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What’s God got to do with religion? Nothing!
• There are no religions only religious institutions
Religions as institutions have two components, one imaginary and one real:
1. faith-based mythological and cultic claims — an imaginary supernatural component
2. demands to exercise secular power — an illegitimate political component.
In our secular Republic, there is no executive privilege for God.
• Faith claims are meaningless — secular pretensions to power based on them are dangerous.
God has been dead since Copernicus. But, 460 years later we’re still stuck with religious institutions. They do exist, in disgusting abundance. Religions are Ponzi schemes perpetrated by clerics. Priest and televangelist, Pope and Supreme Ayatollah, bishop and imam are not God’s proxies. They are political ideologues making institutional claims to secular power financed by fraudulently obtained donations.
Imagine a world without religious institutions.
• Science makes predictions.
Information about the precise time, precise duration, exact places on the Earth from which the next 50 years of total solar eclipses will be visible resides today on the Net.
Hundreds of years before the fictional Jesus character, geometric understanding was sufficiently advanced in Greece to predict solar eclipses.
Geology, however, cannot predict with precision when the next killer ‘quake will occur in San Francisco The state of geologic knowledge today offers no better than a probable, but meaningful prediction -- there is a greater than 50% chance that an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 or greater will strike SF within the next 30 years.
The prediction -- in advance -- provides its own parameters for failure. It specifies a time limit, it specifies the severity expected, it provides an estimated probability for such a quake which is consistent with what geological theory and observation permit.
Nevertheless, a killer quake must happen eventually given that SF floats very near where two tectonic plates grinding past one another. And there is no ‘grind’ without a ‘bump.”
• Religion makes prophecies.
Contrast a grand and empty gestures of xianity. A “fulfillment” of scripture will occur. Jesus in his role as Christ will return to Earth, raise the dead, judge all humanity past and present, and send each person to her or his ultimate and eternal state of being. Ask fundies; they’ll tell you that this prophecy is 100% certain.
An apocalypse must happen; it is a dogma of fundie bibliolatry. Millions of otherwise reasonably sane people in the US believe this nonsense, quite literally.
On what non-scriptual basis can that claim be justified? After all, the so-called bible cannot be used to justify its own statements.
Prophecy lacks any falsifying conditions. Under what conditions, specifiable in advance, would a fundie say that a xian prophecy would fail. Attempts to predict a date for the xian apocalypse proved wrong for the last 2,000 years.
Just remember, though, that the End Times are upon us because “signs” like earthquakes, and total solar eclipses demonstrate it.
the voice of Ameristan is not the voice of "God"
Notice to the fundies of Ameristan:
• “Even gods rot — can’t you smell the divine putrefaction?” — Nietzsche. FW sec 125.
"God" is not king; Jesus Christ does not rule. They are dead — along with Ahura Mazda, YHVH, and Allah. Your priests and pastors, rabbis and imams cannot be divine proxies. They are politicos with delusions of theocracy. Who elevated you over us?
If left to yourselves, the US would immediately become xian Pakistan. If we could keep our federal tax dollars from you, we would. Secede from the Union! Godspeed you on your way. Do you need a theocracy now? Convert to islam. Move to Saudi Arabia where life for 50% of you would be paradise.
Cynical politicians of the Empire said “Vox populi, vox dei” The Roman Empire, of course, “ the voice of the people is the voice of god" -- Give the mob what it wants — and you are Legion (see Mark 8:22-37 NIV). You are self-righteous maleficent ignoranti, as close to demonic as only true believers can be.
We know you Ameristan. Home to xian Taliban. Home to haters of reason, haters of women, haters of freedom of conscience. Home to disgusting dominionists and wannabe theocrats.
• Don’t tread on us, xian oppressors.
Though you remain US citizens, you will never dictate what we should think, what we should believe, how we should behave in accordance with laws we give to ourselves under the Constitution. (Law did not originate in a voice from Sinai, or Mecca, or Jerusalem, or Salt Lake City, or worst of all from televangelist cesspools.)
We expect your rights to disbelief and freedom from religion under the Constitution to be respected by all in our secular state from which you benefit more than we. And that includes our right to free speech against your pseudo-1-god on the air, on the internet, on other media including billboards, bus and subway advertising.
If you imagine that the anti_supernaturalist enjoys "freedom of conscience" think again. Atheists are the most despised group in Ameristan. Look at the back of any dollar bill — “In God we trust” a cynical imperial slogan supported by our far-right courts— it’s an insult to 16% of the US population and a lighted match at the corner of the US Constitution.
Even if the morally disgusting, vicious, paternalistic 1-god of the big-3 monster-theisms could be proven to exist, even if old Tom Paine’s white-washed deistic divinity could be established by Reason — we have the sovereign right to reject any claim that it must be acknowledged, accepted, or worshiped.
We have the right (which even you must acknowledge) of going to your non-existent Hell by our own choice. (How else will I get to talk with Xenophanes, Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius, Diogenes Laertius . . . they knew your kind as frauds and liars before your death impulse even existed.)
All gods are irrelevant to our freedom of conscience -- The de-deification of western culture is our task for the next 100 years.
Live Science web site has posted information to help understand the problem, and by taking a multinational perspective shows how ignorant the US is compared to Japan, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, but not Turkey...the only country more ignorant than US. So, science will survive nicely even if it dies here in the Empire of Ignorati.
One big problem: the RC church whose pedophile protecting pontiff just yesterday (2 may) venerated the damned "shroud" of Turin! This character out of Kafka has sway over what? -- 500 million believers. Europe resists because Western Europe is vastly more agnostic, atheist, and anti-clerical than the US.
Stopping the spread of supernaturalism in the US means attacking all right-wing religions head-on. With declining real income over the last decade continuing, I expect the pressure to protest against the wrong forces will increase. The corporate/xian/military machine knows how to protect itself and put the blame on godless atheists, illegal aliens, government taxation -- anyone but the elites.
If you want to read about the future US -- then read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood -- published 25 years ago -- it is a portrait of the US becoming more likely every day.
• a thought experiment in freedom of conscience you can try at home
Dare to exercise your rights to disbelief and to be free from religion. Consider what rejection of “spiritual discourse" brings with it.
First, there would be no supernatural agents, locations, or states whatsoever:
1. No supernatural agents: minds, souls, spirits, ghosts, godlings, gods, God (Allah, YHVH), cosmic soul, the absolute.
2. No supernatural locations: hell, purgatory, heaven, buddha realms, moral world order, Platonic/Plotinian forms
3. No supernatural states: the numinous, sin, grace, revelation, life after death, illumination, nirvana, buddha mind.
4. No supernatural events: mysterium tremendum, redemption, resurrection, rapture, mystical union, karma, or reincarnation.
Second, nothing would alter in nature: not the Universe, the Solar system, the Earth, physical events, biological events, psychological events. Humanity’s supernatural claims say nothing about nature — unless they are treated as testable hypotheses, each falsifiable.
Third, nature itself would be neither meaningful nor meaningless. Neither a source of comfort, as in natural theology, nor a source of despair, as in existentialism. Both comfort and despair are psychological errors rooted in the same mistaken presupposition that meaning could be found by searching “the starry heavens” for divine agents or by quarrying human inwardness for moral certainties or cosmic “laws”.
There are no supernatural phenomena, only supernatural interpretations of phenomena.
Notice to believers, especially fundies, on a National Day of Pious Ventriloquism
Who’s pulling your strings, dummy?
I expect my rights to disbelief and freedom from religion under the Constitution to be respected by all in this secular state from which you benefit more than I. And that includes my right to free speech against your nonexistent deities on the air, on the internet, in other media including political cartoons, billboards, bus and subway advertising.
If you imagine that the anti_supernaturalist enjoys "freedom of conscience" think again. Look at the back of any dollar bill — “In God we trust” — that’s an insult to 16% of the US population and a lighted match at the corner of the US Constitution. (Same with NDP — declared unconstitutional by a Wisconsin federal judge on 13 April.*)
Even if the morally disgusting, vicious, paternalistic 1-god of the Big-3 monster theisms could be proven to exist, even if old Tom Paine’s white-washed deistic divinity could be established by Reason — I have the sovereign right to reject any claim that it must be acknowledged, accepted, or worshiped. The existence of gods is irrelevant to my right to be a member of a secular, open society.
Faith, the trusting suspension of disbelief, has always been theater of the absurd. As a skeptic, belief in your gods is beneath me. The de-deification of western culture is our task for the next 100 years.
Article VI. Section 3. The senators and representatives before-mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Jehovah's Witnesses, a puritanical xian sect, does not celebrate xmas for exactly the reason given by ghost_knife: it is a "pagan" not a xian holiday.
And a Joyous Yule to FordManiac76 who knows that our ancestors held Midwinter Day (21 Dec) to be the beginning of a new year and a rebirth of the sun. To our pagan heritage we owe decorations of evergreens, holly, ivy and mistletoe, plus a roaring Yule log to light the home and drink to warm the heart. Xians don't own Midwinter Day or Yule. They are ours to reclaim and enjoy.
Modern xmas is 166 years old. It was Dickens whose "A Christmas Carol" (1843) stimulated a restoration of xmas, which had fallen into disfavor because Puritans had legislated against it, as filled with dissolute dancing and pagan rites. (We're talking sex here.)
Logically speaking, today's fundies ought to be waging 'the war against xmas' themselves just as their dour and joy hating Pilgrim predecessors did in 17th century New England. But, what can you expect from them, certainly neither joy nor light.
** POTUS doesn’t need a Chrystal ball
Obama dare not reject the sunk-cost fallacy of continuing external warfare — he has capitulated already, taking on his role as quasi-god POTUS. His military advisors need him to see in his shaving mirror Marcus Aurelius, wise guardian of the Empire.
Could our divinized POTUS cut the military budget by 50%, could his divine genius recall within the borders our far-flung watchers, could his nobly crowned brow conceive and make real a decent life for all. I think not.
POTUS can’t hold on to power unless he embraces the "logic of [his] situation" -- aka his "Fate". Obama and the elites, military and civilian, must alienate the people and sacrifice the lower ranks of the military. Pfc Boots-on-the-Ground might just catch a whisper of Kipling’s advice: To a young British soldier.
When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Each empire rots in its own particular way. Yet armies from Alexander’s to those of the current incarnation of POTUS find in Afghanistan their non plus ultra.
God doesn't enjoy “executive privilege.” Let religious operatives form their own political party. Out them all.
Time to eliminate the special IRS status of religions. Tax their property, tax their income, de-fund their parasitical faith-based initiatives. (Obama out-Bushes Bush on this nonsense.) Then we’ll see how long their pernicious special interest groups last.
Time to stop xian-taliban (harassers-stalkers-murderers) from enforcing prig morality and unlawful social control, especially at the state, county, and local levels. How'd you like to live in a xian-Pakistan -- Ameristan?
A secular state ought no longer to demand our dollars support xian TV cons, greedy preachers, pedophiles, xian idiots on school boards . . . who cram their non-existent god, fictional good book, lies about the sciences, and perverted values down our throats.
the anti_supernaturalist (gimme enuf space for my name, pls!)
Reason is the Devil's whore -- Luther
Paul of Tarsus never got over being laughed at in Athens (ca 50 CE) by "a group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers [who] began to dispute with him." (Acts 17:18 NIV) The Epicureans put forward an atomic theory as the basis of their cosmology. Both they and the Stoics represented the best of empirical and rational thought in an era not noted for either.
Paul of Tarsus got his revenge in print and xians have followed his nihilistic ideology for 2,000 years:
20-Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21-For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22-. . . Greeks look for wisdom, 23-but we preach Christ crucified: . . . foolishness to Gentiles . . . 1Cor1 20-23 NIV (with omissions critical of Jews).
27 God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are. . .1Cor1:27-28 NIV
Nietzsche saw in few lines the great inversion of values which lies at the diseased core of western culture. His task became “the re-valuation of all values” -- to overthrow religious institutions and moral “intuitions” perverted by xian valuations.
Paul and his fellow revenge seekers created a god out of their nihilistic values. He and the primitive church shared a perverse self-understanding characterized by inverted snobbery: We stink, but stinking is good. Not much has changed 2,000 years later.
Xianity cannot be refuted; it can only be dismantled. The de-deification of culture (including all the sciences) is our task for the next 100 years.