Tag Archives: religion

Picture of the Moment—A personal relationship….

Picture of the Moment

A billboard in San Diego County, surprisingly, or not, out here in the boondocks:

Atheism - A personal relationship with reality

There are five points that I can identify on my journey from religion to atheism, which some say is a religion in and of itself.

The first was a period of seven years attending St. Gertrude’s Catholic Church in Kingsville, Texas, with my wise old grandmother. After church, little groups of people—cliques—would gather and catch up—gossip—on all the news about anyone and anything from the past week. I think I was fortunate that my wise old grandmother was not a member of any of those cliques. I only heard things as we walked from the church to our car. I thought it the height of hypocrisy to be gossiping in the church parking lot after church….

The second was as a freshman at Texas A&M University. I was living Puryear Hall, a ramp-style dorm. Each weekend, a group of us, led by a guy from Nigeria, would visit a different church—Jew, Catholic, Mormon, Lutheran, Methodist, Unitarian, Church of Christ…. No religion was out of bounds. That was when I realized that each of these religions could not each be the true religion….

The third was a couple of years after I graduated from Texas A&M University. I was living in Houston, and the woman I was dating, a senior at Texas A&M, was from Houston. She was a Catholic, so I had no problems saying “Yes” when she asked me if I wanted to go to church with her one weekend when she as home. Her parents lived about ten miles from me but the church was just a couple of blocks away from me, so she offered to pick me up. Mass started at 11:00 a.m., but she didn’t arrive until 11:30. We got to the church in five minutes but she spent ten minutes driving around looking for a parking spot, and when she found one, she backed into it. I asked her why she was backing in since it takes longer to park that way, and she said she could leave faster when church was over. Whatever….

The fourth was when I was dating a woman in College Station, Texas, in 1987. She had a personal relationship with her God, so personal that he was telling her when to call in to work sick, when to take vacation, when to eat, when to come see me. One Saturday she was at my place where I had my home office. Penney and SugarI was working in the living room and she was back in my bedroom on the bed, with my two dogs Penney & Sugar, studying her Bible lesson for the next day. At 11:00 p.m. I decided to take a break. I went to my bedroom and asked her if she wanted to take the dogs for a walk with me. She rolled over, looked at me ever so sweetly, and said, “No. The Lord has not told me to take the dogs for a walk with you.” I broke up with her a couple of days later.

The fifth was a period from April 27, 1993, to February 15, 1994. I arrived in San Diego on April 15, 1993, and spent two weeks orienting myself before deciding to study the world’s great, and not-so-great, religions to determine if there was a religion that was fully accepting of an openly gay man. Only the Metropolitan Community Church came close, but it was based waaaaaaay too much on the traditions and tenets of the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, it didn’t really bring anything new the table, all things considered….

Those 10½ months of intense studying convinced me that I had everything I needed to lead a productive life, to be a viable, contributing member of society. Perhaps I got everything from my upbringing in the Mormon and Catholic churches, but whether or not I did, I do believe I would have learned everything I needed without religion.

Some might say that the people around me, brought up in their own religions, influence me, and that quite likely is true. Thus, as I like to tell people, I have no problems with you practicing your religion if doing so helps prevent you from raping, murdering, and stealing.

For me, at this point in my life, I have a personal relationship with reality and don’t need any religion.

Atheism - A personal relationship with reality

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Opinion—Religion, the bane of humanity, and women specifically

Opinion

Unknown purple flowers, Ramona GrasslandsBack in 1966 I got into a discussion with my wise old grandmother about why she didn’t work. That was the wrong discussion to have with her. She worked. A lot.

She cleaned the house, including the bathtubs, sinks, and toilets; made the beds; vacuumed the carpets; mopped the kitchen and bathroom floors; dusted and Lemon-Pledge-d the furniture; removed, cleaned, and re-hung the curtains; cleaned the windows, both inside and outside; washed the clothes; hung the clothes out to dry; watered the lawn and the gardens; mowed the lawn; fertilized the lawn and flowers; removed crabgrass and weeds from the lawn and flowerbeds; pruned the trees and bushes; shopped for groceries; took me shopping for clothes and school supplies; replaced burned out light bulbs; washed, dried, and waxed the car; did oil changes for the car; cleaned the garage.

Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray PhotosProbably more stuff that I’m forgetting.

Of course, once I arrived on the scene, I got to do a lot of that stuff. There’s a reason why I’m into xeriscape, succulent, and cactus landscaping. I never enjoyed mowing the lawn, pruning the trees, or removing crabgrass and weeds.

I also have discovered that there are people who enjoy doing the stuff that I don’t, so I don’t do oil changes, don’t rotate tires, don’t wash/dry/wax the car. That stuff gets done, just not by me.

Succulent flowersMy discussion with my wise old grandmother that day got me interested in gender-specific roles in our households and how one gender was seen as the breadwinner and the other gender seemed to be taken for granted.

My wise old grandmother never complained. She had only a first-grade education because, when her dad died, she had to drop out of school and help in the fields and around the house. She brought the crop in from the fields; fed the cattle, pigs, and chickens; gathered the eggs; milked the cows. That was the era she lived in, but she realized that what she did around the house had value to the family even if she was not directly paid for her work.

Tiny flowers at San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CaliforniaThings have changed some in the past hundred years, and even though women have joined the work force and can be doctors, managers, politicians, and so much more, there still is a gender pay gap in society. That doesn’t mean that every woman is paid less than every man, but that the average woman is paid less than the average man doing the same job.

I submit that there is an inherent, unrecognized psychological reason for that. Moms’ gender seems to be a subset of the men. To wit:

Man – Woman

Male – Female

Tiny flowers at San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CaliforniaWhen the two genders get married, the man gets to keep his last name while the woman gives up her last name and takes the last name of the man. What’s with that?

I even know two gay couples—one male couple and one female couple—who, when they got married, one gave up the last name and took the last name of the other. Jim & I got married on October 30, 2008. Neither of us considered taking the other’s last name. We were simply two guys who got married. Giving up your last name just because you signed a contract to take care of each other till death do you part makes no sense to me, especially with the prevalence of divorce in today’s world.

Tiny flowers at Ramona Grasslands, Ramona, CaliforniaWhen it comes to the collective, there isn’t any pretense.

Humanity, not huwomanity.

Mankind, not huwomankind.

Son and daughter seems to be the only place where the two genders are recognized as being separate, but if the gender is not known, then it becomes person, not perdaughter.

Tiny flowers at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido, CaliforniaI think that the gender pay gap will always exist as long as society sees women as less then men, and society will see that as long as the words we use indicate that women are, indeed, less then men, and as long as religion teaches that women are less then men.

So maybe women as a collective should come up with a new word to describe themselves. Perhaps feperwo? Sounds too weird, too strange, too different, but maybe that’s exactly what’s needed to make a clean break.

Unknown flowerI also anticipate that there will be about half the feperwos who want to be seen as a subset of their man, as a possession of their man, probably due to religion, again, since it teaches that a woman should be submissive to her man, that women should not teach or speak or have authority over men
(1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. Note that both books are in the New Testament which supposedly superseded the Old Testament!), etc., nothing will change.

Succulent orange flowerIn doing research for this blog post, I found a very disturbing site online titled “10 Bible reasons why a wife must submit to her husband regardless of culture.” An introduction to the list states, “Culture has never been a factor as to whether a woman must submit to her husband in the Bible. Modern times of woman’s liberation are irrelevant. God gives us His reasons why women must submit to her husband.”

  1. Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray PhotosCreation order: Man was created first, woman second. “For it was Adam who was first created and then Eve.”
    1 Timothy 2:13
  2. Creation origin: Man and all creation was created by God directly out of dust, whereas woman was created through the man’s rib. “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
    “Woman is the only creature not made from dust. Woman derives her origin from Man.”The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.” Genesis 2:22
    “For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man.”
    1 Corinthians 11:8
  3. Friday Flower Fiesta by Russel Ray PhotosCreation purpose: Woman created for man: “For indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.” 1 Corinthians 11:9
  4. Man named woman: Adam named the animals and was to rule over them. “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.” Genesis 2:19
    Rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Genesis 1:28
    When Eve was brought to Adam, he named her, showing he was to rule over woman as well. “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ ” Genesis 2:23
  5. sunflower faa stampDelegation principle: God commanded directly to Adam alone. The prohibition to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, was made directly by God to Adam. Adam, in turn relayed what God said to Eve. Eve had not yet been created when God told Adam about the forbidden tree. Eve never actually heard God say this direct, but had to trust Adam’s word on the matter. “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:16-18
  6. Unknown flowerWoman sinned first: The devil tempted Eve and she, not the man, was first deceived. Because of this, man put Eve under the headship of Adam. “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:14
    “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [not only does the serpent talk, but it is personified with the pronoun “he”] said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?’ ” Genesis 3:1
  7. AloeGod rebuked Adam first after they ate the forbidden fruit: Although Eve was the logical person for God to rebuke first, God went to Adam, showing that God considered Adam the “head of the family” for both. “Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9
  8. Man is the glory of God, woman is the glory of man: “For a man is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” 1 Corinthians 11:7
  9. Paul pointed Christians to the Mosaic Law that was 1500 [years] earlier and a different culture: 1 Corinthians 14:34
  10. Peter pointed Christians to Sarah, 2000 years earlier and a very different culture: 1 Peter 3:5-6.

Friday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray PhotosI grew up Catholic and Mormon, but I have no religion in my life now. I have found that religion is not necessary for me to be a productive member of society; a kind and generous individual; a caring individual; a reasonable, logical, and thinking individual.

I don’t know what #9 and #10 mean, and I’m not willing to find out. I have had enough religion in this one post to last me for the rest of my life because I find it silly to worship an imaginary being in the sky who causes or doesn’t stop hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, cancer…… on and on. If there is a God, s/he is going to have to beg me for forgiveness, or I’ll be happy to go straight to hell.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Did God help USC beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl yesterday?

I live in my own little world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Long-time readers know that I’m not much into religion. Haven’t been since 1993 when I spent 11 months studying the world’s great, and no so great, religions to see if there was a place in any of them for a newly out gay male. There wasn’t. Still isn’t. There are some that are, perhaps, tolerant, until a certain Sunday sermon comes along, and then it’s a little awkward to say the least.

Even if there were an all-knowing all-powerful god, if s/he is sitting around watching football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and all the other sports where some person on the victorious team thanks Jesus and God for letting them win, s/he is not the type of god that I would want to be associated with. An all-knowing all-powerful god should be putting an end to children’s hospitals, natural disasters, and accidents that take these people who are “too young to die.”

On the other hand, if God is in Ocean Beach fixing people’s cars so they don’t get into accidents, well, I’m all for that.

God's Garage in Ocean Beach, California Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I took that picture on Monday, January 2, around 10:30 a.m., which makes me think that it was closed because God had gone up to Pasadena to watch the Rose Bowl and help USC beat Penn State…………….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

I’m so confused over religion and war

Halls of History

When I was 10 and told my wise old grandmother that I wanted to be either an anesthesiologist or a history teacher, she advised me to become a history teacher. “How come?” I asked. “Because I don’t know what the other one is, but I know that if you study history, you won’t have to repeat it.”

She had been born in 1911, so she suffered through the Great Depression and World War II, and saw her oldest son go off to the Korean War and youngest son go off to the Vietnam War.

I quit wanting to be a history teacher once I found out how much money teachers made in Texas. I knew being a teacher and making that kind of money would not allow me to escape the poor and low-income families that I had been with for my first ten years of life. Yes, at the age of 10 I was able to determine that one needed money in life….

Nonetheless, I always have enjoyed reading about, and studying, history, especially war history. I find it fascinating what people will do to other people in the name of patriotism and religion…. crucifixions, beheadings, drawn and quartered, iron masks…. all sorts of unique ways to torture and kill.

Ever notice, though, that the sons and daughters of the wealthy and privileged never go off to war. There’s always some sort of exemption for them.

Rebel YellIn the book that I just finished reading about Confederate General Stonewall Jackson (►), one of the themes that ran through the general’s life was his religion. He loved his war, though, believing that everything he did in his life, including killing people, sometimes even his own soldiers after he judged them guilty of whatever sin they had allegedly committed, was directed by God. His god, of course.

So I found the beginning paragraph in Chapter 43 quite interesting. It’s a long paragraph so I have broken it up here to make it more readable:

Eighteen months after the first shot at Fort Sumter, there were certain truths that the soldiers had come to know. Death in war was neither picturesque nor peaceful, and dying bravely didn’t make you any less dead, or mean that you would not be dumped into the cold earth of a mass grave with everyone else, brave and not brave. Nor was there likely to be anyone to hear your last miserable words.

People of the era cherished the idea of a ‘good death’—a peaceful, dignified passing wherein God was embraced and sins repented and salvation attained, preferably in your own bed with your family gathered devotedly around to hear your last murmurs of Christian resignation. War made a mockery of all that. War made a mockery of the idea of a benevolent God. It replaced the family home with the rank, power-scorched horrors of the battlefield. These were the new truths.

In war you lived outdoors like a wild animal. You lived in blistering heat, drenching rains, and knifelike cold. You were exposed and vulnerable. The majority of men who died did not even have the honor of dying in a fight. Two out of three were carried away by diseases that killed them just as surely as minié balls. Those who survived did so on a quarter pound of bacon and eighteen ounces of flour a day—one-third the regular meat ration—with the infrequent small issue of rice, molasses, or sugar. (The rice ration was an ounce.)

Men lived without shoes or coats or blankets. Food was short all over the South. Soldiers hunted up sassafras buds and wild onions to ward off scurvy. Horses died for lack of forage. In Richmond, where much of the eastern army’s far was gathered and transshipped, there were bread riots.

I have never understood why an all-powerful, all-knowing God needs men to fight wars for it. That certainly does not sound like a benevolent God. Wouldn’t a benevolent God make sure that his warriors had shoes and food, the basic necessities? I’m so confused over religion and war.

And yet, get this, the beginning of the second paragraph:

In spite of these hardships, which seemed to multiply as the war dragged on, many of the men in the Confederate States Army remembered the winter of 1862-63 as one of the most extraordinary times of their lives.

Say what?

People are weird, which is probably why there never will be peace on Earth, not unless country boundaries and religion cease to exist.

fabricate supreme being

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray PhotosI'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Doomed to a continued existence of fighting and killing each other

Opinion

Rebel Yell by S.C. GwynneI have always been fascinated by history, particularly the history of wars. Right now I am reading Rebel Yell by S. C. Gwynne, subtitled “The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson.” It’s a serious tome—575 pages of reading, 45 pages of notes, and 13 pages of bibliography. The copy I have is an “Advance Reader’s Edition.” Sadly, I seem never to read these privileged editions until well after the book has been published, in this case October 2014. Nonetheless….

Mighty Stonewall by Frank VandiverStonewall Jackson was one of the Confederacy’s greatest generals during the Civil War. The first book I ever read that was dedicated solely to Stonewall Jackson was Mighty Stonewall by Frank E. Vandiver (1925-2005), published in 1957. Dr. Vandiver was president of Texas A&M University from 1981 to 1988.

When I heard that a history professor had been named president of my alma mater, I was fascinated and immediately turned to finding out more about him. That was when I discovered his Mighty Stonewall book. Dr. Vandiver was a foremost authority on the Civil War, and he is mentioned several times in the notes and bibliography of Gwynne’s book.

I am barely halfway through Gwynne’s book, but it is obvious what the “violence” and “passion” in the subtitle mean. Jackson was extraordinarily violent, even going so far as to shoot his own men when he deemed it necessary. The passion comes from his dedication to “Providence.” He had a firm belief that he was fighting for God. Since I haven’t finished the book, and Jackson died two years before the end of the war, I don’t know where “redemption” comes from.

Jackson died on May 10, 1863, of complications from pneumonia which set in after he had been wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville. I would have liked to have heard how he reconciled losing the war if God was on his side and the side of the Confederacy.

Therein, though, lies part of the problem that still exists in the world, a problem that has existed forever and probably will exist forevermore: a belief in a magical guy in the sky who wants humans to fight for him. If only everyone could believe in the same magical guy, no one would have to fight. Of course, we could also ask, “If that magical guy is so all-knowing and all-powerful, why can’t he fight his own wars?”

religion was our first attempt stampReligion was humanity’s first attempt at explaining the world and universe. Mankind’s first attempts at doing anything are bad, some of them notoriously bad. Religion was not very good at explaining things, relying on myth, superstition, magic, mind control, etc. It’s not religion’s fault. Humanity and science simply had not evolved to the point where the universe could be better understood without making up things. It is religion’s fault for not getting with the times.

science and religionAs long as there are people willing to believe religious dogmas written thousands of years ago instead of using logic, reasoning, science, facts, etc., to understand the universe, and to kill in the name of that religion, humanity is doomed to a continued existence of fighting and killing each other.

A few more of my favorite memes collected from the Internet, and I make no apology to my Christian friends. That’s what’s wonderful about America—people are free to believe what they want, or not to believe at all, and to criticize each other for their beliefs, or lack thereof.

witches

the dark ages

superstition

salvation

left-handed sin

imaginary friend

fabricate supreme being

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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SNIPPETS (11-29-14)—Made it through Black Friday again!

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

How come cats don’t jump any father than necessary?

Zoey the Cool Cat often jumps from the desk chair to the bed, a distance of about three feet.

Zoey the Cool CatThe bed is huge, but Zoey the Cool Cat only jumps far enough to make contact with the nearest edge of the bed.

The chair has rollers, and sometimes it doesn’t say put as she launches herself so occasionally she will not make it all the way to the bed, landing with her front feet clawing at the top of the bed and her back feet on the floor, augmented by a loud (obviously unhappy) meow.

It’s so funny to watch, but at the same time I feel sorry for her because she could easily make it to the bed if she would only plan to land in the middle instead of at the edge.

That way, when the chair gave a few inches, she’d still land on the bed!

SNIPPET #2

Christmas wreathI would like to thank all my followers, old followers who have been with me from my beginning blogging days in 2007, teenage followers who joined me when I came to WordPress in 2012, and the newborn babies who have joined me this past week. For the month of November I am averaging 15 new followers per day.

SNIPPET #3

Zoey the Cool Cat and Christmas treeI have not found a good way to determine how new followers find me. However, each new follower goes into my Excel spreadsheet with a link to the follower’s blog. Then, within a few days of getting that new follower, I visit his/her blog to get to know the person.

If you started following me this past week, bear with me, though, because I’ve been down and out sick, so I’m running behind.

SNIPPET #4

I am past the religious stage of my life, that having occurred from 1955 to 1993.

Christmas wreathI took time off from life, April 15 1993 to April 1 1994, to lay out on the San Diego beaches and study the world’s great, and not-so-great, religions. That’s all I did, every spare minute of every day, and I had about 1,020 spare minutes each day.

Having grown up in the Mormon and Catholic religions, I tried very hard to stay with those religions, so they were the first two I studied. It was pretty obvious after just a couple of weeks immersed in each religion that they weren’t going to be privileged to have me as part of their flock.

SNIPPET #5

I have noticed that many of the new followers this past week have religious blogs with religious blog titles.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!If you are one of my new followers and you have a religious blog with a religious title, I’ll still visit you, but if the only rule you follow is the 100/0 rule, I probably won’t be leaving any LIKEs or comments, and you might not even get a tit-for-tat follow by me.

I don’t mind visiting religions blogs, but I at least would like to see you follow the 80/20 rule at a minimum: 80% posts about your religion and 20% posts about your life, your family, your work, your play, etc. Those 20% will be the posts that I LIKE and comment on because my wise old grandmother taught me that if I can’t say anything nice, not to say anything at all. So I won’t be disparaging of your religion at your blog, but that also means no LIKEs and comments if it’s all about religion.

SNIPPET #6

Christmas wreathHere’s how I see religion: It was humanity’s first attempt to explain the world and universe. As with the first of anything (first car, first movie, first YouTube video), pretty bad.

Why people continue to follow any religion in today’s world of science and reason is, quite frankly, beyond me. However, if religion makes someone feel good and helps prevent them from killing people, pillaging, raping, etc., I’m all for it. I want people to feel good because I think people who feel good are better people.

Unfortunately, religion has been the cause of over 95% of the wars throughout history, religious people killing others in the name of their god. A good study of The Crusades, not to mention Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS, pretty much tells me that I don’t want anything to do with their gods.

SNIPPET #7

Merry ChristmasThe part of religion that I always did like was the part about helping the poor, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, healing the sick, and generally just helping anyone who needed some help getting through a bad time.

Unfortunately, even here in the United States, we have people like Ted Cruz, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and other “religious conservatives” who could do so much to help the lesser amongst us but who refuse to do so. Instead, they do everything within their power to help make the rich richer, and ensure that the poor remain poor.

Sad….

SNIPPET #8

Merry ChristmasBlack Friday yesterday marked the 41st consecutive year that I have NOT shopped on the day after Thanksgiving.

I succumbed to Black Friday shopping in 1973 when I bought a present for my wise old grandmother.

If not for that one time, I would have a life of 59 Black Fridays on which I did not shop!

SNIPPET #9

The fake “war on Christmas” always makes me laugh, and it was my wise old grandmother who taught me to add laughter to each and every day.

Zoey the Cool Cat Christmas ornamentShe also taught me not to complain unless I could offer a solution. Well, I’m not complaining about the fake war on Christmas, but I do have a solution.

For those of us who have studied the Bible AND science (especially astronomy) AND history, we know that December 25 is not, was not, and could not have been the birthday of Jesus Christ. Here’s a great read about the subject:

When was Jesus Christ born?

One thing the article does not touch on is astronomy. Since scientists have been tracking the stars for many hundreds of years now, it’s actually not hard for them to pick a date in history and show you the night sky for that day. It’s quite interesting.

Thus, all we have to do to resolve the fake war on Christmas is move Christmas to a date when it’s pretty likely Christ WAS born, probably in September. Then we can have Christmas on Christ’s most likely birthday, and end-of-year holidays, gift giving, and crass commercialism on December 25! Yahooooo!

SNIPPET #10

I was so busy forgetting to shop on Black Friday yesterday that I forgot that it was time for a Friday Flower Fiesta.

I started to do a post before I realized that Jim and I were supposed to drive 47 miles to eat a day-after-Thanksgiving meal with his mom, her boyfriend, and Jim’s brother. So I never finished my post yesterday….

I did create one new Photographic Art yesterday specifically for Friday Flower Fiesta, but since it’s only one, I’ll just go ahead and leave it here for you today:

Purple and White Iris

It is available for purchase in my Flower gallery at Fine Art America. Just $49 plus Fine Art America’s printing and shipping costs. You can get it in any size, up to 60″ x 29½”. That’s a whopping five feet by two-and-a-half feet, for just $246.77, printed on metal (metal prints are cool!) but without shipping costs. Other prints are available, too: matted and framed with wood and glass, acrylic, posters, and even greeting cards.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift for Christmas?
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Flower art

Seek and ye shall find (accompanied by flower art)

I livew in my own little world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pink flowerA fellow blogger asked me about my “irreligious views.” He said he thinks I’m agnostic. According to Wikipedia: “[A]gnosticism is the view that humanity does not currently possess the requisite knowledge and/or reason to provide sufficient rational grounds to justify the belief that deities either do or do not exist.” I think he’s right.

Yellow flowerI have no problem with religion per sé. If religion helps someone refrain from raping, stealing, killing, etc., then by all means, go for it. However, when religion exercises mind control over its followers — Mormon, Islam, and Jewish religions, for example — then I do have a problem with it. Blindly following a religion simply because you were born into it is, in my humble opinion, a little strange.

Flower artI find it entirely plausible that people of old — i.e., prior to the Age of Enlightenment — needed a way to explain thunder, earthquakes, the sun, the moon, eclipses, falling stars, rain, snow, volcanoes, earthquakes, clouds, the desire to kill each other, life, death, etc. Enter religion. However, once people became enlightened, and science was able to explain all those things (except, perhaps, the desire to kill each other), I find it interesting that they still need to believe in a deity in order to explain those things.

Flower artSome of my friends ask, “What if there’s an afterlife?” What if there is?

If I spend my life helping the poor, the hungry, the sick, the homeless, the disabled…. and someone’s God doesn’t want me, I’m okay with that because I don’t want that God either.

Flower artIf someone’s God will take the rapist, the killer, the thief…. simply because he says as he’s dying, “I repent of my sins and accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior,” well, I also don’t want that God.

Some of my friends don’t believe that the Big Bang “just happened.” My response is, “How did God happen?” That usually ends the conversation.

My wise old grandmother, a devout Catholic, often said, “Seek, and ye shall find.” I think she was on to something.

Flower art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos