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In the Name of Jesus

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I couldn’t sleep last night. I tossed and turned, thinking of everything from “the 6 second rule,” to the Bible, and the facts, or less than facts, which back the words scripted, bound in leather. Due to the political affiliation of fundamental religion, the heavy God theorem, I thought of the depth of the question: What would Jesus do? I usually hold particular politicians responsible for using and manipulating the God fearing. Last night, my head spun with the fact that the politicians only have the power the people give them. The hypocrisy-laden fundamentalists create the fertile ground of tyranny against the Jesus they pronounce as their savior. They march, donate, and vote to pass pro-Yahweh laws, criticizing and passing judgment, supporting laws that prohibit one’s own free agency, ignoring their own God with their profound judgment. It is these very same people who would crucify Jesus Christ, once again, with their self-righteous belief and their values taught from the pulpit of man. Jesus would once again be shackled and nailed to the cross, or maybe just held and tortured, without charges or trial, in Gitmo, by those who claim to believe in him the most.

Let’s begin with thou shall not kill. People picket clinics with painted signs bearing this commandment. They lobby for anti-abortion laws, trying to rob the people of God-given free will. They try to deny the right of choice promised by God’s will of choice. Under the premise of doing God’s work, they pass judgment. They claim it isn’t right. It’s murder. Yet, out of the other side of their mouths, they support capital punishment. They vote in favor of crucifixion, time after time, as if their form of death by man is different. They also send off their young to war, again supporting violence and death by the hand of man. They vote on the side of their Lord for man-induced death. Thou shall not kill wasn’t meant just for robbers who break into your home at night, or for unborn children; it was meant just as written: don’t kill, plain and simple. I guess they decided to modify those words, putting God in their terms, not themselves in God’s. Christian? Laughable. I don’t remember a single Bible story where Jesus ever raised a weapon, not even to save his own life. He didn’t gather a violent army to protect himself against the Jews who were casting stones at him. He didn’t create a political party to outlaw the behaviors he deemed violent and unnecessary; he shed his blood to save those who didn’t know any better. The Bible-righteous should know this better than any of us, but some of us don’t need to focus on a two-thousand year old book to understand the Jesus principle, the people principle, also known as the human condition.

I would also know where the anti-poverty votes come into play in the Bible. I don’t know of a single case of Jesus walking away from someone hungry, sick or cold. He didn’t ask them if they paid their taxes. He didn’t cry out: “All you want is a handout and why should I have to pay for you to have food, shelter, or healing?” He simply fed the hungry, clothed the cold, and healed the spirit of the leper. There was no condemnation of their class position, no questions asked as to how they got to where they were, no judgment passed, and certainly no self righteous ego that led him to believe he was any better. Again, he didn’t create an army to hide the crumbs of the crust that society had left behind. He simply lived what he was trying to teach to the world, he reached out and cared for those who needed, without question or ridicule, shedding his own blood to mask the sins of those who were too ignorant to grasp it, begging: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

I don’t understand how the biggest Bible believers miss this point. I don’t understand how they can vote for politicians who put far more priority on military spending than on the people than other countries; and when cuts are needed, they vote against the people.

Man preaches his personal beliefs from the pulpit to the minds who have lived in a box for so long, believing every word spoken from the pulpit, that they have forgotten how to think for themselves in their own chosen darkness. They use the Bible to levy war and hardship on those who are less fortunate. They vote on the side of societal control. These votes show no real belief in the Jesus they proclaim to love, for with each vote they desecrate the blood of the true meaning of Christ, just as did Pontius Pilate or the Jews, and in the same manner, I must say. The congregation votes, upon that preached word, casting stones for their own quasi-salvation, against the free will of God, but the box they have allowed themselves to fall into, keeps them in the darkness, unable to see the truth beyond the book.

I guess it all falls into play. The Bible, written by man, by those in power to control societal conditions of the time, continues. It is those same beliefs, in the day of Jesus, which led to his crucifixion, and it is those same hands, in our modern world, that would crucify him again today if he were to stand up for the people. If Jesus were here today, what would he do? Would he stand for the corruption of big business? Would he choose to vote to pollute the land on which he walked? Would he speak out against collective bargaining? Would he publically demean people for their sins? Would he cast stones upon the poor, the elderly, the children and those in need, all the while holding hands with the super rich who say: “To hell with them?”

To you fake Christians, who vote against all that Jesus Christ stood for,I leave you with this quote from your own Bible, Matthew 25:35-40:

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.’ 

Remember that when you paint your signs of disgust against those you don’t understand. Remember who Jesus Christ was. He had no malice and no prejudice against anyone, not even those who nailed him to the cross. Have the courage to step outside the box, think with your own mind, and know the only damnation in the Bible is authored by man. When you understand that, you will then be free of the guilt and shame attached to salvation and you will then truly know that salvation was granted from the blood Jesus shed, even by your hand that continues to drive the nails against him.

What would Jesus do? He would shed tears, along with his blood, knowing that his blood was shed in vain.

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About Pam Messingham

  • http://Indyboomer.blogspot.com Baritone

    Pam,

    I am not a believer in any sense. Yet, I find your argument to be eloquent and heartfelt. I believe you are correct about the crass hypocrisy of most so called christians who use the bible as a weapon, a battering ram from which they cherry pick those bits that are useful to their ends, while ignoring large portions of its inconsistencies and contradictions.

    Given what has been happening across the country in Republican held state legislatures and state houses, and what has been happening in Congress, I am very fearful of what could happen over the next several years should the Reps gain control of the WH and Congress along with more governorships and state houses.

    I’m rather an old fart who witnessed the beginnings of this idealogical rift back in the 1950s through the 1970s and on to today. It has grown and festered all these years, and finally the Reps, social & fiscal conservatives, etal, are like rabid, incontinent bulls wreaking havoc in… well about any and every kind of shop you can imagine. It’s all pretty scary stuff. We could see our country driven back to, I don’t know when, the 19th century?… the 12th? These are some crazy assed people with a bunch of crazy assed ideas that are becoming the law of the land. May your god help us.

