Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dichotomy or Incongruity??

"The price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is

that someday they might force their beliefs on us."

[Mario Cuomo]

Dichotomy or Incongruity???
One question that I have is why is there a big increase in the religious agenda in US politics in the last 40 years especially? The US was founded with separation of church and state as a strict ideal and over the last century there have been attempts to chip away at that foundation and with things like additions of “in God we trust” supplanting “Epluribus Unum” on the currency and “under God” supplanting “Indivisible” in the pledge of allegiance. Because of these things and no doubt other grey areas, it looks to some as though this is a Christian Nation or at least a godly one. These are just a few examples, just symbolic changes, and the Fundamentalist Christians are now using them to claim the US was founded as a “Christian” nation.

Conservatives in this country can’t get elected to high offices any longer without the approval of the religious right it seems, (otherwise John McCain would be president instead of Obama) and we have a huge gap financially developing between the truly wealthy and everyone else. It’s so wide a gap that many are claiming the middle class is disappearing altogether. 

So I ask why and I propose the answer: some have decided to try to use religion as justification for their wealth and for the continued promotion of laws and policies which keep them wealthy.

"How can you have order in a state without religion? For, when

one man is dying of hunger near another who is ill of surfeit,

he cannot resign himself to this difference unless there is an

authority which declares 'God wills it thus.' Religion is

excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet."

[Napoleon Bonaparte]

The fact that we have the unfortunate works of an Atheist – Ayn Rand author of “Atlas Shrugged” that have stimulated a whole bunch of other people to be supporting her weird social Darwinist policies in government, only serves to confuse the issues and give the religious right something Atheist to point to in their defense. The conservatives and religious’ use of Ayn Rand as cover should not protect them from the justified defense of separation of church and state.

(And it should be noted Ayn Rand never adequately addresses why the poor who are starving to death, aren’t rioting in her world – but then perhaps her world is the just the point of view of the wealthy elite in the Hunger Games. As in: if we don’t see it, then it didn’t happen, and we don’t have to care, which is a very un-Christian view of the world. If any such Religious right politicians have not in fact read their New Testaments but have read Ayn Rand, then that explains why they have this huge blind spot. Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament was clearly against the tyranny of wealth. In fact if you had Jesus and Tyler Durden from Fight Club in the same room it would be fun to see which one would win in the fight over how to unshackle the world from rampant consumerism – but I digress.)

To put a personal spin on this, I remember meeting in the early nineties a young woman who had done volunteer work for an organization called “Fundamentalists Anonymous” (FA) This organization was trying to help people who were trapped in a Fundamentalist Church, to help them get out – it was almost like rescue from a cult as in these folks felt they could not just stop because they would lose everything, spouses, children, homes, all their friends. Anyway my friend related one story of a time when she spoke with one of these people trying to get out. She said they told her their church in all its efforts, witnessing, revivals, indoctrination etc. their church as a part of a larger organization of their faith, had a plan and an overall goal of controlling the US government by the end of the century. 

Yeah sounded like wacky conspiracy material to me as well,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eddie Izzard

Eddie's always been one of my favorites!

Friday, July 18, 2014


“Smile, God Loves you”

How arrogant must one be to say this to someone? The religious twat who says this is presuming to know that person well enough to know their moods, and that they have the slightest right to order someone to change that mood or to paint their face with a sycophantic smile just to be polite to the twat who’s certain that their sense of what’s right and wrong in the world is supreme over all other ideas.
Then they must also be presumptuous enough to believe that the recipient of their order is a religious person who believes in some similar invisible friend commonly called “God”, or they are counting it towards their quota of people that they’ve proselytized to in the name of expanding their particular flock. 

(The backhanded compliment of this being that they want the recipient to be a member of that flock, and yet it’s an incredibly self-serving indicator of insecurity because the larger that flock the more emotionally secure they are in the “truth” of their belief, but it doesn’t matter if the recipient of the order becomes a member of the flock because the order assumes on some level that the recipient already is a part of the same flock.)

When it's a man saying it to a woman, the insult goes even deeper because it stinks of that presumption Men often have, that they can order* women to change their bodies and mood just to suit the speaker's whim.  Talk about Masculine entitlement!

Best answer when someone says this? Here’s a few examples I came up with:

  • “Which God? There are so many.”
  • “Yeah well, Zeus seems to love everyone, or at least he loves to seduce folks.”
  • “yep, you should smile too because Satan also Loves You!”
  • “Sure I’m nummy. I bet Cthulhu would love me with a side of Fries!”
  • “I’m an atheist so your assumption that I’m not happy just because I’m not always smiling is doubly insulting, but I suspect by ordering me to smile, you really mean to tell yourself to be happy because you believe God loves you and naturally you think that should be enough to make anyone happy, but that makes me sad for you because it suggests to me that despite your belief you are in fact not as happy as you would like to be. Maybe you should look into why.”

(*and they expect to be obeyed! this is the reason women are called bitches, call that dog to heel, etc.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tolerate the Religious

Forgive them it’s not their fault, it’s just the way all our human brains are wired!
"Believing is easier than thinking. Hence
so many more believers than thinkers."
[Bruce Calvert]

For instance there’s pattern recognition so that we don’t have to spend extra time to recognize friends or enemies. It’s all so that we can tell the difference between the good plants and the bad plants, to save energy and get on with the business of living. 

So it’s the same when we select the things we will believe and many of us have parents and other’s teaching us as we grow up and they hand us a ready body of thought that most of us out of trust, just take without examining it too closely. Most of the same parents who indoctrinate the Christian faith will also allow a child the luxury of believing in Santa Claus. Then one day the child finds out Santa Claus isn’t real. They have received a lesson on being gullible. They have a real example of their parents lying to them, and yet the faith indoctrination still takes because it’s emphasized more and most kids will have too much else they’re trying to do and learn to take the time to question. 

In school you’re supposed to sit still and listen to the Teacher, not question. Under the guise of authority teachers teach or worse indoctrinate. Questioning a Teacher especially on their motives for saying or doing anything goes against what the children have been taught up to that point in their lives. “Don’t talk back” “Do as I say, not as I do” are the order of the day for at least the child’s first 10 years. A child that questions the teacher could get labeled as aggressive or anti-social and in these days of anxiety about spree killings and other violence in schools, you’ll see suspension and expulsions for the smallest things. And, it can stigmatize a child for years. At the very least the children learn to stop asking questions, they learn to stop “questioning or challenging authority.” So we learn the habit of not questioning. The habit of just accepting what we’re told.
Since social services in many cases can easily and always find a reason, many parents are living in fear their children could be taken away from them if the wrong set of circumstances arise – such as a child who questions authority. I’m not saying the system is broken, so much as it’s geared for systematic abuse of people’s rights to free speech and requires constant vigilance to make sure kids get a square deal and an opportunity to develop their critical thinking.

Any adult in the child’s life has a chance to influence what the child will believe later on in life. They could evoke an emotional response that ensures that child’s enthusiasm on a topic for the rest of their lives, possibly to great benefit of our race!, or they could hurt the child emotionally so bad that they are stuck dealing with the trauma the rest of their lives and their broken wasted potential could end up nothing but a burden to their families and society as a whole.

In these days of the internet it often seems as if belief is far more important than knowledge. Everywhere you go there is someone who’s sure they have the answer, cure, diet, facts, truth etc. etc. Knowing who to trust, what to trust and what not to trust is a battle many don’t seem even willing to fight. They just choose, and accept. And can you blame them really? We all want to look to some authority to validate what we say at least once in a while. Everyone is looking for someone or somewhere to at least validate what they think they know.

And there’s just too much to know! We can’t all be experts in everything anymore, maybe it was possible to a know it all back when hunting and gathering was our species life (though I doubt it since I’ve read Jean Auel’s behemoth series!) but then it’s not as if there was less to know, just our knowledge was less and when someone just has to have an answer, when “I don’t know” isn’t good enough well we humans tend to make shit up. A.K.A. the bullshit gene.

