If Only……

..The Bible had been an autobiography. After the killings in Christchurch and those in Sri Lanka a few days ago, I can’t help thinking that God must really regret not making his intentions for the human race clearer. I’m not trying to make light of those two terrible atrocities but I do wonder how much longer mankind will continue to maim and kill in the name of religion.

..The Bible had been an autobiography. After the killings in Christchurch and those in Sri Lanka a few days ago, I can’t help thinking that God must really regret not making his intentions for the human race clearer. I’m not trying to make light of those two terrible atrocities but I do wonder how much longer mankind will continue to maim and kill in the name of religion.

From the Crusades to the Muslim Conquests, from the Protestant Reformations to the troubles in Northern Ireland and 9/11, millions upon millions of people have died because they believed that ‘their’ God was ‘better’ than other Gods – are we really so stupid? Every single religious book speaks of peace and yet that seems to be the one message that has been forgotten in the desire to prove others wrong. What do you think? Will we ever learn?

 

I’d be interested to know your thoughts……

Lisa x

FOWC: Impose

“I don’t understand why you won’t sign, what difference will it make to you really?”

The man looked at his inquisitor with sad eyes; he pitied his lack of comprehension but more he pitied his lack of curiosity. Why do men follow orders so blindly he wondered.

“I don’t understand why you won’t sign, what difference will it make to you really?”

The man looked at his inquisitor with sad eyes; he pitied his lack of comprehension but more he pitied his lack of curiosity. Why do men follow orders so blindly he wondered.

“You say that this will make no difference to me and yet you are asking me to renege on everything that I hold dear; the fundamental beliefs on which I have based my entire life. Tell me, how can this make no difference?”

“For God’s sake man! It’s just a piece of paper! You can think or believe what you like, you just need to say that the King is right in this matter and you can go free”

It was so simple for the questioner. He really couldn’t fathom why the man who sat before him was so stubborn. Yes he had his faith but what would change if the Pope was head of the church or the King? Personally he didn’t care and in any case he could always repent when it was his time to die and God would forgive him. He knew he wasn’t an educated man but, to him, this seemed like a simple matter.

“Let me put it to you like this. Do you believe that the Pope was appointed by God to be His representative on Earth?”

“Well yes but the King has said…….”

“No matter, I won’t push you for an answer. I believe that God appointed the Pope therefore I believe it is God’s will that he heads the church in England. If I sign this paper and agree that the King is head, it is to deny the will of God, which is to deny his omnipotence. If I do not accept that God is all powerful and all knowing then I cannot accept that he is God and must therefore deny Himthis I cannot and will not do”

“Yes but as I said you don’t have to change your beliefs, you just have to sign the paper”

The inquisitor was becoming exasperated, he’d been told that before him was the most educated man in the kingdom but he was beginning to think that he’d been lied to.

“To sign the paper is to deny God and to lie and I will do neither. However, I will also say nothing against or about the King in this matter; if I say nothing, how can I offend his Majesty?”

“Look, everyone has signed it because the King has demanded it and you are no different. If you don’t sign it’s Treason and you will lose your head so you don’t really have much of a choice”

He’d lost patience now and just laid it on the line.

“It is there that you mistake me my friend; I do indeed have a choice. The worst that you can do to me is to take my life, whatever happens I will lose it one day; if I deny God I could lose my soul and that would be for all eternity. I will not sign so you must do what you have to do but you will not impose your will on me”

The guard shook his head and walked out of the cell wondering both at the man’s stupidity and how he could look so serene when facing certain death; he would never understand some people……..

This, once again, is in response to the one word prompt from the ever creative Fandango and it’s how I imagined the conversation between Sir Thomas More and those who questioned him. He was eventually beheaded because he wouldn’t accept the King as head of the church in England. Personally I can’t imagine having a faith so strong that I would lose my life for it…..what do you think? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you

Lisa x

Past Mistakes…..

Torquemada blazed the trail, thousands perished

In the great name of Faith he struck them down, proud

Thomas Cromwell tortured, maimed, broke heretics

In God’s name and the King’s: treason or some such

Torquemada blazed the trail, thousands perished

In the great name of Faith he struck them down, proud

Thomas Cromwell tortured, maimed, broke heretics

In God’s name and the King’s: treason or some such

Bloody Mary turned the tables once again

Three hundred burned alive for not believing

Another Cromwell, O, set brother against

Brother in the name of the Father. Revolt.

Hitler, 6 million more would meet their end

For their beliefs. Omar al-Bashir brought fear

To Darfur. More millions dead, still dying

So Many more names belong here. Remembered

For torment, evil, killing of believers

Of non-believers. Of black and white. Of rich

And poor alike. Death in the name of something

Under a righteous banner, held aloft

We remember. Still. Why do we never learn?

Many people are saying that these are terrible times, with unprecedented violence and persecution and yet history will show us that it has ever been thus. Since time immemorial human beings have been fighting against each other in the name of religion or for their land or their beliefs and what do we have to show for it? Nothing has changed, we’re still fighting, we’ve just found more sophisticated and efficient ways of doing it.  Even after thousands and thousands of years we still haven’t learned to accept each other for who we are………….sad really……….

Lisa

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Peace and Love to All as Long As…

Are we so unbelievably arrogant that we can state quite categorically that there is only ONE God and we believe in him so we’re right and everyone else can go to Hell (quite literally)?

………You agree with me. That’s always been my impression of religion and why, although I believe in a higher power, I have no time for organised religion. That’s not to say that I don’t respect people who are religious, I do, but I simply cannot understand why a certain group of people who believe in God think that they are different or superior to another group who believe in exactly the same thing even though they may use a different name.

religious warsIn England, in the time of Henry VIII, heretics, i.e. people who didn’t agree with the accepted religious beliefs of the time were tied to a big stick and then set on fire. It wasn’t that they didn’t believe in God and His teachings, they did, but they didn’t accept the rule of the Catholic church. So, basically, same God but different people handing out interpretations of what He said and all hell breaks lose – why????

The same thing happened to Christians in Roman times – their beliefs were considered ‘superstitions’ and not in keeping with the opinions of those in charge at the time i.e. that there were lots of Gods, so they were put in a big pit with some lions who did what lions are wont to do and ate them. On this occasion it wasn’t down to the quality of the God but the quantity apparently but, in either case, the dictator and the lions’ breakfast believed the same thing, that there is a higher power…….

In more recent times religion has been used by crazy people to justify their insane actions: the Nazi concentration camps and the 9/11 bombings for instance but why use God to legitimize acts which are simply and straightforwardly mass murder by lunatics? If it is claimed that some terrible act is carried out in God’s [insert deity of choice] name does it make it more acceptable or does it just give the perpetrators a good excuse for their own violent natures? There are very, very few people who would condone mass murder but it doesn’t seem as though religions lose followers when atrocities are carried out, in the name of that religion, against people who don’t agree its philosophies – why?

QuranALL religions speak of love – for God and for our fellow man and yet all that seems to go out the window when religions are criticised. Is it that we, as humans, cannot bear to be wrong? Is it that, if the being we believe in is given a different name by someone, that belief is weakened or threatened? Are we so unbelievably arrogant that we can state quite categorically that there is only our God and we believe in him so we’re right and everyone else can go to Hell (quite literally)?

Even people who don’t believe in God will argue with those that do and both sides will demand that their beliefs be accepted by the other – why? It’s not as if either one has any proof is it?? Arguing that an opinion is right or wrong without proof is an exercise in futility and yet this particular opinion based argument has been going on for centuries….

bible quoteI don’t know if God or Allah or Shiva or any other deity exists but I do know that a bunch of people who believed they did, many years ago, wrote books about love, forgiveness and hope and yet all of that seems to have been forgotten by people who can’t bear to be told that their beliefs are wrong. It seems to me that faith should be more about understanding and accepting the opinions of others and less about believing blindly and unquestionably that your interpretation of those ancient scripts should never be criticised.

Please let me know what you think. As with everything I write, it’s just my opinion and I’d welcome yours

Lisa x

 

Song Lyric Sunday

Have you seen this? Over at Helen Vahdati’s site? If you’re a lover of music and enjoy thinking about the meaning behind certain songs I think you’ll enjoy it :O) The subject for this week is songs with a metaphor in the title and I’ve chosen to go with Broken Crown by Mumford and Sons, firstly because I love, love, love the song and secondly because the lyrics fascinate me:

Have you seen this? Over at Helen Vahdati’s site? If you’re a lover of music and enjoy thinking about the meaning behind certain songs I think you’ll enjoy it :O) The subject for this week is songs with a metaphor in the title and I’ve chosen to go with Broken Crown by Mumford and Sons, firstly because I love, love, love the song and secondly because the lyrics fascinate me:

Touch my mouth and hold my tongue
I’ll never be your chosen one
I’ll be home safe and tucked away
Well you can’t tempt me if I don’t see the dayThe pull on my flesh was just too strong
Stifled the choice and the air in my lungs
Better not to breathe than to breathe a lie
‘Cause when I open my body I breathe a lie

I will not speak of your sin
There was a way out for him
The mirror shows not
Your values are all shot

But oh my heart was flawed I knew my weakness
So hold my hand consign me not to darkness

So crawl on my belly ’til the sun goes down
I’ll never wear your broken crown
I took the road and I fucked it all away
Now in this twilight how dare you speak of grace

So crawl on my belly ’til the sun goes down
I’ll never wear your broken crown
I took the road and I fucked it all away
Now in this twilight how dare you speak of grace

So crawl on my belly ’til the sun goes down
I’ll never wear your broken crown
I can take the road and I can fuck it all away
But in this twilight our choices seal our fate

[Songwriters: Benjamin Walter David Lovett / Edward James Milton Dwane / Marcus Oliver Johnstone Mumford / Winston Aubrey Aladar Marshall]

At first glance, the lyrics appear to be about a man’s desperate struggle with religion and accepting God into his life. At the start of the song he appears to be angry with God, citing the pull of the flesh and the temptation of evil as being too strong for him to resist; he is determined to hide from the ‘light’ if you will. However, maybe as he feels the chance of redemption slipping away from him he beseeches:

“But oh my heart was flawed I knew my weakness
So hold my hand consign me not to darkness”

There is such desperation in those few words, he knows that he is weak but he is begging, almost in terror, not to be left alone in the dark…..

Sadly, almost immediately afterwards, he is defending his decision to reject God with even more anger than he had at the beginning and this is demonstrated with the use of profanity:

“I’ll never wear your broken crown
I took the road and I fucked it all away”

At this point he speaks of twilight which can be taken as a metaphor for the end of life and I think that this idea is reinforced by the very last line.

“In this twilight our choices seal our fate”

When you listen to the song you’ll notice that, after a big crescendo the music quietens and this line is sung with infinite sadness, with the acceptance of a mistake made by someone who still has too much pride to ask for the help that he so obviously needs…..

Which leads me on to, in my opinion, the more subtle metaphor which is that of Life. The struggle that the man is having is obviously an internal one; he is trapped in a struggle and knows that there are only 2 paths that he can take. On a intellectual level he knows that he needs help and he begs for it but he just doesn’t feel worthy of ‘saving’ so he continues on his path of self-destruction. I believe that he entered onto this path after a failed relationship with someone who destroyed his self-esteem and his belief in himself; he knows this and knows that he must keep away from them for the sake of his own sanity but he loves them and therefore lives in torment……

I don’t know if my interpretations are as the writers intended but I never tire of this song because of its musical and lyrical complexities.

I really hope that you enjoy it and, please, let me know what you think

Have a wonderful Sunday

Lisa x

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So Demanding!

Do you agree that it’s time that we all stepped away from our little boxes and see what the rest of humanity has to offer us? If we can move away from the things that separate us and concentrate on the things that unite us surely we will all be happier or am I just an idealist? I really hope not.

Do you remember when you were a kid and, when you wanted something, your parents would say “ask nicely”? What happens to us as adults that we become so demanding? Not for material things but for the love and acceptance of others. The harsh reality is that not everyone we meet in life is going to like us, agree with us or accept our views on life; the honest ones will tell us that to our faces and the others will just disagree with us behind our backs.

Unfortunately, the desire to be loved and accepted are two of the driving forces in human nature and our need for them is so great that we look for them everywhere and are often hurt and offended when we are rejected or we perceive that we have been rejected. When we don’t get the love and acceptance we crave we tend to align ourselves with people that are like us, have the same values as us and put everyone else into our ‘Don’t Like’ box but, if we do that, don’t we risk the same treatment from others? It doesn’t occur to many of us that the more individuals that we have in our ‘Don’t Like’ box the more likely we are to end up in other people’s. We can’t force other people to love or accept us but we have a far greater chance of it happening naturally if we can lose our prejudices which, after all, are merely fears based on assumptions:

Liberals: Not every Conservative is a money crazed, gun toting, traditionalist who wants to destroy the planet

Conservatives: Not every Liberal is a tree hugging snowflake who wants to ban everything

Indigenous Population: Not everyone who wants to reside in your Country wants to change it or you

Immigrants: Not everyone wants to exclude you from their communities

Believers: Not everyone who doesn’t agree with you is morally corrupt or will attempt to divert you from your faith.

Non-believers: Not everyone who believes is a God bothering Bible basher who will attempt to convert you.

Gay/Lesbian: Not all straight people believe that you should not be able to love who you wish

Straight People: Not all gay/lesbian people are morally corrupt or want to corrupt you

Trans: Not everyone believes that you shouldn’t be entitled to identify as whichever gender you feel is right for you

Non-trans: Not every trans person is a threat to you and your children

Feminists: Not all men are ego driven mysogynists

Non-Feminists: Not all feminists are man-haters

I’m sorry if I’ve missed anyone’s box from this list but you get the idea. As long as we continue to identify ourselves as something ‘different’ from others and demand that everyone else accepts our point of view we are, forever, going to live in a divided society. Division leads to separation and hatred whereas tolerance and acceptance lead to understanding and peace.

We don’t have a ‘right’ to be right; an opinion is just that. Your views on life will not be the same as your neighbours or your co-workers. You will not agree on the ‘right’ way to raise your children or how best to manage your relationship. Your opinions on politics and religion will differ but should that prevent you from being friends? Rational debate, a big part of which is listening to the views of other people, will get you far more friends than standing on a soapbox and provoking them by telling them that they are ‘wrong’. No matter how passionately you believe in something, you will not bring someone else round to your way of thinking through anger and belligerence. I have seen many people provoked into anger when involved in a discussion about politics, for example; I knew that they didn’t feel really strongly on the subject from previous discussions but they became screaming crazy people when they felt that their position was being attacked. If you attack someone else’s ideals they will defend themselves…..

Do you agree that it’s time that we all stepped away from our little boxes and see what the rest of humanity has to offer us? If we can move away from the things that separate us and concentrate on the things that unite us surely we will all be happier or am I just an idealist? I really hope not………..

Lisa

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