Friday, August 15, 2008
The entirety of atheism is contained in this response. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle. The obvious must be observed and re-observed and argued for. This is a thankless job. It carries with it an aura of petulance and insensitivity. It is, moreover, a job that the atheist does not want.
It is worth noting that no one ever needs to identify himself as a non-astrologer or a non-alchemist. Consequently, we do not have words for people who deny the validity of these pseudo-disciplines. Likewise, atheism is a term that should not even exist. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma. The atheist is merely a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87% of the population) who claim to never doubt the existence of God should be obliged to present evidence for his existence and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day. Only the atheist appreciates just how uncanny our situation is: Most of us believe in a God that is every bit as specious as the gods of Mount Olympus; no person, whatever his or her qualifications, can seek public office in the United States without pretending to be certain that such a God exists; and much of what passes for public policy in our country conforms to religious taboos and superstitions appropriate to a medieval theocracy. Our circumstance is abject, indefensible and terrifying. It would be hilarious if the stakes were not so high.
We live in a world where all things, good and bad, are finally destroyed by change. Parents lose their children and children their parents. Husbands and wives are separated in an instant, never to meet again. Friends part company in haste, without knowing that it will be for the last time. This life, when surveyed with a broad glance, presents little more than a vast spectacle of loss. Most people in this world, however, imagine that there is a cure for this. If we live rightly—not necessarily ethically, but within the framework of certain ancient beliefs and stereotyped behaviors—we will get everything we want after we die. When our bodies finally fail us, we just shed our corporeal ballast and travel to a land where we are reunited with everyone we loved while alive. Of course, overly rational people and other rabble will be kept out of this happy place, and those who suspended their disbelief while alive will be free to enjoy themselves for all eternity.
We live in a world of unimaginable surprises--from the fusion energy that lights the sun to the genetic and evolutionary consequences of this lights dancing for eons upon the Earth--and yet Paradise conforms to our most superficial concerns with all the fidelity of a Caribbean cruise. This is wondrously strange. If one didn’t know better, one would think that man, in his fear of losing all that he loves, had created heaven, along with its gatekeeper God, in his own image.
Consider the destruction that Hurricane Katrina leveled on New Orleans. More than a thousand people died, tens of thousands lost all their earthly possessions, and nearly a million were displaced. It is safe to say that almost every person living in New Orleans at the moment Katrina struck believed in an omnipotent, omniscient and compassionate God. But what was God doing while a hurricane laid waste to their city? Surely he heard the prayers of those elderly men and women who fled the rising waters for the safety of their attics, only to be slowly drowned there. These were people of faith. These were good men and women who had prayed throughout their lives. Only the atheist has the courage to admit the obvious: These poor people died talking to an imaginary friend.
Of course, there had been ample warning that a storm of biblical proportions would strike New Orleans, and the human response to the ensuing disaster was tragically inept. But it was inept only by the light of science. Advance warning of Katrina’s path was wrested from mute Nature by meteorological calculations and satellite imagery. God told no one of his plans. Had the residents of New Orleans been content to rely on the beneficence of the Lord, they wouldn’t have known that a killer hurricane was bearing down upon them until they felt the first gusts of wind on their faces. Nevertheless, a poll conducted by The Washington Post found that 80% of Katrina’s survivors claim that the event has only strengthened their faith in God.
As Hurricane Katrina was devouring New Orleans, nearly a thousand Shiite pilgrims were trampled to death on a bridge in Iraq. There can be no doubt that these pilgrims believed mightily in the God of the Koran: Their lives were organized around the indisputable fact of his existence; their women walked veiled before him; their men regularly murdered one another over rival interpretations of his word. It would be remarkable if a single survivor of this tragedy lost his faith. More likely, the survivors imagine that they were spared through God’s grace.
Only the atheist recognizes the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved. Only the atheist realizes how morally objectionable it is for survivors of a catastrophe to believe themselves spared by a loving God while this same God drowned infants in their cribs. Because he refuses to cloak the reality of the world’s suffering in a cloying fantasy of eternal life, the atheist feels in his bones just how precious life is--and, indeed, how unfortunate it is that millions of human beings suffer the most harrowing abridgements of their happiness for no good reason at all.
One wonders just how vast and gratuitous a catastrophe would have to be to shake the world’s faith. The Holocaust did not do it. Neither did the genocide in Rwanda, even with machete-wielding priests among the perpetrators. Five hundred million people died of smallpox in the 20th Century, many of them infants. God’s ways are, indeed, inscrutable. It seems that any fact, no matter how infelicitous, can be rendered compatible with religious faith. In matters of faith, we have kicked ourselves loose of the Earth.
Of course, people of faith regularly assure one another that God is not responsible for human suffering. But how else can we understand the claim that God is both omniscient and omnipotent? There is no other way, and it is time for sane human beings to own up to this. This is the age-old problem of theodicy, of course, and we should consider it solved. If God exists, either he can do nothing to stop the most egregious calamities or he does not care to. God, therefore, is either impotent or evil. Pious readers will now execute the following pirouette: God cannot be judged by merely human standards of morality. But, of course, human standards of morality are precisely what the faithful use to establish God’s goodness in the first place. And any God who could concern himself with something as trivial as gay marriage, or the name by which he is addressed in prayer, is not as inscrutable as all that. If he exists, the God of Abraham is not merely unworthy of the immensity of creation; he is unworthy even of man.
