Monday, November 28, 2016

Artesian Well of Hope

Most Christian leaders now claim I and many others were never
Christians, never lovers of God,
that our deepest most meaningful experiences and beliefs were false heresies:-(

According to them, we were conceived in sinfulness
and long before our births foreordained to eternal damnation
along with billions of other "worthless" evil humans:-(

It's very weird--and despairing--that even some U.S. Quaker meetings
are promoting such negative religious leaders!


Back in the 1950's, we grew in a very different sort of religion,
one with a wonderful story,

one where every newly conceived infant was precious and innocent,

one where every human was of inherent worth and value,

one which encouraged us to work for equality, justice, human rights and well-being.

We were convinced that Ultimate Reality
cared about every single human who had ever been born and would ever be born.

My favorite heroes were those compassionate leaders who gave up comfortable lives
and went to harsh places to help the impoverished, the suffering,
and even those who chose and committed unjust, immoral actions.

There was hope for everybody, for every single human being!

When these generous, hopeful leaders spoke at free will Baptist gatherings and conferences, I asked for their autographs and kept them in a special box, like the autographs of sports heroes.

When I discovered the moral truth of the Sermon on the Mount,
that of peacemaking and nonviolence,
one such inspiring leader gave me encouragement to stand up against all those--
almost all the Americans I knew (including our Christian club leader)--who were telling me to go and kill Vietnamese.

I will always be grateful for his witness against the slaughter of war, even if his religion was an illusion.

And I will always be thankful for the witness of Friends in meeting, one of whom
sang of communion, compassion, and inclusion, when I and others were experiencing so much despairing theology.

Here's a short poem in which I tried to distill one very meaningful,
and deeply blessed experience of my hopeful youth.

A transcendent experience, one of ecstatic joy
and the commitment to work for ethical change
and deep idealism--

Artesian Well

I can’t carry a basic tune
Anymore than a bat can sing Hebrew
Or envision hieroglyphics,

But once I welled up bursting forth
Beyond all melodious barriers
Of sensuous fountaining,

Songing the voice of all singing.
Hosanna to the Highest and Deepest,
All-embracing universal cosmic Ultimate

Usually, I vocalize low
And hesitantly with insecure effort
But on that humid, many peopled

Saturday evened night in the crowded hall
In the midst of a thousand voiced praise
I not only caroled the Keys but was mused,

Songing the voice of all singing,
Hosanna to the Highest and Deepest
All-embracing universal cosmic Ultimate

We human instruments, fluting beautifully
One glorious open canticled Magnificat
With so much climatic passion;

Me, a human oboe in a great orchestra of tone
Being Bached and Beethovened,
To the alleluiaed heights,

Songing the voice of all singing,
Hosanna to the Highest and Deepest
All-embracing universal cosmic Ultimate.

Lava-hot harmonied, a chorale of joyous, exultant
Joy, the Transcendent's artesian well bursting forth,
Geysering up in ecstatic adulation,

Welling skyward beyond all measuring
Bursting beyond all selves
To God, our lover, all communioned,

Songing the voice of all singing,
Hosanna to the Highest and Deepest
All-embracing universal cosmic Ultimate.


-Daniel Wilcox

First pub. in
The Clockwise Cat in
different form and in
selah river poetry collection

The Thinking Class

Here’s a friendly satire/parody of a great song lyric
by a fine country singer Lee Bryce
and songwriters Frasier, Hill, Kear.*

Some drinking has bad side effects*;
so I changed a few words.

