Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In

I came out about two years ago. At first, I didn’t want to come out, but I finally gained the courage to be an example to any young child who considers himself or herself to be “different.” It’s not what you think; I’m not talking about THE “coming out!” It was scary, but I finally admitted to myself, and to the world, that I was an atheist. (I’m just kidding about being scared!)

Discovering the truth about the entire world’s many faiths is an extremely freeing experience. I especially enjoy poking fun at those who honestly believe their specific myth to be true. For example, here is my Easter-related Facebook post:

     “Congrats to everyone who made it through the entire 40 days of sacrifice! Now that Easter is here and Lent is over, I can go back to coveting all the things that I desire; especially some of these wives! (I’ll never give that up again!)”     

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get the opportunity to choose my religious beliefs; like most people around the world, I was forced by my parents to join their faith. My forehead was doused with “holy water” and I became a Catholic. It didn’t take long for me to begin doubting many of the traditions, but I did was I was told. (Thankfully, our neighborhood wasn’t a target area for the Church’s pious-pedophiles, so I was never asked to “scrape my knees up for the lord!”)

At the age of twelve, I was given the power to either choose to attend “god’s house of boy-rape” or stay home and watch cartoons on the USA network. It’s obvious I didn’t lose any sleep over this “major dilemma!”

Missing Sunday mass turned out to be the gateway-drug to my atheism. Once I began to avoid the weekly wash and allowed my mind to get dirty, there was no turning back. I didn’t fear “god” and I wasn’t afraid to push the envelope push the expensive glass vase. (Why would anyone fear a being that doesn’t exist outside of the big picture-free comic book, called the bible!)

***If you are unfamiliar with the phrase, “pushing the expensive glass vase,” read my previous post: What Does That Even Mean!***

     It was almost as if I was a religious slave and a prophet demanded that the Pope let his people go; atheism was my liberty. For days, I ran around the Charles River, yelling, “LIBERTAD! LIBERTAD!” I was finally free!

OR SO I THOUGHT!

Recently, it was brought to my attention that I was not free. Apparently, the Church does not just allow members to leave. There are strict guidelines which must be followed, in order to leave. I heard of “Blood In Blood Out” but Water In Water Out is news to me! I’m not even sure how one goes about getting “watered out!” It looks like I’ll be a Catholic for life; don’t get me wrong, I want to leave the Church, but I’m definitely not willing to drown to death!

EXCOMMUNICATION:  an ecclesiastical censure depriving a person of the rights of church membership.

The information regarding the process is too extensive for me to include in this post, but basically, a Bishop is the lowest level Church official who can grant excommunication. At first, I thought about going through the long process, but then I realized that I don’t want to quit the Church; I want to be thrown out! It is my desire to become the Vatican’s worst offender. (This is a lofty goal, since Hitler and the infinite number of pedophilic-priests failed to lose their memberships in the “god’s organization!”)

For the time being, it appears that I’m stuck with the Church and the Church is stuck with me! Let’s hope I can make this happen!

@PeteTeix617

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Little Caesars Is Dead To Me

I will never purchase anything from this company for the rest of my life. (Unless they repay me for my horrible experience!)

To be honest, the pizza isn’t good. (I know this may sound like the opinion of a disgruntled customer, but the only reason I went to the place is because of their “Hot-N-Ready” pizza which only costs five dollars and can be purchased with no wait. I am generally impatient so the quality of the food was less important than the quantity of time I saved.

Banning myself from this franchise may seem like an insignificant thing, but I was actually excited when I found out that Little Caesars wasn’t extinct. Once upon a time, while living in Boston, I enjoyed walking down to the local strip to purchase video games from Kmart. (I find it strange when “grown” men get excited about video games. They were a big part of my life, but like most childish things, I grew out of that phase. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t have any desire to get involved in “gaming!”)

The only Little Caesars in the city (As far as I can remember) was located in the Kmart. [The Kmart is now a Target. I was also elated to discover that there are three Kmarts fairly close to where I live. I don’t have any desire to shop there, but it’s nice to know that Kmart is alive and kicking!] After a few years, the shitty Little Caesars was removed from the Kmart and replaced with something else. (I admit, that was a jab at the company!)

The Horrible Incident:

Like I stated before, I didn’t mind the shitty pizza because of my lack of patience. To the best of my knowledge, this horrible incident happened during my third visit to the establishment, located in North Hollywood; a stone’s throw from our previous apartment. (I said I didn’t mind the shitty pizza, but I prefer to eat good food, so I only went to this place as a last resort, because the quality was pretty low and my only mission was to get some crap inside my belly!)

I drove down to the Little Caesars and decided to skip the Hot-N-Ready crap and hope the regular pie (Can you tell I lived in the New Jersey!) was of a higher quality. I ordered the Hawaiian because pineapple is the world’s number one pizza topping. (If you don’t like pineapples on your pizza, you’re probably a dumbass!) The friendly pizza technician informed me that there will be a fifteen minute wait. I accepted her terms and handed over my debit card to complete the transaction.

Two minutes after placing my order, the girl who “helped me” ended her shift and left. Five minutes crawled by before I almost lost my mind. Thankfully, “god” worked in a mysterious way and sent an angel to perform a miracle. My pizza was ready, ten minutes early, and it tasted like one which was flown in from Italy and created by Anna Maria Garoscio. (Google her!)

Just kidding! “god” doesn’t exist and the story is a complete fabrication. Although, If it was written in the bible, a billion people would accept it as true!

