckless risk. They are being ‘sold’ the idea of being married to a fearless, butch Jihadi warrior, but in actual fact are much more likely to end up as a sex slave of a bunch of ignorant savages.

What do you think?

Belief? What is it? Where does it come from? What use is it?

Belief? What is it? Where does it come from? What use is it?

Zeus.

Belief

What is this thing we call belief? Where does it come from? Why do we need it?

 

I cannot help thinking that if I had been brought up in Saudi Arabia I would be a Sunni Muslim, if in Iran a Shia Muslim, if in India a Hindu, if in Brazil a Christian Catholic and if in Mississippi a Protestant Christian.

 

If I had been born in Greece a few thousand years ago I would have worshipped Zeus as the god of all gods. If I had lived in Britain three thousand years ago it might have been the Green Man or the Sun. If in Egypt it might have been Isis.

 

I could list a thousand Gods and Goddesses that mankind has worshipped, sacrificed to, prayed to and beseeched. The forgotten Gods and Goddesses are ten times as numerous.

 

Belief is built into our genes.

 

I am fortunate. I was brought up in a loving family with no attempt to indoctrinate me into any religious belief or political persuasion. I was left to investigate myself. My adolescent obsessions with mysticism and belief were tolerated without opposition or ridicule. I was left to think.

 

I went through my ‘religious phase’ and came to the belief that all religion originated in the minds of men, prayer was pointless and worship a psychological prop.

 

I believe that religious belief is mankind’s attempt to come to terms with an infinite universe, the mystery of life and death and a purpose for what we do. It comes from a psychological need and a brain that is hard-wired to seek patterns, purpose and a reason. We cannot understand a system with no beginning, no end and no reason.

 

Do we need belief? No I don’t think so. We can create our own purpose and appreciate the wonder and awe around us. But I do think that belief has played a large part in our development as social beings. It has enabled us to live together in large groups – much larger than that of tribes. It has provided the social cohesion that holds large numbers of people together. I think that is its primary aim. So perhaps we do need belief?

 

We certainly do not need religion in order to have morality. We can make a far better code of human rights without the hypocrisy and contradictions present in all religions with their obscure pronouncements. We can make a clear code of ethics without the ambiguities.

 

We can do without belief. Perhaps we have evolved enough to start to do without? Or perhaps we can create some belief system that we can all subscribe to that is based on awe and wonder, contains a strong moral cohesion with aspirations and something to strive towards and is not divisive, fear-ridden or prescriptive? Maybe a cross between the UN Charter of Human Rights and a love of nature?

Fundamental Control – a poem

Fundamental Control

 

Get your rosaries off our ovaries!

Keep your Kingdom Come away from my bum!

Keep your spirituality off my sexuality!

Keep your habits away from my habits!

 

Opher – 8.7.2019

 

 

Religion should be a personal experience. Unfortunately those with extreme views cannot help by try to impose their fundamentalism on everybody else. They are never content to keep it to themselves.

Imposition and restriction is the way of all fundamentalisms. We see it with every theocracy, every cult and fanatic.

This is what the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ is all about.

I took my inspiration from a film of a march in which a group of women were marching to protect their sexual freedom. Extremist, fundamentalist religious groups were trying to prevent abortions, stop sex education in schools and prevent contraception. I could identify with the protesting women. It was a cause I could identify with. These conservative religious people were attempting to restrict our rights and put a stop to all the liberal gains we have made over the years. Their vision of the future is a regime of control and austerity. It’s all about power. They need opposing.

One of the women had a poster that read ‘KEEP YOUR ROSARIES OFF OUR OVARIES’. I thought that was great.

Poetry – God too – an antitheist’s view

Poetry – God too – an antitheist’s view

God Too

I’m the power in your sun

The atom and the wind

Giving light its speed

Its colour

And its spin

Arising out of nothing

To make your sunset glow

Organising your bodies

To your neurone flow

I give life its mystery

Creating all the laws

That keep it all in motion

Its perfection

And its flaws

You make me into Gods

Religions and Holy books

But I evade all your

Interpretations of my looks

You will not find me concerned

With how your life should run

Providing you with morals

For what is

Or is not done

I am not a human

Apart from the cosmic flow

I connect you to the mystic

That you cannot know

Your religions try to capture me

As I appear to you all

But I spiral through the words

Of the prayers that you call

Everything you think is real

You create it from the void

And you are doomed

To live the life

With which your dreams have toyed.

Opher 8.2.99

I suppose I think there is some mystery, some mystical element behind the universe. It comes out of nothing in a big bang. From nothing to the universe in a fraction of a second; atoms out of nothing. There is energy flowing through the universe. There is size beyond comprehension. There is infinity and the void from which it comes. There are atoms that cannot wear out and energy that goes on forever. But is there a plan or purpose? Is there a God that is concerned with morals and human destiny? Is there an after-life?

That is where I defer. It is all too human to me. Too convenient. I do not believe in God, purpose or the egotistical view that we are special – just the flow of energy – something full of awe and wonder. The morals and the dogma do not hold with the mystical. I ridicule it. I believe Religion has produced the biggest tyranny. It has held us back for thousands of years, stopping progress, inhibiting ideas, constraining thought, filling us with dread and fear, sin, evil and paradise, Heaven and Hell. It makes no sense to me. So what happens after Heaven? What is that all about? With Mysticism I can equate. But not with Religion.  I believe all religions are used for power and control.    15.2.99  Opher