Saturday, December 12, 2009

We would like to talk to you about the bible

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It has been snowing – ever so lightly – but snowing nevertheless. It was snowing when we went to buy my scarf and again when we went to dinner at Cantinetta Antinori.

On Sunday morning the snow was a bit heavier and Sissi examined it carefully. She discovered that there is no satisfaction at all in trying to eat snowflakes as they melt immediately.

And my scarf. Well we went to Interio instead and bought two 10 kilo Cinnamon candles that Cate has been trying to buy for ages. So I will just continue to wrap old newspapers around my neck to keep warm.

We went to get our Christmas Tree in Am Modenapark and got one not quite as big as last year – but still gigantic. Sissi is in the process of shredding it as I am writing this Blog and I shall provide photos of the remains. The man didn’t offer us any Schnapps this year which was a bit disappointing seeing we are regulars.

And by the way Trina – if you are still reading – they have finally take the scaffolding off the Spar building. Looks much better than it did. I cannot imagine what they did in the year since they erected it but it must be wonderful for the inhabitants to see daylight again.

Yesterday I was pounding away on my exercise bike when the doorbell rang. Cate had just left for the Gym and I thought she may have forgotten her key – or something.

So I opened the door and two women started babbling away in German and when we established that English was the preferred language they said:

‘We would like to talk to you about the bible’

I was reaching behind the door for the club that I keep there when Sissi hurtled out of the door and down five flights of stairs. When I arrived back with Sissi some time later the women were still there so we had a discussion about the bible.

It is not possible to have a sensible discussion with someone who believes that the bible is the word of god.

I could explain to them that the bible was written over some thousands of years by a whole bunch of people – almost all of whom are unknown to us. Most of it is without any provenance whatsoever and is not attributable.

I could also explain that many parts of the bible are derived from other parts – so there is a great deal of repetition - and large parts of it are stories or fables that were handed down through generations – and from earlier religions - and some of it was obviously made up by people who had a vested interest in so doing.

I could tell them that if there was a man called Jesus (and there may well have been) and he was crucified (which is entirely possible) there are no eye witness accounts for this event.

The stories about the crucifixion were written many years after the event and were based on stories and hearsay. The parts about the resurrection are nonsense and are derived from fairy tales which derived and survived from religions much older than Christianity. The same goes for the miracles – bringing the dead to life etc (Although the Mad Monk has done this in Australia with his shadow cabinet).

(And don’t even speak to me about virgin births).

I could go on to say that the bible has been altered – added to and subtracted from thousands of times by people – and by whole religions - who had a vested interest in so doing to push their own view of how they would like things to be believed by the faithful.

It has also been translated many hundreds of times and many of those translations have been wrong – and have completely misinterpreted words, phrases, sentences and meanings.

Whatever the final document is at any given time – it is then subject to interpretation and misinterpretation by people and religions who see in the bible what they want to see and derive the meanings they want to derive.

This results in people shunning each other and hating each other and killing each other because of what they believe to be true.

An example of the the end results of this being of course whole congregations of faux-Christians who carry signs and picket funerals carrying signs saying ‘God hates Fags’.

And after that – no matter what the final outcome is – you get thousand of clergy over thousands of years who spend their entire lives molesting and ruining the lives of small children – and for their sins are sheltered and protected by the very church that they have betrayed.

My final argument would be that if there is a god – and I cannot prove otherwise – he or she would surely arrange for his people of old to do a better job than the ghastly hodgepodge of fairy tales and mumbo jumbo that is supposed to be the User Manual for Christians.

Honestly – I could run up a better document than this on a Sunday afternoon. It would make a lot more sense and I guarantee that after reading it no one would want to kill anyone else from another religion, or bash a gay person, or evict a woman from a pulpit.

So I could say all these things – and in fact did say most of them – but as always – the women tried to show me passages of the bible and explained to me ‘we believe this because it is the word of god'.

I shared my thoughts with them about this subject. We had an amicable discussion and parted entirely unconvinced with each other’s arguments.

I am quite happy for them to believe what they want to believe – but I have a read a great deal about the bible and one of the things it certainly is not - is the word of god.

Sunday was really cold for the first time so the air conditioning did the only thing it could under the circumstances and turned up its toes completely. There is a not a smidgeon of warm air available anywhere so we had to rug up, light the fire and connect our two little heaters.

For relief from the cold we stood on the terrace for a while as this was warmer than being inside.

I have sent an email to the company that looks after the building but am not holding out any hope of an early outcome because of course it’s nearly Christmas and all the appropriate people will be out buying Geese and extra cigarettes.

It may be a grim Christmas here for retailers as Interio has a bunch of its decorations discounted. This is a not a good sign two weeks out from Christmas and it was certainly not as crowded as it should have been.

I checked my site meter on Thursday to see if anyone was still looking. I found on one day I had one visitor and another day two. It’s finally happened I thought – I am writing the Blog for Merisi and RRJ. On this basis we can just have a Skype conference call one a week and I can bring them up to date.

When I changed my template I deleted my site meter. This has now been restored and I see that there are still some hardy souls out there whose lives are enriched by reading about my adventures with the Dishwasher and the cats.


  1. Surely Merisi and I can't be the only two people who eagerly await the daily missives from the Sage of Stadtpark. Looking at the bottom of the page you have 29 declared Blog Followers for a start (which is seventeen more than Jesus had when he first got going). Plus, I have got Site Meter on my Blog as well and the results seem very hit and miss, I wouldn't trust it at all. Can't you get stats from Blogspot, like you can from Wordpress?

    Anyway I think we are all waiting with bated breath to find out what is going on with the Ducks in Stadtpark this winter. Reports please.

  2. Don't forget me. I'm a loyal reader and YouTube link contributor

  3. Perhaps I exaggerated (not like me at all). My stats show that I have an average of about 40 readers per day. This is only about 6,000 less that Merisi (but she has something special to view) so is quite encouraging.

  4. Please add me to that limited list of devoted readers, which I was horrified to read might be so small that you suggested ditching the blog for a Skype conference call. I am glad to read in the comments that the demand for your acerbic musings is great enough to justify continuing. For some reason I stumbled across your blog around a week after you started, and soon got hooked. I have been following your life in Vienna rather vicariously up until now, as I gathered that it was primarily for close family and personal friends. As a 'Pom' living in Vienna, I find your occasional rants about some of the more baffling local behaviour/customs - and just the locals in general - hilarious. I am a serious Austrophile, and generally don't care much for Vienna-bashing, but you grouse in such an entertaining way I can't resist! I look forward to continue following the blog, and will try and contribute more to comments, to show that your readership is both rapt (though hopefully not raptured) and growing.

  5. I learn something new each and every time I read your blog cum comments. Today, it's "pom" - wow, I googled - who would have guessed! Not me.

    I confess that I skipped most of the bible trifle. I steadfastly refuse to listen to people trying to preach at my door.

    As far as women who ring your doorbells are concerned, did you read the story about a woman arrested because she hustled unsuspecting apartment dwellers for money, pretending to be a neighbour who for some reason was short of Euro 15? ;-)

  6. I did discover a few things on Wikipedia that I didn't know about the term 'pom' -

    At the end, it's stated that many Brits find it offensive - I know a few of these. However, I wouldn't rank it in the same category of offence as 'wog', which is suggested on Wikipedia. When it's clearly intended in a jovial manner, I don't mind my (few) Ozzie friends using it at all.

    In the spirit of Brit-Oz olive branches being offered, I also wish to volunteer that I don't give a damn about the Ashes. Australia: you are welcome to them as far as I'm concerned. I know nothing about cricket and even I can tell that you are better at it than we Brits are.

  7. I can assure you that in Australia 'pom' is not a term that is used pejoratively - especially in the pub when we say 'you pommie bastard' - this is an exceptional form of endearment and exemplifies a strong bond between blood brothers.

    Merisi – how could you bring that up – I am mortified – I must say the bible people were less interesting – but cheaper.

    And Parsifal – I do not dislike the Austrians – in fact I might even like them a lot – it’s hard to tell – I haven’t met one yet – except for my German teacher – and she is quite nice – but a complete bully.

  8. I really hate this. All I want to do is pass on an aphorism which I hope will become famous in the book I am writing.

    I find that the only way I can do it is if I have a sex change, which I don't want to do.
    Anyway, if you think this came from Annie you are wrong. It is from Jim.

    It is "Belief is unreasonable" and it needs a better context.

  9. Badger,
    someone had to bring that up: You are safe now! You already saved 15 Euros by talking to the preachers (I'd say you should prepare to preach to the choir, for they will show up at your doorsteps as soon as they find out that you listened to their fellow brethren, er, sisters!). I checked the wires this morning, the world is full of well-meaning people, all out to save you a few troubles (and to get paid for it!), here a few crumbs, How to save your safe and Shoppers, save and be safe!. It's a wild world out there!

    Cheers (and save them mallards, don't feed them!),

  10. Badger,
    Thanks for the update on Spar... I think they were putting up a new roof.. maybe. As always I love your doesn't teach me how to cook or show me interesting pictures of dogs and or babies but I sure do LAUGH.. which is the best medicine there is :-)

  11. Christians knock on the door in Newtown! In Newtown! They Once told me I was wrong to be homosexual. On my doorstep! In Newtown!