This morning I enjoyed a Tim Horton coffee on Adelaide St W, west of Bay, in Toronto.
When I finished, I walked slowly on Adelaide heading east.
A big black guy joined. He was relatively well dressed, and he obviously wanted to talk. He did not look like a beggar. I put my mask on, he didn’t.
He asked: “Do you know the 10 names of Joseph?”
He was not more specific than that, but my guess was that he referred to the father of Jesus Christ. I never understood why someone should have so many names, except to confuse everybody. Besides, from what I know that Joseph did not have 10 names, except if I consider modern diminutive names. I wanted to cut the discussion short. “No,” I said.
He turned toward me, and that made my decision difficult (turn around and hurry up, or continue walking), since he did not have the damn mask on.
He asked: “Do you know who I am?”
“No,” I answered politely.
“I am a King, and I owe the that square,” and he points toward the square having St Regis building on it.
Now, it may seem strange, but there were only the few more steps to the next intersection (where I wanted to take another route than him and hurry up), and I wanted to know how errand his mind was; besides, he did not seem to ask any favor, except listening. I asked, “You owe that building?”
“Of course, every square in this city has a King. That one is mine.”
I asked, “Do you know that until 2 years ago that building was named Trump Tower?”
He looked puzzled. I continued, “who decided to change its name?”
“Me, of course,” he said, then he changed the subject. “That square,” and he stretched his hand toward south, somewhere, “is owned by a French King.”
I said nothing, so, he told me in few words the French King’s story. “He was killed, but he was reborn, like Jesus Christ.”
At the intersection I turned left and said, “I am sorry, I have to hurry home,” and with quick steps I departed. He did not follow.
Now, I was wondering if that guy wanted to have fun and mock me, or he really believed he is a king. His attitude was intriguing, maybe he practiced it for a while; he displayed a certain superiority, like a royal, trying to be kind and understanding with less fortunate guys - like myself.
Here is what I think now: I would have taken the former, but what I see happening south of the border, made me reconsider (let alone the coincidence).
Does Trump think he is like a king? I am sure he thinks that he is more than that, a modern Emperor. He managed to bend the whole justice system and work for him, and pushed down to its knees the Republican Party, who worship him like he is a deity. In full display.
The king I met today wanted recognition and as far as I know nobody wants to dethrone him. He can keep the kingdom in his head. But the Emperor in the South wants to stay in power even if thousands die or suffer for it, or if his Empire will regress to Middle Ages.
The minds of the two men I compare are similar in a way, but the one in the South have more means at his disposal; too many; and his Empire is not virtual.
Let me start by saying few things about myself. I love basketball, and I am from Toronto. Last year when Raptors won the championship, I was in tears, and from my balcony I joined the chorus of Torontonians shouting and whistling. Kawhi Leonard was a hero and Nick Nurse a saint (at least the slogans I heard on the streets), one black, one white, and as far as I could see there was no distinction in acclamation based on the color of the skin.
Racial injustice is a shame for our society, and should be fixed. Everyone should be judged by his/her value, not the color of the skin, I truly believe it. Equality in everything should be a right, not a favor.
If NBA players (as individuals) take a stand for what is happening in US with black people they are welcomed, and I think they should do it because they are celebrities, and people listen. But that should stop here. Going one step higher and involve the whole league is wrong.
Mixing sport with politics at the level I saw this week is a damage to what sport means, with long lasting effects. Sport is in a league of its own, and should stay away from politics. I saw what means when sport and politics mangle. I saw it the other way around, during the cold war when the Russians dominated the East Europe, and bent the will of judges to favor Russians athletes in competitions, and that was anything but fair. Now the Sport itself want to influence politics. Wrong.
Let me say this: NBA acted for a good reason, but unacceptable means; SPORT is sport, and politics is politics. Where will it stop if their actions will be successful? Will SPORT become a political weapon?
One may argue that those controlling such an involvement (SPORT and politics) know when to stop. Do not fool yourself, when you have a weapon you will use it. It already started: all other professional leagues followed NBA lead, and my feeling is that they did it for the fear of not doing it, rather then conviction.
One more remark. In a poll among white people that I saw a while ago, more than 60 percent claimed that they were the target of racial injustice because they were white, at least once in their life. And I would have been in that group; if you are in a team where the manager applies the principles from his country of origin, be aware, consider him/her a superman or leave. Of course, you cannot compare bullying with being killed, but social injustice is not just one way. SHOULD BE FIXED! But with right means, let SPORT be SPORT.
What is wrong with religion?
Before telling you the answer, I have to let you know why I am writing this blog.
I was at a party and at my table was a true Christian believer. Somehow, he raised the question about the anti-Christ and the danger we face in imminent times.
I told him that there are indeed dangers looming over our heads (overpopulation, pollution, nuclear, chemical or biological weapons… you know what I am talking about, right?) but no anti-Christ since no other religion talk about that.
He flatly denied it saying that all others are wrong.
And here I did a huge mistake, I thought that we may have a decent discussion since the guy was supposed to be smart (good scholarship).
I told him that the other religions believing in the same God (Judaism and Islam) do not see the end of the world the same way.
He said: “They do not worship our God.”
“What?” but any argument failed. I asked him to open his cell and scroll the net looking for Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, same God but different messiahs.
He refused, he knew well that what I said is wrong, end of argument.
So, I said “OK let’s talk about God your way. God is perfect and so is the Bible, God’s words transmitted to us through the voice of the prophets.”
He agreed on that, it was a new start.
I wanted to stay simple, no sophistications. “OK. So, if the Bible is perfect why are so many interpretations? We have Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Anglicans, Reformists, and other sects, the list is quite long, and they have different interpretations about crucial statements in the Bible.”
He hated my statement, and I sensed some aggressiveness when he said: “I am a Catholic and I know that my priest knows very well what he is preaching us, I do not know about the others.”
“They are wrong?” I asked.
He repeated what he previously said.
OK, so, we narrowed down to Christian Catholics… everyone else on Earth is wrong.
I asked him if he read the Bible.
He confirmed: “I did.”
I think he lied.
I said: “In the Bible it is written in few places that there are some other gods around.”
He denied. I came with some examples: when God gave Moses the 10 commandments, He asked Moses not to tell his people about the other gods; Solomon asked his architects to build the biggest temple ever since our Lord is the biggest among gods…
He said that I do not know how to read the Bible, I need to ask a priest.
OK, so, we narrowed down even more, he was a Christian Catholic who did not read the Bible but take his knowledge from a priest.
I told him that there are priests who do not believe in God, and I reminded him about the Clergy Project (a society in US for the priests who lost faith).
He checked it on his cell this time (he thought that I made it up) and found that organization.
“I did not know that,” he admitted, and he felt guilty for some reason. It was a huge step forward, he admitted something obvious.
So, we narrowed down even more: Christian Catholics who do not read the Bible but listen to a priest who have faith.
I said: “Well, there are priests who abuse their followers. Remember about a year ago the scandal with 300 pedophile priests in Pennsylvania alone? How many are around US?”
He looked at me and I know what I saw: hate. And I know why, we narrowed down even more his group: Christian Catholics who do not read the Bible but listen to a priest who have faith and do not abuse the worshipers. And that group is the only one on planet Earth to know the truth about God.
He turned the hate on me.
“Why do you hate God?” he asked me and left for another table and never came back.
I do not remember saying anything bad about God, but he was lucky he left. Few more minutes of conversation and I could reduce his group to one.
And now I answer the question at the beginning of my blog, what is wrong with religion?
There is nothing wrong with religion. What is wrong are the worshipers.