Saturday, June 30, 2007

Angry Response

Note: I wrote this little diatribe as a response to an article posted to Blog Critics Magazine regarding faith based initiatives being financed with our tax money. Some of it is repetitive as regards previous posts here. However, as the article to which I commented was several days old, it occured to me that it would likely not be read by much of anyone. I didn't want this stellar example of my literary and discursive prowess to completely go to waste. Placing it here guarantees at least another 3 or 4 exposures. Who knows, maybe 1 or 2 people (other than myself) might actually read it - or some of it at least. I could probably pick up some additional hits if I could just work Paris Hilton into the piece. ( Hey, I just did.)

Atheists carry much less hate than the average believer. Most of us, I think, would pretty much mind our own business, content to be free of religious dogma if all you "faith based" humans weren't doing so damn much damage in this world.

Christians love to proverbially hug themselves reveling in just how wonderful they are. They are all so kind and generous, so loving, so concerned, but are quick to remind anyone not of the faith of their certain descendance into eternal hell for not professing allegiance to jesus. It's all bogus crap.

As there is not one iota of evidence supporting the existence of any god or gods, why don't believers carry a burden of proof for their faith before they are allowed to subject the rest of us to their blather? Believers carry a greate deal of fear and loathing for non-believers (gays and lesbians who are perennial targets of christian hate are nevertheless more accepted in society than are atheists.) Pastors continually remind their respective flocks of how dastardly we are. After all, we are the devil's minions.

Keep in mind that to be an atheist pretty much anywhere in the world has been a very risky business for much of human history. The "burning" of atheists often took place right here on earth usually sponsored and carried out by mother church. Atheists have been vilified for centuries. That given, perhaps we are a bit defensive and tend toward being a tad cranky.

If the dominionists have their way, all of us professed non-believers will likely have to find new digs and/or go underground. We will probably rue the day we ever chose to start gabbing about our distaste for god and religion on the internet. We'll be hunted like rats.
(There should be a paragraph break here.)
Our founding fathers were true products of the "enlightenment" as brought forth through the Renaissance. As many of them were professed deists who accepted a notion of some kind of godly creator, but certainly not a personal god, often professing their great distaste for religion in general, it was no accident that god is NOT mentioned in the Constitution. They understood only too well the dangers of any government endorsement of religion. The separation of church and state was a mainstay of their political philosophy. Georgie Porgie's "faith based" initiatives with the federal government providing tax money to support religious organizations in any capacity is a slap in the founding fathers' faces and counter to the Constitution. There can be no "taking back our country for Christ." He never had it in the first place.

People can be good and do good without religion, without churches, without god. We don't need some idiot evangelist prancing about the dais at some mega church to provide our moral bearings.

Hell, I think I'll establish my own church, the "Church of What's Happenin" and get me some of that good federal money. Whoo doogies!


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How to Grease the Slide Down - er - Up to Heaven

Fundamentalist preachers tell their flocks that living a "good" life has little or nothing to do with whether an individual will gain heavenly ascendance. Doing good deeds, thinking pure thoughts, being humble, being honest, being kind, working hard, being smart, being responsible, being productive, count for little or nothing. The only relatively sure way to get beyond the Pearly Gates is to consciously and, I presume, sincerely become "reborn" in acceptance of Jesus as your lord and saviour.

What this says, then is that say, Saddam Hussein, even his sons, Uday and Qusay, those zany, fun loving guys, could be enjoying the pleasures of eternal paradise had any or all of them come to Jesus prior to swinging in the breeze or being riddled with bullets respectively. That's a pretty good deal, if you think about it. That given, there is no particular reason to "be good" in this life. One could rape and pillage, be a pedophile, cheat, lie, steal, commit mass murder, actually like Rob Schneider movies, any such heinous things and more, but just in the nick of time get right with the "J" man, and it's all okee dookie. A ticket for the Bliss Express will be waiting for you at the "will call" window. Isn't that just a tad too easy? It obviates the need for being good or pious. It all comes down to the Big Guy's ego, doesn't it? As long as you acknowledge His supremacy and humble yourself before it, you are, according to your local evangelist, in like Flint. It's okay to be a despicable asshole in this life as far as the Lord of Lords is concerned.

