Good Deeds & etc.

So many things to write about, so little time. Here’s just a few. Please feel free to contribute to any of it….

First, for my friends who like John Fugelsang, check out this great piece here called, “God is the least pro-life character in the Bible.”

Second, I was at Jimmy John’s about two weeks ago, and they had $1 sandwich day, which meant the line was long and the sandwiches were skimpy. I’m not sure why people feel the need to stand in line just to save a few bucks, but nonetheless, I was standing in line trying to save a few bucks. The line moved fast, and after I had placed my order and turned around, there was a young woman standing beside me, and she had $8 in her hand. She said she wanted to pay for my lunch. She was younger than me, and I have this rule about taking money from a younger person, who I know needs it way more than I do. So I said, “That’s so kind of you, but I’ve already paid. Perhaps you can give it to someone else.” She was insistent that I take the money–maybe I should have dressed up a little more. I truly felt bad, but I took her money anyway, and after thanking her from the bottom of my heart for such a sweet deed, she said to me, “God Bless” and smiled.  After she walked out the door, I passed out the money to several people behind me and told them this nice young lady, whom I didn’t know, wanted to buy me lunch, and now I want to buy all of their sandwiches. They were all very kind, of course, and I was just thinking that it makes no difference whether you do it in God’s name or just do it (thanks, Nike), the effect is the same. Most of us are just trying to make the world a better place.

Which brings me to my third and last point. I stepped out of my comfort zone to be a witness in a court case. I’m an introvert (I swear), so it’s not exactly fun for me to get up in front of people and talk about my experiences. I’ve worked in a courtroom before, and I know what the attorneys and judges and bailiffs say after witnesses leave. But, as I was being sworn in, after the judge uttered “so help you God,” I was so damned tempted to ask the judge, so help me who? But, I’m pretty sure, had I done that, no one in the courtroom would have believed–or heard–a word I said. A lot of people just don’t get it–you don’t need to swear to “God” or some other invisible person. How the heck does that guarantee honesty at all? If people are going to lie, they’re going to do it regardless. And if they feel bad about lying, well, they’ll just ask for God’s forgiveness later. IMHO taking an oath means nothing. You should already be your word. 24/7/365


43 responses to “Good Deeds & etc.

  1. I have always wondered why people are still sworn in with “so help me god”. Doesn’t this go against the separation of church and state? What would happen if someone refused to swear in on that oath?

    • @Emily. Yes, I wonder, too, and I really thought I had read that courts were doing away with it. Apparently not. It’s silly. It means nothing anyway…

  2. I remember $1 day at jimmy johns. I almost went and had to cancel plans at last minute. “Judging” by your brief description of the food, it’s a good thing my plans were changed….Pun intended of coarse 🙂

  3. John definately has a way with words. Love that guy! After seeing that segment I wanted so badly to copy that link and send it to a friend that I had a dispute with about the Bible that she claims to take literally, but felt it best to maybe not get the fire going again. Those that take it literally obviously have not read much of it.

    That was good thinking for you to “pay it forward” on the money that gal gave you!

    As far as the hand on the Bible and taking oath, I have feared that same perdicament. I have thought if I were to ever testify that I would ask ahead of time if there was an alternative and explain that I’m a non-believer. I would imagine that have to run into those situations sometime or another.

    Another Fugelsang for your enjoyment. Just received on FB today. It’s from a few months ago, but funny just the same.

    • @mtprairiegirl. Hilarious! Love it! Thanks for sharing that link. You know, Fugelsang looks a little like Paul Ryan, but he reminds me a lot of John Stewart.

  4. @dam……..actually I think John is right about himself saying he looks like KD Lang and Paul Ryan, Eddie Munster. Yes, he is very quick witted much like Stewart whom I get my morning daily dose of along with Colbert while sipping on a cup of joe. Gotta start the day off with humor I say 😉

  5. @dam – There’s a time to make a point and a time (so often with the non-/unbelievers) to just let it roll off your back. When I was advisor to the student atheist group, they’d never schedule anything on a Fri (Muslims), Sat (Jews and 7th Day Adventists) or Sun (Xians). Instead it would be Mon-Thu. I felt like making a point that instead atheists being OK with anything by default, that *our* holy days were the ones they didn’t pick and demand no one schedule anything on those days. While it was not really a big deal, sometimes you felt like you deserved to be the intractable fussbudget.

    That’s why IN GOD WE TRUST on the money makes me so frustrated at times. It’s not true in the least (it’s a goddamn lie for fooks sake!), and the common brush offs about it being no big deal are completely idiotic, in addition to the fact that if there was just ONE thing people should be able to agree on in this country, is that our government has no goddamn place whatsoever to tell what to believe about *anyone’s* Divine Invisible Buddy.

    Effum all.

    • @LanceT I agree with you on all counts. We do make a lot of concessions, and religion should stay the heck out of gov’t. It’s just the people who hold tight to their god in gov’t are usually so hypocritical. (We’re Christian, but no, hell no, citizens shouldn’t have access to reasonable healthcare.)

  6. Another tale of Godliness on display.

    A co-worker whom I admire and respect immensely (smart, competent, caring and friendly) , is a xian believer (part of the Focalare Movement who at least try to include non-believers in their ecumenicalism – see: ).

    She had close family injured in the West, TX fertilizer plant blast. Her mother’s house was flattened and those out front were pretty much uninjured while those inside (including two you teen girls) were seriously hurt with glass shards in their eyes and faces (fortunately they should regain full vision). She wrote to thank us for our concern and shared a story of her 8yr old neice, who had said that she will always feel safe and protected and not scared knowing Jesus is looking out for her. I felt saddened seeing this sort of irrational cause and effect in one so young. No thought of the other girls who were hurt so bad, or the children whose firefighter parents were killed in the blast as being under the umbrella of Jesus’ safe and loving arms.

    Jesus couldn’t even manage to maybe use his God-man powers to get some timely safety inspections to happen or to inspire a whistleblower to do the right things to forestall such a tragedy. No…instead one little girl is convinced that her protection comes from the hand of God, even though the statistical breakdown would pretty much show how random occurences happen.

    Head into the crosswalk too soon, and you’re a splatter on the asphalt, delay a slpit second, and the speeding vehicle just misses you.

    One’s a miracle, and the other’s God’s will.

    Jim Jeffries joked about people opining that “God works in mysterious ways.”

    [warning rape joke ahead]

    He then sardonically went on that next time he’s with a women, he’s going to rape her, and when she starts crying and asking why he did such a horrible thing, he’s going to say..

    Because I’m MYSTERIOUS!

    Makes about as much sense as what Sky Daddy and Junior pull on a regular basis.

    • @LanceT I didn’t know about that Focalare Movement. Thanks for the info.

      As for the 8yo, yes that’s sad–very–that she’s already been programmed that way, and what they are teaching her is that she’s a better xtian than the other two girls and the others killed/injured in the blast. Why else would got protect her and make her feel safe? Jeesh. That disconnect is so frustrating.

      I know….God has it made. He’s always right…

      All this stupidity makes it hard to be tolerant sometimes….

  7. If the U.S. president can be sworn into office without mentioning God, without saying “I swear,” and does not have to put his hand on a Bible, then a witness in court shouldn’t have to either. I resent “In God We Trust” being plastered all over our courtrooms, court houses, and money. It violates the separation of church and state. And I’m old enough to have learned the Pledge of Allegiance before “under God” was added. To this day I don’t say “under God” when reciting the pledge. But would I go ahead and say whatever a court wanted me to say? Probably for the same reason you did. I’m an introvert, I don’t make waves, I go along to get along. And my muttering “so help me God” at someone else’s behest will not make me one bit more honest than I already am.

    • @PiedType. I’m with you on that-“muttering so help me God” won’t “make me one bit more honest than I already am.” I guess it shows that some folks do need the fear of God to keep them in line.

  8. @PiedType – I left it out at an opening session of the Senate, and Strom Thurmond gave me such a look because I was out of sync (which I did loudly and proudly) that I thought to Capitol police would have escorted me out. I would have said that *I* was reciting it in its original form.

