The Story of God – for George Rehema

Once upon a time there was a man who asked questions:

Where did the universe come from?

Some people said it was always here.

Some people said it came out of nothing.

The man was puzzled.

Everything has a beginning. How can the universe not have a beginning? How can it always have been here?

But if it came from nothing how is that possible? All the matter cannot just suddenly be created out of nothing, could it?

He went to ask the Holy Man (who lived in a very nice house and was worshipped by many).

‘Holy Man, please tell me where did the universe come from?’

The Holy Man said ‘God made it.’

That made sense.

The Holy Man added – ‘God has given me instructions. You must worship only God, you must wear these clothes, you must eat this food. You must behave this way. You must pray, fast and study the holy book. God has a purpose for you.’

The man went away. Everything was explained. God made everything. God told him how to behave. God had a purpose for him.

But the more he thought the more he came to realise that it wasn’t an answer at all. He went back to the Holy Man with more questions –

‘Who made God?’

‘Where did God come from?’

‘Where was God before the universe was made?’

‘Has God always been here?’

‘What is this mysterious purpose?’

‘Why are the moral codes given to us by God reflecting the values of the people the religion came from? Why are they racist? Why are they misogynistic? Why are they intolerant of homosexuals?’

The Holy Man had no answers to these questions and became angry.

And the man came to realise that the Holy Man’s answers were not answers at all. They just kicked the can down the road and provided the Holy Man with power and control. The Holy Man had invented God as an answers to questions that there was no answer to.

So the man went off and said to himself – ‘I do not know where the universe came from. I do not understand. But I have a life and I intend to enjoy it. I am a good person and I will continue to be as good as I can be not out of fear or out of promise of some future life but because I feel it is the right thing to do. That is enough.’

He knew the Holy Man was a charlatan.

Poetry – The Blissful Climax of Religion

The Blissful Climax of Religion

Throughout the countryside of Britain

Spires penetrate heaven

Like archaic ICBMs of the past faithful.

The members of God

Stabbing into the skies,

Once symbols of the fertility of faith,

Impregnating minds

With seeds of fear,

Now impotent and drooping

In decay,

Devoid of power,

No longer spouting

From their inner fonts

That christened many a virgin.

The bishop’s staffs 

Are grounded wands

Devoid of power,

Waving through the motions

Of birth, marriage and death,

Without belief,

With no libido

To erect

An entry into heaven.

For it is the neon lights

Of the retail outlets

That now seduce

And bring their acolytes

To blissful climax.

Opher 17.9.2016

The Blissful Climax of Religion

No – it is OK. I haven’t gone mad. I am not having a road to Damascus conversion. I have not suffered a delusion. I have not turned religious. My antitheist credentials are still intact. I still believe all religion is constructed by men and it is all about power and control.

I wrote this poem because I was struck by all the ancient church spires sticking up into the sky. I saw the sexual symbolism and the power they exhibited.

Those churches once ruled over everyone around. Religion was compulsory. There was no escape. Terrible wars, crusades and witch-hunts were carried out in its name, but for me the worst aspect was the fear-driven control of the populace. They had to adhere to strict codes on dress, food and daily life, including compulsory worship.

Fortunately we have had an enlightenment. People are free of that terrible yoke. Now we are free to decide whether we want to believe or not. Most choose not to believe. The churches are empty and merely historical buildings of splendour and beauty. The power and control has gone.

There are still those who would wish it otherwise, who would wish to impose their beliefs on others, indoctrinate the children, enforce strict laws and return us to the Dark Ages of superstition and enforcement. Watching the antics of preachers in the US South and Muslims all over the world sends chills through me. Theirs is not a faith of tolerance but a superstition of fundamental control and power.

I oppose it with every ounce of strength. Give me spirituality, harmony, tolerance and peace any day.

I enjoyed playing with the sexual imagery though. I think sex is tightly bound up to religion.

Poetry – Bums in the Air

Bums in the Air

Bums in the air

Indoctrination everywhere.

Allah and sweet Jesus,

Jehovah

And God above.

How absurd they look

With their array of holy book.

