Friday, November 26, 2010

Is Charlie Brown a Christian?

Every time Lucy holds out the football, Charlie Brown takes the bait and tries to kick it. Then Lucy pulls it away and poor Charlie lands on his back with a *thud.* Predictably, Charlie Brown blames himself for his gullibility. As a woman, I say, "Go ahead and kick her in the crotch!" Yes, getting kicked in the crotch is painful for women too. We won't barf but we will double over, and this Lucy bitch deserves a taste of her own medicine.

Would an atheist version of Charlie Brown be such a sucker? He'd say "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice..." and he'd turn to the side and kick Lucy in whatever body part happened to be within range. Because despite not having any god-given morals, even an atheist knows that HURTING OTHER PEOPLE ISN'T FUNNY!
We have the other example of pro football players intentionally giving concussions to the other team's players. How charming.
I have read comparisons between football and religion, and there are some remarkable similarities, it's true. It's us vs. them, break the rules for a good cause, drop everything on the appointed day, and make pilgrimmages to partake of ritual foods. There are heroes and villains. And after hours of "play" nothing has really changed except a few numbers that will be erased in a few months.
...and quite a few people will have new scars and debilitating injuries.
Yep, football is just like religion.
So, Christians, don't blame yourself if you crack open the Bible and it makes no sense to you. It's a nonsensical piece of dreck written by bronze age superstitious tribal leaders and propagated by generations of Lucy's who make it your fault for taking the bait. The next time someone tells you to read the bible, kick them in the crotch!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Can an atheist pray?

In one of my former cities I had a friend who was in A.A. He was a believer of sorts but he said "We have atheists in A.A., but they pray." At the time I was trying to be a believer, and I was praying as part of that attempt. His promise that atheists can indeed pray gave me hope that I would get something out of prayer, if not a connection with a supernatural entity. I decided that even if it was mental masturbation it was mostly harmless as long as this "God" guy wasn't answering. I think if he answered I'd have worried that my family gene for psychosis.

A little while later I realized trying to be a believer was a hopeless task. I just couldn't accept the supernatural in any form and the religion thing was just one of many pieces of supernatural goofiness that humans had made up. But the prayer thing really did feel good and I do sometimes miss it when I have a hard decision to make. I can't for a minute think that "God" speaks to me and gives me an answer from "above" but being quiet and reflective seems to be helpful.

Part of my quest involved looking into "Eastern" religion, and I tried meditation. Curiously the effect is pretty much the same. Nobody answers but I feel more relaxed and sometimes make progress on a life issue. Have one currently, a life or death decision about my beloved diabetic dog. I have been feeling the urge to "pray" about this, and I'm embarrassed to admit it. Well, really meditation... still, it's embarrassing because I know it's 100% natural and in my head. We atheists don't talk about our mental needs. I think this is why we meet with such resistance.

My family wasn't big on prayer except when we were all together. Even at the time it felt phony and forced. Any public declarations make me snicker even now. We all knew it was really about convincing everyone else that you're a Christian, not so much about communicating with the Deity. If God can read your mind when you're coveting, He should be able to do it while you're praying. Still, it had to be done before digging into the Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey. Some branches of the family still keep up the pretense. Nothing wrong with expressing thanks, and thankfully, my family keeps it brief: God is Great, God is Good, and we thank him for this food. Amen.

Being puzzled, being grateful, being quiet... nothing wrong with any of these things. They're part of the human condition. Sometimes writing (like here) helps me sort things out. Sometimes talking it over with someone helps me come to an insight (note: in-sight not outside my head at all!) Sometimes I just need time away from my routine, such as when I'm driving.

Recently I figured out how to drop my unhelpful therapist while driving. Curiously she felt the need to tell me that she was Christian & that her whole workgroup also was. This was at my first meeting with her, and she promised she wouldn't hold my atheism against me. Of course I can't hold out for an atheist therapist in FundyTown so I didn't expect any trouble either. She turned out to be judgmental, talky, scolding, and bossy. Just a coincidence that a self-professed Christian was like that, of course. ;-) She seemed flummoxed by some of my answers to her questions. I sometimes went away wondering if we'd come to the point where she'd usually jump into religion. On her workgroup's website all of the therapist bios say they work on "spiritual issues." I snickered when I read that -- did that mean they would help people who had been abused by crazy fundies, or by crazy fundy issues? I'm not curious enough to ask, but it made me go "hmmm."