    I also like to modify it to, “One nation, under the Constitution, indivisible…”

  9. Morality is NOT something that many of the bible characters had.

    For instance, Abraham, I had always wondered why fellow church goers considered him to be a man of great faith. Even right before my deconversion I was apart of a REALLY lame ass bible study where we used Kay Arthur materials (she’s so dry and boring) and much of it was about “father” Abraham. Let me see, here’s a guy that married his half sister, Sarah. Sarah was such a hottie that two different kings wanted to “hit that” when she was in her forties and sixties, do the timeline, that’s about right. They wanted her so bad that Abraham told both horny royals that she was just his sister, leaving out the whole wife thing. (I’m not referencing anything right now, this is all from memory of this story in genesis.) Of course, with the wrath of god breathing down their necks both of the men on these two different occasions are upset with Abraham for not being honest with them and send him and his wife on their way. The second king who did this gave them goods which included an Egyptian maidservant for Sarah, Hagar. So, we already have a story full of incest, lust, lies, and slavery. Now, maybe we could overlook some of those things. After all, the founding father of faith formerly known as Abram was an idol worshiper when god called him out to leave his false gods, but it sure seems like an awful lot to sweep under the rug. Abraham was a nomad, and quite a rich one at that with many belongings and servants. I have been wondering lately why I have never heard anyone call what he did to Hagar rape. I certainly can’t call Sarah forcing her slave to have sex with her husband Abraham consensual. Hagar became pregnant with Ishmael, a decade or so after he’s born Sarah has Isaac. Once Sarah and Abraham had god’s chosen one, Isaac, it was time to kick out Hagar and Ishmael. A rich father rejecting his firstborn son born out of rape, sending him and his mother off with only a water bottle and a bit of bread. Amazingly, god feels for Hagar and blesses her, but christian zionists leave that part out because god only blesses Israel and those who bless Israel.

    Well, I guess those who were looking for an example of a “biblical” marriage just got one.

    • @Charity I like your comment and not just because of the funny things you said but also because of the Bible lesson. I knew when I posted that link that you would have an abundance of stories to share. I love that! I’m pretty sure you’re our resident bible expert! When you had your Bible study groups, did you guys use the King James version? I’m thinking, with the way you remember all the inconsistencies and hypocrisies, that you’ve been a doubter for longer than you realize…

  10. LanceThruster, I agree! Whenever I hear someone who escaped a tragedy unharmed say that his or her angels were looking out for him I want to tell that person “well, I guess everyone else’s were on a coffee break because they’re dead!”

  11. @charity: Precisely so. How on earth can people think that they were somehow so much more special to God that they were not harmed?
    It is quite the same thing with sports (which was discussed some time ago) – why would Yahweh favor Italian team (RCC) over English (CoE) for example?

  12. So does this mean that you committed perjury? Or can that only happen after the oath has been completed?

    And I’m certain that if you had made prior arrangements you could have taken the oath without mentioning God.

    • @Lott Holtz How can I commit perjury because I don’t believe in God?

      Possibly. But who would have known they still say that antiquated phrase?

  13. I like doing random acts of kindness, too. I try to do it very low-key, though, and as spur of the moment as possible. In other words, I don’t plan ahead to hang out at Jimmy John’s on $1 sandwich day, waiting to pay for someone’s lunch. Not saying that woman was doing that, just using it as an example.

    Most recently, I was in Chicago for a professional conference. On the day that I was leaving, I realized that my L card had $10 still on it. Hmm, I thought, should I keep it? No, I didn’t know when I’d be next in Chicago. Should I sell it? Who would believe me if I said there was $10 left? So I decided to walk up to the machines where people were buying cards and found a young woman (I too note that younger people often have less money). I just walked up and said, “Hey, I’m leaving today and this card has $10 on it. Here.” The look on her face! Without explanation, I turned and walked away.

    I’ve been on the receiving ends of random acts, too. When I was living in France years ago, I needed slippers–it was winter and my tile floor was FREEZING. I went to the store, found some slippers, and went to the front to pay for them. I was short. A lady offered the cashier the money needed to make up the sum.

    So pay it forward, folks! Do something nice for someone when you can. You never know when you’ll be in a possible to accept someone else’s help.

    • @deosullivan…That’s nice. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I do think it makes us feel better about our fellow man to both give and receive.

  14. Ugh! I have to testify in a case in May and I had forgotten all about that oath thing 😦 I have emailed the contact I have for the case asking if there is an alternative they can use for me. I guess I will have to see if I will be forced to conform 🙂 Thanks for posting your experience and thoughts on the matter!

