Tuesday, May 30, 2017

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 not prevail agaisnt his Church," even as His Church unleashed the gates of hell agaisnt anyone who challenged its authority?  

Isn't God working behind the scenes to ensure it's "truths" are never corrupted? Why must there be Inquisitions, and the burning and torturing of heretics, and above all, a clear historical willingness by the Catholic Church (and then the protestants right after) to treat anyone who challenges their authority and their "truth" with all of the violence that the Sanhedrin helped to inflict on Christ himself?

Again, if the Church wasn't in any danger, much like Nicholson's character said of Priv. Santiago, then why was there ever a need to defend the Church with Inquisitions, torture, accusations of heresy, and even Crusades and excommunications? And if the Church really has such a bat phone to God, how could they have misunderstood something that was so blatantly contradictory, and for so very long at that ? 

Would not only a LIE, one that was not in fact actually being safeguarded by the most powerful and lone creator of the entire universe, require such violence and blood sacrifice to defend it? Why would God want people to simply throw away the "gift of life" for the mere sake of proving that they could not possibly be wrong, or even be as fallible as other human beings, in asserting that they are "infallible" in their "beliefs" in their religion and their God?
 
In short, according to the Bible, Christianity is a story where the first half is about Dr. Frankenstein, the second half is about Dracula, and it all comes to a crashing end in a Zombie Apocalypse.   But putting aside all of that, Christians never even consider that the interpretation of the Bible that people are told, indeed forced, to accept as "true," could ever be false. In fact, it is heretical to even suggest such a thing. What better way to convince people you could not be lying then to threaten them with death and eternal damnation for even thinking as much?

If Christians were not so afraid to consider the true meaning and intentions behind their sacred texts, perhaps they might suspect that their God was such a homicidal maniac, as we see so clearly in the Old Testament and the even in His willingness to brutally murder his own son,  that Adam & Eve ate the forbidden fruit with the sole hope of escaping his Orwellian omnipresence. Perhaps, in other words, eating that fruit was the only hope they had of ever obtaining anything that felt like real freedom.

 In fact, Christian apologists argue that God placed the poison tree in the garden of Eden in the first place, for the express reason of testing our "freedom" to disobey him. And given his genocidal nature, which is catalogued in the Old Testament and redoubled by Christians in their interpretation of the New, it seems like it would have been a far greater sin to have refused to disobey such a God. Not disobeying God, in other worlds, is like Erwin Rommel not disobeying Hitler.

And if that is the case, then the Book of Revelation is, in fact, the Book of Genesis, and the story of Jesus is simply what happened to Adam and Eve for daring to exercise as much "freedom" of thought as Jesus had.  

Monday, May 29, 2017

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 exact same desire, is always ignored by Christians.

Hence, to be like God is break the rules, in short. It is to kill anyone who fails to be live up to the standard that God (or his "believers") command people must live up to.

So, when the serpent said to Adam & Eve that by eating the fruit of that tree "they would become like God," what he meant was that by NOT obeying the rules, they would become like God, since God so clearly ignores the moral laws that he commands his human subjects to obey. That's why God can kill everyone o the planet and still be loved by people who call Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot "evil" for essentially doing the same thing. Ergo, to be like God is to ignore the rules set by God, since that is what God has always done.

For such "believers," the greatest sin in the world, and in fact all of the worlds problems, are always the result of people failing to "be like God." And as such, those "believers" believe it is their responsibility to correct such ungodly behaviors, by "being like God" themselves, and murdering the "unbelievers" in mass.

This is clearly what the Old Testament taught, and the Christians who based their "beliefs" on being like their God, Jesus, only ever strive to surpass the genocide of the Old Testament using the latest technology that God had helped humanity to produce.

Hence, to "be like God" is to kill all those who are not "being like God," which is exactly what God did with the flood in the first place. And every genocide that has ever followed is clearly the exercise of children who are only ever trying to "be like God" so they can save themselves from the hell that their Holy Father has prepared for them for failing to do so.

Oh Glory Glory gory gory hallelujah!  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

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! - basically HAD to put a poison tree in the middle of the perfect Garden he had created for his children to TEST their obedience.

In other words, God was treating his innocent human children like dogs.

That God could have chosen to simply NOT put such a tree in such a garden - which is what ANY half decent, half sane, father would do! -  is out of the question. God MUST know that the humans he created, who must ALL learn to be INDEPENDENT from their parents, and dependence upon their governments (which is why socialism and communism are so hated by Christians, generally), but must ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be DEPENDENT upon God.

But - IT'S NOT EVEN GOD THAT CHRISTIAN ARE SAYING PEOPLE MUST BE DEPENDENT UPON!! ITS HIS EARTH BOUND, MAN MADE, CHURCH!

That Christians can hate big government, and unions, and demand that people must learn to be independent, and all the rest, while at the same time demanding that people must always DEPEND upon God, which really means they must DEPEND upon one Church or another, only proves how effective a "confirmation bias" is at hiding the plank in our own eye while making us so painfully aware of the splinter in everyone else's.



Saturday, May 27, 2017

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 soul MUST believe in to be "saved" (from God, no less), it is because God has prevented you from being able to do so. And because He has, he intends to send you to hell for forever. (Seriously...WTF is wrong with these people?????)

Christians then cover up this blatant "gas lighting" by couching it in terms of "needing" to believe, so people can have hope, be moral, and treat each other like human beings. In other words, for the Christian, human beings are worse than animals, but for their ability to "believe" in a story about a man-God we supposedly murdered in one of the most gruesome ways we could think of.

And thank God we did! For by butchering that man to death, we proved how worthy of God's love later generations could truly feel confident they were!

Anyone who bothers to ask any questions about this, or point out how truly insane anyone would have to be to believe it is "necessary" to avoid carnage here on earth (despite the fact Christianity has managed to surpass even the genocides perpetrated by the Israelites in the Old Testament) and eternal torment in the next life, is then treated as if they are missing a screw or something.

This is why they try and teach it to children, since children are far less likely to question their elders, not only because they have certainly not developed the ability to spot the contradictions and logical inconsistencies in such a story, but because the entire experience of the child is to OBEY their parents. In fact, it's actually one of the major Commandments!

Hence, to disobey your parent, who simply insists that you MUST "believe" such a story, so the child is taught, is actually a SIN that could land that child in hell forever!

This, and the fact that the entire story is designed, not as one might think a perfect and loving parent (i.e.  God) might write a story, but as a maniac who locks girls in his basement for sex like Ariel Castro did. It preys upon their fear and their sympathy for a tortured innocent man, and uses the unbelievable trauma of that man to illicit an emotional response, and to "guilt" that person into accepting such a story as "true."