So anyway, I dropped the therapist just as I'd dropped the Sky-Daddy, but I haven't dropped self-reflection and talking to other people as means for finding "answers." I consult "facts" as well as my feelings. I won't always do the "logical" thing, and sometimes there are two competing logical choices anyway. In the end I'll consult my feelings and objective reality equally. It's probably not a girly thing to do this, but it's a girly thing to admit to it, and even be proud of it. I have made a few decisions lately that I can proudly say are both logical and emotional.

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will admit to doing what "prayer" really is - looking inside my head to figure out what I want. The only difference is that I take credit for what I "hear" instead of attributing it to Sky-Daddy or his rape victim or their psychotic bastard child.

I find in the craziest of places that I"m not completely alone in being an atheist who admires the better psychological qualities of Thanksgiving and ritual in general:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why don't Christians adopt abandonned embryos?

This has been on my mind since the Octomom hoopla began. Octomom became the mother of octuplets for various reasons depending on your point of view: she's an irresponsible welfare mother, she's nucking futs, her doctor is irresponsible, she loves baybeees....

My view is that religion is at the root, and nobody in the media was willing to touch it at the time. I saw her horrifying defense of her actions in an interview: the embryos were her babies, and she could only get pregnant one more time. She had to have them all implanted, or some would die!

While everyone else was vilifying her, I had to admire her. She is the only Christian I've heard of who puts her uterus where her mouth is, so to speak. While many oppose stem cell research on the grounds that the embryos are human beings, I have yet to hear of any coming to their rescue the way she did. It's immoral to use stem cells to save the life of another human being, but apparently it's perfectly okay to throw them in a dumpster or keep them frozen for eternity (or until a power failure).

"Snowflake" babies are embryos implanted into women who want to become pregnant. Where are the women who don't want to raise these "children?" They aren't offering up their uteruses (uteri?) to incubate the little snow people for other people to adopt. The Snowflake "parents" are getting bargain adoptions, and they get to have healthy white babies to boot. (Note there are probably some nonwhite embryos, but if you look closely at the fundy propaganda, all the ones they care about are white).

There are supposedly 400,000 frozen embryos with no place to go. You can imagine how picky these "parents" are. They can even pick the religion of the adopters. But the number of willing donors hasn't kept pace with the number of people who want to adopt baybeees. I say Christian women who have all the children they want should offer up their uteri to these embryos for incubation. Surely with such a huge numbers of fundies overruning the country, we ought to be able to "place" these "babies" in a few underutilized uteri. Or how about prisoners? Let's implant into them. They could make a few bucks to help them when they parole out, and the adoptive parents get some pretty good quality offspring (IVF costs a bundle, and the Bible tells us that rich people are better quality than poor people).

This would have been the best possible reason for keeping Teri Schiavo "alive" too. How many other functioning uteri are being kept "alive" on "life" support? They're draining precious financial resources that could be put to better use. I say, make them earn their daily tube feeding!

Mass production usually brings down prices, so the average 40ish couple that would ordinarily have to resort to an inferior Chinese baby girl or handicapped African "orphan" due to competition from younger parents could get approved for some higher quality Amurkin babies! And then the rest can just go whereever. Since they were ordained by God to be whoever they're going to be, they can grow up anywhere. Sure, they might grow up in a doublewide, but with their inherent superiority they'd go on to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, or maybe even people who can make real money -- politicians & preachers!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

R.I.P. Religious Right

I watched some of tonight's election coverage, first on MSNBC, then on NBC, and then on the local news. MSNBC had only their liberal talking heads on, which was amusing. Lots of hand-wringing over the loss of the House. Some pontificated about the implications of the Tea Party groundswell for the future of the Republican party. Some played armchair coach and mused about the new division of labor in Congress. Who will be the quarterback? Who will punt? Will the Dems get to the finish line with a crippled offensive line? Tom Brokaw spoke about today's zeitgeist, the anti-incumbent sentiment, the average person's view of the economy, the high cost of war.

I didn't hear anything at all about what I think is the most important take-away this election season:

FINALLY... voters who don't believe in selecting politicians based on a misguided attempt to impose Christianity on the whole country are in the MAJORITY!!!

"Taxed Enough Already" a.k.a. Tea Party, has displaced the Religious Right as the engine behind the Republican Party.

I'm old enough to remember the so-called "Moral Majority." The movement was started in the late 1970s by Rev. Jerry Falwell, who also founded Liberty "University." (He died recently and if I ever go to his grave I'll be sure to save up a big loogie and drink a quart of water so I can show my appreciation properly.)

Anyway, this "majority" was supposedly "moral" because a vast majority of Americans are Christians and believe in the Ten Commandments. Jerry Falwell and a few other religious misleaders thought it was time that this sleeping giant woke up and imposed Christianity on the country. The Republican Party thought this was a fine idea and exploited these idiots because of the vast numbers they could command. And command is right! After all, Jimmy Carter was a "born-again" Christian and that seemed to give him an edge with this supposed majority. In order to defeat him, they had to take the South. Racism was not a winning strategy with enough districts to do the trick so they needed a new master plan.

This unholy alliance accomplished its goal. In 1980 Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter and politics seemed to have changed forever. Poor Ronnie was forced to pretend to be religious in order to stay in their good graces. Fortunately, his experience in such winning films as "Bedtime for Bonzo" taught him how to cuddle up to subhumans. And the subhumans who parroted their televangelists and pastors really only needed to hear him parrot the same few things once in awhile. Their misleaders could fill in the blanks on a need-to-know basis.

From then until now, politicians have pandered to the fundamentalist wing of Christianity in order to gain power. First it was just the Republicans, but eventually the Dems figured out that they had to spew the same words in order to stay in the race, literally. "God Bless America" is the final line in almost every speech or press conference nowadays. Because you know how a Jewish song really represents a "Christian" nation!

The 1970s also brought the feminine side of the Religious Right the fore, with Phyllis Schafley in the lead making a career of telling women not to have careers. Uppity women had started something called the "Women's Movement" in the 1970s. They weren't satisfied just to be able to vote. They wanted to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING that a man could do! Of course the "Moral" majority objected to this on Christian grounds. Nevermind the three Marys at the tomb, Christ letting two women wash his feet over the objections of his apostles, and a few other passages that could be lassoed into supporting women's rights. But on the whole, the Bible is not on the side of women, and the Religious Right made sure to incorporate suppression of women's rights into their agenda.

I have known a lot of religious women who voted the way their husbands told them to. They quote about how a woman should be subservient to men in all things, the man is the "head" of the household and blah blah blah blah. If women wanted their place in society, what would the place of the man be??? The doghouse? Shining shoes? Changing diapers?

Uhhhh sometimes.

They lost that one, too. Ineffectual men now have to compete with blacks AND women for jobs! What next? Illegal aliens who don't even speak English? FAGS???? Oh noes!!!


After the end of the Reagan administration, the Moral Majority folded as an official group, but the damage had been done. They had brought Christianity and politics together and they gave ineffectual men a megaphone to drown out the people they wanted to victimize. These are the people who often decry the silliness of "political correctness" but they have successfully bullied politicians and pretty much everyone in the country into showing respect for their backwards beliefs. Out of 365 Representatives, only one is openly atheistic. How many are "in the closet" thanks to the Religious Right and its many bully pulpits?

30 years after the rise of the Religious Right they are now reduced to being represented by dumbasses like Christine O'Donnell and Sarah Palin, and they both lost their respective elections. The movement is now a cariacature of itself, with nobody taking their promises seriously. Dubya gave them everything they wanted and yet there are still uppity blacks and women going to college and working in high-paying fields. Mexicans are working in low-paying fields. Gay people want to make their relationships official in the eyes of the state. Dubya put evangelicals into high-level government positions, assured us that God had called him to trump up the evidence for blowing Iraqis the hell up, and praised God openly. Ahhhh they finally had "their man" in the hot seat.

At the same time many of their televangelists and the megachurch preachers have turned out to be not quite what they thought. Apparently being "moral" isn't guaranteed when someone is born again. The politicians they elected were just as bad. They had gay sex, gay anonymous sex, gay sex on crack, sex with hookers, sex with foreigners, sex with subordinates, sex with married people, sex with kids, and who knows what else? And some of them also got into money trouble despite "prosperity theology" offering such promise.

So now the fundamentalist voter is not voting on "social" issues. Now that they've had a taste of theocracy they're not so hot for it. Now they want a prosperous nation. They want competent (if smaller) government. They want to "take their country back" from the black guy, the libruls, the foreigners, the people they don't like, but Christianity is in the back seat with the exception of religious bigotry, which is always popular.

That's the big news of the mid-term election, in my opinion.

There are probably more Sarah Palins and Christine O'Donnells waiting in the wings for their turn to embarrass themselves, but I think we're in the end-times for fundamentalist control over American politics. The strange bedfellows that elected Ronald Reagan seem to be having marital difficulty.

Wiki article: