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Smudge Pot's take on religion in the movement and shoving it up your nose.

Howdy folks, Smudge Pot once again with some longer range memory on the issue of religion. Why does it keep creeping in here? Why do some of us carry it in here and why do some of us just hate it when it happens?

Whom are the evangelicals and what are they doing here? A nefarious plot to religionify the place? And what of the atheists who refuse to be redeemed and the ones who just can't abide us religionists stinking up the place? Who is right and who is wrong and who knows the real truth?

TONIGHT WITH SMUDGE POT we won't even try to answer all these questions, heck, I'll just do what I do. Give you my take and hope it helps.

Most of you know I'm firmly in the religionist camp. Meaning I'm pretty freaking religious. I once told somebody please don't try to cut my faith out of me with a knife because there ain't gonna be nothing left but a puddle of blood. But my faith isn't exactly mainstream so it does afford me a certain perspective.

What are known to us as evangelicals and known to us as Christians have a very deep connection to our general ideology and their identification with freedom and liberty resonated perfectly for them with their faith of freedom and liberation through forgiveness and it embues everything they do in fact it's an ethic for them not to "hide one's light under a bushel".

OK. I was raised pretty tolerant so as far as like...I dunno 9 or 10 years ago, as the result of conference calls inspired by Aaron Russo's movement, and natch that Aaron considered himself to be an orthodox Jew, when I got word....well actually I was asked for help.

Some people got together and got my attention and said Smudge you gotta help us, we got a problem on the conference calls.

Ok what's the problem?

Smudge can you imagine that for some of us this whole begin and end the conference calls with prayer thing is really a major turn off to some of us and some of us are getting ready to walk?

No dude, I can't, what's wrong with prayer?

Smudge can you just come on some of these calls and listen?

Sure I can do that.

I wasn't thinking this was gonna be a big deal and you guys mostly know how demonstrative I am with my faith. I'm pretty much like that in real life too. I sing, I pray out loud, I hug people. I was thinking maybe some bible bashers were offended but I was prepared to listen.

Well. OK. I heard enough in about the first 60 seconds. The conference calls, un-noticed by Aaron who was sick and myself and a couple others had turned into a full on christian patriot thing. Agenda? Let's just say that some of us were handling things by a format and it was down to this:

Welcome to the call I'm Sam, Brother Allen would you please like to open with a word of prayer from the book of Hosea? Thank you brother Allen and father may I add that you add your wisdom to this meeting as you did touch the heart of Daniel when he faced the lions now before we get started did everybody reflect on last week's scriptural reading?

Ok not quite that far but those who got my attention were right. I'm a religionist and I felt alienated. This was so not quite where we were going and ho man if Aaron had heard that all holy hell and fury would have broken out. If Aaron Russo had wanted to be a Christian missionary he would have been one and he would have been one of the best the world has ever known. As it was he wanted to defend and protect our constitutional freedoms and acknowledge that they are here for all people in all places starting with America, the USA.

But since I did not often come onto calls at that point and I had the cachet of being Aaron's technologist I had a certain entre and a bit of a secret weapon because at that point very few people knew of my beliefs. Now almost all of you do. So I saw an opportunity to do something sneaky.

Back then very few of you knew how sneaky I could be either. Now lots of people know I can be sneaky. So I affirmed some things and played along and what do you know, I was actually invited as a kinda visiting dignitary to offer closing prayers.

Thank you, I am honored. And I was. Truly. So I offered closing prayers from my heart. But I kinda layed it on a bit more ceremonially than I usually do....

To the East and the the South and to the North and to the West, to the Ones Above that see everything, to the Ones Below who always listen, to the relations, the Oyasin and to the One Above, Tunkashila, father of us all......

And I prayed. I thanked our ancestors for watching over us and protecting us, I thanked our Holy Ones that I stand among such great people and I asked for wisdom and understanding and concluded with the traditional words I AM SMUDGE POT AND I HAVE SPOKEN.

(well i didn't take the name Smudge Pot back then but you get the idea)

Well a great silence followed. And a very diminished form of what we usually do, promise to follow through, get in touch, stay in touch. But there was a silence.

Never again were official AFTF calls begun and ended with prayers the same way or not just by one religion or perspective. And some room opened up. And some vibrant voices that were driven away came back in and some new ones did too and we got a big step further to being the movement we are today. In that small way. But "we" were small then so small things like that had resonance.

Made a big noticeable diff when Aaron passed because we all got to pray and also some of us had the qualifications to sing the kadesh for Aaron on our behalf and ALL OF US OF EVERY TRADITION PRAYED INCLUDING THE ATHEISTS because their words and devotion were not only equal to or better than ours and not only did they resonate, Aaron would have appreciated some of their words better than ours.


And Christan brothers and sisters to whom I claim relationship with by virtue of blood and upbringing (part white, part Christian) we do not exist in a universe of justice. We exist in a universe of mercy. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If there were justice you know exactly where we would be. But for forgiveness we would have absolutely nothing to look forward to after this world.

I rather take example from our "principled atheists" who conduct themselves in a righteous manner even without the constant reinforcement and love that we have that helps us keep our selfish natures from practicing even worse than we often do.

And recall the example of the kindly Samaritan and look for them in daily life, look for them going forward. And don't expect the bible to tell you who your friends are going forward if the tough times we expect come to pass. Many are called and few are chosen. And we are not the ones doing the calling aho?

We have alienated some of whom our God has created. This is not the message and this is not The Way prescribed by my belief.

I would ask you, brothers and sisters to minister to hearts before minds. Their minds are not the problem, they are rational, they are intelligent and they are observant. And they are injured and often need help. Minister first to their bodies and simple needs. And remember there but for the grace of the One. Who to reach your heart put his son right among these and to suffer their fate.

And learn that there is spiritual blowback as well as military and if you do not understand this then do indeed study up on the crusades. This Onward Christian Soldiers Marching As To War thing hasn't really worked too well in the past 500 years. And it's destroyed almost all that remains of certain ancient Christian cultures that got along for centuries like the Coptics and Safardim and others which I am reticent to tell you about now because it's almost better you don't know. These cultures will now have to go into deep hiding. This is the reality.

Otherwise just get another rifle and sit in your chair and rub linseed oil up and down the stock with a rag and just think about how what you want to do. If the rifle is too tall and you are too short just prop the butt up on a stack of bibles so you can inspect the muzzle.

Brothers and sisters I'm not exactly happy to bring you this news. Not only do I know you are commanded to share the light but like freedom, when you have God in your life you really do want to shout it from the roof tops. It's hard to contain.

it's also hard to contain when we are attacked. It's hard when they trample on our Holy God. This is why men charged with no crime are now attempting to starve themselves and die in Guantanamo. Their major complaint? People wearing the flag of the United States Of America keep disrespecting their bible, their Koran and since they can do nothing to stop it they want to die.

I know. So do you. It's called devotion. "take up your cross daily and follow me". In other words, you are supposed to know how that feels and you above all people are ordered not only to turn the other cheek but to expect to have to.

Will I be a Christian example to you?

Only incidentally if at all. My belief is informed by Christianity. The closest road I follow is the Red Road. Before that it was just called The Way.

These days I am now called a Shaman or an Elder but I kinda like Priest. I like Priest for various reason but it reminds me to be one. Or to try. But I also respond to "jerk" or "hey moron". Regardless of what you call me, I know what you are called to. And I do believe I have just convicted you. And you know exactly what that means.

(tough love)

Mitakuye Oyasin (including you)


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I think we

end up wasting a lot of energy on religious debate although the posts don't seem to come up that often. It doesn't make sense since both sides agree that people own themselves as a product of nature or as a gift from a higher power. If you look at Jesus as a purely historical figure, he faced death and spoke against the empire and the status quo. In becoming a martyr he has been given immortality with his words living on today so he and his supporters were and are correct in many ways and the lessons to be learned are there as they are with Gandhi, MLK and many others who were dedicated to a cause and sacrificed for it. Even as a non religious person, I am not quick to toss away the lessons or rumors of the past as many times they end up being applicable to the future.

"Endless money forms the sinews of war." - Cicero,

Cyril's picture

Smudge Pot, you crack me up. :)

Smudge Pot, you crack me up. :)

Respect for your Uniqueness!

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

anyone got a scorecard? far, fundamental/orthodox Christians are getting a good whooping by ignorant professing patriots who claim this movement parallels our founding...

I want some essays on how Liberty is achieved and lasting and sustainable through democratic majority of moral relativism, and I want to read their side's God-less Declaration of Independence.... That will usher in the progressive libertarian utopia(that they think Thomas Jefferson championed in violent opposition to all those moronic Christians that he interacted with his whole political career!) ;where hate speech is preaching against abortion and homosexuality as destructive to life and the family.

Ahhh, the right NOT to be offended, by religionists parroting the recommendations found in Scripture that say it's really not 'your' body; actions beget consequences...from where...the Creator, nature's God...the vices common to man should be avoided, covetousness, lust, envy, greed...all bad...already spoken against, in that dusty old book that says " For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is..."; has anyone proved otherwise?



