Monday, December 22, 2014

We Luv Torture!


Since this is the "season" during which our "culture" celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, one of the least materialistic people to have ever lived, by participating in an insane orgy of materialism and the genocide of beautiful young pine trees, brought indoors where people can watch them die, I think it's appropriate that I bring up our "great" nation's program of institutionalized torture. I doubt any of you on my list (because you all happen to be good, intelligent, empathetic people) can stomach much more than a few seconds of this "normal" Fox "News" broadcast, but try to watch as much of it as you can. These people live among us! 

The glibness and coldheartedness of these women while they talk about other (non-white, non "Christian") people being tortured is, for me, almost beyond belief! Maybe I'm naive as hell and stupidly idealistic, but I just can't fathom how these well travelled, educated, reasonably intelligent people can be so completely devoid of empathy. They'd sure be singing a different tune if it were a close family member of theirs on the good old Amerikan "enhanced interrogation" table!

If you're a fan of my blog posts, you know that I've done a pretty good job lately of keeping them short and to-the-point. Meandering blog posts that try to cover too many subjects and go on and on, the writer obviously enjoying her own voice, are unreadable, I know. But please give me leave, this one time, to cover not one, but three topics in one blog post.

Extinction. Of humans. I just finished the most well known book by the recently deceased Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth, and it's quite sobering to know how close we've come in the past and how close we live daily to . . . extinction from nuclear weapons. Just one missile can contain 10 nuclear bombs, each one 1,000 times more powerful than Little Boy and Fat Man, the cutely named bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

And then there is human extinction due to global warming. I did a bit of research, and it appears this respectable journalist/author was taken in by a less than reputable scientist, but still, it's quite sobering to consider that there may be something to what he's saying. Scary when a well known climate scientist states that humanity should be in "hospice mode"!

And finally, as we go to movie theaters on opening night (Jesus' birthday) to see "American Sniper," about the "best" sniper in Amerikan history (161 kills), let's contemplate religion. This would be a great time to read my great but vastly underappreciated essay, "Earth is Spherical and Religion is Over." Keep in mind that 91 percent of all girls in Egypt have had clitorectomies due to bizarre, hyper-sexist misinterpretation of the Koran. Here's a good, short piece about this from a recent issue of the New York Times.

Mild, lukewarm, semi-religious people (the bulk of Amerika's population) provide credibility and respectability to religious fundamentalists. Although this isn't widely recognized, fundamentalists--"Christian," Muslim, whatever--who teach their religion to children are child abusers. Teaching fundamentalist Iron Age religions to children, who have not yet had their bullshit filters and anti-virus programs installed, is a severe form of child abuse that can and does damage them for life. And just as the "Middle East" has its "terrorists" and "extremists," we've got extremists of our own, such as Billy Graham, who strongly supported the Vietnam War (3 million murders), and the idiots who supported young Bush (because he was "a Christian") in the murder of about a million Iraqis and the destruction of their whole country.

As always, please use the comments link below. Your comments are very welcome!

Here's a map showing female genital mutilation in Africa. If you're feeling especially religious, thank God that you were born here and not there!


Love, and Happy Winter Solstice (a real day! based on the mechanics of our solar system!) to You!

Jeff

P.S. Keep the X in Xmas!

Some news about the Fox News broadcast linked above:


Fox News host Andrea Tantaros is facing some well-deserved ridicule for refuting the stomach-turning Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture by declaring that “The United States is awesome. We are awesome” and claiming that the Democrats and President Barack Obama released the report because they want “to show us how we’re not awesome.”

14 comments:

  1. About child abuse and fundamental religions....This in particular resonated with me today because I just finished reading "Cut Me Loose" by Leah Vincent, a girl raised in an Ultra Orthodox family with medieval ideas about gender. She made it out into the world but no one could imagine the agony along the way.

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  2. Thanks for your good comment. To most Americans it probably sounds very odd when someone says so matter-of-factly that teaching fundamentalist religion is child abuse. It probably even sounds mean and hateful. And yet it's simply true!

    It is profoundly upsetting when I see each new President put his right hand on a Bible. (The fact that it's always a "his" and never a "her" is itself a side effect of Bible belief!) How could the leader of the most powerful country in the world, the master of our nuclear arsenal, put his hand on THIS book?! Look what God commanded in it!:

    Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children. Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man. And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
    Judges 21:11

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  3. I generally share your outlook on current events (my outrage during the bush years was on par with the yours). I wonder if people like you and me have become too entrenched in the folly of man. We all serve to enlighten one another, and it may be the time to remember to forget some of the more negative memes we can focus on and stop being angry young men.
    --B

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  4. B,

    I totally hear you. My words on the page, especially in light of how gaga and fake-nice people get during this "season," make me look angrier than I am, though. If you saw me writing them, or heard me saying what I wrote, you'd see that I was writing in a spirit of fun.

    I just read a good article by John Messerly, "Religion's Smart People Problem: The Shaky Intellectual Foundation for Belief," and it ended like this:

    Besides, faith without reason doesn’t satisfy most of us, hence our willingness to seek reasons to believe. If those reasons are not convincing, if you conclude that religious beliefs are untrue, then religious answers to life’s questions are worthless. Religion may help us in the way that whisky helps a drunk, but we don’t want to go through life drunk. If religious beliefs are just vulgar superstitions, then we are basing our lives on delusions. And who would want to do that?

