left biblioblography

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Welcome To The First Episode Of WTF Theater: Never Trust The Fox..

Cross posted @ the Atheist OasisFAUXnews

Really, this sort of finger-pointing bullshit got old 10 years ago:

Fox News Presenter Bill O'Reilly Blames WDBJ Shootings On Rise Of Atheism

Fox News presenter Bill O’Reilly reacted to the WDBJ shootings on his Thursday show, concluding the latest tragedy in America’s cyclone of gun-related horror was the product of atheism.

The host of 'The O’Reilly Factor,' who has secured a personal fortune with a series of books on the decline of the Republic (including the best-selling ‘Killing Jesus’), ascribed the deaths of WDBJ TV reporter Alison Parker and station cameraman Adam Ward on America “turning away from spirituality.”

Paraphrasing Smerdyakov from 'The Brothers Karamazov,' O'Reilly noted: "If you don't believe in anything, anything goes," while blaming the "liberal media" for "openly mocking" religious beliefs.

Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox's 'The O'Reilly Factor' at Fox Studios on December 15, 2011 in New York City

The host, who has the highest–rated show on cable news, offered a “rise in nihilism” and a decline in the number of Americans who identify as Christian as the cocktail responsible for producing alleged killers such as Vester Lee Flanagan, who have “few restraints on their lives.” He also managed to get in a plug for his latest tome 'killing Reagan.'

Karen Ruskin, a psychotherapist appearing in the segment made the counterpoint that plenty of murders are spiritually motivated. Bill shot back demanding she name one “outside the Jihadists.”

He continued: “Every single murderer over 40 years that I have covered in these circumstances has been either atheistic, agnostic, no religious basis at all,” adding: “Can you point to one person who committed mass murder recently that had a religious background? You cannot.”

O’Reilly concluded: “The spiritualism falls apart in the face of the jihad, okay, which is a perversion of Islam, we all know that. But over the years and centuries, religion has been used to justify murder, even in the Christian precincts. That has happened. But individuals in this country now, I believe, are tending away from spirituality and into the secular-progressive ‘it’s all about me.’ And when you combine that with a mental illness, you have what you had in Virginia yesterday.”

Earlier on Thursday, Donald Trump responded to the killings by insisting the issue was one of mental health, and restricting gun access was not a solution. “This isn’t a gun problem, this is a mental problem," he told CNN. "It’s not a question of the laws, it’s really the people.”

Alison Parker and Adam Ward were gunned down live on air by alleged shooter Vester Lee Flanagan on Wednesday morning

Peddling NRA-scripted Republican orthodoxy, the GOP presidential frontrunner said banning weapons would leave “bad guys” with guns, and everyone else defenseless, while noting that Flanagan, also know as Bryce Williams, was a “very sick man.”

On Wednesday, Dana Loesch, a conservative author and radio host, similarly refused to countenance any correlation between the country’s right to bear arms and its monstrous gun-related death rate.

She said: “We don't have a gun problem. We have a criminal problem. We have a society that thinks it's completely permissible to shirk responsibility. We have people who have no problem with what Planned Parenthood does in terms of fetal parts harvesting. We don't teach a respect for life. We glorify violence in movie, music, film, and books. This is what our society is. This is Frankenstein's monster. This is what society has created; it is a reflection of us."

WOW – never thought I’d agree with anything Trump said, but that is the most sensible thing to come out his mouth in decades. But this horseshit really got my eyes rolling:

He continued: “Every single murderer over 40 years that I have covered in these circumstances has been either atheistic, agnostic, no religious basis at all,” adding: “Can you point to one person who committed mass murder recently that had a religious background? You cannot.”

More definitive proof that these assholes DON’T use fact checkers. In fact, I’ll bet there’s no such job opening at Faux Noise. Veritibly, I can name 10 Christian terrorists right off the bat in the last 40 years. Adding to that, Dr. Tiller is a victim of Christian terrorism that O’Lie-ly facilitated. Serial killers by and large tend to be Republicans (a fact which the Tealiban will try to obfuscate by claiming ‘left wing liberal media LYING TO US!’ or some such folderol), and even some of the most prolific among them: Bundy, BTK, etc..

One must wonder: what is the cause of all this short term memory loss? It can’t be that every Republican was dropped on their head as a baby – but it sure seems that way. There must be some reason for all this cognitive dissonance.

There are too many madmen in the mix: we should vote in psychological testing for politicians, to make sure they are mentally capable of actually taking care of their constituency, not forcing their delusions on the great unwashed masses. Actually, we should do that for anyone in the public eye, including news anchors.

Of course, probably the entire ‘journalistic’ side of that network would fail. Miserably.

