The earthquake in Japan: Thunderf00t’s message and my rant

Thunderfoot is right:  Japan HAD prepared for earthquakes.

They lead the world in practical applications of the principles science discovers on how to build in earthquake zones.  If this natural disaster had struck in a less technological and science-focused country, the death toll would be several magnitudes larger.

Which does not mean that it is somehow ‘negligable’, or that the human suffering the people of Japan, in Japan, their families and friends are experiencing is in any way less worthy of our help!

Just to drive the point home….

When I first started blogging, I came across a blog by a guy named Robert Evans.  He was an Anglo (don’t know which English-speaking country he came from) who went to Japan to teach English for a year – then two, then three….  He fell in love with the country, the language, the people.

In fact, he was a budding writer who had oodles of potential.  I know, because after reading his blog, I was spellbound by his writing style and commented often.  He had since shut down that blog, and the next one he started, but, every now and then, we would converse on Google’s instant messanger:  mostly discussing linguistics.

Robert was in love with the English language, as I am.  The big difference between us was that for him, it was his 1st language while for me, English is either 2nd, 4th or 7th language (depending on how you count this).  So, even though I am not familiar with Japanese, I do see some of the things which might appear ‘obvious’ to a ‘native Anglo’ but which are not if you have to learn the English language later on in life….

No, we were never close friends (not even ‘internet buddies’) – but we did have a few very ‘interesting chats’.

Last I knew, Robert Evans was teaching English on one of the islands located in the North-East of Japan.

I wonder if he was there, when the earthquake struck.

I wonder if he is OK!

Yeah, I know – I am a sap.  But if I am this upset about not knowing the fate of someone I kind-of knew through the internet, who might not even have been in the danger zone any longer, is any indication of the worry that people DO go through worrying about loved ones whom they KNOW to have been in the area hit by the earthquake and whose fate is still unknown….well, I get the picture!

My thoughts and best wishes are with everyone affected by this natural disaster!

As for religious (or secular dogmatic) idiots who want to use this human suffering as a propaganda vehicle (or self-righteousness thingy, like the idiot-chick in Thunderf00t’s video, or the dumb-asses who claimed the Haiti earthquake was because women in the West did not wear hijabs or burkas or some similar religious drivel – or the morons trying to draw any sort of association between this earthquake and global warming):

POX ON ALL YOUR HOUSES!!!!

 

14 Responses to “The earthquake in Japan: Thunderf00t’s message and my rant”

  1. Derek S Says:

    I respectfully disagree on what people such as Thunderfoot and yourself are doing.

    By now, many of us are aware of the girl who made a video on Youtube wishing death on the suffering people in Japan, just as we are all aware of the Westboro Church which advocates that “god loves dead soldiers” and “9/11 was god’s justice toward gays”.

    The media and news outlets like to bring these archetypal shock-value stories into the spotlight. They play on the human emotions of the masses, conjuring visceral emotions of disgust and anger, to contemptibly increase their ratings. The masses, like sheep, following the command of the media, protest against the spotlighted bigots, fueling the perennial formulaic news cycle.

    They are attention-hungry, even if they genuinely believe the bigoted things they say, and by disseminating their videos across the internet, you are giving them exactly what they are looking for, the attention they crave. Even if you are arguing against what they are doing, you are still giving them the controversy they are looking for, satiating their desire for conflict.

    Unwittingly, you are giving a message to those people people: If someone makes a video saying “people of X descent should die”, they can gain a sense of fame and importance quickly. There are many people of this kind, thousands of them not given the spotlight, but even though numerically there are a lot, percentage-wise, they are anomalous, rogue, trace.

    What is the cure? Just ignore them. We should not give them a pedestal by opposing them. We should not let them manipulate us. We should not even take them seriously. Dismiss them. They are hungry for attention, so let them starve.

    – Derek

    Xanthippa says:

    Giving a platform to idiots in order to refute their message only serves to propagate it. I get that.

    But, that is not what I am trying to do, and I suspect it is not what Thunderfoot is trying to do.

    If you look at world demographics, only about 15% of people do not identify themselves as belonging to a specific religion. This 15% includes people who believe in god(s), but refuse to identify with a specific religious dogma.

    That makes the vast majority of humans ‘religious’, meaning that their decisionmaking is not based on observation of reality followed by sound, logical analysis but that they see events as divinely directed and limit their range of options to narrow dogmaticly defined bits… Perhaps because they have been immersed in this perversion of decisionmaking since infancy, they are blind to it and the amoral straightjacket it imprisons them in.