Smudge Pot, you tickle my inner Indian

My grandfather's grandmother was 100% pure Chippewa, which when mixed with some French and Swedish makes me 1/16th pure Native American. Maybe that's why your cadence sings to me. Maybe that's why I prefer Minnetonka's over Nike's. Maybe not.

I count myself as a god fearing atheist. If I'm wrong, I'm screwed. If I try to fake it, God will see through it and condemn me as a hypocrite. I can't be much other than what I am, for better or worse, 'cause any other course leads to hell on earth or hell in the after life. Maybe both.

Your words, however, soothe my atheist angst. We are a people, in all sizes, colors, origins, and imperfections. I am among the imperfect, though I have hopes for improvement. My path has led to treating others as I wish to be treated, both for practical and moral reasons. Jesus, I think, was on to something. It generally works pretty good in personal relationships and international relations.

I hope, for your sake, you are right about your religiosity. I hope, for my sake, I'm right about my lack thereof. Either way, we are hardly at odds. My beliefs don't need to be yours. I probably won't be adopting your beliefs any time soon. If you can accept that, and I think you have made clear that you do, then we can be brothers.

why make it so complicated?

I am a Deist. I am also a male technician. I spend my daze making complicated things understandable. you are also a Deist doing your best to avoid the "label" of a pagan.
nice try.
both atheists and theists depend on "faith" for what they believe in.
when I tell people that I am a deist, they either shun me or pull out the "watchmaker" card.

what do you think about deists? what do you know about them?

you picked the subject, all I did was respond.

Thoroughly devoid of faith

Theism is predicated on faith, or the belief in something either not in evidence or contrary to the evidence. An atheist is simply a person without theism, and therefore does NOT require faith. I'm shamelessly channeling Penn Jillette here, but to call "atheism a religion is like calling not collecting stamps a hobby."

Unless of course, by "faith" you mean something other than faith, in which case you should actually say what you mean rather than attempt to draw parallels where none exist.

dynamite anthrax supreme court white house tea party jihad
to be continued

Atheism depends on faith.

the reason why is that it is impossible to prove a negative.

I am sure you two are talking on a different level, but as simpl

as I am, I shall ask:

Is it possible to prove that 0-1 = -1 ?

Or is it possible to say or know that -1 is a reality?

I am putting myself on the line here because I can't listen to this first because I'm on a low band width hot spot as our house internet is out the 2nd time within a week's time...that is a negative to me :) Anyways, the title of this "Evil" proves that God exists. (Would evil be considered a negative?)

No burden of DISproof

The burden of proof ("There is an elephant in my bathtub." or "Water runs uphill.") is always on the affirmative position. Even in court, a defendant is not required to prove he WASN'T at the scene of the crime (in fact, presumed innocent until proven otherwise), but he often finds it helpful to prove that he WAS somewhere else.

Would you require proof if I were to claim that Peter Parker and Otto Octavius were fiction? I expect not. If I asserted that they were real, however, you might display a little reasonable skepticism.

So of course, no rational atheist ("Or do I repeat myself?") ever attempts to prove a negative.

dynamite anthrax supreme court white house tea party jihad
to be continued

A fine example of mental gymnastics.

I do NOT require any proof of anything. all I pointed out was that BOTH sides have no proof.
what were we fighting about again?

Most atheists are technically

Most atheists are technically agnostics. 'Atheist' just rolls off the tongue better.

haha oh trolls

Just because you are unaware of the evidence does not mean it does not exist, it simply means you have not yet bothered to seek the truth or learn history.

"you are also a Deist doing your best to avoid the "label" of a


Why do people need to avoid what they are?

You said you are a Deist. Does that mean you are a pagan?

What do you mean by the term pagan?

you do not know what a pagan is?

correct me if I am wrong but, it is a person who believes in a "natural" faith.
a "heathen" is someone who is not of an Abrahamic faith.

please correct me.

if neither of you knows what I am speaking of.... it explains the little black submarines of my life and times.
go ahead, hate me.

Hmmm, the song feels like a knife turning in the gut.

Does it do that to you? When he says the words "hate me" it makes something happen in my gut.

The song makes me feel very sad. Why did you link it? I didn't see it the first time on your comment.

from a male perspective, the song is about permission.

and gratitude.

it is not about sorrow. it is about understanding fights you did not think you picked....

Hmm, that is interesting

being more open and honest, when I watch and hear I perceive pure evil. I for the most part listen to Christian music, if I listen to music at all and so the messages are normally speak of love and forgivenss and there are not words saying "Hate me."