So, FIRST, the parent teaches their child that it is a SIN to disobey them. THEN, those same parents teach their child that they must BELIEVE in a story of betrayal and murder, that only happened because people refused to BELIEVE in God.

How is this not the most masterful means of manipulation the devil could ever have come up with? And worse, how is it that "intelligent" and educated adults, feel compelled to impose this story on others, even by convincing those children who dare to doubt that it makes perfect sense that they are risking eternal damnation by doing so?

And all so those parents can simply feel comforted by a "belief" that they have become so emotionally addicted to and dependent upon - one that they necessarily derive all their meaning for life from and use to define their entire identity by - that for them to even consider that such a "belief" may not in fact be the same thing as "truth," often only provokes in them the same response Regan McNeil had in the movie The Exorcist, when Fr. Karrass duped her into believing the tap water he was sprinkling on her was holy water.

She writhed in pain and agony, for those who have not seen the movie, and screamed in a demonic voices, "it burns, it burns!!"

Mention to a christian that their "beliefs" do not mean they are "infallible" in their claims, nor are they necessarily the same thing as "the truth," and they often have the very same response. And they tend to do so, because the horrifying story of Christ's passion is specifically designed to use a person's amygdala - that part of the brain that controls our emotions and communicates information faster than the reasoning part of our brain called the cerebral cortex - to short circuit their ability to think rationally about their "beliefs," let alone admit to themselves how truly human and thus fallible they really are, and even less about the how they are only addling their children's mind by forcing them to be as emotionally dependent upon such a "belief" as they are.  

Worst of all, however, is the fact that every single Christian on the planet, throughout history, would NEVER accept or allow such brainwashing and emotional manipulation to be imposed upon them or their children, if it was being done in the name of anything else BUT Christianity.

Friday, May 26, 2017

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" are not necessarily "truths." In fact, most people who have dared to point this out in the past, end up like Jesus did when he dared to try and point out the difference to the Sanhedrin.

Hence, Christianity is a religion that most "believers" follow, not by actually striving to "be like Christ," but by "believing" they are "being like Christ" by treating anyone who dares to point out that their Christian "beliefs" are NOT in fact "infallible truths," the exact same way the Sanhedrin treated Christ.

 This is especially problematic when you consider that there is NO WAY to EVER actually prove the claims offered by Christians that their "beliefs" are, in fact, undeniable "infallible truth."

And since Christians CANNOT prove their claim, they then begin to argue from the usefulness of "believing" it is true.

They claim that it makes old people feel better to believe it is true, and makes people more altruistic than they otherwise might be, since people are such selfish bastards by nature, according to Christians. But not only are such claims not necessarily true, they also conveniently side step the whole question of DOES TRUTH MATTER? 

Christians will argue that miracles prove that God is real, and that their "beliefs" - which they only worship like a Golden calf - are therefore "true." But are they?

If people actually get better from a disease because they "believe," does that necessarily mean the "beliefs" must therefore be true? Actually, no, not at all.

The placebo effect, for example, has been studied extensively, and shows how the mere power of a person's "beliefs" can alter a person physiologically. But that does NOT mean that there is a God, or a personal Jesus somewhere, that is actually listening to a person's prayers, and then intervening "supernaturally" (if selectively) to "cure" whatever illness they may have. It may only mean that the person was able to effect themselves though those beliefs.

Now, it is true that this is "miraculous" in some respects, but to claim that it therefore proves there is a God, or that the "beliefs" must therefore be true, is to DENY that it could be possible that the "cure" was simply the result of the "belief" itself, not from an outside force that was "believed in."

The question then, is DOES TRUTH MATTER? Does it matter whether we KNOW if the belief itself caused the cure, or whether the belief caused God to intervene and cure? The latter situation is obviously far, far more troubling to consider, even though the Christian finds it more comforting. For if the latter is true, than God is deciding to intervene, extremely infrequently, even though He could do so more often if He wished.
Talk about cruel beyond belief! You have a better chance of winning the lottery 100 times in a row than you do at getting God to cure you.

What kind of a doctor chooses NOT to heal the majority of patients in his hospital, even though he has the medicine to cure them all, simply because he concludes that they do not sufficiently "believe" he can do it?

In either case, the "truth" of the "belief" remains in question, especially since we have so much more evidence that it is simply the "belief" that contributes to helping people, NOT the existence of a God that intervenes to help them as a reward for having the belief. Otherwise, "belief" in God is just like having OnStar services, only you have to win the lottery for them to actually answer a call from a stranded customer. And most of the time, it seems no one's even monitoring the phones anyway.

 And anyone who claims that their "beliefs" are the "truth," is therefore clearly lying.And ANY Christian who willingly sells their "beliefs" as "the truth" is simply engaging in a deception. They just refuse to ask themselves - who is the father of lies?

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 those who's loved one's had been crucified. Imagine that a person is a Christian today, but that their son or daughter had been put to death via crucifixion, if such executions still went on. How truly insane would it seem to us to then walk into their home and find a crucifix, or even just a cross, hanging on their wall?

How would they be able to look at such an item and separate it from the notion of their own child being put to death on it, simply because they "believed" it symbolized Christ's triumph over death itself?

This is like early Christians keeping a picture of a pack of lions to commemorate all those Christians who were fed to the lions, or the parents of those killed at Columbine keeping an assault rifle on their wall, to remind them that their child was murdered after being asked if they believed in God, or even the parents of someone who was wrongly put to death by electrocution in Texas keeping a small model of an electric chair on their mantle. 

But these facts, that no Christian would dispute, do not a single thing to change the mind of a single Christian anywhere, of the importance of having a crucifix or a cross in their home, in their church, or even around their neck, to always remind them of the sacrifice that was made for them by Jesus, their sith lord and savoir.

Even if you point out that the use of such an icon is not only supposedly forbidden by their own religion, but that it is awfully manipulative as well, since it uses the trauma of such an event to hook a person emotionally - effectively "guilting" that person into feeling that only a truly heartless or "evil" person would not be moved to accepting Christ as their savior, given the amount of suffering He suffered for them - even as it bypasses their capacity for rational thought.

The "power" of such an image is held in front of a person to remind them of how grateful they should be for the suffering that Jesus went through. A weekend of such suffering does not compare, however, to those who linger in pain and agony for months or even years, with diseases and other aliments that the good God above sees fit to inflict people with.

But, none of that matters to the Christian, of course, since the single most important thing in life, as far as they are concerned, is the need to focus exclusively on an instrument of death and suffering that is designed to keep them distracted from ever noticing that they would NEVER do such a thing, for any other person or idea or religion or belief, were it not for their confirmation bias.

