Livin on a Prayer

What did you do Saturday morning?

Me I went to the centre of my village to get cash out, then into our equivalent of a 7-11 to get a few bits of shopping. Glamorous eh. Oh I missed out something, I got given a second hand necktie then I got prayed for and “blessed” twice.

As a practising atheist, praying as about as useful to me as a bacon sandwich is to a vegan. A man approached me as I walked, with my crutches, towards the cashpoint.
“Excuse me,” he said. “I’m from the local Christian church and we are doing a treasure hunt, and we needed someone on crutches.”
Strange treasure hunt, I think still walking.
He continues “Is there anything you would like praying for?”
“No not really” I politely reply. “But if you want to knock yourself out”
On I go to get my cash out, smiling to myself, thinking briefly of Anneka Rice and her Treasure Hunt. That was a good show.

Into the shop.

There is a woman in the way preventing me reaching the bread. I wait patiently, no rush there is plenty of bread. A mousey middle aged woman with a squint approaches me.
“This might seem very strange.” She says “But I saw you and felt I must go in the shop next door and buy you this.”
She was right it did seem strange.
She has in her hand a purple necktie. She continues “This is to show you are very much welcome into the kingdom of God.”

I take the tie, it would be rude not to. She blesses me and leaves the shop. I get my bread.

Regular readers (if I have those) will know that I am pretty much live and let live. If you wanna believe there is a man in the sky, fantastic. Just don’t expect or demand me to agree with you. It ain’t happening. Some of you will say, where is the harm in blessing and praying. Hell you got a free tie. Well did either of those people ask what I wanted? Offer me some actual assistance, carry my shopping to the car for instance. Surely this is far more “Christian” than mumbling a few words in the hope that God will hear.

It only occurred to me when I was home. These acts of religious “saving” or “blessing” isn’t for the benefit of the subject. It’s an entirely selfish act, a completely empty gesture. The equivalent of me going up to a stranger and asking them to watch me play with myself.

If you are religious and want to make a difference, pray if you want, but actually do something to help, volunteer, if you don’t have time send money, ask people what they need. If you think your God will help, great but you can help too. If you can’t bring yourself to actually help, go away and leave me to enjoy my Saturday.

Rev James, the only religious thing I've enjoyed recently.

Rev James, the only religious thing I’ve enjoyed recently. For good beer follow @goodbeertweet on twitter


I’m selfish me. You know what you are too.
Now before you protest with “You don’t even know me” Firstly I’ve seen you. Using your webcam and a small piece of Malware that gets installed every time I write a piece you don’t like I see all muhahahaha. Secondly, everyone without doubt is selfish to a certain degree.

It’s how the human race survived this long. It’s the survival of the fittest out there, how do you stay the fittest? Well you look out for number one, make sure there is enough food on your plate. Then and only then can you help others, but it’s only those others who you feel need help, which then in turns makes you feel good. Selfish!

Modern society has made selfishness a bad thing, morally, ethically. All charity appeals hammer home the same point, “How dare you live in comfort, because these other people/dogs/cats/donkeys/etc aren’t” You selfish bastard. The $50 you spent on your 30th Alex and Ani bracelet could have got a water pump for an African village. How dare you for working hard and wanting pretty things. Capitalist scum!

So I admit I’m selfish, and it’s a pretty good thing. Keeps me feeling good, and as luck would have it, those people around me benefit too. Worse than the likes of me, who openly admits a “I’m alright Jack” attitude are those people who refuse to admit they indulge at all. These people live, by their own reckoning an entirely selfless existence.

Religon plays a part here. People do “selfless” things to get a reward from a higher power or at least to gain favour, hardly selfless. But meanwhile on earth there are quite a few religious folks I’ve met who appear to have the air of superiority. To quote one guy talking about women “I’m a Christian, so it’s my duty to let her know she’s beautiful.”

Embed from Getty Images

So as an atheist I go around telling beautiful women they all look like a bull dog chewing a wasp for shits and giggles. No, the ability to make a person feel good about themselves is nothing to do with religion. Nor does this superior “God squad” outlook make you less selfish than anyone else, often it just means your pleasures are more closeted than mine, which isn’t a good thing.

Embrace the selfish once in a while, it’s probably what got you to where you are today.