 Any Parent who has faced the tough questions about Death understands why “I don’t know” will feel inadequate. They don’t want their child to be afraid. They want them to hold on to their innocence. In a sense all religion is just our human frailty expressed. It’s our sense of loss for that innocence, and religion is a weapon against that feeling, that fear of the unknown. It is our longing to not have that unknown to look forward to in our ending. 

However, for those with an urge to control their society, that weapon against fear too often becomes a tool to control people as well. Fear of death becomes fear of judgment, and fear of failure to please a distant parent like figure whose supposed power is beyond understanding. If you like it’s the super ego Freud mentioned or the Superior Parent, so if the actual parents of a child are feeling inadequate, they can call upon the authority of the Superior Parent ie “God” to control their offspring.

This makes the children’s parents, teachers, pastors etc. all culpable in the lie to cover their fear and inadequacy. If you challenge that faith, you will chip away at the protective bandage of the lie. A lie the parents were told by their parents and are now telling their children. This multi-generational collusion of lies and fear is incredibly hard to break out of or to just persuade someone out of, so when you fail to convince, don’t be surprised.

You will not succeed in proselytizing people into Atheists. They each have to already be on the road to questioning and finding their own paths to the answers that will satisfy their needs. Otherwise, Atheism would just be another type of religion with believers gathering weekly to reinforce each other’s beliefs and socialize. (huh! about that. . . oh nevermind – another post someday.)

Many religious people contentedly live out their lives doing no further harm with their beliefs other than to pass them on to their children. If they do so in a manner that still respects their children’s right to decide how religious they’ll be in their lives, then there’s no reason to object and most Atheist, Secular or Agnostics won’t object to those situations. It’s the unfortunate numbers of aggressive fundamentalist or proselytizing religious that are trying to take us all back to living in a Theocracy that have stirred up the Non-religious’ objections. The very unfunny reasons for our objection to growing religious hegemony are all around us and can be found in history, repeatedly.

"The price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is
that someday they might force their beliefs on us."
[Mario Cuomo]

Friday, July 4, 2014

Patriotism has a Riot in the middle

Enjoy the 4th & BBQ, Fireworks and Friends, but

Beware of Patriotism
or any “ism” really. Not that I’m saying freedom is free. No, history has shown us repeatedly that give some people a chance and they’ll dictate to you just what you can say, who you can marry, even how you choose to have sex, and of course what to think about everything. If you’re in fear for your liberty, life and health when you choose to express an opinion, or when you speak at all, then you’re not in a free country. No country, no matter how valued, how worthy, should expect its citizens to give up their right to think their own thoughts and express them as well. Such a country does not deserve your patriotism, though you may find yourself serving anyway. If it truly is a dictatorship, then you may find you have no choice.
Those who have risked their lives in war for us deserve to know they are respected and they deserve the same rights and benefits that the people they fought for enjoy. No matter what delusions or BS you might hear from their mouths. That being said, remember what the fireworks represent – bombs, and a rain of fire for destroying the people we’ve declared as our enemies.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hobby Lobby -Corporation with religious rights

Hobby Lobby  ---

So, I don't think there's any doubt that SCOTUS and their ruling yesterday have underscored just where we are in this country.  Has anyone got any doubt still? where we're on our way back to?  You may think I'm just being a nervous nelly but where exactly do you think tyranny begins?  We've got a court that has already deemed Corporations as people, that their money is speech and now that a Corporation has religious rights, and those rights are not just more important than the rights of any single individual who works for that Corporation, but particularly more important than a woman's right to choose whether to be pregnant or not. 

A Corporation with religious rights. 

Yes I realize I'm employing a little bit of hyperbole here to say that they have handed Corporation's religious rights, but get this, it's not just that they've given those rights to a corporation, they've stipulated that it's only for matters of birth control.  Religious employers who also object to any healthcare, vaccines, or blood transfusions? Fuck them, it's just one particular flavor of religious rights being respected here - Catholic religious beliefs that "every sperm is sacred!"

This ruling has made us all a little less free here in the US.

This has opened the door to so much fuckwadery. (no that's not a technical term)  Now we'll see other