  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

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 having done so, I can cast them into the bottom of that infernal well of information we call the internet, and like that cursed spirit from The Ring, they then may rise again to torture someone else's dreams instead of my own.

If all of this sounds only too much like the mere musings of a maniac, which of course they are, it is probably because I have read too much of Poe, and now hear the beating heart of each idea beneath the floor boards of every other endeavor I engage in. And as I lay me down to sleep, they swarm in murmuration, tapping, tapping at my cranial door, cast into my tormented mind from the nights Plutonian shore.

 And like the Tell Tale Heart, if I do not rip up those boards and share them with at least one other person - which happens to be you this evening, unfortunately - I am haunted by the thought that I have murdered a thought, not by having smothered it with a pillow, but by simply laying my head upon one.

So now to bed I must go, lest another one comes calling that is even more fanged and garrulous than the one I have just imparted to the world. And with it's cursed claws and clanging teeth, robs me of that nepenthe that keeps the shadows of "could of, would of, and should of been" at bay. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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 returning to their counties after WW I, and with American soldiers who brutally raped and murdered hundreds of thousand of German civilians as reprisals for the Concentration camps discovered after WW II.

In August of 1969, Charles Manson directed his "family" to murder 7 defenseless innocent people in Los Angles, California, in a murder spree that shocked the nation.

Lieutenant William Calley, Jr., who consistently claimed during his trail for the My Lai massacre, that he was simply following the orders of his commanding officer, Captain Medina, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison on March 29, 1971, after being found guilty of premeditated murder of not fewer than twenty people.

On that same day, March 29, 1971,  Manson, and three "family members" - Patrica Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins and  Leslie Van Houten - received the death penalty for the murders they had committed. 

But while many Americans applauded the outcome of the Manson trial, they protested in the streets about the conviction of Lieutenant Calley. So much so, in fact, that two days after Cally's conviction, President Richard Nixon released Calley from custody at Fort Benning, Georgia, and put him under house arrest instead, pending appeal of his sentence. After 3 1/2 years under house arrest, including 3 months in a disciplinary barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Calley was paroled by the Sec. of the Army, Howard Callaway. 

The contrast between these two events illustrates the power of perspective to define two different acts of murder, the first being far worse in many respects, in very different terms. While the murders of Manson were seen by Americans as inexcusably evil (much like acts of terrorism by Muslims), the murders committed by American soldiers at My Lai, it was thought by many Americans, needed to be understood within the larger context of the Viet Nam conflict overall. 

It was easy for people to see Manson and those who killed for him as monsters of evil, of course, because people in general had no connection to them, and what they did was so unquestionably evil. But what American soldiers did at My Lai was not so simple, because Americans had a really hard time seeing their own soldiers as capable of committing "evil."  Although it was easier to see this at Abu Graib, for example, in 1971, American's were not as willing to simply accept the "few bad apples" excuse.

Hence, the former was evil and thus did evil for evils sake, while the latter was clearly not evil (as far as Americans were concerned) and therefore, whatever "evil" they may have engaged in must have been the result of the evil situation around them. 

Today, some people try to understand "Muslim terrorists" in the  same way Americans tried to understand what prompted the American soldiers at My Lai, while others see Muslim terrorists as no different than the Manson Family.  Some see that those American soldiers should never have been sent to My Lai in the first place, not only because the intelligence they were acting on was wrong, but because America was only in Vietnam because of the Gulf of Tonkin lie to begin with. Others think that, regardless of the lie of Tonkin or the bad intelligence, those soldiers were responsible for what they did, in this life or the next. 

But however one chooses to think about the My Lai massacre or the Manson Family murders, what is interesting to note is how often we change the perspective we are using to interpret just how "evil" we conclude either was, and perhaps for no other reason than because of how we think one does or does not reflect something about ourselves.   

And more importantly, it is useful to think about which lens we chose to use in our interpretation of not only Muslim terrorism, but of American aggression employed in response to it. 

 





 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

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 same "faith" that religion has always used to convince people they should, or must, subscribe to a "belief" that their "sins" can only be forgiven by a "God."

It just so happens that that "God" can only best do all of the forgiving we need, so that we all have at least the chance (and it's only a "chance) to avoid hell and reach heaven, by our willingness to subscribe to, join, and even contribute money to, a completely man-made "Church" here on earth.

That a "god" who decided to give us all the "stain of original sin" as a birth right, but decided NOT to either withhold that "sin" (as he proved he could do by doing so partially with Mary and entirely with Jesus) or at least include we also be born with the very "forgiveness" we require to "save" our souls from the hell he had created for us, should alone illicit the skepticism of anyone who has not chosen to simply check their ability to reason at the doors of their temple or cathedral.

Instead, according to the priests who have such a deep and sacred knowledge of God's mysterious ways and means, God wants us all to ultimately obtain "His" forgiveness by joining the right "Church" and subscribing to the right "religion" or "beliefs."

In other words, God wanted to create not only a means of obtaining spiritual salvation for the disease (i.e original sin) he saw fit to infect us with at birth, but more importantly, he also wanted to create an earthly institution that would provide his "professional priestly class" with a means of life long employment. And a retirement package out of this world!

And to encourage people to subscribe to this idea that God wanted his super natural dispensation of forgiveness dispensed by a professional class of priests, God saw fit to provide the world with Pascal's wager, which basically says "it's better to believe in God and be wrong, than NOT to believe in God and be wrong."

That's because, so the thinking goes, if you believe in God but you're wrong, then no real harm is done, while if you do NOT believe in God and you're wrong, you could end up in hell for eternity.

Aside from the necessary emotional terrorism that such a wager relies on to coerce people into accepting the whole racket of beliefs, none of which can or has ever been established as "true," it also ropes people into a spiritual ponzi scheme through fear.

The ponzi scheme of religion, then, is to convince people that a life lived in fear of a God is the same thing as a life lived in love with that same God. And even though religion claims to be offering people "the truth" about God and everything else, even if that turns out to be wrong (they won't admit that it could be "a lie," even though that is what it would actually be), a person is still better for having believed it anyway.

I doubt a single person who's children were molested by a priest, let alone the thousands of those who were molested as well, would actually agree with Pascals's claim that it is simply better to believe and be wrong, then not believe and be wrong. Because obviously, had they or their parents NOT BELIEVED, they would not have been raped by those priests who simply claim it is better to believe than not.

How then can a person claim to be "saving up riches in heaven," if it turns out there's no heaven whatsoever? How many people have been murdered and mutilated for God? Can a single one of them be justified if there really is NO GOD? Do all of the old women who pray in Church on Sunday somehow compensate for all of the evil that religion has done in the world, especially if there is no God at all, and all of their prayers are for nothing?

But even excusing all of that as simply the by product of "original sin," how can anyone claim that a life lived believing in a God that isn't (or may not) be there, especially when religion boasts of only offering it's "believers" of such an idea the undiluted, unvarnished "TRUTH," could be better than one lived without such a belief hamstringing their every decision about EVERYTHING they might ever choose to do?

How many relationships have ended over differences of beliefs, how many life choices might have been made differently had people NOT become so obsessed about God that they chose to focus all or most of their energies into "believing" that they are destined for a better life in the hereafter for having suffered the misery of the life here on earth? And what about the amount of suffering and personal denial of passion that people forgo, all because they believe that doing so will net them a much greater reward in Heaven for doing so? And so much more.

Like Bernine Madoff's son Mark, if there is a God and Jesus was his son, then perhaps the suicide of Christ was intended not as an atonement for the sins of men, but for the sins of His father, for having created a spiritual ponzi scheme that allowed for as much confusion, hatred, and murder in the name of Our Father, who art in heaven.... hollowed be thy name..." 


 

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, so as to expand National surveillance by the shadow gov't in the US and to justify military action in the Middle east to control more oil.)

Either interpretation of "terrorism" confirms that "violence" is being used to advance an agenda, regardless of who is it engaging in that violence, and however it is engaged in.

Terrorism can obviously be considered "extremism," in some ways, but "extremism" itself is simply any ideas that may seem "extreme" to the what is considered "normal" to a majority. If ISIS wants everyone to wear a burqa or the NRA wants everyone to own a gun, for example, such ideas would be "extreme" compared to the majority.

If the NRA or ISIS engage in violence to try and advance their "extremist" agendas, that would be "terrorism." So even if you hate the NRA, and consider them to be "extremists" in some ways, that does not mean the NRA are a bunch of terrorists. (As far as I know, the NRA has never engaged in any actions that could ever be considered "terrorist" activities. But I have never done any research on that. So lets just assume they never have, and never will, for the sake of this comparison.)

ISIS, however, is an "extremist" group of thinkers who HAVE engaged in "terrorist" activities, on the other hand.

But to use the terms interchangeably is to eventually conflate the two in the minds of a passive audience, who watches the tube in an almost hypnotic state. The danger then, is that anyone who wishes to express an idea that is NOT within the 'norm' of society, can come to be seen as an extremist, and by extension a terrorist.

And when just expressing ideas that challenge or fall afoul of the general consensus becomes synonymous with an act of terrorism, you know you are living in a time and place that is really only interested in cultivating conformity.

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 the world overall. The priest and the politician, for example, both sell their constituents "hope," the former of a better world through stricter moral adherence and salvation as a reward for sticking to it, and the latter a better country and economy and security from all our enemies.

This is the nature of slavery, of course, that we accept out bondage under the ruse that those who seek to enslave us are really only trying to save us, from one threat or another.  And there is no better more effective way of convincing people of this than getting them to subscribe to a religion.

Charles Colcock Jones's book, How To Make A Negro Christian, described how converting African slaves to Christianity would make them more submissive to authority.  It would also lead them to be more accepting of their slavery, and the countless miseries that go along with it, by getting them to defer their desires for "freedom" until the next life, where their willingness to submit to their master's will in this one would be eternally rewarded by God.

And in the same way St. Augustine explained that those who converted to Christianity under torture were always the most ardent defenders of the very faith that had committed the torture, so the abuse visited upon the African slaves has produced a zeal for Christianity in the African American community today.

This effect, however, could be seen in the Hebrews as well. In the same way the Hebrews had been tortured and brutalized into accepting the will of the Pharaohs only to later re-enslave themselves to the Pharisees through their religion (which at that point operated in similar fashion to the religion of the Egyptians during the days of their enslavement), so Christians today recreated the very ark of that enslavement in the form of Christianity.  

And in the same way Moses had gone to free his people and David slew Goliath with a stone, so Christ was like both Moses who had come to lead ALL PEOPLE from the bondage of "religious beliefs", and the stone hurled at the Goliath of organized religion. The idea of his resurrection was probably not a literal one, but a recognition that no matter how many people the Catholic Church kills to protects its power and its authority, much like the Sanhedrin had done to Christ, so there will always be others who will rise up to question the lies that organized religions use to bilk their gullible "believers."



Friday, May 19, 2017

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 the person who claims to have seen Mary actually did, in fact, see her, what should the person who hears this then take away from such an experience?

They might naturally wonder why Mary had not appeared to them as well. Did she appear to the first person because that person needed it more, or less, than the person she did not appear to?

If the first person reaches heaven and the second "non-seeer" ends up in hell, what might that tell us of the decision of Mary (Or God) to have given the first person the vision and not the second?

Is the person who is healed from a disease by "a miracle," more likely to devote themselves to their religion than the person who was not? And if so, why the special treatment for the one and not the other? Especially if it results in the former having the stronger faith that helps them to avoid hell in the final judgement than the latter.

The whole system seems incredibly unfair, on the one hand, and impossible to make any sense of, on the other.

But the only thing more entertaining than listening to people who have seen UFOs call those who claim to have seen the Virgin Mary "crazy," is listening to those who claim to have seen the Virgin Mary calling those who have claimed to have seen UFOs crazy.

At least those who have seen UFOs are not demanding that the only reason the world is going to shit is because homosexuals are allowed to kiss in public and on television, and are even demanding that they stop being treated like moral lepers by all those who claim to have seen the ghost of Mother Mary.


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 are all quite deserving of hell from the moment we are born. 

Aside from the fact that God could've made us with any number of improvements, especially after the flood when Humanity 1.0 proved to be such a miserable failure that God chose to reboot all of humanity through an act of global waterboarding, He simply chose to make us in exactly the same way He had the first time, complete with all of the same flaws. I can think of no engineer, scientist, or builder, even one who is as flawed as even the worst of human beings, who would engage in the insanity of continually seeking a better outcome by creating the exact same things that proved so disastrous the first time around. 

But this is exactly the kind of God Christians and Muslims the world over, worship as wise beyond human understanding, even though the atheist is not afraid to admit that such a "creator" is either a fool or simply insane. And worse, it is this very "Creator" who seeks a better outcome by building the same broken humanity, an outcome He knows full well from the outset, that will sit in judgement of whether we held the right beliefs, and devoted ourselves to them with enough sincerity and effort to warrant being spared an eternity inside of an oven at Dachau.  

