Tag Archives: atheism

Gay Marriage

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Yes, another marriage rant… Continue reading

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Irrelevance & Ignorance

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Following on from my rant about the publication that considers itself to report the real news from Dewsbury, I have ended up in several subsequent arguments in the same vein. Which is fine. I want people to voice their opinions – it helps everyone to get it out of their systems and refine their views. But what I find vastly irritating, is that most of the time, the people arguing against me have no reasoning to back up their statements and any information they’re working from has been gleaned from sources exactly like The “Real” Dewsbury News, which tote nothing but anti-Islamic hate propaganda.

Recently, I found myself having debates with people, and not just on the subject of Islam, that have ended with me going: “What the fuck?!” and walking away in sheer frustration. As someone said to me recently: “Even racists should have a voice,” and I concur wholeheartedly. For one thing, voicing racist (or homophobic or misogynistic or transphobic &c.) views will “out” that person as a bigot; it will also allow people to argue on the contrary, which in rare cases may change the mind of said racist; and it poses questions that a non-racist may not have considered, which gives us further understanding of why people feel the need to needlessly hate entire races of people.

And I do want to understand; truly, I do! Most people have reasons for their opinions, and whether that opinion is based on an experience, propaganda, the media or outright fact, it is the product of rational(ish) thought, even if it does belong to someone who is ill informed. And so I don’t just disregard a racist comment – I invite the racist to offer an explanation. And do I ever get one? Do I bollocks! I ask why someone believes what they believe and I get back an entirely new bald statement along similar lines, or I get called a name and sworn at. On the odd occasion that someone has offered further insight, the information I’ve been given has been hazy. I was lucky enough to find myself embroiled in such an argument a few weeks back: what had started as a comment on Facebook about the Lib Dems and had nothing to do with international politics, was suddenly about the EDL – absolutely no reason to bring that up, but the person that did so had obviously been in possession of the irrelevance stick that day. Regardless of how this all came about, I found myself faced with the following:

“There are local councillors in Kirklees who privately support sharia law ffs. If no mainstream politicians will deal with that, then people will turn to those who will.”

To which I said that, if that was the case, then those people (who purportedly support sharia law) should be investigated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this country allows freedom of speech: speech – not actions. People are free to believe and say what they like, but they should absolutely not be allowed to fuck with our basic human rights. We have laws that are put in place for our protection and freedom. I’m not suggesting that we allow the Muslim faith to in any way overtake English culture when I say that Muslims should be treated with as much respect as anyone else. Pakistan is practically a police state because of the beliefs of its government and England does not have the same culture – should never have the same culture. In any case, I’ve spoken to people who have left Pakistan to escape its extreme laws, so I find it hard to believe that every Muslim would like to recreate a UK version of Pakistan.

I’m also not saying that there are no Muslims in the UK with extreme views – I’m certain that there are some who would happily stone every non-Muslim – but we allow Muslims to believe what they want to believe, the same way that we allow Christians to believe what they believe, and the way that we allow Jews to believe what Jews believe, and atheists to not believe what they don’t believe, and the white supremacists to believe what they believe. Again, it is one thing to believe something, but it is quite another to use that belief as an excuse to exercise violence. To think about stoning someone is v.v.different from actually stoning them. To want to beat someone up for being of a different race is v.v.different to actually doing it. We have no thought police and we never should have; so until someone acts, or threatens to act, upon an extreme belief, then no, our current politicians will not step in, because those people have done nothing wrong in terms of the law. How could a politician reasonably hound someone on the off chance that they had a bad thought or three?

But, really, where did the information come from that local MPs agree with Sharia law anyway? Damned if I know. Presumably The “Real” Dewsbury News. I’ll probably never know. And if I’d asked the question, the person on the receiving end of the question would no doubt have said something like: “It’s just a fact. Everyone knows it,” which in my book isn’t enough to condemn a whole section of our society.

Anyway – why I came here today was to dissect the screen shots from my previous post a little further. Mainly because the irrelevance of some of the comments amused me… and the hatred in some of the comments scared and saddened me.

