Editorial: Are we financially doomed?

Are we financially doomed?

We’re acting as if we are still a first world country. We have a problem. Hardly anybody is working. Businesses are not generating revenue. Here, throw money at the problem and hope it goes away, our governments say. But the money governments are throwing at the problem come from us–people and businesses. If we are not making money, we are a third world country and the government has no money to throw at the problem… We need to focus on supplying the essentials: basic food, clothing, shelter, security and medical aid. And we have to dramatically cut the cost of the essentials and of wages…
If this ‘thing’ lasts 6 months, where comes the money that governments throw at us to keep us living in the lifestyle we are used to (even if it has become an isolated lifestyle). We need to address the virus crisis, absolutely. But we also need to stop pretending that the money is there, will be there, to address the pending financial one.
Our prime minister has been compassionate, empathetic, articulate… but he and his advisers have also been naive in giving us what we want to sustain our lifestyle.
Do the math: If the virus lasts, the giving can’t last. I’d suggest we sort it out sooner rather than later… And hey, if we ever defeat this virus, we can go back to being the greedy, polluting pigs we had become. Although that would not be my first choice.
Thoughts? Feel free to let me know if you think I’m an idiot or agree in whole or in part with what I’ve said.

Governments Must Take Urgent Financial Action To Deal With Life Under COVID-19

Governments are going to go into stupidly ridiculous debt, or bankrupt, supporting their populations as businesses go under during this COVID-19 virus outbreak…

Here’s what they should do, and do soon:

  • Suspend all rent and mortgage payments
  • Roll back prices on essential food, clothing and medication
  • Suspend repayments of all business loans, other than loans taken from the day of legislation, onward
  • Suspend government repayment of debt
  • Suspend interest on all pre-existing loans
  • Cut wages by 75%, including pensions (I am on a pension; if you cut what I have to spend, you can cut what earn)
  • Protect all farmers financially and any other way they need to be protected
  • Protect all healthcare workers any way they need protecting

Seriously folks, if we think it’s going to be business as usual, or that governments will be able to simply bail out the airlines, oil industry, failing businesses, etc., then we are deluding ourselves.

Eliminate financial concerns now, for people, businesses and governments. Or watch us degenerate into hell on earth.

Screw capitalism and making money. Under the circumstances, what does money matter? It’s survival or death. And I think we want to choose survival. When this is all over, we can go back to being the greedy little pigs we were, if that is what we chose to do. But until then, we cannot pretend that it is business as usual, for anybody.

Introduction to The Atheist Chronicles

Introduction, and table of contents, to
The Atheist Chronicles: Why the Beliefs of Theists of Every Stripe Are So Unbelievable 

Introduction

I was raised a fundamentalist Christian. A Pentecostal. A theist.

My father believed that the earth is six thousand years old. In other words, god made the earth and the entire universe in six days, six thousand years ago. That would make the television series The Flintstones, a world in which human beings and dinosaurs co-existed, a documentary. On the seventh day, the Sabbath, god rested and we all had to go to church every Sunday ever since. Unless you are Jewish. If so, you do your worshipping at the synagogue on Saturday. Mind you, if you are Muslim, Friday is your holy day. My goodness, god gets a three-day weekend.

Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, my father believed. Eve was tempted by the Snake — a deceptive creature with no arms or legs and no ability to speak, as far as we know — to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that grew in the Garden. I think we’d all agree that there is good and evil in the world, but evidently humans should not have eaten of this fruit as we should not have been able to tell the difference between the two ways of being. As far as I’m concerned, Eve did not eat enough fruit off this tree!

Into this bizarre, fundamentalist belief, I was born. In fact, I was raised as an Italian Pentecostal. In a world where almost every Italian who is religious is Catholic, my family was a rare breed. We were part of a congregation of about four hundred Pentecostals who attended the Italian Pentecostal church at the corner of College and Montrose in Toronto, Canada. If you know the church and its location you might say, “Wait a minute. Wasn’t there another Italian Pentecostal church on Ossington Avenue, just south of Bloor Street, less than ten blocks from your church?”

