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Religion & The Paradox of Submission

Religion teaches children that they should be independent from their biological parents, but totally dependent upon their "spiritual" parents, Mary and God/Jesus. (That Jesus is both Mary's son and God, makes the Bible a bit like Oedipus, of course.)

It is also a religion that teaches people to love freedom and hate authoritarianism on the one hand, even as it requires them to be submissive to the will of an authoritarian God (and his Catholic Church, at least spiritually speak anyway) in order to achieve "true freedom."

That a person can only be "free" by hypnotizing them self into believing the must always "obey" an authoritarian God, only demonstrates the miracle of how the human mind can make sense of pretty much anything it wants to believe, no matter how paradoxical or self contradictory it may be.

Such a claim is not merely an indictment of religion, of course, but of the human mind itself. For it is how all institutions, be they priv…

Have You Ever Noticed...

Have you ever noticed that the American Revolution is essentially the story of every conflict there is, was, or has ever been?

And our interpretation of that conflict boils down to our "beliefs" about which group of people - the indigenous or the foreigners - should rule.

And the ones we always think should rule are the ones we think are most like ourselves.


You Cannot Truly Love Someone You Fear

Love and fear are probably the two most powerful human forces we know of. But they are clearly not the same thing, and are very often the very opposite of each other.

But God is a paradoxical figure who commands (how can a person be expected to "love" on command?) that we engage in the paradox of both loving Him, and fearing Him, lest we be thrown into a lake of fire for failing to do so to His majesty's liking.

More interesting, however, is how this clear contradiction, is never a problem for the Christian, who is so afraid of the fires of hell and the immorality of secular society, that they actually mistake their "fear" for a "love" of God who will save them from both, even though He created both.

There is probably not a Christian alive who would ever "love" a Muslim Shah or Caliph or King, simply because he commanded them to, or be tortured and executed. Yet such a Christian expects the Muslim, and all others for that matter, to willfull…

The Fatal Yet Inescapable Problem with Beliefs

For "believers" the world over, the entire point of life comes down to nothing but what you believe. Regardless of basically ANYTHING else, one's life boils down to simply standing before a "God," who will judge how a person should spend eternity based on their "beliefs."

Those beliefs come down to having "believed" in the right religion, or the right god, or the right morality, or the right whatever. If anyone FAILS to "believe" the right things, then, they're thrown into hell for being such a dolt.

But if life is all about necessarily having the right "beliefs" about God, religion, morality, etc, than it can only work if everyone on the planet is willing to accept - necessarily! - that someone, somewhere, HAS the right beliefs. And more importantly, that person has to know exactly how to apply those beliefs in an ever changing and increasingly complex world.

Of course, the Catholics have their Pope, who can speak &q…

The Trouble with Marian Apparitions

Mary, the Mother of God, is said to have appeared to many people over the years. One of which was the apparations at Fatima to three children in 1917.  But looking at the transcripts, one is left with the lingering sense of "what the fuck!?"

First off, sending Mary to appear to children is a bit like Bill Gates sending his mother to tell an employee that their department is under-performing, and the big guy upstairs is getting pissed off.

But aside from that, if we look at the transcripts, as I said, it gets even harder to believe. In fact, if these transcripts were provided to Christians from Muslims who claimed they were spoken by Mohammad (or his mother, Aminah bint Wahb) while he (or she) appeared to three shepherds, not a single Christian on the planet would take them seriously.  

For example, one of the children apparently asks Mary where some people they know have landed after they died, and Mary lets them know they're not all love'n it in the Golden Arches…

The Pros & Cons of Thinking About Religion

I think too much. And in an information society, this habit of thinking too much can make a person's natural curiosity feel like quicksand. But that only happens "if," and after, a person realizes they think too much, and they begin to notice how much their own "desire to know" everything - a "desire" which led Adam & Eve loose Eden in a gamble with a serpent - can potentially sabotage all of their other desires.

Religion is, to my mind at least, the perfect example of this perfect paradox of thinking too much. On the one hand, the rituals, teachings, and beliefs of religion, serve to make "thinking" easier regarding morality, death, existence, love, and so on. Hence, a person can rest assured that their life has meaning, that their "salvation" is secured (as well as it can be), and that justice will be meted out to all perfectly in the end.

On the other hand, religion assures that same person that they can only rest their mind…

Fostering Our Dependence on God

One of the great paradoxes almost universally overlooked by stalwart Christian parents the world over, is how such parents strive to teach their children how to be independent in life but dependent in religion, as if the latter is the only and necessary means of obtaining the former. In fact, Conservative Christians loath the idea that anyone should be dependent upon "big government" for anything at all, even as they practically demand that everyone is, and should be, dependent upon God (i.e. their Church and their religion) for everything!

What parent thinks it is best to raise a child to forever need to rely on their parents? What parent thinks the best way to raise a child is by first teaching the child they are flawed and sinful, but by devoting themselves to loving and worshiping them alone, the parent promises to make that child better?  And yet, this is exactly what St. Augustine is applauded for doing to Christians.

Basically, St. Augustine argued that everyone bare…

Of Love & War

So I am watching this movie and before you know it, these two girls start having sex with each other, and it was not a porn movie.

Fifty years ago, or less, people in America would've thrown a public fit about such a scene, but today it's only the staunchly Conservatives Christians who get their feathers all ruffled by it. For them, such scenes are NOT simply a reflection of reality (at least the reality for some people anyway, the way L. A. gang movies represented reality for poor black kids growing up in the ghetto) but intended to lure people into accepting the idea that homosexuality is NOT an abomination, as the Bible claims.

Putting aside the fact that the Bible is responsible for, and brags about, more genocide than Mein Kampf ever was, that such Christians stake their moral convictions on a book in which God repeatedly calls for genocide, the murdering of babies and women, and plenty other blood soaked horrors that makes a book by Stephen King look like a Harlequin ro…

Why God Is All Too Human

If a ant or a gorilla suddenly gained the same sense of self awareness that humans have (and it's not a proven fact that they do not already) would their first questions be, "why am I here?," " where do I come from?" and "what's the meaning of life?"

Well, only if we expect that they think exactly like we do. Consider how much like a human being, human beings presume God to be.

Assuming, or really presuming, that God created human beings is NOT to think like a God, but to think exactly like a human being. After all, if we find a watch, we assume it was made by a watch maker, who happens to be and think exactly like ourselves, at least on some level. And why? Because we "make" things.

Hence, to say "God made everything" is simply to demonstrate how imprisoned by our own human perspective we really are. But would not a species that has no need for making watches imagine a "god" or "gods" in a very different wa…

The Devil's Universe

The theological questions raised by the prospects of a multiverse are as infinite as they are fascinating. Consider this:

Christians and Muslims alike tend to think in a very binary way, as if there is simply this life and the next, and the next is either an eternity in heaven or hell. But the multiverse poses an infinite array of problems to such thinking.

For example, how can we know that the universe we are trapped in is not one that the Devil created behind God's back, and that that's why everything on planet Earth is forced to survive by eating each other?

Maybe Lucifer got kicked out of heaven for demanding to be "like God," because he had, like the Wizards apprentice, stumbled upon the magic necessary for creating universes. Or perhaps, like Egor working with Dr. Frankenstein, he had learned how he could do with the raw materials that make up our physical reality, not simply all of the very same things that Christians "believe" only God himself could…

House of Cards

It's ironic that it was only after people thought up the concept of God that we may have ever started treating each other like the devil.

If you watch House of Cards, what is interesting to notice is how Francis and Claire Underwood are like Adam and Eve, with America being a "garden of Eden" compared to much of the world, and the apple that dangles before them is power; power to hold central control over the Garden of Earth, which was the same power that Satan tempted Christ with in the desert; power to shape perceptions, especially your own, so you can act "like God," by acting like Satan to ensure people "believe" you're their Savior.

Or as Shakespeare put in in Hamlet, "And thus I clothe my naked villainy / With old odd ends stolen forth from holy writ/And seem a saint when most I play the devil."

As such, given the amount of murder and lies that they are willing to engage in, we can also think of the Underwood's as the personific…

On Mistakes

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that "Mistakes are the stuff of which the web of life is made, and he who lives longest only spins out the more of it."

Every single person in history, that we revere, love, and admire today, for their courage to do what was right, started out being hated by the majority. They are like Juror 8 in Twelve Angry Men, played by Henry Fonda, who everyone opposes and some even hate, until he is able to win them over, one by one, to seeing things more clearly, to seeing the "truth."

It is only later in history, from Christ to Martin Luther King or Mohammad Ali, that societies recognize them as hero's for trying to improve humanity. The majority always sees them as an enemy to humanity at the time, however.