(28 DW) Fiction: Faith Part 4

This is the final part of my short(ish) story Faith. Enjoy. The following are links to the previous parts Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Steve looked down from the balcony. Radio scanner in hand, all clear. His title of head of Security was a joke. All Bovoff cared about was radio scanners, hardly the security role that was portrayed in the action movies. No beating up the bad guys, throwing yourself in front of the bullet. Just check people as they come in for radio equipment and then stand around for 2 hours and scan for other radio scanners. Joy.

Not that Steve would have thrown himself anywhere to protect Bovoff, for Steve thought Bovoff was an asshole. Still the money was good, and it’s not like Steve was ever gonna be a rocket scientist anytime soon. He was bored though.

Even he had to admit that initially this asshole, was a good showman. But when you have seen it a few hundred times and you factor in amount of deception involved. It gets old, fast. Steve was increasingly having difficulty looking himself in the mirror these days. Every handsome paycheck felt dirty.

This was no life. He was touring the country with a bunch of people he couldn’t stand. He never saw anyone he liked. None of his friends would be seen dead at a show like this.

Thats why Steve nearly dropped his radio scanner when he saw Rachel climb onto the stage.

* *

“Rachel Larsen,” Bovoff spoke softly. “I have a message here from your father, He is up in heaven with God. Isn’t that right my child?”

“Yes.” Rachel murmured, nervously fumbling around with her handbag. Stood centre stage. The lights dazzling her blue eyes.

“He loves you very much, he wants you to share in the power of God. I want to show everyone here the love and the power. Can I have a A-Men.”

The crowd screamed “Amen” and watched with eager anticipation. (more…)

(28DW) Pope on a Rope

OK the title of this doesn’t really have much to do with the content, but what the hell it’s got a nice ring to it. Pope Benedict XVI has today announced his intention to resign as Pope at the end of the month. He is the first Pope to do this in over 600 years. He says he is too frail to do the job. Whilst he is probably right, it does raise several religious questions for me the atheist.

Forgive me if I’m wrong but isn’t the Pope supposed to be the direct line into the thoughts and wishes of God. Defender of the catholic faith. I dunno about you religious types but doesn’t that bring into question the healing power of God, I mean the Pope was chosen by men acting in the best interests of God. So for him to give up saying “I’m a bit knackered” is to me a bit worrying, after all if there was anyone sure to be looked out for by God, then it’s his right hand man The Pope.

Also now Pope Ben has resigned, does that mean that he can no longer use the God hotline. What if God actually prefers talking to him over the new guy. He tells him different things and makes the new guy look silly. Additionally as Pope Ben was appointed to do God’s work wouldn’t he be slightly concerned at this point as he hasn’t actually done what God asked. “Do the job until you die, theres a good chap”. I dunno whats worse in God’s eyes a man being in a committed and loving relationship with lets say…. another man or asking one man to do a job…. and then him giving up half way through. I know which I’d be more pissed off at.

As I say I do think Pope Benedict has made the right choice, because Pope John Paul (George and Ringo) carried on ’til the bitter end and to listen to him talk was rather like listening to Rowley Birkin QC. Cardinals had to poke him to keep him awake. They need to appoint a new younger Pope, someone to take Catholicism forwards, someone to have the bollocks to rid the church of all the Nonces and outdated prejudices people hold in the name of organised religion.

Religion can be a good thing, it can bring out the best features of human nature, however it can also protect those who project humanity in it’s worst possible light. I hope the new Pope is able to do something about this. Until then..

Please check out the work of my 28DW reprobates  at The Resident Weeble and A Piece of Pandemonium  or gnomes will be touched inappropriately.

People are Bollocks. Get Over It.

Getting through life is difficult god knows! At least he would if he were real. There they are my cards upon the table. Some of you may disagree with me. Thats good, I mean if we all had the same views it would be a boring world. I’m a reasonable guy as I have stated before on these very pages whatever helps you through the days on this spinning orb is fine by me.

Besides all of the religions mention good stuff, good rules to live by. Not killing, accepting others, helping ones fellow man. Hell if it wasn’t such a bad idea I’d become religious myself. But as with all good intentions and good rules there always someone around to manipulate the situation and it isn’t me a rational atheist. The people who play the idea of God to their own ends are believers and have been since the very start of religion. Kings and Queens, Presidents, Bishops even the everyday church goer can from time to time use religion to control others.

So these good rules suddenly become reasons to kill, persecute and discriminate against those who’s life is different from our own. If it is “God’s Will” it’s ok. As an atheist I think this is pretty unfair on God I mean massacres have been blamed on God, where in reality it was of course a man acting upon his own free will. It’s not just murders that poor old God get blamed for, Football team lost, well he’s on the other teams side, Black, White, Yellow, Gay.. God at any point at any given day hates everyone of every colour creed and background.

In some cases God even advertises his hatred, on buses no less. The advert from religious groups Core Issues Trust and Anglican Mainstream states: “Not gay! Ex-gay, post-gay and proud. Get over it!” There goes God gay bashing, surprising that because if God created everyone, he must have made the gay ones too. These moron’s from the Core Issues Trust and Anglican Mainstream believe however that being Gay is an affliction something that can be cured. They have been stuffing people back in the closet for a long time now. But it’s God’s work so thats ok.

Thankfully Tfl have decided not to plaster this ridiculous parody of stonewalls “Some People are Gay Get Over It” all over their Buses. I hope they would make the same decision for say a “Don’t Trust Whitey” campaign or a “All disabled men are rapists” slogan. People will always find a reason to hate other people, we are pack animals, but it makes us feel warm inside if we blame something else.

A friend of mine was once offered a religious leaflet at a festival. He turned them down saying “No thanks, religion is bollocks.” Actually he was wrong.

Religion is OK. People are bollocks.

For the Love of God / a Sandwich

Ahhh the blessed Friday lunch break, a time to contemplate another thrill packed weekend and perhaps work out a way of killing whats left of the working week. At the very least a chance to get out of the office and grab a bite to eat.

If I’m feeling flush I head to my local non-chain sandwich shop and grab one of their awesome cakes. However as I am trying to economise today I favoured the Sainburys £3 meal deal. Why do I feel the need to put this info on the blog. Well I think you my subscribers need to know I am being well fed.. No.

The lunch time run is carried out the world over. The time away from the office is a little oasis in the day. Why then did someone today feel the need to stop me and offer to pray for me. There I am minding my own business, wandering up the road when:-

“Excuse me, You look like you might need praying for. I’m from the local church, we pray for people in the streets. ”
“No thanks.” I said, quite politely.
“Well I’ll pray for you anyway.”

Yes folks it’s another post about religion. Sit back and relax because it’s about to get messy. As I watched the guy thankfully walk away, still in a slight state of shock, my choice of sandwich dislodged from my mind. I began to slowly simmer, angry at myself for being so polite, angry at him for his unwanted prayer.

Firstly how dare he assume that “I need praying for” thats like walking up to a woman and saying she needs a boob job, (I’ll re-visit the boob theme later) he’s saying I am imperfect in his eyes so I need to prayed for in order to obtain some salvation from a spiritual being who I don’t care about.

Secondly, how dare he impose his religious beliefs onto me. I have spoken before of my opinions and attitude to the beliefs of others. It’s whatever helps you through, if that doesn’t infringe on the lives of others in a detrimental way. The way this prayer was offered was a kin to that of someone trying to sell a timeshare in Tenerife, detrimental to my own personal beliefs, space, and detrimental to the religion itself to be hawked in such an inappropriate setting.

Thirdly it’s just downright embarrassing. It’s the third time in my life that I have been prayed for in a public (not church) space. People wandering by thinking I am partaking in some kind of cultish (maybe I spelt that wrong) procedure, not knowing I am just wanting a sandwich.

In the forth place, I find it extremely rude for him to say that he’d pray for me anyway, despite me saying no. That is the same as me walking up to a girl with great boobs and going:

“Great boobs, can I pleasure myself over them please.”
“No.” says the girl with the rack.
“Well I’m going to anyway.”

It’s inappropriate. I don’t want to think of him “saving me” same as the girl doesn’t want think of me doing the “five knuckle shuffle”

Moral of the story. If you want to be religious and that helps you fine. If you think your religion would help me, fine. If you force your religion upon me or others when we just want a sandwich. Expect to be compared to a wanker.

