Posts Tagged ‘religion’

#TheLordsPrayer #SecularNation

Out of Our Cinema’s, Out of Our Schools, Out of Our Bedrooms and Out of Our Government

The Church of England is ‘astonished (…) disappointed and bewildered’ at what they see as a ‘plain silly’ decision to not screen their ‘Lord’s Prayer’ cinema advert in the UK. coelogoThey had hoped for the 60 second advert (video below) to be playing in UK cinemas prior to the holiday screenings of Star Wars. The advert features a montage of everyday people – a grieving son at a grave, a cop, gym users, a farmer, street preachers, a gospel choir – all speaking or singing ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ and ending with the slogan, ‘Prayer is for Everyone’. This is followed by the hashtag, #JustPray.

Well, patently ‘prayer’ isn’t quite for everyone. Certainly not the Digital Cinema Media (DCM) agency who handle advertising for the UK’s largest cinema chains. They released a statement saying it was the policy of the agency ‘not to accept advertising that was of a political or religious nature’, adding that they understood that some people may be offended by religious adverts if they were of another faith, or no faith at all.


Astonishing isn’t it, that the Church of England doesn’t understand in any way shape or form that this might be the case? After all, most polls show that church attendance is hovering around the 10% mark for the UK (for comparison I recall it being 39% for the States and 7% for Australia) and has a history of dropping around 1% per year. We are, for the most part, a gratefully faithless nation. I should add that pollsters are traditionally wary of figures regarding any country’s religiosity and feel uncomfortable stating a normal margin of error here, as when questioned about religious activity, people of faith (and here you may read ‘Christians’) are apt to lie.


Disappointing too, that Christians cannot see that people of ‘no faith at all’ tend to view faith as simply an excuse to believe absurdities without evidence. Faith is, of course, a recent phenomenon for the religious: In the past this virtue was entirely unnecessary as Gods of various persuasions and their acolytes would regularly part seas, flood planets, tear moons asunder, destroy whole cities, kill children at the drop of a hat, demand human sacrifice, fly winged horses, use teenage virgins vaginas as Star-Gates, and bring lots of the dead back to life as Zombies. Faith was simply not required. You just had to open your front door and there’d be a God out there doing Godly things.

Kids today would have loved it back then: it would have been like living in a Marvel Comic. I often wonder if they had baseball-type cards? Perhaps made from papyrus, mud or clay?

‘I’ve got ‘Pillar of Salt’ twice, swap you for ‘A Laughing Rock’, a ‘Talking Snake’ or ‘Uzziah Struck with Leprosy…’.

Following the Silence of the Gods which occurred around the time of the run-up to The Enlightenment, god-botherers of all persuasions began to pretend, in the absence of overt godly action, that their Gods would now speak to them personally and in private. When questioned as to said gods accent, choice of language, received pronunciation and the like, the faithful would mumble something about hearing their god via a ‘warm fuzzy feeling in the region of the groin’.


Bewildering in the extreme, isn’t it, to imagine that the 90% of us who have never felt the warmth of the Lord’s breath bellowing in our underpants, or have ever visited a church or mosque to converse with an imaginary deity, would want to begin a family evening in the company of our favourite cinematic characters with a Call to Prayer? Star Wars has more than enough fictional characters for one night, thank you.

It should be obvious from the figures above that very few of us have little desire to watch an advert – of whatever persuasion – that seeks to sell us a piece of bronze-age or medieval juju. Yet unbelievably, in this land chock full of Heathens and Infidels, our government demands that this happen every morning via collective worship in our nation’s schools. Perhaps in this neo-liberal age we should consider outsourcing our educational policy to much wiser folk? The good people at Digital Cinema Media should put in a quote – they’d certainly get my vote.

Plain Silly

Plain silly then, to encourage the religious further by urging them to open an ever growing number of religious schools, act as a proxy of the state whilst discriminating against same-sex marriage (their Gods apparently hate the pee-pee thing being anywhere near the poo-poo thing), or worse still, allowing 26 of the buggers to sit and vote in the UK’s second chamber – The House of Lords – as representatives of an established religion – something we have in common with, er… hold on, I wrote this down somewhere? Ah, yes, there it is… Iran.