There is another possibility, of course, and it is both the most reasonable and least odious: The biblical God is a fiction. As Richard Dawkins has observed, we are all atheists with respect to Zeus and Thor. Only the atheist has realized that the biblical god is no different. Consequently, only the atheist is compassionate enough to take the profundity of the world’s suffering at face value. It is terrible that we all die and lose everything we love; it is doubly terrible that so many human beings suffer needlessly while alive. That so much of this suffering can be directly attributed to religion--to religious hatreds, religious wars, religious delusions and religious diversions of scarce resources--is what makes atheism a moral and intellectual necessity. It is a necessity, however, that places the atheist at the margins of society. The atheist, by merely being in touch with reality, appears shamefully out of touch with the fantasy life of his neighbors.
Continued: The Nature of Belief
The Nature of Belief
According to several recent polls, 22% of Americans are certain that Jesus will return to Earth sometime in the next 50 years. Another 22% believe that he will probably do so. This is likely the same 44% who go to church once a week or more, who believe that God literally promised the land of Israel to the Jews and who want to stop teaching our children about the biological fact of evolution. As President Bush is well aware, believers of this sort constitute the most cohesive and motivated segment of the American electorate. Consequently, their views and prejudices now influence almost every decision of national importance. Political liberals seem to have drawn the wrong lesson from these developments and are now thumbing Scripture, wondering how best to ingratiate themselves to the legions of men and women in our country who vote largely on the basis of religious dogma. More than 50% of Americans have a “negative” or “highly negative” view of people who do not believe in God; 70% think it important for presidential candidates to be “strongly religious.” Unreason is now ascendant in the United States--in our schools, in our courts and in each branch of the federal government. Only 28% of Americans believe in evolution; 68% believe in Satan. Ignorance in this degree, concentrated in both the head and belly of a lumbering superpower, is now a problem for the entire world.
Although it is easy enough for smart people to criticize religious fundamentalism, something called “religious moderation” still enjoys immense prestige in our society, even in the ivory tower. This is ironic, as fundamentalists tend to make a more principled use of their brains than “moderates” do. While fundamentalists justify their religious beliefs with extraordinarily poor evidence and arguments, at least they make an attempt at rational justification. Moderates, on the other hand, generally do nothing more than cite the good consequences of religious belief. Rather than say that they believe in God because certain biblical prophecies have come true, moderates will say that they believe in God because this belief “gives their lives meaning.” When a tsunami killed a few hundred thousand people on the day after Christmas, fundamentalists readily interpreted this cataclysm as evidence of God’s wrath. As it turns out, God was sending humanity another oblique message about the evils of abortion, idolatry and homosexuality. While morally obscene, this interpretation of events is actually reasonable, given certain (ludicrous) assumptions. Moderates, on the other hand, refuse to draw any conclusions whatsoever about God from his works. God remains a perfect mystery, a mere source of consolation that is compatible with the most desolating evil. In the face of disasters like the Asian tsunami, liberal piety is apt to produce the most unctuous and stupefying nonsense imaginable. And yet, men and women of goodwill naturally prefer such vacuities to the odious moralizing and prophesizing of true believers. Between catastrophes, it is surely a virtue of liberal theology that it emphasizes mercy over wrath. It is worth noting, however, that it is human mercy on display--not God’s--when the bloated bodies of the dead are pulled from the sea. On days when thousands of children are simultaneously torn from their mothers’ arms and casually drowned, liberal theology must stand revealed for what it is--the sheerest of mortal pretenses. Even the theology of wrath has more intellectual merit. If God exists, his will is not inscrutable. The only thing inscrutable in these terrible events is that so many neurologically healthy men and women can believe the unbelievable and think this the height of moral wisdom.
It is perfectly absurd for religious moderates to suggest that a rational human being can believe in God simply because this belief makes him happy, relieves his fear of death or gives his life meaning. The absurdity becomes obvious the moment we swap the notion of God for some other consoling proposition: Imagine, for instance, that a man wants to believe that there is a diamond buried somewhere in his yard that is the size of a refrigerator. No doubt it would feel uncommonly good to believe this. Just imagine what would happen if he then followed the example of religious moderates and maintained this belief along pragmatic lines: When asked why he thinks that there is a diamond in his yard that is thousands of times larger than any yet discovered, he says things like, “This belief gives my life meaning,” or “My family and I enjoy digging for it on Sundays,” or “I wouldn’t want to live in a universe where there wasn’t a diamond buried in my backyard that is the size of a refrigerator.” Clearly these responses are inadequate. But they are worse than that. They are the responses of a madman or an idiot.
