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Friday School

Friday (Yom Shishi) is the 6th day of the Hebrew calendar. In the combative world religions, the number 6 represents man and is therefore considered to symbolise imperfection, ungodliness and outright evil. For the rest of us who embrace being human, humanity is as good as it gets.

For over 10,000 years, rational human beings had to listen to the religious rants of others. Now our time has come to preach.


God

You kids have Oz and Peter Pan,
so do not think it's odd
that grown-ups, too, need fairytales,
and they created God.

Some say he rules with love, and some
say with an iron rod:
the grown-ups need their fairytale,
so they invented God.

Some will grow out of it, some won't,
but you should know the score:
let grown-ups have their fairytale,
but you should grow up more.


The Value of a Childhood

Childhood presents no second chances -
the children learn, as years pass by,
what parents teach them, and their childhood
remains unaltered till they die.
Who’ll heal the children who by rulebooks
rather than interest are beguiled?
What is the value of a childhood
and of the future of the child?

Think hard before you have them branded
by your own owner; try to see
that any dogma or religion
replaces their identity.
Think of the many brilliant spirits
indoctrination has defiled:
What is the value of a childhood
and of the future of the child?


Indoctrination

You are a worthless piece of shit,
for that’s how God created you;
you’ll never meet his standards, but
there still is something you can do.

In days of old, when people sinned
they died as did their kith and kin,
for the Almighty had no choice
but to destroy them for their sin.

Those were God’s lessons way back when,
but then, to tidy up the mess,
he killed his child, so now he can
forgive your sins and worthlessness.

You just get down upon your knees
and tell him that you’re sorry for
being the waste of space you are,
and he will love you evermore.

And if you mention that you know
you’re as unworthy as can be
and thank him that he killed his child,
you’ll stay with him eternally.


Enlightenment at the Wheel

Those who grow up with superstitions find
it hard to shake them off and to achieve
enlightenment, but many do and leave
their childhood inculcation far behind.

The lucky ones who grow up unexposed
to faiths and creeds will never fall for one
since their immunity can’t be undone:
an open mind can nevermore be closed.

And thus enlightenment will gather more
and more freethinkers where free thought is rife
and take them for a ride through real life
while priests will yearn for darker days of yore.

This is each god’s inevitable curse:
enlightenment does not drive in reverse!


Blessed Children

How blessed is the child who grows up without guilt,
who's not taught they were born in sin
and worthless without the blood that was spilt
by a god who is trying to win.

How blessed is the child who grows up without fear
of invisible creatures who trail
all their steps and provide many rules that aren't clear
and a hell for the people who fail.

How blessed is the child who grows up without hate,
who's not taught there's a god who dislikes
certain races, beliefs, all who tolerate
science, atheists, faggots and dykes.

How blessed is the child who grows up without pew,
a child whose own parents were freed:
if only all children were blessed like these few,
the world would be blessed indeed.


Childhood in Bondage

The former slave remembers
how, holding him in check,
his parents’ owner branded
his mark into his back.
His parents taught to always
obey, no matter what,
because their master watches,
e’en when one thinks he’s not,
and he’ll severely punish
defiant slaves who scorn
his word, and they’ll be wishing
they never had been born.
He lived in fear until he
escaped by means of wit,
and if somebody asks him,
‘So you got over it?’
he’ll hang his head and shake it
and answer warily,
‘If you grew up in bondage,
how could you e’er be free?’

The ex-believer utters
he was inducted to
the faith to which his parents
belonged when he was new.
His parents taught to always
obey, no matter what,
because their god is watching,
e’en when one thinks he’s not,
and he’ll severely punish
defiant souls who scorn
his word, and they’ll be wishing
they never had been born.
He lived in fear until he
found out the truth and quit,
and if somebody asks him,
‘So you got over it?’
he’ll hang his head and shake it
and answer warily,
‘If you grew up in bondage,
how could you e’er be free?’


Lullaby for Pious Homes

'Mum, I can't sleep tonight because I fear
the old invisible man who's in my room
and watches everything I do, who'll hear
all things I whisper and who'll spell my doom,
who will come out to get me before long,
and who will burn me if I'm doing something wrong.'

'Oh darling, there's no need to be afraid
of God! I'm certain that he loves you still;
he'll only punish those who disobeyed,
but he'll reward all those who do his will.
You'll be in Paradise with him one day
if you do everything your priests and parents say.'


The Transcendental Maze

The monarch threw a children’s party
(which the survivors will recall
forever) in the castle garden
with cake and fizzy drinks for all.

He gathered them and said, ‘My children,
just look around yourselves and gaze
at all the beauty that surrounds us:
we’re in the centre of a maze.

‘I did all that! Go on and tell me
what a great architect I am!’ -
‘What a great architect you are,’ they
repeated, but the king said, ‘Damn!

‘I cannot hear your tiny voices;
make sure one hears you from afar!’
And all the kids repeated louder,
‘What a great architect you are!’

‘That’s better! And there’s even more to
the great creation I’ve designed:
though you’re unworthy, I have hidden
a treasure that you’ll have to find.’

‘What kind of treasure?’ they all asked him.
‘Gold? Silver?’ but he shook his head,
‘It’s something you can not imagine,
that is how good it is!’ he said.

‘It’s hidden at the very end of
a path in my amazing park,
and if you hurry, you will find it
today before it’s getting dark.

‘There are a hundred thousand pathways:
some are quite narrow, some are wide,
some paths are straight and others winding –
just let your spirit be your guide.

‘But if you pick the wrong one, surely
it’s certain death that you’ll acquire,
for at its end you’ll find my servants,
and they will burn you on a pyre.’

The king smiled smugly as the youngsters
spread out who were convinced they’d take
the treasure, but the smarter children
stayed where they were and ate the cake.


The Unlikely Friendship between Religion and Evolution

His father was a chief, his mother Ignorance:
Religion was his parents’ favourite child and thence
he got away with murder, literally, as long
as he secured his father’s rule and made him strong.

The Fertile Crescent was Religion’s breeding ground
where he destroyed all foreigners that were around.
He found a friend whose company he would enjoy
in Evolution who applauded, ‘That’s my boy!’

Many competed over farmland fervently,
but none could match Religion’s cruel ferocity,
invoking fear and terror in the neighbourhood,
and Evolution saw at once that it was good.

Soon he had branches all across the Middle East
who fought, enslaved and killed each other, and each priest
taught his own flock the earth was their possession and
to slay the infidels and take their food and land.

Over the years he spread his trade across the world
(except Tasmania which was cut off) and hurled
it into war and slavery, a sea of woe,
and Evolution loudly praised him, ‘Way to go!’

The most aggressive branches proved to be the most
successful ones and satisfied the vicious host
as Evolution backslapped him, ‘Stay on the ball!’ -
His empire seemed eternal, but it’s bound to fall.

In Sweden after the last war he got quite sick
and called on Evolution, ‘Fetch a doctor, quick!’
But Evolution answered him in mocking tone,
‘Here hunger is defeated now. You’re on your own.’


God and the Tyrant

The tyrant looked around in puzzlement.
‘Heaven?’ he mused. ‘How come?’
‘You died,' God answered, ‘therefore you were sent
to Heaven.’ - ‘Are you dumb?

‘Can you not smell the blood upon my hands
from wrath no deed could slake?
I have done evil and make no amends;
there must be some mistake.

‘I slaughtered all who didn’t vote for me
as well as those who stood
as candidates against me in a spree
to launch my tyranthood.

‘My subjects had to bow to me and sing
my praises; who refused,
just like the ones who didn’t call me King,
was tortured and abused.

‘I feasted on all foods than can be had,
and yet I must admit
when I met starving children with some bread
that I was eating it.

‘I threw a tantrum almost every day,
had my opponents burnt,
got rid of people that were in my way,
and even those who weren’t.

‘I chased a lot of families from their hearth
and even, with firm hand,
eliminated races from the Earth
in utter lust for land.

‘Those who spoke out against me had to call
for every child a hearse
as consequence, and when I, after all,
got angry, I was worse.

‘My love for carnage and spreading terror can
not be unknown nearby,
for nothing gives me greater pleasure than
to see the innocent die.’

God smiled, ‘Such trifles will not see you flung
downstairs, you’re off the hook.
I was like that myself when I was young;
have you not read the book?’


Theological Showdown

or

The Atheists’ Challenge

Once the UN took off their fighting pads;
tired of crusadal brawls, they did agree
to call on leading atheists and heads
of this world’s faiths to form a committee
for Showdown in their great Assembly Hall
to settle this great question once and for all.

They’d come up with a scenario that’d be
confirming God’s existence, sink or swim,
a miracle which everyone could see,
that would not prove too difficult for Him,
would cause no harm to anyone and still
defy the laws of Nature by His will.

Their choice would be announced that very day
and publicised as soon as they are done;
believers then would get a week to pray
for the event that they decided on,
if need be with a follow-up on site
to find out which religion God deems right.

The venue soon was packed; staff tried to cope
with the spectators – some were in their youth,
some in their prime, some from the other slope:
all those determined to find out the truth!
And yet the Showdown hasn’t taken place
because not one believer showed his face.


