Why do the gods love the insecure?

I’m in serious danger of meeting the deadline for this Easter anthology. I only missed the deadline for ‘Ransom’ by a few days, this one could be the one that makes it. Eight stories edited, six approved by the authors, it’s really only me who’s stopping it getting published today. I’m writing a Dume story with Romulus Crowe and those two are hard to control.

Anyway, some of the comments on the last post got me wondering. Why is it that those who profess to be God’s chosen ones – of any religion – seem to be so damn touchy about it? Come on, if you’re the chosen people of whichever God you follow, surely you don’t give as much as a fly-blown gerbil’s testicle what I or anyone else believe?

You can relax in the knowledge that I, and everyone who does not follow your religion, is going to Hell and you’ll be able to laugh at them while looking down from Heaven.

Okay, I know, some (very few) religions don’t like the idea of people going to Hell. I can’t remember who said it, but a wise man once pointed out that no true Christian would accept entry to Heaven as long as there was one soul suffering in Hell. If they are as compassionate as they say, they could not stand the idea of a fellow human enduring such torture.

That’s being a bit harsh, I suppose. A Christian could argue, quite fairly, that we heretics had a choice.

Still,we see religious groups claiming victim status all over the place. Not all of them, some are actually grown up, but most act like God’s spoiled children. Christians, for example, no longer play Kill the Unbeliever! Others do, and it’s not just the Muslims.

I don’t get it. I have never felt the need for a religion. Many people do and I have no problem with that. If your life feels better because you believe someone is watching everything you do, you have a good time. I prefer to work alone. I don’t need a supervisor.

But why do you care what I think? If you are in one of the currently militant religions, why does it matter if I’m alive right now? I’m not interested in de-converting you. I have no rival religion to suck away your followers. I genuinely don’t care.

You believe you will go to paradise and I will go to Hell. Looking around at the world, I think I’m already there to be honest. Still, why kill me now? Why not revel in the knowledge that I will enjoy a life of drink and debauchery and then suffer for all eternity?

Further, if you have the slightest trace of compassion for humanity and you know I face an eternity of having little red laughing demons poking hot pitchforks up my bum, shouldn’t you let me enjoy the brief time I have here? You can laugh at me later, while you share God’s basement with those 72 pasty white gamer guy virgins you’re so looking forward to.

Incidentally, if you’re a Muslim woman, what do you look forward to? I’m genuinely interested because we’ve never been told.

If you are God’s chosen ones then surely you have nothing to fear. No reason for the killing sprees. No reason for Hindus or Muslims or anyone else to wipe out the opposition. We’re not going to be taking your seat in Heaven’s coffee shop. We’ll be suffering the booze-fuelled smoking area downstairs.

I wonder if Satan makes us go outside the gates of Hell for smoke breaks? Somehow I doubt it. I bet there’s one of those stainless steel ashtrays outside the Pearly Gates though.

Look, religious people. You claim to be the superior ones. God’s chosen. The ones to get eternal pleasure while everyone not of your religion gets eternal pain.

So if you have this God-given superiority, why do so many of you act like total dicks?

It’s a question that really needs an answer. Is there one?

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It’s not science if it’s one observation

A long long time ago, in a galaxy far away…

Sorry, just been watching the latest Star Wars with a couple of whisky and smoke soused pals, and wondered if an opening of ‘Just the other day, in a house across the street…’ would be a fun opening for a story.

I digress but then I have been at a smoky-drinky and am somewhat tiddly. I was supposed to go into the big town to meet a regular commenter tonight but he was busy until 9:30, the last bus home was at 11 and the bus ride is an hour each way. Next time we’ll plan it better.

Anyway. A long time ago when I was active as Romulus Crowe online, I wondered about schizophrenia and its treatments. Did the treatments cure something or were ‘the voices’ real and the pills merely blocked the subject’s ability to hear them?

As far as medial science is concerned, you hear disembodied voices, you take the pills, you don’t hear the voices any more, you are cured. The possibility that the voices were real does not enter into Science’s calculations – but it should. Science should be open to every possibility.

Even the possibility of God.

I don’t believe in any God and I take no medication. I’m on neither side in the fight that is about to happen in the comments. I don’t take sides in fights. I just start them and watch 😉

I’ve said before that science cannot prove the absence of a thing. It can prove presence but when reporting absence all it can say is ‘not found’. It cannot, ever, say ‘not there’. Science is not able to prove the non-existence of anything when applied correctly. Science cannot locate and define God but real science has to say ‘we didn’t find evidence of God’ and not ‘there is no God’.

Now science has plumbed embarrassing depths in this argument. A group has reported that experience of God is caused by epilepsy based on one – ONE – observation.

I haven’t known many epileptics in my time but the one I remember best had no religion either. And are we to believe that all those religious people out there – billions of them – are all epileptics? It just doesn’t work, does it?

I’m not saying God is real and I’m not saying there is no God. I don’t know and have zero evidence either way. Evolution does not disprove God. It can be explained as a creator who knew his creation would change over time and gave it the means to adapt. None of the animals in Eden were booted out when Adam, Eve and Serpent got the heave-ho so the animals we see now are not Eden’s. There is nothing for science to threaten religion with here. Nothing to do, with all our logic.

Likewise, religion has no effect on science. Religion requires belief without question, whereas science questions everything and believes nothing, not even its own current results. Well, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Science and religion are separate things and should remain so. The fight between them is futile. They are based on entirely different starting premises. There can be no winner because each side fights by different rules.

But really, science, basing ‘proof’ on one observation? Come on now, that is not helping.

 

Is God Libertarian?

‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law’ is the often misinterpreted saying of one Aleister Crowley. He did not mean ‘Ah sod it, just do what the hell you like’. He meant, roughly, ‘Attempt to achieve those things you feel you should achieve’. Maybe that’s not the best way of putting it. Maybe the original quote was the best way after all.

Modern Pagans (some versions) have something similar – ‘An’ it harm none, do as thou will’, which is perhaps a little clearer. Do whatever you want as long as you cause no harm to anyone else.

Mainstream religions, as far as I can discover, have no equivalent to either of those sayings. They are all based on a great big sign saying ‘Obey, or be damned forever’.

Which is Libertarian? I doubt anyone needs it explained.

The last few random and often wandering babbles have been skirting around an underlying point. One hinted at in the middle by the mention of Alex Jones, the groaning fighter for everyone’s freedoms – except the ones he doesn’t like. In Alex Jones’ Libertarianism, everyone should have freedom except smokers. He doesn’t like smokers. They are not real people in the eyes of the antismoker so do not deserve even one single meeting place where they can have a drink and a smoke and not be forced into another lifestyle.

God, Allah, whatever you want to call him, is not a Libertarian. Okay, even Libertarians can agree with some of those commandments. No killing, no stealing, no fraud (‘false witness’), that sort of thing. All perfectly legitimate and justifiably enforceable rules. We might want anarchy but we don’t want to live in bloody chaos. Letting everyone make their own decisions can only work where there are real consequences for those decisions that cause harm to others.

Religion demands much more. You must live as directed, down (in some cases) to minute details such as how you wash and how you dress. Who you associate with and what foods you can eat. All those not of your religion are Wrong and must be shown the error of their ways. That is not libertarianism.

Neither is the Dawkins version of ‘atheism’ which really should come down to ‘You believe it if you like, I have other stuff to do over here so if you don’t mind, just leave me alone, okay?’ but that is no longer what atheism is. Now it is big signs on buses, and books and meetings and derision aimed at those who beleive differently and a determination to convince the world that all religion is Wrong because they do not think the atheist way. That is why I no longer refer to myself as atheist. I am an apathist.

In the past I have defined ‘apathist’ as ‘there may or may not be a God, I don’t care’ but it is perhaps more accurately defined as ‘I don’t care what you believe and have no interest in changing your mind’.

Evolution does not disprove God. All it disproves is the 6000-year limit imposed as the age of the Earth. There are no dates in the Bible. None. The 6000 years was the invention of a man, working with an incomplete manuscript. We know the early Church edited the Bible and took out quite a few books it didn’t like. Some of those books are found but how many more were there, that have not been found? Adding up all the ages of the Biblical past is going to have some very large gaps in the sum.

Also, I cannot fathom why the religious will insist that Adam counted his age from the date of his creation. He had no knowledge of numbers until he ate of the Tree of Knowledge. He lived in a perfect garden with no seasons so had no means to keep track of years. He was immortal so had no reason to keep track of anything. If his age counts from the date he learned about age and years and seasons and the rest of the world, and was then summarily expelled into it, there is no limit to how long he would have been in Eden. That alone would demolish the 6000 years argument and end the bickering about evolution.

Is Science better? In theory, yes. In practice it is exactly the same. You won’t believe the trouble I had publishing my work on oxygen levels in the intestine back in the 1990s. ‘There is no oxygen in the intestine’ was the mantra. There isn’t much, it’s true, and it declines to zero in the middle of the intestine, away from that vast surface area of the blood-infused gut wall, but it is there and it is measurable. And it matters. In terms of gut bacterial metabolism and the location of species within the digesta, it matters a lot. Yet I came up against idiot reviewers who tried to convert my mmol/l figures into Pascals and claimed that my trace detections were greater than atmospheric oxygen. One particularly daft professor claimed that oxygen could not possibly transfer from the blood to the intestinal contents because haemoglobin bound oxygen too tightly for it to be released… which makes blood pretty damn usless for supplying internal organs with oxygen.

I won in the end, but that’s all in the past now.

Incidentally, one of my PhD supervisors came up with a real outside-the-box gadget for measuring nanomolar levels of oxygen. A membrane-covered tiny cell filled with a culture of Vibrio fischeri on the end of an optical fibre linked to a photomultiplier. V. fischeri is one of the bacteria that makes the sea glow at night. I’ve seen that and it’s amazing.  It produces light depending on how much oxygen is around, and it’ll produce light in direct relation to how much oxygen there is – even at extremely low levels. There were many brilliant people in science in the past. That was before the political grant-suckers took control.

Science should be a perfect example of libertarianism but it is infested with control freaks and idiots and dogmatic fools. In some parts it still works but a lot of it is now no better than religion. Believe in the Established Way and do not dare question the Hallowed Ones.

I try to be Libertarian, ever since I heard about the concept on Devil’s Kitchen and realised that mostly I was already there anyway. I really don’t care if people want to believe in Salvation after death. It does not harm me. It does not even harm me when various religions want to chat with me at my door or in the street. If I have no time I just say ‘No time, sorry’ and carry on. If I have time I will hear what they have to say. None have convinced me but to my mind, they should always be free to try. The Dawkins Cult would not allow them that freedom.

Science can claim that living this way or that way is bad for us and should be free to say it. As we should be free to ignore it or to take it on board, judge the risk and either change or carry on as before. Science and especially political pseudoscience should have no power to impose their way of life on the rest of us. The Scientific Inquisition is now a reality in almost every GP’s surgery. Is that what we want?

That is the result of selective libertarianism. ‘Everyone should be free to live as they wish except…’

Libertarianism is an absolute. You are or you are not. There is no middle road.

I do not agree with UKIP’s curbs on immigration. There is no need. All we have to do is stop paying them to come. The problem is not immigration, it is benefits and free healthcare for any bugger from anywhere on the planet. Someone comes here for a better life and is prepared to work for it, fine. Someone comes here for a free house, free money and the right to force us to live like the place they ‘escaped’ from, stop giving them freebies and they won’t come. It’s not rocket science.

I do not rail against religion because I cannot prove that religion is wrong.  I do not believe but am I right to not believe? I don’t know for sure. Can anyone provide absolute proof that I am right to not believe? Nobody can. One day I will find out and it will either be oblivion or a very, very red face.

Even antismokers have the right to be sanctimonious gits. When they impose their views by closing all options to us they violate that ultimately libertarian ‘An’ it harm none…’ principle and shift into totalitarianism.

So what’s it going to be then, droogies? Are we libertarians or are we ‘libertarians except for the ones we don’t approve of’? Are we humans or are we Nazis? No in between there is, young Jedi.

Either we accept that other people are different and might sincerely hold beliefs we might personally find mad, or we try to force others to believe as we do.

There is no in between.

Which world do you want?

 

 

The Dancers at the End of Time.

There is a lot of hoo-ha about the Mayan ‘long count’ calendar ending in December. It’s supposed to mean the Earth will turn upside-down and all the Australians will have to buy umbrellas and bowler hats while the Brits have barbies on the beach or some such thing. End of the world, perhaps, and good riddance to it.

Actually, the nearest real translation suggests that what the Mayans had planned was the mother and father of all New Year parties. Oh, there would be oblivion all right, and many sore heads in the morning, but like all calendars, theirs would just start again once they’d sobered up.

In Hindu philosophy, we now live in the era called Kali Yuga. Western sandal-clad beardies think this is really, really cool and nice but if you look at an image of Kali, you might notice something. She is standing on a corpse. She has weapons and a severed head in her hands and a necklace made of heads. Her followers used to be called ‘Thuggi’ and it’s no coincidence that the modern term ‘Thug’ is so similar. Kali is very dangerous indeed.

I enjoy discussing the end of the world with the Jehovah’s Witnesses when they call. They regard the United Nations as the many-headed beast of Revelations, you know, and I can definitely see their point. There is also the matter of the discord predicted by Timothy, which is uncanny in its reflection of what is left of society.

I’m not going all religious on you, the point here is a little less direct. The current world is almost universally crap and everyone would like it to be better. It’s no surprise that people look to these ancient texts to seek some hope that the world will improve, all on its own, and that they won’t have to fight for it. We’ve had two World Wars and although not many people have seen both of them (and people my age and older saw neither) we really don’t want another one. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some supernatural agency ready to say ‘It’s okay, it’s all over now, I made the bad things go away’? This will not happen, even if you are religious.

I’m not going to say all religion is nonsense because I don’t know for sure and don’t really care. Can they all be right? There is actually a scenario in which they could be, which I’ll write up one day, but it’s a scenario none of them will like. The various religions do have a lot of things in common though, beyond the usual ‘have a miserable life here and you’ll have a better one when you die, oh and suicide is cheating’. Many of the things they predicted for this world match up between texts, and even if you do have to employ a little bit of vague interpretation here and there, many have come to pass.

I ignore Nostradamus’ drug-fuelled ramblings because I cannot make head nor tail of a single one of his bizarre outbursts.

At the moment, Israel, the people who started the three most popular religions (yes, that one too, Mohammed studied with Jewish priests, remember, and most of the religion stems from Abraham and Moses) are shouting about bombing Iran. When you look at Iran’s leadership, and note that they have, as a country, declared war not on another country but on a couple of people who live there, it is clear that poking Iran is like throwing gravel at a psycho. The response will be out of all proportion to the abuse, and the response is guaranteed.

In fact, the psycho could well retaliate if he thinks you’re about to throw gravel. He might not wait until you do.

The Iranian people don’t want war. The Israeli people don’t want it. No people of any country ever do. However, as one of Hitler’s cohorts (or maybe the Chaplin impersonator himself) once said, it is a simple matter to take people along with you into war. All you need is the threat of invasion, real or imagined. Almost every government in the world has been hyping up the threat of invasion of one sort or another and this world is now a powder-keg rolling towards a bonfire.

Incidentally, why did 1930s Germany vote in a Chaplin impersonator? Was it because they felt he might cheer them up a bit? He didn’t. Perhaps if Nick Griffin fiddled with his tie and said ‘This is another fine mess you’ve gotten me into,’ he might get more votes. The moustache would be the same…

So we have the Persian Gulf filling up with warships, openly practising what they’ll do when Iran kicks off. Not if, when. That practice session alone will certainly enrage the evidently unhinged leaders in Iran and Israel’s threats just need to be carried out. They don’t need to be carried out by Israel. If it happens, Israel will get the blame. Every other country on both sides of this fight knows that.

Most Iranians will neither know nor care about those ships. Those that do will only know what their State tells them, like the rest of us. Whichever country you live in, one thing is constant. The State tells you what it wants you to believe.

There is still this matter of the End of the World, or of ushering in a Golden Age or a New World Order. It all sounds the same to me. There are people in positions of power who actually believe it can be done – not by God, but by man. Well, not by the likes of you and me, of course. No, this will be done to us, not for us, by idiots who think they are intelligent because they have money.

It might be that those ancient religious texts have caused their own prophecies to be fulfilled, through the creation of a situation where those who believe have risen to power, since those who don’t believe have always been sidelined.  It doesn’t matter which flavour of religion they follow, all of them have a New World Order at the end of the book.

Except one. Those who follow the Satanic ways must surely know that in every religious book out there, the devil gets his arse kicked in the end. Many people claim the world is run by Satanists and maybe it is, I don’t know. As I’ve said before, it doesn’t matter whether any of the supernatural stuff is real. What matters is when someone in a position of power believes it is.

Aleister Crowley (I read his stuff too, in the interests of equality) came out with the line ‘Do what thou Wilt shall be the Whole of the Law’. This is often wrongly considered to mean ‘Do whatever you like and hang the consequences’. It doesn’t, because he intended it to apply to everyone. It was a Libertarian idea, not a libertine one. He meant that if you want to do something, do it. Don’t sit on your arse talking about it, get up and make it happen. He also made clear that doing things that harm others can have consequences.

Gerald Gardner, the inventor of modern Paganism, modified this to ‘An it harm none, do what you will’, which is a clearer Libertarian statement. Pagans are not Satanists, there is an entirely different set of beliefs involved and far less blood. Crowley couldn’t really be considered a Satanist since he believed he was the Beast 666, and therefore it would have been silly to worship himself. He wasn’t the Beast, as it turned out, since he’s dead and the world hasn’t ended yet.

Satanists have backed the underdog in the religion game. They support the guy whose kingdom is going to get battered and perhaps they believe they can forestall that predicted end somehow.

The point, if there is one, is that all these New World Order change-predictors want different outcomes. There is no concensus on what the Golden Age would be like. For me, it would involve pubs with no juke boxes serving free booze and with an ashtray on every table to tap your no-tax cigarettes into. For others, it would have no pubs, booze or tobacco at all. For them that is Heaven, for me it is Hell. And vice versa.

There can never be a Golden Age for the simple reason that no proposed scenario would please everyone. The new religion of the Green God wants us all back in Mediaeval mud huts, scooping up cow dung and drying it for the fire, while windmills swirl above us mincing birds and providing just enough power to keep the hall light on in the Green Lord’s mansion.

How many people want that particular Golden Age? How many want one with no cars, a return to the days when travelling from the mid-UK to France took a couple of weeks? How many want to go back even to my youth, with a small screen black and white TV that was on for a few hours a day, no such thing as VCR, when CDs were the stuff of ‘Tomorrow’s World’ and computers with less power than calculators occupied entire buildings, twin tub washing machines, cooking ranges built into to the fireplace, and still in many houses (fortunately not ours) outside toilets and a tin bath in front of the living room fire? Hardly anyone had a phone in the house and mobile phones were baked bean cans joined with string.

How many want a Golden Age of free electricity and no wars and doctors who actually treat the problem rather than blaming it on lifestyle? That one isn’t on offer. There is no profit in free power and if nobody is buying bullets or paying into crazy ‘health’ schemes, several party sponsors go bust.

There is a fuse burning low these days, and it looks like it’s going to reach its explosive charge in the Middle East. If not Iran, then maybe Syria will blow. Iraq and Afghanistan are unstable. Many governments in that region are even more deranged than the British one. Our interventions there have not poured oil on troubled waters, they have poured petrol on a fire. Nobody in government has noticed that all of those lost lives, all of that fighting has made things far, far worse for the real people while enriching those at the top. They don’t care. Well, they don’t care about their own people, why would we expect them to care about someone else’s?

Something will happen before the end of the year. The sandalled beards will say it vindicates the prophesies and maybe it will, but it will be like cheering when the car hits the blind man crossing the road. The fulfilment of those old books will not be something to celebrate. Iran does not have the firepower to nuke the West, but they have allies who do. Will the West nuke Iran? When Iran gets under way, it might turn out to be the only way to stop them. And then…

It will not be the end of time, because time began when the universe began and ends when it ends, and the universe doesn’t need us. It will not be the end of this planet, it will continue to roll around its orbit whether we are on it or not. Maybe in a few hundred years, some alien explorers will conclude that there could never have been life here because the whole planet is far too radioactive. So much for the conservationists who want to protect an obscure Amazonian spider.

Everyone is piddling about with trivia. The biggest worry among teenagers in the UK is that they might have an embarrassing photo on Farcebook. At government level, Deputy Dawg Clegg is going on and on about gay marriage as if anyone (including most gay people) give so much as one fleck on the bowl after a vindaloo. Meanwhile the world is burning and nobody is trying to douse the flames, some are fanning them for money and some of us are getting a light and watching the fireworks.

It’s not going to be fixed because nobody is trying to fix it. Those prophecies are going to be self-fulfilling. For the sake of profit, this world is done for and what comes after it will probably glow in the dark. The Golden Age is going to be a dull red ember.

(In an earlier life, I would have gone around town with those ‘The End is Nigh’ sandwich boards on)

What can we do? Nothing. The machine rolls on unheeding and it’s not listening to our warnings. The best course is to enjoy life and watch the madness unfold. Easy for me to say, I know, I won’t have to live through much more of it but I have no advice for the young other than the old religious saying ‘God helps those who help themselves’. Religion was never socialist. It used to help the poor through charity, not taxation, which is why the socialists hate it so much. It also once had the message – if you want it, get off the couch and make it happen. There is no easy way out. God isn’t going to do it all for you.

This world is not for the likes of me. I’ve had half a century of fun and it’s time for younger people to have theirs. There are many Righteous people putting a stop to that fun becasue it’s dangerous now. Well I managed to get through it unscathed as did most of my contemporaries and it was, really, bloody good fun. Still is, although I can’t enjoy it as intensely these days. I’m just glad I had the fun in my youth when I could properly appreciate, if not clearly remember most of it.

So really, there is nothing we older and allegedly wiser ones can do. It’s up to the young and energetic to change the world. They and their children are the ones who will have to live in it, if there is anything left. They can live in the grey Righteous world or they can live in their own construction. They can have a good time or they can watch the bombs go off and dance at the end of time. It is not up to me. It’s up to them.

All I can offer is words and when I was young, I wouldn’t have listened to me either.

(Did anyone get the title reference? It’s the title of a SF writer’s trilogy from a good few years back).

God is irrelevant.

This is not an attack on religion. Nor is it an attack on atheism. I don’t care what you believe in or what you not-believe in. I am an apathist. Believe or not-believe as fervently as you want, have all the ceremonies and not-ceremonies that you wish, indulge in all the gatherings and sort-of-not-really-gatherings that your heart desires. I don’t care.

Are we clear? There might or might not be a God or even Gods. I am not interested in proving or disproving the matter. I am not concerned by other people’s beliefs in or out of God, I really don’t care at all. Therefore I am not interested in deriding, sneering at, putting down or arguing with either side of the issue because I have no idea which side is right and have no real interest in finding out.

Besides, if I really wanted to put the cat among the pigeons (if I had pigeons, they would have reason to hate me often), I could suggest that maybe Heaven and Hell are only real for those who believe in them and everyone else just dies. But that sort of deliberately inflammatory rhetoric is for another time and place, in the real world, when I can watch the whole spectacle unfold. No cats among pigeons here. Well, perhaps just a kitten in the sparrows.

Atheists say that religion kills people and point to the Crusades, the Ottoman Empire etc. to prove their point. The religious say that atheism kills people and point to Stalin, Pol Pot etc. to prove their point. Who is right? Both and neither. Religion does not kill people. Atheism does not kill people. Guns do not kill people. Pointed sticks do not kill people.

People kill people. In huge numbers, all the time. Religion, communism, all these things are excuses. People kill people and we say ‘they did it because of some outside influence’. Bollocks.

They did it because they are/were utter gits. There is no excuse.

There is an entire rant-filled book in this subject area but I have so many things to finish already. Could I keep the rage going for a 60-90,000 word book? Oh yes, I could, but that will have to wait until I have rebuilt the bank-account buffer and finished the current projects. That book could well prove exhausting to read.

So, what is tonight’s babbling all about then? Religion? No, not really, but yeah, but no, but…

It’s more about the dismissal of religion as an irrelevance and here we are going into a spiral of argument that might make you sicker than a five-dimensional rollercoaster.

Religion matters and it does not. It is Schroedinger’s God.  If you are religious then it matters utterly to you. If you are apathist it matters not at all. If you are a Dawkinite atheist then it matters utterly to you that it shouldn’t matter to anyone else.

None of what any of us believe actually matters. What matters is what those in charge believe.

We all scoff at the Satanists. We laugh at the idea that ‘someone who comes willingly to the place is a given sacrifice’. Sure, Satan might be bunk, but if you happen to be at that place at that time, they will kill you just the same.

So it is with those who think they are entitled to rule us all. They believe things. Whether those things are real or not is of no consequence to the rest of us. They believe in those things and they will work to bring about their Messiah or Antichrist or Skreebak the Venusian or Bob the Builder or whoever they think is coming. Is any of it real? Doesn’t matter, they are going to try anyway.

There are those who rail at the beliefs of Christians or Muslims or Jains or Buddhists or Atheists and sure, all of those groups have stated they want everyone to believe as they do. But they are not in power.

The ones to worry about are those who have power and who don’t want converts. They want sacrifices. They don’t care what we believe, we are just the calves and the lambs to be offered up.

You can, if you wish, shout ‘mumbo-jumbo’ and claim it’s all a load of nonsense. Maybe it is or maybe it isn’t but that is of no practical relevance.

Those running the show believe it is real, They follow the owl-head of Andras even if no such demon ever existed and they will do what they imagine is his bidding even if he is nothing more than a product of the fevered imagination of some thirteenth-century grimoire writer.

It is not about what is real any more. Truth be told, it has not been about reality for quite some years now. So there is no point shouting about ‘Oh it isn’t real’. You idiot, it was never meant to be real. It was only ever meant to be convincing.

And oh, imagination can be so very convincing.

Everyone is shouting about Christians and Muslims, there are tales of what those naughty Buddhists are up to, story after story of the mad things done by the warrior Sikhs which are as nothing compared to the idiot activities of certain modern ‘Jackass’ movies, and nothing is said against those who worship the darker side of religious orthodoxy.

I don’t believe in any form of Satanic stuff, but those in charge do.

Do not simply dismiss it as nonsense. Maybe it is all nonsense but those who believe in it plan to sacrifice you anyway. Whether it turns out to be real or rubbish, you’ll be just as dead.

Their best hope of winning is if you just shrug and say ‘Hokum’ and don’t bother looking into the subject because you think it’s all silly.

You might be right but… know what your enemy is thinking. Their thoughts might well be the stuff of madness but remember, they have the power to make that madness real.

All they need is for you to dismiss it as silly.