Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mark Twain's God

Mark Twain has always been one of my favorite authors. I recently found a long page of quotes and thought I would share one and the link to the rest. I hope you enjoy them!

If I were to construct a God I would furnish Him with some way and qualities and characteristics which the Present lacks. He would not stoop to ask for any man's compliments, praises, flatteries; and He would be far above exacting them. I would have Him as self-respecting as the better sort of man in these regards.

He would not be a merchant, a trader. He would not buy these things. He would not sell, or offer to sell, temporary benefits of the joys of eternity for the product called worship. I would have Him as dignified as the better sort of man in this regard.

He would value no love but the love born of kindnesses conferred; not that born of benevolences contracted for. Repentance in a man's heart for a wrong done would cancel and annul that sin; and no verbal prayers for forgiveness be required or desired or expected of that man.

In His Bible there would be no Unforgivable Sin. He would recognize in Himself the Author and Inventor of Sin and Author and Inventor of the Vehicle and Appliances for its commission; and would place the whole responsibility where it would of right belong: upon Himself, the only Sinner.

He would not be a jealous God -- a trait so small that even men despise it in each other.

He would not boast.

He would keep private His admiration of Himself; He would regard self-praise as unbecoming the dignity of his position.

He would not have the spirit of vengeance in His heart. Then it would not issue from His lips.

There would not be any hell -- except the one we live in from the cradle to the grave.

There would not be any heaven -- the kind described in the world's Bibles.

He would spend some of His eternities in trying to forgive Himself for making man unhappy when he could have made him happy with the same effort and he would spend the rest of them in studying astronomy.

-- Mark Twain, Notebook

More Mark Twain Quotes HERE

Monday, March 14, 2011

Some Worthy Quotes - Mine & Others

"An armed society is a polite society." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Give a man a fire and he'll be warm for a night. Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." - Terry Pratchett.

'If a person offends you, do not resort to extremes, simply watch for your chance and hit him with a brick.' - Mark Twain

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear" - Thomas Jefferson

"Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it." - author unknown

“Genius without education is like silver in the mine.” - Benjamin Franklin

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.” - Mark Twain, 1904 notebook

"Political correctness is tyranny with manners." - Charlton Heston

"Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." -Bob Marley

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein

During his defense when on trial for his life, Socrates, according to Plato's writings, pointed out that dissent, like the tiny (relative to the size of a horse) gadfly, was easy to swat, but the cost to society of silencing individuals who were irritating could be very high. "If you kill a man like me, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me," because his role was that of a gadfly, "to sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth."

"I believe." he thought. "I have faith."
"Faith in what?" he asked himself, adrift in limbo.
"Faith in faith." he answered himself. "It isn't necessary to have something to believe in. It's only necessary to believe that somewhere there's something worthy of belief."
(Gully Foyle: The Stars My Destination) - Alfred Bester

'If a person offends you, do not resort to extremes, simply watch for your chance and hit him with a brick.' - Mark Twain
"Absence of proof isn't proof of absence." - Robert Buettner

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” – Herbert Spencer

"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

"You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?" - Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist

"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." - Voltaire

"You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe." - Carl Sagan

"It is easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission." - Grace Hopper

"By all means marry. If you get a good wife you will become happy, and if you get a bad one you will become a philosopher." - Socrates

"For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice." - Joseph Dunninger, Mentalist

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized." - Lao Tzu

"When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty!" - Thomas Jefferson

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." - Albert Einstein

"Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don't complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief, and jealousy. Don't bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!" - Bob Marley

"No generalization is worth a damn, including this one." - Author unknown

Just a karmic reminder to play nice: "Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate." - Thomas Jones

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is." - Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut

"I always have a quotation for everything - it saves original thinking." - Dorothy L. Sayers

"In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends."
— John Churton Collins

"I cannot help but notice that there is no problem between us that cannot be solved by your departure." - Mark Twain

Many times opportunity is not recognized because it dresses up in work clothes - Henry Ford

"Think of and look at your work as though it were done by your enemy. If you look at it to admire it, you are lost." - Samuel Butler

Quotes from the mind of Rock Cowles

"Inside every fat person is a thin person struggling to get out. Sometimes as many as two or three." - Rock Cowles

"Religion is indeed the opiate of the masses. Except for Islam, its more like Crystal Meth." - Rock Cowles

"No good deed goes unpunished." - Rock Cowles

"I didn't make you look fat, not pushing yourself away from the table made you look fat." - Rock Cowles, Caricaturist.