    It takes showing people who consider themselves ‘religious’ and ‘reasonable’ at the same time these examples of other religiously-reasoning people whose opinions are so much more extreme than their own, yet whose basic reasoning to arrive at these opinions is very similar to their own.

    It is like holding up a metaphorical mirror and saying: you follow the same, faith-based reasoning as the girl in this video does – how can you be sure that your own conclusions are not equally flawed?

    • Derek S Says:

      Yes, I agree with your main point.

      Oddly enough, I consider that girl more virtuous than most Christians. She, at least, is honest, and knows the implications of her religion, whereas most other people who call themselves religious don’t.

      The moderate bet-hedgers who call themselves Christian. The people who claim evolution to be true, but at the same time refuse to reject the Bible (which is in direct contradiction of evolution) as a way to please everybody.

      If people want to call themselves bible-loving Christians, that is okay with me, but they need to know the implications of what they support and they need to be held accountable for it.

      They should staunchly oppose homosexuality.
      They should deny evolution.
      They should show disrespect to people of different religions because they are violating the rules decreed by the creator of all.
      They should just say that murder, terrorism, rape, natural disasters such as the tsunami are okay because they are a part of His master plan.

      If people aren’t willing to do those things, they should understand they are contradicting the bible and should not be afraid to admit it.

      No more middlegrounding. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

      Xanthippa says:

      Exactly!

  2. CodeSlinger Says:

    Derek, Xan:

    Just so you know where I’m coming from: when it comes to God, I’m with Laplace (“I have no need for that hypothesis”).

    But you two are painting a very unrealistic picture of modern Western Christians. It may surprise you to find, for example, that very few of them (maybe none at all) still feel obligated to make burnt offerings, whether or not the odour is pleasing to the Lord. Nor do most of them (except a few raving fundamentalists) still believe that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago over a period of seven days.

    Today’s sophisticated Christians believe that Bible stories are mostly symbolic and allegorical, and therefore see no contradiction between the Bible and cosmological or biological evolution. They also believe that the Old Testament laws are superseded by the New Covenant (love God and love your neighbour).

    If you insist that they aren’t real Christians unless they believe your two-dimensional caricature of Christianity, you will get nowhere with them. They will just laugh at you.

    Speaking of laughing, let me tell you a joke.

    During the recent Australian flood, a certain farmer was stranded at his house when a jeep came along and offered him a ride. But the farmer, being a devout Christian, refused to leave his home, saying “God will save me!”

    Well, the waters kept rising, and after a while, the farmer had taken refuge up on the roof when a boat came along to rescue him. But the farmer refused to get in, saying “God will save me!”

    Well, the waters kept rising, until only the very top of his chimney was still above water and he was perched precariously on top of it. Against all odds, a helicopter came along and dropped him a rope ladder. But the farmer refused to climb up, saying “God will save me!”

    Well, the waters kept rising, and finally, the farmer drowned.

    In due course, being a devout Christian, he found himself in heaven, standing before God.

    “I don’t get it,” said the farmer. “I put all my faith in you, Lord, and you let me down.”

    “Quite the contrary,” said God. “First I sent you a jeep, then I sent you a boat, and then I sent you a helicopter. What more did you want?”

    I like this joke for two reasons. On the surface, it makes fun of the stereotypical Christian fundamentalist. But on a deeper level, it makes fun of people who think that modern Western Christians fit that stereotype.

    So, putting aside the straw man and dealing with the reality, you must admit that believing in God confers a number of benefits that are hard to come by any other way. Maybe impossible to come by any other way.

    People who are convinced that God is on their side tend to succeed – if for no other reason than because it gives them strength to go on when any reasonable person would give up.

    Very few people believe in themselves to such an extent that it gives them courage or strength comparable to what Christians derive from their faith in God. You call it the placebo effect, they call it the power of prayer.

    There is only one difference: when the chips are down, it’s a lot easier to pray than to find a convincing placebo.

    And this bears some careful thought.

    Especially considering who our current enemies are.

    Xanthippa says:

    CodeSlinger,

    You say that I “…must admit that believing in God confers a number of benefits that are hard to come by any other way.”

    Actually, no, I must not do any such thing – it is a fallacy, and an easily dispelled one at that. Belief in a deity of any sort does NOT empower people nor does it confer onto them any benefits. At all. Ever!

    Unless you are stating that abdication of reason and actual brain damage are ‘a benefit’.

    OK – I am getting ahead of myslef – there is so much here to get to I am having trouble organizing my thoughts.