Spouting words

From Neolithic lords

Dressed in fancy costume –

Medieval bride

And modern groom.

Opher – 14.9.2016

Bums in the Air

People are great joiner-inners. They go with the majority. I find it quite startling to see how conservative and fundamental things have become. Back when I was a lad my Muslim friends were all westernised. They didn’t take their religion to extremes. The girls did not go around in head-scarves let alone burqas. In Islamabad University in Pakistan the students wore jeans, T-shirts and listened to the Beatles, Stones and Pink Floyd.

How things have changed.

The children are taken off to their Madrassas where they are subjected to religious indoctrination.

I see families walking down the street, in the summer heat, with the poor woman completely enclosed in heavy black robes, breathing stale air behind a mask, while her husband is cool in T-shirt and jeans.

I am a believer in freedom but I hate misogyny, indoctrination and superstition.

Spirituality is about harmony with nature and the universe. Religion is about power, indoctrination and division.

Poetry – We used to worship

We used to worship

We used to worship the sun and moon;

We thought they were gods,

But now we understand what they really are –

Only rock and gas –

And the mysticism has dissipated on the solar breeze.

We used to worship trees, rocks and streams

And pray to the spirits that resided within,

But now we understand the molecules

Possess no spiritual qualities

Other than the wonder that resides in our own minds.

We used to worship Zeus, Apollo and Baal;

Make sacrifices, follow rituals

And offer up our prayers.

Now they, and the tens of thousands like them,

Are banished to the past.

Their universal power no longer of consequence.

How many virgins;

How many sheep, goats and cattle,

Had their throats slit

In a futile attempt to curry favours

From an all too human god?

No lessons from the past

Seem to impact upon us now.

Our beliefs in Jesus, Mohamed and Moses,

In Shiva, Rama and Buddha,

Will last for ever.

They will surely not, like all the rest, eventually

Follow the sun.

Will they?

So I will sit in awe and thrill to a sunset,

Lie beneath the stars and absorb the majesty,

Smile with soft eyes at the spectrum of life

And relish the warmth of love and friendship.

It is the closest to worship I can achieve.

It’s enough for me.

Opher 22.6.2016

We used to worship

The lesson of the past is that things come and go. So many gods who were universally worshipped have toppled into oblivion. Gods and Goddesses thought so powerful that they constructed the universe and ruled all things, and either gave or withheld their assistance to humans, have been long forgotten. Where are Hrouda, Rura, Tiwaz, Vercana, Amon, Ash, Hu, Ket, Mut, Ptah, Aife, Blai, Clota, Cred, Ixtab, Mudu and a million others. People put their faith in them. People willingly died for them. Prayers, rituals, costumes and sacrifices were conceived to satisfy these deities. Their assistance was sought and praise was heaped upon them when it worked, and excuses found when it failed (we were not following the instructions were we?). So many forgotten tribes were the ‘chosen’ ones.

So many religions waxed and waned.

Yet the ones we presently subscribe to are the real ones; the only real ones. They will never wane.

For one who does not believe, such as me, the prayers, costumes, rituals and entreaties, of such superstition look interestingly absurd. While I adore the pageant, majesty and colourful creativity I share with Freud the view that I am witnessing a mass hysterical psychosis.

If there is a mystical force it is within all of us, all the fabric of the universe, and not embodied in some human created god. I do not believe there is such a human construct as paradise or hell. I cannot wait for the waning; for an awakening. We have life, an incredible universe and we live in the midst of great wonder and majesty. We are surrounded with astounding wonder. That is surely enough.

Poetry – Imagine

Imagine

Imagine a world with no dance;

A world of silence

Filled only by prayer,

Where no music stirs the soul.

Conceive a world without fashion

Or cosmetics.

Where women are hidden

Behind the bars

Of a social prison.

Think of a world where history is denied

But which is trapped

Within a medieval system

Of primitive law.

Envisage a world without sport

Or fun.

Where entertainment

Is a sin.

Visualise a world where science

Is denied,

Ruled by superstition

And words written in ages past.

