Welcome to Cirque du So Lame!

n is for neville

Have you ever felt like Neville?

Then this site can help.  It is intended to be multi-use:  we will share all of the foibles of the human race; funny, frustrating, face-palm-worthy, and fails that we find.  Some of the things shared are real, some are totally made up.  This is not a news site, it is a collection of things that make us scratch our heads or laugh out loud. On the other hand, it might have news in it.  But all of it will be silly, to us.

This site reflects our sensibilities and senses of humor

You might have a different reaction to some of what you see or read here, but if so, you can make your own website about what you take seriously.  We try not to take things, including ourselves, too seriously.

Readers with gloomy, serious dispositions should be cautioned; you may not find this website engaging, interesting, or informative.  You might even find it somehow insulting. And that’s fine. You don’t have to come here.  It’s meant to be entertainment with a touch of satire and a dose of sardonic.  Not everything that happens in the world is funny, but if we can’t laugh at least some of the time, we might as well all die now.

Yes, we offer sarcasm

We offer unsolicited feedback based on what we see going on around us.  We are progressive liberals, but also want to help. We have no religion, and don’t want one (in fact, we find religion to be lame).  We are marijuana-friendly.  We are against violence and hate speech, but have no qualms about denouncing ridiculous and unacceptable behavior, ideologies, or rabid antisocial behavior of any kind.ninjakidgif

Some things are funny whether they mean to be or not.  Some things are fails.  Others cause us to face-palm. Others leave us doubting.  And still others seem too surreal to be real or  taken seriously.  Make of it what you will.

Feel free to leave us suggestions or discoveries in the comment sections anywhere.  Profanity and verbal violence will be censored out as decided by the site owners.

Thanks for stopping by, leave us a comment, and we hope to see you again soon. We are ready.  Bring it on!

 

Orlando Alarm

omarOrlando.

Forty nine innocent people gunned down while out enjoying themselves, hurting no one. As many in hospitals.  Appalling.

A disaster. A heinous act born of ignorance, religious zeal, mental illness – and a gun.  Not necessarily in that order.  In fact, I think Mental Illness is the prime issue.  Omar Mateen was deranged. He managed to slide by in all respects – even was an armed security guard.  What pushed him over the edge?

Will this be the first in a string of similar incidents?  Shall we change “going postal” to “going pulse”?

I have been away from this site for a few months, dealing with home-front issues, but have not been absent from watching the religious nonsense destroying civilization.  The more I learn (and believe me, I study this stuff) the more I think that Mental Illness is the number one issue that our government here in the USA should be addressing.  Hillary and Donald snark back and forth – gun owners fume at reasonable restrictions and nosy investigations into mental health.  Hell, a lot of them don’t even trust the Mental Health professionals, but think all are conniving to incarcerate everyone.

Mateen Was Reported to the FBI

Today on NPR I heard that Omar Mateen had, in fact, been reported to the FBI by a Muslim acquaintance named Muhammed Maleek (back in 2014)  who had become alarmed at Mateen’s rhetoric and attitude.

Was there any sort of follow-up?  This youth/man should have been monitored, but he wasn’t.  The gun shop owner who refused to sell to him did the right thing, but was unable to give a description of a vehicle, had no surveillance camera, and what was the FBI to do with such flimsy information?

But see, they DID have information. Why was this person on the no-fly list?  Why had they been cleared for gun ownership?  Who decided that (or through what crack did he slither)?

Can We Make it Stop?

I have no words to describe how hideous the world has become in terms of religion-based fear, anger, violence, and distrust.

How sick does the world have to be for mental health to be recognized?  It was in the 1980s that Reagan closed the state mental hospitals, turning lose countless troubled souls with no meds, no follow-up, no case management or supervision.  It was expected that communities would pull up the slack.

But they were not equipped, or educated about how to do that.  And now here we are, 40 years later….to think of how we got here, we must consider generational patterns.

Parenting Is Key

This person’s father was some sort of Middle Eastern diplomat, living in a lovely suburban home.  Why was he unaware of his son’s distress?  What was he doing?  I read he was trying to get into Afghani government or something.

Parenting doesn’t stop when a child reaches “legal majority”.  A parent’s job is difficult and requires attention. One must remain vigilant and available.  We all need parents – we all need older people to guide us. Don’t drop the ball…..

 

Saints

painting of a saintThis morning, while relaxing after Thanksgiving activities with family, I was listening to good music and surfing the internet for ideas I want to write more about.  It occurred to me that there is a Saint for every day of the year.  So – I set out to find a ‘complete list of saints’.

I imagined there were about 300 or so, and that would give me a topic for most days of the year.  So – off I went, to find out more about the ‘Saints.’  Living in the US, of course I realized that most results were likely to be Roman Catholic.  But I also wanted to know who the Saints are for other faiths – because the US is a secular country.  All religions are represented here, so it is only right to learn about and discuss them all.  Right?

Right.  So, here we go.

reims-94594_1280

How Many Saints Are There?

That was my first question. Easy enough to type in ‘saints days’…but then an extended option said ‘in december.’  Okay, we’ll start there.  Open the list. To my utter amazement, there are twenty-four (24!) Saints whose ‘day’ is December 1.  And that’s just the Roman Catholic ones!

When I saw how many there were for every single date, the quiet exclamation”Jesus!” passed between my lips.  My husband looked at me and winked, saying, “I don’t think he’s a saint.”  I smiled and said, “oh yes, of course he is!” playing along.  But honestly – he is, isn’t he?  So I looked that up.

What About Jesus? 

On the Catholic Answers Forum, there were several replies to the question (someone else had already asked it).  They ranged from yes to no.  Which brings up another puzzle. Who decides?  And why does their decision matter?

Since Catholics and many Protestant Christian religions claim that Jesus is “God,” then it seems that no – he’s held above the others.  Even ‘makes’ the others.  But did Jesus ever say this?  Nope. He didn’t. At least not from what was kept in the official Biblical ‘canon.’

Now, that’s been my understanding for years – Jesus never claimed to be “God” but instead said that all of us can do what he did, and more.  That message got corrupted.  Yet many millions of Christians are oblivious to (or ignoring) that fact.

How do the Other Abrahamic Faiths view Jesus?

The Jews and Muslims do not consider Jesus to be “God.”  That, in fact, is the main contention point between them and Christianity.  The contention between Islam and Judaism is something else entirely (and very volatile).

Muslims revere Jesus as a messenger from God, and believe he was conceived miraculously.  They do not consider him to be God.  Some disbelieve that he died on the cross; rather, an imposter was put in his place, and God took the real Jesus straight up to heaven.

Others believe he was put on the cross, but did not die (called the “swoon” theory), and that he was rescued and fled in exile to India, where he lived out his life and is now entombed.  A very informative book I own (and recommend) is The Fifth Gospel: New Evidence from the Tibetan, Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and Urdu Sources About the Historical Life of Jesus Christ After the Crucifixion.

Jews believe Jesus failed to perform sufficient prophesied acts that would lead to the coming of the messiah. Meh. But…who decided?

The Catholic church alone has over 10,000, and every source I found gave a different number.   I was unable to find a complete list – apparently one doesn’t exist (yet).

Sainthood is Acquired – How?

Who decides who gets to be a ‘saint’?

People, of course.  Other human beings.  ‘Popular opinion’ was the general route to becoming ‘sainted,’  and it wasn’t until the 10th century that some pope* decided to make a ‘system’ of how it should be done.

An interesting book that explores how ‘saints’ and ‘thinkers’ are similar, however, is: Saints and Scholars, by David Knowles.

This collection transports us into the monastic age – the thousand years between the sixth and sixteenth centuries, when the monasteries were the treasure-houses of Europe’s social, cultural and religious heritage. The men we encounter are each representative, in differing ways, of their own historical setting and of the strengths and weaknesses of mankind

sculptures of priests

The Catholic process is this: first the local bishop looks over the now-deceased person’s life’s work and writings.  Then he sends his findings to the Vatican. There, a committee including the ‘Congregation for Cause of Saints’ (bishops) and theologians decide if the candidate is worthy.

 

Then, they might be ‘beatified’ (gaining the rank of ‘blessed’).  At least ONE posthumous miracle (a miracle attributed to them after they have died) must be verified.

To become a full “Saint”, TWO posthumous miracles must be determined, with evidence.

Buddhists have ‘saints’ also – bodhisattvas – and there are far fewer of them. They are individuals who have been identified as being dedicated to achieving complete Buddhahood, and are respected in Indian, Mongolian, Tibetan, Japanese and Chinese traditions.  In Chinese Saints, by Anthony E. Clark, you can learn a great deal about them.

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There are 19 male and 19 female saints noted in Buddhism. A book that contains definitive information is:  The Complete Book of Buddha’s Lists — Explained

Islamic determination: The four traits of ‘excellence’ that must be present for a Muslim to become a ‘saint’ are:

Receiving Revelation (prophethood)

by way of miracle and in an extraordinary manner, [the person must] be granted such Divine knowledge of the unseen, luminous visions and heavenly support, as if a gigantic river were flowing and a glorious light descending from heaven and spreading on the earth; and these things should reach the stage where they appear to be miraculous and unequalled in their time.

Truth (highest knowledge of Qu’ran)

It should be remembered that siddiq is one who both has a complete knowledge of the Divine truths and acts on them perfectly instinctive

Witness of faith (does pious things)

by the strength of his faith, man acquires such a belief in God and in the Day of Judgment that it is as if he sees God with his own eyes.

Righteousness (perfection)

the perfect man is not only cleansed of all evil matter but this quality develops so much within him as to appear as a sign and miracle.

A movie recommended by Muslims for non-Muslims that explains:  The Message (30th Anniversary Edition).

There are ninety-one Sufi saints. They are credited for spreading Islam throughout the world; and appear periodically to ‘reshape the sacred in society.’ Not sure how the radical Muslim suicide-bombers are considered – but martrydom certainly is something they strive for.

Saints in Jainism 

I found a playlist of Jain saint information:

According to one source:

Jains don’t believe in a god, per se, but they do believe in supernatural beings who have broken free of the reincarnation cycle to attain Nirvana. In fact, there are 24 beings who have done that

So – Now What?

Well, since there are far more saints than I had imagined, I can only pick and choose which ones to pay attention to for purposes of education.

For now, let’s focus on the ‘main man’ that comes up for ‘Christmas’.

Saint Nicholas!  ….

nicholas-of-myra-61067_1280Check out the links above, or other ideas here!

 

*(Okay, it was Pope John XV. The fifteenth guy to choose John as his popey name.  Not very original, if you ask me.  However, since the 6th century a Pope can choose any name he fancies; a tradition started by a Pope who was named Mercury at birth.  It became  customary in the 10th century.  Most of them choose a name of a previous ‘saint’ or predecessor pope that they admire. The last one to use his given name was Marcellus II, in the spring of 1555.  He died 22 days into his papacy, of an illness stemming from over-exertion during Easter week.)

Please leave a comment to let me know what you think about the jolly old elf and his legends!

 

 

2015 Global Resolution Results are In

2015 Offered us a Chance to unite all of humanity.

I was hopeful.  I was optimistic.

I was wrong:

syrian child surrendering

I asked this in early January 2015:

New Year.  Will it be happy? new year banner

Only if you allow it to.

This morning, I was browsing the internet, watching the videos of the happy celebrations around the world.  The fireworks were amazing; the cacophony of Joy and Hope that comes at midnight 1 January – every year like clockwork – might even have been heard by a fly resting on a solar panel attached to the International Space Station!

Huzzah!  Hooray!  Oh Boy! The astronauts said they would be doing a fly-by on sixteen different major celebratory hubs!

The Youth are Exuberant!

Excited, anticipating, optimistic.  How does that happen to us human beings?  How is it that we consider this particular date to be so significant?  Why is it about hope, joy, future events….or alternatively, about ‘good riddance’ to the past 364 days?  I can’t answer that question, but I can say that I feel that same latent hope and joy.

The more often the date comes and goes (that is, the older you get) it only reinforces that unconscious optimism that lies in the very hearts and minds of every human being.

Yet, people – mostly millenials and mostly women – were trampled to death last night in a revelry cum stampede.  ONE person tripped, and like dominoes others went down, while those advancing were forced to run over those already down.  Very sad.

And those of us who are the parents and grandparents of those youths and their cohort feel increasingly disturbed.  Their world is not like ours was.  And it never will be.  To have the energy that they do! To fill the world with hope, joy, optimism, and a bright future!

I wax poetic, but it’s a tragic scenario at the moment.  The celebrations taped and aired on CNN were so full of enthusiam, relief and second chances that I couldn’t help feel somewhat cheered.

World Collaboration

Why are humans unable to rally this much optimism, this much camaraderie, EVERY DAY of the year?  A tiny blue dot in the vastness of space, and for once – for ONCE in an entire revolution around the sun – all rallied.  Nearly all.

Yet there were, except for the UAE in Dubai, no videos of any kind of celebratory happenings in the Middle East.  There, we know that people are suffering.  We know a bomb went off.  We know that some humans are too callous to care, and that others are grieving for their dead, while still others are rejoicing.

As if to damn the time-stamp and the momentary grip of optimism that sweeps like a stadium wave over our dinky, solitary planet, those nefarious characters seem particularly ill-fitted, and ill-equipped indeed, to grapple with the notions of world peace, collaboration, and tolerance.

They’re not having any of it.  Which is unhealthy.

Mental Illness and Us

Human beings are a wonderfully unique species.  How do we even define ‘mental illness’?  Well, as ‘coloring outside the lines’ I suppose.  If a person is obsessed with scrubbing hard with a purple crayon on every pixel of the surface, or just the upper center section of the page and oblivious to the entirety of the surface, we can consider them aberrant. Not normal.

But a crazy cat lady coloring with only purple crayons while barricaded in her attic dormer, her house too overrun by companion animals and their entourages for her to descend the steps, is a far cry from a murderous, angry man with an explosive tool to match his explosive sensibilities.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in this new year.  I can only hope that some people come to their senses and recognize that all we have, really have, is RIGHT NOW.  All else will come and go. The future will follow the past, and still, here we will twirl about in the vastness of a black vacuum near a medium-sized ball of explosive gases.

Rally, Humans

We are 15 cycles into the third millenium since a gigantic bit of mythology started counting for us.  Surely we could have come further by now.  No?

Here is a a link to the forum article that sparked this post.  I grimace for the person suffering this mental torture; and I weep for the victims that have gone before him – aye, even to their graves.

Please help me put on the Armor of God!

I’ve never been a man of much faith but I am really starting to believe now. I feel like my life is constantly triggering Satan’s devices.

[In my] research into this phenomena the term “Spiritual Warfare” kept popping up. According to this concept Satan and his demonic forces are always trying to “nudge” or influence the earthly plane with their darkness.

*  <—- That asterisk, right there, was the 777th word in this article.  Does that mean Jesus himself is writing through me?  No – no more than it means that the Divine Spark that dwells in ALL of us is speaking.

In response to the anonymous sufferer above:

I offer this article from my past –

Active Theocrats: The New Apostolic Reformation and The Seven Mountain Dominionists

– be warned, gentle readers, that there are undercurrents of intention among the evangelical Christian movement that mirror in a ‘fantastical’ way (that is, they fantasize about enjoying the fruits of) the achievements of the depraved monster now sweeping across the Levant.

Convert or burn in hell! Convert or lose your head NOW!

Which of those attitudes do we really need right now?  As a species among millions adrift on this blue orb, yet isolated from any others in space?

Neither of them.  May the coming seasons find you enjoying peace of mind and contentment.  Please leave a comment and let’s get this dialogue going.

Namaste

 

 

 

Speaking the Truth is Not an Insult

Humanity ‘made in God’s image’?Behavior is Not "God" or "Satan"

Please.

How anyone can watch the world events and not feel insulted and ashamed of fellow humans is beyond me. I am sick of the strife and the tension and the whole religious world, from those who bomb civilians to pedophiles being outed…..

ENOUGH!

Things have changed SO MUCH in the last 20 years that I can hardly believe it.  What the HELL is WRONG with these people?

It sends me toward depression.  To think that no matter how hard I try, no matter how much I talk and state my case, no matter how loud we secularists get, these maniac zealots will continue their vitriol. It causes me to despair.

This morning I checked the news.  More killing in the Middle East.  More atrocities by terrorists.  Sickening.  Yet while I was reading the headlines, I yawned.  Literally.  Thousands of miles and oceans away from where all of that is happening, when it is EVERY DAY, it gets, well, old.  I think the saddest part is that I’m getting ‘inured’ to it.

Almost numb.  It never ends.  It just keeps on and on.  And it isn’t ONLY in the Middle East.

A protestant church in the US called ‘Followers of Christ’ has about 1,500 members who refuse to access modern medicine for injury and illness, disease and prevention of it, and their children are DYING.

Religious sect shuns doctor, children pay the price

This crowd makes me sick.  And the legislators who allow the ridiculous ‘religious exemption’ to apply to these nutters who then neglect and abuse their children make me even sicker.  YES – there should be LAWS about how you must treat children.  There ARE laws about how you must treat children.

Deceased Toddler
This Child died of Pneumonia at 2 years old, 100 Yrs Ago

What you people are doing is a crime, AND a “sin.”  It is morally repugnant.  It is unfathomable to me how you can be so brainwashed and not see the harm you are doing. Shame on all of you.  I am 99.99% sure that you also are ‘pro-life’ regarding abortion – if not, feel free to correct me.

Guess what – getting pregnant is the easy part.  Growing the baby is only slightly harder. Any idiot can get pregnant or impregnate someone.  It’s parenting that is hard.  Hard, hard work, but the most rewarding work that can be done.

How can you talk about a ‘loving God’ and then allow your children to die by doing nothing?  What brand of insane is that?

In fact, I believe (and have for some time) that all parents should receive training either when they are planning to start a family, become pregnant and during care, or at LEAST in the hospital before going home.

Many will squawk at this, saying “who are you to decide how someone should raise their kids?” Well, I have an answer.  I am a professional parent educator and counselor who has studied brain development, parenting techniques, and children & families for decades. Raising children is an art – even the best parents make mistakes from time to time, and most children are resilient enough to let it slide.

I was not a perfect parent, but I managed to raise two children – to keep them safe, well, fed, educated, and loved with every breath in my body.  And while I was doing so, I kept learning, every day.  Best strategies for healthy development across all spectra from diet to play to stimulation have been made public for decades now.  There is NO EXCUSE, and religion certainly gets the blame for these children dying needlessly.

Even as I tout my credentials, I know that the ‘church-goers’ will scoff at them, as they scoff at doctors (I am, after all, a helping professional). I’ll only be attacked for ‘having gone to liberal university’ and ‘working for the Beast’ or some such utter twaddle as that’, as though education is the problem.

Angel Weeping Headstone

No…  just, no.

Using the Bible and some twisted preacher’s asinine notion of not accessing medicine is, in my mind, CRIMINAL behavior. Those parents should lose their children and be ‘re-educated’.

The pastors who lead this blind flock should be in prison just as much as any Catholic priest who has molested innocents or ISIS militant who has murdered someone over a cartoon.

The pope recently said (after the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s staff in Paris) that ‘one can not insult someone else’s beliefs’.

He is, however, mistaken. A mistaken human being.  He is not God.  He is a figurehead, and as far as his ‘divinity’ goes, well, whatever.  He’s an old man with a good heart. Let’s say that.

I agree with his platforms almost all across the board regarding caring for the needy and finding common ground with others, but telling me to ‘not insult someone’s religion’ when that someone is insulting every human being around them is not my style.

Sorry if that disappoints anyone, but there is no other way to deal with depraved believers in a pack of ancient myths that were pulled together for political reasons.  If what you ‘believe’ prevents your child, or ANYONE ELSE from having a life, having their needs met, and a sense of security that underpins everything else they may accomplish in their lifetimes, it is a wrong belief.

how about "NO"

There. I said it. I am insulted by your small-mindedness; by your lack of common sense, and your feigned ignorance of decency.  If your child is sick, see a doctor.  If you live where you are in danger of being murdered or starved or blown up or harmed, get out.  And when you get to that somewhere else, be appreciative of the people who welcome you in.

So – are you insulted?

Tough.  Clean up your act.  As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said:

our lives begin to end the day that we remain silent about things that matter.

I would say ‘may he rest in peace’, but I’m quite sure that if he’s aware of what continues to go on on this small blue planet, he is not feeling at ease.

Fare well, Dr King.  See you when I get there.

 

 

 

 

The True Story of St Nicholas

Santa Claus, Sinter Klaas, St Nick, Father Christmas – who is behind the legend?  As it turns out, there are several Saints Nicholas.

Saint Nicholas of Bari and Myra; St. Nicholas of Flüe, Patron of Switzerland; St. Nicholas of Tolentino; and St. Nicholas I, Pope in the 9th century also existed.  Which one is it who is our holiday man-of-the-hour?

Myra_tombs1_copy1
Myra tombs in present day Lycia, Turkey

The Christmas benefactor is based on the first mentioned above: St. Nicholas of Bari and Myra.  He was the only child of his wealthy Greek parents, born in Patera (now part of the Anatolian Peninsula in Turkey) in the second half of the 3rd century (about 250 AD), and always was very religious.

Because Christians were at that time heavily persecuted they had to remain in hiding and keep their faith-based acts secret.   Nicholas moved to Myra, a town of Ancient Greece that lies in what is now Lycian Turkey, on the north shore of the Mediterranean Sea. His parents both died when he was young, of a plague, and he inherited their estate and was raised by his uncle (also named Nicholas).

Christians had been persecuted off and on for over 200 years, being considered ‘traitors’ to Rome for not engaging in Imperial cult rituals – the most widespread official persecution was carried out by Diocletian.

During the Great Persecution (303–311), the emperor ordered Christian buildings and the homes of Christians torn down and their sacred books collected and burned. Christians were arrested, tortured, mutilated, burned, starved, and condemned to gladiatorial contests to amuse spectators. – The Story of the Roman Amphitheatre Bomgardner, D. L. . New York: Routledge, 2000. p. 142.

Nicholas grew up as a devout follower of Jesus, and thought the bloodlust of the Roman Empire was horrible. When Emperor Constantine the Great (who is also considered a Saint) converted to Christianity while on a march to war in 312 AD, this all changed. Christians were able to come out of the closet at last; in 313 Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, decriminalizing Christian activity and worship.  (It was not at this time that Rome became a Christian nation, however.  It simply adopted an attitude of tolerance; it claimed religious neutrality.)

Free to be Christian

Bishop Nicholas
St Nicholas of Bari – by Di Giovanni c. 1460

Nicholas’s devotion led to his becoming a bishop himself, and then he was known as “Father Nicholas.” With a vast amount of wealth and a truly charitable heart, the bishop could now openly care for the poor. This is where our legend begins.

A local famous nobleman had fallen on hard times, and he had three daughters, but no money to provide as a dowry for them.  He was going to have to sell them into prostitution because of his poverty, and was deeply worried.  Father Nicholas knew of his plight, but did not want to humiliate him by openly giving him money.

Under cover of night on Christmas Eve, he ‘prowled’ over to the nobleman’s palace, and tossed a pouch of ball of gold coins into the house. It is debatable how he delivered this gift. Some versions say he dropped one down the chimney each Christmas Eve for three consecutive years.  Others say it was three nights in a row, and it was through a window. The chimney version is elaborated upon even further – that one of the daughters had laundered her stockings and hung them in the fireplace to dry above the embers, and when Nick dropped the package, it landed in one of them.

In any case, the nobleman caught Father Nicholas on the third of these skulking events, and was shocked that it was his bishop; Nicholas admonished him to keep it a secret, however, which the nobleman did.

Influence on the Emperor

There are other legends that he freed three prisoners.  It is known that Constantine ordered an end to the Gladatorial Games in 325. Prior to that (but after his conversion), he also ordered that prisoners were to be given access to the outdoors rather than being kept in total darkness, and while they could still be ‘executed’ in the arena, their faces were not to be mutilated. Were these decisions influenced by Father Nicholas?  Possibly.

Also in 325, Father Nicholas was one of the bishops invited to the Council of Nicea where Constantine wanted to put an end to the squabbling amongst the Christian clergy once and for all.  The greatest bone of contention was whether or not “Jesus was God.” One bishop named Arius insisted that Jesus was merely a man, and this angered other church leaders, including Nicholas.

In the end, the Arian controversy was squelched and the committee decided to go with the “Trinity” version of things, allowing that Jesus was, in fact, God incarnate.

Generous and Hot-Tempered

At the same time that Nicholas was fiercely generous and devoted to the needy and outcast, he was quick to anger.  A forensic examination of his bones revealed that his nose had been broken, and it’s possible that this happened during his imprisonment under Diocletius.  But, it’s also possible that it happened when he physically assaulted Arius at the Council meeting in Nicea because of his anger at the suggestion that Jesus was merely a man.

Painting of Council of Nicea
St Nick punching Arius

If he was that pushy, it is even more possible that he did, in fact, influence Constantine. But Constantine didn’t really care about what decision the bishops made – he just wanted consensus. And the bishops delivered.

 

Afterward, Constantine made Rome an officially Christian Empire.

The Story in the Bones

Nicholas died in Myra, and his bones were buried there; it was discovered that his tomb emanated a liquid they called ‘manna’ – said to have smelled of rosewater, it was considered a miracle, and to this day it still appears.

Relics were very big business at that time, a thing started by Constantine’s mother, Helena when she made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and discovered the cross and spear that had been used in Jesus’s crucifixion. She built a new church to house them, and so it began. Devotees could be pardoned for their sins by purchasing ‘relics’ – and the business of ‘fake’ relics became rampant in Christendom (the church has always been wealthy, and that’s one of the reasons why).

In any case, some 62 sailors from Bari (in Italy) were hired by merchants in 1087 to steal the bones and bring them to Bari, knowing that with a relic such as the bones of Nicholas they could make money off of pilgrims as well. One of them named Matthew smashed open the sarcophagus to steal the bones, and is said to have found the skull glowing; he made away with it and many of the other bones to Bari. (The sailors were supposed to be given a share of the profits, but the Church – built by the merchants – renegged on the deal and kept all of the proceeds for itself.)

This is why he is called Saint Nicholas of Bari and Myra (although Myra was where he lived).  The tomb in Bari had been opened only once in 1700 years, and that was in 1953, when scientists were allowed to carefully measure and draw images of what they found.

At the turn of the 21st century, a scientist asked if he could examine the bones again, and was granted permission to do so.  His forensic reconstructionist was the woman who discovered that his nose had been broken.

The skeleton was partially missing, but there was enough of it to also determine that he was a small man – barely over 5 feet tall.

The Patera Relics

During this examination, the scientist also was granted permission to view the few bones stashed in the Museum of  Anatolia, in Turkey – where Nicholas was born.  One was of half of the lower jaw, but this could not have been Nicholas’ jaw, because that section of the skull in Bari was still intact.  Whose jaw was it?  No idea, but they still made bunches of money by claiming it was his.

(Similarly, there are said to be ‘fingers’ of Jesus all over the ancient world that are thought to be holy relics – but there are far too many of them for the claims to be real.)

Santa Claus in America

How did he become an American icon?  Well, it wasn’t because of the Church.  In fact, when the pilgrims came here and settled into the New World, they were Dutch and English Protestants. They disdained the power of ‘the Church’ – and refused to participate in the business of relics, or official “churchiness.” However, the Dutch children still celebrated December 6 as the feast of Sinter Klaas (Santa Claus).

The Dutch also had a legend of the pagan god “Thor” –

Thor was the god of the peasants and the common people. He was represented as an elderly man, jovial and friendly, of heavy build, with a long white beard. His element was fire, his color red. The rumble and roar of thunder were said to be caused by the rolling of his chariot, for he alone among the gods never rode on horseback, but drove in a chariot drawn by two white goats (called Cracker and Gnasher). He was fighting the giants of ice and snow, and thus became the Yule-god.

He was said to live in the “Northland,” where he had his palace among the icebergs. The pagans considered him as the cheerful and friendly god, never harming humans, but rather helping and protecting them. The fireplace in every home was especially sacred to him, and he was said to come down through the chimney into his element, the fire. – (See H. A. Guerber, Myths of the Northern Lands Vol. I, p. 61ff., New York, 1895.)

Sinterklass Netherlands
Sinterklaas

When the Dutch children in the colonies shared this story with their English neighbor children, the English children were, of course, interested in it.  To settle the matter, the visit of Sinter Klaas (pronounced like Santa Claus) was combined with the legend of Thor and attached to Christmas instead of the 6th of December.

Some modern Christians feel that since the “real” St Nicholas of Bari and Myra has nothing at all to do with the figure of Santa Claus, who was a Germanic Pagan god (the one after whom Thursday is named), Santa should not be attached to “Christmas” at all – that children should be told ‘the truth’ and to focus only on the birth of Christ.

(Which, of course is only slapped on to Dec 25 because that was when the Pagan Saturnalia festival ended.  The sun moves south over the horizon as winter sets in, and then for three days it remains there before once more heading northward to it’s summer position. The festival was held to celebrate the rising of the sun; many other cultures also celebrated this, and the Church couldn’t stop them doing it, so they ‘invented’ the birthday of Jesus to coincide with it).

Feast Day of St Nicholas of Bari and Myra

St Nicholas is the patron saint of: pawnbrokers, children, sailors, repentant thieves, students, and many other causes.

The 6th of December is the feast day in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic church. Many families still celebrate it with ‘visits’ from St Nicholas on the eve before, when he leaves gifts and packages, and then with prayers and story-telling at each meal on the 6th, and a candle-lit dinner of pork shoulder stuffed with cranberries, apples, prunes and raisins, and rolls and mashed potatoes.  For dessert they have Black Forest “Good Works” Cake after more prayers.

If you’d like to add more traditions or customs or legends, please feel free to do so in the comments below!  Thank you for stopping by, and save me some of that pork shoulder, eh? Yummy! And be sure to check out the resources page for many more sources.

What About the Kids?

This morning while browsing the internet, and building a pinterest board, I came across this image. This is how little kids “hear” the Bible stories…in their imaginations, “God” – the one that throws people into hell, that is –  becomes a big, scary, horrible monster that’s going to do  awful things to them.

The above is very funny to us as adults, but it wasn’t to that child.  She might very well be traumatized by it.  She won’t ‘remember’, but she is just as likely to have a life-long fear of zebras and horses due to this, as not.

When my son was that age, we were out shopping as a family, and a life-size mechanical gorilla was stationed as a greeter in the doorway of of the shop.  He. Was. Terrified.  I will never forget it.

Fear is A Deadly Weapon

When adults put fearful images into the minds of their children, they are doing damage. Serious damage.  Whether its Palestinian kids being told to hate and kill Jews, or Westboro Baptist Church having their kids hold signs that say “God Hates Fags”, it’s abuse either way.

Look at the innocence on the faces of these two babies. One with a zebra in her face, the other hearing from his mother (or another female carer) that he’ll be thrown into hell. Those kids feel terrified. Defenseless. Dependent on the flesh and blood adults who are supposed to PROTECT them.

Why put horror stories into their heads? Well, to make them behave, of course! To make them toe the line, hoe the row, be perpetually ashamed and feel guilty. ALL THE TIME.

How Self-loathing is Acquired

A few years ago, I wrote a forum commentary about an article entitled:  Escape from Christian Fundamentalism – the Kids Who Flee Abusive, Isolated Christian Homes

Telling a child “you are never good enough, and never can be, no matter how hard you try” is one of the most damaging things a parent can ever say to a child. To tell them that there’s an invisible “judge” sitting above them watching every move they make, every step they take, every thought they have – and being disappointed all the time is a dreadful (in the literal sense of the word) thing to do.

Any parents who are teaching their children that they are piles of crap deserves to LOSE that child. This is the topic about which I am MOST passionate. There is NO EXCUSE for it. The only people who tell their children this are those who a) want to control them; or b) were taught this themselves. Either way, it’s a FAR CRY from “love.”

In God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Christopher Hitchens, who unfortunately is no longer with us, presents the case that I champion. Religion Poisons Everything, indeed.

Give it some thought. Better yet, give it a read. Even if you’re ‘into’ God, learn how teaching it to children HURTS.dawkinshitchens

I read an article this morning about how the internet has made it really, really difficult for religions to ‘con their followers’, how it is bound to take down religious leaders’ claims.  As this movement builds momentum, the world will improve.

Say What You Think – Say It Out Loud!

Even if it’s scary, we must learn to step up and discredit things we were taught that are clearly false.  We must STOP the religious leaders who would damage our children with disinformation.

It used to be taboo to talk about religion with others.  Not anymore.  Not, at least, on the internet.  And church leaders who think that somehow they will tell their followers to “stay off of the internet altogether”, or will censor what sites can be visited (imagine them telling their followers “If you even READ about these things, you WILL go straight to hell!” – not such an outlandish possibility – it’s what religious leaders have always said to the curious and the doubters: the free thinkers) by, for example, maybe having a computer in the parish hall, but blocking it like nervous parents do for their children.

Where Can You Speak Up?

If you are in an environment where doing so will get you shunned by everyone you love, then say it out loud ON THE INTERNET – there are tens of thousands of sites out there for you to join in and speak up.  Forums are a great way to be heard: for example here are  are nearly 70 articles about Religion, Faith, and Theology that I wrote on one of the most popular “conspiracy theory” sites in the world.

In addition to those, I wrote over 350 other articles in various categories.  It’s free, and fun, and easy.  Well – it isn’t ALWAYS fun, especially in the Religious topics – there are definitely people who disagree with me, and they are NOT meek little mice, let me tell you.

My very first thread was The Christmas Hoax: Jesus is NOT The Reason for the Season – when I decided to speak up.

I offer it here, for your review and commentary:

Dec, 22 2011 @ 01:40 PM

Here is some info that ATS members may or may not wish to know:I mean no disrespect to anyone for their chosen “faith” or “truth”, but in the spirit of Denying Ignorance, I hope this offering will be received with thoughtful and intelligent appreciation.


The December 25th birthday of the sun god is a common motif globally, dating back at least 12,000 years as reflected in winter solstices artfully recorded in caves. “Nearly all nations,” says Doane, commemorated the birth of the god Sol to the “Queen of Heaven” and “Celestial Virgin.” The winter solstice was celebrated in countless places, including China and Persia, the latter regarding the solar Lord and Savior Mithra’s birth. In Rome, a great festival called “Saturnalia” was celebrated from December 1st to the 23rd. The winter solstice festival in Egypt included the babe in a manger brought out of the sanctuary.

….

Ancient Greeks celebrated the birthday of Hercules and Dionysus on this date, as the ancient authority Macrobius (c. 400 AD/CE) maintained. Even the Greek father god, Zeus, was supposedly born at the winter solstice. The “Christmas” festival was celebrated at Athens and was called “the Lenaea,” during which time, apparently, “the death and rebirth of the harvest infant Dionysus were similarly dramatized.” This Lenaea festival is depicted in an Aurignacian cave-painting in Spain, with a “young Dionysus with huge genitals,” standing naked in the middle of “nine dancing women.” The Aurignacian period extended from 34,000 to 23,000 years ago.

I fully realize this information flies in the face of many modern Christians, in particular those who subscribe to the creationist and evangelical dogma….it may also surprise some neo-Pagans…to find that the winter solstice has been part of “religions” for a long time, and not ONLY among the Nature Faiths.
I, too, was raised in a Christian family, and as a youth began to question what I had been taught. I do not subscribe to any one faith now: I read all I can regarding each religion, and pick and choose which tenets and thoughts make sense to me (in my mind, and in my soul).

www.truthbeknown.com…

If anyone has previously decided this page (cited above) is not to be shared here, I apologize in advance. I would like to have a calm, reasonable discussion regarding the points made. But, if it is found to be trouble-making, mods, please just remove it!!

Season’s greetings, ATS!

That was in December of 2011.  Since then, I’ve grown, and I’ve continued to learn.  Three years later, I am even MORE passionate now than I was then, but I have decided to add the material I’ve written since then into this, my own website.

Please leave comments below (scroll all the way down), I really want to know what you all think!