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  • mistermuse 10:37 am on August 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: doubt, , , ,   


    If you’re going through hell, keep going. –Winston Churchill

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

    After my last post (BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT) generated quite a bit of interest, I could hardly wait to see what I would write about next. Whatever benefit doubt may have, I don’t want to overdo it — yet there is something to be said for doubling down while the iron is hot and the pot is empty, ideas-wise.

    So last night, in the hope that some fresh CO would blow away the fog in my brain, I’m out flying down the highway on my air-conditioned motorcycle, happy as a good old boy on a bad new toy, when I come upon this big-ass truck hoggin’ the road like he owns it. I don’t know exactly how slow he was going, but let’s just say it waren’t fast enough to suit me. So I get stuck behind this yahoo for longer than any reasonable man should suffer, because there’s too much traffic to pass.

    Finally, I decide to Winston with this crap, and I start to roar past him on the right shoulder like a bat out of hell, because you never know how long a shoulder is going to last before you run into something….and wouldn’t you know, there’s a cop just ahead motioning me to pull over — like I’m not already over, trying to get past this big ass truck.

    Anyway, to make a long story, I suddenly realize that I’ve never owned a motorcycle in my life — much less flown one — so I must be dreaming. Well, if you’ve ever awakened in the middle of a dream, you know there’s nothing worse than not knowing how the dream would’ve turned out. So before I wake up, I bring my bad boy two-wheeler to a stop and, when the cop comes up to me, I tell him to go where bats fly out of when their cave’s on fire (like in a volcanic eruption, which sounds far-fetched, but what the hell — it’s a dream, for heaven’s sake).

    I may not have gotten past my doubts about this post, but I never woke up feeling better in my life.

    • arekhill1 3:52 pm on August 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Motorcycles are noisy death machines. Just ride them in your dreams.


    • mistermuse 4:30 pm on August 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Here in Ohio, only novice motorcyclists & those under 18 must wear helmets, so I see more cyclists without helmets than with….which just goes to show that the young aren’t the only airheads who think they’re invincible.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 1:10 pm on August 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I agree that many older cyclists do not wear their helmets in Ohio. My daughter, the RN, used to live around the bend in Colerain Twnshp. Many times riders of all kinds would speed around the 25MPH limit and hit the brick mailbox. You can’t fault the land lord for making it solid since I think many more ordinary mailboxes met their end by getting obliterated. After awhile she got very tired after nursing a 12 hour shift and then having to jump up with her first aid kit to administer what help she could. The last time a guy on a motocycle left his cracked skull at the mailbox, she just let the police and the paramedics handle it. Obviously his brain was the size of a walnut. Didn’t dinosaurs of tremendous length and girth own those tiny brains? I think we sould give some humans the benefit of a doubt when it comes to the size of pink matter between their ears.


    • mistermuse 5:46 pm on August 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I guess you could say those motorcyclists “mailed it in” when it came to paying attention to what they were doing/where they were going.


    • Don Frankel 5:55 am on August 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

    • mistermuse 6:29 am on August 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      A good reminder that it’s not “cool” to wear a helmet, Don (but if it ever becomes cool, almost every cyclist will wear one).


  • mistermuse 2:04 pm on August 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: doubt, , , , , religious credulity   


    Listen to the soul complain, “My body pissed
    And bled and needed sleep, confused its lust
    With love, and when I learned to coexist
    With doubt, my body crumbled into dust.”
    –Timothy Miller, poet and writer

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

    Will the reader get into the spirit with me?
    In this, our little mortality play, I play the devil’s
    advocate on stage earth, while you are ordained
    for the role of God’s altar ego….so to speak.

    You have the better part, really — the star-power
    and the glory — versus the infidel, the bad actor
    who casts doubt on words that are righteous and
    sacred and good and true and abundant unto salvation.

    Still, open-minded (why not?) to the possibility of
    immortality, to the appeal of Pascal’s Wager, let
    the show begin. In the opening scene, you assert there
    will be hell to pay if I refuse to see the light, whereas

    I have nothing to lose if I choose to believe….who/what?
    In whose God do we trust? Does it matter? If not, what
    the holy war is the word of one divided god all about?
    So my character dares to challenge your assumption

    (assuming it is your assumption) that believers will
    be saved; independent thinkers and skeptics, such as I,
    will not. You insist there will be Beelzebub to pay, but
    this glorious time, it’s not your call. Trumpets sound.

    A voice from on high proclaims, Well done, good and
    faithful savant, for even fool poets give soul-searching
    top billing over hopeless credulity.
    The curtain descends.
    Of course, it’s only the first act.





    • arekhill1 4:01 pm on August 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Without Googling it and finding out for certain, doesn’t taking Pascal’s Wager mean I should be virtuous?