So it is with our mistakes, that we often think we are doing something right even when it turns out later to have been a huge mistake. It is often only after an outcome, that we can know whether to label a past decision right or wrong, go…

The Apple Is Every "Sin"

Christian's think the Genesis story in the Bible, about how Adam and Eve disobeyed by eating an apple in the Garden of Eden, only tells about "original sin," when in fact, it is the story of "every sin." And the story of Christ as being about a God who became man to redeem us for that "original sin," when if fact it is also the story of how mankind is God, in a sense, which is why the Catholic's say that "the Body of Christ" is humanity. But in that same sense, humanity is also the devil and the serpent.

Every good and every evil that humanity exhibits and endures, is an act of charity or cruelty that it alone visits upon itself. The story of Christ, in this sense, is simply an allegory, using a "man-God" as a metaphor for mankind, with every drop of blood that drips from "the body of Christ" representing the poor and the oppressed, who all must suffer what they must, at the brutal yet indifferent hands of the powerfu…

What if the Bible is The Serpent's Lie?

What if the very "knowledge" that the serpent promised Adam & Eve they would receive by eating the forbidden fruit from the "tree of knowledge," was the Bible itself? After all, the serpent told them that, by eating that fruit, "they would become like God, knowing right from wrong." And isn't that exactly what the Bible purports to do? 

If you think about it, the claim that the Bible is "infallibly" inspired by God, a "truth" that even the "gates of Hell shall not prevail agaisnt," then why has the Church worked so hard to prevent anyone from challenging what it says?

Like the famous scene in A Few Good Men, where Tom Cruise asks Jack Nickolson's character, "If you gave an order that Private Santiago wasn't to be touched, and soldiers always follow your orders, then why was there any need to transfer Santiago off the base? Why the two orders?" why would God declare that "the gates of hell would…

Why the Bible Flood is to Blame for All Genocide

In the Bible, God decided that the people he had created, addled with the stain of "original sin" that He chose to allow them all to be born with, were just too "evil" to be allowed to live. So he decided to kill them all.

Christians want people not to think too much about this, of course, because even though God must have fully known he would eventually murder all of the people he had created with a great flood, God's "righteousness" is always far greater than any system of "universal natural law" that He offends in exercising it. Praise Jesus!

What God does by killing all of the sinful bastards he had created with a flood, is set an example that he clearly demands his subsequent "children" must follow. After all, Jesus even tells us that, to avoid the fires of hell, we must strive to always "be like God." That the serpent in the Garden of Eden tempted Adam & Eve to engage in the "original sin" using the ex…

Why Set Adam and Eve up to Fail?

IN response to the question, "Why set Adam and Eve up to fail?," a Christian replied: Skeptics often complain that God set Adam and Eve up to fail. However, God had to give Adam and Eve a choice. Without free will to choose, Adam and Eve would have been mere puppets. True love always requires choice. God wanted Adam and Eve to choose to love and trust Him. The only way to give this choice would have been to command something that was not allowed.Since God had planted in the garden all the different trees from which we now get fruit,1 the test was not too difficult. Adam and Eve had plenty to eat and a large variety of fruits from which to choose, and could have chosen to believe God. They were only commanded not to eat from one tree out of the many.

RESPONSE:

What must be noticed about this answer is how truly insane you have to be to believe it.

What this answers boils down to, in short, is that God - the most perfect, loving, caring father ever! - basical…

It is Not the Lie of Christianity That Bothers Me

It is not the "lie" of Christianity that bothers me. It is the insult to one's intelligence, and the attempt to "gas light" someone into believing they are suffering from some mental defect, if they are unwilling to accept that their invisible soul is marred by an invisible cancer, that can only be healed by an invisible God,  who they are partially responsibly for murdering, who the local witch-doctor/priest can communicate with as if through an invisible walkie-talkie, so that they won't end up roasting like a pig at God's everlasting pig roast in the sky.

 And if you are unable to make sense of this story, that is so obviously "true" that the only people who would even ever THINK to question it are those who MUST be in league with Lucifer,  it is because, as the bible says so plainly, God has decided NOT to give you "the gift of faith." In other words, if you can't "believe" the Bible story is true, that your eternal…

On Truth

Religions all claim that their "beliefs" are "the truth," and the people who "believe" these claims never once care to consider how often a "belief" is so often different from, and even the opposite of, the meaning of the word "truth."

But despite the fact that "truth" and "beliefs" are so often direct opposites, this does not give a single person who knows there is a difference a moments pause in their willingness to conflate one for the other. Ironically, they are the FIRST to scream and shout at the top of their lungs, if ever they suspect anyone else is daring to do the same thing, mind you; but that never seems to bother them.

If the Christian gets up and says their "beliefs" about sex, sexuality, gender, marriage, Jesus, original sin, heaven & hell, God, the Bible, the Devil, and so on, are all "the truth," they take offense to anyone who is awake enough to point out that "beliefs&…

The Crucifix & The Power of Our Confirmation Bias

If you have ever looked at a crucifix without the lens of your own confirmation bias, the only thing you see is a torture device depicting the brutal murder of a man. People pile into churches around the world and stare at this ghoulish piece of art, convinced that it is a celebration of their salvation. And in this way, it is the most obvious example of just how truly powerful a person's confirmation bias really is, and how that bias can be used to make people see whatever it is you want them to see.

There is no doubt that anyone who was NOT a christian already, who was presented with any image of a person being savagely murdered using any number of horrific murder devices - like a machine gun, an electric chair, an iron maiden, the rack, a pack of lions, or a crucifix - would naturally and automatically be horrified at the thought that any of these such devices were hung on the wall of someone who knew a loved one who had been put to death by any of them.

This would be even of t…

Metamorphsis

I am in the process of metamorphosis, but in the opposite direction of Kafka or Buffalo Bill. 
In this process, it is interesting to notice the irony of how much of a comfort zone is made up of caring about what other people think. Yet the professional, and all those encumbered by the pursuit of their career, are often forced to cultivate the latter so that they may "rest in peace" in the former. 
And all those who fail to do the same, no matter how much of a coffin it proves to be to the flourishing of their own soul, are seen as heretics by "Christians" and political conservatives who everywhere proclaim, without a hint of irony, that the liberty of the individual is paramount.
Remarkable!
Such a thought is hardly worth the effort to write it down, especially so far beyond the meridian of midnight, but I have often found myself set upon by a thought that will not let me rest until I have pried its gnawing teeth from my mind and set them to paper. And h…

On the My Lai Massacre, Manson, & Muslim Terrorists

The My Lai massacre happened in March of 1968, when a US company of soldiers in Vietnam savagely murdered around 500 defenseless innocent civilians, most of whom were women and children. The US soldiers, who had been traumatized by the brutalities of the Vietnam War for months prior to the mission into My Lai, had gone into the village under the assumption that they were about the meet the enemy who had been picking them off one by one for so long.

But they had bad intelligence. The Viet Cong soldiers who they thought they were about to finally engage in battle, and whom they thought they would finally be able to take out their anger and frustration on, was no where near that village of My Lai. But when the soldiers who had gone into the village, guns a blazing, discovered that they had reason to suspect the information they were working with was wrong, most kept killing the people in the village anyway. That's what the trauma of war does to people.

This was the case with soldiers…

Bernie Madoff, Pascal's Wager, & The Ponzi Scheme of Salvation

Bernie Madoff made off with a lot of people's money by running a $50 billion ponzi scheme. A ponzi scheme is when you basically take money from one guy and give it to another. You do this by convincing both that they're both making money in the process. You use their "greed," in other words, to entice them.

Basically, you convince people that their initial investment is steadily earning them ever more money, even though it isn't. In some ways, if you actually understand that "money" is not actually based on anything but people's "faith" in it, the entire global financial system is really just an extremely elaborate system of self-replicating ponzi schemes.

This shouldn't be surprising to anyone. The "faith" that leads the entire financial system to bilk the whole world (it hides the worst of it's effects either by minimizing our view of it via media etc, or it blames what misery we do see on everything but itself) is the…

Extremism vs Terrorism: How Language Is Used to Cultivate Conformity

If you watch CNN, or pay attention to nearly any news outlet, you may notice how often the words "extremism" and "terrorism" are used interchangeably. But they not the same thing.

Using the two interchangeably, however, creates the impression that anyone who is the former must therefore be the latter, and vice versa. Keeping in mind the difference is important to understanding how the deliberate use of these two words as being synonymous is used to cultivate conformity.

Terrorism, after all, is the willingness to engage in violence and bloodshed in order to scare people into accepting an idea or to engage in some action. 9/11, for example, was an act of "terrorism" perpetrated on the US by Muslims who, depending on who you believe, either wanted the US out of Saudi Arabia or for America to accept Islam. (If you believe the alternate interpretation, it was a "false flag" perpetrated by the US on itself, for the purpose of blaming Obama Bin Laden,…

Why The Bible is a Polemic Against Religion

People see the Bible as being the basis for religion, especially the "big three:" Judaism, Christianity, & Islam.

I, however, see the Bible as being nothing but a sustained polemic agaisnt religion.

From the idea that the "apple" that the Serpent gave Adam & Eve to eat, which the serpent promised them would make them "like God knowing right from wrong," was religion itself, to the idea that the story of Christ on the cross is simply an adaptation of the story of the "serpent in the tree of knowledge," religion has been sold by soothsayers as the "truth that will set us free," even though it is simply a "belief" that is used to keep people in bondage.

Aside from the fact that a "belief" is often the very opposite of "truth," organized religions  are simply man made institutions, like a labor union, a corporation, or a government, which ALL claim to be working to improve the lives of its members, and…

UFOs & Apparations of The Virgin Mary

Some people claim to have seen UFOs, other's claim to have seen the Virgin Mary. How the hell should we tell which of these claims are true, especially since there is far more evidence for the former than the latter?

And if both claims are true, what are we to make of that?

Those who claim to have seen God, or the Virgin Mary, or any other such apparitions (how come people never claim to have apparitions of Mohammad or Moses, and so on?), are often convinced that they have been chosen to then enforce the rules of the religion she is associated with. But how could such people ever know that they were not simply the subject of an elaborate experiment/hoax/fraud, that managed only to fool them into believing they had seen the Virgin Mary, instead of having actually seen her?

The only answer such people can offer, of course, if "faith," which is just about the flimsiest answer anyone could ever offer to anyone else.

What should a person make of such an experience? Assuming t…

Being Judged For Your Beliefs

According to religion, the whole point of our entire life boils down to whether we held the right beliefs, and whether we did the best we could in allowing those beliefs to guide us in making decisions that were pleasing enough to the almighty "Creator" who presumably made us, that he would, out of mercy for our earnest efforts, have the heart not to throw us into the eternal fires of a blast furnace. 
That he created us in such a way that both He and we knew fully well that it was impossible for such flawed beings as ourselves to ever live up to the moral perfection He demands we spend our whole life aspiring to reach, only makes such a quest a fools errand at best, and an act of pure futility at worst. Since we know we can never achieve such a goal, we are left to hope "in fear and trembling" that we are judged to have at least exerted enough effort to win us the mercy of a heavenly father who, so the Bible tells us, created us so flawed to begin with that we ar…

To Live With Your Fiance or Not: Taking Off the Training Wheels

My neice, at a precocious age of only 22 and in pursuit of her masters degree, recently moved to a different state far away from that of her parents. In doing so, she was forced to decide if she was going to live with her fiance (of fiancee?) or not. And what is interesting about her dilemma, at least too me anyway, is how much religion contributed to making that decision weigh upon her head like a crown of thorns. 

Her parents are pretty Roman Catholic in their beliefs, as is she more or less, and although they imparted upon their daughter their religion as well as their wishes concerning the matter, they decided it was high time  they trusted her to make that decision for herself.

To do otherwise, they concluded, was like teaching someone to ride a bike using training wheels, which are essentially what all of the lessons our parents impart to us during childhood amount to, until the parent becomes convinced that riding a bike without such training wheels is altogether too dangerous…

An Atheist's Interpretation of the Bible

When you're a "believer," you tend to simply accept what it is you're told to "believe" about the stories in the Bible. But if you stop simply "believing" what people tell you to believe, and risk going to hell if you choose to think for yourself about such stories, you begin to see the stories in the Bible in very different ways indeed.  And it's particularly interesting if you think about what the Bible may actually have to say about religion itself.

Take for example the Story of Adam  & Eve. Traditionally, "believers" see this story as an example of the fall of humanity from God's grace, and all because we wanted to be like God. John Milton, in Paradise Lost, describes Lucifer's fall from heaven in the same terms. What's more, if you think about it, Christ was crucified by the Sanhedrin after being blamed for pretty much the same thing.  And today, Christians preach that we must all be like Christ (i.e. like God) t…