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  • mistermuse 12:02 am on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bully, , deism, Don't Explain, , , , , , pity, , , suffering   


    It does not matter much what a man hates provided he hates something. –Samuel Butler

    Some time ago, after I’d written a number of posts lampooning America’s vainglorious leader, I was asked by a reader why I “hate” Donald Trump. I replied that I didn’t hate him, I pitied him — pitied him for being the kind of human being he is. In hindsight, I should have asked the reader, Does Trump hate those he insults? — i.e. “Pocahontas” Elizabeth Warren, “Little Marco” Rubio, “Lightweight” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (I suppose the Senator should be grateful Trump didn’t call her heavyweight), etc., etc., etc. My answer (and, I assume, that reader’s) is no — hate is something deeply felt, not a juvenile slur. Trump’s mocking is strictly gratuitous, like a bully who must put down anyone who, in his world, is a “loser” — someone in his way; an inconvenient object to be diminished or pushed aside. It’s not even personal (a “loser” is but an abstraction).

    So, in deference to Samuel Butler, should I apologize for not hating Trump — or anyone, for that matter? Truth be known, the closest I come to hating anyone is God….that is, if I believed in God — the biblical God, the invented God of wrath, innocent suffering and mystifying absence. But I am a ‘default’ deist, left with a creator God, an impersonal God, a God with nothing to explain — at least, not until the next life (if there is one). The creator God never said a word or promised us anything — not on earth or after. Perhaps I should be jealous, for, unlike the creator God, there are times (like now) when this only-human creator feels the need to explain what I create. And yet, I get not deigning to explain — explaining ain’t easy. If I were God or Trump, I might not explain myself either.





    • Lisa R. Palmer 9:22 am on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes!! I get this. And I feel this. And I am sincerely moved by the “truth” of it. I have spent much of my adult life attempting to define and explain the “God” of my understanding, and how it works, and here you put the matter so simply and so rationally, it blows my mind. Lol! Thank you for the glimpse behind the curtain, both universally and personally, for this is yet another side of you showing through…

      On another note, hatred seems like such a huge investment to make in someone; it’s very much like love in that regard. Most of these hate-able people, like insecure bullies, are not worth such investment from me. But perhaps my willingness to dismiss them so eagerly is part of the “problem,” in that my experience teaches that the more you ignore the ego-driven, the more they cry out to be acknowledged…

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 11:13 am on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I very much appreciate your comment, Lisa. It’s rewarding to have dialogues with fellow ‘searchers’ (as opposed to ‘dialogues’ with ideologues).

      I think your second paragraph is right on the money, especially “the more you ignore the ego-driven, the more they cry out to be acknowledged.” That describes Trump to a T, and is the reason he is more to be pitied than hated. In a certain sense, one can’t help but pity a man who seemingly can’t help being what he is and is incapable of even reflecting on the matter. Multiply him by millions like him, and you see the world through the eyes of an objective visitor from another planet.

      P.S. I’ll return to my space ship shortly and get back to my usual blogging routine of disgustingly humorous posts.

      Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 1:55 pm on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      According to conventional theology, Sr. Muse, it’s God’s will that we have Trump, which bolsters one of my theological observations–this God character does some shady shit.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 2:44 pm on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Ricardo, that’s only the will of the religious/biblical God — not of the creator/deistic God, who has left man to his own devices since emerging from the primordial soup (which apparently wasn’t that long ago for some of us, if The Donald and his crackers are any indication).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen 9:37 pm on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Your reply to Ricardo reminds me of the question, “What’s the difference between an invisible god and a non-existent one?” 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:30 pm on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        No difference whatsoever in this life, Carmen….except that with a non-existent one, there’s absolutely no possibility of a next life, and with an invisible one, who knows? Of course, we can hope for the invisible one and an afterlife, but even if both of those things turn out, one has to wonder (assuming we’ll ‘see’ our invisible maker, ourselves and each other as we really are) how in the hell we’ll be able to live with ourselves, each other, and an oblivious God. 😦

        Liked by 2 people

        • Carmen 6:57 am on February 19, 2018 Permalink

          The only thing we DO know for certainty is we get this life. Thankfully, there are those people who try to brighten someone else’s day by being pleasant, doing whatever they can to make others’ lives better, and filling the airwaves with wonderful music and sharp wit. 🙂

          Liked by 3 people

    • Don Frankel 8:15 am on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Assuming I’m that reader since I asked you that let me explain. It seems a waste of time and energy to get all bent out of shape over something or someone, you will have nothing to do with and can do nothing about. Doesn’t matter who it is, they can’t hear you and they don’t much care. You’re the one who is upset.

      There was this guy in the local Diner and it’s Jan 10, 2017 and he explains to me that President Obama was born in Kenya and isn’t an American citizen. Now the reason I remember the date is because President Obama was not going to be President in 10 days, so what was the guy on the stool’s point? He hates President Obama like really bad. So he spent 8 years of his life hating some guy who didn’t even know he was alive. And, it doesn’t seem to have effected or affected President Obama too much either. Maybe it did something for the guy sitting on that stool but I don’t get it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:44 am on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Don, if I were the only one who is upset, I’d agree with you. But this goes beyond politics. I’m just one of millions who see the unfettered narcissism and uncivil tone (to put it generously) set by Trump inexorably becoming the ‘new normal’ in this country unless enough of us stand up to him. If you think this doesn’t matter, what more is there to say?.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 10:01 am on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Okay I get it and good luck.

      Now you might imagine by living in New York I run into this with some of my very close friends so my new routine is to sing a little ditty from the movie The Producers. The original one and it’s the scene where Dick Shawn comes out on stage as Hitler for the first time and he is sitting at the piano and singing. “I’m gonna crush Poland and then take France. Then I’ll cross the English Channel and kick that guy in the pants.” Only I sing “that gal” because Theresa May is the current Prime Minister. There is no clip of this on youtube so consider it sung and imagine we’re both laughing.


    • mistermuse 11:57 am on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Well, at least with Theresa May, we may laugh. Even Hitler, that personification of evil, begged to be caricatured. But there’s no longer anything remotely funny to be found about Trump….though God knows I’ve tried.

      As local standup comedian Mark Chalifoux put it in Jan. 2017, “There’s too much to focus on. Our attention span rarely allows us to move past his tweets to anything of substance. His presidency….is going to be exhausting. Trump is simply too easy to make fun of, [what with] years of hearing the same jokes about hair, orange skin, small hands and where you can grab women. Anyone with a keyboard will be beating a dead horse until long after it becomes a bag of bones.”

