Monthly ArchiveSeptember 2010
Imagine how comforting it would be to know – KNOW – that the all powerful creator of the universe had taken time out of his hectic schedule to speak directly to you. He has commanded you to do something.
Or imagine that you have a “personal relationship” with the all powerful creator of the universe. You can telepathically ask questions, and your “god” will give you answers, piped right into your brain.
Wouldn’t that be cool?
It would be completely, utterly, insanely delusional, but it WOULD be cool.
That is why religious people love religion. And the more devoted the follower, the stronger the delusion:
Religion circumvents the risk of accountability for the decisions we make. To be called by God to do something is both much more aggrandizing as well as much safer. If things don’t go well, it was His idea not yours, right?
To be called by God to run for office or advised through the secret communication of prayer, as it seems is the case with most conservative politicians these days, provides an immediate trump card of authority to bolster an individual’s ambition. It preordains any loss or rejection as either the will of God, or the work of his evil arch nemesis. The fragile ego of the individual remains intact and unblemished.
This only works if there are millions of equally insane, equally delusional people who let you get away with such moronic behavior.
Here is an excellent article that lays bare the heart of the Tea Party. The Tea Party, mostly Christians, is a bunch of morons:
After Palin wraps up, I race to the parking lot in search of departing Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives. I come upon an elderly couple, Janice and David Wheelock, who are fairly itching to share their views.
“I’m anti-spending and anti-government,” crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. “The welfare state is out of control.”
“OK,” I say. “And what do you do for a living?”
“Me?” he says proudly. “Oh, I’m a property appraiser. Have been my whole life.”
I frown. “Are either of you on Medicare?”
Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me!
“Let me get this straight,” I say to David. “You’ve been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?”
“Well,” he says, “there’s a lot of people on welfare who don’t deserve it. Too many people are living off the government.”
“But,” I protest, “you live off the government. And have been your whole life!”
“Yeah,” he says, “but I don’t make very much.” Vast forests have already been sacrificed to the public debate about the Tea Party: what it is, what it means, where it’s going. But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I’ve concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They’re full of shit. All of them. At the voter level, the Tea Party is a movement that purports to be furious about government spending — only the reality is that the vast majority of its members are former Bush supporters who yawned through two terms of record deficits and spent the past two electoral cycles frothing not about spending but about John Kerry’s medals and Barack Obama’s Sixties associations. The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what this movement is all about — and nowhere do we see that dynamic as clearly as here in Kentucky, where Rand Paul is barreling toward the Senate with the aid of conservative icons like Palin.
They are morons. Their religious delusion is either the cause or a symptom of their moronic inability to reason. It is so simple: If you are against government spending, you would take no government handouts. They can’t even see THAT.
A helpful video for all Tea Party Morons:
Would you like to stop being a moron? Here are two sites that can help you:
Morons are morons – When you talk to someone who believes in God, generally they are morons. So when you test their knowledge of religion, they are morons too
Imagine you took a large, randomized group of Americans. Most of them are going to be religious. If you ask them about God and prayer and the Bible, they are going to come across as Morons. Every rational person – every atheist or agnostic – knows this. You ask a religious person, “Why would you believe in prayer when prayer accomplishes nothing?” The answer you get is moronic. You ask a religious person, “Why would you believe in the Bible when the Bible is filled with hate, misogyny, slavery, etc.?” The answer you get back is moronic. To believe in an imaginary god, you have to be a moron at some level.
So guess what happens if we give religious people a test on their religion? Yes, they come across as morons:
Although the United States is one of the most religious developed countries in the world, most Americans scored 50 percent or less on a quiz measuring knowledge of the Bible, world religions and what the Constitution says about religion in public life.
The survey is full of surprising findings.
For example, it’s not evangelicals or Catholics who did best – it’s atheists and agnostics.
It’s not Bible-belt Southerners who scored highest – they came at the bottom.
Those who believe the Bible is the literal word of God did slightly worse than average, while those who say it is not the word of God scored slightly better.
Barely half of all Catholics know that when they take communion, the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ, according to Catholic doctrine.
“Most Americans scored 50 percent or less on a quiz measuring knowledge of the Bible, world religions and what the Constitution says about religion in public life.” That’s exactly what you would expect from a bunch of morons, isn’t it?
Don’t believe CNN? What about Fox:
If you want to know about God, you might want to talk to an atheist.
Heresy? Perhaps. But a survey that measured Americans’ knowledge of religion found that atheists and agnostics knew more, on average, than followers of most major faiths. In fact, the gaps in knowledge among some of the faithful may give new meaning to the term “blind faith.”
Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.
They are deeply ignorant about religion because they HAVE to be ignorant in order to believe. No one who actually reads the Bible can help but be repulsed by it. No one who analyzes prayer can avoid the fact that the belief in prayer is pure superstition. Ignorance protects their faith.
But only a moron could stand to live a life filled with such ignorance.
Would you like to stop being a moron? Here are two sites that can help you:
Now that the so-called Ground Zero Mosque controversy is slipping off the front pages for the first time in weeks, it’s time to ask: Just what the hell was all that about, anyway? Why was it so important that we had to spend all that time discussing it? And why are the conservatives taking out after the Muslim community now — nine full years after 9/11?
By now, it’s pretty obvious that this was never really about sacred ground or respecting the memories of the dead. What it was really about was the future of the conservative movement.
Where Have All The Bad Guys Gone?
Conservatives can do without a god, but they can’t get through the day without a devil. Their entire model of reality revolves around the existence of an existential enemy who’s out to annihilate them. Take that focal point away, and their whole worldview collapses into incoherence. This need is so central to their thinking that if there are no actual enemies around, they’ll go to considerable lengths to make some (or just make some up).
Christians need someone to hate and attack.
What happens to you after you die? Nothing. Your brain cells cease functioning, and you cease to exist, as explained here. The idea of an afterlife is a fairytale.
Since it is imaginary, and since people don’t like the idea of ceasing to exist, people have been able to invent a million different stories for what happens in “the afterlife”. Here a lawyer babbles on about it:
Here are 20 more inventions:
What happens to us after we die? The hell if we know. If the imaginations of filmmakers new and old can be trusted, though, then we should all start “Kumbaya” immediately, because the afterlife for those who spent their lives indulging in sin isn’t pretty. As French provocateur Gaspar Noé sees it, the world beyond the grave is all-out destruction to the senses. The singular writer-director’s latest batch of brain-pummeling debauchery is Enter the Void, which opens in limited release this weekend. With an arsenal of visual trickery (first-person POV sequences, drug trips represented as hallucinogenic light-shows), Noé tackles post-death existence through the eyes of a murdered drug dealer. While Enter the Void is arguably the most bat-shit interpretation of the hereafter to date, it’s by no means the only one of its kind. We give you cinema’s 20 craziest visions of the afterlife…
In this post, a woman in her mid-30s asks a big question:
How do you live life fully, without at least a glimmer of hope that something bigger is out there? I’m asking this in all sincerity. What do you believe? What would you (or do you) tell your kids about the beauty of life? How do you find peace, with the understanding of such an immense loss you will eventually face? And how do you explain this drive so many of us have, to do good things in the world? Why am I teaching my toddler to make the right choices, be patient and giving with others, etc? Why is this so important, if we’re simply animals who are here to reproduce and die?
See the thread for a variety of replies. This one was overwhelmingly chosen as the highest rated:
Here’s a way of approaching the universe: You are a tiny speck of insignificant biological material in an immense universe that probably defies your brain’s ability of understanding. Yet you are remarkable, in innumerable ways. Every second of every day you are a walking ecosystem of life, housing trillions of microbes that continuously interact with you to keep both you and them alive. Your body is constantly building and rebuilding itself, encoding information on simple strains of molecules at the speed of jet engines, in each and every nucleus-possessing cell in your body. You are a walking, talking, living, breathing orchestra of life, a beautiful display of the potential inherent in our particular universe.
You are the remarkable product of an unbroken, let me say that again, UNBROKEN line of descendants stretching all the way back to the very first interactions of seemingly pointless inanimate molecules. You share a common ancestry with every living thing ever, including the estimated 106 billion humans who have ever lived. You are tied to the trees and the birds and the small phytoplankton that gently ride the crests and dips of the oceans of this world. You are part of the vibrant tapestry of what we refer to as life, a piece of art that stretches back billions upon billions of years. Everything this universe has thrown at you and your ancestors has been roundly defeated – from harsh radiation, to extraterrestrial objects, to volcanic eruptions and more. You are a symbol of utter perseverance, of the sheer will to continue onwards. You are a cry in the dark, the voice of one who will not be quiet.
So now you’ve realized that there is no inherent meaning to existence. So what? This doesn’t mean life has suddenly lost meaning – it means there was no meaning in the first place. So you haven’t actually lost anything. Instead, you have gained a wonderful opportunity. Give existence the meaning it is seeking. MAKE a purpose for yourself. Maybe it should be your kids, or maybe it should be giving from the bounty you have (because let us face reality – if you have an internet connection and personal computer, you are in the top 10%, maybe even the top 1%, of humanity). Maybe you should learn a new skill, explore a new facet of creation that you never realized was open to you.
So why do you teach a toddler how to behave? Because maybe that toddler will be the one to find other life, other existence in our so far lonely universe. Or maybe they will be the father, the mother, the close friend, the lover, the supporter of the one who does. Or maybe they will be the person to speak out at just the right moment, the one to stand up and stand out, who will provide the inspiration, or the moment of connection for the person who does. Or maybe that toddler will be the one to protect the life around us from an otherwise inevitable end, from the sucking void of empty existence that we struggle against every second of our being.
