I haven’t done a bit of proof-reading of this behemoth of an entry, so please excuse the many errors that I’m sure it contains. Grammar is very, very low on my list of priorities these days!
I’m sorry for my lack of posting. I had a few good days, but maybe got a bit excited and spent too much time on my feet running around with a smile on my face, and now I’m suffering for that ambition. It’s my birthday in a few days (on Thursday I’ll be thirty-seven) and if I was a betting person, my money would say this is the last birthday that I’ll see. I can’t begin to put into words how horrible and difficult the last while has been, and I don’t like to think about it. I had wanted and expected my next post to be about making candy — and I do have some nice lollipop molds made but haven’t found the strength to fill them — but that hasn’t happened yet. Later in the week I’ll have some much-looked-forward-to time at the hospital, hopefully giving me an explanation as to why all the much needed functional bits of my body are dying and being filled in with useless connective tissue… So let me channel all this pain and sickness I’m feeling into a suitable subject, something more deserving of death — the religions of the world, every last one of them.
Be warned, I feel a long, rambling, repetitive entry coming on.
Religion is by definition divisive. I mean, it’s bad enough that Muslims want to eradicate Christians, and Buddhists want to murder Hindus, but even when you have relative religious harmony, the religion fractures and then you have Sunnis killing Shiites or Catholics torturing Protestants. Religion is perpetually divisive. It will always be that way because it’s a scam. Everyone at the top (or with the desire to get there) knows that it’s the easiest way to trick stupid people into pushing you to the top of the power and wealth structure as you use “god says so” as the excuse for whatever evil helps you get your greed fulfilled.
That’s why I get so mad when atheists — people who should know better — have this sickening idea that we need to be respectful of religion, that we need to treat it as some special cultural beauty. A good example of this is BoingBoing who has been supportive of atheist movements such as The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Dawkins, Hitchens (“God is NOT great”), although recently “Xeni” (ie. the more exotic way of saying Jennifer, appropriate for the most self-obsessed member of BoingBoing, which is saying a lot next to Cory “Have I Mentioned My Latest Book” Doctorow, although he at least is promoting work-product of substance rather than just desperately seeking approval as he ages well past the point where young nerds find him alluring — and don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy Cory’s posts and don’t want to sound like I’m speaking ill of any of the staff other than the two obvious tumors that are slowly eating away at the site), backed up by rabid asshole moderator “Antinous” (ie. the cooler way of saying Tony for a guy so pathetic in real life that he needs to abuse his moderator status online to feel tough), seems desperate to show her affinity for Muslims, with many long articles espousing the beauty of the burqa and other facets of Islamic culture that are repulsive enough on their own without the foul backing of religion. I have no idea if there’s a Muslim-specific reason, or if this is just a further demeaning obsession with the noble savage, glomming onto it in a desperate need to exoticize her white-bread background that she works hard to obfuscate. They deleted my account for objecting — politely — to the site promoting such things. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, because Xeni and the moderation staff have a long history of not only being incredibly rude and ignorant to readers while expecting groveling loyalty in return, as well as abusing their power as moderators with actions including arbitrary banning and censorship, but retroactive editing of entries and comment threads to make themselves look better and hide their violations of common decency. Still, I occasionally post in the forums in the hope that Mark or Cory or someone else there will finally grow some balls and stop BoingBoing by being destroyed. I recently wrote on their “how awesome is Ramadan” photo series (nice photos, terrible subject),
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It really sickens me to see BoingBoing continuing to kiss the ass of Islam, both in promoting its cultural validity and in censoring opposing viewpoints.
And that’s not because of some problem specific to Islam. That’s because 99% of the problems in this world stem from the barbarously ignorant thinking that is built on the stone-age foundation of religion. Islam is just a small, but strangely untouchable, part of that vile landscape that we should have ditched ages ago in favor of rationality. Until people who know better summon up the courage to publicly declare that RELIGION IS WRONG, we’re never going to be rid of its evils.
