Is Britain Christian or Atheist?

Charles Moore is asking this question in a Telegraph article posted today. I wonder myself. Are we Christian or Atheist? I have to say, I’m an atheist and the rest of this post will be influenced by that point of view, that and rational thought and a belief in evolution.

David Cameron thinks we are a Christian country of course, he only said a few days ago that we were, but I wonder if he says that out of fear of other, just as irrelevant religions, encroaching on the irrelevant Christian ‘belief’ that our nation supposedly is spiritually soaked in.

What I find incredible is that Charles Moore says that we are a Christian nation because things such as our National Health Service and public holidays and festivals, which I find thin arguments at best. But then he is playing to an audience of Telegraph readers so I suppose we can forgive him that. He’s clearly got an agenda and a specific audience very much like Matthew, Mark, Luke and Johns gospels had when they were written. I’m not having a go at Charles Moore he does make many good points in his article, but some of the points that he mentions as making us a more so Christian nation I do disagree with pretty strongly.

Education – by its very nature is about facts. There should not and cannot ever be an agenda about education. In its purest form it is secular, it should educate about religion and explain them in real facts, about what they are what they represent, who believes and why etc. But it shouldn’t have an agenda or a point of view. Education is simply learning things. If you add an agenda, especially a religious one it fails to be education anymore, rather a doctrine that aims to pollute the mind of the receiver.

Flag – The Union Jack is a combination of flags that represent the histories of the union parts of the UK. The histories of these constituent countries have no doubt been effected and shaped by religion over the many hundreds of years but the flag itself is just a reflection of the several flags if the union nations. It has no religious meaning in 2014. Its incidental that Scotland had a flag and England had a flag and Wales too and they combined to created an umbrella flag that we know as the Union Jack. Simple as that.

Health Service – How is this Christian? The health service was not born out of religion; it was born out of a social idea and responsibility to make sure that all of the people were taken care off when ill at the point of need for healthcare. It was established by a Labour government after World War Two. The idea was simple, a healthy nation is a productive one, and so let’s keep people well and encourage them to be healthy and if they aren’t, let’s do something about it. It’s a socialist organisation, not a religious one. It means rich or poor you won’t die unavoidably from treatable illnesses and diseases.

Heritage and historically – He speaks about holidays and festivals being Christian but even our Christian holidays (Christmas and Easter) are celebrated along pagan lines. Easter, which we are just passing through, is a perfect example. What are bunny rabbits and eggs if not symbols of fertility as used during Spring by pagans to signify rebirth and renewal? They have no Christian meaning at all. But they are used every year by pagans, atheists, Christians and agnostics to mark Easter.

Euthanasia – “The growing desire to kill old people (sorry let them die with dignity)” a direct quote from that Telegraph article. Euthanasia as understood by most atheists (or rational people) is not a simply desire to kill old people, that idea is disgusting Charles Moore. Euthanasia is about dignity, it’s about letting people with no hope, who are suffering and dying, the chance to leave this life without suffering. Suffering is a Christian idea. It’s not an acceptable idea in a modern world. We can’t cure everyone, we can’t save everyone, and we can’t stop people getting old, suffering and dying. But we can listen to what they want. If they want to die, and have no hope, only pain and suffering, then euthanasia is a damned acceptable idea and no one, especially Christians have anything worthy to say on the matter. Let the individuals who want it tell us if its right.

Abortion – abortion is a very emotive subject. I am pro-choice. I think that all men should be. We don’t have to carry babies and incubate them, we don’t have to bring them up alone when a man decides to jump ship, we don’t have to worry about dying in childbirth. You have to be pro-choice if you’re a man and that’s it. It’s a female issue and we shouldn’t be allowed an opinion. A woman’s body is her own and she should choose what to do with it and anything she carries in it. So many people care about the pre-born but once they are born they are on there own as so well explained to us here by the great George Carlin.

Divorce – this again is an issue for those involved. Why is it wrong to divorce? It’s a complete nonsense. A total, utter nonsense. I’m with Henry VIII on this issue. If religion won’t let you divorce find a new one that will, just don’t cut anyone’s head off.

Surrogacy – Again a modern problem that ancient religion cannot legislate for so it simply says its wrong. It’s not wrong at all. It allows infertile women and homosexuals to have families and if that angers Christians we know it’s right and OK.

Offending Muslims – Yes even this is mentioned in the Telegraph article. Most Muslims aren’t offended by atheist opinions. I suppose that’s just the article author, Charles Moore, confusing Muslims with islamists. That certainly aint a first these days though is it? But is very offensive to not just Muslims, but open minded, atheists like myself.

Morality – The very idea that mankind can only be moral with religion and its rules is crazy. Atheists, humanists, agnostics can all be moral people just by treating people as they want to be treated. There is not a religious moral exclusivity on not killing, not raping, not stealing, not being adulterous etc etc. The very idea that people without religion or faith in a deity are immoral people is as disgusting an idea as hating homosexuals for being homosexual – as many Christians do. Morality is a human issue, not a Christian one.

So with that in mind, are we more Atheist or more Christian as a nation? I think we are more atheist or at least agnostic or humanist. Many people will put Christian on a census form without really thinking about what it means or even believe themselves to be Christian. In my own circle of family and friends and colleagues and acquaintances I can say that very few of them call themselves Christian, or are openly Christian, it must be less than 1 in 10 people.  Maybe they hide it around me as they know I’m a bit of a militant atheist, or maybe people just are less Christian.

I don’t want to be completely negative towards Christianity. I once was one but stopped believing when I reached the age of reason which for me was about 22. I decided to stop being religious, then became unsure, and then became an unbeliever. I can’t ever see me going back. For me God is life. I worship that. Its not about day to day stuff, work, bills, chores but the simple little things in life like a well timed and energy giving nap, or seeing a plant grow, or just watching my nieces and nephews play and question and learn about the world as they idly go about their business as kids in a world that is entirely their oyster. God as a thing I don’t believe in, but getting a spiritual or happy feeling inside seeing a long lost friend or a tear shed watching a movie are things that are real and I do feel and believe in. They are human things and tangible things and they are what count. Love matters, being a good person matters and being contented with your self matters.

I think we are an atheist society largely, regardless of what people or journalists or “experts” say. And that, I’m sure, will lead to a more happy and fulfilled society eventually as we shed the shackles of our past. Historically we are a Christian country but that means nothing. We remember and learn about history; but its value is only to learn from the past to avoid making the same mistakes in the future and the sooner that Britain, and the rest of the world consign organised belief systems and false ideas of religious traditions and righteousness to the bin, the better we’ll all be. Maybe we can all live together after all, without God as spiritual and enlightened human beings.

Peace.

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Someone once said, “You’ll win nothing with kids!”

I’m a stranger in these parts again. If my blog was a pet I’d have the RSPCA knocking on my door. Thankfully, it’s just a blog.

Since I last dropped a line in these parts my (and our) beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers have bounced back to the Championship at the first time of asking, something other big clubs have failed to do at the first attempt when required. Something that makes me extremely proud of them.

This league one campaign has been a great journey and a great cleansing experience for the club and the fans. The fans, I feel, are now back on side and want the team to do well because they are playing so well and they are a damn fine collection of young prospects that bodes well for our future. The club has acknowledged its mistakes, Jez Moxey has again spoken out about the mistakes the club made in the 18 months running up to our second relegation and that is well received. I think everyone connected to the club are back on the same page when it comes to where we are and what we want. That can only be a good thing and it’s so good to see that healing process happened so damned fast.

What else can be said about this season? I mean Kenny Jackett has been an absolute legend. He inherited a situation that was so venomous and angry and depressed and defeated. Where we are right now is nothing short of a miracle. The man has done a great job; he has assembled a superb team. Giving opportunities to our young players has paid off extraordinarily. His decision to sign Michael Ricketts has been truly great, what a captain he’s been. His decision to exile Jamie O’Hara and Roger Johnson et al has also worked wonders. He made a great sweeping gesture from day one and by making it his squad and by keeping it fresh and young and largely new, he has paid dividends. No one can say he winged it with old players, he built a team that is worthy of its place in the Championship next season. For that I take my hat off to him and to Steve Morgan and Jez Moxey for bringing him to the club.

The statistics speak for themselves as I write this we are top of the table, six points clear of the next best team in the league, Brentford (they deserve to come up automatically with us too.) We’ve played 42, won 28, drawn 9 and somehow managed to lose 5 (but we are known for our charity work, especially letting Walsall win and therefore giving them something to talk about for the next 20 years.) Our goal difference of +51 is head and shoulders (and knees and toes) above every other club. Our points haul of 93 is a club record (3 points for a win) and we still have 4 games to play. It’s really, really great!

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But (as I’m sure all Wolves fans already know) the records have continued to be equalled and beaten. 9 straight league wins is a new club record, 24 league clean sheets is a new club record and the boys have also equalled most wins in a league season (28) and most away league wins (13), both records that could fall in the next 4 fixtures. I’m astonished what this group of players have done in reply to 2 years of failure at Wolves and I’ve no doubt they will break both records before the season is out.

And if they do, it’ll almost certainly mean we are champions of this league again for the first (and hopefully last time… we don’t want to be here again) since 1988-89 when Graham Turner and Steve Bull dragged the club back to respectability following the most dark time in the clubs history.

Rotherham at home on Good Friday is going to be a superb party. It’ll be Great Friday in Wolverhampton should we secure another 3 points. Well done Wolves, you’ve made us fans proud again. Kenny Jackett and your players have given us what we haven’t had for a long time, pride again in our great, historic football club.

Forever we are Wolves.

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Watched Breaking Bad and loved it (aka I called Saul but he can’t make any more series happen… or can he?)

I tried not to write any spoilers into this but I know I have, so please don’t read if you’re still watching Breaking Bad, it’ll ruin it for you and believe me you don’t want that. Turn off your computer or your phone or what ever you read this on and go and watch the show.

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Breaking Bad has been on telly for many years but I only saw series 1 after I got it from my fiancé for Xmas 2013. I’d heard about it many times from many people, all of whom I considered crazy. I mean how good can a TV show be, right? Watching series one in one go was like taking a drug because I was hooked from episode 1 and after the first series ended I came down and I went cold Turkey and so I had to beg for series 2. Which I got for Valentines Day (best Valentines ever, apart from the one where… oh never mind ;-) ) and then I consumed that even faster, skipping a night or two of sleep in the process. On the eighteenth of February I wanted more, more, MORE!

Luckily for me my birthday is a few days after Valentines and my missus, seeing my withdrawal pains got me series 3, 4, 5 and 6. And like any good partner I got her hooked too (so we could share addiction – like good BB fans, or romantic meth-heads) so we could enjoy them together.

This last weekend we had Friday-Monday off work. So we spent the 4 days wisely and watched all of them, and I mean series 3-6 almost non stop (apart from food and refreshment breaks which are mandatory by law – but breaks are bad.) And now its over I want more and I can’t, its over (I won’t bother with the Ending spoilers, but its over. It gets pretty damn dark towards the end too.)

Again I may accidentally leave a spoiler or two, stop reading if you don’t want to see something you may regret.

Still reading? Expect spoilers then, you have been warned.

Is Marie or Skyler supposed to be the bit of fluff for the blokes watching? I never worked that out. American series usually have one but I never worked out which was the one. (I read once that American TV shows cannot be commissioned without something for everyone, maybe it was a bit about generic TV comedy, but you had to have a Family Guy set up – Mom, dad, son, daughter, pet, black man, sex addict, disabled person etc, because you then have a wide range of subjects to tackle and a bunch of people to interact in their own unique way ie white man, black man, woman, ethnic, gay, teenage, etc etc, seems plausible when you watch American TV right?) Both of them are likeable but Skyler did make a cuckold out of Walt with that Ted fella, and Teds demise was a bit sad, left paralysed in a hospital bed cus he can’t run straight. He was a dick who refused good advice from the married woman he was fucking, so as its fiction I can say I was happy with the outcome but wouldn’t have wished that on him. But Skyler was kinda lost to me after that. So she kept up the drugs/car wash charade, she did it for her kids not for Walt and for most of the show I was on Walts side, she was a bit of a cow. Or as Jesse would say, she was a BITCH! But I can understand her motives entirely. I probably ended up prefering Marie as ‘the bit of fluff.’

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I felt sorry for Marie when Hank was murdered, he came so close to surviving but as very few people actually survive this little journey it was no great surprise. Hank, I thought was a great character even if he was a bit of an ungrateful twat when he was getting over being shot and treated his wife like crap.

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Gus was an odd fellow. I’d love to know how much he spent on mobile phones as he spent a lot of time snapping them into pieces like he was about to eat a Kit Kat, when of course he wasn’t running a successful regional chicken franchise and selling crystal meth to Mexican cartels. Although his death was probably the most awesome, just because after the bomb goes off and you assume everyone’s dead he walks out and straightens his tie before we see the reveal and his collapse to the floor. That for me was a way to go, and worthy of a head of a huge drugs empire. Classic TV!

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Walter White is the main character and I have to say I liked him all the way through it, even when he was trying to poison kids or admitting to Jesse that he watched his girlfriend overdose. He’s such an ambivalent character. Because of his lung cancer I felt very sorry for him but because of his breakdown and fall from being a chemistry teacher to a drug lord and what he does to achieve that made me feel very awkward towards him at the same time but just as I was about to start hating him he’d remind us of his illness or make a nice gesture (that may or may not have been accepted) towards Skyler or his kids.

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Jesse, was a great character too because he too is ambivalent. His obvious drug use, drug making and drug peddling and the way he treats Walt sometimes was pretty damned annoying but his unwavering love of kids and justice he felt towards them when they were wronged I thought was awesome, but then who doesn’t feel protective towards kids, right? I suppose it says a lot about my view of the world we live in that its worthy of mention but I do feel that we live in a world where people are so selfish they don’t care about anyone, of any age, they just care about themselves. I think that’s why we like these flawed, dark and yet loveable characters in our drama and our fiction. Real life is dark and its nice to see a bit of humainty in a dark character, it offers us hope.

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After Walt and Jesse probably my third fave character was Mike. I was really gutted when he died, and moreso that Walt killed him and then gave him the acid bath that we become so accustomed to during the show. He was very much a Mr Fix man like Mr Wolf in Pulp Fiction. He’s was an ex-cop who was smart, who covered all the angles and got the job done. Clinical and comical but ultimately comes to his cake and milk, just another life lost for coming into contact with Walter White.

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Actually I noticed a lot of Tarantino winks in the series, maybe that was just me, but there certainly seemed to me to be more than one loveable parody of various themes and ideas used by Quentin. Especially a lot of the everyday, mundane conversations, a lot of diner scenes, the Mr Wolf type fix it guy (Mike) and there is the scene where Jesse picks up one weapon (I can’t remember which episode or what the weapons were but it stood out) and then sees a better one puts it down and picks a second weapon, then does the same again – very much like Butch in Jeds pawn shop when choosing the Samurai Sword before rescuing Marcellus Wallace.

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I could go on and on about it, I really could, I’ve bloody loved it! Anyway, I’m seriously considering starting again and watching it at a more leisurely pace, maybe ten episodes at a time or so. It’s very rare for a TV show to grab me like that. Red Dwarf and The Simpsons are the only other shows that have ever grasped me in such a way in my life I think. I watched the first season of Homeland in one go and then got bored with series two after two episodes. Same with The Walking Dead. Great opening seasons, then once the format was established they fell away easily. I think Breaking Bad is just uniquely well done. I cared about all of the characters, and the change in Walt from Series 1 to series 6 is astonishing and so well done. I think having Cancer allows us to stay with him, without that he’d be just a disgusting, evil bastard. But that, and his love for his family and need for them to be secure after he dies, makes it a twisted, heartwarming, dark, sick journey of a man who’s intensions were always good, in the face of something bad, that takes him down a path of utter filth, greed, deprivation and lies.

I’m gonna miss Walter White, even though he is – in the end – nothing more than an evil piece of shit.

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Can’t wait for the spin off with Saul Goodman.

Peace.

PS – And not forgetting the iconic RV.

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Raising awareness versus raising funds.

This blog post is just for me really. It’s to clarify in writing somewhere my point of view on the selfies that have been appearing on Facebook to raise awareness of Cancer. It comes in response to an “intelligent debate” I had on Facebook with some “friends”.

I made a status update about Selfies being pointless, I ranted on about people giving rather than selfieing. I understand why awareness is a good thing. I work (sort of) in marketing and I understand that getting the ball rolling early before announcing a new fund raising scheme works better than just unleashing it and hoping for the best. I understand this.

My point was that if people raised awareness and also donated a £1 as well then every selfie was a step towards raising money to look for new cures for a terrible disease. And every person they inspired to donate too would be a pat on there back. I understand that it’s a big thing for a lot of women to appear in public or on Facebook without make-up but I’ll be honest, you all looked just as nice without it as with it.

My point got lost on Facebook amongst a small bunch of argumentative feminists who decided to have a go at me and say I didn’t understand or care. That is not true and is unfair.

Cancer touches us all, it touches me and my life and it will touch you and your life one day reader. Either directly or indirectly. That is why its important to try and find a cure, because it’s an unforgiving disease that destroys lives, and families and communities.

If any of my Facebook friends read this, and I doubt they will, but still; I apologise for any offence caused as it was not my intention at all. I made what I felt was a good point in a bad way. From now on I’ll be avoiding any kind of debates on Facebook and keeping my thoughts and ideas for here.

Peace.

PS – Over £1m was raised for Cancer research in the 48 hours from when the selfies start, so well done make-up-less ladies and everyone who donated! Great work.

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Quids In At Bilston Come Along And Bring A Friend.