I turned to my right and noticed a wondrous site; a Seven Eleven. (In Boston, Seven Elevens are rare, but in Los Angeles, you can’t go three blocks without driving past one!) I walked towards the convenience store and bought some drinks. I also decided to by a two dollar scratch because the person who gets paid to place products in the best location to increase sales knows me all too well and I couldn’t resist. (I don’t have a gambling problem, but I typically buy a scratch every two months or so.) I walked back to the Low-Quality-Pizza-Mart and sat down.

Now, a total of seventeen minutes had elapsed. The new counter girl asked if I was ready to order and I informed her that I was waiting for my Hawaiian pizza. She went to the back and it seemed as if no one knew about my purchase. The manager, who was in his early thirties, seemed to be more interested in the sexual lives of his high school employees than ensuring that I was a satisfied customer. (I don’t want to call this guy a pedophile, but I’m almost certain that he was working to pay tuition at the local seminary! ***With all the money that the pedophiles collect each Sunday, you would think seminarians wouldn’t have to pay tuition, but the Catholic church is a well-oiled money making machine!***)

The girl returns and informs me that my pizza would be ready shortly. I was pretty sure that they were just about to start making it. After another ten minutes of torture, I lost my cool and decided to leave before I voiced my obscenity-laced-opinions.

That’s right; I took the loss and went home, sans crappy pizza. The way I see it, it only cost me eight bucks to discover that Little Caesars is a horrible business. For the rest of my life, I will never spend another cent in any of their locations. The good news is the 20 bucks I won when I scratched the ticket. (Thanks magical lottery deity!)

I guess the real point of this post is for me to say “FUCK LITTLE CAESARS!”

@PeteTeix617

Fuck The Quitting Ass Ex-Pope

*****     Before I dive into the controversial heading, I would like to take a moment to discuss my lack of content. February has been a hectic month. As much as I enjoyed living in Los Angeles, we had to make a difficult decision and chose to leave. That’s right; I no longer live in Los Angeles.

It’s not what you think. I didn’t fail miserably and realize that I am incapable of making a life for myself on the west coast. We simply moved to Burbank which is only one town south of North Hollywood. (I don’t even have to change my cleaners!)

     Now that I am resettled and once again a member of the twenty first century with internet service, I plan on writing more frequently. *****

 

Obviously, those who are familiar with my work will probably assume that this is some anti-religion, anti-Catholicism, atheist rant, but nothing could be further from the truth. I am not saying “fuck the quitting ass ex-pope” out of spite, or hatred; I honestly have a legitimate reason for my vitriol.

Here is why I have a major beef with the man “god” chose to lead his flock. (For an all-powerful being “god” sucks at picking leaders. An unimaginable number of pedophiles and now a quitter! I don’t know about you but I think someone needs to tell this guy that he is not CEO material!)

I have a completed manuscript which took a great deal of blood sweat and tears to produce. In order to write my novel, I did some extensive research and discovered that there were a couple examples of popes who actually resigned from the position of “Pedophilias Maximus!”  A fact that is not well-known.

Now, because of this selfish jackass, formerly known as Benedict (Arnold) XVI, I have to re-write an entire freaking chapter. What a wicked pissah! (You can take the man out of Boston, but you can’t take the Boston out of the man!)

***I actually have never uttered those words unless it was in jest!***

     I’ll go back to the drawing board and rewrite the chapter to include the latest quitter.

Another reason I am upset with Mr. “share-the-passion-of-the-Christ-with-the-boys-of-the-world” is the fact that his inability to deal with the shit storm that is about to overtake the Catholic Church forced me to change my Facebook profile.

As soon as I heard the announcement I posted this status:

“Today is a sad day. Due to the Pope’s decision to quit, I will be forced to retire my profile pic on February 28th @ 8:00pm Vatican time.”

     Here is my previous profile pic, which I created and loved:

RICH POPE

     Here is my new profile pic which I found online and I love.

rapist pope

     Most people pray for the pope to live a long healthy life, but I enjoy the conclave. I just love the excitement of watching the smoke rise from the chimney and waiting to see who will lead the next generation of pedophiles. (This feud will continue as long as that guy breathes the good lord’s air!)

I have a lot more to say about this quitter, but I’ll save my comments for my post about a church related documentary!

@PeteTeix617

The Revelation 3D

**********************3D Glasses Are Not Required**********************

[Our story continues from area 4181979.]

I meet Ackley, Cristoforo, and Rodrigo in the secret room. Everyone is re-energized. The tactic meeting is quick. Ackley is the most optimistic, but we all believe the strategy is solid. It is up to me to apply the game plan.

Ackley: “Be brave!”

Cristoforo: “The Revelator will not fail us!”

Rodrigo: “Remember the details! The twins are waiting for your arrival.”

Me: “I understand the responsibility that has been entrusted to me. I will not let disappoint the members of the FPB!”

[I leave and teleport to the VIP Lounge.]

Inside, I find Lu sitting alone.

Me: “Where is G?”

Devil: “He’ll be here shortly, he has to deal with some unrest in the Good Place.”

Me: “Unrest? Big brother always has to take care of business. What happened?”

Devil: “Well, there was a competition between the Christians, Jews, and Muslims. It was called Heaven Idol. There were three groups, varying in number, representing each faith. Obviously, it was a battle of the hymns. The Muslim team number 2, won with their powerful entry, Allah Holla! G is there trying to explain to the Jews and Christians that a hip hop hymn is allowed. They’ve been combing through the bible, looking for an answer, for a while now.”

Me: “Sounds like good times up there!”

Devil: “When I say boring, I mean boring!”

[We laugh.]

Devil: “Let’s get back to what you were saying earlier.”

Me: “What?”

Devil: “What’s this garbage about the big boss always having to take care of business?”

Me: “What? Everyone knows that you guys are twins, but it’s obvious—G is the big dog! The rest of us talk about it all the time. No one on earth loves you, except for the weirdo-devil-worshippers.”

Devil: “Is that right? You have no idea what you’re talking about…I have the same amount of power as him.”

Me: “I don’t know who has more power, but G has the respect, and he is the top dog. Look at your reputation…you’re the bad guy!”

Devil: “Let me stop this conversation because I don’t want to get angry. We’ll continue talking when G gets here.”

Me: “No problem. I know the big dog will back me up.”

Devil: “Yeah we’ll see about that.”

He was visibly upset. I could have egged him on, but I didn’t want to be on the receiving end of his temper. We switched the subject and enjoyed our blue label while waiting for God to arrive.

[In walks God.]

God: “Sorry I wasn’t able to make it here early, I’m sure you heard about the incident. Allah Holla! What you faithful bout ready to give…Dollars Dollars!”

Me: “No problem big dog. I know the boss has to handle his business! Don’t tell me Ja Rule is in the Good Place.”

God: “No, he wouldn’t last a second up there.”

[The Devil stood up, visibly agitated.]

Devil: “I think you need to straighten this kid out and let him know we’re equals and that I’m your partner!”

God: “Junior partner!” *Tony Montana Voice* [He laughed, I laughed. The Devil threw down his crystal glass.] God was stunned!

Me: “Easy there, number two. Calm down!”

God: “What the hell is wrong with you?”

Devil: [Yells.] “I’m tired of everyone thinking you’re the boss! When am I going to get my respect?”

God: “What are you talking about? No one said I was the boss.”

Devil: “Then what’s all this junior partner, bullshit?”

God: “I was joking…it’s Scarface, for crying out loud!”

Devil: “I’m tired of the jokes! From this day forth, I’m not taking this shit anymore. I am a boss too!”

Me: “That doesn’t make sense. Oligarchies don’t work. We need a monarchy. One ruler and G is the man for the job. If you don’t want to be number two, I’ll step in and you can be number three.”

[The Devil lunges at me, but God saves me.] {How Ironic!}

God: “Relax! Why are you taking out your anger on him? He has nothing to do with this. Clearly, this is an issue that has been bothering you for a long time.”

Devil: “Sorry Pete. I don’t mean to get carried away, but this is a sensitive issue for me.”

Me: “No problem. Maybe we should just drop the subject until Dr. Phil dies…he can help you work through the resentment!”

[The Devil lunges at me again!] {Thank God! (HA HA!)}

God: “Why do you keep going after him?”

Devil: [Yells.] “Because he’s been fucking with me all day!”

God: “C’mon Lu, it’s Pete—that’s what the kid does.”

Devil: “Don’t tell me to calm down. You’re not the boss of me.”

God: “Just relax.”

Devil: “Tell me to relax one more time and I’ll…”

God: “You’ll what?”

Devil: “Don’t push me.”

Me: “Cause I’m close to the edge.” [God laughs.]

God: “Hey Pete, chill for a little bit. The little girl is about to throw a tantrum.”

[The Devil shoves God up against the wall.]

The wall shakes, and a large white frame, encasing a painting of the sun, crashes to the ground.

God: [Yells out.] “Trustis!”

[I pick up the painting.]

Me: “The sun! C’mon Son!”

Devil: “That’s not the sun, dumbass!”

God: [Yells.] “Why don’t you just tell him everything?”

Devil: “You’re the one yelling out, Trustis! Don’t tell me what to do.”

God: “I’ll say whatever I want!”

[The Devil punches God in the temple.]

Thunder erupts! God lands on the ground, and his body becomes transparent. I get a quick glimpse of a small life form before he returns to his normal state.

Me: “What the hell…”

God: [In a booming voice.] “How dare you punch me! Take this!”

[He punches the Devil in the eye.]

Thunder fills the room. The same exact effect happens when the Devil hits the ground. The twins continue to fight. And each blow reveals more of their true selves, until their strong physiques no longer appear. Standing before me are two matching, two-feet tall, alien beings. Reality sets in and the twins notice that their true identities have been revealed. **This is where the reader gets to add to the story. Describe your own alien. Leave the description in the comment box, or pull out the old typewriter and have at it. Please place the finished copies in my favorite (P.O.) Box!**

God: “Look at what you did.”

Devil: “Me? You’re the idiot who thinks he is better than everyone.”

God: “I told you I was joking—we’re equals. You’re such a baby!”

[The Devil attempts to lunge at God, but I hold out my arm and stop him. He falls to the ground.]

Devil: “OW. What did you do that for?” [He begins to cry.]

Me: “What the hell is going on here? And why are you crying?”

Devil: “Because you hit me, and it hurts.” [Still sobbing.]

Me: “I didn’t hit you, I just extended my arm.”

God: “You gave him the Heisman!”

Me: “Why are you guys so wimpy all of a sudden? What’s a Trustis? And what’s with the weird transformation?”

God: “Well, I guess the cats out of the bag. Let me explain.”

Devil: [Shouts.] “No, nothing is happening until I get an apology. I didn’t do anything and Pete shoved me to the ground.”

[I shake my head.]

Me: “I can’t believe how soft you are being…I’m sorry.”

Devil: “Thank you. Apology…ACCEPTED!”

God: “Like I was saying before, we are what earthlings call, aliens. We are from the opposite end of the Universe. I would tell you the distance, but you wouldn’t be able to comprehend the number of light-years. There are trillions of galaxies in the Universe and ours is the furthest from earth. We arrived on the desolate planet a few millennia after it was formed. We are a fragile people, which is why Lu cried after you violently shoved him.”

[I begin to defend myself, but decide to let the matter go.]

Me: “Again, Lu. I’m sorry about the vicious shove. I don’t know what came over me.”

Devil: “We’re cool. It’s all good.”

God: “Our planet is called Credularous and our people are the Credularians. Trustis is the name of our star. The painting is an original Rembrandt, a reminder of our home.”

Me: “It looks just like the sun. How do I know you didn’t just have him paint the sun?”

Devil: “It actually is a depiction of the sun, Rembrandt never saw Trustis. They look similar so it really doesn’t matter.”

God: “Credularous is located in the Naïvao Solar system. Our Galaxy is named Gullibilitus.”

Me: “So why did you lie about aliens?”

Devil: “Because look at us. We are small and fragile. If everyone knew the truth, we would lose our ability to rule.”

Me: “So, did the two of you create the people on earth?”

God: “No! People evolved through the natural evolutionary process. When we first landed on earth, it was pretty much void of life forms, other than single-celled organisms.”

Devil: “Yeah, it was a great time. Watching bacteria, protists, fungi, and archaea; microorganisms rule!”

Me: “Why did you come to earth if the planet was basically deserted?”

God: “Our mission was not in search of life, we wanted the richest natural resource, and earth is full of it.”

Me: “These Blood Diamonds?” [I point to the wall.]

Devil: “No! Corundum!”

Me: “Corundum? We’re talking about Corundum? You mean to tell me, you traveled all the way across the Universe for Corundum. We’re not even talking about diamonds? We’re talking Corundum? Corundum? Everyone knows diamonds are the hardest minerals on earth. Corundum? I mean I can even understand Rubies or sapphires. But I can’t believe we’re talking about Corundum!”

Devil: “Relax Iverson. Diamonds are too hard. Our technology uses Corundum; it’s the ultimate mineral!”

Me: “Damn! Corundum?”

God: “Yes, Corundum!” (To all the ladies, the guy who gives you a Corundum ring, is indeed a keeper!)

Me: “What about the Fun Place and the Good Place? How do you control their existence and how does the afterlife work?”

God: “The places don’t actually exist. We use Corundum to create a hologram type effect, only far more superior. Everything you see seems real.”

Devil: “When life-forms die, their souls continue to exist. The souls are free to wander the Universe and learn all of the secrets. The ‘Dead’ exist in a different dimension. They can’t make contact with the living, but sometimes there are glitches. We simply keep the ‘dead’ in our ‘afterlife’ by controlling the mind.”

Me: “So you mean to tell me that I am free to travel the Universe and explore?”

God: “Yes!”

Me: “What about all the UFO sightings on earth?”

Devil: “I’d say, about eighty to eighty-five percent of the claims are complete bullshit. The others are real. It turns out that planet earth has the richest reserve of Corundum in the Universe. A great number of Credularians seek out the planet because of the Corundum. As we’ve noted, we are extremely fragile beings so sometimes our crafts crash land and the pilots die. There are government officials throughout the world who are a part of the massive cover-up. Whenever a craft is able to make a safe landing, I go to earth and send the Credularian away.”

Me: “Wow! That’s crazy! How many other life forms are there in the Universe?”

God: “Trillions multiplied by trillions. All types too! We are the most intelligent, so our people spread out to different planets and control the inhabitants by using our Corundum based technology. Part of our #winning strategy are the godly characters which we create. If you had attempted to fight with us when we first met, we could have been seriously injured. We are intelligent, but we lack physical strength. Our method of mind slavery is almost foolproof. We have to take off our hats to you for being able to out smart us. How did you figure out we were lying?”

Devil: “Yeah, it’s an amazing feat. No one has ever even come close to discovering the truth.”

Me: “I would love to take the credit, but I wasn’t alone. There is a secret society named the FPB. The group’s only mission is to uncover the truth. I was recruited because the members believe that I am some sort of Messiah, the Revelator.”

God: “That makes a lot of sense. Who are the members?”

Me: “Rodrigo is the leader and his second in command is Cristoforo. Ackley is also a high ranking member.”

Devil: “Et Tu Rodrigo?”

Me: “This is all unbelievable, but the FPB members are waiting for me to return with the information. Where do we go from here? I can’t turn my back on them.”

Devil: “We think it would be best to keep our secret and join us as the third ruler.”

Me: “That’s a great idea, but I can’t be a double agent. I swore my allegiance to the FPB and I will not abuse their trust. I’ll make a deal with you. I can reveal the truth to the people in the Fun Place, and the two of you can keep possession of the Good Place. Pharaohs, Pharaohs…LET MY PEOPLE GO!”

Devil: “Fuck! The Good Place people are sooooooooooooooooo boring!”

Me: “Don’t think of the current Good Place. Be creative and mix things up! The two of you can keep all the people who you judge to be candidates for the Good Place, but you must release the others.”

God: “That’s a brilliant idea. We accept your offer!”

[I exit the VIP Lounge for the last time!]

I return to area 4181979 and reunite with the guys. They are fascinated by the truth and we decide on the best way to free the others.

Ackley: “I think it will be best for us to reveal the truth, one area at a time.”

Rodrigo: “Agreed!”

Me: “Then it only makes sense to begin with area 1 and work our way out. Let the best people be freed first!”

Cristoforo: “The Revelator has spoken. Let his will be our command!”

[The End!]

********For those of you who witnessed the magic of the 3D technology, thank you for your continued support! ********

For those who were unable to experience the 3D effect, there is a reason. I struggled for several days attempting to figure out how I would be able to make this entry 3D. After searching high and low, I almost gave up. UNTIL…

I remembered a lesson from my past!

I turned to the last person anyone would expect. I turned to “god!” I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. (Dear “god,” good “god,” mighty “god,” good mighty “god.” Please be the good “god” and grant me the ability to make this latest entry a 3D post. Thank you good “god” who I fear!) Miraculously, my prayers were answered. “God” gave me the ability to create the exact 3D effect I begged for.

If you know “god,” you know there is a condition. The effect will only appear to those people who truly believe in my abilities. Only the believer in Peter Teixeira will be worthy enough to witness the greatness of the “lord.” Don’t worry. We are dealing with the “lord” so you know there is an express option. For those of you who are incapable of believing in me, there is a PayPal account set up, which will boost your belief points. The more you give, the better the effect will work!

Through “god,” ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!

“’God’ is good. ALL THE TIME!”

@PeteTeix617

Close To Converting

My exodus from the Catholic Church was not one of those mythical “mutual” separations; the Church was hurt. I actually resulted to using the cliché explanation, “It’s not you, it’s me.” It was a difficult time for me; I was alone in the world, and faithless! On Sunday mornings, I often found myself wandering down the street to St. Patrick’s church just to see if I was missed. Eventually, I had to find the strength to move on; I didn’t have Catholicism but “god” was still in my corner. I was in search of a new faith, one which accepted me and my “god.” (My “god” was fun and he had a sense of humor.)

My investigation led me to many different religions, but I was never able to find the right one. (Religions are different from fish, there aren’t plenty in the sea!) I learned about Rastafari and almost joined, but eventual I couldn’t bring myself to become a believer.

I know what you’re thinking. “I know a few Rastas and they say Rastafarianism is a movement and not a religion!” That’s great; people say a lot of things, but I am applying anthropologist Anthony Wallace’s criteria for a religion.

The word Babylon is an extremely important term in the Rastafarian vocabulary. Babylon is not a place, and it doesn’t refer to the Ancient city conquered by Alexander the Great. (Nor does it refer to the Babylon club in the greatest movie of all-time Scarface!) In From Garvey To Marley, Noel Erskine writes,“Babylon represented the powers that were arranged against and sought to destroy poor people.” To the Rastas, Babylon includes the religions of the world, most notably, Christianity.

It is clear that the Rastafari movement is indeed a religion. The Rastas believe in an all-powerful “god,” and they also use the bible as the main scripture for the movement. Wallace’s anthropological definition of religion, clearly identifies Rastafari as a religion.

Wallace’s 13 Behaviors:

  1. Prayer – Addressing the Supernatural.
  2. Music – Dancing, singing, and playing instruments.
  3. Physiology Exercise – The physical manipulation of the psychological state.
  4. Exhortation – The existence of a middleman between people and supernatural beings.
  5. Reciting the Code – Mythology, morality and other aspects of the belief system.
  6. Simulation – Initiating things. Having power over objects, i.e. Voodoo dolls.
  7. Mana – Touching things. For example, the “holy” water in church.
  8. Taboo – Not touching things. Certain restrictions are followed.
  9. Feasts – Eating and drinking.
  10. Sacrifice – Offerings and fees.
  11. Congregation – Processions, meetings and congregation.
  12. Inspiration – Divine intervention.
  13. Symbolism – Manufacturing and use of sacred objects.

Anthony Wallace asserts, “It is the premise of every religion…that souls, supernatural beings, and supernatural forces exist.” Wallace considers his thirteen behaviors as the “substance of religion.” He acknowledges that his categories are not the only ones that can be used to define a religion. (Feel free to enlighten us with your own criteria!)

The word religion presents a problem for Rastas because it is associated with Babylon. Rastafarians view Christianity, the major religion in Jamaica, as counterproductive in the sense of dealing with the economic and social problems which plague the people. Rastas believe Christianity is designed by Babylon to keep the Blacks from improving their situation. Christianity teaches people to accept their position in life, in order to be rewarded in the after-life. Great concept, but Christianity cannot help to improve the lives of the oppressed people; their economic and social position will remain the same. The Rastas desired to establish a new way of thinking in hopes of improving the hardships they were faced with. (At this point I was so excited to become a Rasta!)

The Rastas began to read the bible and interpret it for themselves. The most problematic aspect of Christianity for Rastas is the role of the priest. Rastas believe in the concept of I-and-I, which is a personal relationship with “god” that every Rastafarian controls. Wallace states, “In every religious system, there are occasions on which one person addresses another as a representative of divinity.” Wallace refers to this person as the “exhorter.” Rastafarians do not have an exhorter who serves as a mediator between the individual and “god.” The Rastas believe in the constant connection between an individual and “god,” therefore the exhorter isn’t necessary.

The elders are usually consulted when a newcomer has trouble understanding the bible or some of the Rastafari beliefs, but the elder is not interpreting the bible for the person; he is merely being an assistant on their path to uncovering “god’s” word. Most importantly, the person seeking help is not obligated to agree with the interpretation of the elder. People can connect with “god” however they see fit.

Ennis Edmonds, who wrote Caribbean Religious History, views the Rastafari religion as “Reticulate,” but the fact that there is no leader or hierarchical structure doesn’t mean the movement is disjointed. Edmonds believes there is a unifying element to the religion based on “a fairly uniform system of beliefs.” There are different informal organizational structures in the religion, according to Edmonds. (I found this lack of structure to be freeing. There was no mandatory church on Sundays. Don’t Catholics know that we party on Saturdays?)

“Own Built,” describes Rastas who do not belong to any group. These Rastafarians follow the same beliefs, but practice on an individual level. The next level is called “houses” and “yards,” which are small groups led by an elder. The elder’s position is not to teach others what the bible says, but to inspire others to create their own understanding of the text and the fundamentals of the religion. The larger groups referred to as “mansions” have two separate categories: “churchical” ”statical.” The churchical emphasizes the religious aspect of the Rastafari movement, while the statical focuses on political and social problems. (I can already tell. Many of you are considering a conversion!)

Rastafarian rituals are called “grounding.” Grounding is defined by Edmonds as “informal instruction in Rasta precepts and ideology; the ritual process [reasoning] by which circles of like minded brethren are formed and maintained.” The gatherings in which grounding takes place are called “Nyabinghi I-ssembly” or “groundation.” The Nyabinghi contains some different aspects which fit into Wallace’s criteria for religion. Wallace’s behavior for touching things is called “Mana.” The Rastas believe in the concept of “ital levity,” which is a commitment to using things in their natural organic state. Rastafarians view drugs, alcohol, and processed foods as Babylon’s way of destroying the minds of black people. Rastas do use marijuana, called “Ganja,” and do not consider it a drug. Ganja is a natural herb and helps the Rastas to free their minds in order to clearly understand the oppressive nature of Babylon. (No, I did not consider marijuana use as a reason for my conversion to Rastafarianism. I listened to Nancy Reagan and said no to drugs! I do not smoke, except for an occasional cigar!)

Wallace uses not touching things, which he calls “Taboo,” as another criterion for identifying a religion. The Rastas do not permit the use of drugs or alcohol, and they do not eat processed foods. They look at unnatural things as taboos. Ganja is always smoked during the Nyabinghi because, according to Edmonds, Rastas say it “dispels gloom and fear, induces visions, and heightens the feelings, creating a sensation of fellow love and peace.” (Interesting! Maybe I’ll give this marijuana thing a try!)

Feasts, is another of Wallace’s behaviors which applies to the Rastafari Religion. The Nyabinghi always includes a meal that is shared by all the Rastas who participate in the ritual. The Nyabinghi is held during Rastafari holy days. One of the holiest days is April 21, which celebrates Ethiopian king Haile Selassie’s visit to Jamaica in 1968. (More on Selassie later!) Congregation is another behavior of Wallace’s which can be associated with Rastafari. The Nyabinghi, which are large gatherings, bring many people together so they can “reason.” The Rastas also have small reasoning sessions which can consist of only two people. The reasoning sessions fit in with Wallace’s behavior of Congregation, because the Rastas are discussing the religion.

Physiological Exercise is yet another of Wallace’s behaviors which fits in with the Rastafarian Religion. Wallace believes this behavior is done to alter the mind state. The use of ganja fits in with Physiological Exercise. Marijuana does not bring the person closer to “god” because Rastas believe each person has a constant connection with “god.” This connection with “god” is what the Rastafari concept of I-and-I is all about. The Ganja does bring the person’s mind into a different state in which he or she can better understand the way Babylon works. There are individuals who are assigned the duty of supplying the ganja for reasoning. (Something tells me all this ganja talk is going to make a profitable day for the pot dealers who sell to the readers of this blog!)

The bible is a major influence on the Rastafarian Religion. Reciting the Code is arguably the behavior of Wallace’s which best fits in with Rastafari. Rastas have a great understanding of the bible and study the text often.  The bible is the main book of the Christian tradition but most of the followers of Christ rely on the exhorter to interpret the bible for them. The Rastafari Reasoning sessions are based on the individual’s own interpretation of the bible and most Rastas can usually agree on what is written. Rastafarians will point out versus in the bible in order to justify the use of ganja. They are constantly talking to “god” and always aware of his presence, which fits in with Wallace’s behavior of “Prayer.” Wallace states that all religions involve prayer which usually consists of thanking the supernatural or asking for something.

Symbolism is another behavior which applies to the Rastafarian Religion. According to Erskine, Leonard Howell “was selling pictures of Haile Selassie as passports Ethiopia.” (The significance will be made clear further in the entry.) Howell was one of the founding members of Rastafari. Repatriation was one of Marcus Garvey’s biggest contributions to the movement. The original Rastas were Garveyites. Marcus Garvey wanted all Africans to return to the motherland, in order to undo the injustices of slavery. The term repatriation has changed over the years. Now Rastas say they will repatriate after they find justice for the oppression they suffered caused by Babylon; there is no longer a desire to move back to Africa. Repatriation also refers to a symbolic return to being Ethiopians and out from under the oppressive rule of Babylon.

The Curchical chants of the Nyabinghi is a CD recording of a grounding ceremony which was held on the occasion of United States President Ronald Reagan’s visit to Jamaica in 1982. The Rastas wanted to protest Reagan’s visit and held a Nyabinghi to do so. Reagan was regarded as the face of Babylon, because he led the most powerful and oppressive country in the world. The Nyabinghi was held for seven days in the mountains away from where Reagan was staying. The Rastas do not feel the need to hold a protest at the site of the event they are objecting. Rastafarians believe the vibrations and spirituality of the music will travel and have an effect on the undesired event. (What’s not to love. I am considering leaving atheism and becoming a Rasta!)

The Rastafari religion does not fit into every one of Anthony Wallace’s thirteen behaviors, but it does meet a majority of the criteria. The Rastafarian movement also fits in with Wallace’s definition for cult institutions. Rastafarians are hesitant to use the term religion because of its association with Babylon. Regardless of the contradiction in meaning, Rastas have created a religion which does not aim to oppress its people, but Rastafarians generally will call the movement a religion when they are in a situation were it is favorable to do so. A few years ago, there was an article in the Boston Herald about a Rastafarian who was caught with a large amount of marijuana, and he was charged with distribution as well as possession. The judge removed the distribution charge because the Rastafarian argued that the large amount of marijuana was for his personal religious use.

An anthropological view of the Rastafari culture clearly places it within the framework of Wallace’s criteria for a religion. These facts about the religion fascinated me, and I was almost hooked. Until I learned the one fact which turned me off! (There’s always at least one!)

Nyabinghi is a word with origins in Ethiopia. The one unifying aspect for all Rastafarians is the belief that Haile Selassie is “god.” Selassie was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930. Rastas identify with Ethiopia because it is the word which is used historically for identifying the continent of Africa. Rastas do not use the word Africa when talking about the continent because it is a word created by the slave traders.

In the 1920’s, Marcus Garvey was misquoted as saying, “a Messiah would come to earth in the person of an African King.” Most of the Rastas were followers of Garvey, who was the leader of the Repatriation movement. Selassie’s Coronation in 1930 led the Rastas to believe he was “god,” and the leader of a secret society called Nyabinghi. Today, more moderate Rastas believe Selassie is simply the king placed on earth, chosen by “god.” The founders believed Selassie would lead the Africans to Zion, which is a perfect world. When Selassie died in 1975, Rastas believed it was a ruse, because “‘god’ cannot die.” Supposedly Selassie is living in a monastery and preparing to return and remove evil from the world. (I can’t wait!)

It is easy to understand the affect of Selassie on the Rastas by reading one of his quotes; “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

Selassie had many names and the term Rastafari originates from one of his titles. Ras, in the Ethiopian language, is a royal title and Tafari is one of Selassie’s family names. The Nyabinghi includes Music, which is another behavior identified by Wallace. Rastas have their own music which eventually inspired Reggae. The Rastafarian music has its origins in Africa and the main instruments are drums. Reggae was very instrumental in spreading the ideology of the Rastafari. Bob Marley was a famous artist who used the guidance of Rastafarian elders to spread the movement’s message, but Reggae is not the music played during the Nyabinghi. The Rasta Music has a very African feel to it and has a sense of dread, because the Rastas feel they have nothing to be happy about as long as Babylon continues to be oppressive.

Could Selassie be “god?” NO! He became aware of the Rastas’ belief in the 1950’s and denied the rumors. “Was that good enough for the Rastas?” No! They said, “Selassie was being humble.” At first, Selassie was a great leader who helped many Ethiopians, but eventually he became a dictator. (I hate when “god” does that!) Asked about some of the atrocities committed by Selassie, Rastas reply, “No one can question ‘god’s’ actions.” (Yikes!)

If not for the belief in Selassie, I would have become a Rasta!

@PeteTeix617

Against The Unexamined

The goal of my blog is to write entries which challenge people to think. (I know thinking is difficult for some, but give it a try, your brain will only hurt for a short period of time!) I have my beliefs and others can have theirs. We don’t have to agree! I am always open to new information.

Important facts: (You might want to print these facts out! In fact, I will add them to my about page!)

  1. I don’t hate “god” and I don’t hate Christianity, or any other religion. (I simply don’t believe!)
  2. My blog is not an atheist blog. (I am an atheist, therefore many of my opinions are based on that belief!)
  3. I don’t want anyone to change his or her beliefs. (I have no desire to convert anyone.)

All opinions are welcome! (I will approve every comment. Even if someone writes something negative about me, I will allow the comment to be viewed by everyone. I don’t believe in censorship. **Just understand that I am never afraid to respond!**)

Comments are important. Everyone’s voice is relevant. A comment may spark a great discussion. The best comments are usually from the people who disagree! **If you are shy, create a fake e-mail address and a fake name!**

***What is the point of this entry?***

On July 6th, 2011, at 12:07pm I received a text; a suggested reading. The book is called Mere Christianity, and was written by C. S. Lewis. (He also wrote the Chronicles of Narnia!)

I immediately googled the title. As soon as I learned the book was written in the1940’s, I made a quick assumption. There was no way C. S. Lewis would be able to change my beliefs. Not only would his book not make me a believer, it wouldn’t even get me to question my atheism. This was my assumption for one simple reason; I was educated in the 90’s and 2000’s. Any new book about religion, was probably written by someone who had knowledge of Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Also, I understand that we live in a different world. Much of the information about religion and its origin has been gathered after Lewis’ book. If the book had the ability to convert atheists to Christianity, there would be no atheists.

 

   I had my doubts, but I was open to the challenge. If there is a book out there which can change my views on religion, I want to read it! The key is, not to be afraid of learning. (Might this be my last post as an atheist?)

 

     Who was Lewis, and why did he write the book?

 

     From the book, “Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day. The contents of the book were first revealed by Lewis during a radio broadcasting. He made some additions and released a printed version. Lewis was a follower of the Church of England and a self-proclaimed, former atheist who converted back to Christianity. (Have I followed in his footsteps?)

 

     I called Barnes and Noble to ask if the book was in stock. It was! I couldn’t wait to buy Lewis’ text so I hopped in the car and drove to Braintree. I purchased the book and returned to Boston. Later on, I began to read. (It was exhilarating. Interesting book, but would Lewis change my life?)

 

     Sorry to report the truth. I WAS DISSAPOINTED IN LEWIS! (Not challenging at all.)

 

     I didn’t even make it through the preface. An immediate red flag was raised. In the preface, on speaking about the division between the different Christian denominations, Lewis states, “Our divisions should never be discussed except in the presence of those who have already come to believe that there is one God and that Jesus Christ is His only son.” (pg. viii)

 

     What I take his statement to mean is: we can’t even agree on how to worship God, so how can we expect a non-believer to accept the fact that we believe he is indeed real. I guess the goal is to convince people that God exists, beat it into their heads until it is fully ingrained into their consciousness, then and only then can you reveal the fact about the inability of the different denominations to agree.

 

     Seems a bit ridiculous that part of the strategy of converting people is to hide important information about the religion. (Sounds like Lewis was more about scamming than converting.)

 

     The second red flag:

 

     The major problem with this book, is the major problem with Christianity in general…FOUNDATION!

 

    If a religion is built on a weak foundation, it will not stand up. On pg. X of the preface, Lewis states, “If any topic could be relied upon to wreck a book about ‘mere’ Christianity—if any topic makes utterly unprofitable reading for those who do not yet believe that the Virgin’s son is god--surely this is it.”

 

     I take this to mean, Christians believe that Jesus is not only born of a virgin, but he is the son of “god,” and we have to keep this fact away from the non-believer, until he is a believer. (Get him believing in “god” and, when he is hooked or brainwashed, then we can tell him about the virgin birth.) To me Lewis is saying, the foundation of the religion is so preposterous that no one would ever join if the truth is revealed, in the beginning. Hiding the very foundation of a religion from someone who you are trying to convert is not convincing to me; the first thing you should mention is the foundation.

 

     The foundation of the book is also very fragile to me. Every argument in the text is based on the fact that there is a law of nature and, “First human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it.” (pg. 8)

 

     For me to agree with anything Lewis has to say, I would have to agree that the foundation of the book is true. I completely disagree with him. There is no Law of Nature, and people do not have a curious idea that they ought to act in a certain way. I do agree, people may come to understand this Law of Nature that he speaks about, but it is not a part of human nature; it's something that they have to be taught. The Law of Nature which Lewis mentions is ingrained in people, not natural. I have taken many classes on human behavior and it is undisputable that human nature is to be completely selfish, and to act without caring about other people. Children have to be taught that throwing tantrums, when they don’t get their way, is wrong. It takes years to remove their natural behavior. If anything, the Law of Nature is for humans to be selfish.

 

     I believe the same thing can be said for the animal kingdom as well; it’s survival of the fittest. There are lionesses who protect their young and lions who protect their pride, but they do not care for any other animals. In fact, if a lion is too old and a new lion fights him off and steals his pride, the new lion will immediately kill the young or scare them off. He will want nothing to do with the babies of another male lion. With humans, it’s completely the same. We only care about those who are part of our group, unless we are taught otherwise. There are indigenous people in Papua New Guinea who eat their enemies. (If you get the chance to watch the documentary Eating With Cannibals, do so!)

 

     The fact that the foundation of the book is false, leaves me to believe, everything based on the foundation can be easily disproved. The book was an enjoyable read for entertainment purposes and general knowledge, but as an argument for the existence of “god,” it fell short. Not only was his argument weak, I don’t believe Lewis even has a true understanding of what is means to be an atheist.

 

     My beliefs are founded on solid, and accurate information. People don’t understand that one of the most difficult challenges for a human, is to change hi or her beliefs. They think I just woke up one day and said, “Fuck it, there is no ‘god’!”

 

     Belief in “god” is based on fear. Everyone must be god-fearing. Why should I have to fear “god?” Shouldn't the relationship between man and the lord be about love. That's another part of religion that helps me to compare “god”  to Santa Claus. Kids are scared into believing in Santa to keep them from misbehaving They are often told, “If you are naughty, Santa won't bring you a gift.” The fear of not getting a gift is what makes them behave. Once the children grow up, they let go of the belief in Santa, but they keep the lesson of behaving. Same thing with “god.” It's good for children to believe during their youth because they learn the lesson of how to be good citizens, but once they are adults, and they understand how ridiculous religion is, they should let go of the belief. Santa is easy to let go of because adults admit that he is fake. It's different with “god.” Adults continue to believe, and scare people into keeping their faith.

 

     I was able to seek out and challenge conventional thought and I found that there is no “god.” Did you notice that religions always beat up the devil, but they are careful never to kill him, because if they do there will be no fear!

 

     I love reading and I love learning. Thanks for the suggestion! Lewis’ book was extremely helpful in helping me solidify the fact that my beliefs are based on a concrete foundation. Anyone who has knowledge of another book worth reading, please notify me! Who knows, maybe I can be converted! (Just kidding!)

 

     Challenging conventional thought is fascinating to me. I can’t understand why anyone who has a strong faith in “god,” would have a fear of testing their faith. Even Lewis admits in his book that he continues to doubt his faith. Why do people lack a thirst for knowledge? If “god” exists, nothing you read will change that fact. I have no problem challenging atheism because there is no doubt in my mind, there is no “god.”

 

     Texts don’t kill people. People with (religious) texts kill people!!!

@PeteTeix617