Wanna label this post bigotry? Then you’re missing the point. As Dilbert put it, since when is ignorance a point of view? Religion is ignorant, and you’re promoting ignorance and all the horrible things that grow from its fertile grounds.
Go on, censor this. But realize that BoingBoing’s decision to take a “respect religion” stance rather than an honest atheist stance makes you a part of the problem as you contribute to the longevity of evil.
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Of course it wasn’t posted, but I didn’t expect it to be. Anyway, every time I mention BoingBoing people come out of the woodwork and tell me their own stories about how they’ve abused their power and instead of fighting against censorship and various information age abuses of power become abusers of that power themselves, but this isn’t really about BoingBoing and I don’t want my point to get diluted as everyone takes easy pot shots against people who can embarrass themselves well enough without anyone else’s help. So I want to shift back to the problem — people who are not victims of faith, still choosing to prop up those abusive institutions. So let me wrap up by saying — alright, a burqa might be aesthetically beautiful from time to time, but what it stands for — and I mean not the abuse and denigration of women, but the abdication of ration thought — is vile.
Along with atheists propping up religion in the name of respect — a suicidal attitude, because trust me, religion does not respect atheism in return — I really despise people with wishy-washy modern soft liberal faiths. People who ignore the parts of their holy books that are so completely nuts that no one born in the last couple hundred years could possibly agree with it. The people who make excuses for their faith and create fantastical dialogues to explain why they should believe parts of the Bible but not others. The people who pick and choose which commandments to follow. The people who are able to have friends of other faiths. Holy books are pretty clear on the fact that they are the absolute and unerring word of god, yet the number of people who are fanatical enough to actually suspect intellect far enough to believe that are the minority. And the rest? They know perfectly well that it’s at least mostly bullshit, yet somehow they can’t publicly admit that it’s ALL bullshit. To say nothing of how problematic it is that at any point in time there are tens of thousands of different religions on the planet, each claiming to be the sole true faith, and that this kaleidoscope changes constantly with new religions appearing and disappearing at the whim of the priest class using it to achieve their personal desires, be those desires young boys and other abusive personal indulgences, or be it a more ambitious power game.
Some people say that religion should be tolerated because “it gives people hope” or “it removes the fear of death”. I tell you though, as someone who is dying and has contemplated death and its consequences quite a bit lately, I am very thankful that I’m not hoping for heaven or fearing hell. First of all, in a great many religions, getting into heaven is a difficult thing — for example, in Christianity, if you have just once in your life blasphemed against god, you’re damned. There’s no forgiveness for that sin. But even if you think you’re good in the eyes of your faith, you have to be 100% certain that you’ve chosen the right faith. In the absence of evidence, how do you know that you’ve chosen the right one from all the myriad of goofy ideas humans have proposed? Do you really have the massive ego that lets you believe that yours is the one true faith? And if so, why is your god so incompetent that he has only managed to preach (let alone preach successfully) to a minuscule amount of people? Or is it not incompetence on his part, but cruelty, letting the vast number of people suffer without the right religion? Maybe religious folk spend most of their lives clinging to double think that lets them ignore this obvious problem, but I’d have trouble believing the lie up until the moment of death. No, atheism is much more comforting. Atheism is the celebration of life as all there is, as all that has value. Religion on the other hand rejects the value of human life, and puts that which has value beyond its bounds. All religion is in a way a death cult.
And why does all this perpetuate? Sure, there are people who willfully choose ignorance as adults, or confusingly, change religions, but for most, religion is forced on them as children in an act of supreme cruelty. The ideas of religion and of a god are forced on them as babies, ingrained as deeply as possible as reality, but, unlike Santa Claus, when the childrens’ critical thinking causes them to question the validity of the superstition, instead of telling the truth as with Santa, a full-on assault on critical thinking is launched. Children are forced by parents, backed up by massive institutions and cultural traditions, to reject intellect and logic and all the things that dragged us out of the stone age, and “believe” in something that’s completely nonsensical. I can’t imagine the damage this does in other areas of a child’s ability to reason. I’m quite certain though that much of the double-think that goes on in the world, that drives most of the world’s evils, is given a huge head-start by this horrible conditioning.