Till the next post then.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Don’t Rest On The Laurels Yet–Christian Radicals, Still A Threat

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

oopsydoodle"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." –attributed to Thomas Jefferson

Yes, panic-mongering is exhausting. Sometime I just get worn out worrying over these things. But these people are a very real, very dangerous threat. And here’s something that should get some furrowed brows going…

10 Plans Christian Radicals Have For America

A fundamentalist Christian ideology called Dominionism is currently infiltrating a segment of the Christian Right. As a political movement, it seeks to overthrow democracy and transform America into a biblical theocracy. Also known as Christian Reconstructionism, it cuts across denominational lines but does not represent mainstream American Christianity. Many Christians even see it as a heresy and perversion of the gospels.

Within the movement are differing views, and its broad complexity should caution us from labeling it as a monolithic conspiracy. Liberals are often accused of exaggerating the Dominionist threat and are called paranoid conspiracy theorists. But whatever the true numbers of those who hold this radical doctrine, they exert a powerful influence on policy makers of the right wing.

10 The Seven Mountains Mandate

Dominionists believe that Jesus Christ is not going to return until He has gained control of the world’s nations through Christians. This is how they interpret Jesus’s command “Occupy till I come.” The Dominionist blueprint for “reclaiming America for Christ” is spelled out in the Seven Mountains Mandate—Christian takeover and control of the “seven mountains” of society: business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family, and religion. Lance Wallnau, a leading Seven Mountains theologian, explains that Christians must install a theocracy governed by “true apostles” to battle Satan and his Antichrist.

Wallnau envisions the conquest of the Seven Mountains as a covert operation. He said, “[A] very small minority of people . . . as small as 3–5 percent . . . can control how the agenda works in a nation and thus create or dominate the culture.”

The Seven Mountains concept was first enunciated as a supposed revelation from God given simultaneously in 1975 to two “generals” of the faith, Loren Cunningham of Youth With A Mission and Bill Bright of the Campus Crusade For Christ. In all likelihood, they plagiarized it from a TV talk by theologian Dr. Francis Shaffer. The mountains are portrayed as “mind molders” by which the “rulers of darkness” influence people, leading to such trends as gay marriage, pornography, and abortion.

9 Capture The Republican Party

Perhaps most of us are wondering why, in spite of the Constitution, there seems to be a religious test for those seeking public office in the US. The Republican Party in particular has made it an unwritten premise that a candidate’s faith is a matter of public debate. Local party meetings feature activists determined to bring “biblical principles” into government. How did the party of Lincoln become, in the words of an insider, “more religious cult than a political organization”?

To conquer the Seven Mountains, Dominionists are stealthily infiltrating the GOP and increasing their political influence. Recent presidential candidates Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann have ties to Dominionist groups. In 1979, GOP strategist Paul Weyrich politically mobilized factions of fundamentalist, Pentecostal, and charismatic churches under the umbrella term “Moral Majority.” It was led by Rev. Jerry Fallwell. Weyrich made no secret of its goal: “We are talking about Christianizing America. We are talking about simply spreading the gospel in a political context.” The clout of the Religious Right became apparent in the 1980 elections, when it unseated liberal Democrats in the Senate and helped propel Ronald Reagan into the White House.

The Moral Majority is no longer around, but Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition has continued its work. “We want . . . as soon as possible to see a majority of the Republican Party in the hands of pro-family Christians,” Robertson declared in 1992. He and fellow pastors have schools and universities to train Christians how to run for public offices and how to influence policy once in power. Robertson named his institution Regent University because its students are destined to take over the government as Christ’s “regents.” Robertson himself made a losing bid for the presidency in 1988.

Robertson did not mince words: “We are not going to stand for those coercive utopians in the Supreme Court and in Washington ruling over us anymore. We’re not gonna stand for it. We are going to say, ‘we want freedom in this country, and we want power.’ ”

8 The End Of Pluralism

In a disturbing rant, Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, said: “I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good . . . Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called on by God to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.”

Once Dominionists are in power, only one religion and lifestyle will be recognized—fundamentalist Christianity. Democracy and Christian nationalism are diametrically opposed. While theocrats will invoke the religious liberty guaranteed by the Constitution to further their agenda, they have no intention of keeping it when they win. Gary North, one of the movement’s ideological founders, made their goal clear: ” . . . a Bible-based social, political, and religious order, which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.” They view the system that treats everybody equally as the greatest obstacle in their plans.