Last season Bilston Town aimed for an attendance of 1,000 people with there ‘quids in’ offer against Haughmond. That was the day that they won promotion to the West Midlands Regional League Premier Division. 674 people attended that day which is a fantastic attendance but was quite a way from the target.

On the 29th March 2014 Bilston are again doing the ‘quids in’ offer when they take on Bartley Green. It would be fantastic if as many football fans as possible could attend and help them achieve the magical figure of 1,000+ fans.

Now I know Wolves are away to MK Dons on that day and so I’d call upon all of my Wolves fan brothers and sisters, if you’re not going to the away game, then get yourself down to Queen Street in Bilston. It would be absolutely fantastic to see the ground full up! Have yourself a Bovril and a cheese cob and enjoy some grass roots football. It’s a cheap afternoon out for the kids too and for aunties and uncles, and grandparents or who ever you bring along. Bilston is a community football club and everyone is warmly welcome.

I’ll be there and hopefully you will be too. I’ll see you there!

Peace!

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Help still required to revive Darlaston FC.

I have received this from the chairman of Darlaston Town, Neil Chambers, who is working tirelessly to save one of the oldest football clubs in the world. Please check it out, share it, email it, what ever you can. All help is gratefully received by Neil and Darlaston FC.


Some fantastic items donated for Football Memorabilia Auction. Please see attached poster and if possible circulate to your friends and family.

Items included are

  • signed ENGLAND SHIRT – direct from FA with authenticity certificate

  • Kenny Dalglish – signed Liverpool Shirt – with letter of authenticity

  • 1966 England WORLD CUP FINAL signed (9 signatures) colour photograph

  • several framed signed Bert Williams photographs and pictures

  • 1988 Sherpa Van commemorative WOLVES shirt signed by 2013/14 squad

  • WBA Limited edition pennant with certificate of authenticity

  • PAUL GASCOIGNE & STEVE BULL framed and signed colour photo – with certificate of authenticity

  • Gareth Barry signed ASTON VILLA framed colour photograph

  • Hansen, Dalglish and Carragher  signed Charity Ball programme

  • NORWICH CITY 2013/14 signed shirt

  • Tea for Two at House of Commons

  • WALSALL FC signed matchball

  • COVENTRY CITY signed matchball

  • Notts County signed matchball

PROXY bids by 6.00pm Thursday 3 April

Contact Neil Chambers (Darlaston chairman) here: chambers568@btinternet.com


Please refer to this link for more info about the evening event in April to raise money for the club.

Peace.

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Crimea River

Russia taking control of Crimea isn’t a crime by Russia. Crimea is a region only given by Russia to Ukraine to reduce administration by the old USSR. It was all USSR back then and so they were just juggling with paperwork. The place is largely filled with people who are Russian by ethnicity, by language or by thought – they want to be Russian. After the coup that has recently happened Russia has moved in to protect what they consider their land and their people and the majority of people living there will agree.

Why this situation should see the world looking at America squaring off with Russia is laughable, if only they weren’t both war-mongering nations with history and nuclear weapons.

Crimea, despite being part of the Ukraine, had autonomy and its own leaders (a bit like devolved Britain) up until 1995. Then a Pro-Russian Crimean separatist won the role of Crimean president with a huge majority and then the Ukrainian government intervened to stop that. Kiev made sure it had a say in the leader of the region after that. Following the recent coup an unofficial pro-Moscow leader was appointed by Crimean MPs and he asked Vladimir Putin for help to ensure peace in Crimea.

And the news talks about Ukraine’s freedom, peacefulness and autonomy. America is talking about standing with Ukraine, William Hague has taken a day out of looking like gollums stunt double and war seems to be the talk of the day.

Forget the lines drawn, the bullshit legality of what yesterday was and so what tomorrow means. The Western powers (and Russia) have to stand back and let the people who are affected, the people on the ground who know what they want, make the decisions.

The world today is full of absolutes based on the way it is today, and somehow we are supposed to watch and shout, “Yeah man that’s the way it is” opposition to that or differing opinions is simply mocked and dismissed as wrong or lunacy when its what we’ve done for years.

The new world order are in charge, with their absolutes, their rules and their crying when they don’t get their own way. They are rich assholes, corporations and self interested politicians.

And it pisses me off that they control the media, the jobs, the money and the hope that we used to have.

And another patch on the patchwork quilt of human civilisation is about to suffer at its hands.

Oh please I hope another way is found. But it won’t be. The lines are drawn before we know about them and the outcome has already been decided and divided up between the people who interfere and only matter, today’s governments, corporations and those fortunate to know the right people in the right places.

Peace….

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