  15. Instead of taking the oath in court you can choose to affirm. They leave out “so help you God.”

    • @Lisa Thanks. I didn’t know you could ask…Still, I wonder if, in very conservative states, that would have an affect on the way others perceive your testimony.

  16. @dam Yes, in Collin County. I will let you know what they tell me 🙂

  17. This website shows an approximate tally of the number of people directly killed by god (and not by “sin”) versus the number killed directly by Satan. The ratio is God’s 25 million to Satan’s 10 from the Book of Job. And that was even a cooperative effort.

    As for the courtroom incident, it’s clear by example that non-believers don’t need help from God in order to either be good or to tell the truth in a court of law. We just do it because it’s the right thing – or just a good thing – to do.

  18. (I thought l left a comment earlier, but it never went through?) I remember reading an article once that goes through all of the deaths caused by God and those by Satan. The score, if I recall correctly, is about 25 million to 10, respectively.

  19. Hey Deborah, there are some baptists who are hard core about the King James version, but I honestly could rarely understand it. However, I understood why the emphasis on the KJV for it has been around much longer than the other vesions we have today.

    There are major differences between the KJV and the New King James version (which was my preference in my christian days for it reads easier). For instance, the Song of Songs (Solomon) in the KJV mentions the main woman of the book as being dark skinned whereas the NKJ reads that she is darkened (tanned) by the sun. I’m sure that you can see the blatant racism in that alone! My NKJ version also has an obviously pagan symbol in the very front of the Bible. If we are to follow a true Bible we would have to read and understand the Old Testament in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek for those are the languages that the original texts were supposedly written in. (Not to mention, the Sinai bible that has just under 15,000 differences from the versions that are out today!)

    The bible also has two books that don’t even mention god, Esther and Song of Songs (Solomon). Even some Jews who celebrate Purim believe that the story of Esther is just great folklore that has been passed on through the people of their faith and family.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I became a christian at three, baptized in the holy spirit at eight and fully baptized in water once in my teens and again in my early twenties. I always questioned things quietly to myself as a kid being brought up in an abusive, and neglectful christian home, but the questions surfaced during my bible school years between 18 & 20 years old. From that time until my deconversion at 39 I would try to explain away my doubts to my lack of faith, hurt or per the conflicts of my past or pain caused by others. As I’ve said before, I now feel as though I’ve always been an atheist I’ve just been trying to convince myself to be a christian for three dozen years.

    • @Charity. Well, you know and remember a lot about the Bible. I haven’t not read the NKJ but I have the Old KJ. I once had to write a paper on the Song of Soloman, and it didn’t seem like it came from the Bible. Maybe one of monks was feeling a little frisky when he was transcribing the Bible and added that….

  20. If you want to have some misprint fun, check out the “Wicked Bible.”

  21. The conversation here has devolved a bit here but going back to your third point – swearing in. As a Christian, I have never been comfortable with the idea of swearing in either. Whether you believe in him or not, it is interesting to hear what Jesus had to say on the matter. “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all … All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

  22. I was recently on a jury in Wisconsin and I think the witness oath ended something along the lines of “…so help you god or the penalties of perjury.” Seemed like it split the difference. 🙂

  23. LanceThruster

    Did a random act of kindness for some strangers (people from the old neighborhood) when I drove by and saw them needing help pushing a disabled car into their driveway (a mother and her adult son). I felt really great when they thanked me and did *not* say “God bless you.”

    It made my day. Every other time I’ve done similar acts, I’d usually get the God component thrown in with their thanks. And my response is always the same regardless (i.e. You’re very welcome). I never hold it against the people as they’re being gracious, but sometimes I’d love to point out that my deeds were of an entirely godless nature.

    • @LanceT That was a nice thing to do….

      Love this: “I never hold it against the people as they’re being gracious, but sometimes I’d love to point out that my deeds were of an entirely godless nature.”

      I might try saying that sometime, that my help/deed/effort was “of an entirely godless nature.”

      Someone said to me yesterday, as I hear nearly every day, “Have a blessed day.” And I always want to say something to the effect of, “I don’t need god to have a good day,” but I just imagine the deflated reaction on their face that says, “I was just trying to be nice.”

  24. Not as a witness but as a plaintiff. Downtown Los Angeles courtroom. A year ago. All I had to do was swear that what I was about to say was the truth. No reference to the Big Guy whatsoever. I was actually very (pleasantly) surprised!

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