Secular humanism and all systems that bypass biblical knowledge will have to go. The “us vs. them” mentality that treats the rest of the non-Christian world as satanic will make pluralism impossible. Rick Joyner admits, “At first it may seem like totalitarianism, as the Lord will destroy the antichrist spirit now dominating the world.” But he assures those willing to be deluded that the Kingdom of Christ “will move toward increasing liberty.” That would be “liberty” as defined by a Fascist dictionary somewhere.

7 Undermining The Constitution

The US Constitution, the bedrock upon which pluralism thrives, will obviously have to be abrogated or else reinterpreted under the Dominionists. In its place will be a government based on Old Testament laws. The Law of Moses features, among other things, 1) the death penalty for idolaters, i.e. non-Christians, 2) the likelihood of the reinstitution of slavery, 3) abolition of the income tax in favor of the tithing system, and 4) elimination of the prison system in favor of the system of restitution for non-capital offenses.

Dominionists themselves are divided on how to apply these archaic biblical laws to modern America. Not all of them are keen on reintroducing slavery, but some do think that its legalization would be a good thing. While a majority support the death penalty, they differ on the method of execution. Strangely, though polygamy was permitted in ancient Israel, they define marriage as between one man and one woman. It is also unclear what they will do in the “Jubilee Year,” when estranged property is supposed to revert to its original owners. Will they give back the land to Native Americans (the Christian ones, of course)? Will they return Hawaii to the Hawaiians?

The Christian Right has the means to exploit loopholes through the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), its legal advocacy arm. Founded by Pat Robertson and armed with a $30 million annual budget, it seeks to overturn rulings the Right abhors, like Roe vs. Wade. It is also noteworthy that ACLJ supported the Bush administration in its holding Guantanamo detainees without charges and without trial.

In a Public Policy Polling survey released on February 24, 2015, an astonishing 57 percent of Republicans favor abandoning the Constitution to make the US a Christian nation. Only 30 percent are opposed, and 13 percent are not sure.

6 Death Penalty For Gays And Rebellious Teens

Being a worshiper of false gods (i.e., non-Christian) is not the only capital crime under Mosaic Law, besides murder and rape. Dominionists believe those deserving the death penalty include homosexuals, children who struck their parents, brides who were unchaste before marriage, juvenile delinquents, psychics (“false prophets”), adulterers, and blasphemers. Executions would be made public with full participation of the community, like square dances and quilting bees. Gary North prefers stoning as the method of killing because stones cost nothing and are readily available.

North laments that our humanist society paints the Mosaic Law as barbaric. He himself has no problems executing rebellious teens: “The integrity of the family must be maintained by the threat of death.” What’s more, North says that those accusing a suspect of a capital crime must be among the executioners. For citizens to arm themselves in self-defense is a mark of their judicial sovereignty, North asserts, something gun control advocates want to take away. He extends this concept of judicial sovereignty to executions. He doesn’t want people to delegate the task to agents of the state. Participation in public executions is “an act of citizenship.”

How does this system propose to deal with perjury and false accusation? Perjury would be considered a crime against the accused, not against the court as in the present system. False witnesses will suffer the same penalty supposed to be imposed on the accused had they been found guilty. North believes that the Mosaic system of justice will actually reduce perjury in courts.

5 Historical Revisionism

David Barton is a pseudohistorian obsessed with altering historical facts to portray America as a Christian nation founded on biblical principles. This makes him a darling of the Right, with an enthusiastic Mike Huckabee proclaiming him America’s greatest historian, who should be writing the curriculum for the schools. Huckabee suggested (in jest, presumably) that all Americans should be “forced at gunpoint” to listen to Barton. To Glenn Beck, he is “the most important man in America.”

Such accolades come in the wake of Barton’s best-selling books, which claim that the Founding Fathers were devout Christians inspired by colonial preachers to found a society based on the biblical model. Barton teaches that America’s constitutional government was patterned after the ancient Hebrew “federative republic.” He accuses academics of hiding these truths from the average citizen.

In response, academics and even fellow conservatives have exposed Barton’s lies and errors. Barton is caught distorting or even inventing quotes placed on the lips of deist Founding Fathers to prove his point. One blatant example of Barton’s deception is his quote of John Adams’s letter to Benjamin Rush in 1809. In it, Adams says: “There is no authority, civil or religious—there can be no legitimate government—but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it—all without it is rebellion and perdition, or, in more orthodox words, damnation.” Barton makes it sound like Adams was proposing a government led by the Holy Ghost. But Barton has left out the last part of the quote, in which Adams mocks the very notion: “Although this is all Artifice and Cunning in the secret original in the heart, yet they all believe it so sincerely that they would lay down their Lives under the Axe or the fiery Fagot for it. Alas the poor weak ignorant Dupe human Nature.”

Barton makes the tortuous argument that the Constitution, which never once mentions God, is in fact a godly document because it makes a passing reference to the Declaration of Independence which does mention a “Creator” (a deist Creator, alas for Barton). Barton was also forced to admit that he fabricated out of thin air a supposed quote from James Madison in which the staunch advocate of church-state separation was made to beseech Americans to “govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

David Barton is a propagandist masquerading as a historian. Though exposed as a fraud, he remains unrepentant.

4 Abolition Of Medicare And Social Security

Dominionists base their economics on Deuteronomy 28, the “Blessings and Cursings” chapter of the Pentateuch. They believe that wealth is a sign of God’s favor, and poverty and illness are visitations of His displeasure and wrath. The poor and sick deserve their lot. It is God’s way to prick their conscience and provoke introspection. Therefore, governments who seek to alleviate their plight are contravening God’s will. Poverty is not seen as a problem to be solved. This is why Dominionists view Social Security and Medicare as evil programs that take money from others to give to those being punished.

In a 700 Club interview, economics professor Dr. Walter Williams gave this rationalization: “I think Christians should recognize that charity is good. I mean charity, when you reach into your pocket to help your fellow man for medical care or for food or to give them housing. But what the government is doing to help these older citizens is not charity at all. It is theft. That is, the government is using power to confiscate property that belongs to one American and give, or confiscate their money, and provide services for another set of Americans to whom it does not belong.” The Right’s creed of “personal responsibility” has no place for such economic safety nets. If you die of hunger, that’s your fault. Or, in the case of senior citizens, your children’s or family’s fault for not taking care of you.

If on the other hand, you’ve become filthy rich—well, the Lord must be mighty proud of you. So for the government to lay more taxes on you to even out the playing field is an abomination. It is God’s intention that the rich get richer. Charismatic pastor Larry Huch predicts an “end-time transfer of wealth” to blessed Christians who are destined to become God’s bankers. The Dominionists’ promotion of laissez-faire economics of minimum government intervention in business, and repudiation of its licensing and regulatory powers, can thus be seen as self-serving.

3 Abolition Of Public Education

Christian theocrats are aware that they cannot hope to spread their miseducation through the present public school system, which propagates secular knowledge and values. In its place, they want a Christian-sponsored educational system that will assure that children are indoctrinated into fundamentalism, have daily prayers, teach creationism, do away with sex education, and propagate David Barton’s false history.

“I hope to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we don’t have public schools,” wrote the Rev. Jerry Fallwell. “The churches will have taken them over again, and Christians will be running them.” Michelle Bachmann once started a charter school to replace the “godless” secular schools but was forced out of the board of directors when she proselytized the students.

Before a takeover happens, Christian parents are urged to take their children out of public schools to be homeschooled instead. A glimpse into a Dominionist homeschool gives us an idea on what American kids could expect to learn once Dominionists have taken over:

Government: “All governments are ordained by God, but none compare to government by God, theocracy.”

Economics: “We present free-enterprise economics without apology and point out the dangers of communism, socialism, and liberalism to the well-being of people across the globe.”

Science: ” . . . the universe as the direct creation of God and refutes the man-made idea of evolution.”

Math: “Unlike the ‘modern math’ theorists, who believe that mathematics is a creation of man and thus arbitrary and relative, we believe that the laws of mathematics are a creation of God and thus absolute . . . [These books provide] mathematics texts that are not burdened with modern theories such as set theory . . . ”

2 Female Subservience

We read in Ephesians 5:22: “Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord.” This forms the basis of women’s roles in the proposed theocracy. Simply put, it will mark the end of gender equality and women’s rights. Women will be relegated to the home, pleasing their husbands, taking care of the kids, and making more babies, or as a critic put it, “dishwashing, suckling and sex.” The Dominionist newsletter Chalcedon Report deplored the situation in America today: “The devastating curse of women ruling over men is getting the press it deserves today . . . Our nation is under judgment. As the home goes, so goes the nation.”

Young girls are taught that their place is in the home and that any desire for a college degree or a job outside the home is prideful and sinful. Homeschooler Doug Phillips says, “Daughters, by no means, are not to be independent. They’re not to act outside the scope of their father, and then later, their husbands. As long as they’re under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can’t just go out independently and say, ‘I’m going to do this or marry whoever I want.’ ”

Once married, they are encouraged to “pop out some kids” to swell the ranks of Christian soldiers. So says Leah Smith in her to-do list for dominion, where she prompts Christian mothers to “get busy” and outstrip the Muslim birthrate (six kids per household average). Besides household skills, girls should learn apologetics, theology, and evangelism. Smith tells the ladies to “go back to being women, with joy and celebration” as slaves of men.