God’s Bum Note

Ok before we start proper, let me clarify a few things.

I am not religious, however I respect people who are and they have every right to hold whatever belief they wish as long as they don’t impose it upon others.

I am registered disabled.

Ok, clear.. good.

On the bus this very morning I was eavesdropping on the conversation occurring in front of me. In my defense I was traveling alone and I’d forgotten my headphones, anyway I digress. The conversation was brief, between a disabled guy and his carer..

Carer: Do you go to church?

Disabled Guy: Yes every week.

Now as I state above, I have no issues with anyone holding any religious views. However if you subscribe to any of the major belief systems, you believe in one way or another that you are created in God’s image and that God is infallible. Now if I take on those beliefs for just a second and go and take a look and myself in the mirror. I can see several huge mistakes my creator made, and that’s not counting the major personality flaws.

If you ask anyone religious about this they say that the almighty is testing the likes of us. Was this put to a vote? Did I miss a meeting? Apparently you are tested to be a stronger person at the end of it. Well at the end of my “test” I’ll be worm food, so forgive me for missing the benefit there. Am I supposed to be thankful for this?

The way I look at it, through my squinty (or cross-eyed to my US brothers and sisters) eye. For a person with a disablement to go and worship their creator is a bit like sharpening the pins for the guy who is poking your eyes out, or Alf Inge Haaland worshipping Roy Keane or shouting “Yes mistress, may I have another!!” and Mistress Stephanie does not visit until next Thursday so I shouldn’t be saying that yet.

Why would you hold something in such high regard when it clearly has contempt for you? I justify religion by saying “whatever helps people through the day” a good positive thing. How can religion help me? How can I forget that I am god’s bum note, for long enough to draw any kind of positive?

I cannot.

Maybe thats why I can’t buy into religion. I am me, warts and all, no tests, no rewards, just life.

Randi vs Blind Faith

I can heal you my child, I can cure all of your ills when doctors have said there is no hope. I can relieve you of all debt, when credit companies have black listed you. I’ll let you talk to your diseased loved ones . Let you make your peace when you thought that opportunity had passed you by. Anything that is worrying you I will take it away and you will be eternally happy. I ask for relatively little in return, merely a sweetener for your  saviour. Yes by sending me $200 today you will be instantly happier tomorrow.

Of course I cannot do any of these things. $200 would be nice mind! However there are people alive and working today in every country of the world who say they can, and take more than the $200. Mediums, Faith healers, Psychics, clairvoyants, non-ordained prophets, tarot readers and  astrologers. All willing to take the money of those emotionally vulnerable. TV Medium John Edward  for example thought that 9/11 would be a good way to earn a few bucks. He filmed a show with 9/11’s victims relatives in October 2001 that never aired.

So with all the vulnerable people in the world, and all this money to be earned who do we have to protect us to expose these charlatans for what they are. Well three people spring to mind Derren Brown, Ian Rowland and James “The Amazing” Randi. I have a feeling I will write about then all but for now I’ll focus on James Randi.

The James Randi Educational Foundation was founded in 1996 to expose some of those individuals who make outlandish claims regarding their psychic abilities or gifts. Mr Randi himself has been doing this work long before the foundation formed offering a cash prize that currently stands at one million dollars for anyone who can demonstrate under test conditions clear psychic or paranormal ability. The prize is currently unclaimed.

The foundation periodically awards “Pigasus” awards to individuals or companies who contribute to the flim flam trade. One of the 2011 recipeints of this award is Peter Popoff. In the late 80’s James Randi exposed this waste of carbon. But now he’s back, Miracle Spring Water anyone?

Ok so the woman who sent all her money to Popoff is clearly two sandwiches short of a picnic but she is one of those who needs protecting against people like him.  I have issues with all forms of religion,(it is a topic I will return to) however if believing in something helps you get through your day who am I to tell you what to think. In fact if you wanna believe the sky is green and the grass is blue I’ll support you to the ends of the earth, as long as you don’t try and convince me.

However when false hopes are offered in return for sending your lifes savings I am pleased to think there are guys out there fighting the fight. Come payday I may even donate to the foundation, sure as hell beats Miracle Spring Water.