To me hate is a negative. If that can be proved. Hatred can result in murder. The absence of the human that has been murdered is a -1 to the total count of human population. Is that not a negative?

Is not love the positive and hate the negative? Can it be proven that a positive exists? Does not the existence of positive prove that the opposite of that positive is a negative?

Hatred is such a strong word that the Bible describes it as murder:

1 John 3:15 KJV
Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

If if a child is telling his mother to hate him, then is he not saying murder me?

I imagine I filter things thru the words that I have learned from the Bible in addition to being a Female. I have had people tell me the do not like me quoting the Bible. It is difficult not to. It is resident in my memory so what I hear and think go thru that filter. I suppose I could just say what I think with out quoting words from the Bible, but then to me, that would just be my opinion. I take the Bible as God's word, so I elevate that word above my mere human opionion. I am telling you this about me so you can understand more about me. Not so much so that you understand about the Bible. I know tht is subject to your opinion.


you are a Treasure Love.

I think I saved a guys job today, I do not need him to look after things like I thought I might. I think I can make it bulletproof for the entire cooling season.
I am a cooling specialist, the machines that I work on do NOT care who I am or even know they are machines.
I am a hired gun, here to do a job. the place is a high rise old folks home.
I am expecting that it will hit over 100 degrees for days on end. NOBODYS grandparents are going to suffer if I can help it.
the place occupies an entire city block,
I seriously don't mind if he "hates me". but I will make it clear that he is NOT to be around or near my machines with a screwdriver, much less a voltmeter, when I leave.
you can "hate me" too if you would like. I do not mind. :)

Men like to think that they KNOW about HVAC/R.
is it bad for me to stand in "judgment"?
I have had the good fortune to hang around the Amish, the Mennonites and even the FLDS. they would understand if I told them that I was clearly not seeking "vain glory" in my efforts.

does the term "vain glory" mean anything to you?

just curious,

Hello Friend :)

You say: "I think I saved a guys job today"

That is wonderful news as well as the fact that no one's Grandparents will sufffer thru 100 degree weather without AC in a high rise.

In your words, I read that you care about people. That is a nice quality to have, IMO. It also though, can in my experience, make me more sensitive to what people think, because I care or allow myself to feel.

I am fortunate to Amish close by and I drive them now and then. I take joy in doing it. I enjoy their company.

You ask me this: "does the term "vain glory" mean anything to you?"

Well, I immediately think of 2 verses which I could only partially quote so I looked them up:

Galatians 5:26 KJV
Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.


Philippians 2:3 KJV
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

One verse has 2 separate words and the other verse pushes the 2 words together.

After looking at the verses, I read vain glory to mean not to boast or elevate one's self. If I had not looked up the verses and you just asked me what I thought about the words "vain glory," I would have replied something to the affect that any glory that is not God's glory or for God's glory is vain glory, or glory without purpose or reason, thus being empty.

What do those words mean to you?


I was camping at red cliffs state park, in southern Utah,

when I first heard the term used in casual conversation.
I found it to be very profound terminology to use.
I think that it could be said that our entire culture is engaged in the mindless pursuit of vain glory.
it even strikes me that trying to be "saved" or even to "save" others is a form of vain glory.....

how profound is that?
I also heard the term "sister-wife" used in casual conversation as well, just to put things in proper context...
and now you know why I am...

I think that to say

"I think that it could be said that our entire culture is engaged in the mindless pursuit of vain glory."

is profound because it seems to me that very few can see that vain pursuit. Does that make you crazy? I remember when I first started waking up. Going to Walmart was a "trip" as I saw all the trappings and all the lures set up to part money from the people. Crazy isn't it? Trading a life for that which will rot.

"it even strikes me that trying to be "saved" or even to "save" others is a form of vain glory....."

I suppose one would have to define the word "saved." If you were drowning, should I attempt to throw out a life rope? Would that be vain glory? Or would that be love?

I have never heard the term "sister-wife."

I spent a few days in Ogden Utah when I was a NASA contractor. There was a Safety Meeting held there at Thiokol. I was there to facilitate the meeting and take the minutes. Just saying so you know I am not an engineer :) Though the concept is interesting to me, but alas, I did not even know what an engineer was when I finished High School.

Why do air conditioners always seem to break on the hottest day of the year?


I don't know. That is why I asked you :)

I have always thought that pagan and heathen were the same thing. I don't know what "natural" faith is.

