Sunday, October 23, 2011


There was a heartening article on the Huffington Post this mornings:

This article points out that violence and violent death is decreasing in the world and has been doing so for decades.

That fact is hard for people to accept with the sensationalism inherent in modern news reporting and the unbiquitousness of its presence in our lives, especially when considered in the light of 9/11 and America's involvement in two wars.

Nevertheless, violence in the world has been steadily declining as democracy and the United Nations has continued to exert it's influence and the rate of literacy has increased. 

I was very heartened in reading this article.  For once, a news report wsn't depressing and fear inducing.  The hopeless feeling induced by the hyping of scriptures about the "last days" was mollified.  The human race can improve and has been improving, despite all the hoopla and doom being preached by sensationalist prognosticators.

I urge you to read the article for a rare "upper."

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I like to cut the BS and clever double talk about basically ridiculous assumptions and arguments and deal in basics. Many people don't like my approach. I guess it spoils their fun, or something. I have that annoying habit of stomping all over their sacred cows and erroneous assumptions.

There's a large segment of the Western world that regards Catholicism as a horrible spawn of Satan. They absolutely denounce the Pope and many of them view him as the antichrist. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church is to them an evil they fear and denounce.

Until charismatic John F. Kennedy broke the spell, no Catholic had the proverbial chance of a snowball in hell of becoming president of the United States. I find these mindsets kind of puzzling even though I once shared them in my devotion to the cult from which I escaped.

Here's what I find so puzzling and contradictory. It's based on the historical facts of where the Catholic Church and the New Testament originated and why.

The original Catholic Church was patterned after the imperial government of Rome (it was totalitarian fascist, pure and simple). The Catholic Church was just an extension (really the religious department) of Roman government (the "Beast" to many Protestants), established by imperial edict and intended to foster order in the empire -- everybody thinking, saying and doing the same things. You can read the basics of the history right here:  And here:

The New Testament all Christians say they revere wasn't delivered by some divine fax machine. Very little, if any, of it was written by any of the original disciples and followers of a Galilean Jesus. The real authors and editors came along decades and centuries later and a lot of them followed the common practice in that time of writing under famous people's names.

The average believing Christian doesn't spend much time even reading the Bible. Textual criticism and other deeper theological study is a foreign thing and concept. They just assume "the book" is genuine and to be trusted without question. Basically, they believe whatever they were told by their parents and other people with an aura of authority.

Luther rebelled against the religious "Caesar" (pope) but maintained the basic organization and approach and so did the other "reformers." With minor modifications, they're basically religious mafias with a “capo di tuti capi" of varying power at the top and lots of local “capos” and “soldiers” administering set territories and responsibilities throughout the organization. The manufactured catholic canon remains to this day and every time a modern christian bows down to and professes faith in it, he is in effect recognizing and bowing down to the pope in Rome.

This is a real conundrum when viewed in the context of churches that denounce the pope as an antichrist and false prophet. HWA about blew a fuse when a movie glorifying the pope was shown on the stage where he preached as entertainment for the congregation. Yet, he preached from a book that only existed on the authority of the popes and imperial Rome.

All Christians are united in their acceptance of the New Testament as a divinely inspired collection of books and letters. Yet, many of them totally reject the very popes and other prelates that determined and set up that canon. Somehow, the very individuals they denounce and refuse to recognize as legitimate come out as divinely inspired and guided when it comes to the fetish of their beloved Bible.

I used to gloss over this gross contradiction, but no more.

I reject the pope and I reject his book too.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I've been reading and reflecting a lot lately.  It's something I'll never stop doing as long as I am mentally capable. 

My life has been a steady process of questioning and learning that was briefly interrupted by my stint in Armstrongism, but even then, questions I had to sublimate kept creeping into my mind.  Only the fear of damnation so insidiously planted into my consciousness kept me pushing those thoughts and questions to the back of my mind.

It has been a process of steady growth from the time I left WCG in my early forties.   I first realized that the "church" was a farce as it existed under Armstrong, but I was still sure that I was a bona fide part of the "body of Christ" and I was determined to remain there.  I didn't seek out a new COG, intent on deciding for myself what the real truth had to be. 

I studied and listened widely, delving into reincarnation and fundamental as well as non-fundamental christianity, even very briefly into Scientology.  I saw that the old legalism was pure nonsense and soon abandoned sabbaths, holy days, clean and unclean meats, etc., yet slowly and stumblingly.  It took many years before I could enjoy a luscious lobster tail, crab legs or butterfly shrimp and fry up a pan of crisp bacon for a blt.

The last thing to be seriously questioned in my mind was survival after death.  I suspect I'll have questions on that as long as I live.  Modern media is very adept at keeping the old superstitions and beliefs alive and well.  TV channels are "alive" with programs about the supernatural, NDEs, and psychic channeling.  All the editing and selection makes it all very persuasive and comforting.  It reminds one of the machinations of "cold reading."

The more I delve into it, the more I find that NDE experiences aren't as cut and dried as they are made to appear after all the selection and editing.  I'm sure the same goes into programs about ghosts, etc.