All of this, so any priest or true believer will tell you, comes down to having the right "beliefs." And not just the "beliefs" about how to treat each other with love, empathy, compassion, charity, and respect, but beliefs about God and "Jesus" more specifically. Indeed, religion seeks to convince the world that it is only by holding these latter beliefs about God, and these beliefs alone, that could ever succeed in turning the majority of humanity from the Mr. Hyde we were all born to be, into the Dr. Jekyll that Jesus wants us all to become, through our obstinate obsession with him and him alone. 

And on the final day of judgment, where we are judged by the very sociopath who refuses to ever practice what he preaches, and who everywhere ignores the morality he demands that everyone else must follow, God will determine our fate on something as ethereal and transient, something as unverifiable and incalculable (at least to us), as simply our "beliefs."  This, even though there is no way for anyone to ever actually prove what is in their head, or even necessarily argue for why they "believed" they were acting on those beliefs as best they could, agaisnt a God who had simply decided that we had failed to live up to the standard he demanded. 

Indeed, to believe that God will judge us and our "beliefs" justly is to believe that God's Inquisition of our life and the contents of our head and heart, will be more just than the Inquisitions conducted by his Holy Catholic Church. Apparently Christians the world over never consider what they will do or say if that God, like Torquemada, decides we had not only failed to live up to his unobtainable standard to his liking, but that we were not worthy of his forgiveness either. 

For the "true believer," it is only at this point that they might seek to question the "beliefs" that they had spent their whole life defending, even if they had failed to do so with enough zeal to please their God enough to avoid being thrown into the fires of hell. But at that point, so their Bible tells them, it will be too late.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

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 activity to ever trust their child to do, even after that child has long since become an adult.

 But that is precisely what such rules are, after all. The rules of, "no sex before marriage," for example, that Catholics and others insist are moral benchmarks that must be upheld, lest a person's soul be flung by God into an eternal hell for daring to engage in something as sinful as being perfectly human, are simply a guide of practicality, not garlands of garlic strung together to protect one's soul from imaginary demons or God's damnation.

Yet even though her parents were perfectly willing to trust whatever decision she made, and in doing so only assure her that they have every confidence in her ability to make this and every other decision she will face in life, she nevertheless found herself on the receiving end of a great deal of Catholic flak advising, nay, assuring her, that moving in with her fiance was like spitting in the face of baby Jesus.

In fact, I would not be surprised if someone even suggested to her that choosing to live with her fiance before marriage (even if it were for no better reason than to save money) was one of the very "sins" Christ himself had to suffer so greatly, and die so painfully, to forgive.  Indeed, it was if she had announced that she was a witch and would be strangling kittens to death with her bare hands and biting off their heads like Ozzy Osborne.

And in daring to suggest so sinful an idea, indeed, for daring to even consider such a thought, many of her blue blooded Catholic relatives, who had all long forgotten Jesus's admonishment that the law was something that had only been made to serve man, proceeded to remind her of just how much her eternal soul depended on nearly nothing so much as her willingness to serve the law instead.

Or to put it another way, rather than trust her as an adult to make decisions about her own life, and for that matter even her own soul, many of her relatives offered not only their doubts about her ability to navigate the perils and pitfalls of such a decision, but criticisms that sat like a crown of thorns upon her thoughts about how it might be perceived by other Christians and Catholics (as if their real focus was not on her, but how her decision might look on them). And in doing so, they unwittingly crucified her with the nails of their moral absolutes, and their dogmatism about what they thought both prudence and divine providence required.

All of this only proved that her relatives had become more like the Pharisees than Christ. They were more concerned with making sure she "served the law" by always following it,  rather than understanding that the law was only ever intended to serve her. They determined how "good" a person was by how willing they were to adhere to the letter of the law, even though Christ had been crucified for pointing out how wrong such thinking truly was. For them, a person could only become or be considered "good" if they conformed and obeyed (even though all of them had scoffed at such ideas, and far more than my niece, when they were her age).

But it was this mentality that condemned Christ for healing the sick on the Sabbath. And that's why Christ pointed out "that the law was made to serve man, not man to serve the law."

Yet despite their collective criticisms, and their myopic view of both their religion and their niece,  despite the fact that so many of them had simply failed to understand the very meaning of Christ's teaching, she faced the Pharisees of her extended family as stoically as Christ stood before the Sanhedrin, and dared to make the decision that was right for her, and her alone. 

And with that, her parents knew she didn't need them to continually enforce their rules any longer, as if they didn't trust she was capable of riding her bicycle with the training wheels. From here on out, they knew she was capable of riding her life on her own. And if they were proud of her for being able to do that, they should be proud of themselves, for having been the ones who taught her how. 



  


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) to reach heaven, even though all of these examples were similarly condemned for attempting to do just that.

Hence, the story of Adam & Eve and the Serpent in the tree, is much like the story of Christ on the cross with the two thieves crucified on either side of him. Like those thieves, Adam & Eve are said to have essentially stolen from God,through their disobedience. And like Cain and Able, one thief is guilty but repentant (Able was born with the stain of original sin but obeyed God), while the other is guilty and defiant (Cain was also born with the stain or original sin, but killed Able).

We can then see how the "knowledge" that would make them "like God, knowing right from wrong," promised to Adam & Eve by the serpent, was none other than religion itself, with all of it's claims to "infallibility," and to "know right from wrong," as if such knowledge had been whispered directly to such "believers" from God himself.

And out of an obstinacy that surpasses that of Lucifer in Paradise Lost, the obstinacy of religious devotion leads "believers" of all kinds to slaughter each other like Cain and Able. As such, Christians see themselves as Able and Islam as Cain, even as Muslims tend to see it quite the other way around.

Then there is Noah, who listened to "God" (i.e. nature itself) in understanding what the environment and the "climate" were telling him about the coming floods, while all those who condemned him as a fool, much like Conservatives and Climate changes deniers today, believed that their "beliefs" about the world were more right than Noah.

Today, many Conservatives Christians deny that Capitalism's greed is not only enslaving people with debt even as it poisons them with chemicals, but is in anyway responsible for environmental damage that may cause floods and worse.   Instead, they worship their "Conservative" pundits who are paid a fortune by the energy and oil sectors of the economy to tell them what good God fearing Christians should "believe" about climate issues.

It was the true believers, in other words, who refused to believe Noah's warnings about floods, much like the Christians and the political Conservatives who everywhere try to deny that our worship of the golden calf of Goldman Sachs, and its "love of money" it calls "the profit motive," is in anyway responsible for leading humanity to create a return of the biblical plagues and droughts, as scientists have increasingly pointed out.

