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Ashes to Ashes

By Mahons On February 26th, 2020

Ash Wednesday has rolled around again. When asked what he was giving up for Lent my Dad used to say “Throwing Rocks at Whales”. Now I say it. The nonsense phrase i cant shake.

Sometimes I’ve thought of giving up going to Church. Im pretty relaxed on articles of faith as it is. And the clergy, especially the leadership, havent particularly inspired me. In fact they often infuriate me.

The spiritual journey towards or away from faith is a road you ultimately have to go down by yourself. Im very cautious of the people who are certain one way or another, they tend to send me in the opposite direction.

I suppose I’m a to each his own on the topic. Freedom of religion and freedom from religion seems like a good compromise to me.

18 Responses to “Ashes to Ashes”

  1. I’m very cautious of the people who are certain one way or another, they tend to send me in the opposite direction

    Agreed completely.

  2. The biggest argument against faith is that disbelief regarding a whole range of crazy things is completely suspended by the same people who would be totally sceptical if someone suggested something similar but far more likely.

    The biggest argument for faith, at least Christian faith, is that it inspired so much genius and aesthetic and emotional beauty:

    Before kids came and brought exhaustion after almost a week of Karneval, for decades I used to read every AshWednesday this emotional masterpiece. It starts haltingly, then becomes tortured into complete despair, before catharsis and the hope of redemption. It’s carried by the rhythm of hesitation; it seems if losing your faith is difficult, reconversion is even worse 🙂
    I know this kind of thing is now no longer popular, both in style and content, but that’s something more to celebrate.

    http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/t__s__eliot/poems/15133

  3. That was nice Mahons. A phrase memory always brings thoughts of the person it originated with. Don’t know if you still have your father, but that phrase will always trigger a memory of him….

    six weeks of penitence before Easter…… Faith and Religion you can have one without the other. I started out as a Catholic and still consider myself a catholic all though I haven’t been in a Catholic church for years except for funerals.

    Christ commissioned the church to be part of this world but not of it. It lost that millenia ago. The catholic church’s I attended most of my life have always been political and even though apparently Father Chester the Molester was running all around I never saw any of it. I miss Father Duffy. Father Duffy and Father D’Angelo used to pitch quarters with us. Father Angelo was also my first boxing coach. These were men we trusted. We argued with, ate with, and prayed with.

    I can’t give up going to church. Even where I’m at now there are no real Catholic Churches not like the ones I grew up in, I still meet once a month with a priest and some others. We have a Bible and Barbeque group. But faith plays into the other groups I belong to working with addicts and the Homeless.

    When Mahons says people who don’t question faith troubles him….. fanatics of any kind are dangerous, but I have known many who have zero question of belief in God. Belief in God and Faith is not the same as religion or church.

    I have witnessed miracles, I have never seen or talked with an Angel, but I have been in the presence of a Demon. I have witnessed both good and evil. Witnessed murder and birth.

    My belief in God is unshakable. Do I believe he puppets us NO does he judge us….. not in the way most think in my opinion. God has provided each of us everything we need. Our choices are what judge us, and when we die if there is a heaven or hell they are still our choices that pick where we go.

  4. Well said Pat. My belief in God is unshakable as well, but as for the Church, well, it’s quite shaken. My old mother used to say never let a man get between you and God. The priests have.

  5. My belief in God is unshakable as well, but as for the Church, well, it’s quite shaken. My old mother used to say never let a man get between you and God. The priests have.

    Interesting comment Charles. As you know my faith in Mother Church went decades ago.

    My maternal Grandmother, a lifelong Irish Repubublican and daily communicant, used to tell me that belief came from god and religion from man.

  6. The spiritual journey towards or away from faith is a road you ultimately have to go down by yourself.

    That’s a road I’ve never had to go down one way or the other, and probably never will.

  7. Dump the sky-god guys. You’ll not regret it and the world will make much more sense.

    The pandemic we are about to experience has led to new interest in the Drake Equation which speculates on the possibility of intelligent life developing elsewhere in our 15 billion years old universe. Given that there are at least 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy and at least 100 billion other galaxies, and that we have been able to detect hundreds of planets in the past 20 years, it seems that intelligent life is far more likely a possibility than we used to think.

    Which raises the question of why they have never got in touch. And there are two likely answers, both of which assume that intelligent civilisations have a finite life. One is that they get to a point where they develop weapons of mass destruction and wipe themselves out. And the other is that they succumb to a mass pandemic. The Black Death killed about one third of the population of Europe in the 1340s. Those guys never travelled more than a few miles from home on average. So just imagine what a Black Death could do in the 2020s with daily mass travel and globalisation. Despite vastly better healthcare and scientific knowledge.

    We have been warned by history.

  8. Peter

    And there are two likely answers,

    There are more than 2 likely answers Peter, For instance faster than light or even close to light speed travel may not even be possible. And the universe, even our milky way, are really, really, really big.

  9. The Drake Equation is one of my favorite equations.

  10. // The Black Death killed about one third of the population of Europe in the 1340s. Those guys never travelled more than a few miles from home on average. //

    But “on average” is irrelevant for the spread of disease. You only need one traveller to infect a town and a few more to bring the virus across the continent. There was much more travel in late medieval Europe than people think – merchants, diplomats, emissaries, friars….
    There was an extensive network of trade lines all over Europe. In fact, one of the reasons for the many mass expulsions and massacres of leading Jewish communities in western Europe in those years is that the town populations blamed travelling Jews for spreading the disease.

  11. It seems that intelligent life is far more likely a possibility than we used to think.

    Which raises the question of why they have never got in touch. And there are two likely answers

    There is also another theory which assumes that while there may be other intelligent life in the universe the reason they haven’t got in touch is because they’re not as technologically advanced as humanity?

    Why do we always assume that other possible life forms are as or more advanced than ours?

  12. On the subject of Ash Wednesday, this couple are pretty funny:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLKrHw6drYg

  13. Paul McMahon,

    Why do we always assume that other possible life forms are as or more advanced than ours?

    That’s actually a really good question mate. The latest models predicting how life evolved and the chances of intelligent life arising show that while this is a certainty given enough time, it would take billions and billions of years minimum. So in all likelihood if there is other life out there, the majority if it would be less intelligent than us.

  14. I’m still trying to see if there is intelligent life in the Republican Party.

  15. Don’t worry Mahons, I’m still here! 🙂

  16. Charles you are probably the sole Trump supporter on this blog who is able to question at least some things about the President. No doubt the Party will purge you soon.

  17. Thank you Mahons, Coming from you, that’s practically a kiss on the political cheek!

  18. The latest models predicting how life evolved and the chances of intelligent life arising show that while this is a certainty given enough time, it would take billions and billions of years minimum.

    No Dave

    Our planet is 4.6 billion years old and homo sapiens has been around in some shape or form for at least 200,000 years. So let’s round that to about four billion years for this planet to produce intelligent life.

    The universe is about 15 billion years old so it’s quite possible that other civilisations have emerged and died billions of years before the first amphibians colonised the land on this planet around 400 million years ago. And if that’s possible, it’s also likely that there are other advanced civilisations existing now, both in our galaxy and in the billions of other galaxies.

    I take your earlier point about the vast distances as a possible third explanation why we haven’t heard from them. But my money is still on wmd or pandemics leading to extinction within a few hundred thousand years. After all, that’s what we are faced with on this planet.