Tag Archives: Religion

It’s Not Zen; It’s Neurosis

Although the title is in jest, as by no means am I qualified to identify mental illness, I have to point out my perplexity in the face of the toothpaste commercial smiles, literal or figurative, displayed by religious zealots I have debated. More often than not, the glibness masks a deep anxiety, which surfaces as soon as their claims are disputed.

It’s almost as if they had something to prove to themselves, not to the world at large, about the purity of their positivity and beliefs.

At first sight, they look down on the rest of us mortals from a mountain top, convinced they have mastered not only the art of flawless living, but also boundless love for mankind and the perfect, guru-like composure.

“God has filled me with love; like Him, I love even those who hate me; I know it’s not their time to understand the divine plan yet. I look upon them with compassion, extending my hand with a fragrant flower and the holy scriptures. I know they will someday find the right path and I have a duty to point them towards it. I smile at them and speak softly, and nothing can ever disturb my peace.”

Not only are their claims about the world, so gently expanded upon, often offensive and repulsive (when not simply delusional); when they are challenged, this love swiftly morphs into indignation, false pity and even disdain.

However, there are those non-believers who take the “niceness” seriously for the sake of civility (though claiming to be free thinkers) and thereby defend it, regarding the drivel-spewer as an elegant dove of peace, as long as their tone remains a soft one. The grotesque nature of what they are actually saying seems beside the point. Pretending that it doesn’t bother me or insult my intelligence would be a lie.

The invisible Stasi 

When speaking to a believer, one must remain aware that they are not only preoccupied with what their interlocutors think, but also with how they fare before the omnipresent, ever-recording God, who takes note of their every word and thought, to someday hold them accountable. Which is why a natural dialogue, unrestrained by such concerns, is hardly possible. It’s like having an invisible oppressor over your shoulder, speaking only what he/she would like to hear, in anticipation of a reward or punishment, if not now then later.

Imagine this train of thought inside a believer’s head, in a real time conversation with a detractor.

“I’m calm because You want me to be calm. OK, this one is a little standoffish. Inspire me to persuade him. Nope, that didn’t work. He’s really getting on my nerves now but I must be kind, because he will eventually see Your greatness. Should I call him out? You called people out so I guess it’s alright. I can’t lose my temper though because I will fail you and I can’t afford that. OK, this didn’t work either. Let’s up the game a bit. I know it’s hypocritical; I’m far from perfect; but you want me to teach him, right? I’m doing your work here. Unless I lose my humility and then I’ll be guilty of pride and sent to hell. But this guy just blasphemed; it’s unacceptable. Will you please forgive him? I must pray for him; it’s my duty. I must show love. Alright; that’s it. Warrior mode now. There’s a time and a place and this is it. Give me strength to put up with this idiot and set him straight. Oh, here goes the pride again… I’m sorry. But I must fight your war. That slightly compensates for my sins, which are numerous. Oh shit; I’m going to hell anyway, aren’t I?”

Of course these thoughts would occur at the speed of light, but that’s a glimpse into how it feels to live with the divine Stasi in your head. Everything is filtered through what he would or wouldn’t want from his loyal minion.

Which is why a conversation of this type cannot unfold naturally.

Satan in the bush

Not only is God following and recording the believer in real time; Satan lurks nearby as well. And as we know from Christian teachings, he seeks to exploit someone’s flimsiest weakness. He reads minds too – that’s how they have to watch their thoughts constantly, lest they be intercepted and used for temptation.

That is why the believer is, deep down, in a perpetual state of anxiety – and that’s why a relaxed and “loving” conversation can swiftly turn into the non-believer being warded off as a propagator of devilish lies. Have you ever noticed how quickly they switch their mode? It’s no secret that, as the “Satanic panic” proves, devout Christians see threats to their purity everywhere and are quick to avoid potential corruption. There are countless videos claiming to identify satanic influences in popular culture.

The very next step, for some, is to claim that non-believers (and especially anti-theists) are, wittingly or not, “working for the devil” (hey Satan, cough up the dough; I’m due a few years’ wages).

A believer therefore cannot yield an inch, for fear of leaving God or Satan with the impression of taking their faith less seriously. If a mere “maybe” slips past their lips or keyboard, it’s bad news.

God’s persecuted soldier

One might wonder how a person can seem Prozac-happy while thinking the world is evil, adverse to anything pure and a constant source of corruption.  The cult member/religious fanatic grin, accompanied by a glazed stare, is partly rooted in the thought of being special.

We are the chosen ones, who will emerge victorious; we rejoice anything the world throws at us.

This mentality leads them to see anyone attempting to reason with them as their persecutors, their enemies, who seek to transform the world into a satanic kingdom of debauchery and cold, murderous utilitarianism (atheists are associated with Nazism, communism etc).

Hence even a simple debate turns into the ancestral fight between good and evil; not only are they inflating their role but seeing you as a revolutionary for the destruction of the world (for, say, agreeing with gay marriage). Every anti-theist position you hold, even mildly, grants you that label automatically. They are at war, imagining you want to destroy them (yep, that actually happens and it’s quite something to witness).

The prodigal son fetish

I’ve seen believers describe (so candidly) their fantasies of the day those who reject God will turn around and glorify him, as if positioned atop a hill, watching the end of a long torment they suspect unbelief is (indulge in some popcorn while you’re at it). This phantasm fills their hearts with warmth and produces a delighted smile, based on… well, a shit sandwich. Based on nothing, basically.

Somehow they’re unable to comprehend how alienating that is and how it facilitates cutting contact with them altogether. It’s uncomfortable to relate to someone when in real time they are developing this parallel fantasy in their head where you’re concerned (one you’re aware will never manifest). The fact that they don’t accept you for who you are is reason enough to distance yourself (when feasible, of course). Whilst you might exercise tolerance with an elderly relative, everything considered, when it comes to friends matters are very different.

The saviour/ teacher fantasy

Isn’t it every believer’s dream to bring a poor lost soul into/  back into the fold? The condescension and tone of the wise lecturer are enough to make someone vomit.The appeal to emotion, the manipulation and all the cheap techniques they imagine they can use on you only produce embarrassed laughter, in the vein of this is so pathetic. 

Holding the absolute truth, a believer is convinced of being able to outsmart you and gently prod you into joining the ranks. The bouts of creativity in approaching you don’t demonstrate genuine wisdom or profound thought, but a mere sales pitch.

Don’t you know it’s their duty to love and correct you, to feel sad when you sin (although they do it constantly as well)? The righteous have a duty to “preach the truth”, even after in practice they fall short of following it.

Which is why you must be made to believe that they are genuinely better and happier than the general population.

Mutual reinforcement 

“Don’t worry; these people are on such a low level; they lack the proper understanding of our doctrine. They’ve got their own role as our challengers. But we’re safe in our world (wink wink).”

Community spirit can be so helpful and yet so damaging, depending on the circumstances. When troubled by logical questions posed by nonbelievers, believers often seek comfort in the safe bosom of their echo chamber. In conversations with multiple interlocutors, a dialogue of this type feels like observing a case of folie a deux. There is no need for reason or logical arguments, only exultation on both sides.

Tell them all you like that Noah couldn’t have gathered and “housed” all species of subterranean animals, not to mention all animals living halfway across the planet, which wouldn’t even have survived in his particular climate. That he was not a tamer of lions and pumas and crocodiles. That a boat that size, with the available materials and technology, wouldn’t even float.”God made it happen”, because “God can do anything”.

The glibness sometimes comes from the reassurance that no matter how far-fetched the things they claim are, there is someone in the vicinity to provide an echo. In fact, in a fair number of countries, the religious constitute the majority, which is why they can happily spill any bullshit without worrying about how it sounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wankery Of Guaranteed Divine Protection

It’s quite funny when one mostly has atheist or agnostic pages in their FB news feed, yet somehow gets Christian propaganda every few days. Some groups actually target non-believers.

One recent example was an inspirational tale of how a young woman was nearly mugged on a back alley one night, the only thing keeping her safe being the two angels walking beside her.

It goes like this: when walking home on a dark street to take a shortcut, a young Christian woman saw a man in a doorway and immediately prayed for safety. He left her alone, but went on to mug someone else passing by, whose guardian angels must’ve been sleeping on the job. Oddly enough, the lucky girl heard about it the next day and went to the police to see if she could help identify the thug. As soon as she pointed him out, the thug confessed and told the story of her having had “two tall men by her side”.

Of course no location or names were present in the story; that might lead a person or two to try to verify it. Though such an outlandish story would need chances of verification in order to not be dismissed straight away.Apparently, the mugger was able to see angels (an extraordinary ability not many hardcore Christians have).

And of course it’s rather odd that being pointed out by the one he’d actually mugged was not enough for him to confess. She was the first to go to the police and give details, accurately enough for him to be found and taken into custody. But the climax (his confession) only occurred when the second one turned up. Not to mention the second one (angel girl) had no proof this had been the same person who had mugged the actual victim.

So basically, a guy who mugs women and doesn’t give a shit about the victim identifying him suddenly confesses when recognised by someone who has no proof of any wrongdoing on his part (who just passed him by in the street the same night). Makes sense, right?

But let’s indulge the story for a second. Even so, it would be no proof of the mugger actually seeing a couple of angels. Perhaps he was stealing to feed his drug habit; who knows what he was on and what else he might’ve seen besides the “two tall men” who weren’t actually there.

As a disclaimer, I’m not saying I don’t believe in apparitions; they are common throughout the world, yet equally enigmatic. I don’t, however, believe spirits can be brought into manifestation at the drop of a hat, by simply wishing for it. And I don’t believe in guardian angels who presumably allow all kinds of atrocities against innocent people daily, yet are credited for intervening sometimes.

The moral of the story might be either one of these:

  • Putting oneself in risky situations is fine provided you ask for protection from your guardian angels;
  • The victim of the mugging didn’t have God on her side;
  • We should thank God when others are harmed instead of us;
  • God loves people so much he lets anything happen to those who aren’t smart enough to pray to him in real time;
  • Angels are protection mechanisms needing activation (unless you ask them for help in real time they remain dormant or stand by and watch).