1  World War III

If Dominionism poses a threat to American democracy, it is even more dangerous to world peace and stability. Dominionists taking over the US would give America’s nuclear stockpile to religious fundamentalists with an apocalyptic mentality. And recent news has shown us that religious fanaticism and military firepower are a lethal mix.

Consider Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who can be described as a Christian Jihadist. He believes in holy war against Islam, with the US military as God’s army. He reports seeing demonic entities in photos of fighting in Somalia, enemies who “will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus.” Incredibly, this intolerant warmonger became deputy Undersecretary of Defense for intelligence. With people like Boykin in command positions, World War III just might be the mother of all religious wars.

With a mindset that regards Israel as an important player in the prophetic end-times drama, the Christian Right is also against a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Palestinians are illegal occupants of the land God gave to His chosen people and there could never be a compromise, a two-state solution.

Dominionists can also self-righteously justify overthrowing foreign governments not Christian enough to their liking. Since the US already has a long history of such interventions, only a change in rationale from political to religious is needed.

The gap between the US and Europe may also widen, with Christians mistrusting the secular and irreligious tendencies of their trans-Atlantic allies. The end of the European partnership would have detrimental effects on global economy and security.

Freaked out? I sure am. Almost to the point of going out and purchasing ordinance – because these fucking nutters aren’t ‘hearing the voice of gawd’, these assclowns are just plain hearing voices. Which makes them psychotic AND dangerous.

They’ll try to take my constitutional rights away, but I will put up one helluva fucking fight when they do. Even at gunpoint.

Till the next post then.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Blind Leading The Blind: They Both End Up Dipshits

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

abbottinfoilAnd here I thought Rick Perry was bad – his successor is even worse:

Texas Governor Vetoes Mental Health Bill Because He Doesn’t Believe Mental Illness Is Real

Even though Rick Perry has received his fair share of criticism for his actions as Governor of Texas, there are some believe that his successor, Greg Abbott, has revealed himself to have even “crazier” ideas. Examples include appointing someone who was homeschooled by Christian parents to oversee the state’s public education system and organizing the state’s guard troops to ensure that president Obama doesn’t “invade” Texas during recent military exercises. A recent investigation has uncovered an even more troubling action on Abbott’s part: shaping medical policy based on advice from Scientologists.

Governor Abbott has recently vetoed a bipartisan bill which would give more resources to medical professionals that help residents dealing with mental health problems. The bill in question was widely popular, supported by many large medical associations in the state and both political parties.

Instead, Abbott killed the bill after receiving information from a Scientology group which believes that mental illnesses are a myth and that treating them causes more harm than good for the patients. Scientology, based on the writings of its founder L. Ron Hubbard, is strongly opposed to psychiatry in all its form and even compares mental health professionals to “terrorists” in some of its publications.

One of the reasons why the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, the group run by Scientologists, opposed the bill is because it contained a provision that would have prevented patients from refusing mental health care if they were determined by physicians to be a danger to themselves or to others.

WOW – what a big bundle of bullshit. It’s not enough this asshole has already cost the Texan taxpayers millions of dollars suing the Obama administration: now he’s going to seriously fuck up the lives of the mentally ill.

No one in their right mind should listen to Scientologists anyways, their epistemology stems from a make-believe alien cobbled up from the destitute imagination of a truly bad writer.

This then, is another perfect illustration of what I’m always on about: people of faith letting their belief lead the way instead of objectively weighing the options and making a choice that would be fair to all.

I actively distrust Christians based not on my ‘belief’ (because if that’s what leads you in the 21st century, you need to learn a new tune!), but from the millions upon millions of bad choices and examples – you can try to argue against track records, but that never works (or ends well). I trust Scientologists even less. If they combine forces on something, you just know that whatever that something is, it’s utterly fucked up.

Any person who can say that there is no such thing as mental illness, is either delusional, stupid, or both.

Till the next post then.

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Sunday, August 09, 2015

Allegories Gone Wild: We Are Legion, For The Crazy Are Many

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

Ouija_Possessed_Head_Spin

Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many." – Mark 5-9

Between sexuality and sin, one would think religion has fucked up enough people. But noooo…..the garbage just keeps on spilling over into the real world.

For instance.

Wanted: The Philippines Needs More Exorcists

Alvin Bailon and his wife were at their wits' end last September. Their 12-year-old son, an honors student, had begun having anxiety attacks, mostly about school. "And then all of a sudden he would slowly lose consciousness," Bailon recalls. "We term it as doze off. He would doze off and he would fall down slowly."

They brought him to three doctors, had his brain scanned (no irregularities were found), tried all sorts of anxiety pills prescribed by doctors. They even went to healers who use crystals for therapy.

Then they tried a beach retreat that the healers had recommended. Their son did well, but Bailon says on the car ride home the child "dozed off" and whispered in a totally unfamiliar voice, "Shhh, you might wake him up."

That's when the Bailons did what many in the overwhelmingly Catholic country do when facing a family crisis: They turned to the church — and its Office of Exorcism, opened in 2006 to address a growing number of cases and run by Father Jose Francisco Syquia.

Dressed in a short-sleeve button-down shirt, the Rome-trained exorcist says he has been driving demonic spirits out of people and houses for more than a dozen years. He has seen a steady increase in cases in the past decade, with 200 so far this year.

"At any given time we have at the minimum 30 cases," says the 48-year-old. "And we're only five exorcists."

Father Syquia leads a team of four priests who get additional assistance from volunteers: psychiatrists, doctors, lawyers and laypeople.

Given the number of cases he's juggling, Syquia recently sent a letter to the Philippine bishops conference asking that it send one resident exorcist to each of the country's 86 dioceses.

"[The] majority of them do not have exorcists or a team of exorcists that deal with these kinds of cases," says Syquia. "Therefore many of the Filipinos tend to go to the occult practitioners, what we call the faith healers, spiritists, etc."

Syquia believes these occult healers are responsible for the increased number of demonic possessions. The healers leave a person with "spiritual openings" that allow demons to latch on, he says.

Meanwhile, it's a draining job for the official exorcists. Just one session of prayers for a possessed individual can last four hours. And it may take several sessions, according to Syquia, to drive out evil spirits.

"That's very tiring," says Father Winston Cabading, secretary general of the University of Santo Tomas and a member of Syquia's team.

Not only that, the exorcists also have to deal with the aftereffects. They believe that demons retaliate against the priests.

"You expect that there will be more, what we call, retaliations because you are jumping into enemy territory and retaking ... what truly belongs to God," says Syquia. "And therefore it's more like maybe a commando raid behind enemy lines."

At least one of Syquia's trainees quit. Syquia says the trainee believed he had developed unexplained illnesses because of the work he was doing.

Nonetheless, Syquia believes young priests and seminarians have a real interest in spiritual warfare. And if they stick to it, they can help people like Alvin Bailon's son. After 10 months and 14 prayer sessions, Bailon says the boy is almost his old self.

"We've seen a lot of improvement in my son's condition, which is most important," the father reports. "He's back in school. He's doing so well, he's actually very independent."

What a complete load of bullocks. Big problem is, the Philippines (like many other 3rd world countries) is woefully behind in both medical and psychiatric technology, so they have to try to bind things together with glue and string. The Spaniards really fucked that country up with their Catholic bullshit.

There’s no such things as demons. It’s superstitious crap, which is yet one more reason (among many) we should go about denouncing the wholly bibble. At this point, I could care less if some gullible fools get all squiggly about how they’re butt-hurt: they can bite me. I take the time to denounce that nasty little tome of iniquity and death every chance I get. Popularity contests are for high-school teens (and brain dead Republicans). If we have to step on a few toes to get some progress, too damn bad. This sort of thing is a waste of valuable time, resources, and human emotion.

Till the next post, then.

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Saturday, August 01, 2015

Original Sin And The Slaughter Of Self Esteem

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

cakeordeathoriginalsin“The idea of original sin--of guilt with no possibility of innocence, no freedom of choice, no alternatives--inherently militates against self-esteem. The very notion of guilt without volition or responsibility is an assault on reason as well as on morality. Sin is not original, it is originated--like virtue.” ― Nathaniel Branden

There are few things more pernicious, more insidious in our culture, than this bankrupt concept of ‘original sin’.

It may have served our ancestors millennia ago as as explanation of why we as a species fuck up so frequently, but it is an outmoded, dated concept submerged in superstitious nonsense.

As anyone reading this knows, it is hard being born human, because we collectively face so many obstacles growing up. Learning how to walk, talk, handle utensils, etc., most of that is a trial. But the budding personality? That constant search for identity? Mixed in with puberty, it is easy to state that it’s a sort of torment for just about everyone (anyone out there who had an easy time of it, please speak up. We could always call Ripley’s.). Generally, I think we can all agree, it’s a real trial just existing.

Of course two (or more) millennia ago, our ancestors (barbarians all) had a rotten time figuring this all out. Why do people fuck up so often? Why is it so difficult to just exist? Well, back then they just made shit up. There were all kinds of explanations, but usually humans go with the simplest explanation, regardless of how much sense it makes (or even if it doesn’t). Mostly the god nod of ‘original sin’ was reinforced at gunpoint, swordpoint or spearpoint, plus constant repetition, until everyone just accepts this at face value.

Now I’m going to skip the usual (and overdone) snickering at a talking reptile offering a piece of fruit to the original ingĂ©nue (ridiculous as it is), and address the special pleading folderol. So let’s subtract the supernatural, and watch as the craziness unfolds.

Hypothetically speaking: we have an adult raising a child. Once the child reaches some glimmer of sentience, the adult tells the child that s/he was born deficient. In fact, the child is told in great depth and measure that just because s/he exists, that child is completely screwed up. And why? Great-great-great-great grandma did something wrong, something that permanently stained all subsequent offspring to this day. And all the offspring have to make some sort of emotional commitment to a designated ‘designer’ in order to escape this genetic mishap. Mind you, there is no ‘cure’: there is only the temporary balm of throwing some emotion into the air, begging the very sky itself for some sort of alleviation. At least until the person dies.

Does anyone see the disconnect here? If it were ‘gawd’, then it’s okay. But if a real human did this sort of garbage, Special Services would be plucking the child from that human’s care. Because not only is that scenario stupid, it’s psychotic. Personally, I find it amazing that I even accepted this placidly back in the day, but that’s because the idea of ‘sin’ is so entrenched in our culture, that it’s generally accepted as ‘wisdom’, even though it is not.

So, it’s no small wonder, that when fed with a false premise (lay.ered by a perverse suppression of sexual drive), humanity has managed to harm itself, both physically and psychologically in the long run.

That we made it this far, with our capacity for self-destruction and self-deception, that is by far the greater testament to our species.

There is no sin – there is only responsibility.

Till the next post, then

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Religious Entrenchment: The ‘Higher Power’ Clause

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
12steptranslate(Hat tip to the Atheist Republic, where I learned about the following story.)

In the next few weeks, I am going to try address (read: bitch about ) the constant reminders of superstition in our culture, what I like to call the ‘god nods’. One never realizes how ubiquitous that is, until you become an atheist. Then, it seems the newly-self-aware atheist is being bombarded by all kinds of folderol, from ‘bless you’ when you sneeze, to reading about some tea-bagging idiot proclaiming ‘GAWD!’ from the podium while running for president. It just seems like it’s EVERYWHERE – a body can’t turn around in some states without being slapped in the face by a cultural anachronism from the last century.

Case in point:

Atheist Sent To Jail For Rejecting God, In Blatant Violation Of The Constitution

The Constitution doesn’t apply, apparently, when it comes to atheists. Barry Hazle, an avowed atheist from California, has had his parole revoked, and you’ll balk at why. According to Courthouse News Service, Hazle rightfully sued his parole officer, several corrections officials with the state of California, and Westcare Corp. for revoking his parole after his “congenial” refusal to acknowledge a higher power in a required 12- Step Program.

Hazle said that he had already expressed discomfort with participating in religiously based drug treatment programs after a plea of “no contest” to a methamphetamine possession charge. Despite the fact that everyone involved knew he was was an atheist, Hazle was released from prison into a 90-day treatment facility, where all of the programs available followed the 12 step method, which requires the acknowledgment of a higher power. When Hazle refused to participate, the staff reported him to his parole officer, and he went back to prison for 100 days.

Hazle filed a efderal civil rights suit seeking damages for false imprisonment and other civil rights violations. San Francisco U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell found the defendants in Hazle’s case liable for civil rights violations. However, when he turned the case over to a jury, they awarded Hazle zero damages.

Hazle appealed for a new trial, and was denied. Finally, a three- judge panel of the 9th Circuit found that Hazle was entitled to damages in his civil rights suit. From Judge Stephen Reinhardt:

The district judge’s finding of liability establishes that Hazle suffered actual injury when he was unconstitutionally incarcerated. Given this undisputed finding that Hazle’s constitutional rights were violated, and applying the rule that the award of compensatory damages is mandatory when the existence of actual injury is beyond dispute, we hold that the district judge erred in refusing to hold that Hazle was, as a matter of law, entitled to compensatory damages. We therefore reverse the district judge’s denial of Hazle’s motion for a new trial.

I’ll say he is entitled. And if the damages awarded are something insanely small, we’ll know where this nation stands with regards to the First Amendment: it only applies to some. Then again, we already knew that, didn’t we?

This is something we may all have encountered (I certainly have, multiple times). I have had a lot of friends in AA – but the ‘higher power’ thing? If someone asks me (no, not in AA thankfully), I’d simply state that humanity would be my ‘higher power’, which likely Hazle didn’t come up with. This goes hand-in-hand with the question, ‘don’t you want to be part of something larger’? Already am. Humanity. This also applies to the concept fronted by the ‘divine command’ folks. You know who I mean – the idiots who try to take credit for human morality, and try weakly to argue that all their morality comes from their imaginary friend, and somehow everyone else is ‘borrowing’ their morality (reification fallacy – how can anyone ‘borrow’ an abstract? Is there interest charged? Batshit crazy, that is).

The “selective rights” thing is going to be a thing of the past – equal rights. What a concept.

Because yes, freedom OF religion requires freedom FROM religion. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Till the next post then.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Extreme Religiousness As Mental Illness: File This Under ‘About Bloody Time!’

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

strongmedsA casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith proves nothing – Nietzsche.

I think (but am not sure: the inevitable encroachment of entropy has claimed more than a few brain cells) that I’ve been on about this for some time. And voila! Someone finally has gotten a clue:

American Psychological Association To Classify Belief in God As a Mental Illness

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), a strong and passionate belief in a deity or higher power, to the point where it impairs one’s ability to make conscientious decisions about common sense matters, will now be classified as a mental illness.

The controversial ruling comes after a 5-year study by the APA showed devoutly religious people often suffered from anxiety, emotional distress, hallucinations, and paranoia. The study stated that those who perceived God as punitive was directly related to their poorer health, while those who viewed God as benevolent did not suffer as many mental problems. The religious views of both groups often resulted in them being disconnected from reality.

Dr. Lillian Andrews, professor of psychology, stated, “Every year thousands of people die after refusing life-saving treatment on religious grounds. Even when being told ‘you will die without this treatment’ patients reject the idea and believe that their God will still save them. Those lives could be saved simply by classifying those people as mentally unfit for decision making.”

“Jehovah Witnesses for instance,” Dr. Andrews continued, “will not accept blood under any circumstance. They would rather die than to receive life-saving donor blood. Many religious people believe they have “healing power” in their hands. Many believe they can communicate with God using a personal language, which is unknown to anyone but the communicator and God (known as speaking in tongues). Many often tell of seeing spirits. All of these are signs of a mental break and a loss of touch with reality. Religious belief and the angry God phenomenon has caused chaos, destruction, death, and wars for centuries. The time for evolving into a modern society and classifying these archaic beliefs as a mental disorder has been long overdue. This is the first of many steps to a positive direction.”

With the new classification, the APA will lobby to introduce legislation which would allow doctors the right to force life-saving treatment on those who refuse it for spiritual reasons on the grounds that they are mentally incapable of making decisions about their health.

The American Psychological Association says more information about the study and the new classification will be made available to the public in their upcoming journal (which is expected to be release in early August).

Whoo hoo! Hurray for the APA!

Now of course this isn’t targeting your average believer – for the most part, a lot of these folks sit around smoking cigarettes in their trailer parks, deluding themselves that they’re a part of a grander scheme (yeah, some divine plan there – dying broke and toothless, waiting for the handout from on high that never comes). No, the folks I worry about are the Mansons and the Chos – or we can reach back in time and look at all the lives that could’ve been saved if people had just realized that religious fruitcakes like Jim Jones, David Koresh or Timothy McVeigh (yeah, don’t bullshit me: any idiot who says ‘science is my religion’ is obviously covering for his faith) should’ve been put in some kind of institution, not become leaders of any sort. Joan of Arc? Crazy. And if it hadn’t been for her antics, we’d not have had Gilles de Rais. (Shudder)

And this is the part that cracks me up: we could, under the auspices of this study, commit a HUGE percentage of the GOP (if not all of them). I don’t trust a single one of those pricks as far as I can sling a piano. As I’ve stated (endlessly no doubt), folks who will put their faith above decisions that affect everyone are not to be trusted in office, because these people will ruin other lives due to ‘belief’.

And of course, those recalcitrant (read: stupid) parents who are convinced, regardless of all the evidence available, that their ‘gawd’ is going to cure their sick children. Maybe we should have all potential parents tested. And don’t get maudlin on me: we’ve all seen at least one instance on Facebook where some woman or man are behave in a manner unbefitting a human being, let alone a parent. And think about this: in order to adopt, you will be put through a literal wringer being vetted, but if you just give birth, hey, no harm no foul. Talk about inequitable.

But I digress.

Slowly but surely, our species is finally beginning to awake from the fever-induced fugue of religious thought. We can only hope that it continues as it has, albeit quickly.

Till the next post then.

ADDENDUM:

Yes, it has been pointed out that this is a satire – which I took seriously because A. I was seriously exhausted, & B. I should’ve known it was too good to be true. Apologies.

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