674CBCDF-01CE-4446-B59D-A8E4D0E67F8CIn his song, “Imagine,” John Lennon wrote:

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Well, leave it to none other than Rory, A Guy Called Bloke, to pose a bunch of questions about one of my favorite topics: Religion.

Warning. I’m an atheist and I have some strong views about religion. If you are one who tends to get offended when someone questions your believe system, I suggest you stop reading here.

With that out of the way, here are the provocative questions about religion that Rory posed, along with my answers:

Would our world be any different to today [if religion just simply never existed]?

I believe it would be different…and better, with one big caveat. The planet would be seriously overpopulated — even more than it already is — because millions of people who, over the ages, were killed in the name of God and religion would not have perished.

Would the world have begun without some kind of belief system in place?

Of course it would have begun. The world (i.e., the planet Earth) is four and a half billion years old and modern human beings have only existed for only about 200,000 years. So, since humans are relatively new compared to the planet, and it’s humans who have “belief systems,” the planet did just fine without any kind of belief system for billions of years. You’re welcome.

Is religion really needed?

As an atheist, my answer is no. Not for me, anyway. But for some, religion or faith or belief in something bigger than themselves provides comfort and solace. My philosophy on religion and belief in God is “whatever floats your boat.” Just don’t try to sink my boat because it doesn’t look like yours.

Many already say that ‘something’ would have been created to fill that void and if that is the case, what would that have been?

Humans are always seeking answers to questions, some of which, even given present knowledge, may be unanswerable. Hence, throughout human history, humans have invented gods and supernatural beings to fill in the blanks and to answer the unanswerable. So yes, based upon human nature and the need for answers and to belong, some sort of belief system would have been created.

Organized religion, as it exists today, though, is designed to control, manage, and manipulate their flocks, and to create and promote group-think built around superstitions and mythologies. It also tends to divide us based upon our specific set of beliefs, rituals, and practices, rather than unite us based upon our commonalities as human beings.

Organized religion also reinforces the notion of “the other” with respect to those who don’t share the same superstitions and mythologies that they do. That is why so many religions have as their mission converting “the other” to their own beliefs, rituals, and dogma. And those efforts to convert the “heretics” and “infidels” can be violent and deadly. And, to me, that’s not a good thing. In fact, I think it’s the most negative and destructive aspect of organized religion.

Okay, rant over. But this is what you get when you ask an atheist about religion. What are your thoughts?

The Gift of Sunshine

079FE3C8-9195-4D60-899A-1A342BF8A5EBRory, A Guy Called Bloke, has gifted me with the prestigious Sunshine Blogger Award. The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award for bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring people who spread “sunshine” to the blogging world!

Truth be told, in this age of Donald Trump, I’m not sure how positive or inspiring my posts have been or if I’m spreading much sunshine. That said, thank you, Rory, for this very kind and generous gift.

There are rules I’m supposed to follow, having been gifted this award:

  • Thank whoever gifted you and include a link to their blog.
  • Use the “Sunshine Blogger Award” logo on your post and display the Guidance. 
  • Answer the questions from the person who gifted you the Award. 
  • Choose 3 bloggers that you wish to gift the Award to. 
  • Ask 5 questions of your choice. 
  • Notify those you gift the Award to. 

So, to the questions Rory asked:

An event in history that changed your perspective on how we live as a society?

Need I say it? Okay, fine. The election of Donald Trump to President of the United States changed my perspective on what America is…and it’s not great.

Which flower or herb do you find startlingly attractive and why?

To be honest, I’m not really a flower type of a guy. My wife loves calla Lilies, though.8ACEF18C-1ED7-4C79-91B9-7E44543B393F

What is the most extreme thing you’ve ever done?

When I was a freshman in college I spent four days in a shower in order to raise money for charity.

Which one of these dwarfs are you? Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey, Sleepy – but more importantly WHY?

For most of my life I was Happy. But since the election of Donald Trump, I have morphed into Grumpy. Need I say why?

What is your most commonly spoken word or phrase? (Honesty required, profanity totally acceptable)

“It wasn’t me!” followed closely by “Bite me!”

Okay, now it’s my turn to gift 3 every other blogger and to ask 5 questions of my choice. My choice is to ask the same five questions that Rory asked.

So the ball’s in your court, every other blogger. Go for it!

In Other Words — Doused

270F92AA-FD45-49BE-9953-D8A88EE87286From the very first moment I laid eyes upon you

You set my heart aflame

I tried to get close to you but you never felt the same

And it was a real shame

You aimed a fire hose at my soul and completely doused my flame

In other wordsWritten for the In Other Words prompt from Patricia’s Place. The challenge this week is to write a story or poem of five lines or fewer using the picture above and/or the word “aflame.” Photo credit: Gloria Williams from Pixabay.

FOWC with Fandango — Brusque

FOWCWelcome to September 5, 2019 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “brusque.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

The issue with pingbacks not showing up seems to have been resolved, but you might check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.