Archive for fundamentalists

Evil That Men Do

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, nature, religion, scriptures, theology with tags , , , , , , on January 23, 2014 by chouck017894

In all the scriptural texts of the western world, a devout seeker will find no judgment that directly addresses, clarifies or answers the problem of what really constitutes evil. Perhaps that should not be so surprising since genuine history has shown that religionists of every variety have very often made use of evil methods to foster their particular faith system. Today, for example, we see reprehensible behavior being put into practice in the U.S. where religious extremists labor fanatically to undermine all the long-standing noble principles of democracy and seek to tear down the firewall of church-state separation.

Those who hold the Bible aloft as their standard for “values” while attempting to tear down those principles of democracy are especially fond of the bloody tales of the Old Testament. God allegedly did a lot of verbalizing according to the early part of the Old Testament, and his active participation is implied in the accounts of land wars. But how often is it ever claimed that God proclaimed himself to be just? The nearest thing that a seeker may find in either the Old or New Testaments on the question of what supposedly constitutes evil is in the book of Job. And that holy tale happens to be a plagiarized version lifted from Babylonian literature, which the Yahweh priest copiers doctored with the assertion that Yahweh/God is always benevolent and always makes things right.

There is subtle juggling in the scriptural evaluation of what constitutes evil, such as is presented in Job–a blurred distinction of what constitutes evil and what happens to be simply an encounter with misfortune. Properly, evil should be understood as a purposeful and/or intentional impairment imposed by a person or group of persons upon other persons, or upon other living creatures. Evil is a malevolent action that is deliberately taken against others. Unfortunately, this is the “value” that fundamentalists choose to interpret as being advocated in the “good book” stories.

For an answer to the problem of evil, the common clerical explanation as inspired by scriptural tales is that evil arises from man having been given free will choice. This is more hollow than holy, for such an explanation conveniently allows a faith system the promotional scheme to sell their anti-sin safeguards. This is possible simply because the free will excuse allows the blame for any negative experience to be placed solidly on the victim by judging the victim as having done something wrong “in God’s eyes” to deserve it! That is the premise that is attempted in the biblical version of Job.

Elsewhere in holy scripture, in 1 Samuel 18:10 it states, “…and an evil spirit from God came upon Saul…” This blunt admission in”holy word” of God’s negative aspect has bewildered countless biblical scholars and clergy. They mistakenly proclaim that their personification of creative energies as God is good only. But the negative principles which are an intricate part of creative energy cannot be denied: positive/negative interactions of energy are necessary for anything to be created. That recognition of positive/negative energy interaction is also referred to in Isaiah 45:7 where God (the personification of creative energy) is quoted as saying, “I form the light, and create darkness: I am the Lord of all these things.” In the much older pre-history lessons upon which such biblical tales as these were structured it was explained that a blend of polar energies (positive/negative) are responsible for any definable manifestation. That ancient (and advanced) knowledge pops up in only in these two scriptural tales.

So the encounters with terrible misfortune that people experience, such a debilitating diseases or natural disasters are not the result of the victim’s having done something deliberately evil in the sight of a discriminatory god. Those tribulations are traceable to biological malfunction or to the exchanges of creative energies known as Nature. Electrical storms, for example, vary in intensity from gentle rains to roaring hurricanes; they are natural energy interactions, not direct acts of a disapproving God. Ditto for other natural energy exchanges such as generated earthquakes, etc.

Out of the crafted holy interpretation a double standard is utilized in the self-serving assessment of evil, for nowhere else in the animal kingdom has any creature of nature been branded as acting with plotted evil intent. Not even the carnivores. In scriptural narrative it is only man who is branded as capable of perpetuating evil, which is interesting since man is claimed to be made in the image of God. But this is then excused by claiming that man’s acts of evil are influenced by some opponent of God’s goodness i.e. Devil, Satan, etc. But giving God credit only for all that is good and pretending that this personification of creative energy has no part in the negative aspects that accompanies life is nothing more than selective blindness.

That convenient premise of God-is-good-only certainly does not provide a satisfactory explanation of what actually characterizes evil. The predator/victim relationship which exists throughout all the rest of nature makes the hypothesis of a benevolent God questionable. If that God-permissible predatory activity is representative of what some call intelligent design it means that man’s concept of evil exists only in how man chooses to perceive negative experiences; it does not define what the creative force (personified as God) would regard as evil. This conveniently leaves the field wide open for evil actions to be used in the marketing of religion and politics. We can see the result of that prominently displayed in theocratic governments.

And in choosing to hypothesize a benevolent-only God, we have been tricked into meeting our fears of victimization by labeling nearly any negative experience as evil. Around this fear of victimization the established organized faith systems have constructed an elaborate scaffolding of self-serving “values”, which are painted as different shades of morality. Then, as these faith systems point to their man-erected scaffolding, the claim is made by them that their patched together supporting mechanism proves the existence of a moral God (who favors them, of course).

Unfortunately for man, these self-serving faith systems have not guided mankind into enlightenment or toward our higher potential. All that they have blessed mankind with has been centuries of senseless conflicts over which faith practice is spiritually superior. Thus in purposefully ignoring the “evil spirit from God”, or the all-inclusiveness which is briefly alluded to in 1 Samuel and Isaiah, these faith system fanatics continuously skate alarmingly close to being evil practitioners themselves. As Shakespeare noted, “The evil that men do lives after them.”

Fundamentalism, An Ungodly Fixation

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, Middle Ages,, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on May 16, 2010 by chouck017894

Back in the Middle Ages the Crusades became the big religious pastime in European circles.  Christians were called by Catholic fundamentalists to mount an offensive drive against the evil “Moors,” and the unquestioning believers dutifully sallied forth to slay hundreds of thousands of “heretics” for the glory of god.  In the 1800s the popular sport of the British Protestant fundamentalists was to indulge themselves in terrorism against the Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland.  More recently, when Iran was taken over by Muslim fundamentalists in the Islamic Revolution of 1979, thousands of unbelievers were heartlessly killed.  In India on October 31,1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot to death by a Sikh fundamentalist.  The Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot to death in 1995 by a Jewish fundamentalist.  And in our present-day epidemic of that mental affliction, one brand of Muslim fundamentalism indulges itself in the hit-or-miss slaughtering anywhere of anyone whom they regard as an infidel.

In the United States today the fever of Christian fundamentalism has managed to infect and pervert the workings of democracy.  As usual with any fundamentalists, the delusions of righteousness and holy exclusiveness that they suffer is detectable by their addiction to unclean hatreds.  In the affliction of fundamentalism it is not really their specific faith that is at fault; it is the delusion that they and they alone know what is true and right in the sight of god.  In their fever they fail to recognize that the “truths” they credit to god are actually ego judgments fashioned by man’s fear of the unknown.  Ego does not like any contrariness, and once ego fashions an emotional fortress (faith) around itself, it will rarely respond to rational examination. 

Karl Marx made the insightful observation that religion is the opiate of the masses.  As with drug addiction, the quest of the religious fundies is the feel-good high they get from their indulgence.  And they will defend without scruples that indulgence of “faith” against any rational examination.  The lust for god’s imagined favoritism commonly drives them into unholy behavior such as name-calling, half-truths, outright lying, and even killing anyone considered a threat to their imagined spiritual status.  So contaminated are they that they cannot see their spiritual insincerity when they judge other people to be “lost,” “devil’s advocate,” or “demon possessed” and unconcernedly go about disrupting every facet of social structure for the majority.  They never explain why god, if he is omniscient, has to rely on them to clean up the spiritual confusion in regard to himself. 

Fundamental Christians hold that the Bible is man’s sole authority.  This is despite the many contradictions that the narrative collection holds.  There is a fact that would be amusing if it weren’t so tragic, but the average fundamentalists have not and do not actually read the Bible themselves—it is so much easier to listen to some overzealous interpreter who cherry picks verses from the “good book” to inflame others with their unfounded concepts.  The common response to weaving out-of-context verses into emotional rhetoric is to focus on some  imagined revulsion that god finds within the intentional diversity of life that he is said to have created.  Hatred for the differences that make up life is so easy to arouse, and accusation of others indulging in sin are so easy to assert—especially if any of those “sins” are not one of their own favorites.  Such pretense of uptight “faith” may give each other a sense of exclusivity, but it does not fool the power that creates.  And that attitude certainly was not a message in anything that Jesus is portrayed as having taught.  Indeed, Jesus was depicted as actually standing up to the fundamentalists of his day.  He was radical in that he praised compassion, forgiveness, and being non-judgmental.  In the book of Matthew, for example, Jesus even commented on fundamentalists.  It might be wise if the fundamentalists of today would abandon their self-centeredness and actually read the book they claim to live by.  Of the fundamentalists Jesus is quoted as referring to them as “…whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

Faith-Based Failures

Posted in Atheist, Bible, culture, faith, history, life, random, religion, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2009 by chouck017894

One might assume from the title of this post that we will delve into the Bush-era Born Again leadership fiasco, but that stands out only as a symptom of the radical right’s built-in tendency to self-destruct.  One of the great myths of the radical right religionism is the propaganda that they alone stand upon the highest moral ground: family values, pro-life, material profits prove god’s love, man should not love man, take the Bible literally—that sort of stuff.

So when it comes to the sanctity of marriage among the fundamentalists, there is a curious point to ponder.  With the passage of time after the exchange of “I Do’s” among the hard-nosed religionists, the ironic thing is that born-again fundamentalists can turn around and boast of having one of the highest divorce rates in the nation.  This is not made up for liberalist snickering.  In fact, some years back, around 2006, an evangelical pollster, George Barna, found a very high rate of divorce among conservative Christians.  Even more disturbing to the pollster, the trend had been in place for more years than they wished to admit.