I’d have to nod my head in agreement about the other Italian Pentecostal church. It had a congregation of about two hundred. However, these were the only two Italian Pentecostal churches in Toronto when I was growing up. By comparison, there are over two hundred Catholic churches in the city. So Italian Pentecostals are rare indeed.

If so rare, you are probably wondering, why were two Italian Pentecostal churches located in such close proximity? The answer is simple. This area of Toronto is known as Little Italy so it made sense for both churches to locate where the Italians in Toronto lived. But why two churches, instead of one larger Italian Pentecostal church? To answer that question, you need to know that Italian Pentecostals who attended the church on Ossington believed that you had to drain the blood from a chicken before you cooked it. The members of our congregation did not hold that belief. That’s why there were two groups of Italian Pentecostals, a minuscule sect of fundamentalist Christians, who are a sect of Christians, who are one sect of scores of religious factions in the world.

So each Italian Pentecostal congregation held different beliefs about what you had to do with a chicken before cooking it. Of course, being good Christians, the members of each church believed that the members of the other would, for their erroneous belief, rot in Hell.

With that in mind, I feel like I could end the book here — with two congregations of fundamentalists, each believing in the same god as described in the same Bible, thinking each other was going to Hell, all because of chicken blood. If that is not grounds for atheism, then nothing is! But I will carry on writing The Atheist Chronicles and outline the rationale for rabid theism and religion and my reasons for rabid atheism.

But first, I want to tell you when and why I lost my faith.

I clearly remember the day it happened. I was about six years old and a fervent believer in someone more important to me than god or Jesus. I remember a cousin, about two years older than I was, whisking me down a dark hall in the house where I grew up. He had something important to tell me. In the darkness of that hallway he whispered in my ear five words that I will never, ever forget: “There is no Santa Claus!”

I was totally devastated to learn that Santa Claus was fiction that our parents told us as a way to get us to behave all year long — unless we wanted to receive lumps of coal in our stockings on Christmas morning. From there it was not much of a stretch to atheism. No Santa Claus, no god. No god, no Jesus. No Jesus, no Heaven or Hell. No Heaven or Hell, no carrot and stick prodding one to live by all the strange rules of the Pentecostal religion.

That did not mean, released from the rules of religion, I became a juvenile delinquent, a criminal or even an asshole — at least not a big one. After all, we have secular laws to keep us in place. And I find that most people, not all people, are inherently decent. In fact, some of the biggest jerks I know are members of the so-called religious right: the people who found in their hearts the ability to vote for the opposite of everything their religion allegedly stands for by electing Donald Trump — a lying, racist, sexist, belligerent, ignorant sinner — President of the United States of America.

If that too is not grounds for atheism, then nothing is! But this is not a book about politics. So with that digression out of the way, I will return to my look at atheism and the grounds for it and my look at theism and the grounds against it. This book primarily addresses monotheist religious zealots, known as fundamentalist Christians. However, it cannot do that without some background on the history and evolution of religion. And it will touch on other religious sects now and then to give the evolution of religious beliefs and god worship necessary context.

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Table of Contents
The Atheist Chronicles: Why the Beliefs of Theists of Every Stripe Are So Unbelievable

1 / Introduction
2 / In The Beginning…
3 / gods and Religions
4 / The Bible
5 / Violence In The Name Of god
6 / Why Are People Religious?
7 / Christians Abusing Christians
8 / Quotes On Atheism
9 / Your Choice
10 / Final Words

Read more about:
The Atheist Chronicles: Why the Beliefs of Theists of Every Stripe Are So Unbelievable

The church isn’t broken…

Sadly, this article needs to be read… bbc.com/news/world-europe-47134033
It’s yet another article about sexual abuse and depravity in the church. There are too many of these articles, because sexual abuse in the church happens far, far too frequently.
You see, the church isn’t broken. It was never fixed in the first place.
I mean worshiping a non-existent being? Killing the first born? Killing all but a few people, and animals, in a flood? Virgin birth? Resurrection? Repressing a natural urge?
I could go on… Oh, wait, I did: The Atheist Chronicles: Why the Beliefs of Theists of Every Stripe Are So Unbelievable.  If so inclined, you can read the introduction to the book here: – paullima.com/books/atheist.html.
Sadly, the book is, today, more relevant than ever.