      As I said before, we’ve reached a point where this goes beyond politics. This is about how we treat others and that old-fashioned notion of role model. I hope such values haven’t become associated with ‘losers.’ I think, or at least hope, these things still matter in New York; they still matter where I come from.

      Liked by 2 people

    • The Coastal Crone 9:30 pm on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I pity our vainglorious leader also. He has thrown the presidency away with both hands.

      Liked by 1 person

    • markscheel1 9:37 pm on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply


      Well, I read an article awhile ago that pointed out the Democrats said similar things of ridicule about Reagan, sonny Bush and now Trump. Also I heard a radio commentator assert recently that Trump is stupid—-“like a fox.” And went on to enumerate ways he’s outplayed the opposition and the media. Remember, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got. And concede this–Trump is in no way an ordinary politician! And we’re certainly getting something different! Ha.
      Speaking of religion and “God concepts,” have you tried “panentheism”? (Not pantheism.) From that point of view, Trump might actually be divine! The thought! But no, not the Second Coming. Let’s not get carried away. LOL
      I’d never heard Lady sing “Don’t Explain.” Thanks for that treat!


      Liked by 1 person

      • Carmen 9:44 pm on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        The ‘something different’ that your country is getting is in no way funny. 😦

        Liked by 2 people

        • markscheel1 2:21 am on February 20, 2018 Permalink

          Hi Carmen,

          The “laugh” wasn’t meant to refer to what the country is getting, but rather the irony of the whole situation and the differing opinions regarding it. A booming economy, stock market up, red-tape regs cut so business can produce, vital SCOTUS appointment, real tax relief–those are things I’m not “laughing” about.



    • mistermuse 10:59 pm on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Mark, when it comes to religion, I haven’t “tried” any of them in the sense of shopping around for one. I was born into Catholicism, but after years — decades, really — of growing increasingly unable to believe what the church believed, fell into deism (which is why I called myself a “default deist” in my post). I wasn’t looking for another religion, it was simply that I found that ‘where I was now at’ aligned with what deists like Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, and (some say) Thomas Jefferson believed….at least, in meeting-of-the-minds terms (deism isn’t even a religion in the doctrinal sense).

      You referred to Trump, but I’ve had my fill for now, so I’ll pass. As for the Lady Day (Billie Holiday) clip, she was well past her prime in 1958. There are recordings of her singing the song when she was much younger, but I opted for the clip I showed. Why? I defer to the title of this post.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 10:13 am on February 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        But at what cost, Mark? (re your reply to Carmen.) At what cost?

        Liked by 1 person

        • markscheel1 4:38 pm on February 20, 2018 Permalink

          Well, muse, with the currency I employ, I’d say it’s a bargain. Hmmmmm. Now, figure that one out. 😉



    • mistermuse 12:20 am on February 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Mark, I’m guessing that you deferred to the title of this post too.


      • markscheel1 3:39 pm on February 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply


        That would be an appropriate assumption! 🙂 I’ve resolved to do memoir, not politics, as you know. Now, as an aside, Dee and I are back from the hospital. The heart procedure yesterday went well. (Ablation.) Great doctor. Wonderful nurses. Just wanted to let you know–“the beat goes on,” now normally! And I feel nothing but gratitude.


        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:14 pm on February 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Glad to hear it, Mark. Great doctors aren’t always easy to come by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • barkinginthedark 4:13 pm on August 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Never apologize for hating Donald J. Trump. he is only worthy of hate – and nothing else. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 4:48 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , deism, , , , On the Origin of Species,   


    I was very unwilling to give up my belief…. Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. —Charles Darwin

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I have on occasion speculated that if I weren’t a deist, I would without doubt (or more accurately, with doubt) be an agnostic. For me, atheism is a non-starter; I cannot rule out possibilities beyond the point where mere mortals have the capability to ascertain. For me, the difference between an atheist and an agnostic is humility: we’re limited humans. Even if you and I don’t believe in the ‘revealed’ God, why fall into the trap of conflating man’s invented God (religion) with the fact of creation and thus the plausibility of a creator, divorced and absent though He (It) may be from what He (It) hath wrought?

    These thoughts were in the back (but not too far back) of my mind as I was reading CHARLES DARWIN – A SCIENTIFIC BIOGRAPHY by the late Sir Gavin de Beer, a British scientist and author of many books on zoology, embryology, genetics, etc. I’d come upon this old book while library-browsing, and realized that, while we all know what Darwin was famous for, do we really know Charles Darwin, the man? What was he like, and what did he believe at various points in his life as his thinking evolved (pun intended)?

    Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind in getting to know Darwin is that he was “The man who struggled with his own ideas” (BBC website), keeping silent for 20 years before going public with his painstaking research, and describing his writing On the Origin of Species as “like confessing a murder.” Its publication in 1859 represents “one man’s struggle with the most radical idea of all time — the idea that humans shared a common ancestor with apes.”

    Darwin was born of Christian parents in 1809 at Shrewsbury, England, the son of a successful physician and a mother who died when Charles was eight years old, after which (quoting de Beer) “his home upbringing devolved largely on his elder sisters to whom, in spite of their persistent fault-finding, he was ever grateful for instilling in him the spirit of humanity.” Additionally, his grandfathers were important Enlightenment figures: Josiah Wedgewood, anti-slavery campaigner, and Erasmus Darwin, a doctor who ‘wrote the book’ (ZOONOMIA) on the radical idea that one species could transmute into another.

    Darwin’s father wished him to become a doctor, but after realizing that his son had an aversion to practicing medicine, he (quoting de Beer) “proposed that he [Charles] take holy orders in the Church of England. Indeed, at this time in his life, he felt so convinced of the truth of his religion” that he accepted. But after three years of studies at Christ’s College, he considered the time “wasted. His greatest pleasure was collecting beetles for the sheer joy of collecting.” After meeting men of distinction in botany and other fields, he studied geology and read books “from which he derived a zeal to travel and study natural history.”

    A set of fortuitous happenings led to a position as a neophyte naturalist on the HMS Beagle, which set sail from England in Dec. 1831, not to return until October 1836….five years of meticulous observations, collecting specimens and exhaustive exploration too lengthy to detail here, but which began a new chapter in the history of science.

