A white feather


I realised last night that I have become a religious pacifist.

I am not sure how it happened.  Nor when it began.  But last night I knew with absolute certainty that, if ever called to fight a war of faith, I will wave my white feather.  It was sitting in the “enemy’s” camp that brought about this realisation.  An atheist. An angry atheist.  An atheist who was taught God as a child just as I was taught God. Who took a wrong turn along the way just like me. Who strayed into the enemy’s camp and has stayed there.

Let me show you the enemy right here in your very own blogland:
Dedicated to all those somewhat odd people out there who worship this deity – in whichever manifestation -because they rather foolishly believe that this deity is the source of all their morality and consequently also believe they are in desperate need of salvation. … You know who you are, right?
There is no more immoral work than the ‘Old Testament’.”
A Tale Unfolds: “And God(sic) said …” Arkenaten

I invite you to read the whole post.

Because last night I knew we are all the same.  Last night I realised just how far beyond the doorway/threshold I had moved. To a place where there is no war. Where there are no soldiers. Where there is no need of white feathers. Because there is no enemy.

Just where does God invite any of us to fight His battles? Just where is the command to go and trample the enemy … to save the enemy from themselves … to bring “anyone” to church?  And just where is all the paraphernalia of religion to be found on Jesus who is God?

And now have a look at this: “The Bible is Broken – 3:16” which was birthed from this: “The Bible Tells me So … Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable To Read it”, by Peter Enns

The white feather has become a symbol of cowardice.

Of letting others do the dirty work to protect my way of life.  Not what a real patriot would do. A real patriot goes off to war! A real man (and woman) fights for what is right. Would you have your wife and daughters – your sisters and loved ones – raped and pillaged by “them”?

I know someone who heard all of that and worse.

I love someone who heard all of that and worse. I know someone who lived and breathed in all that rhetoric and expectation.  Who taught give to Rome what is Rome’s. Who taught give to God what is God’s. Who taught that the sun and rain shines and falls on everyone. Who taught that God knows every hair on our heads – even “theirs”. And who died for them as well.  Along the way He really irritated a lot of people. He confused a lot of people.

He still does.

But I never see Him distinguish between “them” and “us” as we do.  I never hear Him sing “Onward Christian Soldiers” as I did. I never hear Him quote the Gospels – they  came later.   All He had to work from was the Old Testament.

The same Old Testament that prompts this: “There is no more immoral work than the ‘Old Testament’.” The same Good News that sees church numbers declining in my part of the world.  The same church that evokes an acceptance of second-best.

If we were all religious pacifists …

Just what might that look like?

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29 thoughts on “A white feather

    • Ark … welcome! You always succeed in making me smile.

      For those unfamiliar with your blog, you take wonderful pictures of the varied life in your garden, great pictures of life on your streets, wonderful cakes, the dog you saved and brought home … Oh – and you gather “de-converts”, you dismiss “converts”, you cling to institutional “religion and God(s)” with passion whilst dismissing it/them with the same passion – and you start the process of dismissal of a “believer” with a mock-shock question.

      And that always makes smile: the innocence of mock-shock. Reminds me of those tiny crabs on the flowers in your garden.

      • As I peeled back each sentence much like I would if I were looking for a Long Legged Sac Spider among the petals of a rose in my garden, I still did not find anything resembling a straight answer, but rather the twisted convoluted ambiguous WTF methodology of phrasing I have long come to expect from anyone even remotely Jesusified or aligned with any sort of religious profit(sic) or another.

        Sheesh! That was almost as long as a Konrad style sentence!

        So, to reiterate, is your meandering blog piece impugning me as your/the enemy?

        Fear not to state plainly, for it is written that, you must make answer to all who ask, and the thought of being labelled Public Enemy Number 1842 or thereabouts ( I have no ideas of grandeur) is somehow quite a novelty.

        So …?

        • Love your writing!!

          So we move straight to stage two: insults and innuendo wrapped like tiny innocent leaves around the imagined thorns of poetic licence and distraction. You have learned religion of man very well, young Ark. 🙂 

          So … ?

          A request – spend some more time pulling back other sentences. Look not for religion and the institution you seem hungry to find – but for common-sense, humanity and kindness. Just as some creatures passing through your garden are named “common” but are not – so too with “common-sense” and your question (it seems to me).

          • Common sense, humanity and kindness are in short shrift where religion is concerned, and I do not merely single out your own brand of god- bothering. It is just that I merely have a greater affinity with Christianity as it was the culture I was drug up in.

            Any institution that demands of its followers to acknowledge they are sinners (sic) and further demands that this vile doctrine be indoctrinated generation after generation is simply vile and not worth the time of day.

            I also suspect you are trying to find some hidden agenda behind the posts I write about religion? Please don’t strain yourself …. there really is none.

            Are you going to give me a direct Yes/ No answer to my question re: Enemy, or are you going to continue to be an obfuscating little nit wit and feign innocence and or ignorance, Paul?

            • Ark, this answer is something of a surprise to me. Please hear me speak it with great love …

              This is mine: The answer to your question has always been there for you to see if you so desired. And this is His: What if both had lived?

            • This is mine: The answer to your question has always been there for you to see if you so desired.

              And exactly what do you think my ”question” is, Paul?

              You capitalized the ‘H’ .
              What do you mean by His?

            • Your question is and was: “You consider me the “enemy”? “ And I use His with an H to avoid confusion as to who I am referring to when not using the word God.

            • And you still have not answered the first part:
              Do you consider me the enemy?

              And exactly which god are you referring to?

            • Ark, having read your blog for quite a while I know that you know the answer to both. So your insistence prompts my curiosity.

            • Again …. you are purposefully being evasive.

              Why do you consider me the enemy?

              And which god are you referring to specifically?
              Yahweh?

            • Not evasive. Just being honest and hoping for some common-sense. Your response – your sticking point – is something I have seen repeated time after time in interactions like this. That is why I am curious rather than evasive. Why always this insistence when the answer is plain to see?

            • When our children were younger they would sometimes have problems with a certain bit of the curriculum. We would sit down and explain how to find the answer in as many different ways as we could until one of them worked. There was a lot of love in that exploring together.

              But here I don’t recognise an intention to “see” an answer, I get no honesty in your confusion. All I get is a “a crab” waiting to pounce and it seems “the prey” has to be in just the right place.

              Ark, I have met many “converts” and “believers”, as you might call them, who are equally predatory. Are you no different?

            • To equate the problems a child may have with a school curriculum/homework and that of religious indoctrination is disingenuous and you should be ashamed.

              But of course, you feel no shame in this regard because you are already indoctrinated and are commanded to spread this nonsense like some theological S.T.D. And like the STD you should rather keep it in your pants and seek medical attention…. ASAP

              You are entitled to beleive what ever you want, Paul and may interact with adults who have the intellectual capacity to exercise critical thought.
              Of course, critical thinking may be severely impaired if one is suffering from some form of emotional breakdown, but this is one of the bumps in the road we have to accept. But children are another matter entirely.

              You may be convinced in your own little indoctrinated mind they need salvation, but in reality this is nothing but child abuse, plain and simple, and if it was possible for this to be legislated then the world would be a far better place.

              You want to make a case for the drivel you believe then present evidence, because the evidence we already have is vile, violent, and fallacious.

              Although I will not be holding my breath you will do anything other than hand wave or offer some pithy platitude.

              However, maybe you will? Surprise me.

              Your call.

            • I am not guessing. Nor am I hand waving. And as for platitudes? For what you have just written about human-beings no different to you, who have also hit bumps in the road, who also have a past – if there is a hell I would have happily seen you rot there for eternity. You have an evil mouth. But – and I am mot even sure I want to in your case –

              All I can hear is great pain. I have my reasons for saying that. And they are in no way connected with you. And the pain I recognise is not connected to God. I know pain because I know pain. And I know that you have no right to feed your pain by hurting innocents. Because I know pain. We all know pain.