    But, first of all, Jesus Christ himself explicitly states that his coming and his teachings do NOT abrogate anything from the Old Testament – which was then the Hebrew Torah and in different order and all that, but he explicitly states that all the rules and commandments from the Old Testament are still obligatory on his followers. So, let’s not fall into the common fallacy of drawing a distinction between the ‘old message’ and the ‘new message of love’.

    However, that is not my main point.

    It is all about who our current enemies are: and about patterns.

    Patterns are everywhere – at least, I see patterns everywhere…

    One thing that follows patterns is ‘thinking’. This is one of those cases where the way you think lays in the neural pathways which then affect how you think in the future. The upshot of this is that if, from an earliest age, a person is taught to control their thinking processes along rigorously logical paths, that becomes their ‘default’ later in life and ‘logical thinking’ becomes easier for them than other forms of thought/reasoning.

    However, this also works for other forms of thinking/reasoning. If,from an earliest age, children are taught to dismiss observation-reasoned analysis-logical action in favour of magical explanations, then, even in adulthood, that is the pattern they will naturally revert to. Oh, sure, they can control this somewhat – and may even choose to re-wire their ‘default’ thought patterns. But most do not choose to do this.

    So, one problem (though not the only one) with even ‘soft’ religionists is that their ‘default settings’ are messed up, which affects the way they reason.

    Now, I understand that everyone is, to a smaller or greater (ahmmmmm – yes, I am talking about me) degree messed up in the brain. But, to intentionally introduce additional and unneccessary ‘messed-up-ness’ by teaching religion to kids (as even the soft, nice religionists insist on doing) is simply inexcusable and, frankly, a form of abuse. It is not a coincidence that radicalized religionists are recruited from ‘soft’ religionists…

    This is oot some imagined effect: modern imaging technologies have shown that religious belief causes long-term, irreversible brain damage. MRI images taken of people while they were secularists, but who later converted to a religion and following the conversion agreed to another MRI for the study to compare their brains showed that in each and every case, there was significant reduction in the number of neural connection between the logic centre and the rest of the brain. The more sudden the conversion, the more the logic centre of the brain got disconnected.

    I suppose you could call it a sort of an evolutionary ‘Hail Mary’: it benefits the genes, but most certainly not the inidividual carrying them!

    So, let’s not pretend that being religious does not damage people!

    The other problem – at least the one I will address here – is all about 1st principles.

    OK – I am having great difficulty phrasing this thought into language, so forgive me if it comes out ‘bumpy’.

    It is about who we are, what life is about and how we should live it.

    People who believe in a Gos who has power over them and will ultimately judge them do not believe they are their own masters. They are perpetual slaves, who believe their life is not their own – it ultimately belongs to their Lord.

    And even the most kind-gentle-secularized religionists believe that morality comes from divine dictate and is not to be transgressed.

    These beliefs belittle people – make them the sheep of Psalm 23… They prevent them from ever reaching adulthood – they are perpetually seeking approval from the heavenly parent/master!

    These are people so indoctrinated into the belief that ‘rules come from above and must not be questioned’ that they even think that ‘morality’ is how well a person obeys to these ‘rules from above’!

    Which brings me to… who is the enemy we are fighting?

    Those who would impose rules on us, regular folks, ‘from above’. Whether it is secular or theological is really rather irrelevant!

    The issue is that programming children with even moderate religions, teaching them to unquestioningly accept rules from above and obey them deprives them of the very defense mechanisms we all need to fight the real enemies of humanity!

    And that is why it is essential that moderate religionists look into the mirror held up to them: they may see themselves as moderate and even enlightened, but the reality is quite different. Their sense of morality has been subverted, perhaps been irreparably broken, their reasoning skills are intentionally flawed: time they understood this and stopped the cycle.

    For the sake of their children.

    • Derek S Says:

      Codeslinger, you misunderstand. Xan and I aren’t wrong.

      I know most Christians do not take the bible literally. As I said, they are contemptibly hedge-betting. They are middlegrounding, deceiving themselves and deceiving others. Their goal is to please everybody at expense of logic and that is difficult to forgive.

      If fake Christians deem the stories in the Bible to be allegorical and not real, then they have zero foundation to believe in God or Christ. If the Bible is not accepted by a fake Christian, what do they have to base their belief of Christianity on? Nothing. Absolutely nothing! The root is corrupt, and what derives, therefore, must be such as well.

      They want to deny fundamental parts of the bible (and it gets no more fundamental than Genesis) to avoid having to support socially unpalatable position, but they refuse to reject the Bible to avoid supporting other socially unpalatable positions.

      Xan and I want self-proclaimed Christians to choose:
      – Either support Christianity.
      – Or oppose it.

      Supporting certain parts of it and rejecting other parts to please other people and to keep oneself at peace is irrational. There is no such thing as being half-pregnant. There is no such thing as being half-Christian.

      100 years ago, most Christians refused to accept evolution as it contradicts the Bible. With the rise of science and evidence, Christians moved the goalpost. The masses eventually accepted evolution, but deem it to be because of God. Contemptible self-deceiving fake Christians will keep hanging on by a thread, no matter how much their false believes are eroded by logic and science.

      Earthquake Girl is deluded (no more than the middlegrounders though), but at least fanatics such as herself are consistent in her beliefs.

      People do use religion as a placebo. Religious people are as happy in their blind faith as staggering drunks, but that does not absolve religion. Religion is at the expense of others.

      Xan says:
      Sorry for the delay in posting the comment: I have been a little under the weather lately…

      And – yes, I agree with you!

  3. CodeSlinger Says:

    Xan:

    I must admit, it’s more than a bit strange for me to find myself defending religion!

    But…

    As we know, human beings are inherently religious. Our brains are hard-wired for it.

    So the question is, what happens when that wiring is given no religion to attach to?

    The answer is that it attaches to something else.

    Like a collectivist totalitarian state.

    And that has all the danger of religious faith, but none of the benefit.

    Xan, this is exactly what we see in the politically correct culture of the secular left: most people don’t adopt a morality based on reason tempered by compassion.

    They just define morality by obedience to the state instead of God.

    This is not an improvement!

    They lose the distinction between “illegal,” and “sinful.”

    Between “sick” and “evil.”

    Between “treatment” and “punishment.”

    This puts a fundamental dishonesty into every thought they think.

    It’s a real cognitive impairment, as well as a moral one.

    You’re right, though, about who our enemies are: those who abuse the inherent religiousity of the human mind for their own personal aggrandizement, whether in the name of God, state, or anything else.

    However, running blindly from one leaves you at the mercy or the other.

    The most good, and the least harm, result from a balance of power.

    Xanthippa says:

    First of all, CodeSlinger, I apologize for the long delay – I’ve been a little under the weather lately.

    Second, I do agree with much of what you say here – with one exception.

    There is an alternative outlet to the human innate religiosity which does not involve the collectivistm of either the religious or secular kind: individual spirituality.

  4. CodeSlinger Says:

    Derek (and Xanthippa):

    Your phrase “contemptibly hedge-betting” exactly typifies what I’m objecting to.

    What you decry as “middle-grounding” is not, as you claim, an attempt to “please everybody at expense of logic.” It is an attempt to update old beliefs based on new information. And that is the very essence of rationality!

    Instead of welcoming this, you try to push Christians to an extremum, to turn their beliefs into an easily-refuted caricature of what they really are. This is a debating tactic, not part of a dialog that can further anyone’s understanding of anything.

    Your claim that one must either accept the Bible in toto at face value or one has no basis for one’s Christianity completely misses the point:

    Christians believe because they want to believe.

    Faith in God is primary, the text of the Bible is secondary.

    Modern sophisticated Christians outgrow Biblical literalism at about the same age at which they cease to believe in Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. They know full well that the Bible is replete with self-contradiction, and they believe in God anyway. The moral and spiritual teachings of the Bible are important to them; the narrative details of the stories are only carriers of those teachings.

    Modern, sophisticated Christians are not at all threatened, for example, by the idea that the Bible is just the result of Pauline revisions of Mosaic revisions of Sumerian revisions of an unknown sequence of previous revisions of a religion whose ultimate origins are lost in the mists of prehistory.

    Thus modern, sophisticated Christians do not see the details of the Genesis story as important at all. To them, the important message is, “God created the world,” meaning everything that exists. Theories of the big bang, inflationary cosmology, biological evolution, and all the rest do no more than fill in what a computer programmer would call… irrelevant implementation details.

    And here lies the crux: you can no more prove or disprove that God created the universe than they can.

    The question is simply not decidable by formal logic.

    That’s why it really is a matter of opinion – a matter of faith.

    And not a matter of fact.

    Now, of course it’s quite true that not all Christians are modern, sophisticated Christians. Indeed, many retain their child-like beliefs throughout adulthood – especially in the politically correct West, where the school system is designed to produce adult children.

    But Derek, these are precisely the people I had in mind when I asked, happens when the relevant brain wiring is given no religion to attach to?

    These are precisely the people who childishly put their faith in the totalitarian collectivist state when they have nothing else to believe in.

    Does this suit you better?

    Religion, properly conceived, lets them be good people.

    Secular collectivism turns them into your worst nightmare.

    And there is no third choice.

    Many people never grow up enough to adopt a rational morality based on natural rights, personal responsibility, and a deep, compassionate understanding of human nature and the nature of things.

    But these people have to live, too.

    How do you suggest they do that?

    Xanthippa says:

    Ah, here is where I think you underestimate people!

    • CodeSlinger Says:

      Xanthippa:

      Well, what I see is that church and family are being stripped of authority and legitimacy, and the state is taking over.

      And all the emotions people once invested in God and father are now invested in the state and the boss.

      This isn’t my theory or my estimate of people.

      This is fact that I observe all around me.

      And it worries me greatly.

      Xanthippa says:

      CodeSlinger, I share your worry. My analysis of the outcome is similar, if not identical.

      Where we differ is not the analysis of the end result but in the analysis of the causality.

      When we, as children, accept authority from our parents, we know to leave it behind when we ourselves become adults and parents. This is not destructive to the family – it is healthy growth, which permits the individual to transition from child to adult to parent – to letting our children be adults in their turn.

      When we are taught that there is a ‘heavenly father’ whose authority is forever, it not only interferes with our own ability to mature and grow into parents, it disrupts the whole family dynamic. If your primary loyalty is to the heavenly father for EVER, and ‘as above, so bellow’, can you be more loyal to your children and spouse than to your father? Can you morally permit your children to mature and grow out of your sphere of control, as they must in order to be good parents themselves?

      Religions are at least as subvesive to healthy family dynamics as the State is – just in a more insidious ways.

      I agree with you that the authority of the Church had been displaced by the authoritarian and invasive government. What I am saying is that this would not have been possible had the people not been first made vulnerable by ‘soft religion’.

      The fundamentalists will resist the authority of The State because they are fundamentally loyal only to their particular God(s) and the resultant dogma.

      ‘Soft religion’ – the kind that produces ‘enlightened religionists’ – creates the same kind of mindset in the person subjected to it in childhood, but without the literal interpretation of the scriptures (the roots of the dogma) to coerce it into religious fundamentalism. (The hardware is the same, just the firmware differs…)

      THIS is the mind most exploitable by The State! By the collectivist authorians! (…the software, if you will permit the analogy.)

      It is precisely people who ‘expect rules from above’ because that is how their brains had been wired from early childhood, but who reject the fundamentalists transparent nonsense, who are seeking another, less ‘irrational-sounding’ authority to whom they could surrender their reason!

      At this point, any authoritarian who comes in and offers them dogma that they can pretend to themselves sounds reasonable will fulfil their religiosity needs: hence the success of the recycling programs, the Earth hours, the AGW crap, acceptance of the growing invasiveness of the authorities. These use the language of science – everyone knows ‘science’ is logical and reasonable – so they willingly submit themselves to the authoritarian dogma because they believe they are being ‘rational’ without having to actually be so!

      I am convinced that had these people not been conditioned by ‘enightened religion’ in early childhood, they would be way less likely to fall into these collectivist traps. If they were not conditioned to surrender reason to authority at an early age, they would not be as likely to fall into this pattern of behaviour as adults.

      OK, this was not a formal study and I was nowhere near thorough enough, but when I took a cursory glance at countries where people did not consider themselves affiliated with any formal religion (even if they believed in some sort so ‘cosmic force’ or such – had only personal, non-dogmatized spirituality), these were also generally the same countries where people did not buy into the AGW crap or the other ‘watermelon’ propaganda. [Watermelon = green on the outside, red (collectivist)on the inside.]

      I do think there is a connection. Perhaps not ‘direct causality’, but susceptibility…

      In the same way some people’s genes protect them from lung cancer, no matter what they do, yet most of us will be much more susceptible to lung cancer if we smoke and/or inhale a lot of asbestos fibers – so we cannot say that smoking and/or asbestos exposure causes cancer, but we can say it makes most of us more susceptible to it; some people will be resilient against collectivist authoritarianism, but being raised to accept ‘authority from above’ as a ‘moral given’ (whether the religious or secular kind) makes people much more susceptible to it when they become adults.

  5. CodeSlinger Says:

    Xanthippa:

    No worries… and no pressure, because pressure only takes the fun out it. Take your time and keep it enjoyable.

    Yes, individual spirituality has a proper role to play. But only for people who are comfortable, off by themselves, doing their own thing, in their own way.

    The thing is, people like to congregate – not all of us are herd animals, but many of us are – and the moral foundations of society must work for everyone. So people who like to congregate will form congregations and a congregation in pursuit of spirituality is a church.

