Thots and observations about our culture 2009
By Jim Watson
I had gone out to eat with a group of nice people. Apparently, each of us had been trained to not take the last piece of food. Shown is our plate of cheese and fruit appetizers with one small bite of each item left on the plate. Jill then cut each of these pieces in half, so there would be no more 'last pieces'. So, we each could eat another bit of appetizer (we even took turns going around the table).
Why religion is self-destructing, according to Ken Bronstein:
Religion fails to meet contemporary needs of society
Religion, based on 2,000-year old concepts, was developed when there were a mere 230 million people on the earth, today there are seven billion people. We have soared into outer space (and have not encountered even a hint of the existence of a heaven up there), cured diseases, and made numerous advancements in medicine; while the church is trapped in Medieval tradition and ideology.
The corruption within the church
The extent of pedophilia in the catholic church is now legendary. An attorney who represents 250 victims of sexual abuse by priests, reports that 3,000 pedophile clergy have been removed from the priesthood in the past six years, about six percent of all the priests in this country. There
are many more unreported cases and the actual percentage of pedophiles within the clergy is likely 10 to 12 percent. The sexual escapades of Ted Haggard (and other fundamentalist ministers) with male prostitutes and others have made a mockery of the sexual standards of the church. The fiscal shenanigans of Tammy Faye Bakker and her husband, Jim Bakker, hurt evangelicals even after Bakker allegedly paid his debt to society by doing time in prison. It’s a clash between the stringent morality of the church and its inability to enforce that imposed morality even on its representatives.
According to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, Hurricane Katrina and the Asian Tsunami were due to god’s displeasure with homosexuality in the US. Robertson stated that the Haiti earthquake was due to the Haitian pact with the devil. And while these idiotic statements turned off lots of people, it’s tragic to realize that there are many ignorant fundamentalists who believed them.
The Christian community is losing members at the rate of one percent a year, and the religion that in 1990 claimed 86 percent of the
nation’s population, today is down to 77 percent, according to polls. Religion is digging itself into a grave with its own backwardness, corruption and ideas of untouchability.
The US Senate, in 1797, voted unanimously in favor of a treaty with Tripoli that stated: The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion. President John Adams signed the treaty.
The Christmas season is such a fun time of the year. The lights and decorations, the music, activities around town and at the homes of friends and families, movies and concerts, gifts, cookies, and treats. Unfortunately its also a time when some try to use the season for political or personal gain. There is lots of ignorance - Jesus really is not the reason for the season. The reason is the pagan Winter Festival celebrating the fall harvest. Later, Constantine, emperor of the Roman Empire, declared the festival in honor of Christ. Years ago, people got upset over the word xmas, afraid it minimized Christ. They were then informed that the x is the Greek symbol chi, which means Christ. Xmas is just another way to write Christmas - they mean the exact same thing, just different symbols. Recently, the flap is over replacing Merry Christmas with Happy Holidays. Some people are alarmed. They may not realize that Holiday comes from Holy Days - Happy Holidays, while just as religious and reverent as Merry Christmas, does seem more appropriate in this religion-diverse world. Illustration by Mitch Baker of Los Angeles
"This is the most important, timely message about Jesus in 2 thousand years. I, John Hanes, was the first to announce (in March 2009), to all the world, that Jesus will return the second half of December 2012 to rule the earth for a thousand years. Great news indeed for all who believe in God and Jesus. Just imagine yourself seeing the return of Jesus with all of his Angels in a few short years. That will be a day to experience. Knowing that Jesus returns in only three and a half years makes people everywhere sit up and take notice. And such a soon return gets most of to think about getting our lives in order and acting better day by day. Tell everyone you know, and everyone you see, to log on to this website to see the announcement for themselves."
A Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before crash-landing his plane and killing 16 people, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by an Italian court. The pilot had succumbed to panic, praying out loud instead of following emergency procedures. The 2005 crash off the coast of Sicily left survivors swimming for their lives, some clinging to a piece of the fuselage that remained floating after the ATR turbo-prop aircraft splintered upon impact. A fuel-gauge malfunction was partly to blame but prosecutors said the pilot had succumbed to panic, praying out loud instead of following emergency procedures and then opting to crash-land the plane instead trying to reach a nearby airport. From FOX News, Wensday, March 25, 2009
Compare this to the landing on the Hudson River earlier this spring. That pilot relied on his years of experience and his wisdom. He maintained a calm composure as he did exactly as he had been trained to do. He said he was so busy landing the plane that he didn't have time to pray. Or take the time. When I am on a plane, I would much rather have a pilot who is logical, rational, and relies on his training than a pilot who relies on God to save him and his passengers.
According to The Week magazine, Febuary 27 issue, "The Vatican recently announced that men who go to hell - likely for sins of lust - will have their souls pelted with fire and brimstone, while women’s souls will be punished - probably for sins of pride - by being “broken on a wheel.”
• How can a spiritual entity (soul) be pelted by physical objects (brimstones)?
• When will the Catholic church grow up and end its primitive ritualistic beliefs?
• Why do seemingly sane adults still buy into ancient superstitions?
Gist of a letter I sent to ABCNews.com
RE: the USAirways emergency landing in the Hudson River
Some reasons why the broadcast media has lost credibility:
1. The waters were not "icy" nor "freezing" if the water temp was 40 degrees. We would not tolerate a weather forecaster being so inaccurate, why do we tolerate it from news reporters? The water could be frigid, cold, or something similar, but not icy or freezing.