Here we can see why Pascal’s wager, Kierkegaard’s leap of faith and other epistemological Ponzi schemes won’t do. To believe that God exists is to believe that one stands in some relation to his existence such that his existence is itself the reason for one’s belief. There must be some causal connection, or an appearance thereof, between the fact in question and a person’s acceptance of it. In this way, we can see that religious beliefs, to be beliefs about the way the world is, must be as evidentiary in spirit as any other. For all their sins against reason, religious fundamentalists understand this; moderates--almost by definition--do not.
The incompatibility of reason and faith has been a self-evident feature of human cognition and public discourse for centuries. Either a person has good reasons for what he strongly believes or he does not. People of all creeds naturally recognize the primacy of reasons and resort to reasoning and evidence wherever they possibly can. When rational inquiry supports the creed it is always championed; when it poses a threat, it is derided; sometimes in the same sentence. Only when the evidence for a religious doctrine is thin or nonexistent, or there is compelling evidence against it, do its adherents invoke “faith.” Otherwise, they simply cite the reasons for their beliefs (e.g. “the New Testament confirms Old Testament prophecy,” “I saw the face of Jesus in a window,” “We prayed, and our daughter’s cancer went into remission"). Such reasons are generally inadequate, but they are better than no reasons at all. Faith is nothing more than the license religious people give themselves to keep believing when reasons fail. In a world that has been shattered by mutually incompatible religious beliefs, in a nation that is growing increasingly beholden to Iron Age conceptions of God, the end of history and the immortality of the soul, this lazy partitioning of our discourse into matters of reason and matters of faith is now unconscionable.
Continued: Faith and the Good Society
Faith and the Good Society
People of faith regularly claim that atheism is responsible for some of the most appalling crimes of the 20th century. Although it is true that the regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were irreligious to varying degrees, they were not especially rational. In fact, their public pronouncements were little more than litanies of delusion--delusions about race, economics, national identity, the march of history or the moral dangers of intellectualism. In many respects, religion was directly culpable even here. Consider the Holocaust: The anti-Semitism that built the Nazi crematoria brick by brick was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity. For centuries, religious Germans had viewed the Jews as the worst species of heretics and attributed every societal ill to their continued presence among the faithful. While the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominately secular way, the religious demonization of the Jews of Europe continued. (The Vatican itself perpetuated the blood libel in its newspapers as late as 1914.)
Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields are not examples of what happens when people become too critical of unjustified beliefs; to the contrary, these horrors testify to the dangers of not thinking critically enough about specific secular ideologies. Needless to say, a rational argument against religious faith is not an argument for the blind embrace of atheism as a dogma. The problem that the atheist exposes is none other than the problem of dogma itself--of which every religion has more than its fair share. There is no society in recorded history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.
While most Americans believe that getting rid of religion is an impossible goal, much of the developed world has already accomplished it. Any account of a ”god gene” that causes the majority of Americans to helplessly organize their lives around ancient works of religious fiction must explain why so many inhabitants of other First World societies apparently lack such a gene. The level of atheism throughout the rest of the developed world refutes any argument that religion is somehow a moral necessity. Countries like Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on Earth. According to the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005) they are also the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. Conversely, the 50 nations now ranked lowest in terms of human development are unwaveringly religious. Other analyses paint the same picture: The United States is unique among wealthy democracies in its level of religious literalism and opposition to evolutionary theory; it is also uniquely beleaguered by high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, STD infection and infant mortality. The same comparison holds true within the United States itself: Southern and Midwestern states, characterized by the highest levels of religious superstition and hostility to evolutionary theory, are especially plagued by the above indicators of societal dysfunction, while the comparatively secular states of the Northeast conform to European norms. Of course, correlational data of this sort do not resolve questions of causality--belief in God may lead to societal dysfunction; societal dysfunction may foster a belief in God; each factor may enable the other; or both may spring from some deeper source of mischief. Leaving aside the issue of cause and effect, these facts prove that atheism is perfectly compatible with the basic aspirations of a civil society; they also prove, conclusively, that religious faith does nothing to ensure a society’s health.
Countries with high levels of atheism also are the most charitable in terms of giving foreign aid to the developing world. The dubious link between Christian literalism and Christian values is also belied by other indices of charity. Consider the ratio in salaries between top-tier CEOs and their average employee: in Britain it is 24 to 1; France 15 to 1; Sweden 13 to 1; in the United States, where 83% of the population believes that Jesus literally rose from the dead, it is 475 to 1. Many a camel, it would seem, expects to squeeze easily through the eye of a needle.