The Atheist Mission

Should we not preach in every square
and mall and knock at people's doors
to tell them, 'Have you heard the good news?
There is no god, there never was!'

Should we not take our children out
on Winter Solstice, let them sing
Imagine and then give them sweets
for all the joy their carols bring?

Should we not organise ourselves
and charge our members, take a grip
on them and always make them feel
they've not deserved their membership?

Should we not hold an atheist camp
to reinforce our non-belief,
repeating all our atheist chants,
and praising our distinguished chief?

Should we not teach the kids in school
why God can't possibly exist
and take the fear out of their lives
that at the rapture they'll be missed?

Should we not put up billboards at
hazardous junctions where the waves
of traffic meet and that convey
the message, 'Atheism saves'?

Should we not go to poorer countries,
seek out the starving folk and feed
all those embracing atheism
and cantillating the atheists' creed?

And yet, we do not feel the urge
to pester those who pester all,
but we're concerned that all their kids
are brainwashed once they learn to crawl.


Psalm

Thou curest the sick and helpst to soothe
the sufferings the world has brought us,
thou guidest us to find the truth
despite the doctrines others taught us,
quenchest our thirst for knowledge now,
protectest from eternal night,
and to none other we shall bow
so that the future may be bright.
How poor are all the men who doubt thee:
oh Science, where’d we be without thee?

Thou rulest our lives with iron hand
and threatenst us into submission
by planting guilt and terror and
by breeding hatred and suspicion;
thou fatherst all our miseries
and bringest ignorance and tears,
thou burnest books and libraries
and setst us back ten thousand years.
How blessed are all the men who doubt thee:
Religion, where’d we be without thee?


The Breaking of the Faith Box

Do not give up on those who believe
in gods; it is never too late
to save us from an eternity
of that highly delusional state.

As soon as we're born, our parents, just like
their parents before, put our brain
in a box and nail it shut to make sure
that religion keeps us plain.

Each week the clerics tighten and fix
the nuts and bolts of that box,
and when they deem it necessary,
they put on a new set of locks.

But every logical thought that we hear
helps loosen a screw or two,
and though we will cover our ears and eyes,
a number of them will get through.

So keep on giving us logic and facts,
and, much to our own surprise,
the box may break and our brain at last
unfold to its regular size.


Demons

'The demons are upset again,'
they stressed their island's fables.
'Soon the volcano will erupt
and bury homes and stables.'

So everyone went to the ship
that had been sent to carry
them to the mainland's safety; they
all rushed to catch the ferry.

As they approached the ship, five friends
squabbled about religion;
of course they all were in the right
and wouldn't budge a smidgen.

But a gigantic demon blocked
the gangway without scruples
and bellowed out, 'You shall not pass!'
while flames sprang from his pupils.

Raj burnt some turmeric and sang
a mantra for protection,
but when the demon cast his flames,
he took no further action.

Jude blew a ram's horn and intoned
Psalm 91 to hinder
the demon's efforts, but alas!
Jude was reduced to cinder.

Then John held up a cross and said,
'The power of Christ compels you!'
to which the fiend from hell replied,
'The power of fire farewells you.'

Hasan recited the Qu'ran
over his flask of water
and splashed the demon's face, yet he
did not escape the slaughter.

But Gustav went aboard the ship,
assisted by two seamen;
because he was an atheist,
he didn't see the demon.


Captain of His Soul

A captured Zeppelin made British forces
concoct a plan on their commando's bridge:
in order to disgrace the hated Germans
to drop a bomb on Dover's orphanage.

The officer reported, 'It took off now;
since Byrne is wounded, I sent Hicks instead.'
His general stood paralysed and shouted,
'You sent an unbeliever? Are you mad?

'You can not send an atheist to carry
out such an operation; take a Jew,
Muslim or Hindu if you're out of Christians -
such dirty jobs no faithless man will do!

'Though a believer may be heavy-hearted
when facing such a task, he'll understand
the need and say he only follows orders
and does his part for God and fatherland.

'He might consider Abraham of Hebron
who was prepared to cut his own child's throat
to do God's will, and he may strive to be as
obedient as the man our elders quote.

'He will believe that all he does is part of
God's brilliant master plan and brace
himself to do his horrid duty, thinking
the kids will soon be in a better place.

'At worst a pious pilot might be praying
the bomb he drops may not go off that day;
but atheists don't have such reassuring
mentation, and that's why they won't obey.'

He ordered Hicks to turn around his aircraft
but was ignored; under the crew's blank stares
the Zeppelin crashed on the Cliffs of Dover
while Dover's orphans said their evening pray'rs.


The Christian and the Hamster

The Christian sat in church with all
those trusting they ascend
that long Stairway to Heaven that
leads to the Promised Land.

One day, he thought, we’ll see the top
which, through their pray’rs and tears,
Christianity has tried to reach
for near two thousand years.

Back home his hamster ran the wheel.
‘Come here, I’ll brush your hair!’ -
‘Just wait a second’ said his pet,
‘I think I’m almost there.’

The Christian smiled a snobbish smile,
and gingerly he took
his pet out of the little cage
and said, ‘Just have a look.’

‘That is a wheel!’ the hamster shrieked;
‘I thought that I did climb
a ladder, but instead I ran
in circles all the time.

‘I have been climbing all my life,
and I would only stop
to rest and eat; I was convinced
one day I’d reach the top.’

The Christian gave his pet a pat,
‘Perception does depend
on factors like environment
and culture, little friend.

‘Aren’t you amazed at what you see,’
the Christian amplified,
‘if you just step outside your cage
and have a look inside?’


Blood on the Saviour’s Hands

At Calvary Mary was watching
the soldiers who hammered the nails
through the flesh of her son, and as darkness
enshrouded the mountains and vales,
she said to herself, ‘His disciples
will always remember this day;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!’

In his name, with a passionate fury,
the Emperor Constantine
assaulted the Didyman temple
and oracle of the divine;
the priests of Apollo were tortured
to death and then left to decay;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

In his name Charles the Great went to Verden
where the Saxons who would not submit
to Christianity had been assembled
to be judged as the monarch saw fit.
Later four and a half thousand bodies
lay headless on gory display;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

In his name multitudes of crusaders
ventured out to rob, without qualm,
the ‘Holy Land’ from its natives,
conquer realms or extinguish Islam.
The crusades of the past killed two millions
(not including crusades of today);
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

Even those who follow his doctrine
disagree about details and killed
one another about the correctest
way to worship; the Old World was filled
with the corpses of millions whose credo
diverged from the faith of the day;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

In his name intellectual, envied
and unwanted people around
were accused of practising witchcraft;
some were burnt, some were hanged, some were drowned.
A few hundred thousands have perished
since hysteria cast her grim ray;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

In his name his disciples from Europe
taught all nations without their request;
they massacred hundreds of millions,
took their land and made slaves of the rest.
To this day these are being exploited
by the people who prey as they pray;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

In his name the church persecuted
the Jews for rejecting his creed
for centuries, culminating
in genocide, furthered by greed.
With gypsies, disabled and critics
six millions were slaughtered like prey;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

And still there are Christians who murder
because of their faith and who spew
their hate in the name of Jesus
who’ll save us from what he will do
if we do not accept him but punish
the ones who refuse to obey;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!


The Heavenly Accountant

The heavenly accountant keeps
records of me and you,
and in the end he’ll pay or charge
us the amount we’re due.

Ultimate fairness is his trade,
and you won’t see him flinch
from holding up accounting law;
he’ll never budge an inch.

I do the things he tells me to
and never ask him why,
knowing I’ll be rewarded with
high interest in the sky.

For all my kind unselfish deeds
I ask for a receipt;
for these he’ll credit bonus points
towards my balance sheet.

All those opposing him or me,
his client, are but fools
who’ll find their credit rating drop
to reinforce the rules.

And those who wronged me with intent
or otherwise displeased
him will be fined by their accounts
being frozen and then seized.

And if I harm someone myself,
I’ll simply tell him that
I’m sorry, and he’ll leniently
write off my awful debt.

When our accounts are being closed,
of this I have no doubt,
all the positions on our sheets
will finally even out.


The Prayer

With bleeding hands and landlocked spirits
they try to make things better,
believing that some magic phrases
get rid of chain and fetter.

Most close their eyes while they are praying
to justify their blindness:
no prayer ever changed as much as
a little act of kindness.


Walking the God

I walk my god in public on a leash,
though it prefers to work behind the scenes,
and when it stops and barks at anyone,
I tell them just exactly what it means.

Each day I dress it up the way I like
and show it off to everyone I see;
it thinks the thoughts I think and judges you
by the same standards – we never disagree.

Sometimes it sneers at other gods that pass,
and while I have my god put on display
I laugh at those who can not see it; sure
those fools will be quite sorry one fine day!


Good God, Bad God

'Who’s he who reigns with you in heaven?'
Job in his anguish asked the Lord.
'Or do you like to see me suffer
because you're inhumane and bored?

'You're either cruel or share your power,'
Job ranted on, 'for if you were
benevolent and omnipotent,
no pain and evil would occur.'

God heard his servant and reflected
on what he uttered in his rage,
and since he couldn't find an answer,
he sought the council of a sage.

'Why do you do what you are doing?' -
'We brought him loss and pain, and thus
we want to test Job's faith and whether
despite his fate he'll worship us.'

'Why should he?' asked the sage. 'Why worship
a god who tortures and neglects?' -
'And what about the gods before us?
They never justified their acts.'

'They were not on their own, and even
the good ones were each others' foes,
and man incurred their wrath; whatever
they did, they stepped on some god's toes.

'With just one god, there can't be struggle
unless he calls for it; there must
be conflict of the ones in power
to justify hurting the just.

'To test the loyalty of humans,
you'll need another by your side.' -
'We shan't accept a god beside us,'
the infuriated Lord replied.

'Monotheism is quite tricky;
don't call him god then, at the most
call him advisor, adversary
or something else that fits his post.'

So God went home, created Satan
and gave him power, step by step,
to test his children and torment them
and, last not least, to take the wrap.


Hail Freedom of Religion

Since we have Freedom of Religion
we can do anything we please
as long as someone has created
a faith with matching policies.
Hail Freedom of Religion!

In the religion of our parents
we raise our kids as we see fit,
and from the guilt and fear we suffered
ourselves they sure will benefit.
Hail Freedom of Religion!

This damn political correctness
is something we prefer to shun,
but with the right religious background
we're free to bully anyone.
Hail Freedom of Religion!

The god to whom we bear our children
has told us not to spare the rod,
and so we thrash and sometimes kill them
to make them Children of our God.
Hail Freedom of Religion!

Our god does not allow for doctors;
we, when a child is sick, deny
them treatment, care and medication
but pray for them until they die.
Hail Freedom of Religion!

You worldly folk may have your morals,
but we have more than that: we saw
the light of God convey the message
believers are above the law.
Hail Freedom of Religion!


The Proof

Consider the lily that blooms in the meadow
which toils not nor spins but still grows;
it's dressed in the most ornamental fashion,
and yet it has no need for clothes.
Is that not proof of God?

Consider the mouth-fitting fruit, the banana,
perforated in just the right place.
Behold - when you pull back the tab He provided,
the contents won't squirt in your face.
Is that not proof of God?

Consider how He created science
to let His opponent be heard,
how slyly He planted the dinosaur fossils
to test our faith in His word.
Is that not proof of God?

Consider a painting - it must have a painter,
each work of art has its source;
it's clear that all things must have been created -
except the creator, of course.
Is that not proof of God?


The Symbolism of Vampirism

In times when evil rules the country
and casts its darkness on all doors,
a storyteller must be crafty
to criticise the vicious force.

Whoever came up with the vampires,
nocturnal creatures, dark and pale,
bloodthirsty, sinister and lifeless,
reversed the parties in his tale.

The cross is symbolising reason
and garlic rationality,
blood symbolises life and freedom,
the human neck morality.

Water and daylight stand for knowledge,
the wooden stake for truth, and we
can plainly see that vampirism
itself stands for Christianity.


The Cat

‘If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take!’ -
That night it was Amanda’s goal
the Lord may take her little soul.

Her cat had passed away that day;
Amanda was inclined to stay
with her in Heaven, but she woke
at dawn, despite the pray’r she spoke.

So when she played outside, she ran
in front of some delivery van.
She smiled, ‘It’s Mittens I shall meet’
as she lay dying on the street.

And as her grieving parents cried
beside her grave, her father sighed,
‘I think we should have told her that
there is no Heaven for a cat.’

(Based on a true event in which the girl was lucky enough to survive.)


Scary Tales

Hundreds of years ago some people
who didn't like to watch things grow
were tired of all the children asking
things they themselves would never know.

A lot of them then made up fright'ning
tales that you still can hear today
that meant to scare them, so the children
would not ask questions but obey.

Thousands of years ago when people
built the first cities, in the crowd
some wanted to be kings and rulers,
but all the others laughed out loud.

And so they made up tales to scare them
of gods who made them kings - one day
they'd kill all doubters, so the people
would not ask questions but obey.

But if we just refuse to listen
to tales that scare us needlessly,
then we'll be free from horror stories
and free from fear - forever free!


God, Where Is Thy Sword?

When man, according to Judeo-Christian
mythology, had eaten from the tree
of knowledge, God evicted them from Eden
and gave them both the gift of enmity.

And since he was afraid they might be eating
the fruit of life as well and thus become
gods like himself, he stationed Cherubim and
a flaming sword to scare the troublesome.

With satellites that cover every angle,
all corners of this world have been explored;
if there were truth in their obscure religions,
we would have found the garden and the sword.


Outside the Universe

The universe, by definition,
is everything, so let's be terse:
this means that absolutely nothing
exists outside the universe.

