Atheists are Mohammedans

THESE TWO GROUPS have lots in common. Atheists and Mohammedans.

They both want to stamp out opposing religions, and they can get downright nasty about it too. What? you say. Atheism is not a religion? Sure, it is.*

Atheism states there is no God, which means they know what happens after death in spite of having not a shred of evidence. Their belief is based on faith alone, which makes it a religion. Tell an atheist he’s a man of faith. It’ll really gall him, which is fun.

Mohammedans want to kill those who do not embrace their religion. Atheists don’t go that far, not yet, but they are ever campaigning to have opposing religions suppressed. They want all manifestations of other religions erased from the public sphere.

Note to atheists: If you oppose organized religion, there is only one logical way to do it, and that’s to embrace agnosticism. It’s not a religion because it does not claim to know what happens after death. Agnosticism accepts cluelessness.

Agnosticism is the only rational opposition to religion. If you’re an atheist, you might as well build cathedrals, appoint clergy and invent a Holy Book.

Some saints would be nice too.

* * * *

* Not all atheists are like this. Quite a few are fine people, minding their own business. Let us liken them to gays. Many of them are good people, but many want to put bakeries out of business out of pure spite and meanness.

Call of the Vatican

church
Taken with my “new” used cell phone. Do forgive the quality.

BEING IN A Mexican family occasionally entails social obligations, mostly regarding the Catholic Church or, as my mama would have said, the Catlick Church.

I’ve been asked numerous times over the years to be a godfather to babies. I’ve always dodged that duty, mostly due to not being Catholic, an easy out.

No matter. Occasionally, I have to make an appearance on the Vatican Trail, and recently I did that when a nephew passed some sort of Catholic threshold.

They have names like First Communion, Confirmation, Confession, Holy Blessing from On High, Walking on Knees. I confess they’re a jumble in my noggin’. They all entail indirectly coughing up some pesos for the Pope through his priestly minions who dress like medieval womenfolk.

Well, anyway, there I was, sitting in one of those Catholic pews with the little kneeling rail at my feet, which creates problems for my long legs, plus I do not kneel.

As the two priests droned on and on, the recorded music rose and fell, the incense burned — I liked that part — the people prayed, we stood, we sat, more droning, I took the photo above of the girl and her parents, sitting dead ahead.

Sitting to my left was my lovely child bride, to her left was her sister, to her left was the poor guy who’d been suckered into Godfatherhood, and then finally, abutting the aisle, was our kid decked out in farcical white, head to heel.

The little angel that he isn’t.

After an hour and 10 minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I stood and left. I was hungry. I bought a couple of street cookies, sat on a steel bench outside the church door and waited.

Not long after, the priests ran out of ideas and ended the hoopla. My people came out. The kid looked the same.

But I did enjoy the incense.

A baby’s funeral

church

AS WE ENTERED the old church, I looked at the baby on the floor by the door, and my wife noticed the other one in the small casket up by the altar. We sat down, and listened to the recitation given by a woman seated somewhere among the crowd.

We had not intended to crash a baby’s funeral. We were just on a Sunday afternoon stroll around the neighborhood plaza. We saw the church open and heard things coming through that big door.

The baby the young woman is holding in the photo was on the floor, smiling at me. The young woman was seated by the door. The toddler was nearby. The dog was inside too. We entered and sat a few moments. Then we left and sat on a plaza bench across the street.

Normally, when someone dies in the neighborhood, the church bell gongs for hours. We had heard nothing for this baby’s funeral, and I’m thinking the child died before it was Baptized, meaning all bets are off. Perhaps to Hell with it or simply Purgatory. Doesn’t seem right.

Offhand, I don’t know how Catholics handle this, but I hope the baby’s getting a less-raw deal. There was no priest in sight. It appeared that the neighborhood was winging it for the child.

Hoping for the best.

The therapy generation

therapy

I’VE DONE THERAPY, and I’m not a fan.

The people who get into that line of work, in my opinion, are troubled people, which is why they get into it in the first place. Their true motivation is understanding themselves, not others, but you can make a living at it, so many do. Kill two birds.

Win, win. Endless fixation on one’s self while having others pay you to fix them too. If only you could. Most men are not inclined to therapy. It’s primarily a female thing which folds nicely into their endless talking and reading self-help books.

Men who submit to therapy, I believe, are usually coerced into it by a woman, or they are questionable fellows like Woody Allen. I was in the first category. Maybe the second too.

The therapists to whom I refer are not psychiatrists. I’m talking about psychologists and other lesser lights with therapy “training.” There are lots of options available. Psychiatrists are just physicians who want those big doctor bucks but who faint at the sight of blood.

My sister is a therapist. My first wife is a therapist. My daughter was a therapist until she married very well and became a woman of leisure. The man who picked up my pieces and put me back together in the late 1990s, when I was a basket case, was a therapist, a psychologist.

But his tools were entheogens, not the endless chatter of usual therapy.

I was first hauled into traditional therapy in 1994. My second wife was the hauler. The therapist was a woman, a scandalously expensive marriage counselor in the Galleria area of Houston. Her suite had multiple rooms. At first we sat on a white leather sofa, my seething wife and I.

Basically, it was a gang-bang, and I got hosed, strapped naked atop a grimy mattress on the floor of a dank, stinky basement. The gang-bangers were, of course, the therapist and my wife.

They had their way with me, over and over, and they didn’t even use protection.

My last clear memory of the final session was this: We went into another room of the suite where there were various instruments of torture, or perhaps they were just therapy aids. The shrink had me lie on my back atop a huge inflated ball, basically bending me backwards, which was uncomfortable.

She leaned over me, looked right into my face and asked (I am not making this up): How old are you now?  I’m 50, I accurately responded, but I don’t think that’s what she wanted to hear.

In the parking lot, I vowed not to return, so my wife tossed me out in the cold shortly thereafter.

I do think that in some cases, what I call chatter therapy can do some good, mostly in relationships. Sometimes, but even then I have my doubts. When deeper issues are involved, things buried far below the surface of the psyche, the troubled soul, you can talk till your jaw falls off, and it will have done nothing of use. Our deepest conflicts care naught for conversation.

artAt best, those devilish conflicts might be excavated with some sticks of dynamite. Entheogens can be sticks of dynamite when administered with care.

Therapy as we know it started in the 20th century. There were therapists long before, of course, and they were called priests, ministers, pastors and shamans.

I prefer the old ways of therapy.

A shaman would never have bent me over a big, inflated ball and asked how old I was.

He would already have known. The jungle would  have told him.