Friday, February 27, 2009

Evangelicals are the worst people in the world

I know, I know, the title is terrible and mean-spirited, but they are horrible. I just finished watching the movie "Jesus Camp". A friend had recommended it to me a year or so ago, and I saw it tonight at the movie store and decided to rent it, thinking I would be laughing my ass off. For the first two scenes or so, I was. But very soon I realized the film was not a comedy, but rather a tragedy, or maybe a horror, I haven't decided yet.
It is a film, very well made by the way, about the evangelical demographic in America, and how the adults of this demographic are "teaching" their children to literally pray for America to be "revived" and to "return" to being a christian nation. I have never wanted to live in another country more than I do right now; however, I have also never wanted to offer resistance to lunacy more than I do right now either, and it would be hard to justify criticism of a certain populace within this country if I no longer were in this country.
I am so sad for the children in this movie. These kids have bought the evangelical bullshit message hook, line and sinker, and they think (as do their parents) that they "decided" on this position of their own accord, through the diligent efforts of both their parents and the pastor of a christian children's camp, to willfully indoctrinate them into thinking the things they now have no choice but to think. I mean the parents really believe they have raised their kids to "choose" to be evangelical christians. These are preteen kids, kids who joyfully and willingly preach to other kids, put on puppet shows about how the world is going to end just as soon as enough people pray for jesus to come back and think they have supernatural abilities such as jibber-jabbering literally in blatherous nonsense (which they call speaking in tongues, mind you, the sounds they make (as do their parents) are NOT long-deceased languages or even remnants of languages, they are just nonsense vocables), being able to prophecy (mind you, the prophecies these kids give are always given in the most vague and generalized manner, exactly like astrologers give their "readings", and never are they checked up on later to verify their accuracy) and "discerning of spirits", whatever the hell that means (the little girl who claimed she had this "gift" also clearly had no idea what the hell such a set of words were possibly referring to, you could see it on her face and hear it in her voice). The kids go to a camp in North Dakota for, I guess a week, and get preached to every night about sin and the punishment that accompanies it. The "pastor" lady even consciously picks a graphic of the word death (the wage of sin according to Romans 6:23) that has, what she described as, dripping blood falling off the letters of the word. I mean she actually typed the word, and then purposefully chose the bloody font for this particular slide in her powerpoint show she was preparing for the kids to see that evening. The kids were psychologically beaten up with the idea that if they had ever been or were currently being "phony" in their claims to "righteousness" that their hypocrisy was in need of being cleansed, literally. She had those kids come up and hold their hands out so that she could pour water from a water bottle over them to "wash" the kids' hands clean of the sin of hypocrisy. Needless to say, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to say it anyway, these kids were in tears at these sessions, and they clearly wanted to be. That is what has incensed me so much. These poor children, only a little older than my own son, were bawling over their sinfulness, how bad they were as people, and the adults were not only allowing this to take place, they were actually CAUSING it to take place. The had not only hoodwinked their kids into thinking they were terrible people, but they had, even worse, taught their kids that by recognizing their own horridness, they could then be "fixed" if only they prayed real hard for god to "forgive" them. And so, these kids weren't crying because they were afraid, they were crying because they were happy. They had a way out of going to hell. These were tears of unbridled relief and subsequent gratitude. I absolutely hate the practice of ridicule in education, and the evangelical contingent in this country is absolutely mired in it.
First: Get them to believe they are going to burn in hell for forever, just because they were born. Make them think that through no fault of their own, they have to suffer the worst tortures imaginable, eternally.
Second: Get them to accept this fate through constant reminders of their innate sinfulness, until they have no mind to analyze the validity of such an accusation.
Third: Tell them that they can escape this fate, if they do the religious thing i.e. Verbally "accept" jesus as their lord and saviour, and confess their sins to everyone who will listen, so that their humiliation will be complete, and they will have no ability to "choose" otherwise.
Fourth: Get them to go and tell everyone they know the exact things they themselves have been inexcusably exposed to, so that they become "warriors of christ".


And I'm not talking about teenagers here who struggle with the decisions brought on by peer pressure, decisions like "should I or should I not", or "I know better but all my friends are doing it so maybe I should to". Teens can analyze for themselves, even though most do not, they at least have the ability to. No, these are 9, 10, and 11 year olds. Kids who will adopt whatever behavior they are asked to adopt, if there is a clear reason to do so. Evangelical adults are bullying their children into corrosive and destructive mindlessness, and they think this is an acceptable child-rearing technique. Indoctrination is TERRIBLE!!!! it's inexcusable and should be a criminal offense. All it does is disengage the victim from the process of critical thinking. No 11 year old should think they are capable of preaching, to anyone, about anything. They are not experts at anything yet, except for howto be a kid. For crying out loud, 11 year olds can't drive a car, they can't vote, they can't drink alcoholic beverages, or smoke. They are disallowed these, for one simple reason, they are not cognitively developed enough to be able to understand all the ramifications and responsibilities of these behaviors. So how in the world do the evangelical parents of this country think that although their kids can't do all the above mentioned activities, they can and should be poisoning other equally impressionable kids with unsubstantiated nonsense like they do in this movie? I would like to shoot these parents, or better yet, go back in time and sterilize them.
They have these kids actually touching buildings and praying that jesus (even though he is rather inconveniently dead, and has been so for thousands of years, if he ever existed at all, which is questionable) will cause the planned parenthood clinic housed within to close down. These kids have been lit with a flame of ignorance and sympathy for the unborn by their parents. They can't possibly be educated enough on both sides of the debate to be able to say, as the children they are, that they are pro-life. They claim to be pro-life, because they have only seen the side of abortion that the churches show. The inflammatory side, the one with all the dead babies, and the little plastic fetuses that look just like a tiny baby, etc... they have not seen the other side, enough to weigh for themselves the data and decide on their own. Their parents think certain things, and then choose to indoctrinate their kids in a similar vein.
This movie touched on a lot of subjects of which I am well aware, having grown up in an evangelical christian home. Creationism vs evolution, abortion, national christianity, the end times, the need for constant repentance and the ultimate need for salvation. All of these are topics which have driven me away from the ridiculousness of christianity. You could see the fear in these kids eyes, and felt the resonation of memory, having been bombarded on a bi-weekly basis with these toxins for nigh on twelve of the most impressionable years of my life. And that is the basis for the whole sham, as I have written about in some of my earlier blogs. FEAR. There is an assumption that there is a continuation of our life in some capacity after we die, and that capacity is directly determined by our choices and activities while we are alive now. This assumption comes from the fact that we feel like we are conscious beings, and that our consciousness is a manifestation of an invisible greater world of spirituality, one which we cannot see. Based on this assumption of spirituality, christians assign a place of good or ill to our post-life selves. It is this heaven and hell that outlines the real basis for the fundamentals of the christian faith. Christians don't fear hell,because they've chosen the right path. They also "know" that non-christians have everything to fear because they have not chosen the right path. They have constructed this farcical fantasy world, which is wholly dependant on fear, and in doing so have ensured that those who are exposed to it have to choose one way or the other. It is all based on the false assumption that we go somewhere after our deaths. Once that assumed foundation is forged, the good vs evil scenario is as valid a scenario as any other, and it is the one christians hang their hat on. But the foundation is false, and consequently the structures built upon it, such as the christian faith, are also. Even for those religions or spiritual people out there that are not of the christian faith, the fundamental assumption that we are transcendent of our corporeal selves, is not true. How do I know, because I am not a child, and I no longer have to fear the boogeyman of death. I and my wife have taught our son that when living things, like people die, they turn back into dirt, over time. He is four and thinks that is really cool. When he is older, more capable of abstract thought, he will inevitably come to us with the familiar questions of what happens to "us" when we die. Thankfully, I know our answers will remain unchanged. We are not filling him with bullshit, and I am so glad that I was able to jettison all the bullshit I injested in my youth. But I still feel like vomiting after having watched that putrid filth tonight.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another fatal flaw

Recently, a reader friend made the observation that, in their opinion, the primary focus of my blog posts seem to be centered around the old testament god, and not so much the new testament christian one; so, here's one for those who share this sentiment (although in my own defence, I have always felt my criticisms were really directed towards the new testament side of things, but nevertheless).

In the new testament, god supposedly sent his son to pay for the sins of mankind by dying in our place (John 3:16). Also in the new testament, god and his "son" are purported to be different incarnations of the same being (Matthew 1:22-23). Jesus calls himself god, or at least he leads his disciples through indirect implication to call him as such (Matthew 16: 13-20). Additionally, lest anyone forget, god is also supposed to be omniscient, he knows everything. Now, it seems to me, that since god and jesus were the same being, this must mean that logically, jesus was also omniscient. If we are to believe the bible's teachings, jesus must have known ahead of time that he was going to be killed, as he was really god and all that. Infact, he did know ahead of time (Matthew 16:21, 17:22-23, 20:17-19). This is afterall, the "good news" isn't it, that there was someone to offer a reprieve for us from god's wrath. Additionally, jesus knew he would be resurrected ahead of time (Matthew 26:64). So here's the rub, if jesus, being the omniscient being he supposedly was, knew he was going to be killed ahead of time, then the sacrifice would have actually been a sacrifice, but unfortunately he also knew he would be resurrected ahead of time. HE KNEW HE WAS GOING TO BE RESURRECTED BEFORE HE EVEN DIED. This is not sacrificial in the least, infact it completely destroys all semblance of a sacrifice being made. It's only sacrificial if the act itself is horrible and simultaneously altruistic. It is in the unspeakableness of the act that the sacrifice is made. If I throw myself in front of a moving car, pushing a mother and her baby out of the way, but I do so knowing I will not be harmed in any way, then I have made no sacrifice at all. Infact I have only done what anyone with my particular power should do. If I am invincible, then, if afforded the opportunity to save someone, I should do so without a second thought, and people should have an understandable expectation of me to do so. I hesitate to say people would have a right to expect me to do such a thing, but an expectation of me to do so, seeing as how I am invincible and all, is not out of reason .
Jesus knew he was going to be resurrected after he died, so the sacrifice not a sacrifice. He did not actually die, he died and came back to life. A real sacrifice would have been if he had died and never came back to life, butstayed in hell on behalf of all sinners for all of eternity. I mean that's the punishment for humanity if we reject the "lamb of god". We won't get a three-day pass in hell (which is a place that really doesn't exist, see my other blog posts or visit www., so why do christians think jesus spending three days down there is enough to satisfy god almighty? The afterlife for jesus, be it ever so short, was not part of the sacrifice, the death was it. It was in jesus' dying, that supposedly god's wrath against us lowly humans evaporated. It doesn't say " For god so loved the world that he temporarily gave his only begotten son (three days maximum and then he took him back) blah,blah,blah... No, the death was what mattered. If he was resurrected then the death was not truly death to begin with, and this point really becomes clear when we see that jesus knew he was coming back anyway before he ever took a nail in the ol' slapmaster. The "good news" is retarded. The god of the old and new testament was a sheister, which really means the men who concoted him, the history of mankind which concoted him over thousands and thousands of years were sheisters, and not very good ones at that. There wasno resurrection, there was no sacrifice, furthermore, there wasnever any need for one, because god simply doesn't exist. God's laws are not laws, they are fabrications of the collective mind of humanity, which is why they make absolutely no sense. I'll give the bible this though, it does imply that man can never understand god. That is absolutely true, but not because god is some unknowable being; rather it is because god is no longer needed; whereas when he was invented, or rather they were invented, god was sorely needed. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of all invention, and at one point, humanity needed to invent god, because we were too intelligent to sit idly by without some explanation of ourselves, and yet we were still too incapable of learning what the world really was. Happily we are no longer as incapable, but apparently we have collectively decided that our intelligence and our thirst for an explanation is now a moot point, because god and religion have been around for so long, we might as well keep them.
Logic tells us the story of jesus' sacrificial death and victorious resurrection is false. It is one thing to believe in something without evidence to support it, it is another thing entirely to completely disregard evidence which clearly contradicts a particular premise, just because you aren't comfortable giving up your belief in the false. I understand that belief in Christ gives many, many people comfort, but not for one instance does that mass comfort make the story itself real. Mass delusions have existed in the past, and a few mega-mass delusions are still around today. Still, I know that this entire blog post will have no effect on the willfully blinded. They will continue to wallow in the slop of religion, lapping it up happily, all the while begging for more putrid filth (which they are convinced is 5 star cuisine) to be dumped into their sty. They will also continue to believe that the arabs are heathens and wrong and that they are christians, and are consequently right. Problem is every religion is wrong, no matter how right it might seem. Open your eyes folks, the emperor is just plain naked.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Ten Commandments?