Instead, for the Conservative Christian "true believer" who is devoted to trusting in the benevolence of their capitalist religion, the trouble is Cultural Marxism, Socialism, homosexuals, Liberals, Atheists, Muslims, etc etc. Like Mayans who knew the only way to reverse drought was to increase human sacrifice to the Gods, and Christians who know that Christ was no less a sacrifice to their own God for basically the same reasons, so the only way forward, the only way to alleviate the problems of the world for such "true believers," is to sacrifice an evil humanity the way Abraham sought to murder his own son, in order to show his absolute obedience to the will of God.

Yes, for the Christian, the way to fix the world is through the murder all of humanity, if need be, for failing to conform to "being like God," and the knife will be our nuclear weapons. Hence, the promise of the serpent is fulfilled when humanity, in its relentless quest to "be like God," insists that it knows "right from wrong." And to prove it, murders itself like Narcissus, just to prove it is willing to follow in the footsteps of it "Christ."


Beauty & The Beast: How Our View of Nature is Like Our View of God & Religion

Have you ever noticed how much our view of nature is like our view of religion or even God?

If we look at a breathtaking landscape,for example, or the heavens above, we can be overcome by the wonder and beauty of it all. But this wonder and beauty, which is directly connected to the limitations of our own vision and imagination, hides a great deal of death and violence that we fail to see or often even consider.

If we look at a Ansel Adams picture from one of America's National Parks, say Yosemite for example, we may find ourselves overcome by the immense amount of magnificence and beauty  we behold. But in doing so, we fail to notice that, included in that landscape, are animals who mostly survive by ripping each other apart, limb from limb.

On an even smaller scale, insects and creepy crawlies of every kind and degree, live a life that has been described as the most monstrous and cruel existence imaginable. The amount of suffering and pain, as Werner Herzog has pointed out, is impossible for us to wrap our minds around. And yet such universal misery is all but excluded from our perception of Yosemite.

Old horror movies that show giant bugs destroying cities or threatening to devour humanity like Them (1954), The Fly,  Tarantula, The Deadly Mantis, Eight Legged Freaks, Bug, and others, all remind us of the horrors that inhabit the world on the smaller scale, that we are only blissfully ignorant of because we are fortunate enough to be much larger than they are.

And we avoid the horrors involved in the animal world, of kill or be killed, by virtue of the societies we've created. We have even managed to insulate ourselves from the vicious barbarities of our own food supplies, and the truly tortuous means by which we treat our pigs, chickens, cows, dolphins, monkeys, etc (see the documentaries Earthlings or Lucent, for example, but I would be sure to do so on an empty stomach).

We don't even need to discuss any of the cruelties that humanity visits upon itself in all of this, along with the pollution, radiations, nuclear waster, chemical poisons, and more, that we pour everywhere into our oceans and environment, which causes so much cancer and disease and death and suffering, and so on.

All of this, and more, is hidden behind the veil of our own confirmation bias about how truly lovely and beautiful the world is. While we may know, on some level, of all of the horrors just mentioned, we do not contemplate them when we tend to look at a beautiful landscape.

But rather than contemplate all of this ugliness, or what we might even aptly describe is "evil," we only overlook all of that death and destruction and see the "beauty" of it all instead. The monstrous cruelty, death, and destruction that surrounds us everywhere, where everything from microbes to insects to animals and beyond wars for survival, and where animals must devour each other to survive, are all overlooked by us in our finite and flawed perception of how "beautiful" the world is.

Add to this the fact that our ideas about God, who the Old Testament compels us to murder each other over our "beliefs," and in the most cruel ways possible (but we kill each other in the cruelest ways imaginable for reasons that also have nothing to do with God or religion as well, of course) allows us to see just how insane it is to simply see the beauty of the world around us, and not the beast that is the nature of that world, which lies behind it.

The world, God, and even ourselves, may all LOOK "beautiful," on the surface, but beneath that surface, we see a raging beast, that is more evil than the devil we like to imagine is the cause of such  suffering and "evil."

Hence, our view of nature corresponds to our view of God, and even ourselves. For we wish to simply "believe" in what we "see," even though we know full well that what we "see," and choose to focus in on, is a lie, that hides the death and disease and cruelty that is the true face of nature, God, and even humanity.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Does God Exist? How Some People Think Coincidences Are Miracles

Robert Nelson further argues in his article about the likely probably of God that mere coincidence should be interpreted as rational evidence for the existence of God. He doesn't put it that way, of course, but that's what it boils down to, once you strip away all of the adjectives he throws in to make his conclusions sound profound and enlightened.


There are plenty of problems with his reasoning that Nelson simply chooses to ignore.

For example, Nelson states in his article:

Miraculous Ideas at the Same Time?
For the past 10,000 years at a minimum, the most important changes in human existence have been driven by cultural developments occurring in the realm of human ideas.

REPLY: Okay.. and.. so what? Human beings have been around for roughly 200,000 years. Why should it be so surprising that "ideas" are what drive changes in human existence? After all, humans must have ideas before they can ever implement those ideas into actions. It would only be truly"miraculous" to see changes in human existence being driven by cultural developments that occurred in any realm PRIOR to human ideas, if you think about it.

NELSON CONTINUES:
In the Axial Age (commonly dated from 800 to 200 B.C.), world-transforming ideas such as Buddhism, Confucianism, the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, and the Hebrew Old Testament almost miraculously appeared at about the same time in India, China, ancient Greece and among the Jews in the Middle East, groups having little interaction with one another.

REPLY: "Miraculously"? Really? Talk about hyperbole. Take the idea of monotheism, for example. Akhenhaten  was an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh who ruled circa 1330 BC, who was widely seen as a bit of a weirdo for claiming that their was only ONE GOD. And that's because, in Egypt at that time, everyone else for the most part believed that there were many gods. The point being that just because an idea seems to burst onto the scene out of no where, the way some people claim Christianity did, does NOT mean that the seeds of that idea had not been germinating in various forms in humans minds long before they wove together into a single coherent narrative.

In fact, it has been pointed out by more than a few people, including Malcolm Gladwell,  just how often ideas tend to germinate in the soil of a society's subconscious thoughts, long before they ever sprout into the realm of publicly accepted ideas. This is as true of beliefs about the solar system as it is about human origins and even salvation.

It is incredibly ironic, then, to see how often historians or people like Robert Nelson, who admit that human ideas are immaterial objects, treat those ideas as if they had a clear fossilized record, even though most of the germinating life of an idea always starts and exists in the most transient of places imaginable - in peoples heads.