    B

  • http://www.passionoftruth.blogspot.com Pam Messingham

    Baritone, my personal spiritual beliefs are not stated in this article. They are far more complex. It is factual that Jesus walked the land, tried to help people, and was nailed to a cross. That is all documented. What I believe isn’t the issue. What is the issue is those that claim to be our most faithful are basically hypocrites and they lack the real knowledge who Jesus Christ was.

    Years ago while in college I learned Mary wasn’t a virgin. Being raised Italian Catholic, something in me was shaken, deeply. My mother, who converted from southern baptist to Catholic raised us believing there were no mistakes or untruths in the bible. The thing about the bible, even though I went to Catholic school, was we didn’t read it, therefore, I was unaware of all the conflicting messages. Learning that Mary’s virginity was a translational issue shook everything I believed was religiously sound.

    This is written about those that will argue Mary’s virginity. This is written for those who cry out, constantly, Praise the Lord, while they bash gays, as if they weren’t a part of the same ideal of their creationlist beliefs. It’s about using religion to discriminate. It’s about that Tea Party mentality that lobbys to save the world based on their personal judgment.

    I know their Jesus never spoke on things such as unwanted pregnancy, homosexuality, or any sexual issue, whatsoever. They use Liviticus, which was pre Jesus. My take on it is don’t corner people and say: Is Jesus your lord and savior? When they are clueless as to who they following and the meaning of his life.

    I am not ready to expose my exact beliefs, but I know me well enough to know if you hit the right chord, I don’t hold back, and with the right response, this one may do it.

    As for the condition of the country. I know. I tell people all the time that we are in big trouble. If the people are ignorant enough to vote in Mitt, knowing he is bought and paid for, knowing he has lied over and over again, knowing they are casting a ton of lies onto the current administration, then we need to throw in the towel…America will be done with.

    There is one conservative I know that called me on Friday and said: “I keep reading what you write and you are turning nme into a liberal.” It isn’t about lib/con, it isn’t about God, it’s about being human and tending to the needs of all so we can grow. This person is one of those fundamentalist tea party people.

    If I had my way, Baritone, I would try to unite the country to vote anti both party to break the back of the two party strong hold. I want to see us have our power without being bought.

    I have lost respect for both Americn government and fifty percent of it’s people.

    Thanks for the compliment, though! Much appreciated.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    “What would Jesus do?” is an utterly useless question, because somehow it always turns out that what he would do is exactly what the questioner wants to do.

  • http://cinemasentries.com El Bicho

    I’m not sure you know the Bible as well as you think because your article puts forth incorrect presumptions.

    “Let’s begin with thou shall not kill.”

    Isn’t it “Thou shall nor murder”? There’s a difference. And the Bible allows for killing when related to warfare, capital punishment, and self-defense.

    I didn’t move past the first page since their were so many inaccuracies.

  • Clav

    EB:

    Did you deliberately misspell in your comment #4 to make a further point?

  • Clav

    They are far more complex. It is factual that Jesus walked the land, tried to help people, and was nailed to a cross.

    Actually, no. All the documentation about Christ was written after he supposedly lived. There is no definitive, incontrovertible proof of his existence; and while there’s no question that the myth has persisted over the centuries, no real evidence proving his existence beyond any doubt has ever been found.

    There are Biblical scholars who conclude from the preponderance of writings about Christ (all written long after his alleged existence) that he, or someone much like the popular depiction of him, must have existed.

    But, again, there is no scientific proof; his existence comes down to a matter of faith, just like the “existence” of god.

  • http://www.passionoftruth.blogspot.com Pam Messingham

    Dread…I was basing the question simply on the way the man lived his life and how he would react. Not on how I would want him to react to any situation.

    EB..Being raised in Catholic school I never once heard that commandment as thou shall not murder. Also, please tell me the difference between murder and killing. Maybe it’s me, but I think they mean one in the same. Furthermore, I would like to hear one story where Jesus used violence or turned away from anyone in need. Feel free.

    Baritone…told you…that door is opening.

  • http://www.passionoftruth.blogspot.com Pam Messingham

    Clav,
    I know that the earliest biblical account it 150 years after the crucifixion of Christ. Factually, there is little. The shroud of Turin, a piece of a cross, (though both could belong to anyone from that time, but the Vatican displays both artifacts) and a bone box, inscribed, James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus. Not that those aren’t all common names, but it wasn’t normal to etch all three names on a box used for human remains. Theologians agree the odds are in favor of this person walking the earth. They also note that man added to the bible to control certain social issues. The “religious” will disagree, saying there were consequences to be paid if they were to lie in their writings, as if we would ever be privy to know if and how those consequences played out.
    Those biblical scholars you speak of would make a bible believer cringe, Clav, they can’t even get past Marys virginity being a translational error, much less Lillith, the woman created from clay, just like Adam, before Eve, much less the fact that the authors of the bible added Jesus script to suit their own purpose. There are things in the bible that should lead one to seek out the real truth…lines like seek and you shall find. Again, I say, you can’t find the dangers of alcohol in the Whiskey distillery.

    The Catholics have even caved on evolution, though they would look quite foolish if they didn’t at this stage of the game, wouldn’t they? The fundamentalists will argue, some saying the world is only 2000 years old. It stymies my mind when I hear these statements. Science is good enough to make the best fundamentalist run to a doctor, but it is highly discredited when it comes to the truths about the bible. It boggles my mind.

  • http://www.passionoftruth.blogspot.com Pam Messingham

    EB…and by the way…Jesus never spoke about killing anyone. Maybe you don’t know your bible so well….that would be um…man’s addition.

  • Baronius

    I can only address your questions as a Catholic. On the first topic, Pope Benedict stated it best back when he was a cardinal:

    “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    Those are pretty serious issues, abortion, war, et cetera. A lot of unserious people take positions on them without thinking them through. But it is possible to support a certain war and oppose all abortion and be consistent. There can be such a thing as a just war, although they’re rare. There’s no such thing as a just abortion.

    On the second topic, it’s a matter of prudential judgment how to best serve the poor. You note that Jesus didn’t raise any armies; it’s also true that He didn’t create any government agencies. Does that mean it’s wrong to ever do so? Of course not. But decent people can disagree on the best way to perform acts of mercy. This is similar to the first topic. There are always cranks who don’t want to do good and oppose government aid, but most people who are uncomfortable with the current level and methods of government aid genuinely want to do good.

    Two other points. First, as always, I note your habit of name-calling. Secondly, it sounds like you’ve had some lousy religious experiences. You say that your school didn’t give you Bible instruction, and that your college taught you that Mary wasn’t a virgin. You also made a comment in a recent article to the effect that Americans don’t have food drives for fellow Americans, which tells me you’ve had some awful parishes. You should see more of what Catholicism really says and does, outside of your own bad experiences. You may be surprised.

  • http://Indyboomer.blogspot.com Baritone

    Religion is evil. Yes, a lot of people do a lot of good things under the aegis of the church (or temple or synagogue or whatever,) but the core of all religion is evil. It is all about control. That element of control has served its purpose at times, but as with all things, control is power, and over the long run we humans do not do well with power. We almost invariably abuse it.

    It is interesting and rather confounding that the three major monotheistic religions all come from the same place and out of largely the same traditions. They are quite similar in many ways. Each of the three so called holy books are also very similar. Each has many of the same elements as the other two – in some cases verbatim. Yet it is these three religions that have been the source of incredible hate and violence, often to the point of genocide for centuries. Personally, I wish they’d all take their holy books and place them where the sun don’t shine.

    B

  • http://www.passionoftruth.blogspot.com Pam Messingham

    Baronious, I never said anything about food drives. Ever. So you have misquoted me.

    Mary wasn’t a virgin. This didn’t have a thing to do with a parish. This was a college level religions class.

    Being raised a Catholic, which I am not now, the bible was never taught and if you are a catholic, you know that to be true. Plus, we really don’t want to note the changes in the Catholic church. We really don’t want to go there. Those changes began in 1200 which made the Greeks split due to Roman super superiority thinking they had the right to change what was well established, supposedly by God. Did man have that right? Of course not.

    As for my bad experiences with religion…What are you talking about? Just because my God gave me a logical mind, one that can look outside of a two thousand year old book of fables, doesn’t mean I had bad religious experiences. I haven’t.

    I don’t care if your pope says there are degrees of killing. I don’t think it’s okay for politicians to start wars because they can’t agree or because they want something another country has, and then send young kids to fight their battles. Am I wrong? If I start a war, I promise, I will fight it. I wouldn’t send my kids under the name of loyality, while I sat back, sucking up the best money can buy, getting fat on my own ego.

    I don’t understand how a pope can justify one method of man instilled death and deem another method wrong. It’s illogical. I, also don’t understand how any religion should or can have as much control in society, based on diverse religious sects.

    As for abortion, I have six children. I, personally, would never opt to abort, but that doesn’t mean that if I choose to, I shouldn’t have that right.

    When men and women in that religious sect can use murder/killing and the moral “against God” issue in abortion, shouldn’t they apply it to all areas? Why isn’t thou shall not bear false witness, you know, lie, bantered as much as thou shall not kill when used against abortion?
    Or why isn’t keeping the Sabbath day holy followed and kept? Who is man to deem which commandment is a priority? You are a sinner if you abort your baby. If you are a catholic, that is a mortal sin, but isn’t it also a mortal sin if you simply tell a white lie, or choose to eat out on a Sunday? What does your pope say to those issues?
    I know the Catholic religion well. I know many religions pretty well. So please, don’t act like I’m clueless to religion. It isn’t that I formed my opinions because I don’t know, I formed them because I do.

    As for how I write, the only thing I can say to you is this…if you don’t like my writing, which I do from what I feel from the crux of my soul…then simply don’t read it. That is your free will.

  • http://www.passionoftruth.blogspot.com Pam Messingham

    Baritone, agreed, the Torah, the Bible, and the Koran…gotcha!

  • http://www.passionoftruth.blogspot.com Pam Messingham

    Baritone, are the christians aware that the first testiment of the King James bible is almost exact to both the torah and the koran? The Jews don’t believe the son of God has came, so they don’t believe in Jesus. The Muslims believe in Jesus, just as they believe in their Mohamad, though in the Koran(Quran) they believe Jesus was a profit. Wouldn’t many cringe if they knew the Muslims gave more creedence to Jesus than the Jews? Just a thought.

  • Baronius

    Pam, if you weren’t taught the Bible, you had a poor Catholic upbringing. If you were taught in college that Mary wasn’t a virgin, well, I don’t know if that was a Catholic college or not, but it suggests that you haven’t been taught the faith particularly well. Other comments, such as the one that fundamentalists believe the earth is 2000 years old, speak to that as well.

    There is a word used in the Greek that could be translated as “virgin” or “young woman”. If you say that the original text meant “young woman”, then you could argue that the passage was mistranslated. But what about the O.T. passage declaring that the Messiah would be born of a virgin? That was Hebrew, not Greek. And Mary refers to herself as not knowing man. Different Greek phrase, I’m sure. College professors like to shock students into thinking differently, but sometimes they’re more concerned with the impact of a statement than its veracity.

    As for the food drive comment, didn’t you just write an article about hunger in America in which you said that Americans don’t assist each other?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    For the atheists here who point out the evil that is done in the name of religion, while I strongly disagree with nearly all religions and acknowledge their hypocrisy, you should all bear in mind the genocides that were carried out by those who were officially atheist…

    …the point being, it’s not religion that is evil, but men who allowed their power to corrupt them absolutely.

  • http://Indyboomer.blogspot.com Baritone

    All of this parsing about the veracity of the bible and Mary’s supposed virgin birthing of Jesus is tantamount to arguing about whether the earth is round. It’s all pointless because its all balderdash.

    However, I must say that the notion concerning Jesus’ birth from a virgin womb was not seriously considered until hundreds of years after his supposed life.

    BTW Bar – My wife was raised a catholic and went to catholic school all the way through high school. She also claims that the bible was rarely refered to.

    Glenn – The problem with religion is that it, by its very nature, creates divisions between people, just as do considerations of nationality, ethnicity and other cultural differences. It creates an “us vs them mentality.” Religion has been used as the basis for waring since humanity first came up with the notion of gods. My god or gods can kick your god or gods’ ass[es]!

    In this type of discussion someone always falls back on the argument that atheists have been responsible for terrible wars and mass killing just as have believers. But, in most every such case these people substituted The State, or some such, for god. Yes, Stalin was an avowed atheist. But traditional religion was replaced with the Soviet State as being god’s spiritual equivalent, so it comes down to the same thing – a belief in something higher or bigger than ourselves for which we should be willing to sacrifice all. It’s the same bullshit. And, as I think you know Glenn, Hitler was no atheist. He simply melded his admittedly demented religious beliefs with the trumped up glory of the Fatherland.

  • http://danmillerinpanama.wordpress.com Dan(Miller)

    An Agnostic, I perhaps have no voice worth being heard here on the subject of the article. Still, here goes.

    Ever since there have been politicians they have used religion, sometimes the “one true religion” whatever they may claim it to be, to promote causes and to get elected. Often the consequences have been unfortunate, occasionally they have been good.

    Jesus is believed by some to have been in some ways uniquely the “Son of God” and hence perfect. We are not. Assuming that God gave us life, must he not also have provided the instinct for self-preservation needed to preserve and perpetuate mankind? Wars are sometimes necessary to that end. WWII is one example of where we fought and died to preserve life; there are others.

    As to a government taxing people to provide charity to the unfortunate, I seem to recall that Jesus told us individually to be charitable to the less fortunate. I do not recall that he told us to foist that job off on a government.

  • http://Indyboomer.blogspot.com Baritone

    Since the prevailing government was Roman and generally hostile, I doubt that it would have crossed anyone’s mind to believe that it would in any effective manner provide for the poor.

    Further, to believe that the private sector could or would adequately provide for the poor and the sick is ridiculous. Had that been the case, it is unlikely that so called government entitlement programs would have been deemed necessary in the first place.

    A large manufacturer that would provide little if anything substantive to provide a safe and healthy work environment for its employees would almost certainly show little concern for the poor and sick in general except perhaps if they figured on getting some positive publicity and/or some kind of tax incentives by doing so.

    I say again as I have on a # of occasions here at BC & elsewhere, the Right’s philosophy is “I’ve got mine, fuck you.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baritone –

    Religion doesn’t in and of itself cause division so much as give people another excuse to encourage divisions they already wanted to have – otherwise, atheism wouldn’t have resulted in the greatest genocides in human history.

  • Doug Hunter

    #19

    And the left’s philosphy is “Do as I say, bitch”

    Some people just enjoy being the bitch more than others I suppose… hey, it’s not even rape if you convince yourself you like it, right??

    Much of the left’s debate revolves around convincing people they would like it… of course not enough to do it freely without government mandate and ultimately the barrel of a gun… a little disingenuous. Me on the other hand… I don’t give a shite what you do so long as you don’t try and force me to participate, I’ll also do my best to return the favor.

  • Doug Hunter

    #20

    Very good point, I love to drag out that factiod on the genocides as well… drives the anti-religious crazy. Religions, and governments, are projections of the people and have the same inherent weaknesses, no more, no less.

    I’m generally impressed with how forward looking and, dare I say, progressive christianity was. Even in secular society among those who reject the religion, much of the moral framework remains intact… of course hubris blinds people to this fact. They believe they came to their own moral conclusions seperate and apart from the society of judeo-christian values from which they came (and of course those are superior to everyone else’s).

  • Baronius

    I personally never cared about Mary’s virginity. That’s a private matter as far as I’m concerned. I only wrote about it to correct an error in the article. The fact is, with Mary’s virginity, or even Jesus’s existence, there’s no evidence of a sudden historical break in belief. As far back as we can get to the supposed events, records indicate the belief in those events. Every theory about a corruption in the texts, or a corruption of Christianity caused by the creation of the texts, smacks of conspiracy thinking. There were disputes early on, but the bulk of the people who claimed to be Christian made specific claims about what Christianity was.

  • http://Indyboomer.blogspot.com Baritone

    Atheism did not cause any genocides. That is idiotic bullshit. There was no preaching of atheism or godlessness to enflame the public to war or mass killing. There was no atheistic tenet that was used to entice people to murder. There has been thousands of calls to arms in the name of some god or other.

    You chose to ignore my assertion that in almost every case, traditional god believer religion was simply replaced with the State as the source of holiness, as it were. So no, it doesn’t drive me crazy, because it’s not true. Read some history people.

    B

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    The fact that the worst genocides have been committed by non faithists is one of those things that faithists use in a corrupt way to console themselves when people point out the evil of religion.

    It is a classic red herring of course; the reason religion is evil is because it is based on a lie, a cruel, manipulative deception that exploits people on many levels.

  • Doug Hunter

    #25

    All morality is a lie. We’re just evolved chemical reactions… does gay marriage, or whether we allow human sacrifice, or the amount of tranfer payments to the poor matter one whit in the grand scheme of the universe?

    Things seem progressive and make you feel better because that’s the values you learned as a child. Children of the sperm drinking tribes of New Guinea learn to drink sperm and think it’s great, children of those who torture and cannibalize their enemy think that’s nice too. You are but a product of your environment and as much as you hate it Christianity has been a major influence in most of the ‘civilized’ environments of the world. I’m a results oriented kind of guy, so IMO it can’t be all ‘evil’. (see, that whole good/evil thing stuck with you, that’s always been the way of religion, keep what you like and ignore the rest!)

  • http://Indyboomer.blogspot.com Baritone

    Yes Christopher! Just as Christopher states: Religion is a lie! It’s all a goddamn lie.

    Morality is what we make of it. It is NOT a lie. It is we who determine what is moral. Yes, it depends on when and where in our history one is as to what is considered to be moral. We’ve made a lot of missteps, based on a lot of false assumptions – usually assumptions that something or someone is watching over us, judging us, directing us. That is the lie.

    Religion is the biggest scam ever pulled off by man. It has manipulated people to do any number of heinous things, in the name of some god. DH – the results you speak of suck.

  • Zingzing

    Blaming Stalin’s or mao’s genocide on atheism is about as logical as blaming it on the color of their skin or the size of their shoe. They killed political enemies, not religious enemies. (Hitler, of course, was about as atheist as the pope, and killed based in large part because of religion… Christians were largely spared, unless they offended some other political tenet.) they did use the human need to believe in something (in this case the state) the same way religion does: to separate and dehumanize the opponent, just because they believe in something different. They learned their lessons well from religion’s history. One man couldn’t hold that together unless he was viewed as a god by those below him.

  • Doug Hunter

    #27

    Starting to sound like a lot of defenders of religion there in paragraph two… it’s not a lie, it’s real, it just changes over time!!! lol.

    As for the ‘results sucking’, there’s no common frame of reference so comparisons are meaningless. I can tell though that all of our lives are real tough… it’s so nasty brutish and short I’m amazed we can find time in the struggle for food, clothing, and shelter to break away at all to post… online… on a blog… in the comments section.

    I’m just glad I was blessed with a more pleasant outlook… wouldn’t exchange views for the world. Pity you live in a world that sucks… mine’s great!

  • Doug Hunter

    “Hitler, of course, was about as atheist as the pope, and killed based in large part because of religion… ”

    Nothing I’ve ever read supported this view at all. I’d say Hitler was about as religious as say… Obama. He worried that the authority of the church undermined the ultimate authority of his state, but he remained in an uneasy truce (had enough on his plate fighting the Soviets, the Western powers, and trying to exterminate the Jews I suppose) It’s true Jews are associated with a religion as well as a race, but I’ve never seen evidence that his hatred was linked to the religion… it was more a racial hatred… somethign akin to an American hating illegal Mexican immigrants and blaming them for all our problems (that may or may not indicate they have a problem with the Roman Catholic religion)

  • Doug Hunter

    Zing, wiki has a nice article on this:

    Religious Views of Adolf Hitler

    Grew up in with a skeptic father and devout mother, quit organized religion after chldhood, made some positive religious platitudes in public, privately viewed religion as a threat… sorta like lots of our modern day politicians.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I’ll hazard a guess that in all of history there hasn’t been a single political leader who’s found it possible to govern strictly according to whatever set of religious beliefs and/or ethics they stepped into the job with, and that would include every pope.

    I think most of them, however devout and well-intentioned to begin with, are disillusioned with great rapidity because the world just doesn’t work the way their belief system wishes it did.

  • http://Indyboomer.blogspot.com Baritone

    Hitler was not aligned with any formal religious order, but he DID believe there was a god for whom he was doing his bidding in violently promoting the supposed superiority of the Aryan race. Just as today’s neo-nazis, klanners & the like believe the white race is the chosen of god, so, too, did Adolf as regards Aryans. Hitler despised the catholic church, although the first alliance he chose to form was with the Vatican – which he, of course, later broke.

    BTW- I didn’t say my world sucks – at least not anymore than most. But religion has been the source for the deaths of countless millions, and by perpetuating the lie of there being any god of any kind it is a scam of the highest order, dishonest to the core.

  • Doug Hunter

    #33

    Your definition of religion is very loose, including traditional religious, those that don’t practice organized religion, and even trying to lump atheists in as ‘religious’ with government replacing God. In that way you can scapegoat almost anything onto religion if you want.

    What you file under religion I see as morality, specifically moral absolutism. People who believe that their ideas are superior, right, and ‘good’ have always been dangerous. Where previously religion would have been a good fit, government is the new refuge for the authoritarians, only a person who devoutly believes in their rightness is willing to force 300 million people to comply with their rules.

    Religion still has a hold in the third world, but largely for the developed world it’s yesterdays problem. It does make for a nice whipping boy, a diversion for the masses while the old clergy becomes the new bureacracy! (that tithing idea was pitiful anyway, 10%?, really, now with government we can get 50, 60, 70% plus!)

  • Igor

    When an assassination plot against Hitler failed he went about proclaiming that it was Gods will.

    Hitler was favored by Pope Pius, who proclaimed that the genocide of gypsies, homos, insane and jews was none of the catholic churches business. One autocrat bowing to another.

    Even after WW2 the popes favored Nazis and continued to smuggle them out of Germany to places like Argentina. It was called “The Vatican Highway”. Mengele was smuggled out by the pope in 1945, and then in 1955 they smuggled him back in so he could acquire a nice nazi German wife, then smuggled them both back out to Argentina.

    It’s always that way: the powerful do favors for their peers, the powerful.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Doug @ #34:

    Are you saying you favour a flat tax?

    Just curious…

  • http://Indyboomer.blogspot.com Baritone

    How many forms has religion taken in man’s history? Hundreds? Thousands? How many gods has man bowed to? I guess you could say that we atheists have made progress as we have, for much of the world boiled it down to one. One more to go. We just believe in one less god than you do. It shouldn’t be that big a leap. Just jump. You’ll be happy you did.

  • Baronius

    Actually, monotheism and polytheism have both been sprinkled throughout history. So has atheism.

  • Doug Hunter

    #36

    I prefer a low tax in general, not sure the best structure. I’d like to see a flat tax applied across all incomes (including dividends, etc.), with some combination of exemptions, credits, or welfare transfers to cover the very basics of living for all just to see if it would work. Don’t know of any country that’s tried it. Apparently, from anecdotes I’ve heard such as comparing Warren Buffett’s rate to his secretary we have an inversion of rates so a flat tax might be a ‘progressive’ improvement.

    I tend to view the total percentage tax on myself (plus the government added inflation, the other way they siphon money) as sort of the amount I am enslaved to government. Of course it’s not that simple, some government programs provide benefits I might choose on my own. Social security is a good example, I’ve saved much more for retirement in addition, but I can’t count it as a total loss as it is something I would have done anyway and I might get something back if they don’t decide to means test it before I get there. But generally the less money/resources we provide to those good gents who are all too happy to make my decisions for me, the better.

  • Zingzing

    Hitler’s religion was debatable, but he was no atheist. But for what was only a paranthetical in my larger point… People love them some hitler…

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    People manufacture religions, so the evils that men do in the name of religion are just a manifestation of human nature, not something that their faith made them do.

    Chris is actually the one who hit the nail on the head with his observation that religion is the greater evil because it teaches people what to think rather than how to think, and has thus probably held back human intellectual and moral development by several millennia.

  • Doug Hunter

    #37

    I don’t know who that’s directed at, I’m not religious although I don’t take the banner athiest as that sorta implies the militant dislike of religion that you display. I’m not really anti anything here, just the old intolerant of the intolerant routine.

    I also don’t find the arguments very convincing either. You tend to blame everything bad a person who may be religious does on religion but took no effort to account for what good others might have done under the same condition.

    Even though I dislike government I wouldn’t dare come on here halfcocked blaming them for ALL wars, ALL genocides, and most large scale oppressions (which incidentally is absolutely true) without the sense to look at the other side of the coin.

    Now, I have a challenge for you. My assertion is that the basic Christian tenets are so ingrained in society that even those who oppose the religion carry on it’s moral banner. To that end if you have any knowledge of the same, I’d like you to tell me something heinous or improper Jesus did or that which you most disagree with, not Paul, not the old testament,Jesus himself.

    He was a major pacifist even chastising his followers for violence on the eve of his capture and execution. He defended the lowly and weak against the devout of his day calling out the hypocrisy of local leaders with the ‘cast the first stone’ bit, devoted his life to the poor and sick, kept a party going by turning water into wine, castigated the rich, laid down the foundation of seperation of church and state with the whole ‘render unto ceasar bit’, the only time Jesus showed any frustration he went after the ancient financial industry in the temple…. he was occupying wall street 2000 years before it was en vogue!!! Dude would have been a modern day radical flaming liberal democrat, no doubt! I find it funny that the ones the most like him are the quickest to reject him.

  • Baronius

    Dread, the Aristotle+Monotheism combination worked pretty well for Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I tend to agree, Doug: a flat tax would be the fairest and most manageable system. Governments tend to dislike the idea, though, because it limits the revenue they can collect, and the rich dislike it because it takes away an avenue for maximizing their income.

    It also has the disadvantage of a lack of flexibility, which would not necessarily be a bad thing as it would encourage governments to make the most of what they had and private citizens to manage their money more responsibly.

    I can, unfortunately, see a scenario in which a government working under the legal imposition of a flat tax would start encouraging its citizens to breed like crazy so as to increase the number of people who could be taxed.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Baronius: That depends how you look at it.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I’d like you to tell me something heinous or improper Jesus did or that which you most disagree with, not Paul, not the old testament,Jesus himself.

    Cursing the fig tree always seemed pretty gratuitous and petty to me…

  • Baronius

    Dread, that statement is crazy. I have to assume that you don’t know what that combination resulted in: medicine, logic, charity, human rights…

  • Doug Hunter

    “and has thus probably held back human intellectual and moral development by several millennia.”

    Purely speculative nonsense. You can’t seperate the history of religion from the history of mankind in any meaningful way. In fact, it’s fairly impossible to make a value judgement on anything, it just is what it is and if things had been different they would have been different. Were the Nazis bad for humanity? I can’t tell you, perhaps they turned off Europes appetite for war and gave a bad name to race theories and fascism enough that the result 100 years past will be for a nicer, more populous and smarter world. Since we’re on the Hitler analogy, maybe if he didn’t come to power another would in 10 years time with the addition of atomic weapons and the whole world would have been destroyed. You can play this game any way you want, I just find the whole exercise nonsensical.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Like I said, Baronius, it depends how you look at it. Certainly people who believed in a god or gods developed or had a hand in developing all those things. But those were extraordinary people who possessed and used the gift of critical thinking and reasoning in spite of their religious indoctrination.

    Religion is no more or less responsible for those accomplishments than it is responsible for various unhappy episodes of genocide. Humans are.

    Let’s take Thomas Aquinas as an example: one of the greatest thinkers who ever lived. He wrote thousands of closely-reasoned pages of philosophical analysis – all of which just happened to lead him back to the pre-implanted conclusion that his Christian faith described the universe and everything in it precisely and perfectly.

    I do wonder what he might have accomplished if he’d been free of that confirmation bias. And how many other Thomases who never learned to think for themselves lived and died in obscurity.

  • Doug Hunter

    I think a more succint explanation of my position is this… mistakes are part of the learning process, you can’t seperate the two. Humanity’s history is a series of mistakes, missteps, and failures but as ashamed of them as might be they are what made us who we are today.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    That’s true, Doug, and a more succinct encapsulation of mine would be that giving religion the credit for human accomplishments is as tenuously justified as blaming it for human wickedness.

  • Doug Hunter

    #49

    So what you’re saying essentially is that if people in history knew what you know now then they would have been ahead of their time…

    Or maybe if Mr Thomas Aquinas had not had the pre implanted conclusion to build a framework towards he never would have written those thousand of pages of analysis you find enlightening. Again, if things were different they’d be different.

  • Doug Hunter

    #51

    Good point. I’d call out someone for irrational religious exuberance if they’d post here. As it is, I’m the designated defender and I don’t even have a dog in it.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Not exactly, Doug.

    In legitimate inquiry, we assess what the facts are and then draw conclusions from them. Religion does things backwards and looks for facts to fit the conclusions: “This is what we believe: anything inconsistent that we observe must therefore be false, or we are misinterpreting it.”

    Science – and history – demonstrate very cleanly that this is not a great way to discover things.

  • Doug Hunter

    #54

    Science answers definitively that most living things don’t spend alot of time in ‘legitimate inquiry’ to begin with. The priest class may have been looking for facts to fit the conclusion, but the key phrase there was ‘looking for facts’ , you’re right the first human who managed to take a break running from predators and chasing down food/women while trying to avoid the elements didn’t immediately spit out the modern scientific method. My recollection of history seems to indicate religion and science were intertwined early on, likely because the priest class had more time to sit around and think.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    My recollection of history seems to indicate religion and science were intertwined early on, likely because the priest class had more time to sit around and think.

    I bet that the majority of members of the priestly class throughout history have ended up with a significantly lesser degree of faith than those they minister(ed) to.

    Not that you’d get many of them to admit it, because unquestioning faith is a highly effective social control mechanism.

  • Baronius

    Dread, the idea of a divinely ordered universe is more powerful than you give it credit for.

    First of all, it is a fact that most of the advancement in human thinking has come from people who either explicitly believed in it or grew up in a culture which had it as a paradigm. You find advancements in other cultures – gunpowder is a classic example – but you don’t find systematic study, not even that much of it in the pagan Greek culture in which Aristotle lived.

    Secondly, if nature has a reason to it, it becomes worth studying. If God has an order to him, he becomes worth worshipping. And if God became man, then learning about the physical world has merit beyond curiousity; it becomes a way of understanding the divine. A universe created by a non-systematic God or Gods could be a shambles, and it wouldn’t be surprising. A universe with order implies meaning, and a universe created by God with order implies that He infused it with meaning.

    Thirdly, and this builds on the second point, if God became man, then the individual man is worth something. Don’t underestimate the fact that the notion of human rights blossomed under a Christian/Aristotelian template. The Enlightenment, for all its claim of Classical inspiration, was built on the idea of individual worth that wouldn’t have been seen in Greek or Roman culture. Christianity hasn’t always hit the mark in terms of human rights (and however many people were slaughtered in its history we can all agree that the number was pretty high) but there is a substantial difference between societies that treat the individual as having rights and a society that treats him as atoms of the State.

  • Doug Hunter

    #56

    Probably so, although I wouldn’t say social control is the only reason. The last minister I remember was a very good person, sharp as a tack. Witty, non judgemental, nothing like the stereotypical nutjob bible thumper you get. He would always speak of his inner struggle with faith and, like you say, although he never would admit it I understood it to mean the deciding factor in his ‘faith’ was that he got paid, had devoted years to it, was good at it, and had his family and church members looking up to him…

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Baronius, I don’t deny that religious institutions and ideas have provided a jumping-off point for rational thought and inquiry, but that doesn’t mean that they are themselves rational.

    I acknowledge your example of the Enlightenment and its predecessor, the Renaissance, which of course blossomed under the auspices of institutes of learning that were religious in foundation. In fact I’ve written about this myself elsewhere.

    But just because Aristotle (who was not a rational thinker since he felt that the universe ought to be a certain way and simply discarded any real-world evidence that didn’t fit his hypothesis), the Roman Catholic Church and others led to such movements doesn’t mean that humans wouldn’t have found that path under other circumstances.

    Instead, it raises the question of whether humans might have developed logic, rationality and the scientific method much sooner had their minds not been steered to supernatural explanations for things they didn’t understand, rather than the notion that such things were natural just like everything else and they just didn’t understand them yet.

  • Baronius

    Dread, when dealing with a human question, you have to take the evidence that you’ve been given in human history. You can’t say that Western religion holds back people from thinking any more than you can say that the Amazonian basin is a bad place to grow things. You can theoretically construct a place that would be better, but you can’t ignore the evidence of the growth that has taken place.

    In fact (and this is a slightly different point), all the conjecture about what humans would be like without the religious impulse ignores that that’s not how humans work. You may consider it a defect, but whatever it is, it’s a dominant condition.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    You can’t say that Western religion holds back people from thinking any more than you can say that the Amazonian basin is a bad place to grow things.

    That depends what it is that you’re trying to grow in the Amazon basin. With enough manipulation and determination you probably could cultivate, for example, yucca, but you’d have a heck of a lot bigger struggle doing it than if you were working with sugar cane.

    Similarly, the Western religious tradition should not necessarily be regarded as the best climate for the development of the human intellect.

    In fact (and this is a slightly different point), all the conjecture about what humans would be like without the religious impulse ignores that that’s not how humans work. You may consider it a defect, but whatever it is, it’s a dominant condition.

    The jury’s still out on whether the human organism is biologically predisposed to be religious. But the question of why humans so often decide that a supernatural force is responsible for things they don’t understand is intriguing, particularly in light of the experience of their own young, who emerge from the womb understanding almost nothing but who steadily learn that most things around them operate according to comprehensible and predictable principles.

  • Doug Hunter

    It’s only supernatural until you understand it and then it’s natural. Science has not done a good job itself of helping me understand why I’m here. Consciousness has a tricky way of making you believe there’s more to you than a predetermined chemical reaction. If everything’s just electrons binding and unbinding then why the hell am I here witnessing it, feeling it, could that not go on without the ‘me’ part?

    I don’t blame people for feeling there’s more to life, that there is something, soul, whatever, that lives inside us… it does indeed feel like that.

    Life feels supernatural, or maybe it’s just me.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I don’t blame people either, Doug. Anthropocentrism is a powerful tendency that has only in recent times been recognised as an intellectual hindrance. It can be very liberating, though, to realise that there doesn’t have to be a “why” – not in the sense of one’s existence having a purpose, and possibly not even in the sense of why the universe is the way it is.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Baronius, outside of something written by Glenn, I’ve not read so much wishful thinking as your 57 & 60 for some time.

    Re #57: Given that over 95% of everything we know has emerged in the last 100 years, it is pretty debatable to claim that “most of the advancement in human thinking has come from people who… believed” in a divinely ordered universe. The corollary of that is that less than 5% of what we know emerged during the time when such beliefs were more pervasive.

    As to the rest of your house of cards, nature doesn’t have a reason to it but is still worth studying.

    As far as we know, there is no evidence to support the concept of a god so it doesn’t have “an order” to it and worshipping it just seems very odd. As it doesn’t actually exist beyond the realm of wishful thinking, it never “became man”.

    “Learning about the physical world has merit beyond curiosity” simply because seeking understanding of the universe and all its wonders is part of human nature, a very healthy impulse to explore and understand the environs in which we find ourselves, nothing to do with an illusory at best “divine”.

    Although it isn’t statistically impossible, there is no reason at all that a universe in which we have evolved should be “a shambles”; indeed, it would be very surprising if it was as evolution and life by definition require some degree of order.

    “A universe with order implies meaning” is a purely philosophical argument and by no means necessary. Even if it were true that some unimaginable superbeing created the universe, for which there is no evidence, that would not imply “that He infused it with meaning”. For all you know a creature of such formidable power and ability might have done it just for fun and show, rather like a fireworks display. It is human vanity and presumption, hallmarks of the religious conceit, that require your interpretation.

    The “individual man is worth something” simply because we are here, not because of some mythical transformation.

    I could go on but the fog of self delusion you endorse has no ending despite its lack of any solid foundation or genuine intellectual underpinning…

    I would say in closing though that “societies that treat the individual as having rights” and not “atoms of the State” are modern secular societies, not faithist dictatorships such as we have seen throughout Christian history and see in its younger sibling Islam today.

    Re #60: As previously stated, as most of what we know has actually developed after the passing of the dominance of Christianity, it seems pretty difficult to object to the argument that “Western religion holds back people from thinking”.

    We have actually, not theoretically, developed a “place that would be better”; it’s called the modern world which, despite the many challenges to be overcome, is still a far better world than the dark age of faithism and the best is yet to come.

    As the world continues to emerge into this new enlightenment and shed the trappings of theist worship, a more mature reverence and wonder for the world and the universe in which it fits is clearly emerging, in which we accept personal responsibility for what we do rather than palm it off on deities.

    That may well produce a new sense of spirituality and awe as we see the organic unity that connects all things in greater clarity, but that is a very different thing to the “religious impulse” you reference.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    One wonders what Einstein would have thought of Chris’ opinions on religion….

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    You mean the Einstein who had this to say about the subject?

    “I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvellous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavour to comprehend a portion, be it never so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.”
    (The World As I See It, 1949)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yes, the same Einstein who had this to say about the subject:

    I’m not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza’s pantheism, but admire even more his contribution to modern thought because he is the first philosopher to deal with the soul and body as one, and not two separate things.

    From an interview published in 1930 in G. S. Viereck’s book Glimpses of the Great

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    We can trade Einstein quotes all day long, Glenn, but I think it’s safe to say that the good professor knew more about the universe in 1949 than he did in 1930.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And isn’t it interesting that both Einstein and Newton both had their greatest discoveries when they were twenty-six years of age?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    An interesting coincidence, yes. But so?

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    No point waiting for an answer, Doc; posting irrelevancies to divert an argument they have no answer to is a favourite tactic of tricksters of all kinds.

    With regard to theism, all that can be said is that our species is around 200,000 years old (or just 50,000 years old if you go by behavioural standards rather than anatomical ones), which is very young when you consider how long some other species have been around.

    Theism has probably been around that long as well and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of suggested gods.

    Modern human societies have evolved only in the last 10,000 years when we started building permanent settlements rather than being nomadic.

    Monotheism, in terms of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (possibly the worst family feud of all time), has been around for 6,000 years or so, so just a small part of the time we have existed.

    As of right now, there is no proof that any of these deities exist, so theism remains at best theoretical and is more likely to be just early attempts to understand the world, yet there are large though diminishing sectors of humanity that are willing to put their faith in these unproven and unsubstantiated theories.

    As the hold of these deist theories is clearly lessening over time, it remains to be seen whether we are simply developing a more honest culture as our understanding grows or that we are simply still evolving.

    If it is the latter, then clearly the modern version of man, the one that is thoughtful and evidence based rather than fearful and superstition based is co-existing with the older model, just as Homo Sapiens co-existed with Homo Neanderthalensis for some time.

    Fortunately modern man is clearly a more tolerant creature than many evolutionary steps forward have been of their predecessors…

  • ….

    If you want to know Jesus…ask him about him. You need faith, which is ok because, believe it or not, God has already equiped you all with a measure of it. Jesus is well capable to answer any questions or concernce you (all of us) ma pose.