Respect for the Agnostic Atheists, please!


As Easter goes, I generally find religious holidays a bit hard to get through. I remember when spending time in Indonesia one forgets about holidays’ or even the days of the week. Each day seems a celebration of life and it is non-stop. I never forget the first day we set step on Australian shores. It was in 1956, January and in Fremantle-Perth which at that time was a small harbor-town nestling on the edge of the Indian Ocean. It was a Sunday and as we were warned before leaving Holland; ‘the English Sunday’  is something to be avoided at all cost. England’s Sundays were notoriously quiet and given to exuberant dinners of cold cabbage with cups of tea. Of course, Australia at that time was seen as an outpost of the UK. True to the dire warnings, that Sunday in Fremantle the town was totally deserted. The only people wandering about were Dutch migrants from the boat looking a bit nonplussed. The heat was palpable and the tarred roads were shimmering.

European Continental Sundays were for going out and walk the streets, go and have a coffee with friends, play cards or promenade through the town squares. A celebration of working week’s end. A joy with sharing wines and roses. Not in Fremantle Australia though, and especially not on a Sunday. It was surreal, walking through those empty streets and nobody about. It wasn’t a good start and oddly enough, after my marriage returning from Finland by boat in 1966, we landed in Fremantle and again on a Sunday. It hadn’t changed much. It was still eerily quiet but the birds were lively, possibly showing the future. Of course today, it is  throbbing with life and bubbling café lattes.

(20+) Watch | Facebook 

But, going back to religious holidays, how many do still go to church and listen to pulpits’ amblings and wonderings? Of course, living in the kitchen of give and take we ought to respect those that still do believe in a heaven for the pious and hell for the heathens, but can we, as a compromise to the Atheists, keep shops open on good Friday? I could not believe being told yesterday that all shops would be closed. I have family coming over and I am short of tinned (Italian) tomatoes for a nice chicken curry. Does the absence of open shops and tinned Italian tomatoes make us better people?

Respect for the Atheists please

24 Responses to “Respect for the Agnostic Atheists, please!”

  1. freefall852 Says:

    Ah, yes…Sundees….back then it was inviolate to disturb the Sunday rest…but there was the tradition of ; “The Sunday drive” where the family car was taken for a run w/family or just spouse for a drive to the country or coast.
    I remember a joke that did the rounds in those days…It told of when The Pope ( Pope Paul VI visited Australia in 1970) adressed the huge crowd gathered at Randwick race course…

    The Pope appears on stage and raises his arms in a blessing (the crowd of 100,000 roars approval).
    “I lovea your greata country” he cries (the crowd roars approval).
    “I lovea the warma sunshine” He calls (the crowd roars approval).
    “Anda I love youra wide open countrya side!” he yells ( and the crowd roars in approval)
    “But-a” he holds his finger up pointing to the heavens..(the crowd falls silent) then he screams in frustration! ; “There’s a nothing to do on a Sundee!!”

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The 1970’s were a great improvements on the fifties and sixties, Jo .
      The influx of hundreds of thousands of European migrants made an enormous impact on the prevailing culture of a lot of nothingness.
      People came to embrace a more varied cuisine, garlic and real coffee in the form of beans were making inroads. We stopped getting up for the Queen in cinemas and no-fault divorce became law.
      Sunday shopping and even a beer on Sunday were tolerated.

      Today, Australia is a far more cosmopolitan and tolerant country. I am now Australian and proud.

      Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        Yes, that’s true, Gerard..when you say it like that..but with your observation and our generation’s lived experience, I am reminded of the auger’s reply to Julius Caesar when they met on the road to the Forum on the ides of March…:
        “Auger” Caesar reproached ” As you can see, the Ides of March are here and so still am I !”…to which the auger replied..:
        “So it is, Caesar..the ides are here…but they have not yet gone”…..and the rest . . .
        So it was with the seventies, Gerard…what started off so promising, ended so depressing…and by the last days of the seventies, we needed that “double black” to lift our spirits!

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Of course, Jo.
        There was this story on ABC about the Australian man Jock Palfreeman spending years in a Bulgarian jail for murder he did not commit. We were united in our indignation about the unfairness of the Bulgarian judiciary.

        But, are we forgetting that we hold hundreds of refugees in indefinite detention, year in year out, without a singled charge being laid?

        The UNHCR has pointed out that Australia is breaching human rights in doing so!

        Oh how I wish Morrison and Dutton would be showing indignation about that as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Big M Says:

    I remember the protracted discussions around Sunday trading. It seemed like all of the denominations were united in their zeal to prevent us unsophisticated working folk from sharing a schooner or a glass of Moselle ( thought of as a fairly upper class sort of drink. A bit like Bacardi). It was going to tear families away from Church, they all cried. I suspect that people went to church because they had little else to do. I always thought it was an unwelcome intrusion into my activities!