Are you just a breeder? Just biology? What an insult to biology! Just?!? I forgive you, because you know not what you say :D You are the product of a few basic particles, a few basic forces, yet you are impossibly complex, impossibly intricate. The sheer unlikeliness of your very existence is staggering, and yet here you are. The title of “breeder” is just a single facet of what you are. You can be a teacher, a leader, a thinker, a cook, a scientist, an artist, a musician, a protector, an enlightener, a champion, a peacemaker, a lover, a friend, a companion, a confidant… the list is a vast as the seemingly infinite complexities of neuron interactions in the collection of molecular structures known as cells in your brain.
And let us not end our poetic license there, for if all that is true, than this is also: There is something after death. The part of you that continues to exist in all life around you will never cease to be, not as long as things from this planet continue to live. You will continue on, interminably, from the beginning of life to its end potentially countless aeons from now, if ever. Maybe through some fluke you will be the Eve for humanity in the future, the one woman every human will trace their ancestry back to. Maybe not. But who can tell what the future holds. Rather than collapse under the imagined weight of nothingness, I posit that you should grasp hold of your life, and take it to heights heretofore unseen. Also – Hugs, love, and imaginary hot cocoa!
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” — Marcus Aurelius
You can learn more about Marcus Aurelius here.
You can find commentary on the quote here.
Understanding morality, and why no “god” is needed for morality:
The video covers these topics:
- What is meant by words like right, wrong, moral, immoral
- Why this definition is applicable and represents the moral views of most people whether they realize it or not
- How to objectively determine if something is right or wrong without appealing to subjective opinion or personal taste
- Why we ought to things that are right and not things that are wrong
- Plus, it solves all the moral problems Christians can’t solve, even if they don’t realize they don’t have the problems.
For example, what makes stealing wrong? What are the symptoms of a morally wrong act? What do all morally right deeds have in common that distinguish them from morally wrong deeds? If we don’t know how to tell if something is morally wrong, how can we know it is morally wrong in the first place? Well worth listening to.
He also did a follow-up:
If you are a Christian, Jew or Muslim, how do you respond to this?
This article asks a question that, in any other context, would be absurd:
The plain facts of the case to be answered are horrific and undeniable. Since the dam crumbled around the turn of the decade, a cascade of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy has come tumbling into the open. So many cases emerged that the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference commissioned an expert study, which concluded in 2004 that, since 1950, 10,667 individuals had made plausible allegations against 4,392 priests, 4.3 per cent of the entire body of clergy in that period. The total bill in settlements with victims is spiralling toward $2 billion and won’t stop, Forbes predicts, this side of $5 billion. Depressingly similar stories from other First World countries, including Canada, soon emerged; the situation in Latin America and Africa, where no investigations have ever been made, can only be imagined.
In ANY other context, the Pope and all the priests would have been IMMEDIATELY arrested and thrown into a deep, dark hole. In the United States at least, people who sexually molest children are shown no mercy whatsoever. The legal system does its utmost to completely destroy their lives.
We could ask the same type of questions about the Muslim world. Should Muslims face charges for their crimes of discrimination against women? There are entire Muslim nations where women cannot drive, cannot vote, can not even dress as they choose.
And why can’t Catholic women become priests?
All of these religious atrocities are atrocities that would receive maximal punishment in any other context. But society wears religious blinders. Society should recognize that religion is an absurdity – a complete delusion. The fact that a majority can be deluded does not change the absurdity. When crimes are committed, the scales of justice should punish equally.
Islam Thomas on 11 Sep 2010
If only people thought about the stupidity and delusion of religion, they wouldn’t do it anymore:
The reason why they wouldn’t do it anymore is because they would be ashamed of themselves.
Additional information on the practice is available here: Why do muslims pray 5 times per day pointed toward Mecca?
Additional information on delusion is available here:
Christianity Thomas on 09 Sep 2010
There is a widespread belief amongst Christians that the New Testament of the Bible contains no cruelty – that Jesus is an all-loving being, and therefore there can be no cruelty in the New Testament. If you are a Christian and you believe that, you have never read nor thought about the Bible. This list will help you see the light:
I’m going to explain why it is OK to honestly say that you KNOW that there is no god. I’ve purposefully stirred up the hornet nest on Reddit and have received over 250 criticisms, conjectures and attacks regarding this and I have this to say in response: relax! I’m going to try to address every major concern here.
Christianity Thomas on 01 Sep 2010
A direct quote from this CBS News video: “Glenn Beck is one of America’s most trusted and honored citizens”. Holy crap.
Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” was the largest gathering on the National Mall since President Obama’s inauguration. Nancy Cordes reports.