The ten commandments. Everyone, mostly, has heard of these. Controversies have abounded about their postings in federal court houses throughout the country. Also, schools have petitioned for the right to display them in publically funded schools. many people regard them as the rules for living. Mandates of morality. God's injunctions upon us lowly sinners, designed to help us live the life he wants us to live. There are ten of them. Ten of the most moral, ethical thought-provoking and good laws, right?

Well, except there are actually two sets of these commandments. That's right, two seperate sets, housing some repeated commandements, and other completely different ones. So my question(s) are for the devout, bible-believing christian.

1. Did you realize the bible has two versions of the ten commandments?

Ex. 20:3 - You shall have no other gods before me

Ex. 20:4 - You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven or on the earth or in the waters below

Ex. 20:7 - You shall not misuse the name of the lord your god

Ex. 20:8 - Remember the sabbathday by keeping it holy

Ex. 20:12 - Honor your father and mother

Ex. 20:13 - You shall not murder

Ex. 20:14 - You shall not commit adultery

Ex. 20:15 - You shall not steal

Ex. 20:16 - You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor (Lie)

Ex. 20:17 - You shall not covet your neighbors house, wife, servants, livestock, or any other belongings (paraphrased)

These are taken from the Life Application Study Bible, New International Version puublished by Zondervan on pages 137-138

Good so far, right? We all know these commandments very well. But, before we get to the second set, let's look at the first set a bit more closely.

1. You shall have no other gods before me.

Isn't god supposed to be the only god, all others aren't really gods. How would the only god that exists think it necessary to issue these life-messages to his most prized creation, while simultaneously saying there are no gods but him, and that we should lift no other gods higher than him? Which is it? Are there other gods, or aren't there? If god is the only one, Commandment number one is pointless. Because it is obviously there for us to read, then there can be only a few reasons for it:

a. We made them up (we meaning the ancient arabs of a few millenia ago)

b. God really isn't the only one in town, he is competeing for our allegiance with a myriad of other, also invisible, evidence-lacking deities.

c. God is kinda stupid, as he is portrayed in the bible.

My vote is obviously for reason number 1, we made these laws up, which would explain why the first is so petty in nature.

2. You shall not make for yourself any idols

How is this moral? How is a statue an idol, but a cross is not? Any symbolic thing is something that on some level worshipers are worshiping, be it cross, multi-armed elephant statuette, or intergalactic space-traveller talisman. All are stand-ins for the real object of worship, and since the god of the big three has been consistently absent, allowing only symbols to remain behind him (shroud of turin, the cross, the crown of thorns, etc...) he himself is an idol. Humanity possesses only objects associated with the creator of all things, even the idea of god is a possession. Again, the idol worship was something born of fairly non-sophisticated thinking, something religious folk would not want to attach to their god. We made this one up too, and not very well.