2. Calling the landing a "miracle" is an insult to the training, expertise, and intelligence of the flight crew. The safe landing and low injury count is due to humans acting appropriately, not to divine intervention (if it were divine intervention or a 'miracle', then we will have a tough time explaining the planes that do crash and kill people).
3. Was it really a "crash"? There was no wreckage and no damage (other than what the birds caused - the birds crashed, not the plane). Wasn't it just an emergency landing or a water landing? I realize that doesn't make for sensational copy on-air, but it does seem more accurate.
How to solve America's financial woes, lessen the national debt, save lives, increase sales of cookies and chips, and possibly lower everyone's taxes:
1. Tax the business of religion. More info
2. Tax the business of marijuana sales. More info
3. Tax the business of prostitution.
What are we waiting for? The country and many individuals and families are in serious financial trouble. There are easy ways to generate income. People smoke marijuana. Churches, synagogues, and mosques are tax-exempt. People are paying for consensual sex. Lets tax and control these multi-billion dollar businesses.
Michael Jackson Memorial at the Apollo Theater. The media trucks continued around the corner and up the next block. The line of people continued the other direction, also around the corner and up a couple of blocks. 125th Street was closed to all traffic but buses and emergency vehicles. The photo below on the right is from the newspaper.
1967: Joe Jackson drove his sons from Indiana to the Apollo Theater so they could perform during amateur night at the famous Apollo in Harlem. They had very little money. He wasn't even sure where they would spend the night. The youngest of the Jackson 5 was Michael, 9 years old. They performed and won. The Apollo wanted them to come back but the Jacksons couldn't afford it. Soon after, Diana Ross saw them perform and she introduced them to the rest of us. The Tuesday after Michael died on Thursday, the Apollo Theater held an open house memorial from 2pm - 8pm. It was part respectful memorial, part party and celebration, and part shopping mall. I went to participate in the event. Michael Jackson's music formed much of the background soundtrack for me in the 1980s. Larry Lewis, one of my high school students, treated me to a ticket to the Victory Tour concert at Texas Stadium in 1984. It was a phenomenal concert. MJ can wow a crowd. Even in death.
Some facts: 1. MJ was acquitted - found innocent - of all charges in one of the 2 child molestation charges.
2. The other case was settled out of court to avoid negative publicity.
3. The mother of 2 of his kids, his family, and friends have all emphatically stated that Michael is not a pedophile.
There is no evidence that he molested anyone. There is much precedent, however, that some adults will exploit celebrity millionaires to get money.
4. He did not 'dangle' his baby off that balcony. He had a firm grip around the child. Dangle is the term the media used to sensationalize the event and millions of gullible viewers bought it, without thinking that it was the wrong term. I wonder how the media would report it when dads toss their kids, "Father abandons child in air" or "Dad lets go of child in mid-air."
Michael Jackson had an unusual childhood, a domineering father, success as a star at the age of 9, etc. Of course, he's going to be eccentric. But what talent. An incredible entertainer. And a great humanitarian.
This is a foto of St. Mergerie, sitting reverently on my dashboard. She is the Patron Saint of Freeway On-ramps. I pray to her each time I am entering a freeway and about to merge into the traffic (while driving a car). She clears a path and provides great peace of mind for me. When I first saw this statuette at a dollar store in Dallas, I assumed it was entitled, 'Do these painted flowers make my face look fat?' I soon learned her true calling. I keep this delicately painted icon right on the dash, both as a reminder to have faith in her power and also so she has a clear view of upcoming traffic. Hail St. Mergerie.
Great idea: wireless pizza. There are machines that can digitize photos and documents. Now we need a machine, about the size of a toaster oven with a USB or FireWire connection, that can digitize a pizza. The digitized info can then be transmitted wirelessly to another machine where the pizza is translated back to analog from digital. These machines could even be installed in cars. I am now looking for investors to fund this new Wi-Fi-Pi venture. Please contact me ASAP so we can get started. Thanks.
Have you noticed how many homes have garages with no room for cars? Only recently have architects designed grojs with ample room for junk. Not sure why it took them so long to observe the obvious - that most American families have so much stuff that it overflows the closets and attics and fills up much of the groj. Similarly, architects are only now designing public restrooms with more stalls in ladies rooms than in men's rooms. The rest of us realized years ago that lines were longer to ladies rooms due to the fact that women took longer to complete their business than men. Architects have finally acknowledged this.
Now, this is a beautiful Hummer with lots of accessories - about a $60,000 car. A woman saw me shooting these fotos with my phone and stopped to ask if I was admiring the car. I paused, not sure of how much I should tell her. I decided to tell the truth - that I was intrigued by the car and the LifeChurch decal on the back window - "I doubt Jesus would have bought a pimped-out Hummer." Her smiled drooped as she contemplated what I was saying about 'Christians' and priorities. She had no response to WWJD?
When Jesus returns to Earth, I hope he doesn't see this Hummer. He may get angry - just as he did when he saw the moneychangers in the Temple.
LifeChurch is a mega-church in Edmond, Oklahoma. $60,000 is well above the annual salary for the average American. Granted, most Christians are not very Christ-like, but this flaunting of one's religion and one's fancy vehicle seems too inappropriate. Christians can have 'nice things', but a Hummer is just blatant excess, well beyond a 'nice thing'. No one needs a Hummer (unless their psychiatrist has prescribed it to compensate for paranoid insecurities, low self-esteem, or a really small penis).
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