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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , faith, , , , , ,   


    I think, therefore I am. –René Descartes

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

    You will (hopefully) recall that my last post, STONE COLD DEAD, featured some of my favorite epitaphs published 4 years ago on SWI (a blog due to bite the dust in November). Ah, but the best laid plans….  The SWI editor announced on 9/1 that he would now need to pull the plug first thing on Sept. 6; thus today becomes SWI’s last full day on this earth.

    This sudden passing prompts me to salvage another of my previously published posts from that body of work: a poem which poses a question I believe naturally arises out of STONE COLD DEAD. Unlike that post, it ain’t funny, but perhaps the poem’s saving grace is that what it lacks in humor, it makes up in brevity. It’s the least I can do on Labor Day.


    Are the faithful
    dead better positioned
    to be saved
    than those who
    lived with doubt?
    Even a God
    can’t help being
    what He thinks.



    • painkills2 12:13 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Saved from what? After you’re dead, no one can save you. But if this is about hell, then I don’t want to be saved — that’s where all the fun people go. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:44 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Think of this poem as if it were written by an agnostic. Then the question becomes: If there is a God and an afterlife, is He any more morally fit to judge you than you are to judge Him? If there is no afterlife, it’s irrelevant whether or not there is a God, because we will never know either way.

      I might add that the God(s) of religions and myth only muddy the waters of how to think about this whole business of a possible Creator. The word “God” itself seems to me to be an impediment to rational thinking about life and all that it may imply.

      Liked by 2 people

      • painkills2 1:09 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I suppose those who believe in a god also believe that this god is always right and shouldn’t be questioned. As for anyone — supernatural or not — who thinks they have the right to judge me, well, they’re wrong. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 7:12 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Nice one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:26 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      They say it takes one to know one, so you’re a “nice one” too. 🙂


    • Cynthia Jobin 9:41 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “God is dead.” —Nietzsche, 1883

      “Nietzsche is dead.” —God, 1900

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 9:51 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “We’re all dead.” –Kismet, sooner or later 😦

      Liked by 3 people

    • arekhill1 11:42 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, death is the ultimate way of fitting in.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 1:32 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’d call it forced integration God’s way….except for Christians, who make Book on to a different afterlife divide: heaven or hell.


    • Don Frankel 5:02 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      All things come to an end but nothing really dies on the internet. It just spins somewhere throughout the universe. And, since we’re doing some oldies I can’t help but recall once again my favorite Epitaph on a Tombstone in Tombstone.

      Here Lies Lester Moore
      4 slugs from a .44
      No Les
      No More

      Liked by 1 person

    • carmen 6:18 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I can never think about this topic (death) without this song running through my mind. I heard it for the first time when I was a teenager and it has stuck in my head ever since. Like this post, it’s remarkable for its brevity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:14 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the song clip. When it comes to war and brevity, it took William Tecumseh Sherman only three words to tell it like it is: “War is hell.”


    • BroadBlogs 7:28 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know why God would punish our authenticity. Job is an interesting book to read on this topic.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:01 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well, this subject would take an entire post to address in depth, including (for starters) whether or not one accepts the story of Job as having a basis in reality. For atheists and agnostics, it’s a non-starter to begin with, because if you disbelieve or doubt that God exists, Job is meaningless. Personally, as a deist who believes in a Creator but not the so-called “revealed God” of most religions, it is not my job to take Job seriously (pun intended).


      • Carmen 5:18 am on September 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Besides which, if you do read about poor old Job – and take the ‘lesson’ seriously-, you end up wondering why anyone would think Yahweh had any redeeming qualities.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Superduque777 7:49 am on September 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply


      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 10:09 am on September 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You would never guess from that photo what the girl is actually saying to the pope: “Ubi possum potiri petasi similis isti?” (“Where can I get a hat like that?”)

      Liked by 1 person

    • carmen 10:12 am on September 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      . . .and he’s probably saying, “Go now and spin no more”. . 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:39 am on September 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      No doubt Jim Beam had something to say about it too, but it looks like the pope is keeping it close to his vest-ments.

      Liked by 2 people

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on April 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: faith, , , , , Wicked Witch of the West, Wizad of Oz   


    Which is more naïve (naïver?) —
    to believe poetry that rings true
    to be a true believer?

    Which takes more courageous thinking —
    to whistle in the dark of faith
    to face reality without blinking?

    Which lays more cards on the table —
    the persuasion  of the power of babble
    the allegory of The Tower of Babel?

    Which is the bigger cancer —
    the answer that brooks no questions
    the questions that beget no answer?

    *with apologies to The Wicked Witch of the West (played by the late Margaret Hamilton in THE WIZARD OF OZ). In addition to her film career, it seems that Hamilton was also (according to Wikipedia) a Sunday School teacher in the 1950s, which carries my apologies beyond my title-play-on-words to the poem itself. May her Maker be as real as the great and powerful Wizard was a humbug, and more wonderful than the “whiz of a wiz” who Dorothy and her friends were told they’d see at the end of the yellow brick road:



    • arekhill1 9:51 am on April 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I Have always believed the Wicked Witch of the West to be deeply misunderstood. Her sister was murdered and that sibling’s shoes were stolen while colorfully dressed little people danced on her grave, yet we attribute the Green One’s desire for vengeance solely to wickedness? Another example of history being written by the winners. What a world, what a world.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 10:36 am on April 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Every plot needs a bad guy (or gal), or there would be no story. Where would religion be without a Devil to blame for everything that has gone wrong with creation? No Wicked Witch, no wonderful Wizard of Oz; no Devil, no good God; no good God, no religion.


    • Cynthia Jobin 11:46 am on April 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It’s a treat to encounter more unusual rhymes: naïver/believer and cancer/answer…because, because, because, because beCAUSE!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 3:45 pm on April 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank God (or others equally unknown) for my flair for rhyming light verse, otherwise I’d be the poet-equivalent of a bad wizard (in the manner of the Wizard of Oz’s response when Dorothy called him a very bad man: “Oh, no, my dear. I’m not a very bad man. I’m just a very bad wizard.”)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 7:57 am on April 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You know I’m watching this clip and like everyone else I’ve seen it countless times but I just realized something. That dog there Toto, never gets enough credit. I mean she hits her mark all the time. She dances along with everyone else and unlike the rest of the characters she doesn’t need anything. She’s not complaining and she never pees on anyone’s leg either. She looks well almost Presidential.


    • mistermuse 9:12 am on April 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent point, Don….and to think Toto did all that and only got $125 a week in dog food, which probably wasn’t much more than chicken feed compared to Lassie’s pay. I think Toto definitely deserves to be rated higher than 13th on the following list of film dogs:


  • mistermuse 6:50 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , blasphemy, Chosen People, Christianity, faith, , Good Friday, peace, , , ,   


    I was going to title this awkward post GOOD FRIDAY FARE, but thought better of it (a little too light to fill the bill). Or I could have titled it REALLY?. Really? I may be an ex-Catholic, but I still respect the meaning of Good Friday for the hundreds of millions who take the premise of this day at faith value. My breach of faith is not with the faithful, but with the premise of their faith — as explained in the poem which follows this paragraph of Christian apologia:

    What’s So Good about Good Friday? asks Episcopal priest Justin Holcomb in a recent article. The origin of the term, he says, is debatable, but “Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins….all in accordance with what God had promised all along in the Scriptures.” We can all agree, can we not, with the gross understatement that people have been sinning since time immemorial? But….


    One of the earliest questions which presented itself to my youthful mind was that of election: Why had God chosen the Jewish people as the sole recipients of  His divine revelation and of the messianic promise? By what creative caprice had he excluded all others? –Morris West, Catholic novelist & playwright (1916-99)

    After the Lord God said Let there be light, there was no one
    to share the scene. God looked down and beheld a creation
    too wondrous to keep to Himself. Flesh forward.
    Adam, meet Eve.
    But, inevitably, Adam and Eve stray.
    They have a bad day.
    ‘Twas the serpent, they say.

    Boys and girls, welcome to hard times
    where life becomes a chance bet
    begetters scatter and beget
    until they forget
    without regret
    where they came from and divine not
    what they’re about

    until at last there emerges a Chosen People on
    whom it never dawns that revelation comes with
    implications: were untold others not equally in need
    of deliverance from their benighted nature? If
    what you don’t know can’t hurt you, why now the
    Voice in the wilderness….and if it can hurt you,
    how was silence justified? You see we still live
    in the shadows of tribal primitives, still die in
    the wake of unasked questions….save for He who
    would die to save us from our sins, without asking
    if the creator was in need of saving from His own?

    Did my poem blaspheme, or did it pose a serious question (or did it blaspheme in posing a serious question)? Does your answer depend on whether you believe in an ALL-PERFECT, ALL-LOVING GOD, a MIGHT-MAKES-RIGHT GOD, or NO GOD at all? How far would you go to try to convince or force (as if belief can be forced) others to believe as you do? Isn’t it sad enough when members of one family can’t agree to disagree, much less the human family writ large? How much longer would you and your god have the world pay the price of religion’s aggressive side?

    Peace, however awkward, be with you on this Good Friday.




    • carmen 7:13 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Of course, the answer to your question, “Did my poem blaspheme, or did it pose a serious question (or did it blaspheme in posing a serious question)?” would be a resounding “YES!” to many people . . . those who believe in the myth will be insulted that you would even ask such a thing.
      But for me (having decided a few years ago that the whole thing is nothing more than a comforting ‘tale’ to many) it is a very insightful suggestion to all who read – please do consider the negativity associated with people’s religious beliefs.

      Let’s hope we all don’t get sucked into the great fight over whose invisible (and – I think – imaginary) god is the mightiest. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michaeline 8:07 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Carmen makes a good point in saying our God may be is an invisible God. The ancient Jews rolled up their tents and gathered their other things, put it all on donkeys and headed out for the next oasis. No temples and no statues for them. Just 10 rules to live by and that was it in the beginning. God the Creator is more to my liking as he will not interfere in my life decisions. If I do wrong, there is Yom Kipper to make it right once a year. I live with the knowledge that I have a creative, intelligent mind and I let common sense be my guide .I was a serious Catholic like mistermuse and it was a fairly good experience until my ex divorced me.

        I did not know how vicious gossip among the church going ladies could make my Mother feel so bad. Then I researched many religions and found I liked Reform Judaism the best. It is a fact many millions of people fought and died in religious wars..Maybe that is why my husband and his three brothers are all atheists after being raised as Conservative Jews.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:26 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your thoughts, Carmen. It seems we both have no problem with religious beliefs per se – but when believing is held to be the same as knowing, each differing belief becomes an absolute, and when absolutes are pitted against each other – well, human nature being what it is, bad things happen, and agreeing to disagree is out of the question (because questioning is anathema to absolutes).


    • Michaeline 8:18 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I like being a Reform Judaic Jewess. Became one after my studies with the rabbi. No one has all the answers about whether there is a God or not. My husband and his brothers were brought up as sons of a Conservative Jew. Once they grew up, attended college and worked diligently for a living, they became atheists. I like a religion where I can exercise my creative intelligence. I do not think mistermuse is guilty of blasphemy. He is sharing his thoughts and a very well written poem with us, Thank you, mistermuse

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:32 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your thoughts as well, Michaeline. What I said about respecting the Catholic faithful goes for the Jewish falthful as well, despite my profound differences with their faiths.


    • Don Frankel 8:35 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Following up on what I was saying about screaming or praying, add writing.

      People are constantly manipulating people. For the greater good, of course. They use religion, politics, pills, potions and whatever they have because of course they are orchestrating the greater good. What is the greater good? That depends on each manipulator’s perception of it.

      As to what is truth? Your guess is as good as mine and anybody else’s. The brain like all the other organs in the body has it’s limitations. It can only do what it does. I don’t think its omniscient although some people think their’s is.

      Like I mentioned to you in the past I was brought up in an atheist household. My wife was a Catholic and because of that I read the Gospels and more than once. If you listen to the things Jesus says, actually says and not the centuries of other people’s interpretations of them, you can’t really go wrong in this life. Which is kind of amazing if you stop to think about it as it’s been a little shy of two thousand years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • carmen 8:42 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I agree to that last bit, Don (and who knows whether Jesus was divine or an apocalyptic preacher of his time?). Unfortunately, the imposter Paul got hold of the ‘gospel’.


    • Cynthia Jobin 10:33 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      When you know, you do not have to believe. Because you know. You believe things that you do not actually know….you believe the authority, the expert, your own wish for how you want the world to be. In Belief are the seeds of violence. You find yourself needing to defend your belief against the unbelief of others. Other beliefs are an affront to the validity of your belief. You want others to lend greater credence to your belief by believing it along with you. Others may not want to share your belief, they may feel imposed- upon by your belief….this is the rising of conflict. Actuality is all that we know….the rest is silence. And belief.