Why is it easier for some people to believe their ancestors were a clump of mud and a cannibalized body part, than apes? - Rock Cowles

"If you can't afford to give something away, you don't own it, it owns you. If you can't afford to sell it, its probably an important organ." - Rock Cowles

"If the Lottery is tax for people who are bad at math, is tithing tax for those who are bad at reasoning?" - Rock Cowles

"Do Atheists believe in Devils' Advocates?" - Rock Cowles

"Friends don't let friends be Packers Fans... EVER! (I don't care how much paint your mother huffed during her pregnancy!)" - Rock Cowles

"I know enough to know that I don't know what I don't know." - Rock Cowles

"No greater invention was ever devised for creating the delusion of productivity than the personal computer." - Rock Cowles

"Instant gratification isn't worth the wait." - Rock Cowles

"If it looks too good to be true its usually me!" - Rock Cowles

I'm not really a Christian, I just play one at church. (True Things Nobody Says: Rock Cowles)

"Never, ever, ever call a lady cop "Fatboy"." - Rock Cowles

"I am grateful for the friends in my life and the life in my friends." - Rock Cowles
"People treat you exactly the way you teach them to." -Rock Cowles

"I haven't killed anyone all day. Gimme a cookie. Now." - Rock Cowles

"I tried Viagra and all it did was make me taller." - Rock Cowles

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't push him in." - Rock Cowles

"Be still my throbbing pants!" - Rock Cowles

"Its all about the ride. If I can enjoy myself, bring some degree of happiness to others, and leave things a little better than when I got here, it wasn't a wasted trip." - Rock Cowles

"You get your cards, place your bets, and play the best game you can. The House always wins." - Rock Cowles

"We cease to exist every time we go to sleep. That break in awareness includes self-awareness. If you aren't there, you won't know what you are missing." - Rock Cowles

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Is God Responsible for His Creations Ruination?

Reflections: Is God Responsible for His Creations Ruination?
©2007 Rock Cowles

The Bible tells us that God is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), and omnipresent (everywhere, all at once). God created the Heavens and the earth, as well as all of His angels, including Lucifer, AKA Satan. Christians say that God cannot tolerate sin, that He cannot even have it in His "pure" presence. Oops. "Can't" means not all powerful. "Outside of His presence means not omnipresent. If He can't get over this, because He does not know how, He is not all knowing. Ouch. With these curiosities in mind, let's investigate further.

God created Satan. He was Lucifer, God's favorite, and His choir director. Lucifer "conspired" against God, in God's presence! Duh-huh. Of course, all-knowing God knew this little tiff would occur, before He even created Satan, right? But, God in His infinite mercy, banished him anyway. La de da.

If sin is defined (as it is in Greek) as missing the mark, an archer's term, did Satan sin when he was just as God created him, but not as God wanted him? How can that be? It looks to me like God missed the mark or sinned first. If God created everything how can anything, including sin, be present that was not created by Him? A real no brainer here. It can't. Which means, either God created sin or God is not the sole creator.

Back to Genesis. Adam was not born, nor was Eve. God created Adam from the clay of the earth, then when He saw/realized Adam was lonely (He didn't see this coming?), He took Adam's rib and created Eve. Here these two innocents were (they were not born into sin) and they had God to thank for this perfect Utopia and their existence. No pain, no sickness, no hunger, no unfulfilled desires. If you had never had a want or a need that went unmet long enough for you to realize you had a want or a need, would you recognize one when you did? How could you when you had no experience (our greatest teacher) to learn from?

