God Hates Atheists

The onset of winter brings the inevitable start of perennial rounds of man-flu. Usually it times itself to coincide w. the start of a holiday, a fact that can be explained by my atheism. It’s a well known fact that God hates us and he/she/it has singled me out to be a particular bastard to. I mean, why wouldn’t he/she/it? Us Atheists are easy targets because there are relatively few of us amongst the population, so it must be a target-rich environment for a vengeful deity.

To ensure I am being totally accurate in my assertion I must check with my favourite Atheist – a Northern farm boy – if he feels similarly picked on. Possibly just a persecution complex of mine but two of us ought to constitute a scientific fact. Any fule knos that.

Let me demonstrate what I mean about bad science: I was asked for a hot-toddy by a colleague the other day and was then upbraided for making it w. boiling water because, and I quote here, “you’ll kill the all the vitamins in the lemon juice”. When I tried to explain that vitamins are a chemical entity and not living things I was met w. a pitying look, a resigned headshake and the pronouncement that it was a well known fact, go look on the internet. That’s me corrected then. I started to protest by invoking boring things like science etc and was then struck by the saying, “Never argue with an idiot as they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” I was going to point out that it is possible to remove the vit-C w. boiling water, but providing one drank said water you’d still get it. The facts are just so boring when they contradict folklore.

Right-ho. Cancelled my tutorial and now need whisky, honey and lemons for hot-toddy. Am off to Google some facts, pray for good health and murder some vitamins.

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Education, Education, Education.

I can’t say I agreed with Tony Blair (Bliar? not sure) over many things but this was one quote I approved of wholeheartedly.

When I was married, my wife and I were discussing the ins and outs of paying for schooling for our daughter. An older friend, the guy who introduced us, related a story about his experiences. After marrying, he and his wife bought an Landrover and drove it from the UK to Australia. What is known as a right proper hard-core trek. In those days driving across the Middle East was possible as the religious bitching was at a relative lull. Not only was it a bold undertaking but the people they met left a lasting impression on them.

When Graham offers advice, you listen. He said that regarding children; you can only give them two things, love and education. That informed our choices re schooling and in getting divorced. Our daughter goes to a great school and she knows that, above all, that she is loved and that her Mummy and Daddy are friends. In all things to do with her we resolved to continue backing each other up so my daughter, H, got a single message. We may have our differences but we talk about and plan around H. As she is on the cusp of turning into a scheming teenager (they are all devious and scheming even if you think butter wouldn’t melt…) she knows that I won’t be sold the “but Mummy said…” story without checking first.

That aside, I got to thinking about my time in the Specials (Police Reserves for you dang foreigners). I was talking w. a mate today who is a full-time officer and we agreed that the  vast majority of police time is spent dealing with a small but significant minority (and most are repeat customers) of the population. What common distinguishing feature is shared by these people?  Most of them are thick, dense, dumb etc etc but I don’t actually believe that. I have always wondered if it was genetic but have decided that it is through lack of formal education. Sure, some of them will never be the brightest coal in the barbecue but I’ll bet they are capable of learning to read and write properly. Some are downright crafty and ingenious in the way they commit crime. In fact, they’d be a proper menace to society if they had basic Maths and English. I once spent 6 hours taking statements from two muppets that were being horrible to one another on Facebook. Neither of them seemed familiar with the concept of Unfriending someone. Gaaarrrgghh.

Amongst this small and select band of idiots, education seems to be actively sneered at and discouraged. Being unencumbered by burdensome basic literary and numeracy skills is something to be proud of. It seems that there needs to be  lessons in  education and the benefits of being educated. In Western society most countries have mechanisms for assisting those without the means to cope. In the UK we refer to the Welfare State and I believe passionately that this is a correct mechanism to have for those that actually require it. However, here comes the but, there needs to be some sort of active disincentive for those that shun the opportunity to learn and then expect to be supported by the state and waste police, doctor, teacher, court time – along with many other resources – as they know their rights. For all their knowledge of their rights there seems to be very few obligations in their mind.

This is a thorny question and much, much smarter people than me have approached it and to date failed to fix it. I believe that, a bit like National Service was obligatory back in the day, then being educated to a minimum standard should also be obligatory. You can just picture the enforcement officers. Imagine getting  stop-checked by a man with suede patches on his elbows and be made to do basic maths and punctuate a sentence or get sent back to school in a big yellow bus. Stop tittering in the back, I know I wouldn’t pass the latter part of the test.

With an education around some of the basics of life the EDL, and many of the Tabloids, would die on their arse. Small minded and ill-informed rhetoric relies on people being too stupid to be able to process the facts and come to their own conclusion. Manipulative people with access to the poorly educated can then move in and control the dumb masses. With a basic education I daresay that many more people would have the intellectual toolkit to laugh at splinter groups and move on or the radical religious whoever is the hating flavour of the month.  That poor bloody innocent soldier was hacked to death by impressionable morons, imho. Allah’s work. My arse. If there was any sort of a God then I reckon he’d frown on that, don’t you?

I Can’t Help It

Being a snob – is this even the right word? – is just a weird kind of incorporeal enjoyment. There are no logical arguments to back up this position. None. Truth be told I know it is a bit unpleasant. However, it must be part of the human condition that you validate yourself by comparing yourself to others and then trying to decide if the results come higher or lower on this scale without numbers.  I certainly can’t help feelings of superiority creeping in to my consciousness when I “score higher”. Perhaps it is just a manifestation of my view that everything is a competition. Always.

There are either bits of others that I  aspire to –  in no particular order –  such as;

  1. Strong intellect 
  2. Looks – who doesn’t want a chiselled jawline and a six-pack?
  3. Money – not for the sake of it but it is a very effective life lubricant
  4. Material possessions (yes, I am that shallow – gimme a 911)
  5. Subject matter expertise – art, literature, music etc – that will enhance my enjoyment
  6. Educational attainment – using and training and expanding your brain
  7. Privilege
  8. Ability to construct an argument

Then there are the bits I am glad, nay happy, that I don’t have;

  1. Weak/Low intellect (code for a bit ‘tick)
  2. Expanding waistline – totally subjective and mainly I am fattist as I see this as a totally self-inflicted condition
  3. Ghastly manners – again appreciate this is subjective but it’s how I have been raised. And I think it is right.
  4. Laziness in speech – vis-a-vis  Point 1 usually
  5. Thick Brummie accents – no idea why just don’t like listening to them
  6. Arrogance
  7. Propensity to violence – being in the police really put me off this
  8. Drinking to excess – see above
  9. Neglectful parenting – don’t let your kid get fat and read to them, teach them values and keep them under control. Simple really
  10. God.

Whilst neither of these lists are exhaustive you get the idea. The point is that I can’t give a rational explanation for many of these – apart from God, that is just a fantasy albeit a long established and detailed one. Still doesn’t make it any less of a crock of shit tho – and many many of these feelings with rational explanation must be rooted in upbringing and environment.

I wonder if I’d feel liberated or bereft if I could rationalise absolutely everything and live without prejudice?

The renowned Hollywood philosopher Cary Grant once said; “Ah, beware of snobbery; it is the unwelcome recognition of one’s own past failings.” The man has a point. Damn his good looks and money.

English: RKO publicity still from Suspicion (1941)
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