    So you simply cannot avoid having churches in a free society.

    Frankly, I think the ancients had the right idea when they invented the mystery schools. As you enter into higher levels of initiation, deeper truths are revealed to you. The exoteric teachings are simple and easily accessible to everyone, but lead to the same moral choices that the esoteric teachings would lead the initiate to. At least to a first approximation.

    In theory, everyone sees as much or as little of the truth as he can handle, and operates at a level he is comfortable with.

    The problem with this is the same as the problem with every other institution we have ever constructed – church, state, corporation, union, academy… whatever. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with any of them. They were all invented to solve specific problems and, at their best, they can be very good.

    But when they get too big, and fall into the hands of psychopaths, they do nothing but evil.

    And this is the problem we face today.

    How do we separate the incestuously intertwined nest of snakes that has coalesced where distinct institutions once existed? How do we shrink these organisations to a size at which the harm they can do is not too great? And above all…

    How do we get them out of the clutches of the psychopaths?

    And how do we keep them that way?

    Xanthippa says:

    One sentence you have said is key: “…lead to the same moral choices that…”

    Exactly.

    It is a form of social engineering, and a very nasty one at that.

    It uses the blackmail of ‘quality of life after death’ (if you permit me to phrase it that way) to bribe and bully people into becoming amoral. And I do mean that very seriously: religions forbid their adherents to exercise their moral judgement, they only permit them to obey.

    This is why they cannot be a positive tool which lead towards a moral society: they are anathema to it. By design!

    At the same time, they instill in their adherents – from pre-reason-able childhood – its tennets and rules and teach that in order to ‘be moral’, one must obey their rules. Religions actively teach that ‘questioning’ – reasoning for one-self is the embodiment of immorality!

    (For example, in Christianity, it is no accident that ‘knowledge’ is the forbidden tree and that God’s moral opposite is ‘the bringer of light’. Islam also demands that adherents to not ‘question’, but only ‘submit’ to the word of Allah.)

    That is why all religious institutions are invevitably taken over by psychopaths and manipulators (or mentally ill megalomaniacs): only people as deeply as flawed as these have what it takes to ruthlessly climb these hierarchical structures to the top, to so brazenly exploit other human beings. You cannot avoid this – it is a ‘feature of the design’.

    Which is why I reject organized religions and religious scriptures in all their forms.

    As for the ‘enlightened’, ‘modern’ religionists who view their holy scriptures (whether it is the Bible or any other text/teachings) in non-literal ways: they are guilty of something different than the ‘fundementalists’, something much more insiduous and though ostensibly less aggressively destructive to others around them, it is no less destructive to themselves.

    Fundamentalists who believe their religious doctorines literally at least have a tool (the literal word) which lets them see just how the moral dictates their religion obligates them to obey are derived. That is why I (and I suspect Derek) consider them to be ‘honest’ in their beliefs.

    ‘Enlightened’ religionists loose this ‘reality check’ and are left with a set of moral dictates they must obey, but without any ability to critically analyze their soundness!!!

    It is therefore a more disturbing, less rational position than thatof the fundamentalists : if they are willing to accept as ‘moral’ things they do not understand – where and how these dictates were formed – they are pretty much reverting to the very Santa Claus/Tooth Fairy state you say they outgrew. It is a faith devoid of roots, it is acceptance of rules without the means of examining the source of the roots.

    At least, the fundamentalists can examine their God’s nature because they believe it is literally described in their scriptures. The ‘enlightened’ religionists cannot even do that: they dismiss the literal descriptions yet retain the moral dictates that stem from it. That is very, very irrational.

    What is more, these ‘enlightened’ religionists – precisely because they reject the literal interpretation of the scriptures and look down on the fundamentalists as unreasoning idiots – consider themselves to be rational and reasonable and, because they have lost touch with the source of their rules of conduct, consider their dogma-dictated ‘morality’ to be ‘rational’, ‘reasonable’ and ‘universal to all rational and reasonable people’!

    That makes them not just pompous, but positively dangerous.

    This presumption that because they have dismissed as ‘silly’ the source of their dogma, they presume this dogma to be the result of their ‘enlightened’ ‘reason’!

    Instead of knowingly obeying the dogmatic rules of conduct and forcing them onto others ‘because their God orders them to’, they truly believe these are ‘natural’ and ‘universal’ rules and that if anyone disagrees with them, it is not because they have a different religion but because they are intrinsicaly a ‘bad person’.