If someone says their god is living
outside the universe, the gist
of what that person is implying
is that their god does not exist.


The Pondering Trout

'Mum, can you tell me what's beyond the pond?'
the little trout enquired. His mum said, 'Paul,
this pond is all, and nothing lies beyond.
In the beginning Cod created all:
this pond and everything that lives inside it,
and soon He'll judge all creatures who've denied it.'

'If Cod is really everywhere, why can't
we see Him?' Paul kept looking for replies.
'Cod's in each drop of water and each plant,
but He can not be seen by piscine eyes.
Still He can watch your every thought and action,
so live your life to give Cod satisfaction!'

'There's something I don't understand,' her son
decided to investigate some more.
'I think it's logical to say when one
creates a thing, it wasn't there before:
if Cod's part of the pond that He created,
how did He make Himself?' her offspring stated.

'That is a brilliant question' she told Paul,
'which I can't answer, I'm afraid to say;
but I am sure Cod will explain it all
the day He'll raise all faithful fish to stay
with Him forever where our native turf is:
in His Eternal Pond above the surface.'


The Godless World

Imagine, if you will, all men
finding the truth; once they can see,
they leave their gods and saints and then
work on a world for you and me.
Nobody then will ever give
us lectures on a grand design
and tell each other how to live:
a godless world would be divine.

Imagine, if you will, that kids
won't thank an empty space above
but relish joys no faith forbids
and have the rod replaced with love,
sermons with teachings that cohere
and bended knees with guts and spine.
All childhoods free from guilt and fear:
a godless world would be divine.

Imagine, if you will, all wealth
this planet offers spent on man
for education, food and health
instead of mosques and Vatican
and everyone who sells a god.
And with God's Army in decline,
we keep a humanitarian squad:
a godless world would be divine.

Imagine, if you will, the gaols
with hardly a convict left behind,
because the unseen master fails
to corrupt our morals and our mind.
A safer world that's based on fact
in which we know what's yours and mine
and treat each other with respect:
a godless world would be divine.

Imagine, if you will, no wars,
bloodbaths and borders are approved,
nor are discriminating laws
because their basis is removed.
Believe me, it's a dream that's worth
dreaming because we can design
our Heaven on this very Earth:
a godless world would be divine.


Religion

From the sewers of ambition
sprung a slimy monster which,
being raised by superstition,
eats the poor and feeds the rich.

Filling every nook and cranny
in a human’s life, it was
every child’s appointed nanny
and each war’s and battle’s cause.

Growing up with this dark matter
all around our playgrounds, we
called it, since we knew no better,
fabric of society.

We, naïve and passion-driven,
breathed its homely scent that had
been the sign that we’d be given
something pleasant once we’re dead.

This unholy spirit slowly
spoils each thought our spirit lit,
and we even are – how lowly –
forced to wash our brains with it.

Can we take away its power,
clean ourselves and right its wrongs?
I propose a global shower:
send it back where it belongs!


And for those who absolutely need religion to get them through their lives, I suggest to pick a religion that is all-inclusive and doesn't favour a particular race, that doesn't create any enemies, that doesn't induce feelings of fear and guilt, and that doesn't involve grovelling in front of invisible creatures. I recommend Bottleneckism.

Bottleneckism

- The Only True Religion -

Picking fruits and catching locusts,
chewing leaves and eating grains,
the first group of Homo sapiens
wanders through the lush green plains.

Suddenly a ball of lightning
with the fire of thousand suns
strikes the earth and makes it tremble,
and each human being runs.

As the grass and trees start burning,
all seek shelter in despair,
but the power of the impact
throws their bodies through the air.

And Anesidora, rising
from the ashes left behind
has to realise she is the
sole survivor of her kind.

And it is her only comfort
in her world of doom and gloom
that the children whom she carries
are still moving in the womb.

So she seeks a cave to sleep in
in the sun's declining light. -
She's still sleeping in that cavern,
for it's still the selfsame night.

She is dreaming of the future
that will be if she survives;
we're all part of this girl's vision
and that which we deem our lives.

Even though we're just the actors
in a vision, you will find:
all we do is fundamental
to the lot of humankind.

For the outcome of her vision
when she'll ope her eyes at dawn
will decide our fate and whether
she'll give up or carry on.


A Bull for Prester John

Pope Occaecor XIII
sipped from his nipperkin;
informed that Turks advanced on Rome,
he called the bishop in.

So Saint Inanis knelt and kissed
his ring as one would do
and said to him, ‘Your Holiness,
what can I do for you?’

‘The Turks are at the city gates;
get up now, whereupon
you’ll leave and bring this papal bull
at once to Prester John.’