Don’t get me wrong, I have some sympathy for the culturally religious. They, like I, did not choose the religion of the meaty hole they fell through at birth – no-one is faced with a multiple-choice at this juncture. There aren’t a number of holes, each with a label above – just one. It could be a Catholic hole, a Sikh hole, a Seventh Day Adventist hole. If you’re really unlucky, it could be a Mormon hole – or worse still, a Chelsea hole!

Whatever the hole, it remains purely a circumstance of birth. An event that marks us, Cain-like, until our passing into the much larger grand hole of infinity.

However, But, Some of My Best Freinds etc’

It is difficult enough, then, to shake off these social identifiers that have travelled with us through so much of our lives – no more so than when these identifiers are challenged forcefully from outside. The tendency to become defensive when confronted by physical or intellectual attack is understandable. It is hard to have a finger pointed at you, or a fist waved at you, as is the case presently with the Muslim community – a community who, for the most part, have nothing to do with the violence perpetrated in their name.

However, it must be said – so it might as well be me that says it – the actions of Islamist fundamentalists have nothing to do with cultural or moderate Muslims in the same way that cultural or moderate Christians have nothing to do with the recent American-funded campaign calling for the imposition of the death penalty for homosexuality in Uganda, or the actions of the literalists of Westboro Baptist Church, or Settler violence on the West Bank has to do with cultural or moderate Jews – yet the common denominator, the elephant in the room, the one factor that allows literalist movement along the spectrum from cultural, to moderate, to conservative, to fundamentalist, to murdering psychopathic gobshite – be it Christian, Jewish or Muslim, is the unquestioned and unevidenced belief in absolute nonsense – this relatively new fad of the religious, this thing called faith.

With this in mind is it wrong to ask the religious that they attack their texts with the zeal of a Thomas Jefferson, tearing away the nonsense until they are left with little more than the Golden Rule? Or, indeed to express at least surprise, or even mild anger, that they would be astonished, disappointed and bewildered, or see as plain silly, an objection to their missionary call to join them in talking to an imaginary man in a cinema. To join them in Faith.

Following the Paris attacks, the hashtag #PrayForParis began trending and was given prominence by the world’s press. The pious seemingly oblivious to the bad taste felt in the mouths of the godless by the untimely mention of any God. Joann Sfar, one of the surviving Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, responded to the hashtag with the following:


“Friends from the whole world, thank you for #prayforparis, but we don’t need more religion,”

Joann is right. Not only do we not need it, it would appear that most of us don’t want it, either. Please take it out of our cinema’s, out of our schools, out of our bedrooms and out of our government

Well done to Digital Cinema Media for standing their ground against such nonsense. May the Force be with them – along with music, kisses, life, champagne and joy.

Anvil Springstien.

Ps: By the way, he kissed his sister… Ugh!


Free Special Added Bonus Content:

Quiz Time: Let’s play ‘Spot’ The Difference:

A Call to Prayer:

Another Call to Prayer:

#Syria #Isis #StopTheWar #TheGodThatWasntThere #Voltaire

Doubting Justin

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the right reverend Justin Welby, speaking in an interview for a BBC religious programme, has said that the despicable and religiously inspired attacks on the citizens of Paris had made him ‘doubt’ the presence of God.


Really, Justin? One wonders how you managed to get by with your faith intact upon hearing of the 17 million dead of World War 1, the 60 million dead of World War 2, the 500,000 dead from the illegal Iraqi War, the 250,000 dead – and counting – from the Syrian War, the 7,600,000 annual death toll from cancer, the 5,000 deaths from Ebola, the 21,000 men, women and children who die every day from hunger-related causes, the 20 million murdered by Stalin, The millions more by Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il and his bastard offspring, the bombings of thousands of civilians in Korea and Vietnam by Johnston and Nixon, then there’s Id Amin, Titi, Suharto… the list is endless, much of it inspired, indeed demanded by the texts of the two main religions of the world – the Bible and the Qu’ran, and watched, one can only assume, pitilessly by their deities.

When will the penny drop, Justin? How long will it take to erode the delusion you carry in your head?

Perhaps, given the geographic and religiously inspired nature of last week’s attacks I should Voltaireend this brief missive with the words of one of the greatest ever Parisians, Voltaire (it was his birthday yesterday, by the way, Justin. You may wish to pay your respects at his home of exile in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden – there’s a commemorative plaque you can look for).

Ever a wag of wit and concision, Voltaire hits the nail on the head every time. Hope you’ve got your pen ready, Justin.

“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Both of the above are for you, but perhaps we can add one more from the great man in case you bump into David Cameron:

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

Anvil Springstien.

NoteThe title of the piece, ‘The God Who Wasn’t There’ is taken/borrowed/filched from the 2005 independent documentary written and directed by Brian Flemming. The film examines the existence of Jesus and takes a look at the evidence for the Christ myth – well worth a watch. AS

The God That Wasn’t There – Wikipedia Link

Note: This article is presented unfinished, but as the situation is fluid and fast-moving I thought I would publish it as an ongoing piece that will be added to and completed over the next few days. AS

#Syria #StopTheWar #ISIS

Nous sommes tous Humains. Nous sommes tous Parisienne!

The shocking and despicable acts that saw the deaths of 129 (now 130) innocent people in Paris should be condemned by all sane people throughout the world. Of course, sanity also demands that we should sit back, take stock, and formulate a rational and reasoned response.

The temptation for a knee-jerk reaction to events such paris-logoas these, whilst understandable, is never the right thing to do. I can understand, in part, the increased bombing of ISIS positions by Hollande – he needs to be seen to be doing something – yet it takes little analysis to understand that this war in Syria has been raging for four years now, with 250,000 dead and over six million displaced persons – men, women and children – precisely because this is a proxy war between multiple powerful agencies, arming, supplying and funding a large and ever changing alliance of groups on the ground. ISIS has been bombed for over a year now by a coalition of eleven countries – including France and led by the most powerful nation on earth – with little apparent degradation.

It does not appear to have made France any safer. Neither, with a large nod to the British media, has the fact that France has an independent nuclear deterrent. If the constant bombing of Syria has not increased the safety of France – or Britain – how would British involvement in furthering such bombing help? Further, if the recent addition to the bombing in Syria by Russia is increasing the refugee crisis – and by implication the power of the recruiting sergeants for terrorist groups, as has been claimed, how then would the addition of British air power not add yet more momentum to this?

There are at present simply too many unanswered questions. Would such an action be legal? What would it seek to achieve? How would it end? Can its goals be achieved without ground forces? What would participation do to Britain’s ability to project diplomacy with regards to Syria? The attack on Paris should not be used as a political or emotional lever to move for a further vote in the UK parliament to join in the bombing of Syria without first answering at least these questions.

Party-Political Claptrap

Unfortunately, this is exactly what was being repeatedly touted in Britain in the moments immediately following Monday’s international minutes silence in respect of the Paris victims. Cameron said as much at the G20 summit earlier that day in Antalya, Turkey, and was instantly supported by Liam Fox, conservative Member of Parliament for North Somerset and former Secretary of State for Defence, who reiterated that Cameron could take immediate action without the consent of parliament whilst remaining within the constitution. Cameron’s claim that we should step up to the plate and not allow other countries to provide for the safety of the UK is purely emotional nonsense and nothing more than an attempt to appeal to the masses, to appear heroic, even – party political claptrap at its very worse.

No doubt we can also expect the attack on Paris to be used as political leverage in pushing the disgraceful Draft Communications Bill or ‘Snoopers Charter’, and indeed, the replacement of Trident.

Act of War

Much has also been said regarding president Hollande’s declaration that the attack was an ‘act of war’. France has been a member of Nato since 2009 and could claim, under Article Five, that an attack on one member state is an attack on all. He neglected to mention this in his impassioned speech at Versailles, though did bring up an EU article with similar wording – presumably to avoid seeking legality from the United Nations in the face of the usual veto from permanent members of the Security Council such as Russia or China.