As I said there, almost everything that’s wrong with the world — war, class-ism, corporatism, racism, poverty, and so on — can either be traced directly or indirectly to religion, or would be much more difficult to occur if we lived without religion. And atheists that tolerate or worse yet support religion, wishy-washy liberal Christians and Muslims and whatever, all the people out there that are willing to tolerate religion, all this evil is propped up by you. It survives because you help it. There is an ocean of blood on your hands.
Getting off track a bit, along those lines I’m really bothered by the success — leading by double the popularity of the number two contender — of anti-bike-lane swollen manhog Rob Ford, who’s running for Toronto mayor. His angry platform is over-the-top divisive (gems like Toronto would be better off without any more immigrants, keeping Toronto pink and piggy rather than yellow and brown I guess) and among other nutty tidbit includes ending Toronto’s long tradition of street festivals, from marathons to parades to gay pride I suppose — especially gay pride, knowing Rob Ford who has a track record of calling AIDS a gay disease (his response to being told women are getting it to was “tell them to stop sleeping with bisexual men”) — suggesting that these events could be held in parks instead. In a way he’s Canada’s equally ignorant parallel to American nutcases like Christine O’Donnell, and his debating skills have often done little more than showcase his ability to make racist outbursts about his opponents. Unfortunately it doesn’t help that the number two contender, George Smitherman, is an openly gay MPP, amplifying the bigotry that helps drive Ford’s suburban attack on the downtown (thanks a lot Toronto amalgamation, so much good is coming from that). I worry that if Smitherman was straight that he would be far higher in the polls. It sucks to have to give that any thought, but such is the world Rob Ford drags us toward.
But my problem with Ford isn’t that he’s stupid or a bigot or any of that. My problem is that he’s divisive. He runs on a platform of “the majority is right”, rather than recognizing that Toronto is a city made up of a diverse group of minorities. He’s realized that by pandering to the mainstream in the most offensive way — his platform really is “FUCK THE MINORITY VOICES” — that it’s much easier to get those mainstream voices than to try an figure out how to work for all Torontonians. Hell, his response to abusive police tactics with G20 protesters was “the police were too nice.” His response to anti-poverty groups was “get a job”. He’s only a small step away from running on a platform of “burn down Chinatown” and hoping that there are more racists in Mississauga and Vaughn than there are those who find his bigotry offensive (I’m not sure what his actual feelings are on Chinatown — he’s said, “Those Oriental people work like dogs. I’m telling you, Oriental people, they’re slowly taking over.”) He’s actually running on the mainstream asshole platform. The same platform that brought us segregation and slavery and so many other abuses that have been fought against for the last hundred years. It’s sickening, because by the numbers he’s going to win by a wide margin. The job of mayor is to unite this wonderful city and move it forward, not just to find the biggest bully and bankroll him. Rob Ford should stick to what he’s good at — getting DUI charges and getting arrested for beating his wife. Anyway, another sickening example of what it’s like to live in a world where mass ignorance and abuse of the minority view is upheld as valid.
Religion helps foster an environment where it is possible to believe that not only are you right, but those who live different lives are worthy of eternal damnation. I appreciate the irony in people saying “but aren’t you calling for some sort of genocide on religion”, but again, “since when did ignorance become a point of view?” And really, all the beautiful things that people think come from religious cultures… Guess what? They came from people, not from god, and all that beauty will still be there after god is long dead, and the evil people who’ve abused religion and the ignorance that stems from it will have less to hide behind, and it will be much harder for them to rape the world with impunity — in the words of Dylan, “with God on their side”.
But let me end on a more positive note. Killing god is a positive, life affirming thing, and as I said, if atheism is seen through the eyes of faith, it is a religion that is obsessed with life and living. It makes one value the world around us and value the people around us, and helps us see the interconnectedness of all life… And it can be understood, and with understanding we deepen our connection to all things. To me that’s much more wonderful and much more magical than any primitive fraught-with-conflict superstition.