Picture a world where society

Celebrates slavery, martyrdom,

Mutilation and death.

There are those who believe

God demands a drab

And soulless life

Based on mindless recitation

And total acceptance.

I am not one of these.

Opher 16.5.2016

Imagine

Fundamentalism is a contagious disease that is inherited through a vaccination of ignorance, as one generation injects the venom into their children.

Once someone accepts that every word of their holy book is sacred, is the exact word of god, must be taken literally and acted upon, they are lost.

It is the end of tolerance and freedom. There is no discussion.

Once a parent believes that they have the right, in fact the imperative, to brainwash their children into the same doctrine, they are all lost. There is no doubt or questioning.

Once a person accepts that the only truth is the version they hold and all other ‘truths’ are wrong we are on the road to division, hatred and war.

Once a person believes that women a lesser breed and should be segregated, hidden away, disabused of rights and freedoms, and always hidden from male gaze, we have abuse.

Once someone denies science, entertainment, music, sport and dance we are heading for a totalitarian fascism.

Once we have a regime that accepts mutilation, torture, slavery, arbitrary execution and martyrdom we have a society without human rights.

Fundamentalism is a scourge of insanity that needs opposing in all its forms.

The world I want to live in is alive with fun, beauty, tolerance, variety, fairness, freedom, awe, wonder and justice.

poetry – Righteous Arrogance

Righteous Arrogance

There is a righteous arrogance

That is only matched by ridiculous ignorance,

As we give our allegiance

To the indoctrinators of innocence.

And they betrayed us with impudence

With child-molesting expedience.

They did not even believe their own penitence

As they exploited with diligence.

From the portals of time

When all was complete mystery;

When conjecture was prime

And truth lost in the history,

They devised the excuses

For ‘what was’ and ‘what would be’;

They devised scriptures

To explain earth, sky and sea.

Without instrument or knowledge

We scanned heaven and earth

And gave ‘holy’ men a pledge

Of what their status was worth.

With their tall hats and rich cloaks

They ruled the warm hearth.

While we toiled in the fields

And they watched us with mirth.

In this time of great understanding

We can now clearly see the story;

Based on the evidence we are handling

Of the battles so gory

And the parts that ‘they’ stand in

As they assumed the glory.

Heaven and hell they were peddling

Fear the currency so hoary.

We find that the Ark does not hold water

The stories were fable

To ensnare sons and daughters;

Tales for dark nights round the table,

Not facts to take to the altar

Or Gods on which to hang a label.

For we have intelligence that does not falter

And knowledge that makes us more able.

It was all a pretence

That should remain past tense.

Opher 10.8.2015

Righteous Arrogance

I am an antitheist because I do not believe there is a ‘god’, I believe the scriptures were all devised out of the minds of men and religion does more harm than good. So I would like all religion to end.

That does not mean that I would actively persecute religious people or that their beliefs should be mocked. I believe that as the evidence stacks up and the scriptures are revealed as medieval products of superstition – belief will wither naturally.

I have respect for anybody who chooses to believe in whatever they want.

I will oppose anyone who wishes to indoctrinate children or force their views on others. Religion should be a free, personal choice.

I would oppose any fundamentalism or theocracy. I do not see religion as having any place in schools or governments. That is dangerous and reprehensible.

Modern history has clearly demonstrated the hypocrisy in religion. The priests who abuse children clearly do not believe their own doctrine. The Jihadists who kill, torture and rape clearly have a perverse view of religion. The drunken, fornicating monks and cardinals, the Borgias all flouted their own doctrine. If they had really believed in what they were spouting they would have lived quite differently. Then we have the intolerance and viciousness – inquisitions, pogroms, crusades, Jihads, genocides, witch burnings and torture.

It is still going on today.

Our knowledge of how these scriptures were put together by primitive Middle Eastern cultures clearly shows that they are contrived.

Religion has its basis in the ignorance of men exposed to the mystery of life and the universe. The viewpoint and intuition of thousands of years ago does not hold any truths for me. It was superstition not wisdom.

I decided to put these personal views of mine into a poem.