‘To Prester John?’ the saint exclaimed.
‘I’d love to, but what irks
me is the countries I would cross
are full of vicious Turks.’

‘You’ll go with Brother Seon,’ the pope
said with unyielding voice,
‘if you succeed, you’ll be allowed
to keep your altar boys.’

The saint in the basilica
told Seon that he should say
a pray’r; under his watchful eye
the young man knelt to pray,

‘I thank thee for thy providence,
thy guidance and thy love,
but most that no one found me out,
oh empty space above!

‘If anyone suspected me
of knowing what you are,
they’d tear my tongue out with hot irons
or smash it with a bar.

‘They’d tear my mouth and lips to shreds,
revelling in my gore,
and burn me slowly on a pyre
like all the sanes before.

‘Let men of reason rise one day
religion to debunk,
and take my parents in thy care
for making me a monk.

‘Amen!’ - The last word said out loud,
he rose, and with the pale
saint he approached the fishing port
where soon their ship set sail.

‘For Alexandria,’ they told
the captain who began
to argue, ‘Hopeless! Egypt’s ports
are full of Mussulmen.’

‘Just leave us somewhere at the coast,
and we will make our way
rowing a dingy to the shore
before the light of day.’

But after their first night at sea
they woke up robbed and tied.
‘I’ll put you on the dingy now,’
the captain clarified.

‘I think a genuine bishop’s ring
should fetch a handsome price;
I’ll keep your money and shall leave
you both to God’s device.’

While Saint Inanis prayed to God,
Seon did not fail to see
tight lines he used to cut his ropes,
and soon his hands were free.

He took the captain by surprise
and tied him down before
he brought him to his cabin; then
he left and locked the door.

‘But we still need him,’ said the saint.
‘How will we reach that place?’
The abbot put his mind at ease,
‘I’ve sailed before, Your Grace.’

‘Is it not wondrous how the Lord
provides for those in need
who put their faith in Him alone?’ –
Seon, with a nod, agreed.

And after thirteen days at sea
they saw the lighthouse shine
into the Mediterranean night
by man’s supreme design.

God’s travellers then stopped the ship,
opened the captain’s door
but left him tied on board and rowed
the dingy to the shore.

‘We have to find a quiet spot
nearby where we can hide,’
said Seon, ‘and then we’ll have to find
a way to get inside.’

They went ashore amongst the reeds,
kept heads and voices low,
and after several miles they saw
a horse cart, going slow.

An olive trader and his son
approached the city gate,
and as the boy went for a leak,
the clerics lay in wait.

They climbed into the cart; the son,
returning from his way,
peeped in to snatch an olive, and
Inanis knelt to pray.

Seon gave the little boy a wink,
also a friendly smile
as if to say, ‘We mean no harm –
just leave us here awhile.’

Palefaced they waited, but the cart
moved on beneath the stars;
the two were sighing with relief
and hid behind the jars.

‘I prayed that God may grant to us
invisibility;
His miracles have never failed!’
the bishop said with glee.

Soon they had reached the city gates.
It seemed the soldiers knew
the trader well, and after one
quick glance they waved him through.

Seon kept an eye out for the Copts.
‘Saint Mark’s Cathedral – this
is where we should get off; here’s where
the Christian quarter is.’

They found a priest inside the church
and said, ‘Excuse us, we
are fellow Christians, sent to save
the Holy Land and See.

‘We’re on our way to Prester John
to end the faithless’ heist
and ask for reinforcements for
the knights of Jesus Christ.’

‘That is a daring enterprise,
and I am glad you sought
my help in this,’ the priest replied,
twisting his beard in thought.

‘I know a Bedouin family
who, for some gold coins, are
prepared to lead you out of Egypt
as far as Dongola.

‘From there you’ll go through Christian lands
and should not have to fear
the hatred of the Mussulmen,
as you are doing here.’

‘How do we know these people will
not cut our throats and take
our valuables?’ Inanis asked.
‘There is too much at stake.’

‘I’ve known them many years, and I
can say that they have earned
my trust - all travellers who had
planned to return returned.’

So soon the two were introduced
to Zayed’s family,
his wife, his daughter and two sons,
and settled on a fee.

Then, dressed as Bedouins, both of them
mounted their camels, much
to the amusement of the young
who had no qualms as such.

Their parents reprimanded them,
but Seon said, ‘We are new
to this - if I had watched myself,
I would be laughing, too.’

And so they set out for the vast
Sahara which has killed
more than she ever left alive
and yet holds tombs unfilled.

Reaching the first oasis took
more than a week; amid
Bahariya’s black hills and palms
they rested for a bit.

A few days afterwards the men
marvelled at large white rocks,
bizarrely shaped like sculptures of
ghosts from Pandora’s Box.

The waters of Farafra brought
relief from desert sand;
from here to Dakhla took nine days
which didn’t seem to end.

And Zayed told them right away
to break their camels’ backs
with fresh provisions for the road
before they would relax.

‘There’s no oasis till we come
to Dongola, and that
will be at least three weeks from now,
so bring what you can get!’

As they rode on, the elements
soon turned against the men,
for sandstorms stopped them on their long
trip, time and time again.

When the provisions had run out,
they still had half the way
in front of them; the clergymen
and Bedouins split to pray.

Before the party put up camp,
Seon said, ‘Let’s try our luck -
turn over all your saddlebags
to see if something’s stuck.’

Thus Saint Inanis found two figs,
gave one to Seon and ate;
Seon gave his to the starving girl
whom hunger had beset.

While they were sleeping, hooded knights
with torches in their hands
and crosses on their robes sneaked up
and stabbed them in the glands.

‘You murderous bastards,’ shouted Seon,
‘why would you do such thing?’. -
‘Not us! We’re Christians!’ screamed the saint
and showed the knights his ring.

‘The Lord has sent us to reclaim
this land for Him,’ they said.
‘Pray tell, what brings a bishop to
this desert – are you mad?’

‘We’re sent from Rome to get the help
of Prester John before
the Mussulmen take o’er the world
and win the Holy War.’

‘God bless you for your faith in Him
and your courageous task!’ -
Then the crusaders gave directions,
a blessing and a flask.

‘Our food is scarce, but we can spare
some water,’ they did brag,
then carved the Bedouins up and put
them in their saddlebag.

The bishop and the monk rode on.
Under a tree they spied
a sleeping man, a tempting piece
of judhaab by his side.

‘See how the Lord provides for us?’
the bishop took the meat.
‘It was provided for that man,’
said Seon and didn’t eat.

They finally reached Dongola.
‘There’s nothing more to fear:
since Nubia is a Christian country,
we should be safe from here.’

After a rest they travelled on,
wearing their old attire,
when in the distance they beheld
a massive funeral pyre.

Hundreds of children, men and women
were piled up to be burnt.
‘What happened here?’ the bishop asked,
and this is what he learned:

‘The Mussulmen did raid our village:
these people’s blood was spilled
to take revenge for our crusades
and a few guys we killed.’

The bishop held a service for
the dead and prayed in vain
that every Mussulman may be
converted or be slain.

And soon they reached the Hill of Gaps:
that’s where the fancy-free
Weird Sisters of the Clenched Heart
had built their nunnery.

They were received with open arms:
a banquet was prepared,
and the weird sisters heard the tale
of how their guests were spared.

But in the night the abbot woke
with an intense desire
for roasted ham, and soon he found
the nunnery on fire.

The bishop, kneeling by his bed
with folded hands, had long
passed out in prayer, so Seon did pray,
‘Myself, let me be strong!’

He dragged him singlehandedly
into the open space
and sprinkled, as the building burnt,
some water in his face.

Inanis rose, ‘The Lord be praised!
I saw the fire and then
prayed for our safety, and He has
answered my prayers again!’

It merely was a three days’ ride
from here, so they went on
to the illustrious kingdom of
Christ’s saviour, Prester John.

The wealth of Prester John surpassed
all they were ever told:
the poorest house was built of marble,
the streets were paved with gold.

And at the palace they saw statues
and ornaments so rich
that, if compared, the Vatican
would seem an orphanage.

A royal guard was greeting them
and kissed the bishop’s ring;
as clergymen, the two were brought
straight to the storied king.

‘You’re black?’ – The bishop was in shock.
The abbot had a ball,
‘What did Your Grace expect? This is
Africa, after all.’

‘The curse of Canaan,’ the king
moaned, ‘but I’ll be all right:
I know for sure on Judgment Day
Jesus will wash me white.

‘You must have travelled many moons,
far from the Holy See -
what business is so urgent that
you’ve ventured out to me?’

‘His Holiness sends you a bull
asking for help in need:
the Turks stand at the gates of Rome,
if they did not proceed.

‘Those pagans have invaded most
countries in Europe now;
they took Jerusalem itself
which God should not allow.’

‘I’ll send him half a million knights
to clear the Holy Land
and every other nation of
the Mussulmen, my friend!

‘But tell me, on your way you crossed
many a hostile state.
The perils must have been immense:
were you not tempting Fate?’

‘Praise be to God, he heard my pray’rs;
though dangers he did send,
he has delivered us from all
by his almighty hand!’


© Frank L. Ludwig