So, this is another area where agnosticism, at least for the present, comes into play.

I'd like to believe that I will survive past the moment of my death and that I'll be met by people I've loved on "the other side."  I also liked to believe at one time that a glorious "kingdom of god" was just a few years down the road.  I was going to be a king and/or priest of that kingdom!  What a blessing for the world that that never materialized!  Can you imagine a world under the control of fanatics like we once were?  The Third Reich would have looked like a utopia!

I honestly don't know what to believe in this area of after-death survival.  I'm just not going to worry about it, any more than Mark Twain did.  He commented that the billions of years before his existence were of no inconvenience to him, and he didn't expect ceasing to exist to be an inconvenience either.

If I continue on in some state in some other dimension, great.  If not, why worry about it?  Like George Burns, I love life so much I'd like to do it again ( ). 

Will I get the chance? 

Is there reincarnation?

I don't know.  If this is all there is, I'm determined to make the most of the few years or months I have left.  I turned 77 in the wee hours of last Monday.  Is my mother waiting to greet me on the "other side?"

Maybe.  Maybe not. 

In any case, I'm damn lucky to be here at all.  One little sperm among billions and trillions my father produced united with one little egg my mother produced at the opertune time of the month and I weathered all possible hazards before and after my birth to make it to the point I occupy at the present as the unique entity I am.

Some people like who I am.  Most don't particularly care.  The vast majority of other humans aren't even aware of my inconsequential existence.  I'm an insignificant member of a not-so-significant species on a rather insignifant piece of rock, air and water in the suburbian fringes of a run-of-the-mill galaxy that is pretty much a grain of sand among the billions of other galaxies and who know's what else we haven't discovered or surmised yet.  When one looks at it that way, humility comes a little easier. 

If I cease to exist some day soon, I really don't think it's going to be a catastrophe to the universe.

Or, to me.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


(This was published on The Painful Truth website earlier this year.  I'm republishing it here on my own site.)
Why do some people seem to be compelled to take firearms to religious and political events, irrespective of any threat to them or any public need outside of their personal need for show and intimidation?

I brought this question up to my little comedienne wife. She commented that it’s just a macho extension of their penises – a “mine is bigger than yours” kind of thing. She has also often commented that men want to drive around in big trucks for which they have no utilitarian use because they think their “wienies” are too small.

She’s right!

It’s all about creating an atmosphere of superiority, fear and ultimately of control.

I’m no psychologist, but I’ve read enough on the subject to know that many things, from big hats to exaggerated shoulder pads are used in an attempt to project masculinity and superiority and intimidate anyone perceived as an opponent. Remember the recent commercial where the father-in-law said admiringly, “This is a man’s truck?” It shows up in the Texas saying, “big hat, no cattle.” Remember the cold war saying: “kill a commie for Christ?” Did you ever wonder why “Onward, Christian Soldiers” is such a popular hymn? We sang it more than any other in the old WCG. We probably should have sung “You’re In the Army Now!” A great religious organization is called “The Salvation Army.” We seem to want to equate Calvary with the cavalry. You can almost hear the query, “My neighbor doesn’t believe in God — Can I smite him?” Why does an “omnipotent” God want or even need hit men (or women)?

It’s not as common a syndrome in women, but they are subject to similar mindsets that usually revolve around things like big bosoms, dazzlingly smooth complexions and hourglass figures. As they become more of an equal force in business and society, that is changing. More women are thinking and acting much like men.

The desire to dominate, attract and intimidate is a basic drive in all primates and other evolutionarily advanced creatures. The more narcissistic one becomes, the greater the drive.

Two forces, religion and politics, like no others, lend themselves to the utilization of guns and super weapons as instruments of dominance and control.

It took the form of swords, spears, bows and arrows, etc. until the advent of firearms. We see it in action in the blood soaked accounts of the Old Testament. Most of the great heroes of scripture were mighty warriors. Jesus is painted returning as a conquering king wielding a devastating sword and a rod of iron.

There is nothing human society and religion pictures as more manly than the conquering hero, whether it’s on the battlefield or the college gridiron. Many of our presidents became presidents because they were military heroes. That includes our first president. Patton was right when he said Americans (really all humans) have no respect for losers.

The purpose of military power is to be able to call the tunes to which other nations are compelled to dance. Multiple billions are spent in an unending struggle to maintain our military supremacy. Area 51 really does exist. It has always been so ever since one family or tribe cast covetous eyes on the territory and resources of the family or tribe next door and realized their aspirations could be accomplished easier if their clubs and sharp rocks were bigger and/or more lethal. Even our chimp cousins apparently go to war with neighboring chimp communities. We are not unique in our propensity for violence within our own kind.

Religions also jockey for dominance and dream of becoming the only accepted religion. Violence and the threat of violence often become the tool of choice in the hoped for attainment of their aspirations. For example, the administrative editor of this site doesn’t make his full name or his address known because he has received death threats over what is published here. Horrible things like Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason”  my book, “Believing the Unbelievable” the history of how the christian church and the Bible as we know it came to be and of course this, “The Painful Truth Blog.”