    Years later, “The result of his experiences was that (says de Beer quoting Darwin) My theology is a simple muddle; I cannot look at the universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent design, or indeed of design of any kind, in the details….the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wonderful universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide. I am aware that if we admit a first cause, the mind still craves to know from whence it came. Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world. The safest conclusion seems to me that the whole subject is beyond the scope of man’s intellect.”

    “Darwin never felt any but the most friendly and charitable feelings for those who differed from him in matters of religion, provided that they were honest. This is amply confirmed from both sides. Rev. J. Brodie Innis wrote to Darwin, We often differed, but you are one of those rare mortals from whom one can differ and yet feel no shade of animosity, and that is a thing of which I should feel very proud if anyone could say it of me. Darwin’s description of their relations was equally generous: Innis and I have been fast friends for thirty years, and we never thoroughly agreed on any subject but once, and then we stared hard at each other, and thought one of us must be very ill.”

    And now I feel I know Charles Darwin, the man.

    P.S. My thanks to Richard Cahill, whose July 23rd post “God, Man and Donald Trump” inadvertently suggested my title for this post after I thought better of my original (or more accurately, less original) title.



    • DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? 5:02 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very cool! I like this post as both an Anthropologist and an Agnostic! Very well written! ♡ Melanie

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mél@nie 10:06 am on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        excellent, indeed, so same here, Melanie… 🙂 btw, I’m Mélanie from Toulouse, France… 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? 10:07 am on July 27, 2015 Permalink

          Hi! How fun to say hello around the world to another Melanie!!!!


        • DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? 10:08 am on July 27, 2015 Permalink

          Oh by the way I am in Salem, Oregon, USA


    • mistermuse 6:24 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! You are the (even better) female equivalent of a gentleman and a scholar 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 6:26 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m basically an agnostic but choose to err on the side of belief in a higher power simply because I feel more empowered when I do, And the world seems more magical.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:40 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not so sure that we fall on different sides of the deist/agnostic comparison – your belief in “a higher power” sounds similar to me being an agnostic if I weren’t a deist. Perhaps it somewhat depends on one’s definition of deist. As I understand it, no deist believes in a revealed God, but some may believe in the efficacy of prayer and/or even an afterlife. Personally, I believe prayers are useless and a possible afterlife is “beyond the scope of man’s intellect” (to quote Darwin).


    • Don Frankel 4:54 am on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Who else can I have these conversations with? We’ve been on this subject on and off for the last few years. I’ve realized something about you and Richard and other people I know, their religious upbringing seems to almost have been traumatic. In that, someone or someones tried to brow beat all of you into believing. I was brow beaten into non-believing. Makes me wonder why people get so excited about it all. Or should I use the term stimulated? Mental illness ran rampant in my family.

      What most people don’t want to realize is we just can’t know. We are stuck with these pathetic little things we call minds. We can’t see or hear things that are happening around us all the time. We can perceive just so much and understand it seems, less.

      Darwin is a prime example of how we are at our best when asking questions and at our worst when we assume we know all about something, we can’t possibly know.


    • mistermuse 6:53 am on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, your upbringing strikes me as a prime example of that old saying to the effect that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Perhaps I am another example, though under different circumstances (my parents divorced when I was 12 and from that point I grew up without a father; looking back, I see that as the beginning of a traumatic period, though I didn’t understand it at the time). Anyway, I’m glad to have gotten to ‘know’ Darwin, because I didn’t realize the anguish he went through in evolving into the man he became – a man I can thoroughly empathize with and relate to.


    • arekhill1 10:33 am on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      While I appreciate anybody paying attention to me, if there is an afterlife, Darwin must be fuming in it for being mentioned in the same breath as Trump, Sr. Muse.


    • mistermuse 12:21 pm on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      No doubt that’s true, Ricardo….plus, the fact that The Donald represents a major step backward on the evolutionary ladder would seem to raise questions about The Theory. Darwin can’t be too happy about that, either.

      Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 11:35 pm on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I never saw this post in my Reader – some posts have been appearing lower down among ones I have already read.
      I’m glad I came to have a look at your Blog and find this very interesting essay on Darwin. I think it is hard nowadays to imagine just how difficult it was for Darwin to accept his own theory and present it to a narrow-minded world. I got his Origin of the Species out of the library once. It is a massive work, both literally and figuratively.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:32 am on July 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      That’s an excellent point about Darwin….and it seems that “narrow-minded world” will ever be with us. In the past 100 years, we’ve seen everything from the Scopes Monkey Trial to the present violence and barbarity of religious fundamentalism. Not much evolution in that world.


    • M. Talmage Moorehead 10:49 pm on August 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “For me, the difference between an atheist and an agnostic is humility…”

      That’s brilliant! I love it. Thank you.


      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:58 am on August 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I “humbly” (working on the more realistic “semi-humbly,” but evolution is a slow process) accept your judgment. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  • mistermuse 10:13 am on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , deism, eternity, , , , the afterlife   


    I hadn’t intended to write a follow-up — much less a serious one — to ABOUT THE BEGINNING (my last post), but after thought-provoking comments by Don Frankel and Michaeline, I had to face the soul-searching question, “Am I a muse or a mouse?” The answer is a squeaker, but I decided to face the muse-ic and go where mice-men fear to tread. So let’s go back to, oh, About The Beginning.

    That title, of course, referred to the coming into existence of the universe. In that post, the words after WHAT ATHEISTS BELIEVE proclaimed the nonexistence of a creator, i.e. the “Nothing” that “makes sense”….as opposed to the revealed creator, the biblical God of believers. For me, neither scenario passes the smell test. Here’s why:

    It is said that man cannot live without his illusions. Perhaps that is not entirely a bad thing….if the alternative is unbearable. If you don’t know what you don’t know, perhaps illusion is the saving compensation. That, to me, largely explains  the “revealed” God of religion. But if that need for “faith in a power stronger than ourselves” (to quote Michaeline) is as subject to perversion as any other human want, is it not also a force for good? In any case, that’s a proposition that is beside the question here; a fairy tale is still a fairy tale no matter how benevolent. The greatest saint in history has either gone on to eternal life or not, irrespective of his or her faith. We cannot believe our way into what may not exist.

    The atheist’s position is a different kind of challenge….not in an adversarial sense, because this isn’t a debating contest, but a reality search, no matter where the search leads….even if the reality turns out to be beyond human reach. Certitude, in such a case, is for dogmatists….which atheists are not above, in my view. Barring absolute proof, how is certainty that there is no god any less dogmatic than certainty that there is?

    Don refers to “idea[s] in Physics” (such as the search for a theoretical “God particle,” which is beyond my pay grade and perhaps beyond finding). A less pie-in-the-sky idea in Physics is the Big Bang Theory, which (to my unscientific mind) is entirely plausible, but which addresses only the means (how the universe was created), not what was behind the means….or behind the scenes, for the more theatrical-minded among you.

    As a creative writer, I can’t get my head around creation without a creator. This post didn’t write itself, and I can’t see a universe creating itself, no matter how miniscule the brain behind these words or the particle that exploded into a universe. But then there’s always the question, who created the creator? Whence cometh God? Ah. That calls for another theory. Here’s mine (it’s probably not original, but what do you want for nothing, as an atheist might say):

    There is no such thing as time outside of creation. The creator has always existed. But that doesn’t necessarily mean human beings have souls which will pass into that timeless realm after death. Then why did the creator bother? What’s the point? As the late vocalist Peggy Lee asked, Is that all there is? We may never know.

    Presumably, a creator who created and sanctions such misery and suffering as is our lot on earth would be the same “person” our souls would be at the whim of in an afterlife. Of course, many of us are fortunate enough in this life to experience more than enough love and empathy to offset the madness. Based on this mixed bag of a creation, can it’s creator be other than a mixed bag?

    I guess we’ll find out soon enough….or not.



    • arekhill1 11:46 am on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Sr. Muse, you fail to mention the Big Toot Theory of the Beginning, which was that our universe was blown out of the rear of some hyperdimensional bovine in another, better universe. I’m grateful for that, because it gives me a chance to mention it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:16 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      That’s one of the things I like about you, Ricardo – you don’t give a toot, even though the universe may have. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve become quite a big tooter in my old age.

      P.S. Unlike the other two positions in the second paragraph of my post, the Big Toot Theory definitely passes the smell test.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ladysighs 1:01 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I won’t say many but know there are more than a dozen nonbelievers that don’t give a toot what others believe. So what’s the big fuss? The fuss comes when ideas are pushed on us and our lives are controlled by these ideas. 😦
      (nothing new)

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:34 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well, that’s the holy terror of religion, isn’t it: trying to force the belief on others that only their sect, denomination or cause knows the will of God and has all the answers. As for nonbelievers who don’t give a toot what others believe, that’s no skin off my nose (but I would hope they care about something).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michaeline Montezinos 6:25 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Having been the skeptic practitioner of two religions, I think that I do not need doctrines or directives on how to live my life. I believe if a person has tried and suceeded in living a life that suits her abilities and needs, then that life is to be enjoyed to the very end. What may or may not come after is not worthy of my conjecture. Actually, I think that dead is dead and there is no going forward or backward.
        What is the creator if there is one? Some people are still wondering what actually happened. My question is, does all this speculation actually make a difference in our daily lives? I have always felt a connection with others regardless of their station in life. I have tried to share whatever I had with those less fortunate. Living life to it fullest is more important to me than wondering about the philosophy behind it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:55 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Philosophy admittedly isn’t everyone’s cup of poison hemlock, and far be it from me to criticize those who don’t have a taste for it….but I think it’s safe to say the world would be a much poorer place without history’s great philosophers. Though such thinking may not make a difference in most daily lives, even Jesus reportedly said, “Man does not live by bread alone” (though according to the bible, he had God, not philosophy, in mind when he said it),

      At any rate, one of the implied takeaways from my post is that “all this speculation” makes no difference whatsoever in what (if anything) happens AFTER this life. Nonetheless, for those who can’t help but think about it, I can relate (more often than not, with tongue in cheek).


    • Don Frankel 2:13 pm on March 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Muse I think you’ve turned this up, down and sideways as much as anyone ever could. I just don’t think there’s any definitive answer to any abstract concept. The human mind can only do what it does and it can’t do that.


    • mistermuse 3:15 pm on March 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Don. You’ve pretty well summed it up. Between writing this post, the last post and the comments, I feel like I’ve been working on this for six days and it’s time to rest. Conveniently enough, it’s Sunday.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Sam373 11:11 am on March 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The problem with these questions is that the created although created in the image of the creator, limits itself and thus limits that which created it, he or she.
      Consider this, life is a school where one learns what one does not know. Life as we know it may be but a moment of eternity. But what can the student learn if the student refuses to consider the possibilites.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:52 pm on March 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Regarding your first point, irrespective of how the created “limits itself,” I would suggest to you that the created is intrinsically limited – at least, in this life. For example, the created has a limited lifespan, limited powers and limited mental and physical capabilities….and is therefore limited in the extent to which it is “created in the image of the creator.” We can hope for an eternal afterlife in which all that is wrong is made right, but who knows?

        As for the rest, I would amend the first sentence of your second paragraph to “life is a school where one SHOULD LEARN what one does not know,” for not only do some “refuse to consider the possibilities,” but many are never granted the opportunity….such as those who die or are killed in infancy, are born with severe brain damage, or are raised brainwashed in circumstances from which they cannot escape even if they knew they were brainwashed.

        Nonetheless, I respect your thinking and appreciate your thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sam373 2:16 pm on March 23, 2015 Permalink

          The Creator is Spirit and we are in his image and likeness Will continue forever.
          That spritual part of us gives life to this flesh. This physical existence is temporary and I believe one of many classes.


    • mistermuse 3:54 pm on March 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Far be it from me to try to persuade you that what you say about “continuing forever” is only belief rather than knowledge, because I am no more convinced that it is false than I am that it is true. I only know that I do not know. That is why I am neither an atheist nor religious (unless you call being honest with oneself and believing in empathy and love “religious”).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sam373 6:26 pm on March 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Honesty is the begining of trust.

        Religion is to do anything consistantly, right?

        Belief in a one God concept is an individule’s decision; regardless of others pro &/or cons.


    • mistermuse 7:43 pm on March 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well, I wouldn’t define religion that way unless meant in a non-religious sense; for example: I am very religious (conscientious & consistent) about responding to comments to my posts.
      As for the rest, if you’ll pardon the pun, I’m having a devil of a time imagining who could disagree.


      • Sam373 8:41 am on March 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        If i may, I have a lot of respect for you for even intertainig these conversations.

        Religion is what many, most of us do; but the creator requires relationship.