    Anyhoo, we finally got there. Today the pubs and cafes were open on that most Holy day of the calendar. I guess we”l still enjoy and easter egg on Sunday.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Big M, there were those who thought Sunday trading and sipping a beer would result in utter decadence and Dante’s inferno would overwhelm us.
      Yesterday, ‘Good Friday’ I drove around and while most shops were closed, the cafes had queues and hungry people could still get something to eat. The pubs were open and so were the fish mongers. I made a curry but desperately needed tinned Italian tomatoes. Sadly, I could not find them anywhere.
      There are still remnants of a kind of attitude that enjoyment ought to be punished and the ‘Facebook ‘above about the man who dared to say ‘good morning’ in London is funny because it has some truth to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. leggypeggy Says:

    There were plenty of atheists on the road to the coast today.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Meindert Muller Says:

    Dear Gerard, as a “pious” of course I fully agree that, “living in the kitchen of give and take, we ought to respect those that still do believe” in a eternal life of paradisiacal shopping for the atheists and a embittered existence of praying and obeying for the believers , and let without compromise keep the economy running every god-given day when we feel like something tasty. Also the pious have hungry family coming over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, dear Meindert, Pious and atheists share many things, including hunger.
      My family of daughter Natasha and her two giant sons came over and wolfed most of the curry down. Some of the curry was saved and will be shared tomorrow with my newly found friend and…love, Annette!

      I hereby share a little poem (in Dutch)

      ‘t is Heiligdom dat gy hier ziet.
      Hoe heet het? Kruitje roert my niet.
      De stommen spreken op papier.
      Wie leenziek is vertrek van hier.

      Joost van den Vondel ( op de boekkamer van S.K.)


  5. freefall852 Says:

    Ah!!…here we go…Time to crack the Haig’s Chocolate “easter eggs”….Forgive me Father…for I am about to sin….and sin severely!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I have taken to vanilla ice-cream with maple syrup. Did you have a good Easter, Jo?


      • freefall852 Says:

        Yes, Gerard…we live out here in the Mallee in what I call; “Splendid isolation”…there is a main road outside the property where holidayers with boats, trailers and caravans speed past and I give a little shiver of thankfullness that I am not in any of them..

        Little Window on the Western Wall.

        My little window on the western wall,
        Opens out on the whole wide world.
        It opens out on the mallee plains,
        It opens out to the summer rains.

        It opens out on a sonorous dawn,
        With it’s promising colours in pastel tones.
        And embraces within all sorrows and joys,
        In silent parade past my western wall.

        Flowers of Spring as the seasons go,
        Winter wild, Summer mellow.
        Fields below the farmer sows,
        Crops in serried paddock rows.

        A child cries out! A strange bird sings,
        Through the sphere of silence rings.
        A whiff of desire of a memoried dream?
        Against the clatter of urbanity.

        Upon a highway that cuts the view,
        Cars sweep past in the morning new.
        That with the deepening, darkening dusk,
        Wearily steal back home to rest.


        My little window on the western wall
        Opens out on the whole wide world,
        And within its embracing vision deep,
        I watch the world wake..I see it sleep.


  6. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I have to remind myself it’s Easter, Gerard. So that speaks to how religious this household is. We do have some Easter Lillies, however. Oregon grows something like over 90% of them worldwide. Interesting note the other day, for the first time since such records have been kept in the US, the majority of the population doesn’t see itself as religious or go to church. Of course, the fundamentalists make up for that. –Curt


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Curt. Are the Pentecostals fundamentalists? Our Prime minister belongs to that church where they play guitars and sway their arms about.
      I have great difficulty that our PM sways his arms in such religious fervor but at the same time is fully supportive of keeping refugees locked up indefinitely, year in year out.
      It doesn’t add up in my books.

      Mother nature and the magic of it all gives great solace and answers most of our questions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        I have little patience for Christians who don’t behave in Christian ways, Gerard. I did have a Pentecostal girlfriend in high school. She did lots of swaying, but that was okay. –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, swaying is alright when done in taste. I had a girlfriend that used to have a very persuasive way of saying no to any kind of swaying. She was more into rocking gently while playing the cello.


  7. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Hope you are having a good weekend! 🙂
    PATS and RUBS!!! to Milo!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. auntyuta Says:

    Hi Gerard, did you have a good weekend?
    Hugs, Uta 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes Uta,
    A very nice week-end visiting my brother up at Toronto which is towards Newcastle.
    How was your weekend?
    Hugs, Gerard

    Liked by 1 person

  10. auntyuta Says:

    Let’s say, Gerard, I survived a few ups and downs over the last four or five weeks.

    You of all people understand how hard it is, when the companion of so many years is gone forever and ever. . . It’s hard for my children too. What do they do with such an old mother who is not very well equipped to handle life on her own? The tiniest upset can alter my whole life, that is how it is.

    I had to do a lot with the medical profession these last few weeks. I can count myself lucky that I am still allowed to stay in my own home! It does look a little bit brighter now in that I might be able to get a bit more help from next week on.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: