Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Where to begin? First, I really think that, apart the occasional venting that you see at the atheist/secular websites, most of us religion-hating types try to keep a pretty low profile. Living half the year in the veritable buckle of the Bible Belt,I have learned to pick my fights judiciously. The odd public prayer before a community meeting, grace before meals (always assuming we don't have to hold hands or say amen) or even a ten-ton-ten-commandments statue are mere bagatelles. Rather than chase my credulous neighbors to extremes, I would much rather be surrounded by Episcopalians and Reform Jews.

One recent spring, my husband and I were remarking to a neighbor on the delight we had in the annual migration of painted buntings through our area. The neighbor, a seriously religious lady and well aware of our contrary views, smiled and said "See, isn't the existence that amazing little bird
evidence that God exists?" My husband, without missing a beat, replied "And then there is the naked mole rat".

Have a happy Easter, or whatever.


Spooky how I was ranting again about religion just as you pointed to me! I don't all the time - honest!

...yet fearful also that those progressives who dismiss or disdain faith are pushing believers into the arms of extremists. The law of polarization is that the poles feed and strengthen each other. In that sense enemies are secret allies, pinning the rest of us in the crossfire of the war that is their raison d'être.

I'm one of those disdainful progressives, I guess, and I have to agree that there is a danger. I think it's important that the Godless reach out in a positive and constructive way to religious moderates and non-radical religious conservatives. I think we should be about growing institutions that allow a positive dialogue, and that's one reason that I've committed myself to fellowship with a Unitarian Church. I would like to see that church movement grow!


That's an interesting choice. The Unitarian Church is, in a sense, the place where the religious and nonreligious dominoes match up.

The Raven

drowning in totalitarian treacle
What a remarkably thoughtful and insightful observation! Yes, this is exactly how it feels.

It's as if the Enlightenment is being torn to shreds, that reason and logic and the direct apprehension of reality are being willfully and knowingly discarded by enormous numbers of Americans who avert their eyes from existential dread by gathering the safety and solace of a dogmatic theosophy.

That's not the worst thing in the world, and it wouldn't frighten me much except that these people - the uber religious, the evangelical set - are intent on enforcing their bizarre weltenshauung on the rest of us. Stickers in textbooks, banning movies, turning the entire media (including the Web) into a child-safe, Disney-esque landscape of the purile and bland.

It's anti-science. Instead of simply sitting down and giving a matter a serious thought, the ecumenicalizers apparently prefer to "pray," an act that I cannot distinguish from simple "wishing." And now it appears that the forces in control of our government actually raise prayer to a position of primacy over the scientific method. It's very totalitarian, and disturbing... It is exactly as if I awoke one day to find myself living in the "Invasion of the Bodysnatchers" world, with these legions of spiral-eyed zombies stumbling about and yammering about my "soul" and whatnot.

There's nothing wrong per se with being religious, but I think it's a matter best kept in the private sphere. I want to say to the believers that if you posit some sort of super-being, one that cannot be known or seen or communicated with, then how is it that you claim to apprehend its intentions? What's really happening is that organized belief systems project a symbolic structure upon which their adherents enact their own personal biases.

There is a better way, but it's a very hard one: Each of us has to formulate our own ethical guidelines and maintain them.

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