What a load of shit! We lowly humans usually demand more of someone than a hastily blurted out "Hey, I love you, man." for even relatively small rewards, let alone the ultimate enchilada, eternal life in paradise. Would anyone "love" someone who would demand such fealty for whatever rewards? You might feign some kind of love or adoration to survive, to maintain a better life. But love? I think not. At your core, you'd hate the son of a bitch, wouldn't you? Supposed love for God is, at best, forced out of fear of losing that ultimate reward. ("Yes, sir. No, sir. Right you are, sir. Ha, ha, that's really funny, sir. Whatever you say, sir. You're the best, sir. I love you, sir, I truly do and, hey, I really mean that.")

What is it they say? Sincerity. If you can fake that, you've got it made. Maybe all the way to heaven.



I'm blue. I'm blocked. I keep thinking I have a great deal to say, but when I sit down here, I got nothin'. Don't know where I'm gonna get it. But I'll try. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"The Quotable Athiest" and Other Stuff

I've been doing some reading. Nothing new, I guess. I always am. I am currently reading The Quotable Atheist by Jack Huberman. Huberman's previous works include The Bush-Hater's Handbook, Bushit! and 101 People Who Are Really Screwing America - probably not titles one would find on the average conservative's bookshelf.

I won't go into The Quotable Atheist in particular detail here. Maybe later. Suffice it to say, though, that it is a collection of generally short quotes from a plethora of people going back to ancient Greece up to these here times. Most are or professed to be atheists or via other terms, non-believers. Some entries are serious, some are funny, some seriously funny. Following are a couple of things which occured to me in reading some of them.

Muslim arrogance. As Chris Hitchens noted in his book God is Not Great, muslims demand supplication not only of its adherents, but of the entire world as witness the hoopla surrounding the cartoons depicting Mohammed a year or so ago. Recently, it was announced that Salman Rushdie is to become a British Knight. It wasn't enough that the man was forced to live under the very real threat of death after publication of his Satanic Verses, now the muslim world DEMANDS that his proposed knighthood be revoked. Who are these cocksuckers? What makes them think they are so fucking special? As Hitchens notes and I quoted in a prior post, "There is nothing - absoulutely nothing - in [islamic] teachings that can even begin to justify such arrogance and presumption." Radical muslims are such gutless pricks. Cowardly, arrogant pricks! They recruit their children to kill indiscriminantly and die for the supposed glory of their god. They stroke their beards and praise allah and grin their shit eating grins, believing they are operating from the high ground. They hide in the shadows and use terror as their weapon. Fuck them! Had they any courage, they would step out in the light. They are not men. They are pathetic, deranged little boys playing deadly games - boys so intimidated by and fearful of women they can't bear to look at them.

Have I vented enough?

It is assumed by many that it is religion which brought about civilization. Not so. During periods of our history over which the church held dominion, millions of people were murdered, millions more tortured, left homeless, and on and on - all under the auspices of the church. It is largely owing to religious zealotry that hundreds of people continue to die every day.

It is the movement toward secularism which brought on true civilized society. The more we turn away from god and other-worldly concerns, the more we place our focus on earthly life. It is the secular which makes for a richer life free of the violence and intolerance brought about by religious dogma.

I finish with a quote from Huberman's book by former cyclist and cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong

" If there was a god, I'd still have both nuts."

That pretty much says it all.


Monday, June 18, 2007

The Perfect Father's Day Card

This is the father's day card my thoughtful and loving son sent me. It just kind of says it all, doesn't it? Man, it's like in 3-D or something! JC just kinda pops out at you. I think it's significant that the phone exchange is "UPtown" rather than "DOwntown."
Frankly, it may be the best card I've ever gotten. It will soon be ensconced in a decorative, but piously understated frame, hanging on my office wall in a particularly conspicuous location. Should I nail it up? Any thoughts?
It's great!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Apocalypse Now!

If you take a quick look at my previous post you will note that I have been reading. Good for me, huh? Well, yeah!

Over the last several months I have read a number of books and various magazine and on-line articles concerning efforts of radical christian fundamentalists to create an American Theocracy, a christian government ruled, not by our constitution, but by biblical law. A number of people who have commented here and elsewhere claim that I am being gullible, that to believe such a thing is, at least over-reacting, of being alarmist.

