I don’t have a catchy title for this one

“The problem with writing about religion is that you run the risk of offending sincerely religious people, and then they come after you with machetes.” – Dave Barry

I receive a number of compliments for the quotes I use in my post. As I read books, articles in the newspaper and online I am always on the lookout for that thought, phrase or sentence that might enlighten or motivate me. For many years I have emailed my children a quote every Monday morning. I try to send them something inspirational, sometimes topical but always in the spirit of compassion, caring and love. If there are 52 Mondays in a year and I have been sending them quotes for nine years or so then they should have a collection of around 470 quotes from their dear old Dad. Maybe they can publish a book when I am dead and gone titled “Dad filled up our inbox with these stupid quotes.”

Today is the tenth month anniversary (yea there is such a thing) of my first post on this blog. 363 post later I am still here, writing, discussing, agreeing, and sometimes defending what I write. Maybe you have noticed by now that I am very interested in Religion, particularly how Religion makes us think, speak and act. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, though I have been accused from time to time of thinking that I do. My hope has and always will be to generate thought and questions, to poke ideologies and doctrines with a sharp stick not to beat them with a club. Some of you out there in the blogosphere world don’t appreciate my attempts to challenge the beliefs you hold near and dear to your heart. I understand that, and I don’t, and that’s why it interest me.

So in ten days we will celebrate the birth of Christ. An important event for Christians around the world but also an occasion man-made and full of fiction. I understand why it is celebrated, I understand the history and the signification of the date that was chosen. I understand why Mary is portrayed as a virgin. I understand the representation of the three wise men but I wonder if the vast majority of Christians do or are these details simply written in stone like so much of the rest of their faith.

I know I have lost some readers because of what I have written. I also know that I have picked up a few who have similar thoughts and interest in Religion as I do. But please know that I never purposely intend to insult anyone about their beliefs. Faith is personal and if done correctly (my little dig) it can be life altering. I like to be challenged, I like to think, but for me you need to be able to explain why you believe what you believe. “Just because the Bible tells me so” isn’t going to cut it for me and in my very humble opinion, it shouldn’t for you either.

“Blind faith, no matter how passionately expressed, will not suffice. Science for its part will test relentlessly every assumption about the human condition.” –  E. O. Wilson

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About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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18 Responses to I don’t have a catchy title for this one

  1. William Tell says:

    This is a purely personal thought, that I would have sent via private message instead if we had any such feature available. It is not an appropriate comment for this post, so I welcome your “Trashing” it after you read it.
    Last night, in researching for a forthcoming post, I had to review certain ideas different religions have about the supposed coming savior. About this, the similarities between Zoroastrianism and Christianity are astonishing. There can be little doubt that, in the centuries immediately before Jesus, Zoroastrian thought strongly influenced the popular imagination of the people of the Holy Land.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messianism#Zoroastrianism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saoshyant#In_tradition

    Liked by 3 people

    • That is very interesting. If you want to explore something else “fun” spend a little time exploring how the Christian faith would have looked if James, Jesus’ brother, had prevailed as the leader rather than Paul.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nan says:

      WT, from my personal research (mostly for my book), I can attest to your “astonishment” in the similarities between Christianity and Zoroastrianism. And the thing is … the several beliefs that correspond to Christianity were not part of ancient Judaism,

      So where did they come from? They came from the imagination of the apocalyptic writers who wrote during the “silent years” — the approximate 300-400 year gap between the end of the Hebrew sacred writings and the appearance of Jesus. So by the time Jesus arrived, many of these beliefs (angels, demons, heaven, hell, resurrection) were well embedded in the Jewish faith and, as we all know, have become part of Christianity today.

      BTW, did you know that today there are around 200,000 adherents of Zoroastrianism, most of whom live in India and modern day Iran?

      Liked by 2 people

      • William Tell says:

        Damn, right on! Only with a couple caveats. I am in regular dialogue with contemporary religious Jews, and formal Judaism never adopted any of those beliefs (for the most part). They were, however, prevalent in the popular imagination of the “uneducated” who came to populate the early church. (Similarly, the “folk religion” that calls itself Christianity, that I meet on the street, has little semblance to that which is taught and practiced in the churches, and practically no basis in Scripture.)
        Zoroastrianism is definitely a minority faith today. But we who own a Christian heritage will do well to acknowledge how much of this tradition comes from those roots.
        A second comment is coming shortly.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Nan says:

          .,, formal Judaism never adopted any of those beliefs (for the most part) I would agree with that. They were, as you suggest, mostly absorbed by the “common folk,” not the Rabbis who taught in the synagogues.

          In reference to your second comment re: the Essenes document — it would seem these people were most definitely swayed by the Zoroastrian teachings.

          As I’ve said many times before, the average believer hasn’t a clue about the history of their faith. They simply absorb what is offered from the pulpit and church leaders and declare it as “truth.”

          Liked by 2 people

          • “As I’ve said many times before, the average believer hasn’t a clue about the history of their faith.” Hmmmm I think I have said that a time or 12 myself….”you need to be able to explain why you believe what you believe. “Just because the Bible tells me so” isn’t going to cut it for me.”….just saying 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

      • William Tell says:

        (This is the second comment.)
        I didn’t manage to find the link, but UriYosef at Messiah Truth made me aware some time ago of a document among the Dead Sea Scrolls —
        The idea of a “son of God,” particularly via virgin birth, is antithetical to classical Judaism and completely absent from the Hebrew Bible. Nonetheless, this document from the Essenes speaks of a coming savior figure whom it calls the “son of God.”
        So, whatever differences may exist between the Jesus who lived and the Jesus represented in the Bible, this role pre-existed, available to the popular imagination; as I said to Uri, “like a ready-made suit, just waiting for someone to put it on.”

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Suze says:

    it would have been a much kinder world we live in if he had. how odd you chose the E.O.Wilson quote to end this. I just used it in a draft I am working on. I don’t know if you should be complimented or afraid actually. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Suze says:

    minds thinking a like? hummmmmmmmmmmm

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ericstrong51 says:

    That’s one of the reasons I practiced Zen Buddhism. No need to explain reasons or opinions or beliefs and they should be taken with a grain of salt. The saying goes: As soon as you open your mouth to speak of Zen, you already missed the mark.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dave Barry is one of my all time favorites. Congrats on ten months at the keyboard. Keep on keepin’ on!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Will says:

    America is a Secular Christian Nation. Couldn’t not be because of our British heritage. My parents got tried of dragging me to a Sunday event in which I show a social hour to make network connects not a placed centered on faith. A faith that for 25 years eluded my effort to kindle. George Carlin, Monty Python and Houston Wrestling made more sense.During that time the history, along with the Why, helped me understand all the components of a religious movement that co-opted all the ones before. Mainly for political reasons.

    There’s a great What If collection of speculative fiction done by historians I found. The very first one was on the idea that both kingdoms of Jews were destroyed not just the one because of environmental barriers. No Babylonian Captivity where the Jewish religion became codified in the center of the ancient world. the Code of Hammurabi was in three languages in all public markets. The story of Gilgamesh. The heart of every trade route in the cradle of the civilization. Zoroastrianism developed out of a cosmopolitan cultural mish mash over time.
    Jesus the man became the Savior in order to square the Jewish prophetic message. No census. No manger. Jesus was born around Easter. Circle of life and death. Nazareth was the center of the violent anti-Roman rebellion. Mithra. House Churches. transcription errors. Political opportunism by Constantine. Churches look look like because of the early converted pagan temples re-purposed.

    It all comes down to faith. Following the words and actions of Jesus means living the teachings. Teaching of a Middle Eastern swarthy man of peace who helped the poor and forgotten. Taught inclusion and love. An enlightened personal private path to forgiveness. Was a major bad ass when it come to greed and power keeping the downtrodden from pay to worship priest. He was married. The only way in the Jewish tradition to become a Rabbi. Widely traveled has an apprentice carpenter. A highly skilled trade only open to that class of the day. Winter Solstice. The celebration of Cesar godhood. All based on the study of the seasons.

    Inconvenient historical truths. In the end my decision came down to two factors. I not broken or need to ask for forgiveness of some original sin meant to keep a religious mediator in a position of influence and power. My actions or words are grounded in universal truths that repeat across faith traditions.
    AND I could be wrong.

    The role of critic or observer throwing stone at the glass houses could be in a master plan. Personal don’t think so. But again I could be wrong. Anyone who walks their faith has my respect. The world is a better place for it. This probably should have been a blog post. If I knew how it could be. Technologically challenged.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, anyone who walks their faith has my respect as well. To many though walk on the backs of others in the name of their faith. I guess I will keep throwing rocks if that is okay with you until the Franklin Grahams of the world follow the example of Jesus instead of their press clippings.

      Like

      • Will says:

        When Pat Buchanan writes a book that exposes the Religious Right’s corrosive influence in politics, everyone needs to pay attention. Did you know that Graham’s foundation in Africa backs the prosecution of official Anti Gay laws? So much for Jesus and his teaching. Always wondered why include the revised Torah in the Bible. gospels, beatitudes and Psalms should be enough. All the rest is page filler and a big stick to beat you with. Grew up in that culture in Houston. First megachurches. modern day small scale Coliseums of bread and circus.

        Liked by 1 person

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