Thursday, February 01, 2007
Have you ever seen the devil? If so, do you have a reliable witness? If you don't, why should I believe you?
Has God ever talked to you? If so, do you have a reliable witness? If you don't, why should I believe you?
This business about the Bible being the word of God is so much hokum. It's the same story with everyone who wrote chapters in the Bible - there were no reliable witnesses, just them saying that God or an angel appeared to them in a dream, or while they were meditating or even sitting on the toilet. If there are no witnesses, why should I believe them? Simply because they said so? I don't think so. Many years ago, there was a man in Los Angeles who went out and used a rifle to kill 13 people. When they asked him why he did it, he said "God told me to do it!" So the way people talk about "having faith" means I should believe this nut case, right?
Seems to me the easiest thing in the world to do, if you can stomach it, is to tell people that you have a direct connection to God and if they pay attention to you they're going to heaven, or paradise, or nirvana or what have you. And if you don't pay attention to them your lot when you die is going to be eternal damnation. There are a lot of very gullible people out there and rather than think for themselves they buy into this story and oftentimes end up dead because of it - remember the Jonestown massacre? ² What exactly is the difference between Jim Jones and the head of the Lutheran church, or the Mormons, or the Pope, or the head of the Presbyterian church, or the head of the Episcopalian church, or the head of the Muslim fanatics? They all tell you exactly what to do with your life because if you don't do it you're going to hell or you're not going to get into heaven. Right?
The annals of history are full of stories of men (and women) who suddenly took on the role of an emissary from God (shaman, witch doctor, priest, minister, etc., etc., etc.) and started telling people what to do. The whole idea of hell is a figment of someone's imagination being used by these self proclaimed "prophets" of God to get people afraid enough that they will obey the "rules" set down by the shaman¹ and naturally, support him in his desired lifestyle. My response to that is very simple: "Who put YOU in charge?
The latest fiasco is this weirdo Pat Robertson who claims that God called him on the hot line and told him bad things were coming. He has no reliable witnesses so why should I believe him? He's nothing but a charlatan cashing in on people's wish to have someone else in charge so they don't have to be responsible. Have you ever tried to saddle one of the so-called "clerics" with the responsibility for what has happened to you? How about settling down and accepting responsibility for what you have done to yourself? The very definition of God precludes the idea of unhappiness and/or suffering. The sado-masochistic story of the last days of Jesus Christ is something that sounds like the Marquis de Sade dreamed it up. The Bible is full of one horror story after another, almost as if it was written by the same type of people who sit around the campfire and scare the hell out of children with stories of ghosts and goblins and witches.
RELIABLE WITNESSES - Thursday, February 01, 2007 - page 2
All you have to do is look at the obvious haven for pedophiles, the Catholic Church. They have done a pretty good job so far of avoiding responsibility for all the lives their priests have ruined in the last 75 years. I wonder how many others lived in abject misery due to the actions of priests before that time. We'll never know.
The term "religion" is quite convoluted - go to www.dictionary.com and see the definition there. Having been through an extensive religious education including four years at a very prominent Catholic university, the simplest definition seems the most apt to me: "religion is a way of life".
Amongst substance abusers, it is a well-known fact that the substance abuser very often finds something to take the place of the substance. Unfortunately, many of them turn to "religion" as a crutch and become "holier than thou" because they quit smoking pot, or taking pills or getting drunk. I had personal experience with a drunk in New Orleans who was a policeman and a very good vocalist. When he was fired from the police force he went into the carpentry business and was so unreliable that I had to quit using him. He stole from me, lied to me, overcharged me and did everything he could to get the money for just one more bottle of Thunderbird wine. He was a very personable man and had quite a knack for persuading people to loan him money. When I heard he had sobered up, I went to see him and his response was "where were you when I needed you?" I never bothered to try and explain to him that "religion" had obviously not shown him the error of his ways. I never saw him again and wonder if he survived Katrina.
Let me tell you my definition of a true religious person. I did not find out until I was in my late twenties that my father went to Mass and Communion EVERY morning. He did not preach to me about his religion, he LIVED it. On the other hand, my mother was a convert to Catholicism and she was constantly ranting about how I wouldn't have any bad luck if I went to church more often. Is that garbage or what? As if the Supreme Being is sitting on his throne up there (or down there, take your pick) and decides that the motor in your station wagon is going to blow up because you didn't make it to church last week or the last year. Please, spare me!
This leads me to the insane babblings of the madman (or madmen) that wrote the section of the Bible entitled "Revelations". Any sane person with an ounce of common sense would take this section of the Bible and throw it in the trash. For instance, Rev. 1, verses 17 &18: "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Notice that there are NO witnesses to this event. So by what stretch of the imagination do YOU think I should believe this? I have to have faith you say? OK. I'll start by believing that maniac in Los Angeles who killed 13 people really did have a message from God to do it. Consequently, he should be released from prison immediately! How's that for starters?
In Rev. 2, verse 26: "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:" There's a hook for you. Just follow the precepts laid down by your friendly minister and you'll end up as president or senator or governor or whatever position of power you seek. Right? As you go through the rest of the this section you get the distinct impression that you are listening to the babblings of some wasted drug addict who has obviously gotten hold of a heavy dose of LSD and is describing his latest nightmares. And of course, there are NO witnesses. Get too involved in this and you're liable to end up an inmate of the funny farm³! If you disagree, open up and comment. Likewise if you agree.
¹ sha·man shah-muh n, shey-, sham-uh n] –noun (esp. among certain tribal peoples) a person who acts as intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds, using magic to cure illness, foretell the future, control spiritual forces, etc.
sha·man (shä'mən, shā'-) n. A member of certain tribal societies who acts as a medium between the visible world and an invisible spirit world and who practices magic or sorcery for purposes of healing, divination, and control over natural events.
² On November 18, 1978, nine hundred and twelve (912) followers of American cult leader Jim Jones ("Peoples Temple") died in a remote South American jungle compound called "Jonestown" in British Guyana. Some members were shot, others were forced to drink poison, but most willingly participated in what Jones said was an act of "revolutionary suicide."
³ Funny farm: A euphemism for an insane asylum.