Still, the difficulty of getting a UN resolution may well change as, only hours before China is informed of the murder of the latest of its citizens held hostage by ISIS, Russia confirms that its Metrojet airliner in Sinai was in fact brought down by an explosive device. Indeed as we speak Hollande has tabled an intermediate resolution at the UN. One that falls far short of Chapter 7 whereby members can use force to enact the resolution.  Testing the water, perhaps. [UPDATE: This resolution was passed unanimously. Since the vote, various British commentators have suggested that this in itself would allow for military action.]

So what can be done?
The Military Option

First, let me state from the outset that I understand that something must be done. Whilst hardly a hawk, I am far from a pacifist and realise that Islamic State has to be defeated, militarily, on the ground: their Caliphate, or claim to one, unlike the political ideology of al Qaeda, is dependent on actual territory rather than political demands. Defeating Islamic State on the ground destroys the basis of that Caliphate, in effect destroying ISIS. This would not stop other groups, such as those in Libya and other African nations announcing a new Caliphate, but would dramatically reduce the currency of such claims as to be almost worthless, and, in consequence, remove a large ‘pull’ factor for foreign jihadis prepared to travel and fight.

Of course, defeating ISIS – if it could ever be achieved in isolation – does not end the war in Syria, or the refugee crisis that it has caused, nor would it end the threat of Islamist terrorism in western democracies and beyond. Yet it is hard to imagine its defeat without it being bound up in an end to hostilities generally, and this can only be achieved with political agreement and military cooperation between the forces involved.

Boots on the Ground

So who then would act as Cameron’s boots on the ground? Certainly not the US who, after fourteen years of War on Terror 1 are not so keen to see its soldiers embroiled in War on Terror 2. It is widely known that the Peshmerga Kurds – even with air support, will not want to fight beyond what it see’s as its lands. What remains are a few friendly militia’s, the ineffective Iraqi Army and al-Assad’s own forces.

Hardly inspiring, yet nobody in their right mind could envision an EU or Nato force on the ground without the agreement of Russia or Iran. Similarly, could the west envisage allowing Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah troops (with or without Syrian Government support) to confront ISIS? When would they leave? Why would they leave? Would they then move against the al Nusra Front or the FSA? What would a western response to that be? The potential for a rapid spiral into unintended consequences is both unthinkable and unimaginable.


This leaves the regional powers such as Saudi Arabia (the source of the wahabi/salafist ideology of ISIS), Qatar (suspected of supporting ISIS), Jordan and possibly Egypt. All of whom seem as keen as the Americans to use ground forces.

The description of the situation as a quagmire seems hardly sufficient.

United Nations

There is no other workable option other than a political settlement on Syria conducted through the provision of a UN resolution with full Chapter 7 provision. This has its difficulties, of course: the removal of Bashar al-Assad for one; oil and gas supplies to Europe, another; a belligerent Putin another still. Then there is the necessary use of ground forces from Muslim nations. All this above and beyond a complex, but necessary, plan for the reconstruction of political and civil society in Syria.

Nevertheless, this is what we need to be urgently calling for as our political leaders blindly steer us toward a massive strike on Syria without a prior political – or even military, solution being put before parliament. That Cameron thinks he can go away and develop such before bringing it before parliament next week is quite frankly laughable. That he is doing so without a moment’s glance towards our nation’s recent and past foreign interventions leaves one incredulous.

Foreign Policy

It would be tedious, for the reader at least, to begin to retrace the errors of past adventures abroad in order to temper present haste – that would necessitate a less than brief diversion through Bush and Blair, to The Hague. Allow me, instead to present a segment of today’s (Thursday 20/11/2015) Georgetown University speech by one of America’s democratic presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders. Here he lays out the thought process that must occur before we begin to beat the drums of war. He does so with a concision that is sadly beyond me:

 “Our response must begin with an understanding of past mistakes and missteps in our previous approaches to foreign policy. It begins with the acknowledgment that unilateral military action should be a last resort, not a first resort, and that ill-conceived military decisions, such as the invasion of Iraq, can wreak far-reaching devastation and destabilize entire regions for decades. It begins with the reflection that the failed policy decisions of the past – rushing to war, regime change in Iraq, or toppling Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, or Guatemalan President Árbenz in 1954, Brazilian President Goulart in 1964, Chilean President Allende in 1973 (show us that) (t)hese are the sorts of policies (that) do not work, do not make us safer, and must not be repeated.”

Cameron and Co’ would do well to have the above tattooed on their knees for when they start jerking.

Nearer to Home

In conjunction with international cooperation on a military and diplomatic front, and mindful of the outcomes of past and present foreign policy, we are aware of the need to confront and combat the importing of terrorism from Syria to our own shores – and that we need to do so whilst retaining the freedoms, liberties and democratic values that we hold dear. Yet the attacks on Paris, like the attacks on the UK, have, for the most part, been conducted by citizens of these respective nations, who, for whatever reasons, seek to identify themselves with a fascist totalitarian ideology based on a religious book with its roots in the 7th century.

How should we respond to this failure to identify with the values of liberal democracy, of justice, of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, of freedom both of and from religion?

Why would Muslim citizens torn between these identities choose one over the other?

Perhaps we should start by initially reconfiguring the question and asking why is it that most Muslims do not involve themselves in terrorism? Why is it that most Muslims, in spite of a holy book that demands the fall of infidel rule and the imposition, through force if necessary, of a caliphate, do not pick up arms to achieve this. The reality, of course, is far more complex than the oft touted Sunni-Shia divide, or the division between conservative, jihadi, and takfiri Muslims. The reality is there are, as with Christianity, as many forms of Islam as there are Muslims. The reason that all Muslims do not slay the Infidel wherever they may find them, is the same reason that Christians do not take their insolent children to the City gates to stone them to death.

The truth is that most people of faith would think either of the above totally abhorrent and so far removed from their image of their religion as to be a falsehood. A damned lie. That the words invoking such actions can be pointed to in their holy texts merely nod to the various forms of cognitive dissonance displayed by all people of faith: science healing their life-threatening infection attributed not to the Enlightenment or the development of evolutionary biology, but to prayer or divine intervention.

What does this point to?

To Be Continued…

Note: This article is presented unfinished, but as the situation is fluid and fast-moving I thought I would publish it as an ongoing piece that will be added to and completed over the next few days. AS



Kim Davis.
4 times married. 3 times divorcee.
Clerk, Rowan County, Kentucky.

Anvil Springstien.

Loosely Related: TwatShaming #1


Royals fall for Holy Water Scam

The British Royal Family admitted this week to being duped after buying so-called Holy Water from the Jordan River – a river in Jordan, which is a country – for the sacrificial-wetting of latest royal addition, blond, Princess Charlotte, aged not one yet.

The water reputed to have been used to sacrificially wet suedo-fictional character, Hey-Zeus Christos (pronounced Gee-suss by some and Yeah-shoo-aah by others who speak different languages) has been sold by unscrupulous dealers for many years and can be bought at source or online from shadowy venders such as Gumtree and eBay for as little as £3.13 (plus £5.69 shipping) – although an accompanying Certificate of Authentification holy waterattaining to uncut full-strength holy water can raise this to as much as £21.33 for less than 600mls.

Although used to encourage miracles or the good favour of Gods, Holy Water from the River Jordan is not suitable for drinking.

Hey-Zeus and Holy Water from the River Jordan first came to prominence following the success of Hollywood blockbusters ‘Space Jew’, and ‘Space Jew II – the Re-Awakening’. Both movies, loosely based on two earlier books, chart the story of a powerful alien who travels to earth using the vagina of a middle-eastern teenager as a ‘Star Gate’. Following a period of transitioning from a small brown Arab boy into a, blond haired, blue-eyed white guy, Hey-Zeus bursts on to the scene with a magic-act that stuns popular local competition, Galilee’s Got Talent.

Top of His Game

Jesusblond blue eyesDuring a nation-wide tour, and at the top of his game, Hey-Zeus meets another man called John who has a failing riverside career persuading people to gain the attention of deities by getting themselves and their clothes wet. Hey-Zeus befriends John, uses his ‘re-birth’ facility, causing a massive turn-around in John’s business fortunes which is seen as a miracle by the Jordanian Chamber of Commerce.

