27/10/2013

About religion…

by Rob on

Religion is always something tricky to talk about. Before you know it (and without meaning so), you insult people or making them angry. Misunderstandings are easy to take place.
And yet I will write about religion in this article. This because I notice lately much confusion with people around me about how I think about religion and as said, it has lead to misunderstandings.

Let me first explain my person views on religion… Well, those are simple: I don’t believe in gods or any kind of mystical powers. I am convinced that anything we don’t understand now (and often are related to gods or mystical powers) can be explained in time by pure science. Nothing more then that.
So yes, I am convinced that there is no after-life. This life we have here and now is all we have and we better make the best of it.
Some will say that this makes life poor and meaningless. I don’t agree. In my opinion it gives life a lot more value, because it makes you fully responsible for your life. No gods or goddess to hide behind. It is you and only you. And yes, “complete free will” is also a direct result from this.

Now the tricky question: Do I hate religion? Ermm no, not at all. As long a religion keeps to their own group, don’t enforce their believes and opinions upon others… and have the respect for others that have chosen another way of living, even when it is not according their own views… that nobody gets hurt in whatever way… If that is the case, I don’t have any problems with a person or groups religion and believes.
Sadly there is it where often goes wrong.
Having said that, I also think that a certain group of atheists may show more respect and understanding towards those that have chosen to believe.

And yes, I will show often that I am atheist. Use quotations that show why I am an atheist. Explain the things that makes me an atheist. But this is not, as so often is misunderstood, to convince anyone at all. See it more as to make my point in a world that is flooded by all kind religions and the influences that these religions have on every day live.

And sure, I love to show the contradictions that religion and their followers often display. As example claiming that homosexuality is evil because the bible says so, while having a tattoo and eating pork (which are also not allowed according the bible).
Or more literal contradictions as: “God gives freely to those who ask” (James 1:5/ Luke 11:10) and “God withholds his blessings and prevents men from receiving them” (John 12:40/ Josh 11:20/ Is 63:17). Or “God tempts men” (Gen 22:1/ 2 Sam 24:1/ Jer 20:7/ Matt 6:13) and “God tempts no man” (James 1:13). And these are just two examples out of a very long list. Pretty inconsistent for such a “holy” book, if you ask me.

But as said, I have no problems with religions at all, when they respect that others can be different and will their live in their own way.

And yet just one look at the news on TV and you will see that everyday there are people killing each other because of religion (and of course every religion claims to be one of peace, compassion and empathy… duh).

And yes, to the extremes and fanatics of religion I will react. And sadly there are many of extreme actions and reactions “in the name of religion”. Sadly also of this too many examples.
As the Russian bishop claiming that paedophilia is mainly caused by divorced parents. The Catholic church should know better by now!
Or Richard Murdock (American christian, politician) who claims that pregnancy caused by rape, then it was something that god intended to happen. Such a nice god that has rape as intended to happen. Even if I would believe in gods, with such a god I don’t want have to do anything.
Kevin Swanson (American radio paster) who claims “The Nazi party had their birth in a homosexual bar in the 1910’s, 1920’s. Just keep that in mind, keep that in mind”. This delusional person should have a look at history before things that are completely wrong.

And so I could continue for hours… without exaggeration.
Then we don’t even touched the subject of the hate that so many religions seems to have against homosexuality. And as this concerns some very good friends of mine, I react often on it. It makes me angry and sad that these religions cannot handle something that is so normal by nature. That some even murder for it. And even more that want to ban homosexuals for society or want “to cure them”.

But it is not only homosexuality, but also some matters as abortion and women’s rights that are handled so wrong by religion in my opinion.
First of all a woman herself has the first right to decide about an abortion. Law, health and such are also of influence in my opinion… but religion should stay away from it, specially when it concerns someone that doesn’t follow that religion.

And yes, men and women are different. I won’t deny that. Maybe they even differ is quite some ways, but not when it comes down to rights. Man and woman should have equal rights. I say “should have”, because that is sadly still not the case (and not only within religions).

And so there are more things where I complete disagree with how some things are arranged within certain religions.

