Leading you up the garden path. Some of my Arachnid friends.

Crab spider on Rose 4

White Crab Spider on Rose.

Jumping Spider 2 on Wild Iris

Jumping Spider on Iris.

Orb Spider 2

Orb Spider in her web

spider 1

False House Button Spider

Spider Finger 2

Tiny Jumping Spider

white spider 3 75

Male Long Legged Sac Spider on Camera Strap

Spider man

3D Spiderman Cake.

Hand piped butter icing over vanilla chiffon.

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http://www.emilyscakes.co.za

Cake over the Fence.

I am once again all out of inspiration and so for now will post photographs.

Here’s a few super designs from my kids’ business.

makeup cake

Make-up cake. Fondant over orange chiffon.

dope cupca=ke

Chocolate and Vanilla cupcakes with ”herbal” decoration.

bumble bee

Bumblebee Transformer. Butter icing over Chocolate cake.

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Headphones in butter icing over vanilla chiffon.

shoes

Vanilla,Chocolate and Red Velvet cup cake shoes.

letterhead

http://www.emilyscakes.co.za

One of the truly great rock songs. Who didn’t like the Doobies?

To become a christian – the strangest choice of all

Having explored a little about Jesus of Nazareth I began wondering about being a Christian. Now, I was brought up in a Christian environment, was baptized, went to church on occasion and attended Sunday School. But in essence I was simply a cultural Christian  and never really believed .

Unless one is in a devout religious environment I imagine a great many people had similar experiences and as adults simply shrug and don’t much think about it.

In fact, had it not been for my fascination with the historical aspects of religion and my rude awakening upon discovering Moses was fictional and, in all likelihood, so too Jesus  of Nazareth I would have continued through life with a very ambivalent attitude toward the entire religious thing. But the internet and my incessant curiosity changed all that for good.

Discovering born again Christians and Evangelical Fundamentalism has been such an eye opener it has, on occasion, left me gobsmacked. Gobsmacked by the sheer lunacy of it. The level of fanaticism is, on occasion, equal to anything you might find in Islam, but without the overt violence. But the threat of violence is ever present. The threat of eternal damnation in Hell.

Breaking away from this form of Christianity is very hard. Very hard indeed, and the emotional and sometimes physical devastation experienced by deconvertees  is at times so traumatic it leaves scars that takes years to heal. I have often shaken my head in disbelief reading about the sheer  heartlessness of those that call themselves Christian and the way they treat  non-believers and former Christians.

Taking all of this into consideration, and if one includes the 40,000 plus different sects one can choose to join, why on earth would an adult willingly become a Christian, would make an apparent rational decision and join the ranks of believers?

It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

And perhaps herein lies the answer.

I have read a fair amount on the topic of adult conversion to Christianity and in every case I have encountered some form of emotional trauma was at the heart of  the conversion. Some people will try to deny this, but it is there. Underneath the dross and the facade of  logic and commonsense there is some part of the individual that is damaged or broken, and I challenge anyone to demonstrate otherwise.

Yes, there have been one or two quite high profile people, supposed die-hard atheists – Anthony Flew comes to mind – who have converted, but even here there were extenuating circumstances, and of course there was also a little skulduggery on the part of the Christians who were heralding Flew’s s called conversion. ( He actually admitted to being a deist and not a Christian)

The irony, of course, is while it is emotional trauma that causes non-believers to convert it is also emotional trauma  that eventually causes so many to deconvert.

But converting is not simply a matter of saying, I am a Christian.

No. Not in the least.  You are obliged to confess to being a sinner as part of the deal for salvation.

In fact , this is  why you have become a Christian in the first place. To be ”saved”. And once you are saved you are (apparently) guaranteed eternal life – after you die, of course. So far no one has communicated from the other side so we have to take this on faith. And faith is … well. You know, yes?

And once you are in, there is, according to the doctrine, no way out. Or no safe way , at least. Apostasy is punishable by eternal torture in Hell. Eternal. Forever and ever with no chance of reprieve.

This is the promise from a loving God?

No human being in a normal healthy frame of mind would ever willingly agree to these terms.

No human being in a normal healthy frame of mind would ever believe this in the first place.

It should also explain why Amazonian Indians, Native Americans  and Australian Aborigines who may have been feeling depressed or emotionally at their wits end only began to convert to Christianity after Missionaries turned up.

And that should tell you everything you need to know about adult conversion to Christianity.

 

EDIT

A couple of people have objected to my use of the terms ”emotional trauma” and broken” as being the usual catalysts for adult conversion.

I now realise that this term maybe a little heavy-handed as it tends to conjure an image of someone who fits the common profile of what I say, ”Sex, drugs and rock and roll”; where these and other such issues play a part in an emotional breakdown of some description.

