Got Change?

17 10 2011

There used to be a BBC radio program called, “My Word“. This was a panel game about words, featuring a regular panel of people who made a living with words, but was really more of a vehicle for Frank Muir and Dennis Norden to display their wit to a large audience. The show is still available- in reruns, of course- on NPR in some markets. Due to the timing of the re-broadcasts (at noon on Saturdays here in the Shallow South), I have managed to hear most of the shows while the wife and I do our weekly shopping.

Many BBC programs get stolen and modified for the American market (The Office is a recent example, and Sanford and Son is a more antiquated one), but I doubt anyone would ever try to adapt My Word. Without exception, the panelists on the show were extremely knowledgeable on the subject, and this alone dramatically decreases the likelihood of a successful adaptation. While it may be possible to find American writers and thinkers who are equally adept with language, vocabulary, and etymology, I find it hard to believe that any American academics who qualify would have the ability to demonstrate it with the easy humor of Frank Muir and Dennis Norden. Then, too, there is the real possibility that any putative literary wit would be completely unable to make the average American audience laugh, given the generally dismal level of American education.

This depressing thought brought me to a realization about the enormous cultural divides so visible in the US today. Among the many artificial divisions in American society (black vs white, north vs south, east vs west, coke vs pepsi, etc), a far more subtle division is growing: tolerance of change.

The US has long been a major source of what are frequently world-shaking changes, so it seems odd that so many in this country now want the changes to stop. America is built on change, and our scientists, inventors, engineers, and salesmen have mass-produced that change and sold it to the whole world. Our current leadership position in many scientific fields is based upon anticipating and exploiting change. We owe our extravagant lifestyle and standard of living to embracing change, but now there is an increasingly vocal minority in this country who are demanding an end to change. Worse, they are deliberately trying to roll back many of the changes that make their standards of living possible.

Some of this resistance to change is coming- as usual- from religious extremists. Religion in general basically says that certain things are beyond human ken, and people should spend all their time and energy preparing for some sort of afterlife in lieu of improving conditions here and now. Despite the available evidence, the religious extremists refuse to admit that their holy texts might be wrong, because to admit the possibility of error opens the door for questions the religiously deluded are incapable of answering. “God said it. I believe it. That settles it” does not allow for differences of opinion (or evidence to the contrary), so the religious types can almost be counted upon to be intolerant of change.

Another group intolerant of change are those who aren’t willing to expend the energy required to learn how to cope with- and profit from- the rapid pace of change. Granted that many of these could also be religiously deluded, this is not universally the case. Part of the problem is the fact that the stupefying complexity of our universe can only be properly described using purely mathematical terms, and the bulk of these change-resistant people think that algebra is some sort of magic trick designed to make them look stupid. The upper-level maths needed to properly describe the universe and how it works might as well be Egyptian hieroglyphs, as far as the people I’m describing are concerned. User-friendly scientists like Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson are very helpful in trying to explain the nature of reality in everyday language, but only if the target audience is willing to listen. Too many are not willing to listen, and they end up resentful of those who are increasing the amount and pace of change. They also end up increasingly resentful of anyone who- unlike them- is comfortable with change.

So we end up with another artificial division, this time between those who are willing to adapt to change and those who are not. Those who are unwilling to adapt clamor foolishly for a return to a golden age which never actually existed, and decry the “decadence” of those who embrace changing times. The change-intolerant, with their rose-tinted 20/20 hindsight, never seem to realize that the “good old days” never really were all that good, and the “golden age” they pine for is nothing more than 24-carat gold-plated wishful thinking and selective memories.

Every new set of changes also changes us- how we see ourselves and the universe. For centuries, the Catholic church was philosophically wedded to the idea that Earth (and humanity) was the center of the universe. Church rituals and dogma were all derived from this “fact”, as was the stratified social order the church tried to implement. Small wonder that the leaders of the early Renaissance church were so adamantly opposed to the new evidence that not everything revolved around Earth, humanity, or even the church. Those who had a vested interest in the social order saw these new facts reducing them from the heavenly-annointed center of the universe to just another rock hurtling around a not-particularly-impressive sun in a distant corner of a medium-sized galaxy in an ever-expanding universe. The political ramifications of that one discovery resonate to this day, and the church has been forced to grudgingly admit that they were wrong … eventually. Galileo wasn’t forgiven by the church until almost four hundred years after his death.

A similar firestorm still rages about evolution by natural selection. Despite the mountains of evidence supporting the theory of evolution, millions of people absolutely refuse to accept it. Like all discoveries, this one changes how we see ourselves. It turns out that we are not divinely created in our current forms, but are rather the result of millions of years of natural selection, whose DNA is nearly identical with that of chimpanzees. Instead of being the lords of creation, we’re just a weird, bipedal mammal with a minor genetic quirk that makes our brains work differently. Some people just cannot accept these repeatedly demonstrated facts, because it means they’d have to see themselves as just a hairless plains ape with a damaged gene sequence.

This particular cultural gap is nothing new, of course. Every generation has its radicals and reactionaries. The bulk of the population, as always, will grumble a bit about the pace of change and then get over it. Those who embrace change and try to push it along will chafe at the reins of what they see as indifference by the public at large and continue to push the boundaries of what we know. Those who are unwilling or unable to adapt to change will eventually die out, because the one constant in the human universe is change.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Current status: Sick and tired

Current music: If You Only Knew by Shinedown


Fundie Mental

28 06 2011

There’s a very scary article over at AlterNet about the blind spot Americans seem to have for the christian extremists in this country. These so-called christians routinely say and do things so far removed from the principles of their religion’s founder that they are philosophically closer to the fundamentalist muslims they claim to abhor. Less extreme christians airily dismiss their radical fellow believers “as not representative of christianity“, or “they’re just a fringe group“. Very few moderate christians loudly and publicly denounce their more violent brethren, putting them in exactly the same position as moderate muslims in the wake of atrocities by islamic extremists.

Make no mistake, these home-grown christian taliban are a deadly threat to our Republic. Like the mujahedin of Afghanistan, these christian extremists see themselves as god’s army, and their goal is to impose strict religious law over their home country. They are willing- even eager- to kill their perceived enemies in furtherance of this goal. Unlike the mujahedin, however, these christian fundamentalist loons are a serious threat to the security of the United States because they are already here. Worse, the willful refusal to decry their actions by their co-religionists allows them to operate with little or no checks on their behavior. One need only look at Eric Rudolph for confirmation of this statement. After committing violent terrorist acts against American citizens, American christians sheltered and aided him to evade the police.

Many of these so-called christian fundamentalists are thinly-disguised (at best) racists and xenophobes. One of the founders of the christian reconstruction movement, Rousas John Rushdoony, was outspoken about making mixed-race marriage illegal. He also claimed that slavery practiced in the American south was inherently benign and that slavery was the natural state for “some people”. Christian dominionism/christian reconstructionism is predicated on the idea that all laws must be limited by the laws of the christian god. For those who think that this idea has no following among mainstream christians, I suggest you examine the public speeches of Mike Huckabee- who was at one time a contender for the presidency.

The fact that this sort of sectarian garbage is popular enough to propel a bible-thumper like Huckabee to national prominence should be a warning sign of trouble in the future. Despite Huckabee’s absence from the current presidential contender field, the same sort of batshit-loonie christian fundamentalism is profoundly present in the persons of several of the republicans seeking the nomination. No religion- not even the christianity tepidly followed by an overwhelming majority of Americans- should be permitted to have political power. Granting priests political power invariably results in pogroms, witch-hunts, jihads, and crusades. In every age, the priest (however defined) has always been hostile to liberty. Despite these historic truths, a large and vocal minority are actively working to create a christian theonomy or theocracy in the United States.

The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant – baptism and holy communion – must be denied citizenship, just as they were in ancient Israel. The way to achieve this political goal is through successful mass evangelism followed by constitutional revision. – Gary North

We believe that the whole Word of God must be applied to all of life. It is not only our duty as individuals, families and churches to be Christian, but it is also the duty of the state, the school, the arts and sciences, law, economics, and every other sphere to be under Christ the King. Nothing is exempt from His dominion. We must live by His Word, not our own. – Mark Rushdoony

Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost, as the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors — in short, over every aspect and institution of human society. – Dr. James Kennedy

The goal of America’s Providential History is to equip Christians to be able to introduce Biblical principles into the public affairs of America, and every nation in the world, and in so doing bring Godly change throughout the world. We will be learning how to establish a Biblical form (and power) of government in America and we will see how our present governmental structures must be changed. Since the principles we will be learning are valid in every society and in any time in history, they will be able to be applied throughout the world and not just in America. As we learn to operate nations on Biblical principles, we will be bringing liberty to the nations of the world and hence fulfilling part of God’s plan for the nations. – From America’s Providential History (a history textbook for christian home-schoolers) by Mark A. Beliles and Stephen K. McDowell.