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:10 pm on March 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The respect is mutual, but relationship with creator seems to be anything but mutual….at least, not in any non-delusional way. Yes, many have claimed to have communicated with God – anyone can claim that, and even believed it – but God has never communicated with me, and if someone were to claim that’s because I’ve never been open to Him, I would say two things: 1. How do you know that? and 2. I was once a practicing Christian – give me a break!

      I don’t mean to be flip, but “mutual” means “mutual.” If God “requires relationship,” He knows where I am (not vice versa) – how is it not up to Him to start the relationship; not just with me, but with every human who has ever existed? We’ve been around for tens of thousands of years – what is He waiting for? How much longer do humans have to kill each other over their conflicting beliefs that God has made himself and/or His will known to them or their prophets?

      No, my friend, I’m afraid that if there is ever to be a REAL relationship, it will be in the next life – if there is a next life. And, as I suggested at the end of my post, the nature of such a relationship is problematic in more ways than one.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sam373 5:43 pm on March 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The creator has communicated with me a number of times but not as often as I WOULD LIKE.
      too often to my requests the response as not what I wanted to hear. Nevertheless, I am persuaded.

      I am a follower of your writings.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:22 pm on March 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It sounds as if I have succeeded in my intention not to be a proselytizer to my way of looking at things. I wish you the best.


    • barkinginthedark 12:58 am on August 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      okay…this is a question i have pondered…physicists all agree that the universe is expanding…yes? So – what is it expanding INTO? continue…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:26 am on August 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Into the continuing great unknown. If that be a copout of an answer, so be it — a better answer is beyond my pay grade. Good question, though.


  • mistermuse 12:03 am on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , deism, ,   


    I don’t remember who and where it was (not that it really matters — they’re everywhere and nowhere), but I saw a news report recently of a computer hacker who, when caught and asked why he did it,  answered “Because I could.”

    How ignorant is that? I mean, if I were to do likewise unto him, impersonally drive him crazy and arbitrarily make his life miserable, would he let it pass if I told him I did it “Because I could?” I’m not God, after all….if I were, there would be no question of letting the victim figure it out for himself. I wouldn’t have to tell him anything.

    Except if I were such a God, how I could live with myself….which, it seems to me, is why man had to invent a god in his own image — a God who works in mysterious ways, a God who at least professes to care, at least pays lip service to empathy; and, to go man one better, promises eternal bliss in a next life for those who love, honor and obey Him. Above all, man cannot have a Creator whose mixed bag includes God-caused suffering for which He is morally responsible. Man brings more than enough grief on himself in this life  — he needs all the help he can get to get through it without losing it.

    But, assuming there is a non-invented Creator (which I assume is a non-starter for atheists), what are we to make of created reality?  Wouldn’t a realistic relational afterlife (if there be such) demand that a Creator apologize to us as much, if not more, than we apologize to Him for wronging others? And if that is the best we can hope for, how surreal is that? How could there be a moral Creator who supposedly would have been cognizant of all this from all eternity? Can you say “premeditated?”

    And that, my friends, is why it is much easier to be either an atheist or a believer in the God of religion — any religion. No muss, no fuss, no getting all bent out of shape (except with each other). Whatever you do, don’t be a deist, or even an agnostic. Why risk torturing your brain with conundrums that tie up your mind in knots?

    Because you could.




    • myatheistlife 2:22 am on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Quite poetic… and tragic


    • mistermuse 9:15 am on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Quite right – the devil, as they say, is always in the details. I appreciate your comment.


    • arekhill1 1:46 pm on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You’re going to hell.


    • mistermuse 2:03 pm on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I hope they have beer there (even if it’s warm).


    • Don Frankel 3:43 pm on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      “You can if you think you can.”

      “If they asked me I could write a book about…”

      But of course “You are what your record says you are” and that is bad for the Jets today and they say that the Gods of Football will never let them win another Superbowl.


    • mistermuse 4:20 pm on December 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, Don, the Jets won today! I guess Wrecks Ryan showed you (hahahaha)!


    • vonleonhardt2 2:27 am on December 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      In my religion, the act of Jesus on the cross is just as much to reconcile man to God as visa versa, but the evangelical party never touches the second part.

      But, there is an issue of subjectivity there. If you strip an ultimate meaning, then is any meaning more valid than naked exploration of possibilities? Seems most honest in that case.


    • mistermuse 7:08 am on December 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for commenting.

      There is an issue of subjectivity in every belief, is there not? Even our “take” on facts can be subjective, beginning with whether a “fact” is a fact. How many so-called facts are actually facts?

      I see ultimate meaning as the ultimate question, so rather than stripping it from the exploration of possibilities, I would call it the basis for the exploration of possibilities. But your question is a good one and, I believe, contributes to the discussion.


    • Don Frankel 3:44 pm on December 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Muse I wish old Wrecks had. At this point in the season you’re supposed to lose to get a better draft pick so Wrecks can’t even lose right. But he’s taken his sorry ass down the road. Maybe he’ll get a TV gig where he can kiss Bellychicks rings.


    • mistermuse 3:59 pm on December 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      With apologies to the ghost of Richard Nixon, at least you won’t have Wrecks to kick around anymore, Don.


  • mistermuse 12:01 am on September 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: American Revolution, , Common Sense, deism, French Revolution, , , The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine   


    These are the times that try men’s souls.  –Thomas Paine, December 19, 1776

    God knows I have a sense of humor, even as I raised the question (in my last post) as to whether God has a sense of humor. So, researching Thomas Paine quotes (as a follow-up to Paine comments on my Sept. 2 post TO DEist OR NOT TO DEist), I hoped to find a few witticisms among the sober words of his Common Sense and other writings. No such luck — these were indeed “the times [the American and French Revolutions] that try men’s souls.” There’s not much to laugh about when the fates of lives and countries hang in the balance.

    Paine (1737-1809), born in England into a poor family, was still poor in 1774 when he gained the friendship of Benjamin Franklin, who was then in London and advised him to go to America. Armed with letters of recommendation from Franklin, he soon became contributing editor to PENNSYLVANIA MAGAZINE and began pressing for American independence.

    In 1776 he served as a soldier and published his famous pamphlet Common Sense in support of the colonies, which Washington, Jefferson and other leaders read with approval. This was followed by a series of pamphlets called The American Crisis, the first of which began with this post’s opening quote.