However, I still contend there is <em>always </em> an emotional issue/need involved, as anyone who is generally content with their lot would never consider  becoming a Christian.

 

Jesus. How he became divine.

As a further demonstration that there is no such thing as a real Christian, no matter what they try to tell themselves and also to aid in educating Christians about the history of their beliefs and their religion it seem appropriate to re-post this.

”I don’t care one Iota…..”

One of those phrases we sometimes use but are probably unaware of where it derives, even if we know what the term iota means.

Around the 4th Century when The Church was hard at work making up a religion there was a heresy called Arianism.

It was started by a church presbyter called Arius who claimed and taught that Jesus was not of the same substance (stuff) as God; that Jesus was not truly divine but a created being.

Now many folk believed this and it became quite popular. So popular in fact that the Orthodox Church wanted it stamped out ASAP as it reduced Jesus to a demigod and thus Christianity was little more than polytheism.  Considering all the trouble the Church had had with Marcion and his stripped-down Gospel/Bible and his personalized version of Christianity, which excluded Yahweh, they were once more faced with another crisis. One that was potentially even more devastating.

At this point surely one should wonder if Jesus’ nature was self-evident fro the outset why the dire need to define it and make such belief law? And remember, this is three hundred years after the character Jesus of Nazareth supposedly walked the earth and was crucified. Three hundred years and they still had not figured it out?

At the Council of Nicea, 325, called by everybody’s favourite genuine( sic) Christian, Constantine the Great, Arianism was declared a heresy and the Orthodox Church issued their own creed which states that the Son (the character, Jesus of Nazareth) is homoosiun to Partri ( “of one substance of the Father” ) thus declaring that he is all that the Father ( Yahweh) is: completely divine. This was imperative, otherwise Christianity would have likely  gone a similar route as a religion such as Mithraism.

However, Arianism would not lie down and die and its adherents regrouped and lobbied Constantius who, once he became sole emperor in 350, pretty much crushed the Nicene party.

But you can’t keep a good myth under a bushel or whatever they say and eventually after much to-ing and fro-ing including  the Arian Persecution by Emperor Valens, the  Orthodox Church consolidated and in 381 at the second ecumenical council of Nicea,Emperor Theodosius I (he that made Christianity the one and only religion allowed in the Empire) helped ensure that Arianism was proscribed and a statement of faith, The Nicene Creed , was issued.

And they all lived happily ever after… let the  persecutions fun begin… tra … la…la.

So the iota?

Well, there was also another group who adhered to Semi –Arianism. Really, I’m not joking. The lengths people went to make up a relgion is quite something.The Semi Arians, admitted that the Son (JC) was “like” (homoiousios) the Father but not of one substance. (homoousios) with him. This doctrinal controversy, revolved around two words distinguished by a single iota (ι), gave rise to the popular expression:

“It makes not one iota of difference”.

So now you know how Jesus became divine. In effect, it was decided by a committee.

And to this day, there is no consensus among believers as to who or what the character Jesus of Nazareth was. Thus, there is no such thing as a genuine Christian.

 

Jesus … not what you think. Believe me.

I thought I might do a little more research on a post I wrote a couple of days ago regarding cherry-picking, where I stated I believed there was no such thing as a true Christian. I based this on the evidence that strongly suggests there is no definitive Jesus of Nazareth.

Later,I had a re-think and decided that I was probably being a little over the top; that there surely must be a definitive version of a christian, so I hopped onto Google and did a bit of research.

I was looking for something, anything about the character, Jesus of Nazareth that every single  sect of Christianity agreed upon.

Not the peripheral things in the gospels or the Old Testament, but specifically  about the character, Jesus of Nazareth.

So far, I have been surprised to discover that, other than the character existed I could not find a single thing. Really, not one. Sounds crazy , doesn’t it?

And I  know what you’re probably thinking … but you’re wrong there too! Believe me.

But it reinforces what I wrote: there is no such thing as a definitive Christian.

I suspect that if given any serious thought this would make almost every believer extremely comfortable.

Gunning for life … Go ahead … shoot me!

The Ark was fortunate to gain an exclusive interview with the firearm used in the Charleston murder of nine people as to why it committed this senseless heinous crime.

”Hey, don’t blame me. I was just lying there totally inert and unloaded and this frakking racist asshole comes along, picks me up, loads me and wastes nine people. Same story every time. Like when that asshole used one of my cousins to shoot all those kids. Twenty wasn’t it? And what did the lawmakers do? Remember, guns don’t kill people.”

Hmmm. Yes, I remember.

”But there is something  you need to understand, Ark, and I’ll pass this on for free , gratis and for nothing.”