We believe that institutionally Christianity should be the official religion of the country, that its laws should be specifically Christian. – Rev. David Chilton, Church of the Redeemer, Placerville, CA.

Civil Officials must acknowledge the lordship of Christ, and obey his rules for civil governments. – Gary DeMar and Peter Leithart

These creatures are publicly stating their intentions to destroy our Republic in the name of their god, and yet there is no public outcry. Supposedly moderate christians do not denounce and distance themselves from their rabid fellow believers. Why not? Those same “moderate” christians were very public about wanting muslims to denounce islamic fundamentalists. Are they completely blind to their own hypocrisy?

I have repeatedly said that I care not what god or gods you may worship. If you want to believe that there is only one true god named Orgo who lives in a lake, be my guest. If you want to sacrifice a tenth of your income to your church/temple/mosque, I say- go for it. If you want to pray to the Giant Space Goblin or Ymir or Zeus, that is your business. More power to you. Where I draw the line is when you try to force anyone else to live by your religion’s rules. If you want to live that way, feel free. Your right to believe what you wish stops where that belief intrudes on the rights of other people to believe what they wish. If your god or gods are unhappy with the existence of unbelievers, they can miracle the infidels away. As soon as you try to help your deity of choice with this project, you become my enemy, and the enemy-general of all men, to be dealt with as wolves are.

Current status: profoundly irked

Current music: Young Turks by Rod Stewart

Sound and Fury

9 09 2010

Heads up, rational people! The derp is getting stronger.

Some religious fuckwit named Bryan Fischer has decided that America should use Germany as an example of how to deal with violent ideologues. It seems that Herr Fischer is an admirer of how Germany deals with their neo-Nazi groups, and thinks we should apply the same principles and tactics here in the US. Sturmbanfuhrer Fischer thinks that the US should refuse to permit the building – or existence- of any mosques on the grounds that, “every single mosque is a potential terror training center or recruitment center for jihad” and thus “you cannot claim first amendment protections if your religious organization is engaged in subversive activities.

I’ll allow you a moment to let that sink in.

I repeatedly use German and Nazi terms to refer to this pathetic waste of oxygen because his antics are reminiscent of another pin-headed rabble-rouser … in 1930’s Germany. He’s deliberately singling out a small minority of American citizens as being “dangerous” and who should be denied basic human rights on the basis of nothing more than Gruppenfurher Fischer’s say-so. This isn’t even a slippery slope- this is nothing less than condemnation of millions of Americans as “enemies” by virtue of the fact that they are “different”. What’s next? After the muslims have been dealt with, will it be time to rid the nation of the scourge of Rastafarianism? Gotta have an enemy to hate. Maybe we should go after the Mormons, Santeria, and Hindus, too.

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. – Seneca the Younger

Here’s a clue chit for those who haven’t figured out why this is a problem: If the religiously moronic can successfully remove Constitutional liberties from any minority group by spinning that group as a threat, they can make the same arguments for everyone who isn’t just like them (white, christian, and irredeemably stupid). Weirdly, the only reason Herr Fischer and his sturmtruppen are such a threat to our country is because those same Constitutional guarantees of freedom they so desperately want to deny to muslims protect the Christian Dominionists.

An infinite God ought to be able to protect Himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures. – Robert Ingersoll

The really imbecilic part of the whole litany of Christian Dominionist blather coming from our Gestapo friend is the fact that he and his followers are actually more dangerous to this country than any number of muslims. Why? Because of the amount of influence he wields over our Government. Let us take a look at the people who have been invited- like ReichsMarshall Fischer- to speak at a “Values Voter Summit” this year. There are ten sitting Governors, Senators, and US Representatives on the list, as well as five people (using the term loosely) who are considered contenders for the Presidency.

When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. – Sinclair Lewis

The only way the other guests at this event could possibly redeem themselves as public figures would be to rise up in a body and denounce this Brownshirt for the dangerous lunatic he is, then go on to explicitly repudiate his message and tactics and re-affirm their adherence to the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States.

Speaking of the Constitution, here’s that pesky First Amendment: 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.

That seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? Absolutely everything this jackass want to accomplish is specifically prohibited in the First Amendment. That explains why Oberfuhrer Fischer and his jack-booted followers are so keen on developing a method to remove those Constitutional guarantees from anyone they find objectionable.

In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty. – Thomas Jefferson

Now, here is the important bit. Why do these alleged people think they can get away with this sort of bullshit? Because you let them. You have been ever-so-willing to follow the Man on a Horse and turn over your individual rights in the vain hope of safety and security that those who wish to remake our country in their own warped image are counting on your habit of willfully stupid obedience to let them get away with murder.

Wake the fuck up! Your enemies are not the millions of muslims who live among us. Your true enemies are the rabble-rousers and religious panderers who want nothing less than replacing the Constitution with their twisted interpretation of religion.

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics. – Robert A. Heinlein

I have no desire to be enslaved to a God or Gods. More, I have no desire to see others shackled by compulsory religion. If your God doesn’t like the way I live, let him tell me- not you.If you want to follow some religion or another- knock yourself out. Just leave me out of it. Your right to practice your religion ends where the practice of your religion infringes on someone else’s rights.

One last thing- you do not have a Constitutionally-guaranteed right to “not be annoyed”.

Current status: Seething with rage

Current music: Witch Hunt by Rush (it seemed appropriate)

The Anthropomorphization of Stupidity

13 01 2010

Hey, Pat Robertson! Shut up, you cock!

“Mr. Madison, Robertson, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

Why is this douchebag still permitted to pollute the airwaves with his drivel? Why is this allegedly-religious pinhead not behind bars for his terroristic threats against the US government and foreign leaders?

For those of you living in an isolation chamber, Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake yesterday. Early reports have around one hundred thousand people dead. US military personnel are already either on the ground or on the way- along with hundreds of relief groups, rescue teams, charitable organizations, and individuals from around the world.

Rather than acting quickly to provide aid by calling upon his legions of deluded followers to donate time, money, or services to the relief and rescue efforts, this eccentric and evil Yoda look-alike has decided that his god smote the Haitians because they allegedly made a deal with the devil. In 1791.

Apparently, Robertson’s imaginary friend takes a really long time to get around to punishing those he dislikes. Anything living in Dover, Connecticut a few hundred years from now had better watch out.

I say imaginary friend because Pat Robertson is living proof of the non-existence of a just and loving god. This alleged human is the antithesis of the christian ideals he supposedly believes. No one acting the way this shithead acts could possibly claim to be a religious leader, could they? With a straight face?

God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent—it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills.

You’re probably sick to death of quotes from Robert Heinlein, but this one is directly on point. Pat Robertson seems to believe that he can get away with actions which are squarely against the tenets of his supposed religion and no one will notice. Perhaps he’s merely stupid, or senile from drinking his miraculous energy drinks. It’s more likely that he’s simply batshit insane. What else would you call someone who hears voices no one else can hear?

Current status: Filled with loathing

Current music: Name Your Poison by Richard O’Brien

Squat on thy haunches and bray out the tale …

10 11 2009

Hoo boy! The mental midgets are hell-bent on displaying their idiocy for all to see. Why do we tolerate these parasites?

Last Thursday, a US Army psychologist decided that he was going to play one-man jihad at Fort Hood. This man was a US citizen, born of Jordanian immigrants, who happened to be a practicing muslim. Early reports indicate that his religion was part of what made him kill a dozen people and wound dozens more.

Well, the professional whackjob class in this country has been trying to use this man’s savagery to justify their own xenophobia and parochialism. That expert in all things, Pat Robertson, opined that Islam was not a religion but a political movement, and it would therefore be acceptable to discriminate against and persecute people based on that fact.

I’ll allow that to sink in for a moment.

In other words, a well-known and influential cleric has called for persecution of a large group of people because they do not believe as he does. Had he been wearing robes and speaking in a mosque, this man would be the focus of intense scrutiny from US intelligence agencies. Since he was wearing a suit and speaking in a megachurch, nothing will happen to him. Am I the only person who sees that as unjust?

Worse still, this pompous ass-hat is also of the opinion that persecution of and discrimination against people with different political views is a good thing. Perhaps Mr. Pat “I look like Yoda” Robertson hasn’t thought his cunning plan all the way through. If it is generally okay for people to persecute and discriminate against people with different religious and political views, he is going to be on the receiving end of a lot of that. I’m pretty sure even Regent University teaches basic math. Perhaps Robertson could get one of his graduate students to stop praying long enough to fill him in on the demographic results of the last general election. Robertson and his xenophobic right wing brethren are not in the majority in this country. Mr. Robertson, you really do not want to open that particular can of worms.

Let us take a look at some other basic facts, shall we? Most muslims living in the US are a fairly liberal bunch. The only real difference between an American who is muslim and one that is not is faith, which is a private matter. There are millions of muslims in this country who are doing nothing more or less than living the American Dream, and have no plans for anything more than that (except perhaps completing the Haj). There is no reason to treat them as anything other than fellow citizens … unless you’re a right-wing bible-thumper with a TV show and a bad hairpiece.

Many Americans deal with muslims every day in this country. You can find them where you work, in schools (except Regent University, obviously), and where you shop. They are just people– no more, no less. Singling them out for their religious beliefs is not merely wrong- it’s stupid. Who else will Mr. Robertson and his cadre of christian fuckwits single out for persecution? Red-heads? Lefties? Touch-typists? Unibrows? People who use Macs?

I have a better idea: let us all join forces to persecute and discriminate against Pat Robertson and all of his followers for their religious and political beliefs. After all, they’re in the minority. No violence- just refuse to do business with them. “Sorry, Mr. Robertson. I cannot take care of your lawn because you are a stupid, racist windbag.”

This past weekend, I came across a nice Persian family while shopping at Sam’s Club. They were jabbering away at each other in Farsi (which I recognize but cannot speak), and the mother was wearing a hijab. The two kids were acting like kids, and I walked past them while the little boy was standing up in the shopping cart going, vrooom! vrooom! As I passed, I grinned widely at his father, to express my amusement at his son’s antics. I had no idea whether or not he spoke English (I assume he did, but don’t know), but we shared a brief communication despite the lack of words: I was amused by the boy’s vrooming, and he was pleased and proud of his kid (judging by the smile and head shake I got in return). Just two people getting a kick out of a little boy playing racecar from inside a shopping cart.

Despite the fact that I do not speak Farsi, and my religious beliefs are essentially non-existent, I would far rather have this unknown man and his family as fellow Americans than a jackass like Pat Robertson.

Current status: Pining for the fjords

Current music: Point of Know Return by Kansas

Mortal Danger

17 09 2009

The pernicious god-botherers are at it again. In the apparently never-ending quest by the religiously stupid to destroy our civilization, a new voice has appeared in the wilderness. Judging by this moron’s screed against curiosity (reported in the New York Times Opinion pages), one may safely assume Duke University qualifies as a wilderness.

According to Paul Griffiths, professor of Divinity at Duke University, curiosity is a vice. One is tempted to inquire as to how someone without curiosity was able to earn a PHD, but that would probably be unkind and unfair. It is profoundly unfair to make fun of the senile and incontinent dotards among us, or so I am assured by my supervisor at work and the empty suits spewing garbage disguised as journalism on television.

So let us leave aside questions about the Professor’s mental capacity and degree of hypocrisy and concentrate upon his message: curiosity is a mortal sin. A quick perusal of search engine results for “mortal sins” brought me to a website about Thomas Aquinas. Oddly enough, curiosity wasn’t mentioned, although the various “sins” listed in the linked page could probably be forced to fit.

Therein lies the problem with the god-deluded pinheads among us: They are willing- nay, eager- to warp and twist their own “sacred” texts in order to force others to stop doing something which which the religiously indignant disagree. They never cry out against their own failings. Rather than following the teachings of their founders, those afflicted with the religion virus are determined to root out the motes in our eyes while ignoring the twenty-story cathedrals constructed from the beams in their own.

Ignorance is not bliss. The ignorant religious individual may in fact be blissful, but their contentment comes at the price of being raging dickheads to everyone not willing or able to violently campaign against the recognition of the real world about them. Some of Professor Griffith’s fellow religionists claim religious discrimination when they are prevented from discriminating against those with other religions (“We must punish the heretics for their blasphemy!” “Sorry, bub. Can’t let you do that.” “Why are you oppressing me?”). Their blissful ignorance is a plague upon our technological civilization. The religious are content to say, “I do not understand this, therefore it must be the work of God.” Fair enough. If you don’t want to learn more about our universe, that’s your privilege.