To add to the embarrassment, an independent research outfit found that the “Bible Belt” states had higher divorce rates than did other regions of the country.  The hellish irony for the self-righteous Right was that states scorned by them as hotbeds of liberalism had the lowest divorce rates.

Most alarming for the hard-nosed evangelical ambassadors of god was the glaring proof that their much touted Bible-based counseling for couples was seriously flawed.  The alarm among the fundamentalists was not so much in regard to the many marital split-ups, but that the evidence of their counseling failure seriously threatened the (unconstitutional) channeling of tax monies into their religious programs—programs they constantly declared worked.  But their true success rate was in the toilet.  And worse, it was common practice among the Born Again “counselors” to stack statistics to conceal the ineffectiveness of their programs.

 Bible-based counseling included such fundamentalist dogma guidance as:  men should run the household and wives were meant to submit to their husbands; warning that wives are at risk of becoming jealous of their husband’s relationship with his mother; children are brought forth in sorrow; woman is commanded (by god) to be under obedience (as in 1 Corinthians 14:34); woman must learn from her husband at home (verse 35); and similar dogma inspired counseling.  They then feign bewilderment that using the Bible as a marriage manual had not brought the blessings of “practical and life-changing support for steadfast marriage” as they claimed. 

The guise of pervasively religious groups protecting marriage has brought considerable amounts of public money into the coffers such as the Northwest Marriage Institute.  Congress actually allocated over $100,000 to this group in 2006—the GWB era—for the alleged purpose of building healthy marriages and thereby hoped to lower the nation’s divorce rate.  We have seen how well that works out.

The Northwest Marriage Institute later ducked out of a court challenge of using tax money for Bible-based marriage counseling brought by Americans United, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church/state separtation.  NMI dropped use of Bible quotes in order to keep its public funding.  Apparently it had nothing at all to do with the commandment not to bear false witness.

“Father” of Christian Theology

Posted in Atheist, Bible with tags , , , , , , , on March 30, 2009 by chouck017894

A thin veneer of eroticism covers not only a number of O.T. myths but also spread an ugly scar over the early Christian movement. Much of that is traceable to Augustine (born 354 CE), often referred to as “The Father of Christian Theology.” It was “saint” Augustine who, around 386, figured out a means of luring spiritual seekers into a sacred scam: his inspiration was to turn each seeker against themselves by making them feel guilty about being imbuded with sexual desires or being grateful for physical blessings.

The caliber of this “saint’s” divine inspiration is displayed in his statement that all humans are born between feces and urine. Instead of accepting this means of embodiment as part of “intelligent design,” Augustine seized upon this perceived godly goof to startle and stampede the gullible into chains of guilt.

In other words, Augustine used suggestive anti-life propaganda, such as in his Confessions and his major work The City of God, to achieve respect and power for himself. It was a cunning scheme of inventing problems and disharmony where they need not exist.

Before switching over to the young struggling Christian movement, Augustine had been a Manichaean auditore, one of two classes of Manichaean disciples. As noted in my book Time Frames and Taboo Data: A History of Mankind’s Misdirected Beliefs, the clergy of the Manichaean sect were organized similarly to the Christian ministry and the sect condemned marriage and sexual indulgence of any type. This undoubtedly contributed to Augustine’s saintly interpretations. From his Manichaean involvement Augustine construed the doctrins of “sin,” divine grace, and predestination. With additional input by “saint” Jerome (c.340-420), who also preferred the perverse titillation of guilt-fear and lamentation to thoughts of creation’s unity, “sin” became enshrined as the main theme in the Christian message to the world.

And Augustine, like the religious fanatics of today, expressed his devotion to the Lord and Savior with outbursts of hatred for all the Creator’s diverse expressions of life. For example, the Gnostics, the seekers and keepers of truth and wisdom in his time, Augustine chose to portray as enemies and waxed indignately, “The enemies thereof I hate vehemently; O that thou wouldst slay them with thy two-edged sword!” Obviously he paid no attention to the early teachings that were attributed to Jesus, such as love one another.

Augustine always inferred that God kept him posted on everything, even of the inhabited areas of planet Earth. Thus he said authoritatively, “It is impossible there should be inhabitants on the opposite side of earth, since no such race is recorded in Scriptures among the descendants of Adam.”

This “Father of Christian Theology” demonstrates the depth of pretention that is still the hallmark of Christian extremists. He would, for example, declare with fundamental certainty that “…all diseases of Christians are to be ascribed to demons; chiefly do they torment first-baptized Christians, yea, even the guileless new born infant.”

Such is the “saintly” wisdom that is being clung to by fundamentalists and claimed as revealed truth and holy word.