    Paine subsequently supported the French Revolution — at least, initially — and was made a French citizen by the National Assembly of France in August 1792 and then a member of the National Convention, until his outspoken opposition to the revolution’s excessive bloodshed and violence got him expelled, deprived of French citizenship, and imprisoned.

    While in prison, Paine worked on The Age of Reason, which advocated freedom from oppressive and organized religions. Although it began “I believe in one God, and no more,” it was called “the atheist’s bible” by those who couldn’t abide deviance from religious orthodoxy. By proclaiming deism, Paine became “one of the most hated men of his time” (source: The World Book Encyclopedia).

    After James Monroe, American Minister to France, claimed Paine as an American citizen and obtained his release, President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 arranged for Paine’s return to the U.S.  But Paine found that people remembered him more for his opinions on religion than for his Revolutionary War service, and he died poor, ill and a social outcast.

    How far America and the world have come since those centuries-old days of religious intolerance (to use the kindest possible euphemism), I leave for you to consider. It’s time for me to get to a few of those understandably serious Paine quotes :

    The World is my country, all mankind are my brethern, and to do good is my religion.

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power…. I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself.

    We have it in our power to begin the world over again.

    • Don Frankel 7:34 am on September 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      We’ve sort of had this conversation before Muse. People will manipulate people to their advantage. Religion has no corner on this market. Just turn on the TV and watch people tell you that you can lose 30 or 40 pounds and you don’t have to diet or even exercise. Just sprinkle this stuff on your food or buy the pills. Or explain to me what the TSA does other than put a lot of people’s useless in-laws on the government payroll at 8 billion a year?


    • mistermuse 9:22 am on September 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Don, religion may not have a corner on the market, but they have a monopoly on the afterlife, and more people will buy a chance on losing 30 or 40 pounds than will take a chance on losing their souls (as if their religion – or any religion – has that power). Believe me, having been a practicing Catholic for decades, I know how power can cower a person. It takes some serious thinking to get beyond that.


    • the stay at home philosopher 1:56 pm on September 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      If God doesn’t have a sense of humor, I’m in big trouble…


      • mistermuse 5:12 pm on September 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        ….but perhaps not in as much trouble as people who have no sense of humor.

        Keep thinking and smiling, and thanks for commenting.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michaeline Montezinos 4:02 pm on September 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I thought it was a good post and I was reminded about the life of Thomas Paine. His life was a “pain” for sure. “Poor” writer of truths and then he was despised by countries on both sides of the Atlantic. I think he must have been an intelligent person and a deep thinker who knew that religion could make a follower miserable. mistermuse, if you recall I was a Catholic, also. So I understand the intensity of “God -brainwashing” done in Catholic schools. After life kicked me down, then I wised up to the fact that no matter what one believes or not, we have one life to live to the fullest and we better get on with that challenge.


    • Don Frankel 5:04 pm on September 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Muse, they’ve got a pretty good routine. I’ll grant you that but they’re not the only game in town. There are people who do practice what they preach too.


      • D R (Donnie) Hosie 12:25 am on October 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I can’t remember exactly who was it that first noted that, without religion, good men would still be good – and bad men would continue to be bad. But for good men to do evil, requires religion. I think that pretty well sums up the unique relationship that can exist, between orthodoxy and evil.


        • Outlier Babe 11:26 am on February 7, 2016 Permalink

          What an interesting saying. Does it mean that an evildoer must have religious faith in order to perform evil (say, acts of personal violence not done from immediate temper–particularly acts which prolong the victim’s suffering)?

          Or only that a third party must have faith to consider such acts evil?

          I reject the premise, in any event. I believe it requires only the Sneetch Effect: A power imbalance. Once otherwise-good people (not just men) are positioned to perceive they are superior to other exactly-good people, evil seeds will sprout. Even if God were to first manifest and declare “For the purposes and duration of this experiment, none of you believe I exist.”

          Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:15 pm on September 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Don, as long as they don’t preach jihad, I can live with it.


    • mistermuse 8:51 pm on February 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I also reject the premise that “for good men to do evil, requires religion” – or at least, I reject the word “requires” in that statement. It can’t be denied that a lot of evil has been done in the name of religion, but it also can’t be denied that a lot of good has been done as well. But I think D R Hosie is probably right is saying that “without religion, good men would still be good.”


  • mistermuse 10:57 am on September 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , deism, , , T-shirts   

    TO DEist OR NOT TO DEist 

    ….that is the question. And the only reason I ask it is because I came across this believable deist T-shirt website (notice I didn’t say unbelievable, because deists do believe in a creator of the universe — they just don’t believe he has been seen since setting it in motion….or Day One, if you prefer).

    Now, whatever hidden agenda the creator may have, I have none here. Far deist from me to try to convert anyone. If you got religion, God bless you, and happy praying (you can even include me in your prayers if you think it enhances your and/or my chances of eternal bliss or whatever, but I don’t buy it).

    What I do buy — or rather, being a cheapskate, what I’ll ask someone else to buy me for a Deistmas present — is one of these:


    My problem is choosing one from among these three favorites:

    FEEL the PAINE
    You Say “Heretic” Like It Was a BAD Thing

    What do you think? (Deists do believe in thinking before deciding.)


    • mistermuse 5:59 am on September 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Here’s a quizzical/political P.S. to my post: What’s the difference between deists and Barack Obama?
      A deist believes in thinking before deciding. Obama believes in over-thinking before deciding.

      Sorry about that.


    • arekhill1 11:52 am on September 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      When is Deist Day?

      My favorite T-shirt is “God is just like Santa Claus, except your parents eventually told you there was no Santa Claus.”


      • Outlier Babe 11:41 am on February 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        What I think about that shirt and the “I’m too old for imaginary friends” is that it is exactly the same as a double-digit-aged person not having learned any better manners than a single-digit-aged child–

        – one who would go up to a younger child and purposely make them cry by telling them there’s no Santa

        – one who would make fun of Moslems to their faces for kneeling on prayer rugs, and would jeer at people visiting cemetaries

        I feel about those shirts the way I feel about the Christian-bigoted walking-fish car magnets that purposely miscast all Christians as anti-Science mon-believers in evolution.

        Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 5:59 pm on February 7, 2016 Permalink

          I don’t know any deists who do those things, and though many atheists do, I don’t hold with them, just as I don’t hold with religious fundamentalists….and for the same reason – both camps are absolutists. As I’ve said in several other posts/comments, people can believe what they want – just don’t equate your belief with knowledge/fact. Your belief is YOUR truth, not necessarily THE truth – and I try to hold myself to the same standard (but that doesn’t mean humor and/or satire about it are out of bounds, and I hope that’s how my readers take my posts that are thus tagged).