Unfortunately, this is not good enough for the god-botherers. Since they are too intellectually lazy to actually think, they demand that no one else be permitted to think, either. Given the power to do so, far too many supposedly god-fearing men and women would happily return all of humanity to the golden age of religious barbarism from millennium ago. “How dare you say that the Earth revolves around the sun?” “Sorry, bub. The evidence we’ve gathered shows pretty clearly …” “Blasphemy! Evidence means nothing when in conflict with the word of God! Burn the heretic!” When these dolts are regularly (and properly) ridiculed and derided because their anachronistic and autocratic demands bear no relation to consensus reality, they all too often set about trying to force reality into the grim little mold of their paranoid and archaic fantasies. In doing so, the religiously deluded manage to cause a great deal of harm to the society in which they reside. Sometimes they cause harm by destroying public discourse with their shrill refusal to accept anything less than total subjugation of the laws of physics to their nonsensical whims. Sometimes they do harm by infecting the political process of their home countries. Worst of all, some resort to violent action to destroy anyone who denies their faith.

I propose we wall off a portion of the planet- some relatively small, dismal, and unpleasant land which nobody really wants. Set armed guards about the place, to prevent the inmates from escaping. Any True believer who so desires may choose to enter this Reservation at any time after reaching voting age to practice his or her religion to their hearts’ content, but they will never be permitted to leave. Crusades, pogroms, jihads, infanticide, whatever they want to do to one another in the Reservation will be no concern to anyone on the outside. The rest of the planet can continue learning and growing, while the deity-diddlers can either shut up and go along for the ride or go to the Reservation for life.

Note that no one would be forced into Coventry for their beliefs. Anyone who wants to believe in a god or gods without trying to foist their delusions upon their neighbors will be permitted to join the rest of the world as we develop a better understanding of the universe. Any religious ass-hats who insist on trying to force others to believe as they do will be given the choice of shutting their yaps or getting sent to the Reservation.

This is not discrimination. This is self-defense. The religious pinheads are actively trying to destroy our civilization in favor of their theocratic despotism, and they aren’t even trying to conceal this. One of the candidates in the last US Presidential election publicly said he wanted his holy book to be the supreme law of the land, for just one example. These people have made no secret of the fact that they want to force everyone in this country to believe as they do- in every repellent aspect, and are therefore committing treason. They are the enemies of freedom, and the enemies of anyone who wants to think freely. I, for one, refuse to submit to the supposed mercies of religious zealots. Anyone who wishes to believe in a deity is free to do so until they try to force their beliefs on me. At that point, the religious dickheads have made themselves my enemy, to be dealt with as wolves are.

Here’s a little light reading on how ridiculous the god-botherers can get:

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said “Stop! don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well…are you religious or atheist?” He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too! Are you christian or buddhist?” He said, “Christian.” I said, “Me too! Are you catholic or protestant?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me too! Are you episcopalian or baptist?” He said, “Baptist!” I said,”Wow! Me too! Are you baptist church of god or baptist church of the lord?” He said, “Baptist church of god!” I said, “Me too! Are you original baptist church of god, or are you reformed baptist church of god?” He said,”Reformed Baptist church of god!” I said, “Me too! Are you reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?” He said, “Reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!” I said, “Die, heretic scum“, and pushed him off.

To those words of wisdom from Emo Phillips I will add a few words on the subject from several more prominent personages:

The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history. –Robert Heinlein

At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols. -Aldous Huxley

When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. -Anais Nin

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. -Blaise Pascal

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality. -George Bernard Shaw

We must respect the other fellow’s religion,but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart. -H.L. Mencken

Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion– several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn’t straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven. -Mark Twain

The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself. -Richard Francis Burton

All religions are the same:  religion is basically guilt, with different holidays. -Cathy Ladman

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.  -Seneca the Younger

I contend that we are both atheists.  I just believe in one fewer god than you do.  When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. -Stephen Roberts

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics. -Robert Heinlein

As for me, I am a heretic. I am an infidel, a nonbeliever. I speak fluent blasphemy. But I make no attempt to force the rest of the world to believe as I do. This puts me in mortal danger from the followers of various deities.

Bring it on.

Current status: Enraged

Current music: Smaointe by Loreena McKennitt