A Message from God

A5259EB7-2ABE-40CC-812D-191CEB68E8C2The Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores was planning to stay open during the pandemic after the CEO’s wife received a message from God. In a letter to employees, CEO David Green explained that while the coronavirus pandemic is “certainly concerning,” God informed his wife, Barbara, last week that He will specifically protect Hobby Lobby and its employees and “groom us to be better than we could have ever thought possible.”

Well, either God had a change of heart or Barbara garbled God’s message to her. Seems that Hobby Lobby has now started closing its stores and laying off employees. In a letter to the terminated employees, one senior exec said, “It is with a tremendously broken heart that I’ve been forced to take these unimaginable actions, and I genuinely hope you know that my prayers are with you and your family.”

Hobby Lobby fired its employees by email. People lost their insurance and were offered no severance. David Green told the fired employees that, while he does not know what the future holds for the business, everyone will have to “tighten” their belts. He also stated that “God is in control” of the situation.

God and Trump…so in control, right?

#writephoto — Alien Giants

8AD18621-EFD3-427C-96C2-A617BDD2D00B“Do you remember this, Viggo?” Antonio asked, pointing to the upright rocks on the green plateau.

Antonio shrugged. “It looks familiar, Viggo, but it was so long ago, I can’t be sure.”

“Ah, Antonio, you old bastard, your brain is all muddled,” Viggo said. “Where else do the rocks stand at attention like that, my old friend? We used to ride our bikes along this path and play among the rocks.”

“Oh right,” Antonio said and smiled. “When we were boys we used to pretend that those large stones were alien invaders and you and I would save humanity by battling and defeating them. But that was back when the world was normal, before the virus took its toll on our country and the world.”

“Yes, you do remember,” Viggo said, his eyes glazing over as he recalled life as it used to be. “Maybe we were right, Antonio. Maybe those giant rocks are aliens and they unleashed an alien virus that wiped out half of humanity.”

Antonio shook his head. “Viggo, my mind may sometimes be muddled, but this horror didn’t come from outer space. We humans pillaged and poisoned our planet. We concocted this virus by using genetic modification to alter the molecular structures of natural elements until one such concoction turned around and attacked us and we had no defenses to combat it.”

“Are you saying, Antonio, that we did this to ourselves?” Viggo asked.

“Not intentionally, Viggo,” Antonio said. “But I think humanity’s cavalier attitude toward our planet and negligence to take action to preserve our air and water led to the need for the forces of nature to clean house, so to speak, sort of like the biblical Great Flood.”

“So this was God’s work?”

“God, Mother Nature, science, alien giants, or simple human stupidity,” Antonio said. “I don’t know. But I hope that those of us who somehow survived will learn from this.”

“Don’t count on it, old friend.”


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Sue has asked us not use her challenge as a platform from which to share our partisan political opinions. I think my (hopefully) fictional tale transcends partisan politics.

#writephoto — Welcome to Purgatory

C32E9638-7188-462B-89A1-1DD256BFD3A3I was one of a group of half a dozen rather unworldly-looking beings, almost ghostly in our appearance and seeming to be without material substance. I had no memory of how I got here and no knowledge where I was. But I knew that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

It was very dark and I could see nothing other than a blueish glow emanating from my companions and me. They all seemed to be as confused and disoriented as I was. I tried to speak but, I could produce no sound.

Without warning, an apparition appeared before us, emerging from the darkness and literally gliding into view. She had the appearance of a woman with long, flowing red hair and she was carrying some sort of bowl in her hand, in a fashion as one might when making an offering. She possessed an ethereal look, translucent and pulsating in such a matter that made it seem as if she was, at the same time, both there and not there.

In a voice that was soft and delicate, yet lilting, she said, “Welcome to Purgatory, my friends. Each of you has died in God’s grace, but you are still imperfect and must undergo the process of purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”

“Damn,” I thought to myself, since I was unable to vocalize. “It seems that I bet on the wrong horse when I was alive. I believed neither in God nor in the afterlife.”

The apparition floated over to me, took the bowl she was holding, lifted it over what once would have been my head, turned it upside down, and emptied the contents of the bowl over me, causing me to experience a pressing sensation on my chest. “No,” she said, “you are right where you belong.”

Then I heard what sounded like a cat’s purring and as I slowly returned to consciousness, I discovered that I was in my bed and the pressing sensation on my chest was from my cat sitting on my chest and kneading me.


Written for the Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent. Image credit: unattributed.

One-Liner Wednesday — Absurdities and Atrocities

764E21CC-B44E-44A8-8562-61751BC708B0

“Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher, Voltaire

Voltaire, who also said, “If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him,” was likely making reference to religion in this week’s one-liner. Followers and believers are expected to unquestionably accept the teachings of the church and the stories in holy books such as the Bible, which to my rational mind, can be quite absurd. After all, look back across human history at the myriad atrocities that have been committed through the ages in the name of God and religion.

But I have a more contemporary interpretation of Voltaire’s quote that has to do with the way Donald Trump keeps saying and doing a absolutely absurd things, which his loyal base, the Republicans in Congress, and the “on-air personalities” and viewers of Fox News not only believe but embrace.

And his atrocities that they seem to turn a blind eye toward include, but are not limited to:

  • separating migrant families at the border and putting children in cages
  • attempting to ban immigration based upon religion
  • calling neo-Nazis “very fine people”
  • obstructing investigations into Russian meddling in our 2016 presidential elections
  • extorting a foreign leader to dig up dirt on a political opponent in advance of the 2020 presidential elections
  • obstructing Congress with respect to its impeachment hearings
  • rolling back virtually every regulation designed to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat
  • calling climate change a hoax and pulling out of worldwide effort to combat climate change
  • selling out our country to Vladimir Putin and Russia
  • profiting financially from his office as President
  • abusing the power of the presidency

I could go on and on, but I think I’ve made my point. Besides, this post has gone way beyond being a one-liner.


Written for this week’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt from Linda G. Hill.

Imagine

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?