          Liked by 1 person

        • Outlier Babe 7:15 pm on February 7, 2016 Permalink

          It sounds like we may agree on behavior, even if for different reasons. I laugh and enjoy humor that some–possibly many–would find disrespectful and offensive. But pulling one’s pants down in a church or museum is not humor–in my opinion, it’s attention-seeking, or an attempt at shaming or bullying.

          Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:21 pm on September 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m tempted to say Deist Day (D-Day) is June 6, but that would be in bad taste, so let’s just say that Deist Day is up in the air – sort of like the Creator, coming at a time we know not.

      That T-shirt works for atheists, Ricardo, but Deists still believe in Santa – they just think he’s been snowed in for millions of years.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 9:47 pm on September 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Who is Paine? Was that a reference to Thomas Paine from the 1700’s? Anyway I like the deist shirt that says “Feel the Paine.” It is ambiguous and should not hurt anyone’s feelings. If it were me I would order that one but stay away from anything that has the word HERETIC in it. There still maybe folks who like to stake and fry those heretical people…who knows? I would hate to see you become a crispy critter, a mere shell of your former Kingliness.


    • mistermuse 10:10 pm on September 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, that’s the 1700s Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers who was a Deist, and a man of many quotes, which I may devote a future post to. But I doubt most people know who he was, so in that sense, “Feel the Paine” would probably be more meaningless than ambiguous, and I’m leaning toward one of the other two, though I appreciate your “Heretic” concern.


    • Don Frankel 2:01 am on September 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I lean towards Paine but then I couldn’t help but come up with my own. Cease Religion and Deist.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:22 am on September 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I like that one, Don. If you go into the T-shirt business, you can count on me to buy at le-ast the Deist shirt.


  • mistermuse 10:45 am on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , deism, , , J. K. Rowling, ,   



    Who knows why?

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


    When one’s faith is fetter
    And hope faces test,
    Faith knows no better
    Than hope for the best.

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The above pretty much encapsulates religion for me as a natural antiphon to the question of human existence. It is only logical to assume that there is not only a reason for life, but a creator of it. From those conclusions, lacking direct knowledge — possibilities become suppositions, suppositions become mantras, mantras become answers, answers become beliefs, and beliefs become truth: religions, collectively speaking.

    I mean, you could claim that anything’s real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody’s proved it doesn’t exist.  –J. K. Rowling

    Well, life does exist….unless you and I and J. K. Rowling and billions  of other passers-through are figments of some creator’s imagination — which, I suppose, is a possibility. As for the rest, revelations are a dime a dozen, and, bargains though they be, I’m buying none of them.

    And that, my friends, is why I’m a deist (just in case anyone’s curious).

    • Michaeline Montezinos 11:07 am on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Your post about religion is fascinating, mistermuse. Now I know you are a deist; you present a good argument through your writing.


    • mistermuse 1:32 pm on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Michaeline. I might add that I’m a deist, not by birth or proselytization, but by “virtue” of the process of elimination. If one reasons that creation requires a creator, but that so-called revelations come to no more than human longing for knowledge-denied, what’s left but the “religion” that’s not a religion.

      Much more could be said, of course, but far be it from me to try to convert anyone to my way of thinking (as many religions do).


      • Michaeline Montezinos 2:09 pm on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Since you have had your life experience and knowledge gained, you are fine with me being a deist. Maybe someday I will be one ,too. Who knows ? Meanwhile I enjoy my religion as it is the basis for my hope for the future and helps me live my daily life. We Jews do not try to forcibly convert anyone to our faith also. You are welcom for my previous comment. I usually like everything you write.:-)


    • mistermuse 11:20 pm on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I can understand enjoying one’s religion (though personally, religion is too serious a matter to espouse for enjoyment) – for example, I can think of few things more joyous than the “old time religion” of the black church when they pour their hearts and souls into singing those great old Negro spirituals. Now there’s a religion I can believe in every way but intellectually, praise the Lord!


    • Don Frankel 7:47 am on June 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You know Muse I have to thank you for this. Over the years we’ve explored this question in various articles and posts. I’ve never really been able to articulate an answer and I’ve realized that’s it.

      I mean God or Mother Nature or the Big Bang or whichever you prefer may well be the ultimate abstract concept in that you can see whatever you wish or are able to comprehend. Where everyone gets into trouble, including atheists is when trying to take an abstract concept and make it something concrete. The human mind is not capable of making an abstract concept into something concrete like a brick. It’s not whether there is a God or not? It’s what are we capable of understanding? It’s like trying to make the human mind do Alchemy or turn lead into gold or vice versa. We can’t do it. Or as one wise guy in my old neighborhood used to say. “Ya don’t know do ya?”


      • mistermuse 3:09 pm on June 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Well put, Don. That’s the biggest bummer of all, isn’t it? If there’s no “life after death,” there’s no answer – sort of like reading a great mystery novel, only to get to the end, find the last page missing, and never know how it turns out.


    • arekhill1 10:00 am on June 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m a Dudeist. It’s only a few letters away from Deist.


  • mistermuse 1:21 pm on April 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , astrology, , certainty, Chicago Cubs, deism, , divine intervention, , Elvis, fortune cookies, Fox News, , indoctrination, liberalism, New York Jets, omnipotence, omniscience, Playboy, Playgirl, radical right, , , , spam   


    From 1977 to 1984, God, in the guise of George Burns, starred as Himself in three OH GOD! movies, the last two of which (by earthly standards) stank to high heaven — indicating that even God can overdo a god thing. With Car Talk’s Nine-Question God Questionnaire, I have a good script to work with, but at the rate of one question per post, it would take six more sequels after this one to finish the job. From both an overkill and a don’t try to out-do the Deity standpoint, it doesn’t seem prudent to do more than three posts….especially if the Trinity Pak turns out to be the One True God. Consolidation is in order, or I be in trouble.

    Question #3 asked, Did your God come to you undamaged, with all parts in good working order and no missing attributes, and if not, what was the problem? Choices included:

    __Not omniscient
    __Not omnipotent
    __Permits sex outside of marriage
    __Prohibits sex outside of marriage
    __Requires virgin sacrifices
    __Makes mistakes (Geraldo Rivera & Jesse Helms given as examples)
    __Makes or permits bad things to happen to good people
    __When beseeched, doesn’t stay beseeched
    __Plays dice with the universe

    Other than updating early 1990s’ mistake examples (to Rush Limbaugh & Ann Coulter, for example), no quibbles here.

    Question #4 dealt with relevant factors in your decision to acquire a Deity, such as

    __Hate to think for myself
    __Need to feel morally superior
    __Indoctrinated by parents/society.
    __Needed focus on whom to despise.
    __Graduated from the tooth fairy.
    __Wanted to meet girls/boys
    __Like organ music
    __Desperate need for certainty

    No updating necessary.

    Question #5 wondered which false gods were you fooled by in the past:

    __Mick Jagger
    __The almighty dollar
    __Left-wing liberalism
    __The radical right
    __Barney the Dinosaur
    __The Great Pumpkin

    Update false gods to include Fox News, Chicago Cubs, New York Jets ( to Don) & SWI (to mistermuse)

    Question #6: Are you currently using any other source of inspiration in addition to God?

    __Fortune cookies
    __Playboy and/or Playgirl
    __Self-help books
    __Drugs, alcohol
    __Bill Clinton
    __Tea leaves
    __Human sacrifice
    __Ann Landers

    Now that you’ve got the idea, you can do your own #6 updating.

    Question #7: Divine intervention-wise, would you prefer:

    __Current level just right
    __Don’t know … what’s divine intervention?

    Just for the hell of it, I’d add __A helluva lot better choices

    Question #8 wants you to rate God’s handling of disasters (such as plague, pestilence and spam) and miracles (such as rescues, spontaneous remissions, crying statues and walking on water).

    Who are we to judge?

    Question #9: Last but not deist, Do you have any suggestions for improving the quality of God’s services?

    Deists don’t believe this is a relevant question. Unluckily, it would appear that
    God has Alzheimer’s and has forgotten we exist. –Jane Wagner




    • Don Frankel 4:24 pm on April 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      3) Permits sex before during and after marriage. I’ve read the Gospels a few times and I can’t find the place where Jesus tells people not to have sex. I’m not a Biblical Scholar but I just can’t find it. If anyone knows where it is like John 3:16, let me know.
      4) Wanted to meet girls. The number of women who believe far outnumber the ones that don’t. The ones that don’t believe also don’t have any sin references. What would the fun in that be?
      5) I never worshipped the Jets. I believed in the God of baseball but then I still do. God is a big right hander with the number 1 fastball. But I’m not too worried as nobody can throw the fastball by me.
      6) Sex
      7) Current level just about right.
      8) He’s doing okay. I mean you have to have a few here and there. He’s doing pretty good keeping everyone guessing where, when and why?
      9) A little less snow in NYC


    • mistermuse 7:48 pm on April 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry about my Jets “fumble,” Don – I guess I just assumed from all your raps on Rex Ryan that he was wrecking your beloved (if not adored) Jets. I’ll try to make up for the error by not telling God you think He can’t throw a fastball by you.


      • Don Frankel 4:27 am on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Too late Muse, He knows.


  • mistermuse 6:14 pm on April 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , deism, , , humorous existential questions, ,   


    I have a folder of old magazine and newspaper clippings which I’d filed away years ago because of their interesting and/or oddball subject matter. One such clipping (undated, but in a batch of others from the early 1990s) is titled God’s Total Quality Management Questionnaire (As presented on National Public Radio’s “Car Talk”) — which may sound like an odd venue for such a questionnaire if you’re not familiar with the show’s hosts, the auto mechanic-comics Magliozzi Brothers. Tom and Ray Magliozzi’s CLICK AND CLACK car advice appears in newspapers weekly and at http://www.cartalk.com.

    If you’re like me, you find most questionnaires too simplistic (answer yes or no, or agree or disagree, to questions which beg for more nuanced response). Not so here — most of the questions offer many choices, such as these in response to question #1: How did you find out about your Deity?

    __Book of Mormon
    __Divine inspiration
    __Dead Sea Scrolls
    __My mama done tol’ me
    __Near-death experience
    __Near-life experience
    __National Public Radio
    __Burning shrubbery
    __Other (specify):__________

    Now, for those of you who have had different Deities at various stages of your life, even the above choices may be insufficient, which is never a good thing unless you’re absolutely sure that you’ve finally found the divine equivalent of Mr./Ms. Right. One can only be disillusioned so many times before one says to hell with it.

    How did I find out about my (current) Deity? Basically, by a process of elimination — I’m a deist, which is probably the last stage before “to hell with it”….though I must admit I haven’t tried all possible Deities. This leads me to question #2 of the questionnaire, but that will have to wait until next time.


    • Don Frankel 3:19 am on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m thinking that I’m dying to know what question #2 is and then I’m thinking is this one of those things where I’ll have to, before I can?

      My answer to number 1 though is other I guess. I mean isn’t He supposed to be everywhere? So would we need a book, a tabloid or an NDE? I’m not too sure if He’s everywhere by the way. I’m pretty sure He’s in center field though.


    • mistermuse 4:45 am on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Don, my computer’s acting up a bit, but Lord willing and the damn thing don’t crash, I’ll get to question #2 before you kick the bucket.

      Speaking of acting “up,” I’m surprised that movies wasn’t one of the question #1 choices. A lot of people undoubtedly found out about their Deity from the creations of Cecil B. DeMille, Mel Brooks, Monty Python, etc.


  • mistermuse 3:00 am on November 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: deism,   


    According to Leszek Kolakowski (Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?, Basic Books, 2007), Socrates was interested in the study of nature as a young man, but later abandoned this for the study of ideas. This makes me wonder how someone can cease to be a nature lover (if indeed that was the case) even if one grows into additional or other interests. Surely this need not – indeed, should not – be a case of either-or. Once a nature lover, always a nature lover – if one was truly a nature lover to begin with.

    It might be argued that one can “fall out” of other types of love – romantic love of a person, for example – so why not love of nature? But doesn’t the death of romantic love involve disillusionment? How does one become disillusioned with natural beauty?

    As a deist, I don’t pretend to know why the Creator created this mixed bag of a world, but we seem to have little choice but to take the bad along with the good. For those suffering the brutish and often fatal injustice of man and/or maker, natural beauty may be an irrelevant luxury. Does it not follow that, as bad as the bad is, the relatively fortunate among us have all the more reason to appreciate that which offers some measure of something to be inspired by and thankful for?

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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