Being an atheist I love visiting the religious sites of other cultures and marvelling at the art, architecture and culture. Hinduism is so colourful and the people so friendly.
Too many followers? You want to reduce them? Here is the simple Opher Goodwin guide to weeding out your followers.
Start by reviewing what most people want.
Here’s a list I prepared earlier:
- short articles
- Nature poetry
- everyday life
- inspiring quotes
- pleasant tone
I do a fair bit of that.
Here’s a list I prepared earlier of things they do not want:
- Long articles
- Political poetry
I do a lot of that. It doesn’t make me popular.
Most people do not want to think about issues. They prefer their news in short bites and would rather be distracted by trivia and entertainment.
If you believe that people are basically good but are being led astray by false news and propaganda in the media, that politics is messing up the planet and it does have to be like that. If you believe that the environment is in danger, that wars are unnecessary, that religious extremism is terrible. That politicians lie and seek power at all costs. If you have faith that things can change for the better. Then you have a moral duty to speak your mind and try to improve things, to make people think and question.
I could have an extremely popular blog just focussing on travel, photos, food, tittle-tattle and humour. That is easy to see from the stats.
I choose not to.
I prefer to at least try to make a difference.
I think that having a healthy cynicism towards our politicians, religious leaders and experts is a good thing. They need to be questioned. Their motives need to be explored. We need to view what they are doing with a critical eye and be prepared to speak out if they are doing it wrong.
Cynicism can be healthy.
When it goes too far and all our scientists and experts are rubbished I believe we move into dangerous ground. If we do not believe our experts and scientists who do we believe? Do we turn to superstition? To religious extremism? To internet conspiracy theories? To populist leaders? Seemingly so.
Personally, I would prefer to be operated on by an expert brain surgeon rather than have Donald Trump messing with my brain. I would rather have an aeroplane I was flying in designed and built by engineers than have Bolsonaro throwing it together. I would rather we listened to the experts and take action to prevent global warming and the terrible impact we are having on biodiversity than listen to the politicians and oil industry who are only interested in profit.
I know that vaccines and antibiotics have saved millions (if not billions) of lives and transformed the world for the better. I know that no coronavirus has ever been defeated by a TV evangelist who asks you to place your hands on the TV screen, pray to Jesus and send him a cheque.
I believe that the anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists, the Deep State believers and religious fundamentalists are dragging us back to a very dark place where superstition rules, crackpot remedies are sold by snake-oil salesmen and the likes of Trump. Bolsonaro and Johnson are elected.
If I had to choose between scientists and experts and populist leaders or religious leaders I’ll go for the experts any day – and I want the freedom to question them and hold them to account.
What I particularly want clarity on is who is doing the bankrolling?
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
Wat Chalong Temple – all glittering gold, elephants and orchids.
The locals were out, offering incense, prayers and flowers.
The images of Buddha presided.
The artwork and the colours were amazing.
An incredible place.
I wondered what these beehive structures were. Then I found out and nearly jumped out of my life. They throw big firecrackers in there and it exaggerates the noise so that it sounds like explosions.
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?
All over the walls and columns were the most amazing hieroglyphics. I couldn’t help taking lots of photos.