      I remember–having been raised a Catholic—how we used to keep silent between noon and 3 o’clock on Good Friday. I don’t practice that religion anymore, but I put no label on myself in terms of belief or disbelief. As I accept the impossibility of absolute abstract answers, the same old questions seem to grow dimmer and dimmer and fade into the silence.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 11:05 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Well put, as always, Cynthia. The problem seems to be that, for too many people, there is no difference between believing and knowing….which, ironically, I believe qualifies as ignorance.

        It’s interesting to me that, as I get to know more of my readers better, I’m finding that more of them were once practicing Catholics. I guess, depending on the eye of the beholder, that makes us serious thinkers, or heretics, or feckless, or confused, or lost souls (whatever connotation the beholder puts on “lost soul”). I prefer to think that we’re multi-dimensional. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:38 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Perceptive words, Don. I would only add, “Amen.”


    • arekhill1 11:15 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Anything that ever happened to anybody else can happen to you. That’s the only thing that’s certain here, God, Jesus and Jews notwithstanding. Have a Good Friday every Friday is my motto, and my wishes for you, Sr. Muse and friends.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 1:35 pm on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Since I retired from gainful employment, Friday is just like every other day — the same with Good Friday since I retired from Catholicism. So I thank you and wish you a good everyday today and every day, Ricardo.


    • arekhill1 1:37 pm on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Saw on SWI that your sister passed, Sr. Muse. My sympathies.


    • carmen 3:09 pm on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, Mister Muse – I am sorry to hear of her passing. 😦


    • mistermuse 7:41 pm on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you both. She was 7+ years younger than I, and my only sibling. In this life, it seems that, sooner or later, time makes visitors of us all.


    • restlessjo 1:27 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It’s good to think and question. I don’t do enough of either, being more of a head in the sand lady, but you raise some good points. 🙂 Hope Easter was peaceful for you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:55 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you. Perhaps it is just as well not to think and question too much, as we can tie ourselves into knots trying to find answers which are beyond our capacity to find. On the other hand, a guy or gal has to go where a guy or gal has to go, even if we end up back where we started! 🙂


  • mistermuse 12:01 am on July 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: faith, , , life after death   



    If you were God, would you
    really want the cantankerous,
    know-it-all ex-dwellers of
    planet Earth continuing to bedevil
    each other ad infinitum as your
    unable-to-get-along celestial guests
    (assuming, of course, that you
    have no doubt that You exist)?



    • Michaeline Montezinos 1:14 am on July 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thoughtful and clever post, mistermuse

      Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 6:48 am on July 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Heaven is a gated community, Sr. Muse, where the gates are of the pearly variety. Consequently, you live eternally only with others in your socioeconomic strata. It would hardly be Heaven otherwise. Go to Purgatory if you want to mingle.


    • mistermuse 10:51 am on July 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      As an ex-Catholic, Purgatory is no longer an option. I would check to see if any other religions believe in Purgatory, but since I’m neither a mingler nor looking for a substitute religion, I think I’ll save myself the trouble.

      Anyway, I’m glad you don’t have to worry, Ricardo. I understand you already live in a gated community, so you’re all set.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 6:08 am on July 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I am that I am, if I am or is it I am what I am. Oh wait is that Popeye?

      Or maybe it is what you think it is. Or is it, it is what it is? I thought that last quote was Brian McNamee but it seems John Locke said it back in 1836 first. But then I always thought Arhnuld originated. “I’ll be back.” But I just caught John Wayne saying the other night in Fort Apache. Who can we trust or is it Whom?


    • mistermuse 6:57 am on July 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, it’s been a while, but now that you mention it, I do seem to recall John Wayne saying “I’ll be back” in Fort Apache. And would you believe I remember John Locke back in 1836 saying whatever he said?

      Who said you get forgetful in your old age! OK, I don’t remember. Nobody’s perfect.


    • Mél@nie 9:26 am on July 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      with due respect, Sir, I do not believe in life after death, eventually in paradise… here’s a quote translated mot-à-mot:’Everything we do while sighing is stained by nothingness… All our thoughts keep on searching the key of a paradise whose gate is already open.'(The ruins of the sky – Christian Bobin)

      • * *

      one more I used as a motto in one of my blogposts:“Your daily life is your temple and your religion…”(Khalil Gibran)

      • * *

      jamais 2 sans 3… I totally agree with Louis Aragon:”Il est grand temps d’instaurer la religion de l’amour!” – “it’s time to establish the religion of LOVE!” – amen! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:23 am on July 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Mel@nie, I can see how you might assume from my poem that I believe in life after death, but it would be just that: an assumption. In fact, I neither believe nor disbelieve in life after death. There may be exceptions, but generally speaking, what’s the point in believing OR disbelieving something that is humanly impossible to know? Actually, a number of my humorous poems (such as this one) attempt to show the absurdity of such a belief by taking it to one of its logical conclusions. I think humor works best when it not only amuses, but (hopefully) makes people think.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mél@nie 5:55 am on July 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        lu & approuvé = read and approved… 🙂 exactement et absolument d’accord avec vous, Monsieur Muse… et voilà! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 2:04 pm on August 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , faith, , , , 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).


  • mistermuse 10:45 am on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , faith, , 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 11:26 am on March 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: faith, , , surrealism   


    Let us begin, as we humans are wont to do in this world, with an assumption: that the universe was created by a creator (hereafter called God). Let us further assume that, by the grace of God, you have arrived at this point in time a mature person of reasonable intelligence, inquiring mind and critical disposition. Your detractors (if any) may call that a bit of a stretch, but what do they know? In any case, let us not quibble.

    Whether you’ve had a secular upbringing or been religiously programmed, you have become increasingly aware of your own mortality as you’ve matured. If you’re a Christian, may your faith see you through; there is nothing to be gained by reading on. Otherwise, your answer-seeking has led you to look into the doctrinal and immortality beliefs of various religions, and to have been struck by the multitude of contradictory differences. Whose truth is true?

    You sense that there is something surreal about this blind-leading-the-blind way of resolving life-and-death questions. Rather than finding the comfort you were (understandably) seeking, you’ve ended up discomforted….perhaps even wishing that you were a more simplistic soul untroubled by (or oblivious of) inconsistencies and contradictions.

    From an amoral standpoint, the universe is awesome beyond belief. Elaboration of the point would belabor the obvious, so elaboration will not be attempted. In any case, it is the moral aspect of creation that cries out for answers. How can wrong be right? You know the usual suspects: disease, suffering, ignorance, injustice – particularly as these afflict the innocent and the helpless.

    Religions may attempt explanations and preach or demand faith, but you know deep down that faith is a hollow substitute for treating another being as you would want that being to treat you if roles were reversed. The Golden Rule seems to apply to us, but not to the creator of the usual suspects. That is the surreal reality of this life. If there is a next life worth living, it is impossible to see how this remains unresolved.

  • mistermuse 12:29 pm on January 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , faith, illusion,   


    When last we met – if we met – the subject of illusory pursuits was left dangling.

    On that occasion, my (admittedly) arbitrary nomination for illusory pursuit #2 was popularity. Now we come to my choice for #1: the pursuit of religion, which is doubtless (pun intended) even more arbitrary. So I will amen(d) my nomination in order to make it more exact: the pursuit of a specific religion is, in my view, illusory.

    Let us be clear what we’re talking about here. My Webster’s New College Dictionary defines religion as follows: 1a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power accepted as the creator and governor of the universe. 1b. A specific unified system of this expression.

    If you suspect that this is leading up to a defense or advocacy of atheism, think again. I lump both atheism and specific religions in Webster’s 1b., in the sense that both become settled acceptances of assumptions or theories which in reality are far from settled. We can believe with all our being that there is no supernatural power. We can believe with all our being that scripture is the word of God. Neither of these convictions is more than the assertion of a human conclusion. Period.

    It is said that one should never argue religion because such arguments are fruitless. Precisely. Hope and believe what you wish. Just don’t expect to convince me, based on faith or what is humanly knowable, that you know God’s will or that there is no God. You know neither such thing. I may consider (so-called revealed) religious faith blind, but far be it from me to try to persuade you to venture beyond where you’re prepared to go. That beyond is a dark and scary place, you know?

    • Michaeline Montezinos 8:51 am on September 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      mistermuse, I have read again your essays on religion, deism, and who or what is God, I now am going back to my Reform Judaic faith. You almost persuaded me to stray from my beliefs with all your words. I like to pray, was always a religious person and have had other experiences that you would not believe. Some of us poor souls just cannot think the way you do. I respect your right to believe in what you may. I hope you will respect my right to have this faith.


    • mistermuse 11:13 am on September 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Like the Ten Commandments, religious beliefs are often assumed to be written in stone, but why, I don’t know. Among other things, life is a search for truth. To me, not being open to examining beliefs is tantamount to giving up the search….a search which I concede is beyond many a person’s comfort zone, because sooner or later, we come to realize that ultimate truth is unknowable.

      That said, I respect you and your search, Michaeline – and I commend you for being true to yourself.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 2:21 pm on September 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, mistermuse. Please remember I chose this Faith and had to take classes with Rabbi Solomon before I was accepted by my temple.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 2:25 pm on September 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Also. we Reform Jews know that the truth is unknowable. We are allowed to be agnostic or even atheists. I choose to believe in the Master of the Universe.


    • mistermuse 8:26 pm on September 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      The more you tell me about Reform Judaism, the less distance seems to separate it from Deism (as I’ve remarked once before). Perhaps one difference (tell me if I’m wrong) is once a Jew, always a Jew (for example, many celebrities, such as Woody Allen) are or have become atheists, but remain “Jews.” Judaism is therefore both a religion which you can disavow, and an ethnic group which you cannot, right?


      • Michaeline Montezinos 10:51 am on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Good question, mistermuse. First of all, Jews do not usually disavow their religion because for many , unlike me ( a convert), they have been brought up into Judaism as a part of their daily lives. Especially if it is the Orthodoox Jew who closely follows the Torah and the Conservative Jew who may follow certain practices, such as eating Kosher food. The Conservative and Reform men can shave and don’t have to refrain from cutting their beards. The women are more than just housewives and bearers of children. The women are respected and may drive, have a career, etc. As long as the children are cared for.

        Jews come from many different ethnic groups and countries and can have different skin colors; they can be blond, red headed, brown haired or have black hair. I was told that even though I had been a Catholic, once I was converted, I was considered to be a Jew from birth.

        I may have given you the wrong impression. Even a Jew who may think like an agnostic or be an atheist in his thoughts about whether there is a God or not, he/she is still a Jew in the Reform tradition. We are allowed to use our minds and think about certain theories regarding theology.This is not considered a casting away of our moral identity as a Jew. We just keep this to ourslelves or discuss these thoughts with family and close friends. We do not shout out our views from a soap box. We can go to Temple and be active there (as we did while raising a Jewish daughter) but there are no laws saying we MUST do this or that. The main tenet is to respect others and folow the Ten Commandments. It is a religion not confined to a building or place but rather a way of daily life in which we try to lead good and moral lives.


    • mistermuse 3:44 pm on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m still not sure how one can be a Jew and (literally) an atheist at the same time – it strikes me as trying to have it both ways. I assume even a Reform Jew believes in God, so the moment one no longer believes there is a God, he ceases to be a Jew other than in an ethnic or tribal sense, by my way of thinking. However, no one ever said humans aren’t contradictory creatures, so it’s no skin off my nose (or other part of my anatomy)!


      • Michaeline Montezinos 7:46 pm on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I know it is hard to understand. My brothers in llaw are atheists. I also questioned their position as Jews. Hiowever, Reform Jews can discuss whether God is a person or not. That does not erase the fact that these men were raised as Jews and still retain the basic morality of our religion. They right way we live shows that our beliefs are still the same regarding how we act and how we treat other people. If we act badly, we must atone and make apologies or restitution. That is reserved for the Day of Atonement (or Yom Kipper) when we confess silently and directly to God our lapses and sins and pray for forgiveness. We have to make restitution first. We just celebrated Rosh Hashanah or our new year according to the Jewish calendar of 13 months.
        I know it must seem strange to a deist and to someone who was a former Catholic. However, this is why I chose this religion. It shows respect for the individual who can pray directly to God, or not and yet still live an honest and admirable life.


    • mistermuse 9:05 pm on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      In a sense, that reminds me somewhat of my former Catholicism – when something contradictory or illogical could only be “explained” by saying that God is a mystery, it eventually became apparent to me that that is the response of a religious justification which has painted itself into a corner and has no other way out. I don’t doubt that God is a mystery, but that is the only thing about God I don’t doubt. To me, everything else supposedly known about, or “revealed” by, God is a fairy tale written by man.

      Which leaves us, I presume, with agreeing to disagree….but not disagreeably. Peace!


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