Continued: Religion as a Source of Violence
Religion as a Source of Violence
One of the greatest challenges facing civilization in the 21st century is for human beings to learn to speak about their deepest personal concerns--about ethics, spiritual experience and the inevitability of human suffering--in ways that are not flagrantly irrational. Nothing stands in the way of this project more than the respect we accord religious faith. Incompatible religious doctrines have balkanized our world into separate moral communities--Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc.--and these divisions have become a continuous source of human conflict. Indeed, religion is as much a living spring of violence today as it was at any time in the past. The recent conflicts in Palestine (Jews versus Muslims), the Balkans (Orthodox Serbians versus Catholic Croatians; Orthodox Serbians versus Bosnian and Albanian Muslims), Northern Ireland (Protestants versus Catholics), Kashmir (Muslims versus Hindus), Sudan (Muslims versus Christians and animists), Nigeria (Muslims versus Christians), Ethiopia and Eritrea (Muslims versus Christians), Sri Lanka (Sinhalese Buddhists versus Tamil Hindus), Indonesia (Muslims versus Timorese Christians), Iran and Iraq (Shiite versus Sunni Muslims), and the Caucasus (Orthodox Russians versus Chechen Muslims; Muslim Azerbaijanis versus Catholic and Orthodox Armenians) are merely a few cases in point. In these places religion has been the explicit cause of literally millions of deaths in the last 10 years.
In a world riven by ignorance, only the atheist refuses to deny the obvious: Religious faith promotes human violence to an astonishing degree. Religion inspires violence in at least two senses: (1) People often kill other human beings because they believe that the creator of the universe wants them to do it (the inevitable psychopathic corollary being that the act will ensure them an eternity of happiness after death). Examples of this sort of behavior are practically innumerable, jihadist suicide bombing being the most prominent. (2) Larger numbers of people are inclined toward religious conflict simply because their religion constitutes the core of their moral identities. One of the enduring pathologies of human culture is the tendency to raise children to fear and demonize other human beings on the basis of religion. Many religious conflicts that seem driven by terrestrial concerns, therefore, are religious in origin. (Just ask the Irish.)
These facts notwithstanding, religious moderates tend to imagine that human conflict is always reducible to a lack of education, to poverty or to political grievances. This is one of the many delusions of liberal piety. To dispel it, we need only reflect on the fact that the Sept. 11 hijackers were college educated and middle class and had no discernable history of political oppression. They did, however, spend an inordinate amount of time at their local mosque talking about the depravity of infidels and about the pleasures that await martyrs in Paradise. How many more architects and mechanical engineers must hit the wall at 400 miles an hour before we admit to ourselves that jihadist violence is not a matter of education, poverty or politics? The truth, astonishingly enough, is this: A person can be so well educated that he can build a nuclear bomb while still believing that he will get 72 virgins in Paradise. Such is the ease with which the human mind can be partitioned by faith, and such is the degree to which our intellectual discourse still patiently accommodates religious delusion. Only the atheist has observed what should now be obvious to every thinking human being: If we want to uproot the causes of religious violence we must uproot the false certainties of religion.
Why is religion such a potent source of human violence?
Our religions are intrinsically incompatible with one another. Either Jesus rose from the dead and will be returning to Earth like a superhero or not; either the Koran is the infallible word of God or it isn’t. Every religion makes explicit claims about the way the world is, and the sheer profusion of these incompatible claims creates an enduring basis for conflict.
There is no other sphere of discourse in which human beings so fully articulate their differences from one another, or cast these differences in terms of everlasting rewards and punishments. Religion is the one endeavor in which us-them thinking achieves a transcendent significance. If a person really believes that calling God by the right name can spell the difference between eternal happiness and eternal suffering, then it becomes quite reasonable to treat heretics and unbelievers rather badly. It may even be reasonable to kill them. If a person thinks there is something that another person can say to his children that could put their souls in jeopardy for all eternity, then the heretic next door is actually far more dangerous than the child molester. The stakes of our religious differences are immeasurably higher than those born of mere tribalism, racism or politics.
Religious faith is a conversation-stopper. Religion is only area of our discourse in which people are systematically protected from the demand to give evidence in defense of their strongly held beliefs. And yet these beliefs often determine what they live for, what they will die for, and--all too often--what they will kill for. This is a problem, because when the stakes are high, human beings have a simple choice between conversation and violence. Only a fundamental willingness to be reasonable--to have our beliefs about the world revised by new evidence and new arguments--can guarantee that we will keep talking to one another. Certainty without evidence is necessarily divisive and dehumanizing. While there is no guarantee that rational people will always agree, the irrational are certain to be divided by their dogmas.
It seems profoundly unlikely that we will heal the divisions in our world simply by multiplying the opportunities for interfaith dialogue. The endgame for civilization cannot be mutual tolerance of patent irrationality. While all parties to liberal religious discourse have agreed to tread lightly over those points where their worldviews would otherwise collide, these very points remain perpetual sources of conflict for their coreligionists. Political correctness, therefore, does not offer an enduring basis for human cooperation. If religious war is ever to become unthinkable for us, in the way that slavery and cannibalism seem poised to, it will be a matter of our having dispensed with the dogma of faith.
When we have reasons for what we believe, we have no need of faith; when we have no reasons, or bad ones, we have lost our connection to the world and to one another. Atheism is nothing more than a commitment to the most basic standard of intellectual honesty: One’s convictions should be proportional to one’s evidence. Pretending to be certain when one isn’t--indeed, pretending to be certain about propositions for which no evidence is even conceivable--is both an intellectual and a moral failing. Only the atheist has realized this. The atheist is simply a person who has perceived the lies of religion and refused to make them his own.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Withdrawing our troops from Iraq doesn't mean we "lost" anything.
