Yule and Christmas #Yule #Christmas #Yuletide #Xmas #TrueMeaningOfChristmas

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I am an atheist. That doesn’t mean I hate God or am angry with him for not making me wealthy or genitally blessed; I simply don’t think he exists. I wasn’t abused as a child, I’m not in deep pain or distress, I don’t see a shrink, and I’m not a Devil-worshipper. I simply think that the facts do not show that God or gods are real. Furthermore, I think the facts show that, on the balance of probabilities, the Christian story (and the Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, and so on) is not true. I see the lot as myth.

Yet Christmas is the most important day of the year for atheists.

Let’s not forget at this time of the year, that Christmas always has had Christian and non-Christian elements. I tend to use the word “Yule” for this non-Christian festival that takes place around the Winter solstice. Yule, the olden Germanic, pre-Christian winter time of feasting. Holly, snow, pine trees, yule logs, feasting: this is just as much as a part of the season of “Christmas” as mangers, three kings, Bethlehem, and Jesus.

Yule is the festival of friends, family, feasting, boozing.

And yes, Yule is the time for thinking of others, gentleness, giving, and reflection.

But for me, there is no incarnation of God who was born this day.

Let us all respect each other at this time: Christians and, err, Yuleians.

So Merry Christmas and a Happy Yule 2016 to you all!

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://sheamacleod.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/yule.jpg

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Why Is God Obsessed With Hair?

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God Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the Omniscient, the Omnipotent Creator, the Exceedingly Beneficent, the Gentle, the Boundless, He Who Is Able To Do Anything, the Supremely Exalted, the Lord of Majesty and Generosity, the Owner of All Sovereignty, &c.

Those titles (and many more) are His, and nobody can doubt their accuracy (for it is written).

So here’s a question for the religious amongst us, given God’s undoubted perfection:

Why is God the Magnificent and Super Duper Excellent (etc.) so obsessed with… hair?

Sikhs can’t cut their hair. To protect it, they wrap it in a turban. And they grow their beards their whole life. If you’re a woman and really want to show how holy you are, you too can wear a turban!

Muslim men also must display a beard. But shaving off the ‘tache is fine. Conversely, Muslim women need to cover their head hair, and any beard they grow is irrelevant to the glorification of God. Male hair = good, female hair = bad??

Christians have to cover their hair in church — but only the women!

Jewish men grow beards, like Muslims, and Jewish women must cover their hair in Synogogue, like Christians. But Hasidic Jewish women shave their hair off and put on a wig. Jewish men must grow curly, long sideburns. They also need to cover their hair! …But only the crown (I think this is more to cover the bald spot).

Rastafarians must mat their hair into dreadlocks. The holiest type is where all of the hair has matted into one long lock.

Aren’t there more pressing moral issues than how to display or conceal one’s hair? Things such as rape (Gen 19:5-8), child abuse (2 Kings 2:23-24), genocide (1 Sam 15:2-8, 15:18-19), oppression of gay people (Lev 20:13), and so on. And grown-ups mutilating the genitals of helpless children, because God commanded them to (Gen 17:10-11).

So again, I ask: given the multiplicity of problems that beset mankind, problems that seem to be on the exponential increase:

Why the hell is God so obsessed with hair?

Over to you, people of God.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://quran2hadith.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/allah_names_with_english.jpeg

Random Image 8: Jesusman

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image from http://sinfest.net/view.php?date=2006-05-18

Random Images 7: Science

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Jesus Mark Appears On Tree

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In the United States, a ‘Jesus’ mark has appeared on a tree to a grieving son. Brian Quirk says the resemblance of Christ popped up on a silver maple on the sixth anniversary of his father’s death. Read the full story here.

Now, I don’t wish to mock a grieving child who lost their father. I lost my father, too. But this is clearly a case of wishful thinking; why would the almighty maker of the universe, the being who set up the very laws of nature, the alpha and the omega, why would He manifest Himself in a slice of toast, some spilt coffee, or as in this case, a tree? Funny thing is, when I first saw this ‘Jesus’ mark, the first thing that sprung to mind wasn’t ‘Jesus’; I was genuinely stunned by how closely it resembles the FIFA World Cup trophy! It’s got its arms and legs in the right position, and it holds aloft a sphere. Clearly a sign that the USA is going to win the world cup…?

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Brian Quirk’s neighbour Nancy said, “Even speaking about it I get chills … It’s so evident what it is, it’s amazing”. Yes, it is amazing; USA, football world champs? Whodathunk?

images from http://footballnewsindia.in/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Copa_del_mundo_2010.jpg & https://uk.news.yahoo.com/jesus-mark-appears-tree-says-bereaved-son-220105685.html#s12msWz

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

 

 

‘Jesus’ Mark Appears On Tree, Says Bereaved Son

A US man says Jesus has appeared to him on a tree.

Brian Quirk says the resemblance of Christ popped up on a silver maple on the sixth anniversary of his father’s death.

Curious residents of North Providence, Rhode Island, have flocked to see the eye-catching 3in (7.6cm) mark.

Mr Quirk says he noticed the arboreal anomaly as he worked in the front yard of his home, after visiting his father’s grave.

He told the Valley Breeze: “Curiously, it is in the same area where my father would sit outside during his last few months before losing his battle with cancer.

“My mother remains with my family and is recovering from open-heart surgery. A devout Catholic, she finds comfort knowing the image is there.”

Mr Quirk’s neighbour, Nancy Ganem, was in no doubt that it was a sign from above.

“Even speaking about it I get chills,” she told CBS News.

“It’s so evident what it is, it’s so amazing.”

After Reading Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 Again (Poem)

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Introduction

This is probably the poem of mine that I am most proud of. It’s riddled with flaws, yes, but I think it has a little merit, too. Either way, I thought I’d like to share it here. I already posted it on my YouTube channel.

It’s my reading of Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 (in the Bible, if you don’t know what I’m going on about) in the light of my Epicurean mindset (as in Epicurus). Like all poems, this one is abandoned not “finished” (that is, I tweaked and tweaked and tweaked until I just stopped and never went back to it).

After Reading Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 Again
by Bryan A. J. Parry

The reason Nature seems to test mankind
With cold and stone-hard stares, and unmoved mind,
Is just to make him see what’s plainly true:
He’s like an animal, nay, is one too.
You don’t believe me? Why then, let’s just think.
As man is born, so is the beast, then blink
Your eyes, and both have died, caught in some snare,
Or else disfigured far beyond repair
So soon thereafter breathe the final breath,
Dispatched to earth, the source of life and death.
So man has no advantage o’er his brother,
As wretched death claims one, he claims the other.

Did I say “wretched”? Actually, it’s worse.
The brilliant mind of man can seem a curse;
Illumination, yes, but searing heat,
So awestruck man performs a wondrous feat:
He stoops, then squints, and fumbles in the gloom,
So hastening through his misery his doom.
But animals, whose brains are dim, live thus:
They flit, they drink, they eat: no sordid fuss.
A man of reason can’t conceal his mirth:
Poor man is heaven-bound, yet beast to earth!?
Kind Nature’s given beasts to simple pleasures.

If only man would use his mind: it measures
Out every thing that he could ever need.
They are: to flit, to drink, to love, to feed.
This recognition of kind Nature’s goal
Produces gladness, elevates man’s soul;
The joy and pleasure transcend mortal frame:
This soaring spirit ills can never tame.

 

featured image edited from http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-jMyo8OMjLcI/TbbH-mcqRhI/AAAAAAAAA2U/lRaYT6u5_9k/s1600/kjv1611.jpg

© Bryan A. J. Parry