1st Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

To be honest, this isn’t an irrelevant comment. It’s not a well informed comment, but it’s one of the more intelligent responses. Personally, I think that any town would reasonably allow a road closure for an hour to celebrate a religious holiday. Until recently, I lived next to Burley, which has a massive Asian community, and have occasionally waltzed into the midst of some festivity or another.

The road that runs off mine* was closed for a secular street party recently. There was no reason for it; it was just a street party. Muslims and non-Muslims alike would have been welcome.

When I attended a Free Palestine march a while ago, the whole of Leeds city centre was closed to make way.

When the women of England take to the streets in their underwear to march for the right to be able to walk down any street dressed however they like and not be molested, the roads are closed then. The slut walk is something that not everyone understands, but we are allowed to march. That is a show of power: it’s a show of female power; not to say that we are better or plan to overtake the men, but just to make the point that we are strong, we are together, we are free, and we should be allowed as much respect as any man.

That’s not to mention the fun runs that take place all over the country and involve road closures.

2nd Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

And the irrelevance kicks in. What in the name of holy crap does that person’s kids have to do with this subject? I mean, really. Aside from the fact that I know full well that this person celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ not long before this post, there is absolutely no correlation between a religious festival and the fruit of this person’s loins. It’s nice that this person loves their kids… nothing to do with international politics, though. Can you imagine if David Cameron was asked to comment on a particular issue and he said: “Oh, I only care about my kids, really. Why are you doing something that isn’t my about my children?”?!

Road closures. Well, they’re annoying, I admit. They’re annoying regardless of the reason. Having researched the traditional ways in which Muslims celebrate Muhammad’s birthday, though, I have discovered that most of them, in fact, don’t celebrate it at all. But those that do mark the occasion with a procession; and, unfortunately, that means that a road was closed for a bit. Read the diversion signs if you need to drive down that particular road and get over it, is all I can say. I suspect that this person didn’t have to drive down that road, in which case it had no bearing on their life.

Show of power? I’m willing to bet that those Muslims couldn’t have given a shit what the non-Muslim community was up to on that particular day. They were celebrating a religious festival in the traditional way. And even if it was a show of power – so what? They closed a street for an hour and it affected next to nobody. Well, that showed you, didn’t it? So did all the millions of articles and photographs that came out of the march. Except that there is nothing about it anywhere (and believe me, I’ve searched). A non-event for non-Muslims – so why all the bloody fuss?

3rd Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

Childish and cruel.

4th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

Puerile bullshit.

5th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

Obviously not. As I have already said: Pakistan is practically a police state. But England allows its people to celebrate whatever they like however they like, as long as they’re breaking no law – pagans, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddists, Clingons and all.

In addition, Christmas is not traditionally celebrated with a procession, so even if a group of Christians was allowed to march down a street in Pakistan at Christmas, that really would be a “show of power”. We celebrate Christmas by gathering our people around us and inebriating ourselves – not by marching.

6th] Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

No, Commenter, it’s a procession! And I’m pretty sure if non-Muslims had shown up at the procession and, in a non-threatening, amicable way, joined in, then the Muslims would have been bemused and confused (possibly initially wary and taken aback), but carried on regardless. And if not, how would this particular commenter have taken it if a Muslim had shown up to join in with carol singing at Christmas? Or if a Muslim had let him/herself in, sat down at the table and started helping him/herself to turkey? Not so well, I’d like to warrant.

7th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

And we’re steaming away with ourselves on the irrelevance front again. I mean what the fuck is this silly bitch on about? Firstly, I’m pretty unclear as to who it is that has disrespected “our troops” (I suspect the Muslims, but I really can’t speculate). Secondly, what would she like to happen to those who “disrespect our troops”? Imprisonment? Castration? Stoning? She is allowed to be disrespectful of others, but believes that nobody should be disrespectful to someone she respects.

In any case those are, again, two completely disparate issues. By troops, I presume she means the British army, and by disrespect, I presume she actually means kill. In which case – it’s a war. You can’t really arrest people for killing people who have come into their country to kill them. Do you see what I’m saying? I don’t like war, but even I understand that!

8th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

That person has clearly just stubbed their toe or stepped on an upturned plug. I sympathise deeply.

9th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

That person obviously found a great, steaming turd in their breakfast. Moving on…

10th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

Well, that was in response to me saying something about Muslims not giving a crap about non-Muslims on a holy day. Instead of giving me a decent argument, the commenter just thought it best to insult me. I presume that the commenter thought I was going to give up and cry or something. My silly little lady brain sometimes works that way… oh, wait – fuck off! No it doesn’t. If that person genuinely thinks I’m naïve, then that’s fine. But I think it naïve to make an argument with no basis, to believe that every person of any given race is exactly the same, or that every person from any given race only ever thinks about getting rid of people who aren’t of that race. Not every non-Muslim is like you, the same way that not every Muslim is like Osama Bin Laden. The dangerous few spoil it for everyone else and give them a bad name; the beardy-weirdy Islamic extremists spoil it for your average decent Muslim, and the fascist, white supremacist gits spoil it for your average, decent non-Muslim.

11th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

Was in response to my saying: “Ooh – there’s a Muslim guy on here. Ask him what it’s all about.”

The words in that paragraph that stand out like a dildo at a tea party are “alleged” and “investigated.” Innocent until proven guilty, my friend.

I’ve already answered this comment in my last post, but what I said was that where there are politics and/or religion, there is corruption. It may not be nice, but there it is.

Rarely do these things pass peacefully? Well, that’s just plain wrong. Not only did that march pass peacefully, there was absolutely no coverage of it and war was not declared on the non-Muslims.

12th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

Um… unless there’s something in the Qur’an that I’m missing (I haven’t got round to reading it yet – I’m still working my way through the Bible), I have no idea what this jerk-off is talking about. I suspect that they are pulling the most offensive remark they can think off out of thin air and applying it to the Muslim faith. In which case, the comment is null and void and utterly utterly infantile.

Also, if someone put in an application to have a street party for St. George’s Day, I’m pretty sure it would go through the same channels and wouldn’t be a problem. Like I said: there was a street party on my street recently. For no apparent reason.

13th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

The hate-mongers themselves. If The “Real” Dewsbury News believes that screen shots of what people are saying would be a bad thing, then they know full well that what they publish is there to provoke a bad reaction.

Unfortunately, the majority of the EDL sympathisers appear to be illiterate and uneducated, and the writers of The “Real” Dewsbury News are no more eloquent. So little so, in fact, that any reader is asked to refrain from correcting their English or grammar at risk of being blocked from making further comments. Not education advocates, then.

14th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

Aw – commenter sticking up for me. I’ll give that commenter their due – I really appreciated them acknowledging that the censorship was wrong and that it would royally piss me off.

15th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

That person just awoke with a raging erection following a dream in which a bestockinged Nick Griffin tickled his anus with a long, pink feather. I speculate, but that’s the most obvious scenario I can think of.

16th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

Presumably, this person is insinuating that everyone wants the Muslims to leave. As a non-Muslim, I can say that I don’t. Aside from the fact that I have Muslim friends here, there are a lot of Muslims who are English. This is their home – how could we justify sending them elsewhere?

There was no reasoning given for wanting these people to leave the country, but I wasn’t allowed to comment, so I couldn’t ask.

17th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

Um… wrong! There would have been a police presence at the Muslim procession, just as there is at other marches. The following pictures are marches and processions that go on all the time… oh wait. I typed “March Dewsbury” into Google and guess what came up… no Muslim marches, but a shit load of EDL related ones! There are a couple of other march pictures thrown in there for good measure.

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   – NHS supporters

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   – EDL member saluting a la Hitler

1289088543-uaf-march-against-racism-and-islamophobia_499229

   – UAF Anti-fascists

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   – UAF anti-fascists

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   – EDL march

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   – UAF anti-fascists

EDL March Dewsbury

   – EDL March

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   – EDL march

18th Real Dewsbury News Comments

I am a bit baffled. This person appears to be sending a message of love (with fifteen or so kisses) praises the current coalition government and says that “we” (that is to say “us”) are the ones that have it wrong. I don’t actually know whether the “us” is in reference to the people in the conversation or “us” in general… if anyone could shed any light on this, I’d be v.grateful.

19th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

Do you know, when I look at that last two march pictures above, when I see people seething with hate like that, people who would harm me for my beliefs and my sexuality (oh yes – they don’t like me for counter-arguing, but they also have something deeper, personal and far more scary against me) I want to attach fucking bayonets and run each and every one through, I really do. But that is a childish knee jerk of mine. Then I calm myself. I think about the fact that a member of my family is, unfortunately, a BNP voter. I think about my cousins and what that person means to them. I realise (because I’m not a fucking nazi wanker) that these people are still just that… people. I calm myself down and I think rationally. I disagree with what they are doing and I have rational thought behind me (which the few of them I’ve spoken to don’t seem to have), but they are entitled, as inhabitants of this country, to voice their opinions too.

What this commenter has failed to do, is get beyond their visceral reaction and question why they feel this way. You know – like a child having a paddy.

20th Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

Dude – when did they ever claim to be a religion of peace? When did any religion apart from Buddhism? I’m reading the bible cover to cover and all I’m getting from Christianity is wrath. I will read the Qur’an next. Pretty sure it doesn’t say it in there either.

Will you be able to walk with them? Yes. Will you be able to take a Union Jack? No – because the union jack is now associated with the BNP and ethnic cleansing, unfortunately (the Muslims didn’t spoil that – the BNP/NF/EDL did!). Will you be able to take a parachute banner? Um… probably. It would be like taking a “Happy Birthday” banner to Christmas Day, but ok.

21st Comment Real Dewsbury News Nazis

Muslim people have suffered, in the past, horrific abuse from the UK. The Empire. As has the rest of the world. The UK started with the animosity, years ago. We still think we have that power. We don’t. Then Pakistani immigrants came seeking asylum – they were abused for looking different and for believing different things. The next generation of Muslims was brought up here – when they were under attack, they started to fight back. Racial aggression against non-Muslims by Muslims is not acceptable, but neither is aggression against Muslims, and people who gave them a hard time in the past could hardly have expected the Muslims to sit back and be abused.

If a non-muslim tried to march with them, it would all probably be fine, although that non-muslim would be regarded with suspicion. Would they kill you? Maybe, if they had the chance. How many of their family members have been brutally and verbally attacked by white supremacists? What would you do to them if they showed up Christmas day? You start a war, you get a fight back. I’m not saying it’s right, but what the white supremacists do is also not right.

22nd Real Dewsbury News Comments

A profession of immortality. See – these people are children. Full grown children with no cerebral development at all.

23rd Real Dewsbury News Comments

Do you know – I think I’m done.

What I want to say to these people is this: you think you are the goodies and that they are the baddies. Well, we raped that fucking country when we arrived all those years ago – we abused our position and we took what wasn’t ours. There is no such thing as a “goodie” or a “baddie.” There is no black and white; only shades of grey (I hate that bloody woman who wrote those terrible books. She’s totally spoilt that for me). Perhaps you should do some growing up and learn about the world, learn about different cultures and ethnicities before you stomp around with your indignation and hatred aimed at anyone who isn’t exactly like you. We are a teeny, tiny country in a wonderfully diverse world. The beliefs of fascists appear to be unfounded and the reasoning given is irrelevant. If someone can give me a well-rounded argument in favour of racism, I’d love to hear it.

FOOTNOTES

* Park Mount in Kirkstall, Leeds. I can say this now, because I have just upped sticks and shipped myself off to greener pastures.

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Things that go Bump in My Mind – Part III: Any Answers

I was arrogantly opinionated in my younger days. I would hear something and immediately form a series of judgmental convictions without finding out the finer details, which often meant I came a cropper and ended up looking pretty daft. In a debate, I tie myself in knots because it takes me a while to process my thoughts into a string of sentences that voice exactly what I mean. I’d be a crap politician and these days would rather just keep schtum and listen to a discussion on a subject on which my knowledge is sketchy than make a tit of myself by being bolshy and annoying. But I’m about to spout some opinions, yes yes! On a subject I’m not such an authority on, nope nope!

There are things in this world that cannot be explained even by, like, proper scientists and that. In fact, it was in the news recently that scientists believe we are coming towards the limit of what the human brain can comprehend and that further mysteries will remain as such. Sounds like laziness to me, but then I have been known to be wrong*.

It’s one of my bugbears of the religious debate that when an atheist begins talking about science, the inevitable answer from the believer is: “Yes, but scientists have been wrong in the past” or “Science hasn’t been able to explain [insert bizarre phenomenon of choice here].” I always feel like saying: “Give it chance; we’re getting there.” And, if the case for believing in something is the mere fact that it has never, to our knowledge, been disproved, I could quite happily believe that David Cameron’s balls are as bright blue as his political views, on the grounds that I have never been told otherwise.

I feel much the same about ghosts and I would go so far as to say that one cannot believe in ghosts if one does not have a religion. The v.idea of a soul in itself has religious connotations – this notion that your emotional being is separate from your physical body is presumably where the idea that something leaves your body when you die (which, thanks to that rather mediocre, over-sentimental film, shall forever be known as the “21 Grams”). Something other than bodily fluids and body heat; this “something” is, presumably, your soul, which passes into heaven or hell depending on whether you’ve been good or bad. Or, should I say, depending on whether you believe in God and have repented any sins you may have committed**.

Which leads me neatly onto the point about good and evil; neither of which exists outside of society and both of which change from culture to culture, however marginal these changes may be. As a non-believer in God, I am also a non-believer in good and evil… at least, not in the black and white sense in which religion presents them. That people do misguided things – terribly, awfully misguided things – I believe, be it through sheer desperation, physical or psychological damage, but I don’t believe in inherent evil, nor do I believe in inherent good. Which means that I can believe in neither good nor evil spirits. Coupled with my cynicism of the mythical 21 grams, I can honestly say, with only the merest wibbling of doubt, that I do not believe in ghosts as we are given to understand them – I do not believe in the rogue spirit, so to speak.

What I do believe, however, is rather vaguer than what I don’t believe. I believe in energy. At the risk of sounding like a true dippy hippy, I believe in a sixth sense. Although, maybe in a slightly less exciting way than its namesake film. I believe that one can walk into a room and sense that much unhappiness and suffering has been caused there. I believe that there is a possibility that people and animals leave some sort of imprint in space or time or some such, rather more like a whiff of a recording than an actual part of themselves. Maybe it’s a dimensional thing, of which I have no information whatsoever. How this fits in with modern science, I really don’t know. I profess myself to be an utter philistine in that department… mainly because I spent every GCSE science lesson flirting with Ste Horsfield rather than actually listening, which made it impossible for me to take science further***. I guess biology was my bag back then.

It’s a truth universally known that people are curious by nature. We hate not knowing how things work and explanation kills the mystery, as Derren Brown has proven time and again. It’s true that he does some disturbing things himself, but the explanation for these displays are incredibly dull. He is not magic or psychic and he goes to great lengths to make this v.clear. I’m using him purely as an example of that which we understand automatically becoming mundane. And as far as I can see, the thing that makes the thought of ghosts scary is misunderstanding or lack of knowledge. Many people have reported that, whilst in bed, they have been pinned down, unable to move, by an unseen force on their chest. The explanation for this is simply sleep paralysis; a hugely frightening experience, but one that has been explained away by science. It’s a powerful tool, the mind.

If you think about the stories you hear or the experiences you’ve had yourself with ghostly forms (and I’ve had my fair share) they’re never clear. They’re generally something you see out of the corner of your eye or in a mirror. We are v.visual creatures. You often hear people say: “I’ll believe that when I see it.” You don’t ever hear people saying: “I’ll believe that when all the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.” But the fact that you can wake up in the night, heart pounding for no apparent reason can lead us to believe that we are not alone. We don’t see so well in the dark and the dark is infinitely scarier**** than daylight – you never hear of people seeing ghosts strolling down a sunny beach. With our peripherals being what they are, we always have our backs to something – ghosts appear in mirrors; ghosts stories where mirrors cloud over are equally as creepy because the thought of not being able to see behind ourselves is as frightening as the thought of seeing something in the mirror that shouldn’t be there. Similarly, ghosts who can walk through walls – backs to the wall means that something can still creep up and catch you unawares. It’s all so logical when you lay it down and dissect it. We jump at shadows and unexpected bangs. There is something of the natural fight or flight instinct in it.

It is also a rather human trait to need to believe in something more following the death of a loved one. It’s a stressful and upsetting time. And I often hear stories of people who have woken up and seen the effigy of a person, dead within the hour, at the end of their bed. For some reason, this strikes a chord with me in the same way that, for example, often if I’m upset or in trouble, my mother will ring and ask if something’s wrong without my saying a word. Or the same way you can pick up a mobile ‘phone seconds before it starts ringing. Something in the subconscious powers of deduction, perhaps. Or maybe it’s just the power of coincidence.

There is also a strong propensity for play. Even as adults, we like a good story. In fact, mythologies and old wives tales are the heart of our ghost stories. Like osmosis, we absorb tales over time and they linger in the back of our psyche. The delicious fear of the unknown envelops us in a tingly web and then works its magic as our imaginations go into overdrive. In times past, this would manifest itself in the form of witch hunts. Fear of the unknown causes panic, but witch hunts were equally a gruesome form of recreation. Could the exorcism of a house, i.e.: telling a ghost to leave, actually be our own way of cleansing our psyches of a story that’s created a suitably spooky experience that’s gone too far? A metaphorical witch-burning, perhaps.

I’ve got to admit, it’s all fascinating. Like Richard Dawkins, I haven’t so much proved or disproved a thing other than spew forth my opinions to the ether and I could continue to do so, but I’m not so sure my musings are particularly important in the grand scheme of things.

Anyway, basically what I’m getting at is, since I don’t believe in souls, I’m starting the bidding on mine for a fiver (free P&P).

 

FOOTNOTES

* But rarely, you understand. V.rarely. Don’t let on, ey?

** I’m going to stop with this train of thought as I could start ranting about religion and that’s a subject I could rant on about for some time.

*** I doubt it would have been my forte, given my artistic leanings

**** I have a huge respect for the blind: they spend their entire lives on their other senses and live every day in the dark.

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Things that go Bump in My Mind – Part II: Any Questions

As usual, running cleared my head somewhat. And it got me thinking and now I have questions, damnit, with nowhere to direct them.

How, exactly, is there any way that ghosts exist? I mean, surely, with all the people there have ever been, the world would be rife with them. So rife we’d all go mad with the ghostiness. I asked this of one of the girlies on the hen do who was telling a story about the time she’d had to exorcise her flat. Her answer was less than satisfactory – she said: “It’s only some people who become ghosts when they die and you have to help them to cross over.” Cross over to where? I mean, it’s religious, isn’t it? You’d have to believe in a life after death, wouldn’t you, for a start? And, the ongoing debate about religion aside, why haven’t they made it across to wherever they’re heading? Are there no instructions? I mean, if there’s limbo and purgatory for people who aren’t in either heaven or hell, then where are the souls of these people who haven’t “crossed over”? Earth, I guess, but how does that make sense? I’m glad I’m an atheist, because this life after death lark sounds pretty complicated; I’m not good under pressure and I’m pretty sure that death would be stressful. I get lost in Morrisons at least once a week as it is.

Let’s put disbelief to one side for a moment and suppose that there are such things as ghosts; then surely the actual ghost of a person is representative of their spirit only. And if that’s the case, surely they wouldn’t manifest themselves in a form at all, especially not clothed, but rather as floating minds in some respect. Once the physical has gone, then it would leave just a soul that would certainly be incapable of recreating itself as the body it inhabited prior to death, let alone dress itself. Is this where possession comes in? And if a soul has possessed a body, what right has it to be exorcised, since possession is nine tenths of the law…?* My first thought, if I was a lost spirit that had just found myself inside a body for a change, when confronted with a priest would be to a) act as normally as possible to avoid losing my new body or b) say something along the lines of: “Excuse me – I don’t suppose you could give me directions to… um… where I’m supposed to be going, could you?” I definitely wouldn’t roar at him and then projectile vomit. When you’re lost as a living being, you ask a policeman, so it makes sense that when you’re lost as a ghost, you should ask a priest. Politely!