    • Michaeline Montezinos 6:32 pm on August 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I could not play God…ever. But you can be the devil’s advocate, mistermuse.
      Pascal’s Wager tells us that we can believe in a God or not. With different outcomes.


    • mistermuse 8:55 pm on August 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Pascal’s Wager was one of those seemingly sensible propositions that kept me a practicing Catholic for years after I stopped being a convinced Catholic. To expound on Michaeline’s answer, it essentially contends that it’s rational to be a Christian even if you’ve come to disbelieve, because if Christianity turns out to be true, you win eternal salvation, whereas if Christianity is wrong and there’s no heaven or hell, the Christian is no worse off than the unbeliever who loses either way. In other words, Christianity is always the best bet because a 50-50 chance is better than no chance.
      Of course, the problem (among others) with that is: How do you believe what you cannot believe? Self-interest may be self-serving, but it isn’t belief.


    • Don Frankel 1:40 pm on August 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

      15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

      16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

      17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

      King James Version (KJV)

      Maybe if people paid attention to what Jesus actually said, instead of what other people think he said that served their own purpose and made them some money too, no one would have to rack their brain over things we can’t know.


    • mistermuse 3:33 pm on August 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Don, that’s easier said than done, if you’ll pardon the pun, because among the things we can’t know are exactly what Jesus meant by some of the things he said. But beyond that, to me the stumbling block that can’t be dismissed is the notion that the Creator is all good, all loving, all compassionate, etc., despite not only allowing evil, but creating evil (if God didn’t create the diseases from which innocent children suffer, for example, who did?). The only way to reconcile this contradiction is to believe that MIGHT MAKES RIGHT, and if that’s the case, God help us.


    • rielyn 3:57 pm on August 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Perhaps diseases and other such evil things are created due to free will and not God. What if the price of a perfect world with no suffering is our freedom and humanity – would that be worth it? Suppose we have a choice before coming here to earth and in our spirit forms we choose the experience for the knowledge it will give us, individually and collectively. We don’t remember this because it would defeat the purpose. I know you don’t believe in any of this kind of thing but you asked. :p


      • mistermuse 4:41 pm on August 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        That’s an interesting theory (sorry, but I don’t know what else to call it), but the first question that occurs to me is what newborn with a terminal illness would have choosen to come to earth to experience the knowledge it will give, if the newborn won’t live long enough to experience anything but suffering? You could say the pre-newborn didn’t know that would be its fate, but then what’s the good of free will if you have nothing but clueless choices?

        I, of course, don’t claim to know the answers – sometimes the right questions are the only answers human beings are capable of, even though they only lead to more unanswerable questions.

        But I do believe in love, which is “What the world needs now.”


        • rielyn 5:19 pm on August 26, 2014 Permalink

          Maybe a spirit would choose to come here for whatever that brief experience of suffering would give it (and us collectively) or maybe the free will part is knowing any and all possible bad things could happen, as well as good, and accepting that possibility.

          But I agree about the right questions being maybe as much as we can figure out. And love, especially in the form of compassion, is what I believe we’re here to learn. So I think on the most important points, for the most part, we agree. 🙂


    • Don Frankel 5:55 pm on August 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Muse the more we think about these things the better we are for it. When someone asks whether there is a God or not to me they are answering how much they’ve thought about it. How much they abstract. What they believe, Where they’ve been. They don’t answer the question to me. They more or less reveal things about themselves.

      The human mind does many different things. One oi them is to deal with the concrete like how to throw a baseball or use a shovel. Another thing the human mind does is abstract. What is justice? Take a typical murder trial that gets a lot of media attention. There’s a verdict and half the people following the trial think justice was done. The other half think it has been a travesty. Depends on your definition of justice and your understanding of the facts. But what is justice? it’s an abstract concept.

      God may be the ultimate abstract concept in that it has to do with Creation and life. You can see anything you can imagine. Hence the different interpretations of God and the various Gods and all the different religions. People see what they will. People see what they can.

      What the human mind can’t do is make the abstract something concrete. We’re just not capable of it or so I think. I could be wrong. But we just can’t put the two together. What is love, justice, loyalty, courage and a million other things that people will never agree on.

      We have our limitations I use Jesus as an example because people say all manner of things in his name when he doesn’t seem to have said them. People see what they want or need to or imagine. Just because they say so and repeat it often it doesn’t make it true. It doesn’t mean the people saying it know anything.

      Did OJ do it? The media said yes. The Jury said no. Some people were horrified others exalted. Were any of the people screaming one way or the other there? How did they know anything? They sure as hell thought they did.


    • mistermuse 7:35 pm on August 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I couldn’t agree more with the two of you about (1) “love, especially in the form of compassion” and (2) “the more we think about these things the better we are for it.” If only more religions would practice the former and more people would practice the latter, I expect the world would be a much more empathetic and less violent place.


    • Don Frankel 6:22 am on August 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Muse people are violent and controlling without religion. But since God is the ultimate abstract concept it can be the greatest rationale. Who are you going to argue with God? Perhaps “The fault lies not in the stars but in ourselves.”

      I like the things Jesus actually said. I find them enlightening. I don’t bother with other people’s interpretations even if they have some title. I mean everyone who reads Shakespeare sees something else and something new. That’s why people keep reading both of them.


    • mistermuse 7:46 am on August 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Very true (your first sentence), Don, but I can’t help but think the saying “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” applies to “certain” religions….and I certainly agree about Jesus and Shakespeare, even without believing that the former was any more the son (or daughter) of God than any human who ever lived.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 12:02 pm on August 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I do not believe in Jesus as being the son of a God. That is an old anthromorphic view ; that is seeing the god(s) as identities similar to humans. The Greeks and the Romans and other cultures did this and thuius worshipped their gods and made sacrifices to appease them. The Romans who had conquered Judea did keep meticulous records of everything. They also taxed the people they ruled over, with a little help from various other kings, like Herod, who was a pagan. I have studied theology and various versions of the KJM Bible, the Catholic Bible , Judaism, and even some Buddahism.
      At the time Jesus of Nazareth existed, whose birth supposedly ocurred in early April, 30 AD. (according to the so called “Great Star”), there were five Messiahs proclaiming they were there to save the Jews from the Roman occupation. Four were crucified and John the Baptist lost his head. One of the crucified was Jesus of Nazareth.
      By the way, the “Great Star” was actually a major conjunction of all the biggest planets, That included Mars, Saturn, Jupiter. Uranus and Neptune. This was seen by the Chaldeans in the Middle East who were not only astronomers but astrologers. They became the “Wise Men” according to the Christian doctrine. They believed this celestial event of importance and rarity foretold the birth of a great king, not a messiah. They were not Christians, of course, and their ancient civilization long ago vanished along with the Egyptians.
      I chose Reform Judaism as my religion because it is so simple. Whether a folower believes in “God” is not as important as raising a family, teaching them their heritage and the language of Hebrew. Education is very important as we Jews believe that we must exist in the material world. We need good jobs in order to support our families and send them to good schools. Our religious school is on Sunday mornings and we are allowed to worship and observe the Sabbath.
      The best part of being a iberal Jew is that we are not going to try and convert others to our religion. We respect others’ rights and we do contribute to those in need with compassion.


    • mistermuse 12:50 pm on August 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      The way you describe it, Michaeline, Reform Judaism doesn’t sound that different from deism. I don’t think either would have any problem sharing the same landscape (physical or philosophical) with the other in peace and harmony.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 5:26 pm on August 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      mistermuse, you see the reality of our faith. Some Jews, in particular, my husband, the scientist, and his three brothers were all brought up in the Conservative branch of Judaism. However, they now choose to either be agnostic or atheist. We are allowed through our intelligence and knowledge to question if there is a Supreme Being and what its role in the universe may be. That is why I chose this Reform or Liberal Judaism because Catholicism did not answer my concerns.
      We raise our children in the way that is right according to the Ten Commandments. Once they are on their own, they must choose their own path as far as what they may believe in or not. If you wish to call my faith as a deism, that is fine with me. I have my own beliefs and I usually keep them to myself. I will pray as I find it very useful. I also will meditate and try to stay calm when life hands me challenges.
      I like to hear others’ opinions and have an open mind to what ever people may believe. I respect that freedom.


    • mistermuse 8:23 pm on August 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      It seems that the principal difference between deism (as I understand it) and Reform Judaism is that deists believe in an impersonal Creator or God to whom it is useless to pray because it’s a one-way conversation. So, while I wouldn’t call your faith a deism, neither of the two has any reason to feel threatened in the slightest by the other. Why all religions can’t “live and let live” is beyond me.


    • lexborgia 1:07 pm on December 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Where is the 2nd act?


    • carmen 10:19 am on December 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You’re a wise man, mistermuse. (not that I doubted it, even before I read this particular thread)

      I agree with your, “What I do believe in is love” and wish we could all just subscribe to that. And leave the rest of the bullshit alone. (you probably don’t like expletives on your blog but sometimes you just gotta call ’em as ya sees ’em) For that’s what it is – bullshit. Of course, and unfortunately, it makes a lot of money. It’s probably a toss up as to what makes the world go ’round – BS or money. .
      I’ll stick to love. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 3:03 pm on December 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I gotta no objection to expletives provided they’re not used gratuitously. As you say, “sometimes you just gotta call ’em as ya sees ’em.” I’m just glad you saw fit to call me a “wise man” rather than a “wise ass,” which I would definitely consider gratuitous (however true it may be). 😦 🙂

      While I’m at it, your comment called my attention to a comment I missed at the time (lexborbia’s) – my apologies to her, but at least it saved me from coming up with possibly a wise ass reply (or an inadequate one, like this).


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