              You want to kill God – then direct your anger at Him. You want to slander God – then feel free. You want to attach your pain with God to me and my children – then BACK OFF!

              My comment addressed your intransigence. Don’t ever think you can mind-read me and our children. You do not have that capacity nor do you have that privilege. And because I feel your pain I will give you honesty in the hope something of love registers somewhere in your mind. And I am not even sure why I bother!

              Our children were brought up in a house without God. If you had read any of the stuff I write here you would have known that. If you connected rather than waited to abuse you might have found that out. You have no agenda? You are more in denial than most religious nuts I have met – and I have met a few. There are dangerous people in the church. But if you and I met in the street and you spoke to me as you have just spoken here – I would not be asking God for forgiveness right now, I would be facing GBH charges. And, dear Ark, it would be worth it.

              But you live with this torment every day. You must do – or else why this torrent of slime, of evil, of death? Is that why He asked His question?

              I know pain. I see pain. But please – never inflict on me and our children what you just inflicted here.

            • I am not guessing. Nor am I hand waving. And as for platitudes? For what you have just written about human-beings no different to you, who have also hit bumps in the road, who also have a past – if there is a hell I would have happily seen you rot there for eternity. You have an evil mouth. But – and I am mot even sure I want to in your case –

              And there you have it … The outright evidence of just how vile and ridiculous religious indoctrination is. Well done, Paul. You are a shining example for the dire need for some sort of secular counselling.

              All I can hear is great pain. I have my reasons for saying that. And they are in no way connected with you. And the pain I recognise is not connected to God. I know pain because I know pain. And I know that you have no right to feed your pain by hurting innocents. Because I know pain. We all know pain.

              Yes, my back plays up now and then and also my ITB, an old running injury.
              You keep saying ‘’God’’. There are loads of gods, Paul. If we are talking about your god then why not simply say Yahweh? Or is you prefer his supposed earthly manifestation, the Lake Tiberius Pedestrian, Jesus of Nazareth?

              You want to kill God – then direct your anger at Him. You want to slander God – then feel free. You want to attach your pain with God to me and my children – then BACK OFF!

              I want to kill your god as much as I want to kill Harry Potter, or Zeus or Odin.
              No, I have no desire to attach my back pain or my ITB pain to you or your kids. I earned this pain through many hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of road running.

              My comment addressed your intransigence. Don’t ever think you can mind-read me and our children. You do not have that capacity nor do you have that privilege. And because I feel your pain I will give you honesty in the hope something of love registers somewhere in your mind. And I am not even sure why I bother!

              Ain actual fact, my comments addressed your intransigence. Also your penchant for obfuscation, being disingenious, and your wilful ignorance.

              Our children were brought up in a house without God.

              Excellent!

              If you had read any of the stuff I write here you would have known that. If you connected rather than waited to abuse you might have found that out. You have no agenda? You are more in denial than most religious nuts I have met – and I have met a few. There are dangerous people in the church. But if you and I met in the street and you spoke to me as you have just spoken here – I would not be asking God for forgiveness right now, I would be facing GBH charges. And, dear Ark, it would be worth it.

              Let’s remind ourselves that it was YOU who read my post and YOU who linked it and YOU who slammed it and called me the enemy, and my blog the enemy camp. And the opening salvo of abuse was yours, so, quite frankly I could really not give a shit.
              Furthermore, I have no real desire to trawl through yet another fundamentalist’s blog. If there was something about your personal history you wished to point out then you should have said, or at least directed me to your testimony.
              Anything else you wish to say?
              Be my guest … I am all ears.

            • Wish all you like…. however, if you truly believe you have something meaningful to add and you are prepared to include evidence -any evidence for you claims (or beliefs) then I mean it most sincerely.

            • And your claims (or beliefs) don’t? Really?

              But more than that – dialogue that is open and meaningful – without fear and recrimination – without need to be right or wrong – that might just explore belief. But dialogue that needs the shredding of another – that needs a position defended – that sees no wrong in aggression and hate – that really does share nothing. You will not allow yourself to be vulnerable in this. Yet you expect that of others.

              I am not sure what you are sincere about or even what that word means to you. Because you have no remorse for any of your words and actions. And you base that on no evidence at all. Not a shred.

              Answer me this, Ark … How are we so different?

              And I ask that most sincerely.

            • And your claims (or beliefs) don’t? Really?

              If you are referring to evidence, then science is ALL about evidence. Religion is ALL about faith.

              But more than that – dialogue that is open and meaningful – without fear and recrimination – without need to be right or wrong – that might just explore belief. But dialogue that needs the shredding of another – that needs a position defended – that sees no wrong in aggression and hate – that really does share nothing. You will not allow yourself to be vulnerable in this. Yet you expect that of others.

              It becomes tiresome to repeat the same things over and over … nevertheless.
              You can believe whatsoever you wish. As an adult, this is your right , and I would stand up for you to exercise this right, no matter how nuts I think it is. But on these terms …
              You do not harm others or expect your religious views to be given any special privilege whatsoever and you do not indoctrinate children.
              I hope I have finally made my position clear enough for even you to understand?

              I am not sure what you are sincere about or even what that word means to you. Because you have no remorse for any of your words and actions. And you base that on no evidence at all. Not a shred.

              And exactly what can you find fault with concerning my words and actions with regard (Christianity) religion? If I have made an error/s then feel free to point it/them out and I will publically apologise.

              Answer me this, Ark … How are we so different?

              I do not believe I am a sinner, nor is anyone else for that matter, and I do not have the chronic need to metaphorically or literally prostrate myself to a man-made, Bronze Age god.
              Oh … and I don’t believe anyone is going to hell as it is ficticious nonsense and I would not ever run the risk of GBH simply because an indoctrinated Christian insulted me on an open internet blog.

            • You’ve done it again! You got me smiling all over!

              Whilst admitting you don’t know anything about me, you know all about me. Whilst insisting science and evidence is all, you make assumption after assumption about me. You lay down terms without any foundation or basis other than your own beliefs, yet imagine my “lack of evidence” gives you that right.

              And that stops the laughter for me.

              You twist belief and science, your twist words to suit your opinion, and you twist with venom and dismissal based not on any evidence or science. You manage all of that based simply on your own personal belief system.

              Do you ever read what you write, and do you ever remember what you dismiss? You have refined a “religion of non-religions”. And that takes some doing! All in the name of science. And all operating from belief. And all justified no matter the damage you cause.

              Ark, you may not believe this – but I have no wish to save you from anything or wish you sent to anywhere. You wandered into my house because I saw something good in yours and linked to it. And because I saw something good and linked to it, you moved into my house, took offence, and expected me to hand it over to you.

              That is B.E.L.I.E.F. not science.

            • I asked you straight out to explain… and you danced.
              You have ALWAYS dance , Paul, and you are dancing still.

              You have already stated you are prepared t commit GBH!
              because I claim religious indoctrination is abise?
              You are not well. Seriously. Not well at all.

              Please tell me exactly what damage you think I am causing?

              And if you cannot for once give me a straight answer then I will have to conclude you are a fraud with no real intent on genuine dialogue as you so earnestly claim.

            • Which, I think, merits drawing this conversation to a close. I hope one day you and I can sit around a Comments box and enjoy the same space, the same air, the same belief that we are discussing no more than differing beliefs.

              I have learned to never say never. It makes living so much more fun.

              (for the sake of clarity, Ark, this means no further comments – thank you)

  1. Paul, why you feel this is because going through the threshold with Jesus exposes the myth of redemptive violence (that peace is truly attained by war). These are pagan notions. But His love makes us truly love our enemies. There is no “us vs. them” on this side of the threshold. The same reason that an atheist objects to the violence in the Old Testament is the same thing Jesus came to expose on the Cross. This is why Jesus would say to the atheist, “You have heard it said, but I say…”

  2. Pingback: In God(sic) we (t)rust part deux – A Tale Unfolds

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