I have too often ineffectively countererd with but, but, I mean, well, I mean, but... finally resorting to citing Hitler's rise to power while the world looked on. It's a tired argument. One that most people either reject or laugh off, saying, "Oh, man, that can't happen here. This is the good ole' US of A. Land of the free." Perhaps they are right. I would, in fact, like to think so.

But given the manner and direction in which things have progressed over the last 35 to 40 years or so regarding the inroads made by the aforementioned christian fundamentalists into virtually all walks of life, including government at all levels, the work place, our schools, the media, etc., it is impossible for me to simply shrug them off as nut cases, as fringe loonies.

The fact is millions of our fair citizens have bought into the whole idea hook, line and communion wafers. Many of these people have been drawn into the fold, as it were, to escape broken, failed lives for which they cast blame on liberal society. They long for direction, for a strict, well, even harshly defined moral code. They no longer wish to be free. They want to be led, to be reassured of a blissful life - if not here on earth, then for an eternity in heaven. To reach this bliss, they must divest themselves of their personal lives. They must devote themselves to their god. Ultimately, they must be ready and willing to fight to the death as warriors for their god.

As opposed as radical christians are to radical muslims, they more or less mirror them in their ardor, their willingness to do violence, to kill, enmasse if need be. The radical christians are similar to their muslim counterparts in their intolerance, their suppression of women, suppression of art and critical thought. They hate and fear science and modern technology - except insofar as they can make use of it to defeat their enemies - to kill them.

The masses of people who have taken up the standard of the christian warriors enter a closed society wherein virtually their every waking hour is saturated with the message of god's love and the concomitant and necessary hate and loathing of those of faiths not their own, of non-believers, of apostates. They often spend time almost everyday within the confines of their selected church. They often have jobs at companies owned and/or operated by fellow believers. Their kids go to schools set up by their churches, or lacking that, are often home schooled. Most of their social time is spent with fellow parishoners. If they watch TV at all - many sects don't allow it - they watch one of the plethora of local christian stations, and/or national christian networks. The same with radio. The only music they listen to is religious oriented.

Those who attend one of the many "mega-churches" that have sprung up in recent years, are presented with what amounts to a well planned and executed "production" designed to first mesmerize the congregation with a great deal of singing, standing with arms raised to the heavens, often in an attempt to mirror or, perhaps mock black gospel services, repeatedly shouting "Hallelujah," "Praise God," "Praise the Lord" and "Praise Jesus." ad nauseam, or in some instances falling and writhing on the floor speaking in "tongues" until a collective exhaustion sets in. Then at some length the main course begins as the principal preacher takes the stage, often prancing about the dais with bible held high in constant admonition of the congregation's collective sins and citing their unworthiness in god's eyes. They rant on about the evils of the "secular" world that is out to destroy them, satan's minions set to defile and overthrow god. They are taught to trust no one outside their particular sphere. That any who attempt to use "rationality" are the enemy.

At the proper moment, of course, just when the attentive congregation is at their most physically and emotionally spent and, therefore, their most vulnerable, the choir begins singing god's praises and the offering plates come out.

Am I being unfairly cynical? I think not. It is all an enormous scam that may one day bring about the end of America as we know it. Most Democrats, political liberals and moderate christians are largely guilty of looking the other way, of going out of their way to be "tolerant," even of intolerance. The parallel of what is happening here and now in the US to the rise of Nazi Germany is apt. Most people of a more moderate disposition are reluctant to challenge the radicals. They live in the belief that if they ignore it long enough, it will eventually go away. That's not going to happen.

I urge readers of this little diatribe to read any or all of the following books:

The End of Faith by Sam Harris
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips
Kingdom Coming by Michelle Goldberg
The Baptising of America by Rabbi James Rudin
Atheist Manifesto by Michel Onfrey
God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens

and especially:

American Fascists by Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges is a graduate of the Harvard Divinity School and retains his faith. However, he sees quite clearly the dangers of the rising radical christian fundamentalists or theocrats. Reading just the first chapter of Hedges' book may be enough to overcome any reader's inertia.

Do it. You'll be disturbed that you did.