Saturday, September 15, 2012

Religious Venom

  I've noticed that the more "Religious" someone or some agency claims to be, the opposite is usually true.  Indeed, often those that claim atheist or agnostic actually often honor God (or any equivalent pagan deity, such as Corellon Larethian, Palor, Tim the Enchanter, etc. ) more so than those who claim a religion, such as Catholic, Orthodox Jewish, Buddhist, or even Muslim!

  Some examples of this usually defy the fourth commandment of the bible about taking God's name in vanity.  A lot of folks think it's swearing, such as "God damn it."  That's not the case; that would be invoking the Lord as a genie to smite your enemies or more often, internal car parts that are not cooperating and you've dropped your 10mm socket into deep recesses accursed engineers at General Motors have seemingly specifically made to catch and permanently lose your wrench attachment.  The Lord rarely comes in the form of Robin Williams as a genie (thankfully).  No, instead it's doing something and claiming that God is making you do it in some fashion, or that you're doing it for God (or Palor, or Ozzy, or whoever).  This is incredibly unlikely, as God's a pretty much hands-off kinda deity (as is Ozzy, though he claims to be "The bloody prince of darkness" or some such, and secretly, I suspect he's really Guns and Roses singer, Slash, because you never see both of them at the same time, and Slash just might be Ozzy with a wig if you think about it.).

  The problem arises when so much violence is evoked in the name of religion.  It's downright contradictory!  Religion almost always means peace; at least, that's how most of us were brought up.  There's very minimal devastation if one's religious.  Now, one can argue The Old Testament.  I'm not a fan of that book.  I think a lot of it is bullshit (oh no, blasphemer!)  It often defies science early-on and later a lot of people are killed.  Joshua and Moses are particularly nasty, raping women and enslaving children (ironically for Moses) and downright killing just about everyone around.  Hmph.  In the Name of the Lord apparently.  Not a fan, but hey, most of this was pre-Ten Commandments so there was only ancient Jewish and ancient Arabic justice (which, I suspect, the Jews at the time borrowed a lot of from the Arabs just like the Romans borrowed Greek deities and re-named them, indeed, most of the Torah is similar to the Koran in content and theme with some subtle points, again, ironically).  Now, there's some good moral lessons in the Old Testement, sure.  Genesis focuses on the dangers of familial deceit and jealousy, putting the Lord's wishes (aka "Good") first, believing in hope, etc.  Nice stuff, sure.  The nasty parts of revengence probably need to be removed, personally, as well as a good bit of incest and other gross things that don't jibe well, and everyone can agree the brother marrying the widow of the dead brother is just wrong.  Helping out financially?  Sure.  Banging?  Um..

  So the Old Testament has some flaws (oh no, blasphemer!)  The New Testament seems to straighten a good portion of that out and argues with the Old Testament rather nicely.  So well, in fact, Ioshua (aka Jesus to the mentally unequipped) was passive-aggressively (typical Jewish technique) executed for his scandalous, contradictory, earth-shattering preachings.  I align myself (or try to) a little more with the New Testament.  Most Christians do.  Most people do as the lessons ring true to those who understand it enough (except for that Revelations bit that crazy people use as an end-of-the-world scenario to frighten children into giving their money or repent or whatever, though 95% of scholars agree it happened during the time of Nero in Rome already.  666 indeed sir.  Sheesh.. (or 616 for the more learned)).

  Examples of extreme un-religion are The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, The Mormon's Mountain Meadows Massacre, the Iraq Iran War, The Northern Ireland Conflict, etc., etc., etc.  I could go on all day about the atrocities of violent sinful, sinful, murder based in the "Name of God."  Unacceptable, and I'm sad for it.  On a lesser degree, the snakes such as New Life Church that PT Barnums people's wallets with reckless abandonment.  Frustrating.  Honestly, it's tempting to form my own religion as rarely organized religion gets it so wrong more often than not, yet I hesitate because I might unwittingly lead souls astray in my own vanity!  Yikes!  Divine inspiration or no, it's a tricky business.

  I speak to those at work who are Catholic.  They go through the routines (mostly) as they should, though often I find them not adhering to all Catholic Doctrine, such as colored Scapulars or proper timeliness or use of rosaries.  Shrug.  Close enough.  Yet, when it comes down to the debate of a crime or even mild injustice, often times those immediately announce the judgment sentencing of "Kill him!" right away.  No delay on that.  Shuddering.  Often, extreme religious also own several weapons, usually firearms.  I have nothing against firearms.  Fine for hunting or target practice as it's more merciful against deer than bow-hunting (usually and arguably) but these fellows use them for "home defense".  Wouldn't Ioshua suggest, "Let them have those material things?"  Most assuredly, yes.  Their argument is to protect against violence of their loved ones.  I suppose, though that's extremely rare, and really, do you need more than 100 of these?  You'll be too busy selecting one by the time the damage is done, no?  A little obsessive, I warrant, and doesn't really translate the concept of "good" very well in my opinion.  Still, a shotgun in the home isn't too bad an idea in this day and age of want (thanks Obama, love that consistent 8% unemployment).  These people are also afraid of being killed themselves.  If you're extremely Catholic and therefore lived a good life by its practices, why do they wear a seat belt?  Isn't it that people say you go to a "Better Place" aka "Heaven" when you die?  If they truly believe that, that God will protect them then there is no need to place their child in a child-seat and strap them in 10 ways from Sunday, no?  Ah, but now we come more to my alignment of, "God helps those who help themselves".  Right. Don't be stupid about it.  Hm.  Defies their own logic though, yeah?  Maybe so.

Joan of Arc

  I see the glint of evil in their eyes when irrational judicial choices are made.  Certainly the Old Testament and knee-jerk trigger-finger sentencing satisfies some darker corner of everyone's gut.  That child molester should be executed!  Really?  Maybe Honey Boo Boo shouldn't have worn those seductive stockings like that.  (just kidding, folks).  Still, you see these quick responses, particularly of the extreme "Righteous".  I'm very against righteousness.  You shouldn't be that sure of yourself right away on something that critical.  You'll probably regret it later, as your odds are 50/50 at best.


  The Middle East seems to thrive on this one-dimensional thinking, and it becomes mob-rule.  They get to square one of the chess game and then go ape-shite in discontent.  A colleague of mine was there recently during an outbreak of chaos sparked by some slight like a Colorado wildfire, the pine-needles a dry powder-keg begging to ignite.  He asked one of the rioters what the whole thing was about, and, like "Occupy Wall Street" there was no defined answer.  "We want change!" the Arab explained.  "Change for what?" asked my colleague.  Short pause, then, "We want change!"  My colleague is incredibly bright; smarter than me for sure.  He tried diplomacy and logic, and asked specifically, "Change for.. better jobs?  More money?  Better housing?"  He was desperate to understand.  Nope.  "Just .. change!"  Viva la revolution indeed.
  These Arabs kill and kill, often for the sake of religion, though I see an underlying malcontent within.  Their lives suck, their government is marginally even more corrupt than our own, and if you read 1001 Arabian Nights you get a good insight of what they're about.  Rather disturbing, almost India Caste System if you look at it closely, that fortune only comes by luck, not perseverance, and you're stuck in your role for generations as it's the will of their deity.  Governments there use this to their advantage and manipulate suicide bombers as a way out like the Japanese tricked Kamikaze pilots with aluminium samurai swords and a family name of honor.  Yeah, right.  Sadly, this never happened.  Japs got a rain check never cashed.


  Why this killer instinct that religious seem to enjoy more so than others?  I've often touted that most people use religion as a veil against the evil they truly are.  A crutch that almost works.  The folks that embrace religion the most are the least good for some reason and it baffles me.  They have the most venom inside, delighting in human suffering by harsh, Stephen King-like judgment.  Often the least charitable and most cruel.  I'm not sure where this stems.  Childhood is a good place to start, perhaps resentment of having to go to church or not being able to have candy for dinner?  I dunno.  I parade softly around these folks.  Reminds me of the end of Taxi Driver where they can never be saved.  Robert DeNiro ready to strike-out even after his mohawk-wearing holy crusade. 


  The evil can't seem to be extinguished by veiling it with religious fervor.  Maybe some folks run to religion because they know they're evil as salvation?  They try to ram it down their own throats to make themselves believe, delighting in the science fiction of Genesis, "Wow, if God's that powerful, my evil cannot take it's course against that!  I need to change sides right away!"  Maybe that's why it's still in there, to overwhelm the cruel to switch sides, making the universe in 7 days.  Hm.  Sheer, overwhelming magic to counter the corrupt.
  Still, the corrupt are still corrupt.  Religion doesn't fix the problem for them, just disguises it.  They get scared, and tout louder like town criers of old about Ioshua and Good and such, but their actions betray them every day.  Makes religion seem sour; seem fake.  Turns people away, and does more harm than good.  A bystander would be unimpressed by a seemingly overly devout person with 100 firearms and attitudes of judicial, non-compassionate execution, no?  Such contradictory actions make people look stupid.  Look at the Southern US, The Middle East, or The Catholic Church!
  Religion should be peace, compassion, acceptance, charity.  All of these things are required in a day-to-day and crisis-to-crisis situation.  A mouse ate my ABS electrical wires which I have to replace.  Do I kill the mouse with strychnine?  No, I do not.  I fix the wires and move the car.  I've already fed the mouse sunflower seeds.  The mouse was hungry and looking for bedding in my car's firewall.  Yet, I claim no organized religion.  One can know what is good versus evil.  It's in all our hearts (metaphorically).  Revenge is not good.  It satisfies an evil streak within us, might be fun to think about, but exacting it is wrong.  It's evil and we all know it.  Justice by balancing malignant actions in-kind is wrong.  The concept of "an eye for an eye" is outdated.  Ioshua says "if your eye is gouged, offer the other one as well."  A lot of folks still have a problem with that.  Doesn't rhyme as nicely as "an eye for an eye", yeah?  People are stupid that if it's catchy or rhymes, it's just gotta be right!  "If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!"  Chewbacca Defense indeed.  Pathetic.  We as Americans still vote for the charismatic guy versus the guy best fit for the job.  Californians do it all the time.  They always fail their saving-throws against Charisma.


  Muslims are not evil, but some of them do evil things by way of the 4th commandment which they adhere-to anyway.  Tricked, manipulated, controlled, all by way of religion.  Women are treated as lesser animals in Arab countries often.  As Americans, we emotionally advanced at a faster rate, but in the 1940s, we acted similarly with our own dames.  It wasn't uncommon to have a woman beaten in the street for mouthing-off with bystandards shying away in approval.  Seriously, this happened a lot.  Ask Doris Day, or your grandparents.  We evolved though in many ways.
  I don't have a solution to these venemous religious fanatics.  Education is a good start.  Dealing with your own "inner demons" is another as opposed to burrying them and hiding from them.  I'm not saying George Orwellian reprogramming, just maybe seeing the difference between good and evil.  Why spit venom through your veil of religion.  Dirites-up the silken veil in the end, then no one wants your spiritual path.  Makes it look corrupt.  Dirty.  It's covered in venom, and some days, I feel overwhelmed.

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