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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Nice. Thanks. :)


The connection between religion and morality is just another one of our society's myths. The myth says that other animals have no religion and therefore, unlike humans, they have no morality. But in fact all social animals follow strict rules about how to treat one another, which means they have morality.

Morality is not the essence of religion, and existed long before the human species or religion existed.
All human societies have had both religion and morality, often within the same institutions. But that does not mean one depends on the other.

Atheists are always arguing that it's possible to be moral without religion. Well yes it is. So what? The esssence of religion is not morality. Rules of conduct and consideration for others are essential to being human, to being a social animal. Religious teachings include moral teachings, but religion is much more than that.

I am sorry to see that religion and morality are increasingly equated. It allows atheists to claim that religion is nothing but morality, and morality can get along just fine without religion.

Secular humanists can be moral, but they cannot be mystical. They deny an enormous part of what it is to be human. Other animals don't need religion to connect them with the super-natural, because they never become disconnected. Human beings become disconnected egos and it's a lifelong struggle to find our way back. That's why we need religion, and secular humanism is no substitute.

michael reynolds

So, we atheists can be moral, but we can't align our chakras? I guess I'll have to live with that.


Secular humanists can be moral, but they cannot be mystical. They deny an enormous part of what it is to be human.

This isn't even true. Plenty of atheists commune with nature, meditate, etc. They just don't associate their mental states with the divine, is all.


What's mystical about communing with nature or meditating?


Main Entry: mys·ti·cal
Pronunciation: 'mis-ti-k&l
Function: adjective
1 a : having a spiritual meaning or reality that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence
b : involving or having the nature of an individual's direct subjective communion with God or ultimate reality


meade: check out Sam Harris's essay on "Rational Mysticism," also the last chapter (I think) of his book THE END OF FAITH, which is about meditation and mystical experiences as compatible with atheism.

Falter Ego

I agree with your premise that people should not do good out of fear or a desire to impress. I am 31 years old and I am presently undergoing the spiritual birth and expedient maturation consistent with an end to 15 years of hard core drug and alcohol abuse. In the 12 steps I am learning some very simple ideas and this is good for me becuase I have a complex mind and a tendency to overthink.

Simply put, believe that there is a power greater than you. Turn your life over to that power and do the next right thing.

In a more complex way, it is impossible to control or predict the behavior of one other being in the room. I have spent my energy trying to do the same for every individual in my life throughout my life. THANK GOD that is over...

Seth Chalmer

I forget which rabbi said that the reward for a mitzvah is the opportunity to do another mitzvah, and the punishment for a sin is another opportunity to sin. The concept of reward and punishment need not be fire and brimstone versus clouds and harps.

Examine the sermons being spoken in most synagogues and plenty of churches, and you'll find people talking about goodness for goodness's sake, rather than as a means to avoid hell or get to heaven. But even where heaven and hell are mentioned, it's only the literalist views of them that hold back the listener or the community in crass theological behavioralism. Taken in a karmic sort of way, reward and punishment can be a much more subtle and complicated concept.


Made sense to me when I read it this morning. Seems to me that over the centuries we have killed more people in the name of some god than for just about any other reason. What a remarkable waste.


Falter Ego,

I went to see your blog. Thanks for ringing a bell on all of us who have the luxury of thinking abstractly. And for taking us along on your rebirth.


"over the centuries we have killed more people in the name of some god than for just about any other reason."

Atheists always use this as an argument against religion. Civilization has gone through stages where religious differences were used to justify killing, but that is not the only or primary excuse for war and violence. Marx thought religion should be eliminated because it causes war, and then Marxism itself became a major cause of war and mass murder.

Ideological differences, differences of ethnicity and culture, are as likely to cause violence. And the major cause of war has always been competition for resources.


God is good? God is great? Where is my bomb jacket? Hey, what time do the Acolytes show up today? We have to get rid of these Gays! Where is my rod? My staff? NOOOOO! YOU MAY NOT HAVE AN ABORTION.

I know these things to be correct ... I read them in the BOOK.

If you love me, feed my sheep. That is also in the book.

It seems that more energy is expended by various "followers" on selectively letting others no what their shortcomings are ... interpreting what is good for someone else in accordance with their reading, rather than feeding someone's sheep.

Christian, Jew, Buddist, Muslim, Athiest, Agnostic, Aliens with no cognition of religion .... all were invited to this the table called The United States of America.

It was never founded with the idea that ANY religious sect knew what was best for anyone else.
This brings me to my point (finally).
The principle of relious freedom is that you can PRACTICE any religion or NOT. Nowhere in our Constitution does it say that anyone can WIELD reigion. And herein lies the main problem in our government today.

If anyone questions, disagrees, or extends a variant opinion these days, they are branded as anti-religious, which is a sad falsehood that sounds VERY much like being branded as a Terrorist Hugger if you question the administration of the war.
In a country that was conceived on the premise that religious difference is tolerated, we are becoming very intolerant.

Jusdt as a humorous note: I attended a funeral last month and kept the little memoriam bookmark . I am anxiously awaiting the next person who says they Know what god looks like ... I will challenge them ... fervently ... because I have his picture in my wallet.


I still feel like everybody's right. God is, and isn't. It matters, and doesn't. If you're acting in accordance with the principles of doing good, doing no harm, and helping whenever possible, it doesn't matter what you **believe.** What matters is trying to impose any belief -- or lack thereof -- on others.


Religion is an attempt to translate hyper-dimensional ideas into chains of symbols (language). It's a heroic attempt, but guaranteed to fall very short.
Every religion is partial and distorted. People can use religion as an excuse to look down on others -- but everything else is used the same way.

We are limited, we don't know very much. Religion is imperfect, but becoming an atheist is not the solution. Atheism can itself be a religion, and its faith is in the power of human reason. But human reason depends on human language, which, although amazingly complex, is also amazingly limited and fallible.

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