And, again, just supposing that people have souls that sometimes get confused en route to the afterlife, and just supposing a ghost somehow managed to mold itself into its former state and wrap a sheet around itself and stay on earth instead of “crossing over”… why would it want to throw things around and make spooky noises and generally scare the living daylights out of people? Surely it would actually be thinking: “I am pretty sure I’m in the wrong place. Maybe I should have gone left at the statuesque man with the skull for a face wielding the large gardening implement…”

… Although, I’m positive that emotions are caused by hormones and pheromones and gin, which are all physical things. Why, then, are ghosts so angry? What causes that? Why would they come back and haunt a random house** / person / bathroom / toaster***? And thought is caused by electrical impulses in the brain… and if the brain has died with the person, how can a ghost have any thoughts at all?

And why are ghosts always of a type? You don’t ever hear of people seeing rappers standing at the end of their bed, eerie light glinting off their bling, do you? Or of cavemen with a club in one hand, scratching their balls in uncouth fash’ with the other?  And surely, a ghost of days gone by would be most confused by a lot of the things that happen in this day and age. I can’t imagine that there’s, say, a Victorian ghost watching me doing yoga and thinking (with the brain it’s somehow managed to find, even though it couldn’t manage to find the stairway to heaven): “Yes yes, I’m going to throw some stuff around and scare the shit out of this one.” Any Victorian ghost capable of thought would most likely be thinking: “What on earth is this all about? I’m not going near her – she’s mental!”

And, do animals turn into ghosts when they die? Because I know Christianity at least states that animals have no immortal soul, in which case they couldn’t possibly turn into ghosts. But human beings are animals, which, of course, means that they have no immortal soul either.

And why, I mean just why, am I freaked out by all this stuff when I’m not religious and I’ve just proven to myself that in order to actually believe it, I’d have to be of the faith? Is it just that my C of E / Methodist upbringing has been so far indoctrinated into my system that there’s a latent religious quality to my thoughts? Could this dormant Christian brainwashing be so ingrained in me that I can’t quite live without looking over my shoulder for imaginary ghosts, holy or otherwise?

I mean, it all just sounds like bollocks, if you ask me! Answers, I demand! Really good answers, please!

 

ASK THE EXPERT:

A friend of mine is not religious, yet apparently believes that he once had to exorcise a house. I don’t doubt his story for a second; I’m not saying that I don’t believe that he genuinely believes that he had to. How could this be? Come on, Wesley, explanations, if you please! What made you think / realise you had a ghost? Who performed the exorcism? Jon Bon Jovi? If a priest, surely this goes against your beliefs, or lack of; but if you performed the exorcism yourself, how did you find out how to do it? The internet? Did you need equipment? Because, and I know this sounds like I’m taking the piss (and I guess I am a little bit – in the most good-humoured way, I assure you), but I genuinely am curious – I just can’t imagine you wandering round a house talking to something that, presumably, can’t hear you, what with it having no ears!

 

 

JACKANORY:

Tell me a story! I love a good spooky yarn. In fact, I’d love to hear all spooky stories of real life… or death experiences. So if anyone fancies telling me theirs, go ahead! I’m not trying to belittle people’s beliefs; I’m cynical, but I’m not a dick†. So, please, tell away – you might just change my mind.

 

 

FOOTNOTES

* Boom boom

** I excuse Beetlejuice because they explain that one in the storyline and it is just a film after all

*** But that’s not right – it wouldn’t haunt a toaster because that’s not scary enough. It would haunt a castle or a freaky doll. They not so dumb, these spirits****

**** Spirits… now that’s something I can believe in. Lovely see-through spirits that make you act in bizarre ways…

† Well, not all the time

 

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