Facts


I take comfort in facts; irrefutable, set in stone, proven beyond a shadow of doubt,snippets of information used to define our world. The Oxford Dictionary defines fact as “a thing that is known or proved to be true”,  so far so good, right? Not so fast – fact missed the memo on truth.

I know for a fact we can’t pin point the exact age of our universe. Science says 13.8 billion years, give or take a millennium or two. We have no way of ever assigning “fact” to age, we can however say for a fact, the universe is billions of years old, science has proven this to be true. According to fundamentalist Christians the world is 6427 years old. The link below gives a timeline of their reasoning – for those requiring “proof”, a search on yahoo resulted in “best answer” rating for a response to the question “how old is the earth according to the bible?” – “the Bible doesn’t specify how old earth is but the lunar landing proved only 6000 years of dust had collected on the moon”. Yikes; that’s one hell of a fact.

http://bridavis.chickenfactory.net/timeline.htm

How about the “fact” Christopher Columbus discovered America – he never set foot on the continent, his 1492 landing was in the Caribbean – I suppose “close enough” makes for good historical “fact”. Leif Erickson found Newfoundland long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue – that’s a fact. Columbus Day based on historical fiction; truth bent so long as to become “fact”.

We need to take a long hard look at what we consider fact. Considering the source, burden of proof and context go a long way towards definitive truth. It isn’t good enough to say “I heard it on TV” or “the Bible says…” We need to understand that history , more precisely “historical accounts”, are often nothing more than one side of the story. We need to stop and ponder the difference between belief and fact. One year has 365 days, 1+1=2; facts beyond a shadow of a doubt – foundations on which we build our view of the world.

Using “fact” in the context of biblical or historical accounts, takes fact from the realm of truth, to that of speculation. History is not without bias; historical accounts often written from verbal folklore, or as a one sided “white washing” of the facts.  Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the telephone – dead wrong, it was Antonio Meucci, a penniless Italian immigrant who couldn’t afford to patent his invention.Biblical “fact” based on a book neither proven or known to be true. We can say for a fact the bible claims Jesus performed 37 miracles, we can’t claim they are proven or true. “Facts” are solidified only when proven to be true.

http://www.zakkeith.com/articles,blogs,forums/who-invented-the-telephone.htm

Statistics aren’t “fact”; statistics are nothing more than a snap shot of one tiny demographic. Statistical “fact” based on responses from a few thousand hand picked respondents.  Editorial news stories aren’t fact, simply the opinion of a network or newscaster. We’re bombarded with “facts” based on nothing more than opinion or public relations firms presenting one side of the story. Fact has little to do with proven truth – fact and truth parted ways some time ago.

I can say for a fact that NOAA scientists reported November 2013 to be the warmest November since records began in 1880. November was also the 37th consecutive year, and 345th consecutive month where global averages of ocean and surface temperatures increased. Compelling facts but not irrefutable proof of global warming according to websites like thewatchers. Fact is open to interpretation – a nasty backlash since parting with truth.

http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/2013/07/07/global-warming-debunked-nasa-report-verifies-carbon-dioxide-actually-cools-atmosphere/

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/

We all need to ponder the importance of getting our facts straight. Basing our statements of fact on the Bible, history textbooks, worse still, opinionated media or websites, makes us look silly. Bible stories or Scientology beliefs that humans are inhabited by the souls of an alien race from planet Xenu – bear no resemblance to fact; the only true fact being many people believe these stories. Teaching for a fact that Mesopotamia was the cradle of civilization, ignoring Gobekli Tepe, Varna, Puma Punku simply because we lack reasonable explanation, doesn’t change the fact these places blow our mainstream historical timeline out of the water.

We owe it to ourselves; not only remind ourselves of “facts” true meaning, but to expand our children’s minds with unbiased truth – science might not be able to explain, it doesn’t negate scientific truth. Ponder a world if we based our lives on factual truth rather than biblical references, historical hearsay, media opinion or statistical slants. Stop and think how different it would be if our lives were governed by fact based on truth instead of opinion. How simple life would be if a fact was a fact – so deal with it. A world where believe in your God ,or not , was irrelevant when educating our children. A place where “this is what we can back up with archaeological evidence”  or “this confounding truth defies explanation, yet is no less real”. A world where kids grew up with all the “facts”, were allowed to imagine and wonder, form their own ideas and taught to recognize the difference between fact and hogwash.

Fact needs to high tail it back to truth; our world needs to focus on what is proven to be true rather than how we believe, or would like to think the universe is ordered.

Oh Christmas Tree


December graces my calendar, Christmas music assaults my last nerve, snow is expected to fall in the next few days – it must be close to Christmas. I know I loved Christmas as a child; not for the birth of a mythical character, but for stringing popcorn garlands and anticipating the pancakes my father made on Christmas morning. I loved the way the tree smelled, it was organic, intoxicating  – a welcome addition to our rather brown 60’s living room.

I find myself pondering Christmas trees, reminding myself how it came to be that our “Christian” world erects this symbol year after year.

We deck the halls because Pagans used to bring greenery into their homes on  the shortest day of the year for the sun god to eat.  It was an “offering” to get well soon; a custom shared by ancient Druids, Romans and Greeks. Jesus could have been born in July for all we know but Dec. 25 was set to soothe uppity Pagans by coinciding with their solstice parties.

Many stories circulate over the first Christmas tree. One account comes from 8th century Germany; British missionary St. Boniface cut down a giant oak tree obliterating everything in it’s path except a tiny Fur sapling. He called it a miracle, dubbing it “the tree of the Christ child”. Decorate it any way you like – all the tinsel in the world can’t alter the fact Christianity adopted Pagan rituals to suit their purposes.

The Protestant reformation of the 16th century banned Christmas; viewing it as little more than a rowdy Pagan celebration. Oliver Cromwell’s England had no place for Christmas, and puritan immigrants to New England were forbidden by law to deck the halls. Christmas falling on Dec. 25 has nothing to do with the birth of Christ, and everything to do with the Roman festival of Saturnalia.

Romans celebrated Saturnalia for one week every year. From Dec. 17 – 25 courts closed and citizens were exempt from retribution. During the 4th century, Christianity succeeded in converting large numbers of people by promising they could still celebrate Saturnalia. Lacking a Christian angle – the church named Dec. 25, the last day of the festival as Jesus’s birthday. In exchange for “observance” of Christ’s birthday, the church looked the other way as Saturnalia participants drank themselves silly, ran naked through the streets, and indulged in excessive sexual activities.

Historical accounts tell of Pope Paul II standing on a balcony laughing as unfortunate Jewish citizens were forced to run naked through the streets. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Jewish rabbis were plucked from Roman ghettos, placed in ridiculous clown  costumes and marched about for the delight of crowds armed with debris to toss at them. A 1836 appeal from the Jewish community to Pope Gregory XVI to stop the abuse resulted in this response “it is not opportune to make any innovation”. Dec. 25, 1881 Christian leaders whipped Polish followers into such a frenzy, 12 Jews were murdered, countless Jewish women raped.

Christmas is not a religious holiday – it never has and never will be. Jesus wasn’t born in December – Christmas is a Pagan holiday celebrating the winter solstice. Christmas symbolisms like the tree, mistletoe, even gift giving – “Christianized” to placate Pagan hordes.

I plan to put up a tree, buy gifts and spend time with my family. Christmas is a welcome break in the midst of dark winter days and crappy weather. Not for a second will I see it as anything other than what it is – the festival of Saturnalia.

http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm

Searching For the Wrong Eyed Jesus


If you haven’t pondered this documentary – now is the time.

http://kickass.to/middle-americana-searching-for-the-wrong-eyed-jesus-2004-t1261658.html

Are Fairies Vegetarian?


Nostalgia begged I figure something out the old fashioned way. Forget the internet, reference books or Google answers – a random thought came knocking, it required untainted pondering. I sent my daughter a message – “Help me out, are fairies vegetarian?”

She saw nothing unusual about my query. It was a good question, now both of us needed to know if fairies were vegetarian and weren’t inclined to “search” for an answer

Her gut reaction was the same as mine – fairies don’t eat meat and most certainly are vegetarian. Ponders begged the obvious question – then what does Oberon serve at his banquets? My son came home, I posed the same question – he replied “fairies don’t eat food” Hmm? Well what about the banquets, and why is it we all know, those who eat from a fairy table stay there forever? We wondered if fairies where presented with gifts of food, or if food simply appeared at their tables. We dismissed the idea of fairies hunting, more comfortable with the thought of gathering seeds and honey. It was late, we agreed to sleep on it, fairy diets could wait until tomorrow.

Relatively sure fairies are vegetarian, my mind drifted to ponders of faith.It’s much too late now,  but tomorrow I will ask my daughter if she thinks vegetarian fairy debates are any different from resurrection of Christ banter. Regardless, I refuse to “Google” any of it – tempted as I might be to search ” vegetarian fairy Jesus”.

When Does Opinion Become Rant?


At work today one of my friends told me he saw the title of the post I wrote last night – “Scientology – You Don’t Fool Me”, and didn’t read it because he thought it would be another “rant”. His disclosure hit me on the head like a hammer – I rant?  In my mind I have strong opinions and always try to give reasons or facts to back them up. Sure, I visit topics of religion quite often – but rant, this was disturbing.

In my mind a rant is what happens when I comment on a post about abortion or sex abuse within the church and am told to “go kill some babies” or asked ” does loving Jesus make a man gay”. To me a rant just doesn’t make sense; it’s an eruption of emotion based on bias and designed to be hurtful. I see a rant as opinion without thought or regard.

  1. rant

    /rant/

    Verb
    Speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way.
    Noun
    A spell of ranting; a tirade.
    Synonyms
    rave

    Pondering “rant” all day has failed to clarify things or make me feel any better.Rant is such an ugly word; it eludes to ignorance, short tempers, and bias. The thought I could be perceived as any of those things is driving me out of my mind. Strong opinions certainly fuel some of my posts – the idea it might be viewed as ranting and raving has stopped me dead in my tracks.

    1. o·pin·ion

      /əˈpinyən/

      Noun
      1. A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
      2. The beliefs or views of a large number or majority of people about a particular thing.
      Synonyms
      view – judgement – judgment – mind – notion – idea

      In my pondering mind the “opinions” I write about are simply that. My point of view backed up by my reasoning, facts, and hopefully points to think about. Not in a million years had it crossed my mind that I may have ranted. The holy crap moment came when I realized those people who I considered “ranters” probably feel the same way.

      My question is – when does opinion become rant? Does opinion become rant if you disagree with the point of view, or it contradicts your morals? Does “rant” rear it’s ugly head when you visit the same topic over again, or does “rant” simply mean you don’t want to read about a certain topic?  When does “opinion” cross the line to become “rant”? Are rant and opinion strictly reserved for judgement by a reader? I need help on this matter – my world is in tatters.

Religion Can Be So Wacky…


While at work today the Jehovah Witnesses dropped a “watchtower” leaflet in my mail slot.

Normally I would have tossed it straight into the garbage but their new image of Jesus caught my eye. The updated watchtower Jesus looked more like the CEO of Hair Club for Men. I read on – it seems March 26 marks the 1,980th anniversary of his death. They were “cordially” inviting people to attend their church on that day to discuss how the death of the greatest man who ever lived could benefit us all. According to the apostle John – the blood of Jesus cleanses us of all sin. They went on to ask people to consider if death ended it all, stressing the importance of attending a bible study on the subject.

Trying to remember what I knew of the Jehovah Witness faith was spotty at best. I knew they didn’t allow blood transfusions, and was fairly certain the chosen were a limited number. I confess to a little chuckle recalling a story my brother told me – he’s a licensed trapper who happened to be skinning a Marmot one Saturday morning when they knocked on his door. Marmot in hand he answered the door; they asked what was in his hand and he answered “my cat”. Let’s just say they’ve never been back.

Some research followed; I wanted to know if death ended it all. The answer is a little tricky, as it’s yes and no. JW’s don’t believe in a immortal soul or the concept of hell. They believe we cease to exist when dead, however if we dotted all our I’s and crossed our T’s in life, there is a chance God will remember and resurrect the faithful. They believe we are in the “end times” which started in 1914.  Never stating when the “end” will come, one certainty is that when the end arrives, precisely 144,000 “anointed” will ascend to heaven to rule with Christ – the rest will spend eternity in “paradise on earth”. I admit some confusion; they seem a little vague on the concept of paradise on earth after end times.

With around 7 million faithful worldwide, the odds of ascending to heaven aren’t that great – yet the faithful knock on my door or plug my mail box with an admirable tenacity. It doesn’t seem to bother any of them in the slightest. I could care less what any one wants to believe; the sooner religion is off the table the better. However; stick a flyer with “hair club” Jesus pondering “death ending it all” in my door, and I simply can’t help myself.

This link has a good overview of Jehovah Witnesses.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/witnesses/beliefs/beliefs.shtml