Note to McCain- when you kill their ruler and take his castle, you'v won. Saddam is dead and his palace is our new embassy.
I'm sorry the best you could do was a wiener hut in Ohio while America's future was speaking to the world from Berlin. That is where your leader, George W. Bush has taken you, your party and the ideas you represent.
The rest of us aren't buying it anymore. Sorry. When you speak I hear the buzz of insects. Please stop.
The age of corporate welfare is over. Take heed. Change is coming and you aren't going to like it. You've pushed America to the wall and we're biting back now.
We will solve our own energy problems without big Oil, if that's what it will take as you've now made it affordable to develop alternate and renewable sources of energy.
We will not allow you to drill off our coasts, just because. And we will not allow you to manipulate us with the price of gas to change that.
There is enough oil in shale rock to change the planet, there is no need to take a chance on destroying our coastline and the delicate ecosystem of the ocean when we have an alternative. And we won't tolerate being manipulated.
Government, remember, we own you. Not vice versa. And it is the government that owns the shale oil. It's time to tell government what we want.
This government has failed us. It is time to rebuild governmnet with service to the many as its goal. Service to the few is not working so well anymore.
The problem with trickle down economics is that you assume we are happy with a trickle. You are wrong.
Get ready for a new day.
Wake up America. The shale oil is yours, not "theirs."
Maybe it's time for the government to compete with private industry to produce what we need to meet our energy needs. Private industry has failed us.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
My God, while they were worrying Billy might actually marry Bob the rest of us were getting fucked.
Seems like their politics of fear is coming after us one by one.
Just what more needs to be said?
No wonder the Nazis got away with the Holocaust. We are a country of douche bag conservative, tobacco chewing, nascar racing hicks whose idea of higher education is 3 credits at community college after being rejected by the University of Phoenix.
What's it going to take to dismantle this freakshow? The 2nd Amendment?
I'm buying a gun today.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
What wasn't profitable at $25-40 a barrel is mind numbingly simple at $147. Just the threat of bringing this supply to the market might create some relief, perhaps down to a level where it's not profitable to produce. But no one is talking about this. And you, with the loudest mouth and highest criticism of anyone with whom you don't agree should have jumped on this...but you were too busy engaginig in self promotion to actually make the "best news team on the planet" actually do their jobs. By the way? If "the best news team on the planet" had been doing their jobs for the last eight years we might not be in the sorry state we're in. So how about doing some homework and presenting some solutions instead of trying to sell books and xenophic ideas?
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Shell seems to care. Exxon doesn’t. Exxon shut down its Colony Oil Shale project in May of 1982. Imagine having so much oil we could tell the assholes of the world to go fuck themselves. The entire geopolitical landscape would change.
Most of our shale reserves are under the control of the U.S. government since a Congressional act in 1910, the Pickett Act, authorized President Taft to set aside oil bearing land in California and Wyoming as fuel sources for the Navy. From 1910 to 1925 the Navy developed the Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves Program and it became official in 1927. Roosevelt expanded the program in 1942 as we mobilized for WWII.
So where do we stand today? Maybe it’s time to make Congress earn their paychecks.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
The fact that most of our own people think the Flintstones are a documentary, the earth is less than 10,000 years old and that we were created by a designer shows how dangerous our lives have really become. Especially when there’s a country that not only wants to kill us but has told us so, told us how, told us when and told us why. And we attacked the country next door.
Chicken Little only gets one chance to get it right. W got it wrong. Now when we are going to have to respond to the danger Iran wants to become, how able will we to make the right decision? That nation is going to have to be delivered a reality check because they are insane. They believe the 12th Imam has been hiding since the 13th century and will reappear in the third year of chaos to bring about the end of the world as we know it. They’re dangerous whack jobs as opposed to the other whack jobs on the planet who base their actions on pleasing the figments of twisted imaginations.
This cannot end well.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
So for those who have forgotten the issue, let's revisit the whole Iraq thing. OK?
We won the war. Got that red voters? Even your leader told us so when he proclaimed, "Mission Accomplished." But I call winning when a country invades, takes your castle, kills your king and takes your treasure. I believe we did that. Except the treasure thing. We've never been a country that cared much about treasure. Probably because we give ours away.
Anyway, for those who are trying to confuse the American people as they try to vote for change. We won the war. We are losing the peace.
And, like Vietnam, it is once again the fault of politicians and not the soldiers.
And John McCain should know that.
So if your going to spin, please do so in time with the music, otherwise you end up looking like that guy above.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Whether your vision of Jesus is the more traditional imaginary one of the soulful face with long hair, beard and expecting eyes,
the more accurate picture of him as a real man of his time, place and culture.
------------ONE QUESTION HAS ALWAYS INTRIGUED ME
We have the Book of Matthew, the Book of Mark, the Book of Luke and the Book of John, plus scads of other works apocryphal, anecdotal, etc. BUT
there is NO Book of Jesus.
Why is that?
Why did the most influential man on the planet leave nothing but hearsay behind?
And if something sounds stupid it generally isn't true.
So it's probably not true that Jesus left no written works behind.
That means whatever was left behind was destroyed.
The ramifications are truly staggering.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Then six weeks later the moment occurs when you would have died if you hadn’t added aspirin to your shopping list due to the point of convergence of stroke memes. And of course you don’t even realize it. It was never for your enjoyment but for the enjoyment of the universe that the irony occurred.
And that is how the universe played out a drama on the stage of itself.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
This is unacceptable. I remember the first urban myth I ever heard only it was told to me by a girl who claimed her father was the inventor instead of a friend of her father's neighbor. The claim was that Ford had a 75 mpg engine it was hiding. It was the 70's and our tags were even. I never did understand why they didn't put that in their cars. Who wouldn't want that? Whether or not that was true, that was almost 40 years ago and we have done squat to deal with the crisis at hand and we've had 36 years.
You've had long enough. A sixteen year plan is just not going to cut it. The idea isn't to entrench your big corporate buddies in the next national handout. The idea is not to hand no-bid contracts out to anyone who supports your administration. The idea is to free ourselves from Opec. And we can do that in four not sixteen years. Kind of like the Manhattan Project and the Apollo program you are trying to compare the Lexington Project to, but not. If they had taken sixteen years, we'd be speaking German and living on Mars by now.
Where there's the will, there's the way. And it won't take sixteen years.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
If we didn't have to worry about lunatics with automatic weapons and shoulder based missile launchers we might find a new romance in air travel by bringing back the luxury of a bygone era. Actually? We do have the technology to keep an airship as safe as other airborn means of travel.
Friday, June 20, 2008
The ridiculous excuse for an American as represented by that retard in West Virginia who was just positive Obama was a muslim. We have become a country of idiots. We have a president who, after 8 years, is still calling them nukuler weapons. By the way, how do you spell nucular? The witless wonders who denigrated academics have proven just how wrong they were and how right the rest of us were.
The smartest guy on this planet just tied 80 helium balloons to his lawn chair and took a ride to the next state. Now that's good mileage.
Change is upon us.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
We are undergoing behavior modification on a national, perhaps global, scale. If it doesn't hurt we won't change our ways. "They" are making it hurt. "THEY" will make it hurt until we agree to open our coastline to offshore drilling.
I once heard it was too expensive to turn our shale oil into oil at 35.00 per gallon, it would have to be 50 or more to be profitable. Or some such craziness. Well where's the shale oil?
It is time for a revolution. It is time to nationalize our vital resources if our private sector can't manage it.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Villagers burn woman accused of being witch
Fri, May 30 12:49 PM
BHUBANESWAR, India (Reuters) - An Indian woman accused of witchcraft was beaten, gagged and burnt to death in a remote eastern village, police said on Friday.
The woman was dragged out of her home, her hands and legs tied and taken to a crematorium where she was set on fire in front of the village which ignored her screams for help.
The incident took place in a tribal village in Orissa and occurred last week, but came to light on Thursday with the arrest of three villagers.
The victim was murdered by the husband and relatives of a neighbour whose death was blamed on her witchcraft.
Dozens of women are killed every year on suspicion of being witches or witch doctors in India, where superstition is widespread, especially in rural areas that lack an effective schooling system.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I pray. But not to the arrogant, abomination that is the neolithic angry, vengeful, jealous god of the hebrews, arabs and christians. I pray not to an anthropomorphic deity that exists in the minds and literature of mankind. But I pray knowing it will be answered.
By whom? My detractors may ask and why, I respond with a question, does there need to be a named entity to listen to my prayers?
I pray because prayer works. Prayer is not cosmic email and it is not the invocation of supernatural beings. Prayer works by making me feel good. It helps alleviate suffering.
That's all it does, that's all I want it to do.
If causes and effects occur while praying that does not make the prayer a cause or an effect.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Like Puxatawney Phil, that poor little groundhog who can't even take a pee break every Feb in front of the entire country without the glare of our unholy media, it looks like Karl Rove has finally climbed out of his own asshole and seen the light.
Seen, not understood, per se. As heard on GMA this morning, Rove acknowledges that the Scott McClellan book, “What Happened” sounds like a Liberal blog. By god he finally gets it! Yes, you winking asshole, it is like we’ve been saying all along. This Administration is guilty of so many crimes that it won’t matter if our national media keep their own heads up their own and each other’s collective butts. The writers will start coming out of the woodwork. And if “What Happened” is how Bush’s own team will treat him, god help them all when the real historians get their shot.
And today, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said that the House Judiciary Committee would be willing to arrest Karl Rove if the former White House official doesn't testify about his role in the firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006.
Just under 7 months until the investigations can really begin. Now that's entertainment!
Monday, May 26, 2008
I believe we are a good people. A people who inherently believes in the right of each of us to pursue happiness in our own way, to be free from the tyranny of intolerance, and free to pursue our own paths in this life without interference by society or government.
I believe we are a helping people. We send human and material resources as well as financial aid to any and all quarters of the world out of humanitarian concern regardless of whether victims are our friends or enemies.
I believe we are a people of opportunity. It is possible to lose everything in one year and then turn that around to fortune in the next.
I believe we are a welcoming people. We have a statue that celebrates that aspect of our humanity. We have been the light in the dark, sometimes the last hope, in a world of endless misery for some. And we have taken in the world’s broken and it has made us stronger as a nation.
These are the ideals that have set us apart from the rest of the world.
But we have lost our way.
We have allowed the weakest minds in our society to set social policies that move 10 percent of us to the fringe once again. We still come up with unique and socio-religious reasons to deny the last segment of our society the full rights they deserve. Defending marriage by denying it to homosexuals no more defends marriage than outlawing barbeques in New York keeps fires from burning in Los Angeles.
We have allowed a criminally negligent administration to make news when sending aid to earthquake and flood ravaged nations that are our philosophical enemies, not to mention the wholesale destruction and rebuilding of Iraq, and we have let our own sister, New Orleans, to lay ravaged, dying, bleeding in the gutter. For this alone should our president stand trial. But he won’t.
We champion free markets when it comes to individuals, allowing financial institutions to fee us to death and change our interest rates all in the name of capitalism and free markets at work, and then we provide welfare to the largest financial institutions when these same practices backfire. It’s like being a little bit pregnant. Doesn’t happen. Either we have a free market in which case Bear Stearns can die, or we don’t. And yes, it is just that simple. Once again, the many pay for the frivolity of the few.
We have allowed men like Lou Dobbs a platform to sell books, fear, and permission to hate. This self-righteous fear mongerer is so eager to build a fence to keep our Latino neighbors out that he can’t see how this will also keep the rest of us in. Or maybe that’s the idea. Meanwhile, the Statue of Liberty weeps while Lou Dobbs goes to the bank. What a gig.
This is the year of change. It will come about in one of two ways. We have the fortune and opportunity for America to put its money where its mouth is. Land of the free, home of the brave, opportunity for all. Obama represents that symbolically and in point of fact. I believe he will begin the process of cleaning out America’s attic, and basement, and closets. And if we give him a second term, maybe the windows as well. The other candidates represent the opposite. They belong to the last century. They are truly good people, I believe. But they have stayed on stage just long enough to make many of us uncomfortable. It’s time to lower the lights. If that doesn't work, there's the second way.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Why That Self-Righteous Blowhard Lou Dobbs Is Dangerous And Why CNN Portrays His Self-Promotion And Books As Journalism Is Outrageous
It is time to take our country back from imaginary friends, those who believe in them, and the ignorant republicans who support them. If you believe in fairies, demons, angels and the rest of the rot, you should be seeking help. But the insane don't usually know they're insane now do they?
Saturday, May 24, 2008
NEWS TO HOME OIL DELIVERY COMPANIES
- no one can afford your product. I have already purchased ceramic room heaters based on the price of your product today.
I will be draining my radiators in the fall.
Come next winter when it's double, will there be anyone without a ceramic room heater? The home oil heating business just died. And with it all the support business that sell oil tanks, heaters, service them, etc.
Our god damned president had 8 years to formulate an energy policy. Thanks to the red state toothless folks who don't want that gay agenda with those abortion clinics open on every corner and who find Osama hiding behind every Bush. I remember him chastising Clinton because gas spiked over a dollar. What a fucking hypocrite, lying bastard, worthless piece of fucking human garbage. I wish there was a hell because then I'd have the satisfaction of knowing he would ultimately get his due. But there isn't and he won't.
This president belongs in jail.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
If you didn't have a reason to shun the Republican nominee before, you now do.
Apparently there are those, down south, who believes the nominee has a lot in common with Jesus Christ.
Georgia Republican Party chairwoman Sue Everhart said Saturday that the party's presumed presidential nominee has a lot in common with Jesus Christ.
"John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross," Everhart said as she began the second day of the state GOP convention. "He never denounced God, either."
"I'm not trying to compare John McCain to Jesus Christ, I'm looking at the pain that was there," she said. Well, uh, actually, it sounds like you are making that comparison, Susie. You know, using the word "like" and all. Must have been home schooled.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Two years later, when he was 16, Ratzinger was drafted again by the German Army.
Ratzinger worked as a helper in an anti-aircraft briagde. In 1945, he was put through basic training and stationed near his hometown in Bavaria. When Allied forces advanced, he deserted the German army — risking death by that act alone. After he escaped, Ratzinger was captured by American soldiers and spent the remainder of the war in a POW camp. (source:MSNBC)
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
One pack of Tempeh, I used the Lightlife Garden Veggie Tempeh
One Green Pepper
One large White Onion
One can of Black Beans
One can of Diced Tomatos with Green Chilis
One bag of Jalapeno Shredded Cheese
One Old El Paso Enchilada dinner kit
One pint Sour Cream
Optional - can of corn
In a large pan with a tbsp of olive oil, sautee diced onion and pepper until softened and starting to brown.
Crumble the tempeh into the pan and add the can of beans and the tomatos. (Corn optional)
Add the envelope of spices from the enchildada kit and stir.
Let simmer for five minutes.
Place a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.
Place a layer of tortillas on the bottom, sprinkle with a third of the cheese and add a third of the mixture. Make two layers and top with tortillas and the last third of the cheese.
Pour one envelope of sauce over the whole.
Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour. Don't let the cheese burn.
Cut into squares and top with sour cream.
Garnish as you please with scallion, bacon, cheese, the second envelope of sauce or whatever.
Leftovers can be served in a soft/crunch taco using sour cream to glue the outer soft tortilla to the inner crunchy taco filled with the mixture.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted fan,
Monday, May 5, 2008
This “holy” man wants a pre-emptive holy war with Iran.
Pastor Wright preached that 9-11 was “American’s chickens come home to roost” though the seed of this thought had already been sewn by Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who blamed the attacks on America’s abortionists, feminists, gays and the A.C.L.U. At least Rev. Wright blamed foreign policy.
John McCain asked all the above, except Rev. Wright, for endorsements and got them. If in her syndicated Sunday colum titled "Wright Controversy Reveals A Character Flaw In Obama" Linda Chavez feels it important enough to raise such “character flaws” in only Obama she is either being dishonest with herself or dishonest with her readers in presenting the one candidate who has actually denounced such lunacy and ignoring the character flaws of her own candidate who has embraced them.
Now that’s an actual character flaw.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Ladies and Gentlemen, sit down. And now it’s time to reveal the absolute, true secret to losing weight and keeping it off. This absolutely works every single time and costs NOTHING. That’s right! ZERO, ZILCH, NADA. In fact, my mind altering SECRET TO WEIGHT LOSS will actually SAVE YOU MONEY! That’s right. SAVE YOU MONEY!
How you ask? Well here’s the secret. Eat less, do more. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, that is the secret to weight loss. Expend more calories than you take in. In fact with this AMAZING weight loss system YOU CAN EAT AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. As long as you follow the simple rule of spending more calories than you take in. And we all like to spend now don’t we?
And yes, my dears, that does mean getting off your fat asses and taking a walk around the block. Start with that. And when you stop breathing hard every time you get up from the can, you can thank me then.
This brings me to today’s topic- DELUSION.
And one delusion I’d like to discuss is the most recent flavor of self-help, pseudo-scientific, pseudo-spiritual, neo-corny nonsense otherwise known as the Secret. I will admit I’m biased from the getgo as from what little I’ve heard, the Secret is nothing more than the same advice I heard from my father as a child. But it wouldn’t be fair of me to judge this book by its cover. I am going to have to watch it first.
So why are people willing to shell out thousands of dollars for the type of inspiration a “Secret” weekend or retreat might provide? I bet they aren’t. They aren’t really buying the secret because we all know it’s not a secret. They are willing to pay to feel good. Nothing more than emotional prostitution with people like Rhonda Byrne providing the service. There is a correlation between the hole in a person’s psyche and the amount of money one is willing to spend to fill said hole. Hence $300 an hour psychiatrists. People want to feel good and feel hopeful.
So that is my prejudice. I am going to be fair and keep an open mind. I’m not expecting much but I’m always willing to have my notions challenged. This is Part 1 of a multi-part entry. I’m going to have to find a copy of the Secret as I don’t intend to purchase it and see for myself. Once experiencing what I understand is the greatest secret ever told I will report back. Until then, can anyone explain why the world is in such a crappy place if all these so-called spiritual types are wishing for such great things? Or are they all creating the mess we’re in through the actions of their thoughts? Or maybe it’s all a diaper load.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
It's hard to believe that those individuals, who would force their evil fairy tales down the rest of our throats, have understood what they've been reading if they've read it at all. But worse, we let these individuals force their evil, jealous, murdering, misogynist monster on the rest of us.
It's time to put a stop to that.
Whether you've come to the conclusion that religion is evil masquerading as good and that god is a manifestation of mental illness, or to the less judgmental realization that god simply doesn't exist, or to the deist's compromise that there is a God but religion is fantasy- one needs a place to turn- A place to start a new life with a new way of thinking without the wretched depravity inflicted on humanity by religions and their believers.
You may already have a clue that the Truth of DNA or quantum physics is far more remarkable than any bible story miracle. You've already discarded revelation for Reality. Here you'll find resources and links to help you in your journey of self-discovery and awakening to the universe as it is and not as the product of our creative imaginations.
We can make this journey together.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Do you think he died so you could build churches to him?
If you don't understand that Jesus was a radical you don't know Jesus.
Why do you need miracles to be good?
We seem to have a desperate need to have spiritual communion with supernatural entities. Prayer comforts us. It gives us hope.
But it does not work.
If it did, the world would be a much different place.
In fact it would resemble heaven.
Not thinking this is a winning strategy.
In fact it's time to throw the pre-historic god of the Semites, Aryans and Jihaddists in the same pile we dumped Zeus, Hercules and Athena.
Steven Weinber, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.