Monday, July 26, 2010

The Beauty & Nobility of Misery and Suffering: My disturbing revelation

In a follow-up to our ongoing exchange of emails my Canadia Christian author friend asked me this about my feelings on AIDS deaths in Africa: “I'm very intrigued to know if you've considered why all of this matters so much to you.”

I found this shocking. Before replying I gave this a great deal of thought which brought me to a horrifying revelation. Here is my response.

Dear P,

You wonder why the issue of millions dying of AIDS in Africa is of such importance to me. To me and dare I say to all realists, the life we have is precious since it is the only one we ever will have. Thus we value it highly. Unlike Mother Teresa who said "The suffering of the poor is something very beautiful and the world is being very much helped by the nobility of this example of misery and suffering," which I find obscene and perverse, we see no beauty, no nobility, no glory in the suffering of people. That's why the issue is so important to me.

But your question caused me to have a revelation of sorts. These poor ignorant 3rd world people are falsely told by the pope that condoms do more harm than good, and that the path to ending this epidemic is "belief" and devoting oneself to the ghost of some presumed ancient mystic. But the Catholic Church, and people who down play the importance of condom use instead favoring acceptance of Jesus, don't much care about the suffering or death of the millions.

What they, what you, care about, what your agenda is, what all your efforts are directed toward is converting people to Jesus ... "saving souls." If for every 1 million people who die because of lack of sex education and unavailability of condoms a dozen souls can be saved for Jesus then it's a small price to pay. Human life and the avoidance of suffering isn't precious to people like you, the pope or Mother Teresa, because this life is but a staging ground, preparation, a test of sorts, for the "real reward" in your fictional heaven.

Oh yes, you / they pay it lip service. You'll praise the missionaries for mopping the sweating brow of a dying AIDS child. You'll wring your hands and shed crocodile tears over the multitude that will die. You'll protest that Christians have done so much to ease their suffering in the throes of death. But the reality is these lives are being sacrificed on the altar of religious ignorance ... for a "higher purpose." Their lives aren't precious; their souls and the afterlife take precedence.

P, in my last email I called you cavalier about the millions dying of AIDS. I was wrong, you aren't cavalier. You and those who think this way are knowingly complicit in their deaths.

You want to save their souls? Then save their only life with proven science, THEN do your evangelical proselytizing thing. To do otherwise is a kin to a doctor withholding proven treatment and instead lecturing about watching his cholesterol and getting more exercise while the man is dying from a massive heart attack. It's immoral.

Now I don't mean to offend but I think I am onto something here that I expect you will protest and dismiss as totally fallacious. I’ll understand that. Nevertheless, I've come to know the Christian mind pretty well through my many readings and over many years. I dare say that it would be impossible for you, or others who think in these terms to openly admit as true what I have come to realize (at long last) is clearly at very root of this whole issue. It disturbs me.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Those Damnable “New Atheists!”

The Reverend Paul Prather is a Kentucky minister, sometime blogger, and contributor to his local newspaper. He is also a whiner, has a stunted ability to think much beyond his limited world view, and is a caricature of the dwindling moderate Christian majority.

Recently he wrote an article entitled “New atheists embody the very things they hate.”
It’s his rant against this “new atheism,” a term that religionists wield against 21st century atheists like an epithet, much as Muslim jihadists use “infidel” or “kafir” for all non-Muslim Westerners.

The following are a few extracts from his misguided article which will serve as examples of theistic shortsightedness and myopic perspective of what atheism is all about.

“My objection to the new atheists isn't that they're atheists. It's that they strike me as hypocrites, which is the charge they unfailingly level, with mixed justification, against the religious. In opposing religion in the manner they do, they betray themselves as possessing the traits they profess to loathe.”

Hypocrites? Perhaps he thinks we DO believe in a god or gods when we say we do not? Maybe we say we are against intolerance for homosexual rights, and yet we really go out and try to make gays’ lives miserable? Perhaps we really DO reject the proofs of science deep down, and are just professing it to appear erudite? I don’t get it.

No, we, or at least I, don’t oppose religion per se, I oppose the product of theistic thought; that which impedes scientific progress, limits personal freedoms, uses belief to justify political extremism including theocracy, terror and war; and which seeks to enslave minds into a bronze age or 2nd century view of reality and morality that is defunct. Any religionists who do not subscribe to those things are not targets of my “opposition.”

“… they cherry-pick historical examples of religious wrongdoing while ignoring the innumerable instances in which the faithful have performed great acts of decency and charity.”

When acts of theistic decency have to be trotted out as a counter point to the acts of theist wrong doing in defense of religion it begs a cost benefit analysis. I’d proffer that if the evils wrought by religion are laid side by side with the contributions of religion to the advancement of civilization and human existence, that the evils would heavily tilt the scale. What benefits have been derived from religionist because of their superstition that counter acts 2000 years of Church inspired anti-Semitism, world wide terrorist bombings, the misrepresentation of the value of condoms in 3rd world nations, or the deaths attributable to intra-sect warfare through the ages? The good intentions of Mother Theresa?

“I wish these atheists would venture … into a seminary library. They'd find tens of thousands of volumes written by thinkers great and obscure across two millennia.”

No doubt. But careful examination of the contributions of theists in real world terms: i.e. science and medicine by notible theists like Gregor Mendel, Christian Barnard, Jonas Salk, Albertus Magnus, Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon and other personages of faith were made INSPITE of their theistic superstition, not BECAUSE of it. Had they not extended themselves beyond the precepts of their religious indoctrination and the ignorant falsehoods of scripture, they’d have contributed nothing.

Look, this “new atheist” label that seems to have bruised the sensibilities and aroused the ire of the theist majority like Prather is simply a cover for religionists’ disgust with [fear of?] the fact that activist atheists have decided not to hide in the closet any longer. We no longer are content to be anonymous observers, standing idly by while religion drags civilization back into the Dark Ages, or destroys lives and minds. "New atheist" is theist code for: "Those uppity mouthy atheists who aren't content to hide from the Inquisition like the good old days; refuse to kowtow to the Christian majority; and who insist on using reason and science openly to make us look like the backward superstionalists that we are." To that extent they’re right. No hypocrisy here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An open letter to a Muslim terrorist on the occasion of his latest death threat

Dear American born Muslim cleric of Yemeni descent Anwar al-Awlaki,

I hope this letter finds its way to your attention. I trust you will find it of interest given your proclivities toward religious delusion and mass murder.

I understand you are the person who was responsible for instigating the Fort Hood murders by a Muslim US Army officer. If reports are correct, you were also behind the failed Times Square bombing attempt by another American Muslim. I imagine that the former gave you much satisfaction; the latter being something of a disappointment.

Now the rumor is that you are quite upset over May’s “Everyone Draw Muhammad Day” world wide protest event which was the brain child of Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris. It’s said that you have decided to have her executed because her drawing of a domino tile, a cup of tea, and a piece of thread, all of which she labeled “Mohammed,” is blasphemy against the prophet Mohammed (Pus Be Upon Him). I know because I read it here:

Well, I have important information about this incident.

It wasn’t MOLLY Norris who drew those cartoons. It was CHUCK Norris. That’s right Chuck Norris; the 3rd rate actor- aging martial artist-far right Republican Christian religious whacko hypocrite, Crusader against Islam, self proclaimed super patriot and defiler of Mohammed (Prostatitis Be Upon Him). Chuck was the artist who actually rendered those inflammatory cartoons and many others that are too blasphemous to describe. I understand he lives in Navasota, Texas (zip code 77868). He shouldn’t be hard to find, he smells much like the unwashed buttocks of a lactose intolerant camel, a scent with which both you and the prophet Mo (Panties Are Upon Him) are likely quite familiar.

Additionally, I’m a tad offended. The drawings I posted on my blog during “Everyone Draw Mohammed Day” [ ] were considerably more offensive than anything Chuck OR Molly drew. Fact is, I have a couple of images of him on my blog right now that I’m sure you will agree are worthy of my beheading. So, unless you’re just a publicity seeking gutless follower of the Pedophile Prophet Mohammed (Pork Be Upon Him) I’d like to know why this infidel is not as worthy of your fatwa of death as is Molly … I mean … Chuck Norris?

I can be reached through my blog, or via my email address. If you’d care to just stop by and discuss this in person I live in New Hampshire. While we don’t have very much in the way of maggot infested Meshsh cheese; or representation of your mindless brethren who eschew toilet paper preferring to wipe their arses with their bare left hand and who kill themselves and children in the hopes of attaining paradise and being rewarded with sex with seventy-two Virginians (that’s right… it’s Virginians); we do have at least one camel and excellent maple syrup.

Looking forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours in blasphemy, a fellow American,


Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Comfort of God’s Orderly Creation; the Horror of a Random Universe

IN THE BEGINING Man’s understanding of science, his comprehension of the universe and the forces of the physical world were miniscule. Just as we ask ourselves “why and how” so did the ancients ponder the mysteries of what they observed.

Today we answer those questions with the benefit of thousands of years of accumulated knowledge, augmented by 300 years of previously unimaginable scientific discovery. The ancients answered them the best they could within the context of their culture and personal experience. All knowledge and experience was founded on one precept – it was focused on Man for Man or by men. Everything in their existence was species centric.

Since every primitive technology they had was a creation of Man, surely everything they did not / could not create had to be formed by a more powerful someone. And if the social construct included rule by a king, then surely there was a higher unseen king / god, or gods who demanded fealty and obedience by all in exchange for his gifts. It was only "logical."

Every earthquake was a sign, an omen, or an indication of a god’s displeasure with Man. Every flood, every lightning strike, every eclipse, every successful hunt or bountiful crop, every victorious battle was due to a god’s hand a sign of it’s presence and relationship to Man..

Everything in the sky was meant to serve Man, for why else would it exist? The moon differentiated time periods, segmenting the seasons in a predictable pattern …all for Man’s benefit. The stars and the moon gave light to better see at night… all for Man’s benefit. The Sun was a life force, possibly a god unto itself... all for Man’s benefit. These things could only be designed for, and presented to Man by a beneficent Being whose primary purpose was to interact with his creations -- rewarding them when he/she/it was happy and proud of them; and meting out punishment when they broke the societal taboos which offended it.

When in doubt as to a gods’ actions the Shaman was consulted. He knew the gods’ reasoning. He’d interpret it and give guidance. Invariably penance in the form of a burnt offering of grain, or animal, or human flesh would set things right. It was orderly. All the mysteries of the observable universe were understood; nothing had to be unknown: if Man didn’t do it, the god or gods did. It made perfect sense. What could be more comforting?

And what could be more horrifying than the obverse possibility… to think that all is not guided by super Being(s) just for Man’s benefit or a super Being’s personal edification? That there was no guiding force with whom they could reason, to whom they could implore, in whom they could trust to control their lives and world. How would they have coped with a universe that expands beyond their view, even beyond their imagination, all without any impact on Man and his world? How could the chaos and randomness of asteroid, meteor and comet impacts on billions of worlds billions of light years away be reconciled with the orderliness of a universe devised just for Man? Why would billions of suns shine their light and life sustaining heat on worlds that Man does not inhabit? How could the Earth, Sun, water, atmosphere, all plant and animal life not have been specially supplied to Man by the hand of that Being, instead be the result of a massive explosion of chaos, random combination of forces and elements, and natural selection?

To the Creationist religionists of today, just as it was with the ancients, the orderly guiding hand of a Super God King who made all, sees all, controls all and must be obeyed is still the great comfort. The chaos, randomness, and uncontrolled actions by mindless physical forces of the natural universe is the antithesis of orderliness and comfort… a horror that must be shunned and denied.
And while the discoveries of thousands of years of accumulated knowledge, and hundreds of years of the scientific age have whittled away what their Bronze Age predecessors once attributed to their Super God King, the remnants of that belief continues to control 21st century minds. That’s the real horror.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Holy Prophylactic. Let Jesus be their condom!

I’ve been having a pen pal exchange with my moderate Christian author friend in Canada. Some of his comments caused me to wince. While he is an educated fellow, his ability to see things outside of “religious think” -- in a broader perspective with any sense of rationality -- is tenuous at best. Let me explain.

We’ve been discussing the Catholic Church’s doctrine against condoms. I suggested that he should take a stand against that policy which has been complicit in the deaths of millions in third world countries, especially Africa. It went like this [edited for clarity and brevity]:


My response: Maybe that’s the difference between Christians and secularists. If handing out The Four Spiritual Laws was [scientifically] proven to prevent suffering and death for millions of men women and children due to AIDS I'd do it 7 says a week 8 hrs a day. If I knew such a thing could have that affect on humanity, I would be an amoral and insensitive asshole NOT to do that, and morally deficient by not working to get others to do the same.

To remain silent, to throw up ones hands, to not to speak out against an irrational prohibition based on the non-scriptural interpretation of ancient superstitious doctrine is tantamount to tacit approval of the Catholic Church’s death dealing policy.”


My retort: “This isn't about you or me. It's about millions of 3rd world peoples to whom the word of the Catholic Church is sacrosanct and are dying because of it. The Catholic Church's position is as nutty and as unholy as it can be. That you seem so cavalier about it is disappointing.”


“If you agree that condoms are 90% effective your [lack of condemnation] of this Catholic doctrine is disconcerting. If we can't have 100% we shouldn't work toward 90%? Isn't 90% better than 0%? [Instead] we should deny them a proven preventative and rely solely on Christian teachings / abstinence / Jesus to restrain the natural human sex drive? That’s as obscene a lack of reason and rejection of reality as I could imagine. The thousands of sexually promiscuous priests and [molesting] ministers are testament to the power of the human sex drive, irrespective of their knowledge of and acceptance of Jesus

The USA has THE the highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world. Yet we have the most religious population in the industrialized world. Sarah Palin's born again daughter's pregnancy was a result of her mother's abstinence only non-think indoctrination and denial of the natural sex urge. What now? They should have had "more faith?" We also have the highest divorce rate in the world. Jesus- think hasn’t had much impact there either.

Until this irrational doctrine of abstinence only “just come to Jesus” is thrown into the trash heap of mindless, simplistic and failed teachings, Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, are complicit in the spread of this disease among those least prepared to fight it.”

I don’t expect to get my author pal to come around to logic untainted by Christian delusion. It seems even some Christians to whom condom use is a legitimate birth control and disease preventative devise won’t condemn the Catholic Church’s mindless prohibition. Even they opt for Jesus as the preferred prophylactic… at least for third world impoverished peoples. Evidently, what works for the white North American Christian isn’t effective for black African’s. I don’t like what that implies. Too much Jesus on your mind is a horrible thing.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

For God so loved the World that he gave his creations ALS, flesh eating bacteria, and Ebola. Thank ya Jesus!!!

Christians love to invoke "free will" for all kinds of things. They say homosexuality is a choice. That god gives free will, and gays chose to be gay just like the rest of us chose heterosexuality (you remember when you chose to be hetero, right?) They have to say that. If they accept a genetic predisposition toward homosexuality it would mean that their god wanted homosexuals, that homosexuality is just as natural as can be. There can be none of that. After all, the bible says homosexuality is an abomination and god doesn’t create abominations. Q.E.D. - homosexuality has to be man’s poor use of his god given free will. End of discussion.

But what happens when Christians come face to face with conditions where free will and man’s choice cannot be easily invoked to explain away “abominations?” Why do people come down with ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s disease -- arguably the most hideous fatal genetic disease one could possibly imagine? No one chooses ALS. Nothing one does from a behavioral, ethical, or moral perspective is known to cause ALS. So if god created man in his image, and god doesn’t screw things up what does this all mean -- that god has ALS and wanted us to have it too? Or that their god creates hideous diseases to torment and torture his creations, as he tortured himself/ his son? And why -- out of love? What sane being knowingly gives someone a torturous fatal disease out of love, or for any reason?

Why did their god, who created all life, create Necrotizing fasciitis, aka flesh eating bacteria (see picture above)? Why did their god create the virus that causes Ebola hemorrhagic fever aka Ebola? These life forms cause horrible suffering and death to thousands of people every year -- no free will choice there. Is it punishment for being a third world infant? Is it retribution for some African toddler’s childish insult to a prophet or to god itself? Does god punish children to death for the free will choices of his parents? What kind of sane being punishes the innocent child for the adult's trespasses?

This problem, which cannot be explained away by free will, provokes all kinds of mental gymnastics among the pious sheep. I once had one of them tell me that such god given diseases “build character.” I came very close to helping build that cretin’s character with a pipe wrench to his head.

“Suffering of the innocent is part of a bigger plan that we cannot understand” is among the most favored platitudes / non-explanations / pious copouts / denials of logic / irrational retorts. It requires of them no analysis of the issue. It does not make them face the challenge of the paradox head on. It is escape into mindless babble to avoid what common sense screams at them from just below the surface of their enslaved minds. It does exactly what it has to do when self imposed ignorance comes face to face with reason … end of discussion.