Thursday, May 31, 2007

Child Abuse

I finally made it all the way thru Jesus Camp -- the documentary about the indoctrination of young kids by evangelical parents.

It's even scarier than I thought. My only hope is that those that follow this "formula" are so small a minority in our society that they will eventually be treated as the pariahs that they are ... and hopefully brought up on charges of child abuse.

I watched in horror as a small boy -- no more than 8 or 9 years old -- struggles with his disbelief and doubt in a room filled with tongue-speaking nut-cases determined to convince him that "his doubt" is evil and that absolute belief in Jesus is the only thing that can save him.

You can translate the pastor's exhortations: "put aside reason ... don't be skeptical... join all of your friends and just believe whatever us grown-ups tell you"

What a wonderful life-lesson.

Adults who indoctrinate children in this way are not only screwing up the kids -- for life... They are helping to screw up our society. As I recently posted on the Intellectual Insurgent's blog: many in our society value 'belief' over rationality and hence genuflect at the alter of tyranny. The relationship is so obvious (and has been demonstrated countless times throughout history) that it shouldn't even be necessary to repeat: a populace that is willing to believe in "anything" is ripe for the tyranny of a charismatic leader. Teaching children at such a young age that reasoned approaches to understanding -- such as the scientific method -- are not only inferior to faith but dangerous is a path to the dark ages.

We need another Enlightenment -- a realization that the human mind is capable of wondrous things, not the least of which is using reason, logic and observation to glean truths from not only our physical world, but the world of ethics and morality. Because if there are truths in the world of morality and ethics -- and there are -- they are discernible by the very mental processes that allow rational people to recognize real moral teachings (such as the golden rule) and dismiss bogus ones (like stoning your neighbor for working on the sabbath).

It is simply a sign of mental illness -- or brainwashing in this case -- when an individual truly believes that someone should be punished or held in disdain for breaking one of god's pseudo-rules.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Falwell the fallen

The bigot and charlatan has finally been silenced. I think Hitchens captured my thoughts:
The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing, that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you will just get yourself called reverend. Who would, even at your network [CNN], have invited on such a little toad to tell us that the attacks of September the 11th were the result of our sinfulness and were God's punishment if they hadn't got some kind of clerical qualification?

People like that should be out in the street, shouting and hollering with a cardboard sign and selling pencils from a cup. The whole consideration of this -- of this horrible little person is offensive to very, very many of us who have some regard for truth and for morality, and who think that ethics do not require that lies be told to children by evil old men, that we're -- we're not told that people who believe like Falwell will be snatched up into heaven, where I'm glad to see he skipped the rapture, just found on the floor of his office, while the rest of us go to hell.
What's truly amazing is how many Americans bought into his message of intolerance and hate. The only thing unfortunate about his demise is that his replacement will likely be younger but just as ignorant... at least he won't have as big a mouth-piece. We can only hope Americans continue to move away from these idiots.

The Depth of Delusion

I was on an airplane the other day. I was passing the hour and half flight by reading Erhman's Misquoting Jesus: The Story behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.

I sat next to a rather pleasant and soft spoken woman, who, after a bit, asked be about the book. After showing her the title, she asked about it... stating "what a provocative title". A discussion ensured.

Of course, it was easy for me to assume she was a christian -- most American's claim to be followers. As the discussion continued, I discovered she was one of the devout -- she produced a small bible with not pasted inside.

I explained that Erhman was a former evangelical, who, after having studied (starting at Moody bible college, thru Weaton and onto the ancient manuscripts that make up the books of the bible became convinced that we don't have an accurate representation of any of the books now known as the new testament.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The latest Marvel comic-book hero...

"The Commander Guy!" ...

What are the 30 or so percent of the American populace who still look favorably on the CinC think when they hear such phrases uttered by the man occupying the office-formally-known-as "leader of the free world?

Demonstrable incompetence... a command of the language equal to that of most illegal immigrants... an inability to learn from his (or other peoples) mistakes...

"National disaster" doesn't begin to describe this presidency. Having no words of my own to describe it, I'll rely on Christopher Buckley -- son of William F. and probably the funniest right-winger alive, who called Bush's governing philosophy " incontinent conservatism," and asked:

Who knew, in 2000, that "compassionate conservatism" meant bigger government, unrestricted government spending, government intrusion in personal matters, government ineptitude, and cronyism in disaster relief?

Don't forget "a foreign policy based on the neener-neener principle -- we know better than you"...

Mr. President, please don't speak in public anymore... You're just helping the terrorists.

The silliness continues...

Keeping with the theme of Mormon craziness... I just read this in Utah's Daily Herald. Thanks to a friend in NV:

Convention ends with Satan and immigrants

Utah County Republicans ended their convention on Saturday by debating Satan's influence on illegal immigrants.

The group was unable to take official action because not enough members stuck around long enough to vote, despite the pleadings of party officials. The convention was held at Canyon View Junior High School.

Don Larsen, chairman of legislative District 65 for the Utah County Republican Party, had submitted a resolution warning that Satan's minions want to eliminate national borders and do away with sovereignty.


How do these people get elected? Holding such beliefs is a clear sign of mental illness: belief in 'evil spirits' should be disqualifying for a driver's license -- yet in Utah it apparently helps you get elected to public office.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mormon president? Allah help us...

I was reading another blog on the 2008 election... The blogger was saying how Romney's Mormonism isn't really a hurdle for him since, overall, Mormonism is "undeniably a plus for America"....

Obviously, I disagree... besides the disastrous track-record our current faith-based leader has exemplified, people that buy-into -- whole-heartily -- such non-sense are truly unfit to lead.

My response:

Whoa... Ok, for the most part these people are benevolent, but their belief system is the foundation of tyranny... as is all faith-based religion.

Groups that admit revelation (i.e. - knowlege based not on evidence or reason, but revealed dogma) is scary... Such people can -- and historically have -- been EASILY manipulated. Hitler started out a close ally of the Catholic church... And his following, as those who have followed other cults-of-personality, are exactly the same type of (sorry) simpletons: Ready to cast aside reason for the mass-appeal of "following" and becoming one of the group...

Anyone who can accept that a 19th century 14 year old boy met god in the woods in upstate New York... and translated his "word" by looking at a stone in a hat doesn't have a firm grip on reality. That is an obvious statement that shouldn't even have to be made. I think such non-sense should disqualify (via the exercise of informed public opinion, not via the law) these people from public office... Such beliefs should be held up to public ridicule: which they obviously deserve.

There are plenty of reasons to lead a good, moral life... none of them necessarily include the belief that ancient Israelites came to America 1600+ years ago and setup a civilization... Folks who need "god" to do good are not "good people" -- they are slaves of fear.