3. You shall not misuse the name of the lord. Goddamn it! There I did it, no punishment though. This is just a silly law. How is it even possible that the supposed creator of everything in existence would give a rip about the particular vernacular vehicles his favorite creations used in life. It's not like teaching a kid to not swear. Parents do this for the benefit of the child, not their own. God's commandment to abstain from taking his name in vain is the ultimate example of his very own vanity (though I should say our own vanity). This is about as far from a moral precept as one could get when trying to come up the most important social laws. We made this one up too, who else but insecure, power-hungry, miscreants would say something so playground-oriented was a great law? We are so petty, but we don't have to be.

4. Remember the sabbath by keeping it holy. How exactly is a calendar day that is not even universally recognized as such supposed to be involved with the massive issue of morality? Christians say the world was created in six days and that god rested on the seventh day, but they don't tell us whether that seventh day was a thursday or a sunday. We have established, WE have established that sunday is the day of worship, except that catholics recognize saturday as the day to worship. it is an arbitrary assignment, just as the whole idea of a sabbath day itself is arbitrary and silly. there is no moral behind such a stupid commandment, only control measures designed to instill fear into those who are to be controlled. Why would we need to remember something so important as a sabbath day, wouldn't anyone under the yolk of supernatural control be able to remember something like that without the need for a commandment like that? Couldn't god have used that space for a more moral commandment, like say, don't rape anyone? Guess what folks, we made this one up too. It's so obvious, because it's such a childish thing to require.

5. Honor you father and mother. Okay, now we're at the morality side of things. This is a good one. We should respect those who gave birth to us, but I think mostly that we do this without turning to the bible each time the thought of parental honoring pops into our mind. Point being, while this a good rule to live by, there is no reason to ascribe it's origin to god. Children, by and large love their parents, especially when they are children. I know my son thinks the world of both me and his mother. You can see it in his eyes, when we are playing. He has never consulted the bible on this issue, yet he still loves us more than anyone on the planet. The commandment is honor your parents,not love your parents. To me, this speaks not to the children of the world but the adolescents, those who are most likely to willingly disobey their parents. So what reason would an omniscient god have to include a provisional commandment for the adolescents of the world? Aren't the ten comm. supposed to be for everyone. A bit shortsighted, if you ask me, and again shortsightedness on god's part is not an association religions are comfortable with. However, shortsightedness on the part of men (and women) is something we all recognize. Painfully obvious, we aren't very good at writing morally absolute laws.

6. You shall not murder. Sounds good to me. I don't want to be killed, so what would make me think anyone else wants me to kill them? Except that we do it all the time, war is state sanctioned-murder. There is no other word for it. War requires death at the hands of an intentional being. Warriors set out for the purpose of taking the lives of as many intended victims as possible. We all labor under the belief that life is sacred. But not all life, only life that conducts itself as we see fit. Animals have no sanction within this mindset, yet they are as alive as we are. Death elicits thoughts of fear in most people, not because of the pain which might be involved, but because we have no idea what actually happens to "us" after we die, but we assume there will still be an "us" at that point. Where does this assumption come from. What makes us think we are more than our bodies? Our minds? The fact that we can think? Murder, taking someone else's life prematurely, is an immorality only because we think so much of ourselves, but an immorality it is, nonetheless, and rightfully so. Are we to believe that prior to Moses decending from Mt. Sinai with those tablets that mankind had no qualms about killing each other (ironically, this is probably the case, at least in our very early ancestry, when we first came down out of the trees)? I'm sure the week before god's gift to mankind, the whole of the world's population was not slaughtering each other willy-nilly. Point being, Murder is an immorality to humans, because we are mortal, and as such are very aware of the opposite state of being, that of not being alive. We were aware of this unpleasantness well before moses brought the words of god to the hebrews. We did not need god to point out to us that murder is something we should avoid, afterall we are the mortal ones, not him. What would god know about death, he is supposedly the beggining and the end, here before us and here after, so what the hell, why should we give a shit what an immortal being says about the ending of life. Again folks, moral though it may be, we decided to include this one in the commandments, not god, god doesn't exist.

7. You shall not commit adultery. Ahh, the first of the many biblical reprimands on sex. The moral issue at hand here is not lying to the one you promised your life to. It has nothing to do with sticking a penis in a vagina, whether or not those two reproductive organs have bodies attached to them which possess a piece of paper stating said bodies are legally allowed to practice such enjoyable hobbies. This one could have been saved for the later one about covetousness, or atleast rolled into it, because the lie is the real immorality. The sex is just that sex, animals do it, hell most animals committ adultery as a rule. Ever heard of the alpha male? There's a reason why all the smaller lions practice fighting with each other. So they can one day fight off the head of the pride and take over all the newly available lionesses. Seems to me an omniscient being would have known that adultery is an issue of lying, not sex, just as covetousness is also an issue of lying, and such a great being would have known to roll those into one big don't lie commandment, freeing up a space for a commandment like say, don't abuse children. I can however see very clearly how a society which degraded the value of women such as we see in the bible could easily come up with that whole sex is bad, you should be punished severely for ever thinking it is more than the most sacred thing, thus including it in a set of timeless social rules. man how can anyone think the ten commandments are anything but manmade?

8. You shall not steal. Good, I agree. But as in the murder one a few back, I'm pretty sure mankind did not need to told in tablet form that stealing is bad and should be avoided. Infact, I'm equally sure that any society throughout history has had in place, non-biblical means with which todeal with thieves. Again, this seems a bit redundant, but a good rule nonetheless.

9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Again, a good rule, but lying is something which society at large is more than capable of dealing efficiently with. No need for god to write it down for us, even society back then was capable of self-regulation.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's stuff. This one's a bit touchy. I mean what's wrong with wanting what your neighbor has? If you do something about that desire, something which would violate another of the commandments, then I can see the danger, but the simple desire itself seems a bit over-the-top. We all want our share. Consumerism is the basis of all progressive economies, including ours. Without products, people would not buy things. that in and of itself is not a bad idea. I kind of like the concept of self-suffiency. But to include it as one of the unbreakable moral codes of humanity is bit extreme. Seems, jealousy was high on the minds of the authors of the bible. I guess it's not a bad rule to have, but I for one have some reservations about it.

Now to the "other" set. the one no one ever talks about.

In exodus chapter 34, moses has to chisel two new stone tablets to replace the first set which were broken. On these tablets were written, by god (supposedly) the ten commandments:

Chapter 34:27 -28 "Then the lord said to moses " Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and israel." Moses was there with the lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the the words of the covenant --- the ten commandments."

1. Do not make cast Idols (34:17)

2. Celebrate the feast of unleavened bread (34:18)

3. The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break it;s neck. redeem all your firstborn sons. (34:19)

4. No one is to appear before me empty-handed. (34:20)

5. Six days shall you labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest (34:21)

6. Celebrate the feast of weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the turn of the year (34:22)

7. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the sovereign lord, the god of israel. I will drive out nations and enlarge your territory,and noone will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the lord your god (34:23).

8. Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice with anything containing yeast (34:25)

9. Bring the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the lord your god (34:26)

10. Do not cook a young goat in it's mother's milk (34:26)

WOW!! This is such an awesome set of moral rules. How many times have I sat down to boil up a goat in it's mother's milk and thought to myself, ehhh, I better not do that, it's so wrong. Give me a break. I don't even need to go into how inane this new set of rules is, except to say, the bible itself, says these are the ten commandments, not those other ones from before, although at one point in the timeline those earlier ones were the covenant, but since the tablets were broken, they aren't anymore. These new ones are even better. So which set do you, Mr. Christian, adhere to? The first set which are morally either not, or obvious, without the hand of god needed at all; or the new set regarding cooking practices and feast celebration protocol?

The bible is just stupid.