What kind of education do freelance writers need?

What kind of education do freelance writers need? An aspiring freelance writer asked me that question recently… I had to pause for a moment to think about it. I’m an English major from York University, but you don’t have to be an English major to become a freelance writer. You also don’t have to have a journalism education to become one either. So what kind of education do you need?

I’d say you need an education that enables you to become a critical thinker, and one that helps you become a strong writer. Having said that, you may instinctively think critically and you may also write well due to your general education and innate ability.

A lot depends on what you want to write. Do you want to be a journalist? Do you want to write for businesses, not-for profits and/or the government? Do you want to write books?

What is more important than your education is your ability to write the type of documents you want to sell. Do you want to write news articles, profiles, features, how to articles? Do you want to write case studies, website pages, blogs, social media, white papers, reports, promotional copy or other business documents? Do you want to write non-fiction books? If so, on what? There are a myriad of types of books out there.

What is more important than your actual education is your ability to gather the information that you need through research and interviews, and your ability to structure and produce the type of documents that you want to write. A journalism education will help you, no denying it. But then so will critical reading of the types of articles, documents and books you want to produce.

I remember the first time I was asked to write a white paper. I had no idea what a white paper was. I did some online research into white papers, got back to the client with my quote, landed the gig, produced the document, invoiced the client, and got paid handsomely for doing so.

That little scenario raises several points.

To become a writer you have to know how to write and structure the types of documents you want to produce. To become a freelance writer you have to know that and…

How did the white paper client find me? To become a freelance writer you have to know how to market yourself and sell your writing services, just like any small business has to know how to market and sell its products or services if it is going to survive and thrive.

To become a freelance writer you have to know how to quote on jobs or you have to determine if you are being offered a fair rate for what you are being asked to produce, which tends to be the method newspapers and magazines use to determine your rate of pay.

To become a freelance writer you have to know how to invoice clients. And occasionally you have to know how to professionally go after bad debts. In other words, yelling at a client who is tardy in paying you isn’t going to cut it.

Anybody can cash a cheque, but to become a freelance writer you have to know how to put aside money from what you earn to cover your taxes and any other money you may owe the government. In Canada, that includes contributions to your Canada Pension Plan. You also need to know how to save for dry periods and to put money aside for your retirement, if you want to have any money when you retire.

Am I saying that you need a business education to become a freelance writer? I am not saying that. These are skills you can learn, teach yourself, over time. But you have to be aware that they are skills that you need if you are going to consciously acquire them.

So what kind of education do you need to become a freelance writer? I don’t think that there is a school that will give you the education that you need. But you can self-educate yourself. Failing to do so will lead to your failure to become a freelance writer, or should I say failing to do so will lead to your failure to becoming a successful freelance writer.

If any of the above gets you down, I want you to know this about me: I am an English major from York University. I can barely spell and am baffled by the rules of grammar. In addition, I have no marketing, accounting or other business skills. For the last 40 years, I have worked as an advertising copywriter, a freelance journalist, a freelance corporate writer and trainer, and a book author. If someone with my background can make it in the world of freelance writing, there is hope for you too!

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Want to know more about the business of freelance writing? Consider any of the following books:

  • Everything You Wanted to Know About Freelance Writing – Find, Price, Manage Corporate Writing Assignments & Develop Article Ideas and Sell Them to Newspapers and Magazines
  • Six-Figure Freelancer: How to Find, Price and Manage Corporate Writing Assignments
  • Business of Freelance Writing: How to Develop Article Ideas and Sell Them to Newspapers and Magazines, Conduct Interviews and Write Article Leads
  • The Query Letter: How to Sell Article Ideas to Newspapers and Magazines
    How To Write A Non-Fiction Book in 60 Days
  • Tell Your Story: How to Write Memoirs and Autobiographies
  • Produce, Price and Promote Your Self-Published Fiction or Non-fiction Book and eBook
  • Harness the Business Writing Process: E-mail, Letters, Proposals, Reports, Media Releases, Web Content
  • Fundamentals of Writing: How to Write Articles, Media Releases, Case Studies, Blog Posts and Social Media Content
  • How to Write Web Copy and Social Media Content
  • Say it Right: How to Write Speeches and Presentations
  • Copywriting That Works: Bright ideas to Help You Inform, Persuade, Motivate and Sell!
  • How to Write Sales Letters and Email: Write direct response marketing material
  • How to Write Media Releases to Promote Your Business, Organization or Event
  • Unblock Writer’s Block: How to face it, deal with it and overcome it