Now God said, you can do anything you want, have anything you want, and stay here (In the Garden of Eden) forever and will never die, as long as you do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. ACCCK! Lots of tough questions here! We have already established that if you don't know what a want or need is, it is not something you can conceptualize, just as you would be unable to fathom loss if you had never lost anything. Now if you had never been anywhere but "here", not ever heard of, seen pictures of, or met anyone from anywhere but "here", then "here" is as good and as bad as it gets, and not being able to be "here" would be a punishment vague beyond any cerebral means of retrieval. Okay, crappy darn, here comes another tough aspect. Never in your life have you done without, suffered a loss, made a mistake, felt pain, been punished or seen anyone punished. How could anyone expect you to understand the concepts of obedience or punishment without seeing disobedience first or having to earn something?

Now besides God, the animals, and each other, Adam and Eve had never met anyone. They must have been bored crazy. Along comes Satan, disguised as a serpent, looking like just another of God's creations (which he was, only disguised). Satan teaches them. Did he create the Tree? No. Did he give them lives of entitlement where they could not conceive of the "punishment" God threatened? No. Did Satan threaten them with banishment and death if they failed their first test ever with the world's worst learning curve (One question, "Can you obey?", and if you get it wrong you die (even though you don't really understand death))!? No. And what's funny, in an eternal damnation kind of way, is even if Satan did any of those things, didn't God create Satan just as he was, with complete foreknowledge of the things Satan would do, despite "so called free will"? Satan offered them something God had not, plain and simple. Vision. Knowledge. Enlightenment. He did not tempt them or created the temptation, God did.

It all falls apart. If I told my child, if you ever see a fire (temptation), even though you will have no idea what it is, having never seen one before, don't touch it or you could get burned and die, would I be considered a good parent if the first time my child gazed in wide wonder at a campfire and got close enough to feel the heat on his face I pushed him in? Hell no!

Let's jump to the New Testament and Salvation. You were born into sin. Adam and Eve failed the test, everyone gets punished. However, if we admit we screwed up by getting born, (Bad Mother Teresa! BAD!) and we admit that Jesus is the Son of God, born of a virgin, died on the cross and rose again three days later, we get to go to Heaven, because His blood covers us and washes away our sin. Now some people buy this. Hey! I know Him! Pick me! Pick me! I want to go to Heaven! Don't make me burn in Hell forever for being born! I'm sorry! They are called Christians.

Now the folks that God hasn't succeeded in making feel bad that they were ever born are called heathens, pagans, non-believers, and sometimes even sinners, because they don't have Jesus' blood on their hands. God gave them free will to admit that they lost before they ever opened the starting gate and they refused. God said, "I am going to make you burn in Hell for all eternity if you do not love and worship me.", yet they still refuse. God, being omniscient and omnipotent, made them perfect, with this flaw, knowing they would not take His offer. This is called predestination, meaning some will be saved (the sheep who return to their shepherd), and some will burn in Hell because God created them with minds that work and rebel against tyranny, cruelty, and senseless oppression.

I am agnostic. If, when I was born, someone saturated me with gasoline that would never come off, then followed me around with a lit match my entire life, He would not be my first choice in friends. Even if the Christian bible were inerrant (HA!), there is no God worthy of love and worship in it.

I see Christian faith as being like flying on a glass airplane with no landing gear. You might think you have been chosen and are higher than everyone else and going higher still, but if you looked out all around you, you'd see the real world and realize its not very likely that its going to be pretty when your plane lands.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Strange Old Tool

A Strange Old Tool . . .  Do you know what it is?  
Look below, read and learn.


This old tool has been reintroduced in Washington DC .
by the Obama Administration.

It will be part of the New Health Care Program.

Twisted Faces - Caricature Art from Rock Cowles

Twisted Faces - Caricature Art from Rock Cowles
Twisted Faces Web Site

Kowulz on Facebook

Dave Cowles's Facebook profile

Caricatures by Rock Kowulz