    Thus, the ‘enlightened religionists’ are even more easily controlled by the secular collectivists….just tweak the rules, put them in the right language and the ‘enlightened religionists’ will be manipulated by The State, precisely because the source of their dogma has been ‘liberated’ and de-coupled from the words of their scriptures.

    You say that in modern society, we must have churches. Yes, I agree with that.

    What we must not do, however, is afford the churches any legal standing other than that of any other business that services a human need. It is a service industry, serving a human need. It needs to be recognized and taxed as such.

    And we must certainly not give religious organizations/institutions unearned respect or elevated moral status.

    Until people recognize that religious organizations are serving a human need instead of providing moral guidance to life on Earth, we are vulnerable.

    And don’t even get me started on the collectivists’ best friend – the ‘Golden Rule’!

  6. CodeSlinger Says:

    Xanthippa:

    Yes, the church suffers from all the flaws you list.

    But so does the state. And the corporation. And every other large organization.

    So all the arguments you present to show that the church shouldn’t exist apply to all the others. Even more so, in many cases.

    But they do exist, because they each serve a purpose.

    The problem is that they have outgrown their purpose and have become parasitic, cancerous growths that increasingly serve only themselves, at the cost of ever-worsening extortion and oppression of the people.

    So we must find a way to cut them back down to size and put them back in their places.

    You don’t go far enough when you say “all religious institutions are inevitably taken over by psychopaths.” The truth is:

    All large institutions are inevitably taken over by psychopaths.

    And that’s why I think it’s a mistake to destroy any of these organizations in isolation.

    Destroy the church, and the corporate-state amalgam just grows to take over its function and becomes that much more difficult to control. And the same goes for all the institutions that are big enough to affect the overall direction and character of society.

    Instead, we must weaken them all, turn them against each other, and prevent them from colluding – so they can only survive by serving their legitimate purpose.

    If we can do that, we can create a society founded on cooperation between free and prosperous individuals.

    If we can’t, we’re finished.

    Xanthippa says:

    Goodness, CodeSlinger, you are faster than I can comment!!!

    But, yes, I agree with large part of what you say.

    Our problem is that our society is based on corporatism. We must reject all forms of corporatism – or be destroyed by it!

    And, yes, I will agree that all large organizations – by necessity – behave as psychopaths. That is what they are designed to do!!!

    Which is why I reject corporatism so vehemently!

    But, there is a special place reserved in the proverbial ‘hell’ for corporations which use spriritualism and fear of ‘quality of life after death’ to subjugate the people!!! No, these people are not satisfied with applying coercion in this life, they want to extend the threat to ‘eternity’!!!

    And they do not admit – often even to themselves – their true abmitions are domination: they pretend (and sometimes believe) they are saving us, giving us eternal truths, bringing us happiness!!!

    Sure, we see through this when the politicians and the corporations try to spoon-feed us this drivel (OK – we usually see through it), but religions condition us from the earliest childhood to not recognize what they are feeding us as drivel! And even if we recognize it, by the time we do, we are so used to the idea that we must accept being fed drivel that we try to differentiate between the different flavours of drivel…..instead of just rejecting it all, knowing we are worth better stuff than that!

    Which is why I agree that we must dismantle all these large organizations at once. However, if we permit religious organizations – even the moderate ones – the patina of respectability they have been cultivating in order to manipulate, we will not be able to have a ‘balanced dismantling’ of the institutions: the religious ones will squeek by and not be dismantled along with all the other ones.

    That is why the mask must be ripped of, the patina of respectability rubbed off and revealed for the manipulation it is!

    And why this must be done before the dismantling occurs.

    We see it easily with the fundamentalists of all stripes – we fail to see it in the moderates, even though it is there: same hardware, just running less obvious firmware.

    Because otherwise, we will simply be strengthening the religious authoritarians, whether we realize it or not. Because their hold is deeper, it must be severed and brought in line with all ‘the other corporations’ before any balanced dismantling can take place.

    And we do need for this dismantling to be balanced – if it is not, it is likely to lead to violence and civil war: things that are best avoided if at all possible.

  7. CodeSlinger Says:

    Xanthippa:

    So. After all, it turns out that we are in agreement on pretty much everything except which is worse, the church or the state. I will let Friedrich Nietzsche answer for me:

    The state? What is that? Well then, harken to me, for now I will tell you about the death of peoples.

    State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters.

    Coldly, it lies; and this lie slithers from its mouth: “I, the state, am the people.”

    This is a lie!

    It was creators who created peoples, and hung faith and love over them: thus they served life.