    Why is all this important? Because human beings need their childhood to end; they need to face life with all its bleakness and beauty, its lust and its love, its war and its peace. They need to make the world better. No one else will.

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  5. Man, that Fox News report was hard to watch.

    I have a coworker who is an educated archaeologist who has studied evolution. We are constantly listening to "Power of Myth", The People's History of the US", "Democracy Now", "Hardcore History" and other liberal, almost anti religious podcasts/ebooks. We are always commenting on how crazy religion is. One day he said that he is thinking of raising his daughter (his wife is 8 months pregnant) as a Catholic so she has a good network. It was so bizarre and eye opening to me that someone could even consider that as an option when they have similar world views as me. WTF!

    -Jeff A.

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  6. Jeff A,

    Thanks for bringing this up. One of the most heartbreaking aspects of my life has been the gradual slip-sliding back to religion by the smartest people I've ever known, by almost ALL of my closest friends. When my friends and I were younger, we were on the same page. But while I STAYED on that page, and became a lot more clear, focused, and adamant about how dysfunctional and insane fundamentalist religion is, they gradually drifted back to embracing Iron Age superstition as something to base their lives on!

    They had heard my rants about religion and even joined in as fellow ranters. In my younger days I hadn't quite gotten to the knowledge that teaching fundamentalist religion was actual child abuse, but a lot of what I said and wrote about it indicated that I thought it was pretty damned abusive. And now they have become child abusers themselves. (However, because they are smart and loving, their kids are coming out OK, but nonetheless they have burdened them with a huge LIE taught to them by their dear parents; they have damaged their critical thinking ability; they have wasted their time; and they may have alienated them from true spirituality for life.

    I just wrote the other day to one of my friends, who had just surprised me by admitting that he'd had all three of his children baptized. He wrote, by way of an explanation, "I want them to reach their own view and understanding of religion and church."

    I answered him:

    [keep reading at the next comment--I just went over the comment character limit]

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  7. I answered him:

    "To me, that's like having your kids be part of an organization that teaches that the Earth is flat so that they can have this learning experience and then decide for themselves whether Earth is flat or round. My kids can learn all about church, and not just Christian/Catholic churches, but Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, and Scientology churches as well, very, very well from the outside, just as they can learn about torture, foot binding, slavery, etc., without having to experience it directly.

    "I think you should take them out of church immediately before it messes them up for life: guilt, fear of the Creator, alienation from non-"Christians", alienation from nature, and shame about their bodies. Plus, there is a huge amount of built-in sexism in all "Christian" religions, so I especially wouldn't want my daughter to go anywhere NEAR that conventional "Christianity". For my son, though, it might be a pretty good deal! :-)

    "To help them reach their own understanding about church, you should have them watch the wonderful new Cosmos series, narrated by astrophysicist Neil DeGrass Tyson. He's been attacked a lot lately by Amerikan "Christians" for this wonderful science show (a continuation of the old "Cosmos" series presented by American scientist Carl Sagan) because he simply lays out the science of life and evolution as it actually is without bowing even slightly to early Iron Age mythology, which is what the Bible is.

    "But not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, there are amazing things IN the Bible. Thomas Jefferson wrote to president Sam Adams, "In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man [Jesus]; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills. ["dunghill" means a pile of animal shit]

    "Jefferson considered Jesus the most brilliant teacher/philosopher who had ever lived. He wrote that Jesus provided "the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man."

    "However, like me, Jefferson hated our society's propagation of ignorance by treating the Bible as if it were a holy book. He wrote to his friend Oliver Short that the "immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity; original sin, atonement, [and] regeneration" are the result of "the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems, invented by ultra-Christian sects," i.e., the writing of crazy people. The church is a repository and a spreader of this craziness. As you have read in some of my blog posts, fundamentalist religion operates like a computer virus, and children are like new computers that haven't yet had antivirus programs (e.g., McAfee or Norton) installed."

    So Jeff A, you have really hit on a raw nerve this Christmas season, and I deeply appreciate it. You cancel out some of the others who are making me feel more and more alone.

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  8. My first instinct was to laugh while watching the Fox News discussion, ridiculous. It is terrifying to see such stupid, inhumane people and to know that part of our nation agrees and supports their stance.

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  9. Eileen S!

    So nice to see you here!! Isn't it amazing how split the American population is. It almost seems like we need a new Civil War, but this time it would be a lot messier because we aren't nicely split into Northern and Southern states--we all live totally mixed up together!

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  11. I'm sure there were some good points made during that video, but quite frankly I'm up to here with anything on TV that has two or more people talking at the same time. These people are rude, but more to the point they are stupid to the marrow if they think we can clearly understand anything when there are three people talking at the same time. If I wanted to hear that sort of noise, I would volunteer at the local grammar school.

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  12. Anonymous,
    I agree with you. It's almost beyond belief that we've devolved so as a culture that professional TV personalities (expert speakers) are almost expected to interrupt one another. Personally, I think interrupting is almost a form of violence. However, in light of how popular Fox is and how the young woman pictured in my blog was GUSHING over how awesome Amerika is and how necessary torture is, and how it's GOOD for the government to hide it from us, this video is well worth watching.

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