Religions

Judaism

Genocide in Canaan

Gave God’s land to the Jews;

But genocides in other lands

Are Yahweh’s big taboos.


Buddhism

All life is suffering,

Yes, all our life is pain;

Then I must be a masochist –

I’d love to live again.


Norse religion

The first gods killed a giant,

From his skull to make

The sky, and mountains from his bones –

What lies! No talking snake?!


Christianity

Jesus wasn’t Jewish

And his killers weren’t from Caesar;

At least, so Paul said after

An epileptic seizure.


Islam

There is no God but One,

Perfect in every way;

All creatures do His unknown will –

So there’s no need to pray.


Mormonism

To teenage Joseph Smith

An angel showed gold plates

On which he read ‘Jesus Was Here’ –

It got him lots of dates.


Modern Paganism

Pretentious modern pagans

Without a sense of spoof

Have got no clue what Stonehenge was

When it had walls and roof.                                                                   


Atheism

I don’t see gods on clouds,

I don’t hear angels sing;

There’s just one question bothers me –

How come there’s anything?

 

Published online in Snakeskin (UK) #231, August 2016

The Tale of Jesus

Jesus, you came with Peter Rabbit,
Mowgli and Pooh Bear.
School tried to make your prayers a habit
But it was hard to care.

Teachers said do what you said
(Though things you did were odd),
But didn’t follow where you led –
So, just a load of cod.

I saw you as a man forthwith –
If you were real at all,
And not some mushroom-inspired myth,
Tales primitive and tall.

Though stored away up in the attic
The image of you stays:
Wit, healing, laughter… enigmatic
Violent angry frays…

Bush/Cheney occupied Iraq
As Rome did Palestine;
Bin Laden tales came down a track
With yours to intertwine:

Lean, bearded, robed and cinematic
Striding over hills,
Laughing and angry, the fanatic
Invokes, inspires and kills.

Pig-eating, beardless Westerners
Uniformed and well-armed,
Are just thieving idolaters
Who leave God’s people harmed.

Seize, cleanse the Temple at Passover,
King of the Jews! But all
Faith fails against Rome, you discover…
(The tale was changed by Paul.)

Published online in Snakeskin (UK) July 2016

http://www.snakeskinpoetry.co.uk/snake230.html

Allen Ginsberg’s Christmas Howl

I can’t think of a better seasonal greeting for everyone than this piece by George Simmers, who edits the monthly online poetry Snakeskin – http://www.simmers1.webspace.virginmedia.com/snake223.html.
Merry Whatever to everyone!

Snakeskin's Blog

Ommm.

I have seen the best teeth of my generation broken upon the crust of a neighbour’s mince pie.

I have seen men struggling through aisles laden with tinsel, buying chocolates uglier than sphincters and enduring carols.

I have seen ecstatic visions of Noddy Holder and of King Wenceslas naked upon a reindeer.

For it is Christmas.

Therefore I rejoice.

I rejoice in the truths that will emerge in shallow Yuletide arguments.

I rejoice in television specials, for mindlessness opens gates into nirvana.

I rejoice in gifts of underwear.

I rejoice in the mother cooking resentfully, and in the drunken aunt.

And in the farting vegan who refuses turkey.

In these I rejoice.

Ommm.

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Mormons show Joseph Smith’s “Seer Stone”

The Church of Latter-Day Saints – the Mormons – published photos of the “seer stone” that allegedly helped Joseph Smith translate sacred scriptures that now form the basis of that church.

LDS seer stone

“Seer stone” used by Joseph Smith

As a teenager, Joseph Smith made various attempts to develop his religion. A talking salamander didn’t prove a popular explanation for the origin of his writings… an angel showed him gold plates with Ancient Egyptian writing… he used his Seer Stone to help him translate works into English…

However, as summarized in Wikipedia, some of these translations such as The Book of Abraham have failed the test of time: “The Book of Abraham papyri were thought lost in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. However, in 1966 several fragments of the papyri were found in the archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and in the LDS Church archives. They are now referred to as the Joseph Smith Papyri. Upon examination by professional Mormon and non-Mormon Egyptologists, these fragments were found to bear no resemblance to Smith’s interpretation, and were identified as common Egyptian funerary texts, dating to about the first century BC. As a result, the Book of Abraham has been the source of significant controversy, with Mormon apologists having presented a number of theories in defense of the authenticity of the Book of Abraham.”

Oh well.

To teenage Joseph Smith
An angel showed gold plates
On which he read ‘Jesus Was Here’ –
It got him lots of dates.

The future of ISIS

It took the West how many centuries to resolve Catholicism vs Protestantism vs secularism? And it’s not entirely resolved yet. So the Muslim world may have a couple of centuries to go before it sorts itself out.

The more accurate guide to the future

I was going to write about the future of intelligence but I just saw a nice graphic by The Economist on the spread of ISIS:

so I’ll write about them instead.

The main Economist article is http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21656690-islamic-state-making-itself-felt-ever-more-countries-how-much-influence

I won’t summarize their article about the current state of affairs; read it yourself. I can add a few comments to highlight the future though.

Surveys on Muslim attitudes to violence consistently show that most Muslims reject violence done in the name of Islam: 65-75%. That is the numeric range that describes the reality of ‘the vast overwhelming majority of peace-loving Muslims’ we see emphasized by politicians and media whenever an Islamic terrorist act occurs, two thirds to three quarters according to when and where the surveys have been done. The last high quality survey in the UK arrived at the figure 68%, comfortably in that range. The other side of the same statistics is that 32% of British…

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