I do a search: I find this: - Proxy - Highlight
Information on Goddess Worship, Heathen, Magic,Pagan, Wicca, WitchCraft {Craft of the Wise} Witches, and other Earth Centered and Nature Based Religious Faiths

So, I look to see if the word "pagan" is in the Bible. It is not in the King James Version, but is in other translations:
I decide to see what old Noah Webster said. In 1827 English the word Pagan meant,pagan :

PA'GAN, n. [L. paganus, a peasant or countryman, from pagus, a village.] A heathen; a Gentile; an idolater; one who worships false gods. This word was originally applied to the inhabitants of the country, who on the first propagation of the christian religion adhered to the worship of false gods, or refused to receive christianity, after it had been received by the inhabitants of the cities. In like manner, heather signifies an inhabitant of the heath or woods, and caffer, in Arabic, signifies the inhabitant of a hut or cottage, and one that does not receive the religion of Mohammed. Pagan is used to distinguish one from a Christian and a Mohammedan.

PA'GAN, a. Heathen; heathenish; Gentile; noting a person who worships false gods.

1. Pertaining to the worship of false gods."


Polytheist vs monotheist

A pagan is a polytheist, believes in many gods usually attributed to forces of nature (Thor - Viking god for thunder/lighting) or acts of man (Mars - Roman god of war). Other "pagans" even though they would never call themselves pagan: American Indians, Aztecs, Polynesians, Incas, Celts, Norse, Greeks, Most African peoples... the list goes on. They used gods to explain their environment (nature) and human behavior (love, war, jealousy, hapiness, etc... since it "possesses" you.

Monotheist - one god, "the" God, "GOD", etc... considered to be more advanced belief than "paganism" to be "civilized". Pagan is a term used and developed by monotheists to describe and downgrade the beliefs of polytheists.

Most polytheists were conquered and/or decimated by monotheists. To complete the domination they erased their beliefs in polytheism and replaced it with their monotheism - aka "conversion through missions". Latin America conquered by Spain - prime example.

"One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas" Victor Hugo

Thanks Sean

that was so nice of you to make a simple for me to understand explanation.

I was reading wiki on the topic and wiki says pagans pre-dated monotheists. But if I read the Bible, it seems that Adam, the first man, was a monotheist as also was Noah.

When you say conversion thru missions, does that mean like inquisition or crusades? i.e. violence?

Jesus said to teach, and if people don't want to hear to leave them alone.


Adam.. or was it Odin ? or Maui ? or... ?

If we could ask a Viking if Adam was the first man he wouldn't know him from... well, Adam. For the Vikings (Norse) Odin was the god of gods.

Same for a Polynesian: Maui is the god of gods. He hauled all of the islands up from the sea so that the people (Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian, Maori, Marquesan) could build civilization. Polynesia was born from the sea, fed by the sea, and gained its power from the sea. They didn't know Adam.. from Adam.

"One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas" Victor Hugo

Unfortunately, most often violence was used

Conquistadors used the sword, guns and rape to dominate the S. American peoples. They ended their religion to complete the task.

The British conquered Polynesia (the French as well). They occupied them, striped them of their governments and social structure and the last step was to bring in the Anglican missionaries to convert them. The Hawaiians appreciated it so much that King Kahmehameha had Captain James Cook killed. His heart was eaten by the tribal chiefs so they could consume and end his "mana"... his power. Eating his heart was a polytheist act BTW.

Inquisition - good one. Used to drive the Jews and Moors out of Spain. Pretty medieval, the rack, iron maiden, etc... Very often it was carried out by priests looking to draw out a "confession".

Henry the VIII - he liked to use priests to root out "heretics" and then get them to swear allegience to the Anglican Church before killing them. Why? So he could divorce the Pope.

Many, many examples in history.

"Jesus said to teach, and if people don't want to hear to leave them alone." It is an appealing quote. Apparenly a lot of people did not listen to the Prince of Peace. They heard & said what they wanted and used faith to gain power over others.


"One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas" Victor Hugo

I was taught that pagan was some who hadn't heard good news

Some are labeled pagan because they rejected the good news. But what if they had a really bad teacher?

What if they were rejecting something they didn't understand through no fault of their own?

Free includes debt-free!

That makes sense.

You know, I think that that may be why Jesus said if the town won't have you wipe the dust from your feet and leave.

i.e. don't wear out your welcome. Maybe someone else will get a good word in?

There is a great spiritual battle going on.

OK it is after 12 here I gotta go. :)

I was picking a fight with smudge pot. not you.

and in truth I really was not picking a fight at all.

this is my first revolution. I DO believe in a "GOD" and it gives me grief when others have not even paid attention.

what do you think about the Geneva bible?

or was Shakespeare a dullard?

I am in a bad mood tonight, people got fired this week for things I revealed on a jobsite...
this was NOT my intention by coming out here.