Tuesday, November 11, 2008

11th of the 11th

As you probably know, I'm a strong Atheist, and today of all days highlights a poignant reason why I feel worshiping Jesus is stupid.

Today is the day we remember the fallen.

The 11th of the 11th.

This year marks the 90th Anniversary of the Armistice, when Australians remember those who fought and died for our country - for the 'freedom from tyrany' for the world in war and armed conflicts.

These are the guys to whom you should pay homage. This is the day we bow our heads and give a moment to consider the 'sacrifice' of so many. The day we remember the young farm hand from outback Queensland who's guts were blown out of his back in Flanders. The severally outnumbered young men who with typical Australian whit proudly reclaimed and named themselves the Rats of Tobruk and held the Germans at bay whilst being pounded into the African sand by Rommel's guns for 250 days. The nurses who survived the bombing of and sinking of the SS Vyner Brooke by swimming ashore but were marched back into the see by the Japanese on Banka Island and massacred. These men and women were not the sons of gods. They were very ordinary every day men and women. They had no absolute certainty of life after death, fathers in heaven. No water to wine or walk around three day later magic tricks. And that, to my mind, elevates their actions far higher than the make believe heroes many worship.

19 comments:

Jen said...

Well said.

the projectivist said...

stephen, you have something that i admire so much in Aussie men - that FIERCE pride, evidenced in this post.

what a lovely read.

Bo Bo said...

Amen brother

xl said...

It used to be call Armistice Day here and commemorated the end of WWI. Now it is called Veteran's Day and commemorates all veterans who served and died in all wars. But aside from government offices and banks being closed, it seems like the public sadly does not reflect upon its meaning.

Laura said...

Here here!
Tomorow is Veteran's Day here. Thanks for making me think.

De Campo BC said...

Good form!

sparsely kate said...

Every year I cry just that little bit more, once I understand the enormity of what those young blokes (and girls!) went through and saw.


p.s I still love Jesus though! :)

Eostre said...

People sometimes forget that real heroes are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

To be an everyday person, that is what makes an act great.

I only have my gratitude to offer these people, I hope it is enough.

Aphrodite's Friend said...

My three uncles fought in the S.A. ARMY alongside the Brits and the Aussies in the desert at El Alamein.. and Tobruk. They say that they relate to the American who said, "He never met an atheist in a foxhole." (had to say that! sorry.)

but share your sentiment to honour those who "stepped into the gap" that we may be free! good post.

love Tiff

ps. wow.. really small!

unique_stephen said...

Jen > thanks

projectivist > again - thanks, I'm not a conservative nationalist but I do believe there is something worth having, worth keeping about the Australian character. Something worth being.

Bo Bo > amen... took me about three reads before I realised you were taking the piss. Good one mate.

XL > if we live in ignorance of what was given up so that we can have what we have how will we protect it?

Laura > as you know, it is my pleasure to make you think.

DCBC > that a serving man, and a considerate one at that, gives this the thumbs up is a honour. Thanks.

Kate > I know what you mean. i have fallen rock-climbing and knew, KNEW I was about to die and did not give a shit. But I choke up when I think about what they did.
p.s - whatever you need to get you through, I had an imaginary friend once, he lived in my teddy- but I stopped a way short of attributing the creation of the universe to him. That was true love.

Eostre > I feel that protecting the memory of these "ordinary people doing extraordinary things" is the least that we can do but I fear that like Ozymandias time will erase our memories of their deeds.

Tiff > Thanks, but remember - desperately wanting something to be true and it being true are different.
small! -> I'll have you know I carry weaponry that is oft confused with field artillery.

Cat said...

beautifully written and thoughtful post - it makes me sad that I do not hear more about vetrans day in the states - I remember when I was young there was more attentioin given to it - and now - in today's day and age when we as human beings need to be paying attention to what has already come and gone, the huge debt paid in human lives, we seem to pay it no mind.

Thanks for posting.

Cat

Em said...

I have yet to let go completely of the idea that there is no god but when you talk about your atheism and how for you it makes the world even more extraordinary I find it incredibly fascinating.

Aphrodite's Friend said...

The Russians spent millions tryin to eradicate God and prove He does not exist... As did the Chinks and Koreans. They now have the worlds biggest active churches. (im not talkin the vicar brigade here) But i truly respect your opinion.

Field artillery..? that looked more like a .22 calibre to me.. :-) I must say i do enjoy a healthy gun.. :-)

Memphis Steve said...

I grew up in the Bible Belt, in a military town. My father was chosen to go to West Point while the rest of his unit was sent to fight in Korea. He was an atheist at that time. I myself have been to one church or another my entire life. I know God better than I know you. When you told me about what it means to be an Australian 'mate' the first thing that occurred to me as that Jesus was perhaps the very first true Australian. He told his friends he would die for them, die in their place quite literally, knowing full well that it was going to happen for real within a matter of days. Historically there is as much evidence for the existence of Jesus as anyone else in our history books, Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Ramses, you name it. As for the miracles, he did them in front of crowds, usually in crowded cities, but you can certainly argue that it's all a myth if you choose. You can argue that Mary Queen of Scots was a myth, too, if you really want. Not believing in God pretty much makes it meaningless whether you believe in Jesus or not seeing as he can't be the son of God if there is no God.

I'm no evangelist. No one has ever been 'saved' because of anything I ever said or did. I expect no one ever will. I can only tell you what I know from my own life. Denying God has become an industry lately,, a new religion. In order to get in good with the new dean of Harvard you can simply argue that anyone who believes in God is mentally ill. Of course, you can't say this about belief in Allah because that would offend those religious believers of the church of political correctness.

I can tell you that I know that God exists more surely than I know that you do. I have never seen you in person. I have only talked to you in emails or seen videos that are said to be of you. You could say that someone could trick me by faking your existence and I wouldn't know. That's true, but that would require that 'someone' be there creating the illusion of you. No one is creating the illusion of God for me. The evidence has piled up over the years of my life. I'm a scientist, too. I studied biology, chemistry, and physics along the way to a degree in computer science. If not for lack of money and significant parental interference I might have gone to med school instead. I wanted to be a heart surgeon. I'm not quick to follow any preacher, politician, or combination thereof. I am cynical and suspicious of anyone who wants to lead me anywhere for any reason until I know them. I have seen plenty of phony preachers merely using others' faith in God as a means to an end. I also see the religious fanaticism of those in our universities and public schools who scream into their students faces that there is no God and no tolerance for anyone who says otherwise. It's just another church, another belief, another faith, fighting for control in a world where the fight for dominance never ends.

My father came to believe in God after he retired and could spend his days with his passion. He played the stock market until he made the millions he said he always knew he could given the chance. Then he filled his office with books and read them all, whatever struck his fancy from psychology to botany to finance. I don't know exactly when he began to see God and believe, but by the time he died he seemed to have transformed from a Nietzche-preaching vicious atheist to a better Christian than I've ever been. He never said exactly what clicked with him or how he could transform so completely. I just know he did. You never know what you may one day come to believe. But I can tell you that as long as you don't stop learning your chances of changing your mind about God are pretty good. He's there if you're looking. Most atheists I know have some very specific reason that they simply prefer not to find God. Often I've found that it has less to do with logic than something else which they prefer not to discuss. I don't know your history, but I'd be curious to know if perhaps there's more to your decision that there is no God than you've said.

Memphis Steve said...

Sorry for the novel in your comments. I can't seem to ever say anything in just a few words. I don't know why.

Ron Knee said...

Steve has made a great case. I have used it to put my holiday clothes in.

JUST KIDDIN' PAL! *arf arf!*

Seriously though, open yer thoughts up. No matter what any bodys call a god, I think they mean a greater power? Well, don't that exist? I don't mean some fekker coming down and laying the fekkin' law down and sayin' "Thou shalt not" or "Thou shall be damned IF"

The whole concept is much greater than that. Is not every single cell in yer body subserviant to your own will? I am not going to bang on aboot how mossies and christianies should go tae church every sunday and fall on their knees fer forgiveness. Fekkit. That's fer the honkies. Its aboot gettin' on with yer neighbours. Thats whit Jeebus told me coz I still have the letter from him written on the back of an empty packet of fags. (that's cigarettes to our friends from the USA, not gays.)

Let me throw a spanner in the works here and put forward some sort of theory: That is that just as WE as human animals are self-aware, just as many other "animals" obviously are, who are we to say that other forms of physical entities are not? How can we prove that the earth itself as a planet is not self-aware just because we have no way of talking to it in it's own language? Do fleas on a dog's skin think that they are living on a planet? Do they think, or are they actualy aware that the dog can think and even have a life of it's own?

Consider this: Is the universe itself a complete living system which thinks (abeit on a different time-scale to our own perception of thought)

ALSO being a geek yerself, knowing whit Einstein's theory of relativity is all aboot and the passage of perceived time, IS IT NOT acceptable to consider that given the knowledge that the relative speed of any given object has a distinct effect on it's given passage through time? AND taking such into consideration, is it not only possible to conceive that the passage of relative time in this universe is relative to the rate of the expansion of the universe?

What I am trying to theorise here is that in the far future when this universe has reached maximum capacity to expand due to gravitational forces, will relative time itself speed up to the point where we will all go with the flow and start moving backward in time (although we would not notice it) and IS it happening now? We at our viewpoint would not notice any diference but IT WOULD EXPLAIN DEJA-VU, given that this "big bang" has happened since forever and we are experiencing multiple universes. (as to the theory, which is highly logical).

Well ah am fekked. Answers on a postcard please.

ksm said...

For those who don't believe there are any;

http://www.americanhumanist.org/humanism/foxhole.html

Spiky Zora Jones said...

US...whoa, There you go...are you an atheist or an agnostic? Does your family celebrate Easter and Christmas?

funny how social influences has forged the metals in us.

Um...religion and god, are those two things even the same?

And what does jesus have to do with veterinarian's day. I mean they care for the sick dogs and cats and cows and horses. There's nothing wrong with that...is there?

Oh Veterans Day....never mind then.

Hey really, what does Jesus have to do with war? I think it's lack of following Jesus's teachings that leads to wars.

Is God a myth?

Is Jesus the son of god? There is a lot to think about here.

I wish I could sit and talk about it all...but bottom line...

Don't we all just pick a theory.

I heart goes out to those that fought in the wars...I salute you brave men and women.

Ciaoa babe.

Fusion said...

Still catching up...

Just wanted to add to Jen's well said, and agree with the projectivist, about the quiet pride Aussie's show. That's probably the number one thing I admire about Australia, you don't do the over the top flag waving shit that us yanks do, but just below the surface, you know every Ausralian loves his and her country. I saw that all the time while living there. Great post Stephen.