Glenn Beck: A Message From Your Future.

Glenn.  Glenn!  Are you listening?  Can you hear me?  No, this is not God talking to you (bloody idiot!).  No, Glenn, this is Your Future calling.  It’s time we had a chat, you and I.  Glenn, you have been getting a lot of publicity lately, starting to go all ‘Christian Revivalist God ‘n Stuff,’ babbling in tongues about the Great Awakening movement and getting the ‘Holier than Thou’ crowd babbling right along with you like a pack of coyotes joining in with each other howling at the moon.  I’ve noticed you’ve even publicly aligned yourself with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (the self-proclaimed ‘Momma Grizzly’, the ‘Thrilla from Wasilla’) to add gravitas to your ‘Born Again Holier Than Thou’ routine.  Nice touch, Glenn.  But, Glenn ol’ boy, I’m worried about you…and I’m here to have a chat to see if I can’t talk some sense into you before it’s too late.

Glenn, about this ‘Alaska Connection‘ you are trying to make.  Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Useful Idiot?’  Or, how about a guy named Timothy Treadwell?  Do you see the connection I’m trying to make here, or do I have to spell it out for you?  Huh?  What’s that Glenn?  You want me to spell it out for you?  OK, buddy.  You see, Glenn ol’ chum, just like Timothy Treadwell got a bit familiar with wild grizzly bears up Alaska way, I fear for your safety as you get in too close with the great ‘Momma Grizzly’ herself who is looking at you as some sort of useful idiot to further her political ambitions that have absolutely nothing to do with you.

Apparently (and this is strictly my opinion, of course), Mr. Treadwell was a bit full of himself and let his guard down, and forgot that he was dealing with wild animals and not friends.  He fantasized that the laws of nature would be miraculously suspended just for him and that he could walk among the grizzlies with impugnity.  And that the bears’ interests were somehow aligned with his.  He magically believed that not only would those bears not eat him alive, but that they would somehow protect him and those closest to him from harm.

And I see the same thing happening to you, Glenn.  You’re starting to believe your own press, and it’s blinding you to the reality that once the ‘Momma Grizzly’ gets within sight of her goals – which is likely to be in the number 1 or number 2 slot on a Palin/Gingrich presidential ticket in 2012, she is going to whip around and take your head off with a flick of her mighty Momma Grizzly paw.  I can see you right now, your head mounted on the wall in between a couple of mooseheads, just above the fireplace in the Oval Office.  (You’ll really like what they will do with the place!  And, that’s good because you’ll be hanging there for a while, old chum.)

So, here’s my message to you, Glenn:  Get out now while you still can.  Shake off those delusions of grandeur you are obviously suffering from, and run – do not walk – to the nearest exit (stage right, of course).

Take it from me, Glenn.  Your Future will be here before you know what hit you.

Now, babble on.

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All this Religion Bashing. Irrational Ranting or Rational Push-Back? I assert the latter.

Well, here it is Sunday morning, the Lord’s day.  The Sabbath (well, for Christians, anyway.)  The Jewish Sabbath – the Very Same Day proscribed by the Very Same Lord – is on Saturday.  (I may have known why this difference exists, but it escapes me now.  I may have to get back to you on this…)

Yes, the Sabbath.  A day of prayer to the Lord Jesus (Yahweh gets his praise on Saturday, don’tcha know.)  Oh, now I get it.  Yahweh and Jesus are One In The Same God, and so the Lord, in his Supreme Narcissism (see the First Four Commandments) has concocted a universe (with a flat earth at its center, of course) such that we are prostrate before him two days a week and not just one.  But then there is Allah, who is the same God as Yahweh and Jesus, don’tcha know, and the Muslims – bless their pure and peaceful hearts – are prostrate before Him five times a day!  Every Day!  Wow!  Takes your breath away when you really think about it, doesn’t it?  BTW, I call Him Yahwallahjes.  Feel free to do the same.  (Oh, and don’t get me started on the Mormons.  I’m still choking down the Yahwallahjes baloney.)

But, let’s get back to me and my presumptive irrationality.  The Sabbath is the day of prayer when we are commanded to praise the Lord (and, of  course, pass the ammunition endlessly, but that’s more like every day of the week) and, perhaps, get in a little self-reflection on the Q.T. when He isn’t looking.  And, so I ask myself:  Is all this Religion Bashing just irrational ranting or rationally pushing back against the swirling tsunami of faith-based bullshit that just seems to be in the very air we breathe, and like smog, simply has to be breathed in at least somewhat despite its toxicity if we are going to get our share of the secular, rational oxygen that carries it along?

I claim that I am not ranting, but pushing back.  No more, and certainly no less.

Admittedly, taking pot-shots at religion is like shooting fish in a barrel – it’s such a target-rich environment that once you get started it’s hard to stop.  But, I am far from alone in my dogmatic disgust of what hath religion wrought.  The Plague of Faith is…well, it’s almost Biblical in its proportions, and it is getting more hideous by the day as the body count continues to climb.  And it is high time that those of us who see human rationality as under a merciless, self-proclaimed, withering assault from the most credulous and weak-minded in our societies world-wide, and right on up to the most powerful and educated – but qrotesquely self-serving – elite members of humanity, have a duty to speak up not for tolerance of all religions (just as long as we all agree that ‘ours’ is the one true religion and everybody else is going straight to Hell!  You know, that sort of tolerance…), but for intolerance of all religions and their ridiculous, mind-altering, stone-age stupidity that threatens to bring humanity to a screeching and screaming halt!

According to statistics compiled by Adherents.com, of the approximately 6.868 billion people living on the planet, approximately 1.1 billion of us are secular or non-religious.  Meanwhile, (if you believe the press that only a tiny fraction are radicalized adherents), a tiny fraction of the 3.614 billion people who are adherents of the “Three Great Religions” are fomenting chaos, starting endless wars, threatening (nay, welcoming!) nuclear Armageddon, and just making the planet almost uninhabitable for the rest of us poor bastards who have to be subjected to all their suicidal, genocidal irrational rantings and behavior day in and day out!  Who in their right minds would NOT want to push back on this?

Now, let’s have a brief discussion of the difference between irrational and rational thinking, and its consequent behaviors.  In 1955, Albert Ellis, Ph.D., developed a system of psychological therapy that he termed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (a forerunner to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as developed by Aaron T. Beck, M.D.)  Dr. Ellis describes his REBT as follows:

“It [REBT] hypothesizes that the irrational beliefs or dysfunctional attitudes that constitute people’s self-disturbing philosophies have two main qualities:
(1) They have at their core explicit or implicit rigid, powerful demands and commands, usually expressed as musts, shoulds, ought to’s, have to’s, and got to’s such as,
“I absolutely must have my important goals fulfilled!”
(2) They also have derivatives of these demands. For example,
“If I don’t have my important goals fulfilled, as I must,” (a)
“it’s awful” (that is, one hundred percent bad); (b) “I can’tbear it” (that is, survive or be happy at all!); (c) “I’m a
worthless person” (that is, completelybad and undeserving!);
and (d) “I’ll always fail to get what I want now and in the future!”

This ABC model of human disturbance is followed, in REBT,by D the disputing of people’s irrational beliefs (iB’s) — when they feel and act in a self-defeating way, until they arrive at E, a
new set of more rational beliefs. For example, “I’d prefer to succeed and be lovable, but I don’t have to do so!” “I’d very much like others to treat me fairly and considerately, but there is no reason why they must do so.” “I greatly desire my life conditions to be comfortable and pleasant, but I don’t need them to be that way.”

I know that the ideas I express in these postings are not going to change the world.  And, while it is my fervent hope that more and more people will abandon their false hopes and unprovable beliefs for which there has never been any falsifiable evidence, I do not insist that everyone abandon their irrational religions and come to an inner calm and outer equanimity through secular pathways.  The world may simply not be ready for all that rationality, and we may be getting on an express elevator to Hell by so doing.  (You know, the whole Devil you know vs. the one you don’t thing…)

In summary, I think I have a fairly good idea of the difference between rational and irrational thoughts and behavior, and from my self-proclaimed rational perspective, I see a whole lot of irrationality with Yahwallahjes’s name written all over it.

I have faith in humanity, and I pray it will come to its senses and abandon religion.

Now, I am entitled to my faith and to my prayers, aren’t I?

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Circle-Jerk or Circle-of-Jerks? Yes to both.

My head almost exploded, but I finally made it through reading this transcript of a recent broadcast of Glenn Beck spewing some of the most unintelligible nonsense into the airwaves at a frequency only the most supremely gullible and stupid (read: deeply religious), and Machiavellian can hear.

Unless you understand the philosophical and religious underpinnings of Christian Reconstructionism and Dominionist Theocratic ideology, and the near-total secret usurpation of the Republican Party (and the Tea Party – whether those duped devotees know it or not) with these movements, it will be absolutely impossible for you to understand anything about American politics and the outright war between Christianity and Islam that is – in a spectacular demonstration of Orwellian doublethink – being at once overtly waged and categorically denied, while hidden in plain sight.

The books listed below are mandatory reading if you want to gird your sanity with the facts about the ongoing war that is being waged and now escalated for the hearts and minds and money and vote of the American people and the future of America. (I could restate the obvious that the voting process has become irrelevant because of money – Big Money, but I don’t want to take away all hope…it’s too early in the morning for that.)  These books are so well written and meticulously researched and documented, nothing I could say could add to their inescapable collective message.

American Fascists – The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges

The Family – The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlott

Kingdom Coming – The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Goldberg

Eternal Hostility – The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy by Frederick Clarkson

And don’t think that any speaking-in-forked-tongues by these come-to-life department store mannequins (Palin) and neo-revivalist sock puppets of the Christian Right (Beck, Hagee, et al.), that sounds like support for the state of Israel (and, by extension, the Jewish people), is anything of the sort.  Have you heard of Christian Zionism? Sounds a bit oxymoron-ish, doesn’t it?  Well, the simple truth about this movement is that it supports the building up of the State of Israel (and by extension the apartheid oppression of the Palestinians) for the uniquely selfish Christian purpose of making the world ready for the second coming of Jesus, at which time we can all look forward to rapture of the saved, and Armageddon for everybody else – including, and especially, the Jews.

The Three “Great” Religions are based on temporal lobe epilepsy of a few, and the sheer lunacy of the many, and we must turn away from all of their self- proclaimed prophets, self-serving clergy, and genocidal scriptures if the human race is to survive.  If we cannot do that as a global civilization, then, frankly, we deserve the inevitable extinction that will surely follow.

These fundamentally incompatible and irreconcilably different belief systems are like drugs to the addict.  In the beginning, the drug seems like friendly medicine and balm to the soul.  But as time goes on, the medicine becomes the poison that threatens the life of the one addicted.  That is where we have come to in our drugged, drunken religious stupor.  The only cure for this addiction to religion is total abstinence, and we fail to abstain at our peril as a species on planet Earth.

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After I said good-bye, then I went by the store to buy a sweater that is better than the one I already have.

This is another post concerning commonly misused words that, with a little thought and effort, could easily be used properly, thus conveying your ideas accurately, avoiding the embarrassment of being perceived as an uneducated rube, and beautifying and preserving our collective written environment.  The words for this post are: bye, buy, by, then and than.

First, there’s ‘bye.’  This word usually appears in a pair of words, as in ‘bye-bye’ or ‘good-bye’ to express farewell.

Next, there’s ‘buy.’  ‘Buy’ means to make a purchase, as in, “You went to the store to ‘buy’ a sweater.”  You did not ‘bye’ that sweater, and you certainly did not ‘by’ that sweater.  What you did was purchase (buy) that fuzzy ol’ thing!

The word ‘by’ is a bit trickier and I will link you to this dictionary definition, from which I will pull a couple of examples:

standing ‘by’ the window  (standing ‘bye’ the window, or standing ‘buy’ the window doesn’t make sense, right?)

enter ‘by’ the door

enter ‘by’ force

and so on.  You get the idea.

Now, let’s talk about using ‘then‘ when you really mean ‘than.’

Better yet, have a look at the dictionary definitions I have linked to for an explanation.  There is a difference between ‘then’ and ‘than.’  I know it’s just one letter, but as I have explained in some of my other posts, one letter can and does make a world of difference.

I hope this helps.  Please use bye, buy, by, then, and than properly and make the world a better place, one message at a time!

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The ‘Golden Rule’ is all we need. Just add one little ‘o’.

What’s the difference between ‘God’ and ‘Good?’  That’s right!  Just one little ‘o.’

Forget all the gods, goddesses, saints, ghosts, blessed virgins, ‘our ladies’, dogma, the real estate, the artwork, the tax exemptions, the costumes, the posing, the marketing, the social sanctions, the endless blathering, the electioneering from the pulpit (illegal, but happens more and more, doesn’t it?), the back-room dealing with politicians, the endless legal battles in the quest for justice for all the victims of pedophile priests and the Vatican cover-up, the endless bickering among various flavors of the same religion, the crazy bigamist cults, the wackos, the Wacos, the funny hats, the funny beards, the funny hair, the fetish paraphernalia, the hoodoos, voodoos, snake charming, blathering unintelligible nonsense, apocalyptic prophesies, holy books, holy days, free parking, and pretending to know things neither you nor anyone else does, and lying to children and filling up their minds with the same dangerous religious nonsense that your parents taught to you!

I could go on and on, couldn’t I?

People, what is the ‘Golden Rule?’  Simple:

“Do not do anything to another person that you would not want done to yourself or to someone else you care about.”

That’s it.

Now, to be fair, if I held strong religous beliefs I wouldn’t cotton to some stranger taking liberties with me by writing blogs and telling me that all my beliefs were utter nonsense to me personally, and globally have the potential for world-class destruction if given free reign to do what all religions ultimately want to do, which is to dominate and saturate the peoples of the world with their ‘One True’ belief system.

(It’s as if religious people are so insecure in their rediculous beliefs, the only way they are going to feel comfortable is if the whole world believed as they do.  I suppose you could say the same thing about atheists, but I don’t think any atheists are going to fly airliners into skyscrapers or gleefully attempt to escalate our present World War III to its illogical apocalyptic end to presage the second coming of everyone’s Lord and Savior – whether they know it or not – Jesus H. Christ.  But, I digress…)

But, since all religious beliefs are grounded in childish superstitious nonsense, you could say that I am a responsible adult talking down to a bunch of unruly children who are playing with chain saws irresponsibly, when it would be safer for them to sit quietly and play tea party (no reference to the current political craze) with their dolls and other imaginary friends – you know, their gods, goddesses, saints, ghosts, blessed virgins, ‘our ladies’, etc.

So, be offended if you like.  Better yet, try to imagine living your life (or even someone else’s life, I’m not particular) as though there were no god, satan, heaven, hell, saved/unsaved souls, human sacrifice, cannabilism, original sin, vicarious redemption, guilt, shame, fear, dread, etc, etc, etc.  Try to imagine just doing no harm to another sentient creature one day at a time, and just minding your own business as best you can.

To give your imaginations something to work on, check out Society without God – What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us about Contentment by Phil Zuckerman.  The nations in question are Denmark and Sweden, two of the most secular nations in the Western world “filled with residents who score at the very top of the ‘happiness index,’ and they enjoy healthy societies which boast some of the lowest rates of violent crime in the world (along with some of the lowest levels of corruption), excellent educational systems, strong economies, well-supported arts, free health care, egalitarian social policies, outstanding bike paths, and great beer.”

Sounds like Heaven on Earth to me.  (And, isn’t that the only place it really could be?)

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The Fall of Man is the Fall of God. And Man has been taking it in the shorts ever since ad infinitum.

The foundational belief of the JudeoChristian faith rests on the notion that Mankind is a sinner right from the moment of conception and for all eternity, and that Jesus sacrificed himself on just another ho-hum, workaday Roman crucifix to provide a blood and flesh-strewn pathway to redemption for all mankind for this ‘original sin.’  That is, Jesus was a ‘sin offering‘ to the Lord of the desert tribes of Israel as defined by and demanded from the Lord  (who was, in fact, Jesus on the Cross, which means God sacrificed Himself to Himself…huh? Crazy, isn’t it. But I digress).

So, what is this ‘original sin’ you ask?  Why, it is the sin of separation of Man from God by Adam and Eve eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden (which is to say self-knowledge, because all humans have the capacity for both good and evil).  In other words, God created Adam and Eve as perfect God-like beings, ignorant of the notions of good and evil, and thus of their potential humanity.  God created a couple of non-human, mini-me’s to amuse Himself and to keep Him company like a couple of lap dogs, or Pinocchios for the Big Gepetto in the Sky.  But, Gepetto also created a means by which his conditionally-beloved Pinocchios could cut their marionette strings and become self-responsible, self-aware, logical, rational human beings, and thus not God-like anymore.

If God’s ultimate goal was to create human beings, then why did he create marionettes first?  Marionettes whose only path to becoming fully human was to violate the One Rule set forth by the Big Gepetto Himself, the punishment for which was ‘banishment forever from the Garden of Eden’ (which is, of course, a metaphor for ‘becoming human’).  God really wanted human beings, but instead created God-like marionettes first and told them that if they chose to become human they would be choosing to separate themselves from their Creator, and choosing eternal damnation for themselves and for all Mankind from conception through eternity.

But wait, there’s more!  I suppose God got a little ‘ronery‘ kickin’ it all by Himself in the Garden.  And, so God changed His mind and made Himself human and magically came down to earth by implanting Himself in the womb of a ‘Blessed Virgin’ (of course, all those middle-eastern men are just nuts about their virgins, aren’t they?) and grew up to be a Jewish carpenter/rabbi, and allowed Himself to be sacrificed to Himself as a sin offering.

But wait, there’s more!  He told humanity that by eating My flesh and drinking My blood, you can wash away your original sin and remain fully human, and at the same time be One with Me again, just like in the ‘Good Old Days’ when you were just My marionettes chillin’ in the cool of the day.  In other words, God said, “You can have your cake and eat it too.”

Pretty crazy stuff, isn’t it?  And people actually buy this hogwash as actual fact!  A FACT?  People, are you not astonished at how gullible you are?  Are you not astonished to accept notions such as vicarious redemption, human sacrifice, and cannabilism as your religious beliefs, and in the same breath call yourselves modern and sophisticated?  Folks, it doesn’t get more primitive than this.

But, here’s the rub.  God allowed His marionettes to become human.  Self-aware humans capable of reason and logic with the capacity to rationally postulate the non-existence of God, and then making the logical leap to reject the very notion of God Himself! (So, the next time you hear some Republican stealth Dominionist wingnut railing against all those secular humanists trying to ruin this Christian nation, don’t forget to blame God for creating those secular humanists in the first place!)

In summary, God created marionettes that He knew would abandon Him by choosing to become fully human with the reasoning capacity to logically reject the very notion of God Himself.  So, the Fall of Man was also the Fall of God, and Man has been taking it in the shorts ever since.  Maybe once it finally dawned on God that He had made Himself Irrelevant, that’s when He came up with the Whole Jesus Routine.  What’s that line?  Love me or hate me, just don’t ignore me.  Maybe God is more human than we give Him credit for.

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Prayer. Hooh! What is it good for? Absolutely…maybe a few things!

With this cheeky homage to Edwin Starr , let me state at the outset that I believe prayer to be nothing but god-bothering self-talk with absolutely no influence on reality, in the sense that one’s thoughts can neither conjur up the existence of some supernatural being (typically living in the sky and in need of a shave), nor influence the behavior of that same supernatural entity to intercede in human affairs on anyone’s behalf (no matter how well-meaning one’s intentions happen to be).  Obviously, there are many folks who fundamentally disagree with this assertion.  But, all the knee bending, hand clasping, waist bowing, muttering in low tones, violent muscular contractions, loud verbalizations in intelligible language known to humanity and unintelligible gibberish not heard on this planet before or since aside, prayer has been tested scientifically many times and has consistently been proven to be ineffective in terms of having a supernatural entity conjured-up by ‘pray-ers’ interceding on behalf of  ‘pray-ees.’

In one such study:

“The worshippers starting praying for the patients the night before surgery and for the next two weeks, asking God to grant “a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications”.

The study found no appreciable difference between the health of those who did not know they were being prayed for and those who received no prayers. Fifty-two per cent of patients in both groups suffered complications after surgery. But 59 per cent of those who knew they were prayed for went on to develop complications.”

If prayer is demonstrably ineffective, what, then (Hooh!), is it absolutely good for?  Here’s what I believe our second-most favorite national pastime (the first is still baseball, right?) is, in fact, good for.

First, religiously-oriented self-talk can give one a sense of purpose and determination, as well as a hallucination that some old or young bearded man in the sky has their back and will support them in their endeavors.  This self-hypnotic, inner belief can, and probably often does, provide one with a sense of confidence to go out into the world and ‘make a difference.’  So, it is possible that prayer has made an immeasurable contribution to human progress for this reason alone.  (This is a pretty good reason to pray, I must admit, and it may not be necessary to look any further.  But, I will nonetheless.)

The act of prayer is very often a shared experience, and so the act of coming together to participate socially can bind a community of people and reinforce the idea that it is often necessary to act with a common purpose, and to be on guard against acting in an excessively selfish manner to the detriment of the larger community of which one is a part.  And, since the notion of community can be expanded to mean the entire planet, it can be argued that prayer has been instrumental in raising consciousness the world over.  (I think that photograph of the Earth from Apollo 8 had a role to play in this, also.)

In addition, prayer typically involves a contemplative state of mind that may have benefits usually associated with meditation.  It seems to me that the brain doesn’t care if you are conjuring up some supernatural being in your thoughts or if you are just sitting quietly thinking of nothing.  In my opinion, in either case the brain chemistry is probably the same.  This could also be why Jesus was very specific in his direction to all of humanity in how to pray:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”               (Mathew 6:5-8)

(Are you listening to your lord and savior, all you rapacious, money-grubbing, and grotesque caricatures-of-human-beings televangelists out there?)

Finally, a contemplative state of mind can put us in touch with a sense that, although none of us knows for sure about the true nature of reality and the reason for its existence, we are sure that the universe is almost incomprehensible to religion and science alike.  And, in that light we can see ourselves as a tiny speck in a vast universe of space and time.  In other words, prayer can engender a sense of humility, which is always good to have in our psychological toolbox.

In conclusion, if you are expecting your prayers to heal the sick or to get you that pony you’ve always wanted, or to get that priest to pull his shit-stained erection out of your rectum for the last time, or to have god intercede on behalf of the jews (who invented him, for christ’s sake!) to turn off the flow of zyklon-b gas just prior to your ‘nice hot shower after that long train ride,’  you are probably going to be disappointed.  But, there are many reasons why prayer may be just the chicken soup your soul is searching for, regardless of  whether or not you believe in the supernatural.

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