Thursday, April 2, 2009

What Would Muhammad Do?

Don't ever, ever, ever try and tell me that organized religion is a good thing. Ever. It is a lie and a delusion, an excuse merely to control and to impose one's will upon another... that at its best. Like a church bake sale, maybe. At its worst, it is something like this. And let's not forget this.

If we are to survive as a species, we have to rid ourselves of these delusions of childhood, these myths and lies that we created so long ago to help us understand the night and the thunder and the lightning, to make sense of a world we didn't have yet have the tools to properly measure and understand.

We have to grow up. Or die.

PS Lest you think I only object to one particular organized religion...

PPS Lordy, but it never ends...Time passes and I find yet another reason to dump on organized religion - the lies.


Bill said...


Ed said...

At the risk of opening up a can of wax, or ball of worms, or whatever, I would have to say that it's not religion that is the problem, but power hungry humans who take advantage of religion. Before I go further, I must say that I am an atheist. That said, I will go on to say that most religions with which I am familiar have, at their core, a system of beliefs that condense to "be excellent to each other." Unfortunately, nasty people have no problems with manipulating and twisting the words of various religions for their own ends, but I don't think it's productive to take their actions and use them to make blanket statements about entire groups of people. That way lies hate, violence and death; I'm not accusing you of such things, but I do believe it's very dangerous to generalize about groups of people. Granted, terrible things have been done in the name of religion, and I suspect that the evil done in the name of religion outweighs the good that has been done, but there are good religious people. I know quite a few. People should be judged by their actions rather than the system of belief to which they subscribe. On the other hand, I could be wrong. I was wrong once, it could happen again...

gomonkeygo said...

It's the "organized" part of religion that drives me completely insane, Ed. Which is what I think you're talking about too. If religion were left to core philosophies and people allowed to live their lives by them without OTHER PEOPLE interpreting for them, I wouldn't have as much of a beef with it. Maybe none. But I find that the older I get, sadly maybe, the less tolerant I am of organized religion because of the "nasty people" and their manipulations of reality and human beings.

And I can send you some Fripp boots (still got some Genesis ready) but I don't know where to send. (We're gonna be up in Madison next month, though - I could hand deliver them if you want).

A Christian said...

Know what's really a lie and a delusion? Atheism. At its worst, it is something like this or this or, more recently, this.

Open your mind and go to church on Easter Sunday and learn about the resurrection of Christ: an independently verified historical fact witnessed by hundreds when it occurred and felt since by billions through the grace of God.

gomonkeygo said...

I went to church every Easter for about 18 years. Sunday school, bible school, communion class, etc etc etc. The only thing good I can really say about the watered down version of organized Christianity that my Lutheran neighbors practiced back in the 70s was that they didn't try and force it down other people's throats. (The lutefisk dinners were pretty freakin' scary, though).

I haven't been back to that church since my father's funeral service (performed by a new pastor who never met him). I understand though that they are much more "forceful" in their Lutheranism than previously. Rigorously so. (They forced the old pastor out because was both too lenient and too gay). Nice folks.

I don't understand where the assumption comes from, given the examples you quote, that atheism equals amorality/violence/sadism and so forth. Atheism as a philosophy requires intense individual dedication to discovering better ethical ways and means of treating other people - based not on the platitudes of a supernatural being but on the reality of having to live and deal with other human beings every day of life with no "promise" that one will be rewarded in an after-life for just acting nice.

The links you sent illustrate how deeply wrong human beings can act without any guiding principle in their lives. There we probably agree. I just don't think that principle comes from ancient space gods. It comes from within and must be tested and forged in daily use - 365 days a year - with other human beings, not just once a week for an hour on Sunday mornings.

A Christian said...

You answered your own question. Atheism equals amorality/violence/sadism and so forth because "it requires intense individual dedication to discovering better ethical ways and means of treating other people." If you are an absolutist about individual rights, you will not harm anyone in your quest for these better ethical ways, but the minute you start demanding--or even expecting--any sort of consensus, the links I provided illustrate the inevitable end-result.

Unless you can dispute the fact of the resurrection, aren't you cutting off your nose to spite your face in rejecting Christianity?

gomonkeygo said...

Huh. Dispute the fact of the resurrection? Not hard:

Didn't happen because it's not scientifically/physically possible.

To accept the resurrection would require faith in a non-corporeal deity capable of powerful, "supernatural" actions, which I plainly don't have.

You're comment is interesting about the results of any kind of ideological demands, but the same kind be applied to many organized religions, especially Christianity. You cannot deny that many have suffered, many have been tortured, many have been killed - in the name of Christ. All ideologies, we can both agree on I think, can result in non-positive actions, to say the least, when taken unbendingly and to extremes.

My own initial post was pretty unbending, right? Pretty harsh sounding, I'll admit. I was pissed off royally and I do regret some of the tone now.

A Christian said...

If you're not convinced by the historical evidence that the resurrection of Christ actually happened, then for you "recorded history" begins with the invention of the video camera. You could possibly disbelieve the resurrection and accept that there was in fact (e.g.) a Roman Empire. Unfortunately, your uncompromising threshold of historical evidence demands that you dismiss as unproven virtually every detail that is known about it. What evidence do you have that, for example, Thomas Jefferson actually existed and wrote the Declaration of Independence?

A few mere decades ago you were born into a world and a universe of incomprehensible complexity. It has a nature and reality that exists apart from you and your ability to perceive it, and beyond anyone's ability to perceive the whole of it. Rigid empiricism is a choice you've made, and it's a completely arbitrary choice. We can self-limit our experiential degrees of freedom to try to create an artificial sense of predictability and order in our daily lives, but absolutely nothing in the universe requires it, and you cross the line into derangement and self-delusion when you then say that nothing exists beyond your self-imposed frame of reference. It's just needlessly austere and masochistic.

gomonkeygo said...

I did make a conscious decision to accept science and empiricism as standards to judge the world, for several reasons.

Probably the most important is that I became thoroughly disenchanted with the political and social uses of religion in the United States and the oppressive quality much of Christianity has taken on in the last few decades. An "US vs THEM" dialect has emerged that disturbs me greatly. And the decision by many Christian sects to renounce scientific reason has totally appalled me. Their decision to deny reality led me to define my own reality in a polar opposite direction.

I threw out the bit about the historical reality of Christ more to see what your reaction would be than anything else. You seem like a really intelligent person and I like the way you write, so I was very interested in reading any response you'd give me. (Not kidding - you think and write well and I'm enjoying our "discussion" a lot).

All of the written historical evidence I've ever seen quoted regarding the existence of Jesus Christ was written down decades at the least after his supposed crucifixion. And some of it has apparently been edited by later writers to reflect their own biases and can be interpreted in multiple ways. There are many books and websites about this subject. Without being able to read in the original languages, I have to rely on such secondary (actually tertiary because the written evidence of Jesus is all secondary and hear-say to begin with).

Which leads me to Thomas Jefferson. Enough secondary sources exist to pretty thoroughly nail down his existence. Even TJ didn't buy into the supernatural elements of the Christian mythos, as I'm sure you're aware. He was quite the scientific reasoner himself, quite the empiricist.

Somewhere in the morass of my blog I have a post on why atheism for me rather than religion. I'm honestly too lazy to go get the link (and I have to go to the grocery store anyway right now). Probably hit the tags and you'll find it.

Thanks for the reply. I have more I'd like to say but not the time right now.

Have a nice day!

A Christian said...

Well, OK. I was initially responding to the nastiness of your post, for which you've expressed regret and thereby demonstrated an aversion to hypocrisy and a self-awareness badly lacking nowadays, on all sides of these issues, but especially, in my view, among the anti-Christian left.

Expanding on this, I could cite dozens of examples off the top of my head (including your own post) to assert that anti-Christians and self-styled leftist counterculture types are the real culprits of the "us vs. them dialect (sic)" you lament. And I could make a very cogent argument that it is your side, not mine, that has been exhibiting anti-scientific dogmatism--at least in the post-Galileo era. To make that case I would cite:

1. your (plural your) insistence on public funding for embryonic stemcell research--despite clearly superior lab and clinical outcomes with adult stemcells--only to further the larger (inexplicable and indefensible) goal of exterminating as many unborn children as possible.

2. your continuing embrace of the man-caused global warming hoax, simply because it justifies your political agenda of vesting all power and decisionmaking in unelected and/or unaccountable national and/or transnational bureaucrats and eliminating economic liberty.

3. your refusal to engage the intelligent design debate despite the overwhelming and--by now nearly conclusive--evidence for a "designer" that has been mounting in primary molecular and cell biology research for decades; adding to the paleontolgical evidence that already existed... only to preserve the academic hegemony of the 19th century Darwinist/evolutionary worldview upon which your entire raison d'être rests.

4. your irrational commitment to liberal/redistributionist social policies despite the Hiroshimaesque results that these policies have empirically wrought in every U.S. city they've been implemented, and a 100 year record of misery and repression in the several countries where these policies have been instituted on a mass scale.

...sorry, I didn't intend to be Ciceronian in using the "I could mention... but I won't" device; I just got carried away--but I could go on and on, and I too could end with "We have to grow up. Or die." Except when I said it, it would ring true.

Ajita Kamal said...

@Ed: Its divisive ideologies that pit people against each other. Irrespective of the actual beliefs, just the group-centric behavior that religions elicit are reason enough to warrant their demise.

gomonkeygo said...

It's another factor in the equation, certainly, and one that can be extended to any ideology-driven group, left or right, religious or secular. We don't seem happy as humans unless we have some group to be in opposition against. This is why I don't participate in organized sports either.

Nazz Nomad said...

When the overlords land, you're gonna be in suuuuucccccchhhhh hot water!

gomonkeygo said...

This is a reply to A Christian's last comment. Sorry I didn't get to this sooner, but spent half the day yesterday at the emergency clinic and the drugstore and the rest of it being Dad and not the 'monkey.

We'll (note the royal usage) will take the plural your comments in order.

STEM CELL RESEARCH: I don't know if I've blogged on this previously, but I'm in support of it, either embryonic or adult. It's an extremely promising avenue of medical research and as the child of an Alzheimer victim (I can't use any other word to describe it), I hope that it may someday lead to the cure for this and many other diseases. I have no moral qualms using unborn single cells that are in no way human beings for research. The majority used, I understand, were destined for sanitary destruction otherwise. I don't think a caring God would deny it's creations the right to heal themselves using the tissues of their own bodies.

GLOBAL WARMING Again, can't remember blogging on this, but I may have. I personally think this is happening and that human beings are contributing to it. Whether or not we are the primary cause, I don't know yet. I don't believe it is a "hoax" nor is it a ruse to create a scary unitary government (one of the precursors to the Rapture and the coming of the Beast, right?). On the contrary, I think there is a concerted effort and interest in this cause led by concerned citizens and scientists which has been largely ignored by national governments who would prefer to pander to the immediate needs of corporate interests rather than invest in the long-term care and management of the planet.

EVOLUTION vs INTELLIGENT DESIGN This is always fun for me. I'm trying to sneak away for a weekend with a friend to visit the creationism museum (I wanna ride the dinosaur!) but My Smart Wife is wise to my ways. You argue that "we" are ignoring "overwhelming" evidence in favor of a "designer" of the universe. I've seen no evidence to date and I've read quite a bit about both sides of this argument. I see people of faith demanding that their notions regarding a designer be accepted as fact and decrying the rational as denying reality in favor of that scary Darwin guy. (Darwin is one of my intellectual heroes, btw). There has been so much done in the remarkably short time since Darwin published his ideas to advance the theory of evolution and progress from the basic building blocks laid down by Darwin, that as a rational person I cannot refute evolution. Instead, I've embraced it. "Evolve!" is one of my catchwords, one of my credos for living. (When I'm not listening to Devo and screaming "Devolve!"). Here, your own words can be succintly applied to support evolutionary theory, with the evidence "that has been mounting in primary molecular and cell biology research for decades; adding to the paleontolgical evidence that already existed..."

What's the next one? Oh, yeah: "liberal/redistributionist social policies" and the supposed horrors that such have inflicted upon the US. I'm lost here. I have to ask you to be more specific about what these policies are because I'm just not following or am very ignorant. I can't even hazard a guess. Sorry.

I had some things in mind to talk about regarding "reality" and what it is but I'm out of time right now. Hopefully we'll continue this later.

Have a great day!

gomonkeygo said...

Which one of us, Nazz?

Me, I've been betting on the New Lords being big Velvets or Sun Ra fans, so I'm hoping my bootleg stash will help spare my family and me, perhaps even gain us entrance into their alien Noosphere. (I've also put away a few Blue Oyster Cult and Zeppelin shows...just in case).

Fingers crossed!