The Thinking Class

We're up when the computer glows
Clock in when the Internet micros
Eight hours pixeling fast
And then tomorrow we'll do it all over again

I'm a member of a tech collar crowd
They can never, nah they can't keep us down
If you gotta, gotta label, label me in the cloud

I belong to the thinking class
Monday through Friday, man we bust our brains
If you're one of us, raise your facts
I belong to the thinking class

We laugh, we cry, we love
Go hard when the going's tough
Push back, use reason it’s enough
Knock us down, we'll get back up again and again

I'm a member of a good reflecting crowd
We get rowdy, we get wild and loud
If you gotta, gotta label, label me in the cloud
I belong to the thinking class

Monday through Friday, man we bust our brains
If you're one of us, raise your facts
I belong to the thinking class

We all know why we're here
A little analysis, a little music, a little logic, a little beer
We're gonna shake off those long week to-dos
Ladies, break out your dancing shoes
It don't matter what night it is, it's Friday
It's Saturday and Sunday
I just want to hear you say
I just want to hear you sing it
Y'all sing it with me

We belong to the thinking class
Monday through Friday, man we bust our brains
If you're one of us, raise your facts
We belong to the thinking class

Yeah, we belong to the thinking class
Monday through Friday, man we bust our brains
And if you're one of us, raise your facts
We belong to the thinking class

*My parents were strongly opposed to any drinking because their relatives
drank their lives, and that of their families, away:-(.

Some drinking has very bad effects; so I changed a few words, emphasizing, instead, thinking.
I've worked blue-collar jobs as well as other collar jobs in my long life.

Drinking in moderation, thinking to the limit—that’s the way to go.

Raise your glass,
We belong to the thinking class.

Original Song:

Original lyrics written by David R Frasier, Ed Hill, Josh Kear
• Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Round Hill Music Big Loud Songs, DO Write Music LLC

Critical Thinking photo from…/class-isssue/

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Conundrum of Christianity and Other Religions


Questions from an agnostic online:
"...why [do] some people grow more aggressive, muscular, demanding, authoritarian or judgmental after converting to the "religion of self-sacrificial love," i.e., Christianity;"

"...or why there are people who are more loving, kind and understanding in each non-Christian religion or philosophy when compared with some very devout and staunchly believing Christians"?

Excellent questions, especially the last one.

For years it troubled me why it was that the most Jesus-like individuals were outside of orthodox Christianity.

And that, in contrast, many of the leaders of Christianity held strong unethical views and behaviors that were the exact opposite of Jesus' own words, and against Jesus' own social ethics as seen in the Sermon on the Mount and in the Good Samaritan parable.

Contrary to what I expected, the individuals who I admired as being deeply ethical in thought and practice included an agnostic, a Baha'i, a Jehovah's Witness, a Mormon, and a member of Eddy's church, Christ Scientist.

Their religions all seemed bonkers, but somehow, they had become committed to basic ethical truths, ones every human ought to hold and be dedicated to living.

Strangely, when a few of us dedicated social activists sought to get Christians to work for peace, the Christians would say,
"No one can know peace until they first accept Jesus as their only savior."

YET all these Christians, and their leaders (indeed almost every Christian I knew) were strongly pro-war:-(
avidly supported, paid for, and fought in the wars the U.S. started in Vietnam,
Central America, Iraq, Syria, etc. over the years.

Where was the peace that Jesus was supposed to bring?

These millions of born-again Christians continued clamoring in favor of the newest U.S. wars,
and defended all of their country's past wars,
even the intentional slaughter of innocent civilians!

Yet they were devout Christians who said they were born again,
that only they were the people who had real peace.


I still remember when one Christian leader stated
that the atom bomb was "God's gift to the U.S."!!!

And our Christian youth leader personally told me
that God was calling me and others to go and kill Vietnamese for Christ:-(

And many Muslims and orthodox Jews make similar claims--
if only our enemies adopt our religion, then all will be well...

But, of course, it never is,
because those Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc. use unjust and harmful means
to accomplish their alleged good goal.

Even worse, all 3 religions claim that God/Allah/G-d
is the One who actually causes/wills/ordains ALL evil,
causes all the wars, and so forth.

None of it made any sense, still doesn't.

Troubled in the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Discussing CUSSING

ALERT: These urls and articles (and my responses) deal with the question of whether or not swearing, slurring, profaning, verbally attacking, etc. are amoral, only mores, or a question of ethical truth.
In the process some of the commentators use obscenities, profanities, and racial slurs.

This time around, the cursing started with the President Elect in a past video tape of him from Hollywood. 'We’ll show ‘em.' And he did.

Usually, I don’t print out obscenities in my articles any more than I put feces on the table at breakfast or dinner.
HOWEVER I do understand that sometimes academics use the actual words because they want to emphasize the exact nature of the particular words they are talking and thinking about.

Other writers use them because they are attempting to portray real humans how they really speak in conversation.
They aren’t approving or showing disapproval ethically.

Other thinkers use cuss words, racial and sexual slurs, etc. freely in their writing (and their speech) because they are committed to ethical relativism, and so put their finger forward from the first.…/rebecca-roache-on-swearing.html…/where-does-swearing-get-its-power-and-how...

Rebecca Roache on Swearing

What, if anything, is wrong with swearing? Rebecca Roache discusses the philosophy of swearing in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Warning. This episode contains quite a lot of swearing.
Listen to Rebecca Roache on Swearing
Read Rebbeca Roache's blogposts on the Uehiro Centre Practical Ethics blog


Later, I am going to write an in depth article to lecturer-in-philosophy Rebecca Roache, President Elect Donald Trump, and others, so this is only my basic abstract.

For those interested check out new blog articles in the soon future on my blogpost, where I write brief articles, and very long ones (which only literature teachers, historians, philosophers, etc. will be interested enough to suffer through:-)

Shoot! This is post is already getting fairly long.
(Notice, “shoot,” my favorite intense word back when I was a fundamentalist kid;-)

In the Light of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, November 11, 2016

Doss: Conscientious Objector, Medic, Medal of Honor Winner

from the TIME Review by Eliza Berman:

"Doss, a Seventh-Day Adventist who refused to bear arms but enlisted as a medic in the U.S. army, is on the battlefield on Okinawa in the spring of 1945."

"Armed with nothing but a bible, he’s carrying his wounded comrades to safety, one by one, through enemy fire,
repeatedly beseeching God to “help me get one more.”

'He would spend more than five years after the war being treated for his wounds, losing a lung to tuberculosis. Because of his injuries, he was never able to work full-time, and he devoted the rest of his life to working with his church."


Thanks to ALL the veterans who sought to protect and save
those who were oppressed,
and especially the young men who wouldn't kill,
but who rescued
and saved as many of the suffering that they could.

The conscientious objector and medic Desmond Doss was one of these protectors.

He refused to kill, became a medic and rescued many wounded Americans, including 50-100 off a tall cliff.

And our hearts go out to the millions of young men who have been sent off
to wrong wars,
to unjust wars,
caught between bad politics
and moral questions.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Modern Thinkers

Two Opposite Views by Modern Thinkers on Ethics and Human Rights:

"When he rebels, a man identifies himself with other men and so surpasses himself,
and from this point of view
human solidarity is metaphysical."

"No cause justifies the deaths of innocent people."

"...exalt justice in order to fight against eternal injustice."

"Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal
to the essence of being."
Albert Camus

These quotes are from later in the life of Albert Camus. In his early writings,
he did present the modern view that ethics are subjective and relative, not real.
He even wrote of murder as amoral, in his book, The Stranger.

BUT then the world faced the horror of Nazi Germany. Camus worked for the French Underground, wrote against the Nazis and their atrocities.

And his thinking developed and changed. He wrote The Plague and The Rebel, and other books which emphasized goodness, compassion, and justice.

By the 1950's, Camus became deeply committed to human rights for everyone,
worked for social justice,
opposed wars,
especially objected to the killing of civilians,
and rejected governments' use of capital punishment.

"When he rebels, a man identifies himself with other men and so surpasses himself,
and from this point of view human solidarity is metaphysical."

According to Camus it is important to rebel against governments and societies which are unjust.



"So then, who...does an atheist believe gives them rights?
I obviously can’t speak for all atheists, but as for my own opinion
I would say it’s the same group
that gives all of us rights, namely society and by extension, the government."

"...rights in one part of the world aren’t the same as in other parts. Society defines your rights
based upon it’s culture and morality at the time.
These rights are given by society..."

