Mugwump

I am not a mugwump atheist…sitting on the fence and calling myself agnostic. I call myself an agnostic out of belief in evidence and empiricism…and because I subscribe – at least in principle – to the decency of humility. I try to avoid the term belief altogether where possible, preferring faith, as the deepest meaning of this word is confidence. I fear scientists in general do a disservice to reason in calling themselves atheists until they are backed into a corner and forced to admit they are in fact agnostics. I would go so far as to say science is another name for agnosticism. I do not pretend to know what is not known…or knowable. It is not for the sake of clarity, but of convenience that scientists use the term atheist, although it is as legitimate  to say they don’t believe in gods because they have no reason or evidence to do so.

Agnostic that I am, I love hearing Bach’s B minor mass, the St. Matthew Passion, the Verdi Requiem and many other such works. I suspect they inspire no less awe in me than they do in somebody wearing a symbol of capital punishment around his neck. Awe is not belief. I am as in awe of the universe…as any saint! The christian myths may indeed recount “the greatest story ever told”, [although my vote would go for Prometheus, who pays eternally his love of mankind ] however it is just that: a story.

But getting back to so called sacred music: I used to love to sing hymns with the choir [and no choirmaster ever rejected my rather decent soprano because I was an avowed heathen ] One of my favourites was We Gather Together, a hymn of Dutch origin – Wilt heden nu treden – written by A. Valerius in 1597. Call me pagan, a devil, a witch, but I laughed before I cried upon learning it was composed in honor of a Dutch military victory over the Spanish. Nothing like the killing of a few thousand fellow christians to get the creative juices flowing, eh?

From century to century we ask…Is nothing sacred? Not Sacred Heart in Paris, that’s for sure. It was built to commemorate the crushing of the “socialist” Paris Commune. It is, in my view, a tasteless embodiment of conservative moral order, which says, basically, might makes right.

Is nothing sacred? Is nothing sacred? [Can you see me pulling what remains of my hair out?] Man was a wolf to man before the nazarene tale and perhaps even moreso since. Let me take a break from my turmoil to pass on a quote from the preface of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. I don’t care if you saw the show; read the book. He was writing about an earlier commune, but it hardly matters: So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age—the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.

Pretty stories and glorious music are not likely to get the job done, however…

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In Nomine Patris

I don’t believe in god – now that’s a fact –
but neither do I claim to be all-knowing;
I judge the myriad creeds by how they act
and frankly guys, your Inquisition’s showing;
to be quite clear, I don’t just slander catlicks;
hindus, jews and muslims seem no better;
and any books inscribed with hateful tactics
should not inspire obedience to the letter.  
The tribal nature of the world’s religions
has caused them all to be a source of hate
no more refined than cats loosed among pigeons –
when they have pow’r they wield it, soon or late.
     The evils of believing beg rebuke –
     I’ll bet what’s done in His name makes Him puke

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In Dubious Custard

Let’s be perfectly clear about this: what I truly mean is that
you can stuff all your tinkerbell gilded everafters
cumulostratus cotton candy to the starry rafters –
who wants to play the dumb harp anyway?
I’ll take the jolts and pangs of TODAY
thank you very much; I prefer
bolts of joy, knifecut strife –
though by a thread
it might hang,
give me
LIFE

The rest is jellied knees,
new and improved see-thru promises –
cowards’ pleas from the pews
of those who’d lend credence
to fox news – i.e.
the spineless clustered –
for fear finds its footing
in some godawful
dubious custard

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…………………STRICTLY SPEAKING

the
invocation
of any almighty
that rejects any of his creation
is, strictly speaking
blasphemous

the world is not
some giant football field
we are one team or there will be none

a prayer
that excludes
is no prayer at all

all that does not contribute
to harmony is, strictly speaking
diabolical

 

 

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O

No word of god was ever scribed
and bound within a gilt-edged book.
If you would see the speech of god
just look around you, friend – JUST LOOK !
I think what matters most is simply o
the vowel that turns the word god into good
it’s goodness you should seek and hope to know
not rules as hard and old as fossil wood
Do unto others… in fact, is all you need.
The Golden Rule’s a worthwhile working creed.

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[is there no way…]

is there no way
we can gather
in sunlit chambers
[or in the open]
love our neighbour
comfort each other
in our bereavements
celebrate our joys
and our acheivements…
without all the hokum
and the bullshit
of some other
make-believe life ?

I love uplifting music
soft candles and
the fellow feeling
found in many temples
I just have no use
for the absentee
landlord.

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cosmic ditty

Not counting blackholes haunting the sky
there’s planets and comets, awesome nebulae
oceanic darkness with galaxies beyond figuring
reality itself is utterly transfiguring
      carbon nitrogen oxygen hydrogen
      repeat after me…and then say amen

Thank you dear Hubble
for busting that bubble
what’s out there is more of the same
not some guy in the sky with no name
      carbon nitrogen oxygen hydrogen
      repeat after me…and then say amen

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[Who sings me candied songs of afterlives]

Who sings me candied songs of afterlives
demands I now lie low in expectation –
bow down, await rewards where honour thrives –
shut up, mark time, be meek for the duration –  
feel sin and guilt, fear God And All His Might –
some super spook who no one’s seen at all
unless quite daft or higher than a kite
or steeped in myths of Eve and Adam’s Fall.
A Book that offers just itself for proof
is like a dog that chases his own tail
religion from religion stands aloof,
leaves little room for justice to prevail.
      Those Fathers Up Above are worse than crooks
      No Source of All is bound in any books

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      PS. (post sonnet – haha)
      those who seek The Divine
      will find it lives in a four-room place
      about half a block from their sternum

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