From there the story unfolds into a Machiavellian tale of hatred, betrayal, and the unrequited love of one man for twelve others, spoiled, many critics admit, by an overly complex ending where Hey-Zeus, descending into apparent Freudian madness, believes he has been sent to earth by himself to sacrifice himself to himself in order to an appease himself for his own anger at the actions of two long dead earthlings who no-one on earth knew.

Hey-Zeus Lives!

Complexity aside, the franchise has become at least as popular as Pokémon and has generated almost as many street-sayings as Terminator, or The Matrix – and although “I shall return” and “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” hardly compete with “I’ll be back” or “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes“, it has achieved almost mythic status amongst its followers, so much so that Hey-Zeus is seen at least as often as Elvis, be it on toast, in chip-shops, or emblazoned across the backside of a dog.


This very success has created a burgeoning souvenir industry that many feel is taking advantage of unwary high-profile fans such as the Royals culminating in an increased incidence of sacrificial-wetting by the feckless poor, which in turn has the effect of severe environmental degradation to the River Jordan itself – once a major river of almost biblical proportions, now a mere muddy trickle of brown water and sewage.


Environmental considerations aside, a spokesperson who refused to be associated with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science said, ‘This is child-abuse. Surely Princess Charlotte, blonde, aged not one yet, should be allowed to grow up and watch these movies for herself before deciding to be sacrificially-wetted. No-one is born a fan of these movies, for goodness sake!’.

Another spokesperson, unconnected with Buckingham palace, said the Royals were unaware they were doing anything wrong until suspicions about the quality of the water purchased first arose when Prince Charles noticed it wasn’t even carbonated.

In other news a family of nine from Luton, England, thought initially to be on holiday in Mecca, have reportedly crossed from Turkey into the Middle Ages.

Anvil Springstien.

SPECIAL OFFER: ‘Tears of Saint Diana of Wales’ – coming soon (330ml & 750ml only). You can now bathe in the tears of Saint Diana of Wales (prices available on request). Some Beans available now.


Should’ve gone to Specsavers

A Mountain Spirit in Malaysia took exception to tourists who stripped naked for a photograph and urinated indiscriminatelypictures_showing_foreigners_stripping_off_for_a_photo_on_mount_kinabulu_posted_to_facebook_E1 on a mountain top. The Mountain Spirit, who was not available for comment, responded with a 5.9 earthquake which destroyed property and killed 18 unconnected people.

Local politicians, keen to point out the real perpetrators following the earthquake, demanded a nationwide search for the holiday-makers who were reportedly still in the country.

Most have now given themselves up to police with only two left ‘on the run’.

A tribal leader in the region has demanded payment of ten water buffaloes (male or female) to placate the angry Mountain Spirit, and has graciously offered to ‘look after’ the offering after pointing out that the Mountain Spirit has no hands, “… or legs, or even a head”, he added.

Deity Rage.

The incident is yet another in a long list of errors by deities that have had catastrophic implications for completely innocent people. Gay men in Los Angeles were apparently to be smitten with a tsunami in 2011 for putting the ‘pee pee thing near the poo poo thing’. The tsunami eventually struck thousands of miles away in Indonesia.

The small British town of Carlisle was submerged by a great flood in 2007, again due, according to an informed bishop, to Gayers and a small amount of Lesbianity. Thousands lost their homes and possessions, though a later Pew Poll showed that residents of Carlisle had never even heard the word ‘gay’ and had only seen a black person once, on TV.

Eats Babies

Deity Rage Victim, or Inner-Ear infection?

Arch villain and known baby eater, Richard Dawkins, was unavailable for comment following an ‘incident’ at Sao Paulo airport, Brasil. However a spokesperson pretending to speak for him said, in a rather passable accent, “Who do these Deities think they are? For goodness sake!

At present no deity has claimed responsibility for the Sao Paulo incident, though colleague and friend, professor Lawrence Krauss, ‘chick-lit’ author of the bestselling thriller, ‘It Came Out of Nowhere‘ was overheard to say the very accuracy of the smite suggested no metaphysical involvement whatsoever.

The Pope, at a loose end whilst waiting for president Putin to finish looking at gay porn, said, “Hey, somebody pisses on you in an indiscriminate manner, you gonna’ kill a few folk. It’s only natural.

In other news, shares in water buffalo soared.