The above books are available in print or as ebooks. Read more about them online at www.paullima.com/books

How to Write Any Non-fiction Document

If you write non-fiction — be it business documents or promotional copy, or even articles and/or blog posts, you might want to listen to my new podcast:

How to Write Any Non-fiction Document

You can find it online at: https://radiopublic.com/podcasts-by-paul-introduction-GMrR5r/episodes (you may have to scroll down a bit to find the podcast link).

Hope you find the podcast useful!

Note: If you write non-fiction books, the principles in this podcast apply. However, I will shortly (not quite sure when) be producing a podcast specific to writing non-fiction books.

Free & PWYC Writing Webinars

I am offering  a setirs of free and PWYC (pay what you can) writing webinars. Here’s what is online so far at  paullima.com/pwyc:

  • Free video: 20 books, mostly on writing, by Paul LimaTake 10 minutes to see how one author promotes his books. This free video is an overview of the 20+ books written by Paul. His books include books on business writing, promotional writing, writing for the web, how to write a memoir, the business of freelance writing, his best selling “How To Write A Non-Fiction Book in 60 Days”, and even his book of short stories, “Rebel In The Back Seat”. A tad tongue in cheek as Paul was playing with Loom, a tool any author who wants to create book promo videos should learn how to use.
  • Tell Your Story: How to Write Memoirs and AutobiographiesWhen writing your memoir or  autobiography, you have to determine what to put in, and the order in which to write that which you are writing about. Tell Your Story shows you how to created a detailed, logical outline before you write. It  gets you to the point where it’s all over but the writing, a place professional writers get to before they write anything. The webinar is delivered by successful freelance writer, author, and writing instructor Paul Lima. Like the book on which it is based, Tell Your Story is a webinar that will help you write your memoir or autobiography. The webinar (and book) includes all the tools Paul used to write his memoir, The Accidental Writer
  • How to Develop Your Business VisionThis free webinar is ideal for Freelance Writers, Editors, Trainers, Website Designers and other Sole Proprietors. Your business vision is something you should produce if you want to develop an effective and focused marketing plan, one that helps you sell your services or products–sell the right services/products, to the right companies, in the right sectors, for the right reasons.
  • How to Find Corporate Work as a Freelance Writer, Editor, Trainer, Website Designer… or other Sole ProprietorPaul Lima was a busy technology freelance writer, earning a six-figure income, during the dot-com boom. When it went bust, so did most of his Information Technology corporate clients. Paul developed new  business and marketing plans and within 12 months he was as busy as he was during the height of the dot-com boom. To help freelancers create a personal road map to business success, Paul created a “how to find corporate assignments” webinar based on his experiences. 45 minutes. (Based on the book, Six-Figure Freelancer: How to Find, Price, and Manage Corporate Writing Assignments.)

  • How to Become an Effective and Efficient E-mail Writer. People spend a lot of time writing email. However, are they as effective and efficient as they should be when writing email? By taking this webinar, you will enhance your ability to plan, write and edit long, short, simple and complex e-mail messages and become a more effective and efficient email writer. 1 hour. (Based on the book,  Harness the Email Writing Process.)
  • How to Write Effectively and Efficiently About Any Topic:  Eliminate the blank page and get to where it’s over but the writing – no matter your topic or type of document – in this 30-minute webinar. Learn how to produce a comprehensive, detailed and logical outline for any document so that you can write from outline point to outline point in an effective and efficient manner. 45 minutes.
  • How to Write a Non-Fiction Book in 60 Days webinar: Click on the link to read the full 45-minute webinar description before deciding if you want to take it. 45 minutes. The webinar is based on Paul’s best-selling book, How to Write a Non-Fiction Book in 60 Days