"Now to answer your question about the Declaration of Independence,
as I understand it, the architects of the declaration were careful to leave out any reference to “god”."

from another atheist:
"Rights are derived from the culture or society doing the defining."

another atheist:
"Well, I think we have rights in the sense that we have the rights that society/ government...agrees that we have and grants to us...

"...“rights”...They’re not real things."

from Ask the Atheist

It seems very strange that Ask an Atheist
declares that the "architects of the
declaration were very careful to leave out any reference to "god."

What the heck?

It's exactly opposite in the Declaration:
The Enlightenment thinkers emphasized that God is the source of all humans' inherent rights:

From the Declaration--
" assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God
entitle them,
a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

But even stranger--and far more despairing
is the claim by these writers at Ask an Atheist that it is societies and governments who give/grant humans "rights."


If it is governments who give "rights," then they can take them away.

And they often do deny millions of humans their natural born rights.

Those of us who work for human rights organizations have spent many years opposing governments including South Africa, Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Guatamala, North Korea, the U.S., etc. who have denied humans their rights.

That is why Enlightenment leaders emphasized all humans are born with inherent rights.

All humans are born to "equality," and "certain unalienable Rights."

ALL conscious, rational, ethical beings have inherent rights.

(I would take it a step further. ALL conscious, sentient creatures have inherent rights.
Isn't this the very emphasis of the Animal Rights movement?)

Rights are inherent,
and "unalienable" (meaning that no government
or society has a right to take them away, though many
claim they do)
have the right
to reject any society or government
which denies them their inherent rights.

Listen to Albert Camus, again: "When he rebels,
a man identifies himself with other men and so surpasses himself,
and from this point of view human solidarity is metaphysical."

Don't listen to
these modern piped pipers who think that humans
in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, North Korea, etc.
have the rights that their governments
and societies grant to them.


Rights are inherent in every human being.

Societies and governments, of course, do often deny
humans' ability to exercise
their rights.

But societies and governments
don't give rights.

We are born into the human species with rights and equality.

As Camus wrote, "Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being."

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, November 3, 2016

America's Fixation on Political Insults While Millions...

How tragic and how immoral that Americans are fixated on political insults
and past behavior
of Trump and Hillary--hour after hour, day after day, month after month....

the terrible earthquake in Nepal which destroyed 800, 000 homes,
600,000 people still live in temporary housing.
Few Americans even know about this real tragedy
and need!

And in Syria over 400,000 precious humans have been slaughtered, millions wounded,

(Photo credit: ABU AMAR AL-TAFTANAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

millions turned into refugees...

YET Americans continue to support sending billions of dollars
for that and other wars:-(

Then there is Haiti and Iraq and Nigeria and Yemen and Somalia and Afghanistan...

And our own crises here...

BUT DID YOU SEE AND HEAR what so-n-so said

on CNN or FOX

about you know who?

Really obscenely unjust::-(


Historian Howard Zinn down-dated to the 6 wars the U.S. is now waging, bombing, especially Syria:

"We live in a world in which we are asked to make a moral choice
between one kind of terrorism and another.

The government, the press, the politicians, are trying to convince
us that [the U.S. support and funding
of Muslim killers in Syria, etc.], our "terrorism is morally
superior to [President Assad's] terrorism."

"Of course, we don't call our actions that, but...congratulating
[our]selves that the world's most heavily-armed nation [the U.S.]
can bomb with impunity..."

"Modern technology has outdistanced the Bible. "An eye for an eye" has become
a hundred eyes for an eye, [by the U.S. government, with over 400,000 slaugtered
by our side and Assad's side]
which tried to wrap their moral nakedness in the American flag."

"There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing..."

" a very old weapon of fanatics, whether they operate
from secret underground headquarters,
or from ornate offices in the capitols of the superpowers."
Howard Zinn

How great is the darkness of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, Syria, Turkey, etc.

Please, for Aleppo's civilians, turn to the Light,

Daniel Wilcox