Those ideas then tend to circulate orally long before they are ever written down. In fact, Biblical scholars have pointed out that both the Old and New Testaments began as purely oral traditions before they were ever codified in written form. And even after the New Testament was finally written down, it took centuries before an official cannon was clearly established, even though the Reformation lead Luther to decide that even more books needed to be excluded.

It is as if same people who proclaim how ideas are immaterial are arguing there is a material record. As if the genesis of ideas can be read as easily as a paleontologist reading the fossil record, like the age of a tree can be read by looking at its rings.

But ideas are not fossils, nor do they always leave a recorded history of their true age like a tree. They are immaterial things, as Nelson so repeatedly likes to point out about human consciousness itself. And that means that they are as ethereal as the air, and travel almost as freely, across a network of minds, from mouth to ear and ear to mouth. That those ideas reach a tipping point in popularity where they suddenly begin to be widely recorded in the historical literature of one age or another, does not mean that such ideas had not been moving around in many different guises, shapes and sizes, already, and perhaps for some time prior to that, like ghosts floating about on the breath of anyone who cared to whisper their secrets to others.   

Yet such assumptions are made nevertheless, and then offered as "evidence" of exactly what the person offering it as evidence wants it to mean, even though it is rather unclear just what such "evidence" actually proves.

And lastly, "in the realm of human ideas," there does not need to be any great degree of interaction for a new idea to take hold and, much like the butterfly effect, set fire to the human imagination.

NELSON STATES:
The development of the scientific method in the 17th century in Europe and its modern further advances have had at least as great a set of world-transforming consequences. There have been many historical theories, but none capable, I would argue, of explaining as fundamentally transformational a set of events as the rise of the modern world. It was a revolution in human thought, operating outside any explanations grounded in scientific materialism, that drove the process.
That all these astonishing things happened within the conscious workings of human minds, functioning outside physical reality, offers further rational evidence, in my view, for the conclusion that human beings may well be made “in the image of [a] God.”


REPLY:
On the one hand, where the hell else would would "the conscious workings of human minds" function but outside of physical reality? Ayn Rand, who was an atheist, has already discussed at length how everything boils down to "ideas," so why is Nelson so amazed at this? And why does he come to the exact opposite conclusion about the nature of ideas (i.e. that they are evidence of a god) than that which Rand had reached as an atheist? 

On the other hand, these claims are problematic because they run contrary to the claim that we are all born with a sense of God's universal moral laws.

If we are all born with a sense of these laws, even if that sense was impaired by the stain of original sin, then why are we having to claw our way to some level of moral understanding, and always at each other's expense and at great peril of our own souls, over the cloudy course of centuries?

What purpose does it serve an almighty God to have his fallible human creatures fumble about in the process of trying to discern the "universal moral laws" that we were, according to many Christian theologians, all born with in the first place?

By this standard, all genocide and even disease and every other horror that has befallen man at the hands of other men, is somehow our just deserves for having disobeyed God in the first place. But rather than God simply "turning the other cheek" and removing the "stain of original sin" which only makes it so difficult for us to achieve the kind of moral behavior God commands of us to live up to (and he sends us to hell for failing to achieve what Christianity admits is a Sisyphean task that can never truly be achieved in this life anyway), God chooses to let us slaughter each other by the millions to fight our way back to discovering, at a snails pace,  how to treat each other with any morality or even human decency.

In fact, it is often religion that seeks to emotionally addict people to their fears by duping them into believing they can only overcome them by necessarily "believing" a narrative that so many priests insist is far truer than even "truth" itself. And for anyone who dares to question the legitimacy or even the utility of such ideas over all - such as why humanity is "improved" by assuming it is marred in an imaginary condition defined as "original sin,"  that only a specialized class of priestly "witch doctors" has the power to cure - religion is quite prepared to use the most draconian means available to demonstrate to such "heretics" and "infidels" that hell awaits them for daring to think for themselves.

Oh, how truly miraculous it all is indeed!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Evolution of God & The Hubris of Men

If you study the evolution of our ideas about God, you'll find that our ideas about God have changed dramatically over the course of centuries and millenniums.

While today many and perhaps most people in the world tend to be subscribe to monotheistic religions and "belief systems,"  hundred of years before Christ, the trend was quite the opposite, with the majority of people in the world apparently having more polytheistic beliefs, worshiping many gods instead.

When the Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ikhnaton  declared circa 330 BC that there was only "one God," most of the people thought he was a bit of a weirdo, for example, since such an idea was rather uncommon. Today, it's the other way around.

But the hubris of human thought to conclude that our finite and feeble understanding of that which we describe as "infinite" in every way, stands as a testament to just how much like a god we humans think our "beliefs" really are.

Think about it: How can we know what most people will believe about "God"  5 thousand years from now?

Will polytheism be back in vogues, long after the major monotheistic faiths have slaughtered each other and the whole world, our of their blind devotion to their "one true Gods"?

Will we eventually see an age of atheism before that, where people will actually recognize, and have the courage to admit, what they truly do NOT know?

Will we be willing to admit that our understanding of any concept of god or no-god is only ever as finite and fleeting as we are, no matter how much we want to believe that our "beliefs" are tethered to some infinite and immutable truth?

That we dare to claim that our "beliefs" are locked on to an infinite and immutable concept of truth about God, is only proof of just how insecure we feel in the absence of holding on to the apron string of such an idea. How else can we explain the hubris that comes from the conviction that Jesus, or Mohammad, or Buddha, or Joe Smith, or whoever, somehow stands as the FINAL statement about a God for all of humanity - end of story!? Talk about human hubris!

This does not mean we are wrong to believe what we believe, nor does it prove anything about the presence or absence of a god or gods. But it does tell us far more about how our own minds work, than it reveals about our ability to have access to "divine" understanding or "infallible" truth.

While our beliefs about God and gods will undoubtedly continue to evolve as we do, especially with the advent of AI and whatever other inventions or alien encounters we may engage in in the future - from polytheism to henotheism to monotheism to atheism to singularity-ism to whatever and back again - our "beliefs" about how "right" we are to have whatever beliefs we have will no doubt stay the same.

In short, our "beliefs" and concepts of God will only continue to evolve, but it would take divine intervention indeed, to ever save humanity from the hubris of it's own "beliefs."

Monday, May 15, 2017

Does God Exist? How One Man's Poverty of Imagination Led Him To God

Robert H. Nelson is a Professor of Public Policy, University of Maryland. In his book, God? Very Probably, he shows how the poverty of his own imagination leads him, again and again, to a singular conclusion. The question any half cognizant reader is left to ask is simple, however: why does he only ever conclude there is a God, when the evidence is so undeniably ambiguous? 