    Destroyers are they who lay snares for the many, and call it state: they hang a sword and a hundred cravings over them.

    Where there are still peoples, the state is not understood, and is hated as the evil eye, and as sin against laws and customs.

    This sign I give to you: every people speaks its own language of good and evil, which its neighbour does not understand. It has its own language of laws and customs.

    But the state lies in every language of good and evil.

    Whatever it says, it lies; and whatever it has, it has stolen.

    Everything in it is false; it bites with stolen teeth, and it bites often.

    It is false down to its very core.

    That, of course, was from the incomparable “Also Sprach Zarathustra.”

    I might add that churches do a fair amount of good in the world, and the evil they do only gets really extreme when they wrap themselves in the trappings of statehood. Which, admittedly, they do all too often.

    Now, about the idea that a religious upbringing predisposes people to accept government authority to a greater degree than a secular one. I think quite the opposite, actually. When the roles of power and authority in a person’s psyche are already occupied God and father, the government has to be content with what little is left over.

    That’s why the secular left had to destroy the church and the family to get their clutches on the children.

    How has that turned out?

    Well, I overheard two boys talking the other day (let me guess a ten year old and his six year old brother). The six year old asked what a government does. And the ten year old confidently replied…

    The government’s job is to be your parents’ parents.

    For these two boys – and for their whole institutionally-raised generation – the idea of a Heavenly Father who limits the government’s power over them would be a definite improvement!

    And as for corporatism… it boggles the mind, Xan, but we have returned full circle to Venetian mercantilism.

    Venice had the world’s most formidable navy.

    And no industries except merchant shipping and banking.

    Sound familiar?

  8. Derek S Says:

    You two wrote a lot since I last checked this page. I read it all.

    New topics have been introduced to this discussion since I last posted, but I will stick to the main one I started with. I disagree with you, Codeslinger. There is no distinction between a fundamentalist and moderate hedge-better.

    You act as if the latter is any superior to the former. You label fake Christians as “sophisticated” (and superficially so at best). The common garden-variety fake Christian knows little of their religion or their implications. Their ignorance serves them, as having no consistent fundamentals to live by makes their beliefs amorphous and therefore impossible to break.

    There has been talk of individuality in spirituality and religion. No such thing exists, especially in the west. Also, deists and pantheists, for example, are closet atheists by defining the universe as god; that’s middlegrounding too. People who falsely claim to be individuals pursuing religion/spirituality, believing in “God” (like Soren Kierkegaard), but not supporting a particular institution are still poisoned by the biases instilled into them by their subjective culture, even though they THINK they are above it. They have taken some of the peices off, but still struggle to remove the last few fragments.

    I do agree that humans are hard-wired for religion (just as they are hard-wired for drugs). People replacing dogma of religion to dogma of the state is a legitimate fear to have. A lesser of two evils perhaps. It may be true. Society, on the whole, may need religion, despite the great amount of harm it does, to maintain social order.

    Humanity, may simply not ready to be freed from religion yet.

  9. CodeSlinger Says:

    Derek:

    Yes, the topic has broadened significantly, but legitimately, I think. Abuses resulting from scale and collusion with other large, corrupt organizations are the main problem with the church. Small, local churches generally do much more good than harm.

    Your example of drugs – meaning the addictive, mind-altering kind, I assume – is a very good case in point. The underlying neurophysiological mechanisms are unavoidable, and far more harm is done by the various programs to eliminate drugs than was ever done by the drugs themselves.

    And, like the susceptibility to addiction, religiosity is intrinsic to the structure and function of the human brain. If you change the brain enough to eliminate either of those things, you won’t have a human brain anymore. In fact, you probably won’t even have a working brain anymore.

    So humanity will never be ready to be “freed” from religion, any more than humanity will ever be ready to be “freed” from aggressiveness, or curiosity, or any of the sometimes-problematical attributes that, together are what make us human in the first place.

    The best we can do is to conduct our lives and structure our society so as to minimize the harm and maximize the benefits of religion. The parameters, within which we have to work, have been known for a long time:

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

    – Seneca the Younger

  10. Pat Condell: ‘The great Jesus swindle’ + long-winded commentary « Xanthippa's Chamberpot Says:

    […] Let’s not mince words:  our Western Civilization may have arizen from a predominantly Christian area of the world, but it arose precisly by rejecting the dogmatization of spiritualiy as much as was possible.  Yes, some wounds are too deep to heal – and the ‘original sin’ is one of these.  During a comment-section-discussion with CodeSlinger and Derek, I explored some of these themes, but only tangentially…though at great length, if you are interested in this type of a discussion. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: