“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” I have no idea who said or wrote this, but it applies to BOTH: writers/speakers and readers/listeners, especially to THIS writer.
I’m not immune to sometimes pontificating while being confused, and even worse, doing so while having no idea that I’m confused. So, based on a flurry of responses to some of my weekly meanderings over the past several months, I’m going to tidy-up a few things.
First, I receive numerous requests to place advertising on my home page. And while the bulk of them are valid businesses offering legitimate products and services, I reject ALL requests.
It’s nothing personal, it’s simply that I didn’t start this blog in order to make money. I’m long retired and financially secure.
However, as much as I loved what I did for a living for close to 40-years of my professional life, I not only had to be accurate, I also had to present my research findings in ways that conformed to official administrative policies in effect at the time… if you get my drift.
Even in retirement, technical accuracy remains a prime directive. However, my concern over hurt feelings has plummeted way down the list of things that bother me, especially when those feelings belong to brain-dead, dogma-spewing idiots.
Another point of confusion for some readers appears to be their thinking that I’m an atheist. I’m NOT an atheist. True atheists, as do avid theists, have to be a lot smarter than I am in order to be positively sure that God DOES or does NOT exist.
I’m merely not SURE; this makes me an agnostic in search of proof. And my policy has never wavered. If the only basis for believing something is FAITH, then by definition, it means that it cannot stand on its own merits.
None of us KNOWS for sure, and the profoundness of our professed beliefs does not materially alter this fact one bit.
There is a world of difference between spirituality and religion. The former is devoid of dogma while the latter wallows in it. The former emphasizes the positive while the latter constantly stresses the negative. The former is non-judgmental while the latter thrives on pontificating about exclusivity.
People are free to pledge themselves to many faiths or to none at all. It has nothing to do with their sincerity or human goodness. But in all cases, there must be a core at the center of this thing we call “self.”
And two tenets must dominate the preponderance of that core. The first is that NO religion is superior to another. And the second is that from religion (meaning SPIRITUALLY) comes humanity’s purpose, and from science comes our ability to achieve it.
For sure, there are some nasty-ass people in this world, but most of us don’t qualify. We’re just trying our best—warts and all—to be decent people. And it’s well past the time for the self-anointed pontificators on God’s nature to stop feigning even a minimal expertise.
At best, all they’re actually proclaiming is what THEIR demands would be if THEY were God.
While I’m the oldest of my siblings, I’m the only one left. Both of my parents are long gone. My youngest brother died when he was 3-years old. My sister died in 2011, and my other brother died on March 3 of this year.
He and I were as close as could be when it came to a shared view on religion. He was spiritual not religious. He was not sure of God’s existence, but he was hopeful. And he remained steadfast in his beliefs… right through his last breath.
To this end, he was adamant about wanting NEITHER a viewing nor a public funeral. He wanted to be cremated and his ashes buried in his family’s plot.
He had a tremendous admiration for the Hospice chaplain who spent a great deal of time with him over the last 8-months of his life. And all he wanted was for him to say a few comforting words for his family’s benefit.
And if there had to be an obituary—he wasn’t sure if the law required one—it had to be SHORT, and he wanted me to write it.
I won’t give the name of the Hospice chaplain. I never thought to ask him for permission to use it. But, without a doubt, the young man is an absolute credit to the Ministry. As for the obituary, I present it below.
“Robert J. Walther, Sr. died March 3rd after a long battle with lung cancer. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of forty-years (Sharon), two sons: Robert Jr (wife Aimee) and Thomas, his daughter Laura (husband Rick), 8 grandchildren, and his brother, Joseph.
Over his entire life, he never let life’s circumstances, pleasant or otherwise, alter his good nature and solid character. And he did it with sincerity of purpose, empathy and compassion for others, and with an unyielding love for his family. Well done, sir!”
But there isn’t a word contained therein that cannot be applied to every other member of shirtsleeve humanity, REGARDLESS of sexual orientation and/or religious affiliation.
I am merciless in my criticism of the Roman Catholic Church—no details here. But the best thing that’s happened to that organization over the past five and a half decades has been the appointment of Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) to the Papacy.
No doubt about it, he’s the chief keeper of Catholic religious doctrine, but he’s remarkable in his ability to do it non-judgmentally and with sincere humility. He’s a manifestation of true, all inclusive spiritually.
I got carried away on this. There are other items that I wanted to cover; so I’ll just make them a future topic. Have a great week!