My strongest weapon when it comes down to religion? Humour! And they make it so easy to use it…


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Something precious….

by Rob on

You know the feeling when there is something special to you and you think it is lost forever? Well, it happened to me.

When I was born (long long ago :P) there was of course a birth announcement card sent to the relatives and friends of my parents.
I knew that my mother at least saved one of these cards. I have seen it many times. It was kinda a special card. This because there was photo of my mother and me on it, which was not very common to do.
But somewhere along the road this card got lost. Really no idea what happened to it.. It was just gone. I expected to never see one of these cards again…

But I was wrong. Thanks to my one of my nephews I have now a scanned version of my birth announcement…

But that is not all. Soon I will make an appointment to pick up the original. That is really something awesome. This card will get a very special spot in one of the two glass display cases I have in my living room, among the other close memories I have of my parents.

I am really happy about this. See? Awesome things do happen :-).


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A special family picture….

by Rob on

Lately I am browsing through the big pile of old family pictures that I have, which is really great fun to do. There are so many surprises to be found there.

And so there is this pictures of my mothers family. I have seen this picture many times before and it always strikes me again…

What strikes me so much about this picture? Well, this picture was made a long time ago when my mother, who standing all to right on the picture, was still rather young. Just take a look at the style of clothes that the people on the picture are wearing. These are rather old fashioned… except of one person. The woman, my aunt Trees, who is standing third from the right is wearing a complete different style of clothing. It looks much more modern and because of that she kinda “pops” out of the picture. To be honest, I could imagine without any problem that someone would be something like that nowadays.

I don’t have much memories of my aunt Trees, but I do know that my mother told that she was a very strong woman who stood in the middle of life. The picture shows that in my opinion.


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Valentijnkade Amsterdam

by Rob on

Recently I have talked with some of my family (my fathers side of the family) about the Valentijnkade in Amsterdam. The reason we talked about this street is rather simple, it is the street where my grandparents lived and where my father grew up. Pictures from long ago showed up, which was wonderful to see them.

Some years ago I visited the Valentijnkade, but that was just a short visit to have a look around. But now, after all the new information I got and the pictures I have seen, I waited to go there again and have a better look around. Make pictures and such.
I had not planned anything for this yet, but when two weekends ago Marion heard that the weather would be very nice for the time of the year, she suggested to go there that weekend. A grand idea and so we went to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is one of those cities you really don’t want to go to by car. We took a train from Heemskerk to the Amsterdam Muiderpoort rail road station. The idea was to hire there bicycles. Although the sun was shining brightly, the wind was strong. And all of a sudden I had visions of bicycle wheels stuck in tram rails (something that happened to me some years ago). So we decided not for bicycles, but we took the bus. Just a short ride of two bus stops.

When you walk from the Molukken Street onto the Valentijnkade first thing you will notice is the Hartmanbridge (in Dutch “De Hartmanbrug”).

The Hartman Bridge was named in the past “Bridge 109”. But in 2007 it was renamed to the “Hartmanburg” after André Hartman, who was the owner of the cigarette shop on the corner of the Valentijnkade and the Molukkenstreet and who died in 1993 by a robbery of his shop.

My grandfather lived at the Valentijnkade 32, 1 floor (European way, for American people he lived at the second floor). It is also the place where my father (and the others of my grandparents family) lived.

On the picture above almost the complete family of my grandfather (only one uncle and my grandfather himself of course are missing).

And here another picture made of the family on the Hartmanburg or Brigde 109 as it was called at that time.

One thing I am very happy about it that the houses at the Valentijnkade have almost not changed over the years. Of course they have been modernized to nowadays standards, but from the outside they are almost not changed, very unlike what happened to the street where my mother grew up.

It was very nice to wander around. We sat for the longest time on the Hartmanburg, enjoying the sun and chatting a bit which other. So many stories about my father that I still needed to share with Marion. There were so many things buried in my memories and visiting this place brought them all back up…

It really was a very nice and enjoyable day!

ps. The names of the people in the older pictures are known to me, but I found no use in it to tag all the names in this article.

Here some more pictures I made around the Valentijnkade:


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