Oh, yes? And what’s that?

”You’re always gonna get assholes and they aren’t only  the ones that fire the guns, capiche?”

 

 

Racism,the American South and the Confederate Flag

I don’t normally get involved in political issues and I am not going to start now. This is a racist issue, plain and simple and is, in part, a response to the Charleston shooting.

No, I am not going to go on about the white bloke or the gun laws or the black people.

I am simply going to draw your attention to the Confederate Flag.

No matter what anyone tries to say to justify selling this flag, owning this flag, or displaying this flag in any way whatsoever, it is simply racist. Period.

Time to get it declared illegal.

If you are an American, perhaps you should start an awareness campaign?

Hey, Mister Obama! Are you listening?

This flag is a racist symbol. 

Declare it illegal.

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Cherry Pick your way to heaven: Part 2. God-given Morality.

In the previous post we showed how easy it was to cherry pick one’s way through the bible to arrive at any interpretation of it one wanted.

It also became apparent that because of the myriad interpretations of scripture there really is no definitive version of Christianity; there is no overall agreement of even the supposed core tenets of the faith, such as what or who the character Jesus of Nazareth was, and thus there is no true Christian, but rather an individual perception of what it is to be a Christian.

From the perspective of the individual this never seems to be a problem. But individuals have always bandied together with other like-minded people and formed groups.

And especially in Christianity, with its 35,000 individual sects , can we see such diversity of perspective, yet each group claims  they are the true Christians.

In a secular, democratic society this should never really be a major problem. However, while we can  say without any fear of contradiction that there is no such thing as a true Christian there are most certainly areas of biblical and religious doctrine that  many Christian sects agree on, abortion and same sex marriage, to name two.

Fortunately, in more progressive and empathetic secular societies, such people with their hate-based rhetoric seem to have little effect on legislation.

Of course, it was not always like this and history is testimony to the fact Christians have always turned to the bible or rulers by supposed divine right for justification when they wanted to persecute, steal, enslave, and murder their fellow human beings.

Such behaviour is not the sole prerogative of the religious; of course not, but with Divine Sanction each and every heinous action can be justified.

To paraphrase a Christian rallying call: If God is with us, who can stand against us?

And against this backdrop slavery not only flourished but was once seen as good Christian practice and perfectly moral.

The right to keep slaves was part of the reason the United States of America was embroiled in civil war.

Yet, as always, Christians will be quick to remind detractors that through the efforts of Christians such as Wilberforce and his interpretation of his god’s will the slave trade was eventually abolished other Christians fought tooth and nail to maintain it; after all, slavery is practised in the bible and fully sanctioned by Yahweh. Thus, it was their god-given right.

When slavery was eventually abolished it was replaced by Separate Development; basically, state sanctioned racism, which curtailed or outright prevented integration at almost every level; from education to marriage.

And once more, the bible was used to justify it.

In South Africa the NGK (the Dutch Reformed, predominantly Afrikaans Church) was fully behind the government and their heinous racist policy.

Former US President George Bush claimed he was guided by his god before going to war; again, using Yahweh to justify his actions. Of course, Islamic extremists will cite the same god to justify their actions.

While a case has been made for Yahweh inspired genocide, Divine Command Theory, would the same individuals who champion it have the gall to stand up and defend Witch Burning?

It is unlikely, as we are all aware that it would be foolish to believe in such supernatural, superstitious nonsense. But the Christian god not only sanctioned it but <em> ordered it</em>

Do not suffer a witch to live. Remember?

When one considers what has and is being done in the name of Yahweh, surely one must question the motives and even the mental state of anyone who asks whether a human being can be moral without the Christian god?

The obvious answer is a resounding, Yes!

More to the point, who on earth would want to base their morals on this god?

Not I.

And neither should you.

Not only is there no such thing as a Christian, in the context of Divine Inspiration, there is really no such thing as Christianity either.

It is simply a disgusting and immoral man-made concept from beginning to end.

Once bitten … Bit yucky! Not if you are squeamish …

These are a couple of shots of the spider bite on my right forearm, and the progression.

Photos 1 and 2 were taken yesterday.

3 and 4 were taken a few minutes before uploading

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And after some serious Googling to find the culprit we believe we have a winner!

And I happen to have a photograph of her as well.

The Long Legged Sac Spider.

LOng Legged Sac Spider

Their bite is cytotoxic.

There is nothing one can do but keep the bite area clean – I always put a little salt in the wound.

Some suggest a Tetanus.

My son believes one of them sat up to have its photograph taken while its partner snuck in unobserved, wriggled into my clothing then later that night, bit me.

And it is bloody sore! Thank you for asking.