Probably because he wants you to buy his book. And no one buys books proving God more than those who already wish to "believe" that God exists already. And Nelson probably knows this, and is laughing about it all the way to the bank. But that's something true "believers" who buy such books, simply refuse to believe.

Consider this excerpt from his recently published article to see this poverty of imagination in action, and notice how he preys upon the biases of his audience to not only mask his assumptions, but to lure his audience into accepting those assumptions as virtual facts that cannot be contested. What a serpentine sense of reasoning he relies on indeed. He states: 

Different Forms of Worship
"In his commencement address to Kenyon College in 2005, the American novelist and essayist David Foster Wallace said that: “Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”

REPLY: Saying that "everybody worships" is to offer an unverifiable assumption as an undeniable fact.  If humans have been around for roughly 200,000 years, how could we ever verify that "everybody worships"?

And by "worships," do we mean simply "believes" the same way so many Christians today "believe/worship" capitalism or even whatever political ideology they think superior to the rest? And worse, to what extent does "everybody worship" because religion has, for so many thousands of years, forced people to "worship" on pain of death, as well as the threat of eternal hell? The habit we may have to "worship," then, might only be a product of human conditioning imposed by religion itself, more than anything else.

Nelson continues:

Even though Karl Marx, for example, condemned the illusion of religion, his followers, ironically, worshiped Marxism. The American philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre thus wrote that for much of the 20th century, Marxism was the “historical successor of Christianity,” claiming to show the faithful the one correct path to a new heaven on Earth.

REPLY: There were and probably are, people who "worship" Marxism, just as much as there are people who "worship" Christianity (especially the kind that is the very opposite of Christ) and even more who now worship Christianity's political counterpart, capitalism. But there are undoubtedly plenty of others who do not "worship" any of these "religions," which is a fact that Nelson just sweeps under the rug.

He continues:
 
In several of my books, I have explored how Marxism and other such “economic religions” were characteristic of much of the modern age. So Christianity, I would argue, did not disappear as much as it reappeared in many such disguised forms of “secular religion.”

REPLY:  This is largely true, but not because Christianity is in anyway demonstrably true, in and of itself, as Nelson and so many others seek to suggest, but because Christianity itself is simply plagiarized from many other "religions" and philosophies. That we only live less than a hundred years, while "beliefs" exist for thousands of years at a time, means humanity always exists in a state of amnesia of sorts. And it is this very amnesia that religion, for purely selfish reasons, exploits to its own financial and political benefit.

He concludes:
That the Christian essence, as arose out of Judaism, showed such great staying power amidst the extraordinary political, economic, intellectual and other radical changes of the modern age is another reason I offer for thinking that the existence of a god is very probable.

REPLY : This is by far the greatest lie ever told! Christianity showed such "great staying power" because it was by far the most genocidal and torturous religion on the planet. It ONLY serves as evidence for the existence of God if by "God" Nelson means the devil himself. 

Get Out & The Legacy of Ellison & Baraka

The new movie Get Out, by director Jordan Peele, is a horror film version of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, with Sidney Poitier and Spencer Tracey, but it's a lot more than that.  Like Stanley Kubrick's The Shinning, there is a treasure trove of complexity and meaning to the film that lay behind what is shown on the screen.  But to see it, one must watch the movie on multiple levels at the same time, and understand not only how it conveys ideas about race and society in multiple ways in a literal sense, but how it also does so in a metaphorical sense as well.

In the opening scene, for example, we see a black man who, appearing to be lost, is trying to navigate his way through "a creepy, confusing-ass 'suburb.'"  In a literal sense, the idea of an urban black man walking through a presumably 'white' suburb not only illustrates how scary the latter can be to the former, but also how the neighborhood itself represents the social construct that can be confusing to those who are outsiders, or one sort or another.

It reminds us of that comment by James Baldwin, in other words, about how it can come "as a great shock to discover that the country that is your birthplace, and to which you owe your life and your identity,  has not, in its whole system of reality, evolved any place for you." 

We could go even further, in fact, and think of the neighborhood as representing America's capital, Washington D.C., with its labyrinthine design created specifically to impede the advances of any potential adversary, and the black man navigating around the neighborhood as being the "potential adversaries" that "white America" saw Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King to be, during the 1960s.

 As so many other films have capitalized on, and not all of them horror films, suburbia is almost never what it appears to be. Instead, the apprehension of a black man walking nervously through the well lit presumably white, middle class neighborhood, illustrates the contrast between a perfectly peaceful, manicured neighborhood on the one hand, and the blood drenched soil it is built on, soaked not only in the blood of soldiers from the Civil and Revolutionary war, but even more so of slaves and Native Americans before them.

But among countless other things, this movie may stand as a legacy to Ralph Ellision's, Invisible Man, and Amiri Baraka's Dutchman. At the end of chapter 11 in Invisible Man, for example, we find this passage:

"Things whirled too fast around me.My mind went alternately bright and blank in slow rolling waves. We, he, him - my mind and I - were no longer getting around in the same circles. Nor my body either. Across the aisle a young platinum blonde nibbled at her red Delicious apple as station lights rippled past behind her. The train plunged. I dropped through the roar, giddy and vacuum-minded, sucked under and out into late afternoon Harlem."

Baraka, who was known to have disagreed with Ellison's approach to issues of race in America in the same way Malcolm X disagreed with Martin Luther King's approach, responded to Ellison's book with his play Dutchman. As if picking up right where chapter 11 drops off, Dutchman starts this way:


Train roars. Lights flash outside the windows.
LULA enters from the rear of the car in bright, skimpy summer clothes and sandals. She carries a net bag full of paper books, fruit, and other anonymous articles. She is wearing sunglasses, which she pushes up on her forehead from time to time. LULA is a tall, slender, beautiful woman with long red hair hanging straight down her back, wearing only loud lipstick in some body's good taste. She is eating an apple, very daintily. Coming down the car toward CLAY, She stops beside CLAY'S seat and hangs languidly from the strap, still managing to eat the apple. It is apparent that she is going to sit in the seat next to CLAY, and that she is only waiting for him to notice her before she sits

Anyone who as seen Get Out will understand the idea of the train being sucked underground, of the protagonist in Invisible Man being an unnamed character who is writing from an underground abode, and with the nature of seduction that the white women in these stories all represent. 

And this is why the movie Get Out is so much like Kubrick's version of the Shinning, and perhaps even why the black man navigating his way through the a neighborhood at night (that is eerily reminiscent of the 1978 horror movie, Halloween) comments,  "it's like a fucking hedge-maze out here."  

Baptismal Castration

Catholics believe that everyone is born with the stain of original sin. They also claim that all life is a gift from god. Hence, life is li...