This emphasis on real and threatened violence has fallen to the lunatic fringe in the background of most of Christianity, but it comes to the fore quite easily when extremists take over causes like anti-abortion. Then, we hear talk of things like “the Phineas priesthood.”

Violence is very much at the forefront of Islam. They have never renounced their doctrine of spreading Islam by the sword. They can’t renounce it because they dare not admit their great prophet said or wrote anything that was wrong.

Guns are viewed as convenient “equalizers.” If a 90-pound weakling who has always felt put upon and persecuted can avail himself of a firearm, he has the potential to turn the tables on those he regards as his enemies and tormenters. Usually, it amounts to only swagger and implied threats, like a chimp who finds he can make a terrifyingly intimidating din and enhance his standing in the group by rolling an oil drum around and beating on it with a stick.

When a serious mental pathology enters the picture, the results can be devastating. Witness what recently occurred in Tucson.  The wide-eyed booking picture of the assailant reminded me of the wild looking eyes of Marshall Applewhite, the Heaven’s Gate founder who led his followers into mass suicide. It will be interesting to read what qualified psychologists have to say about his mental pathologies.~

The Tucson assailant was definitely a “crazo” who should have been treated and probably institutionalized. The signs were everywhere and such deranged people are all too common as local authorities struggle against budgets and the need to maintain individual civil rights. It’s a thorny problem.

Outlawing guns for our population would accomplish nothing in stopping the “weirdos” among us. They would just resort to black market firearms, homemade bombs and craft their own “zip guns.” Or, they’d use crossbows or something else. Even a fireplace poker and kitchen knife can be used to kill. In the meantime, the average citizen would find himself helpless against the home invader and a myriad of other criminals who would always find ways to get guns.

Every sane law abiding citizen should be able to own guns for hunting, sport or protection. There are many utilitarian, practical reasons to own guns. Those common sense reasons are why we have the second amendment to our constitution.

When World War II descended upon the unprepared democracies, we were all at a preliminary disadvantage as far as our decimated and ill-equipped military readiness was concerned. The British were especially at a disadvantage because their gun laws prevented most of their citizenry from owning guns. We not only had to brave the submarine wolf packs to help them arm their military, but also to provide arms for their home guard militias.

The US, although relatively unprepared militarily, was in a far different and far better position, which was a great worry to knowledgeable Japanese. Many of them had been students in American universities. They had been guests in American homes and had seen the well stocked gun cabinets full of everything from side arms to shotguns and big game rifles. They knew we could field armed citizen’s militias in a matter of days and hours.

Invading the mainland USA would have been a tactical nightmare!

Hitler basically “waltzed into Poland” in 1939 because the Poles had outlawed private ownership of guns and had allowed their military to deteriorate so far that they basically had no air force and had to oppose panzer tanks with mounted cavalry. The Swiss, by contrast, were armed to the teeth and were never threatened.

I remember the day World War II began. I was five years old at the time and had ridden to town with my grandfather who was delivering a load of grain. The elevator operator announced that Hitler had just attacked Poland. My grandfather thought a moment, then said: “Well, we whipped the bastards once; we can do it again.” We did and fought a two front war on opposite sides of the world to do it. As Churchill said, it was our finest hour and that was our greatest generation — so far, at least.

I no longer own a single gun. I sold them all and gave to my own son the .22 rifle my father had given me at the age of 14 so I could hunt rabbits and gophers. I had previously made use of a Daisy air rifle to hunt sparrows and other “varmints” on our North Dakota ranch. I no longer feel a need for firearms.

I won’t be going hunting anymore, and I’m not too worried about being burglarized or attacked in my home. My guns were just gathering dust and taking up space. Someone younger can shoulder the citizen’s militia responsibility, should the need arise. I’d fill in as a support volunteer which would be far more practical to my advancing age. Marching, drilling and combat wouldn’t fit very well with my current physical prowess.

The real problem is a psychological, philosophical and theological one. As long as religious and political extremists tell us that it is up to us to force others to see things our way, by means of possible violence, and hint at that violence, there will be the danger of even more Tucsons. There are a multitude of mentally unstable people out there just waiting for the opportune time and excuse to strike. They will feel like the godly successors to Phineas and/or patriotic avengers and feel no guilt in wiping out those they consider the enemy, and claim a few innocent bystanders as collateral damage while they are at it.

The “It’s going to be my way or it’s the warfare highway” attitude has to end. The “Hell no, you can’t” rants have to halt. Superimposing target symbols on political opponents has to be abandoned by all parties. Democracy doesn’t work the way such people want it to work – which is really tantamount to a monarchy, a dictatorship or a fascist theocracy.

They will loudly trumpet their love of democracy just so long as it coincides with their interpretation of what is right and proper and truly American. Many of them would want to run Thomas Paine and Jefferson out of town on a rail after they had been tarred and feathered, were they around today. They’ve already barred Thomas Jefferson’s writings from being taught in some places.

What’s next? I suspect even more enforced ignorance and pressure to conform – all in the name of Americanism.

Where’s the swastika? The hammer and sickle? The star and crescent?

Oh, that’s right, it’s the cross (and gun?) here.