Mumbo Jumbo

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When I was in elementary school many, many years ago, there was a daily morning ritual. We’d stand up, put our hands over our hearts, and recite the Pledge of Allegience. Then we’d bow our heads and recite The Lord’s Prayer.

Given that I was a “go along to get along” kid at the time, I did what every other kid in the class did. I recited these by rote, not really understanding or even caring about the meaning of the words I was reciting. It was just something we were required to do.

It didn’t take me too long to grasp the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, but I had a harder time with The Lord’s Prayer, especially once I started paying attention to the words.

My father’s name was Alan, not Art. So who was Art and why was he living in heaven? And why did they hollow out his name? And what will would he be doing until it was done?

What was so special about having bread every day? As far as trespassing, my mother had taught me to not go on the lawn of the crotchety old man who lived next door, but why would he be trespassing on our lawn?

One night at dinner I finally decided to ask my parents to explain The Lord’s Prayer to me. Ours was not a particularly religious family. My father never went to church and my mother went only sporadically. When I asked the question, my father said, “It’s just a bunch of religious mumbo jumbo.”

My mother explained that it’s a prayer to God, but she said that if I didn’t want to recite it every morning, I didn’t have to. I could just stand there, head bowed, and be silent. “Use that time to reflect,” she said.

The next morning, I was sent to the principal’s office after telling my teacher that I wasn’t going to recite religious mumbo jumbo anymore. I received a week of after school detention for that indiscretion.

Perhaps that incident contributed to my becoming an atheist.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “recite.”

One-Liner Wednesday — Questions and Answers

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“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”

Richard Feynman, American theoretical physicist


This post was written for today’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt from Linda G. Hill.

Create Controversy

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A few mornings ago, I was sitting at a small table at my local Starbucks, sipping on my vanilla latte and reading my news feed on my iPhone. Starbucks was crowded and I was sharing the table with another guy who was reading the newspaper.

“Holy shit!” I exclaimed. The guy sitting across from me looked up and asked if I was okay.

“Some congressman said that it’s a fact that the earth is 6,000 years old. Can you believe this guy?” I responded. “He also believes in creationism.”

“Why do you find that disturbing?” he asked.

“Seriously? This guy is a representative in the Congress of the United States. He can create and vote for legislation that affects all of us, legislation that is based upon stories from the Bible.”

“Yeah. So?”

“So, he believes that the earth is 6,000 years old and doesn’t believe in evolution. He believes that one day God just created Adam and Eve and that they were the first two people on Earth.”

“That’s what I believe, too,” he said. “You don’t buy that bullshit that the our planet is billions of years old or that we evolved from monkeys, do you? That’s ridiculous.”

“We didn’t ‘evolve from monkeys,’” I said. “Humans and apes evolved from the same ancestors; from the same biological tree branch.”

“No, that’s just wrong,” he replied, a look of incredulity on his face. “Read your Bible, man. God created Adam and Eve in His image. Humans are a unique species. We are above all other creatures. We alone, among all of God’s creations, have a conscious mind. We alone have souls.”

Now I was the one who was incredulous. “Wake up and join the 21st century. The Earth isn’t only 6,000 years old. Adam and Eve were not really the first two human beings alive. If they were, and they had two sons, Cain and Abel, and if, as the Bible says, Cain slew Abel, where did the next generation of humans come from?”

My table-mate remained silent, so I continued, “Are you suggesting that Cain had an incestuous relationship with his mother? After all, she was the only female on Earth, according to the Bible.”

“This whole evolution thing is a relatively recent theory, and that’s all it is, just a theory,” he finally said. “The Bible has been around for two thousand years. It’s the word of God. It’s beyond question. You can’t equate some cockamamie theory developed by man to the gospel written by the hand of God.”

Exasperated, I just shook his head. “You should consider running for Congress. You’d fit right in.”


This post was created for today’s one-word Daily Prompt: Create.

One-Liner Wednesday — Faith and Common Sense

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“Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to.”

Do you believe that the message presented on this church sign is accurate? Is that how you would define faith? Must one suspend common sense in order to have faith?

Personally, I’ll take common sense every time.


This is my entry into today’s “One-Liner Wednesday” prompt from Linda G. Hill.