I wonder then why people are turned into martyrs for Jesus across the planet. Presumably they pray for safety as well, but the “two tall men” never show up.

Later Edit

The second inspirational story arrived recently; I’ve no idea if a Christian group posted it, the only clue being in the author’s fleeting “and that’s proof of how the Lord works”, something along these lines.

It was a moving story of two elderly people meeting in the same retiring home, after having spent sixty years apart, in perpetual loneliness (neither had married and they’d both been in love since their youth).

It goes like this: a bloke finds a wallet and in it an old letter, written sixty years prior, of a young lady parting with her boyfriend as her mother objected. He manages to track her down to a care home and finds the owner of the wallet living there as well, the two being unaware of each other’s presence (living on different floors in the same building). Then he helps them meet and so on, a happy ending.

Logistically, to me it seems strange that two people who’d been in love with each other for more than six decades, living in the same place, hadn’t crossed paths before to recognise each other. It just seems unlikely. You’d recognise the face of the one person you’ve ever loved, even many decades after. The guy was keen on wandering about apparently, as he’d lost his wallet on the pavement well outside of that care home. It seems strange to me he’d never wandered around in the building to find the lady in question. Plus, her letter was in his wallet, which he frequently lost, often found by staff – who were aware of both their names. Surely someone would’ve seen it and told the guy she was living there. It makes no sense.

But let’s give the story the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s true.

It still wouldn’t be the proof that God is kind and merciful. If he had been, he would’ve made these people cross paths earlier in life, when they could still get married and build a life together. The young lady wasn’t going to be 16 and under her mother’s thumb forever. It would be a story of elation yet depressing sadness in equal amounts. Sixty years of misery, so God could plan his great moment of reunification when they both only had a few years left to live.

If this actually happened, it was chance or whatever you want to call it, but not God’s merciful intervention.

Things The Religious Should Never Say To A Non-believer Reloaded

Since the last post on the subject is comprehensive but by no means complete, here is another list of common retorts which, if you’re lucky, will not cause a aneurysm.

  1. It doesn’t matter if the claims of my religion are historically accurate.

You cannot expect anyone to respect the so-called validity of your claims given that you yourself don’t even care if they are true. How’s that for arrogance?

Your presumably 100% correct values come from the same sources as those tales you don’t care to verify. And yet you want them to remain unchallenged, as if you could somehow arbitrarily separate what matters and what doesn’t in your dogma.

Your religion is based on characters which either exist or don’t and events which either happened or didn’t. You can’t subtract part of the story and still hold on to the claim of absolute truth.

You can’t claim to know the nature of the seen and unseen world, the afterlife and the future based on a book which, well, just might’ve got part of the past wrong.

2. It’s actually just a metaphor.

If some absurd-sounding stories are simply metaphors, what should we make of the rest? Who decides what’s a metaphor in there and what isn’t? Maybe the bearded man in the sky, presumably possessing hands, is just one big metaphor as well. Face it – you have no certainty regarding any aspect of it, and yet you promote it all as truth.

3. Only idiots would try to verify the Bible by taking it literally. It was written for enlightened minds which can actually decipher it.

How about you keep it for yourselves then (oh enlightened ones) and stop trying to convert the world. Face it, that makes no sense, for a god trying to reveal himself to the masses to pass down such cryptic information that only a few, with great mental strife, can make sense of it. It is either simple enough to be passed around in mass conversions, to be understood by anyone, or reserved for a fortunate few. You can’t have it both ways

4. All religions actually worship the same god under different names.

How is it then that the god of some commands them to kill those worshiping a different god then? And that the so-called sacred principles between religions are so at odds with each other they have caused wars? If everyone is inspired by the same deity, how come dogmatic differences constitute the sole reason for clashes between confessions and sects, let alone different religions?

5.You should shut up and respect the majority opinion. The majority is always right.

I bet you wouldn’t claim that if the majority opposed your views; I bet the persecuted minority status would suit you quite well then. The majority was not right when engaging in lynchings, witch burning or, should your claims have any validity, crucifying Jesus.

6. Pascal’s wager is valid.

In other words, if you believe in God to play it safe, just in case there is a judgement in the afterlife, you can’t lose.

I mean, it’s not like in the event of it all being false, you would lose anything by organising your entire life (presumably, the only life you have) around a lie and letting it dictate your smallest choices. It’s not like that would limit you needlessly and ruin your chances of truly understanding the meaning of life, right?

The cognitive dissonance is just so blatant; their ideas are so contradictory they cannot maintain a coherent thought pattern in a single conversation.

 

Of Norman Bates And Christian Apologetics

As a non-believer, with no recourse for returning to faith ever again, there is still value in watching debates over the claims of Christianity, if for no other reason than having all I’d taken for granted debunked bit by bit, showing the susceptibility of the human mind to absorb lies, if they are inculcated early enough in life.

I realise why the issue of blind faith is so important in Abrahamic religions – as religious institutions are aware that merely accepting doubt is a guaranteed path to non-theism. If you tear down one brick, admitting that at least one claim of said religion is absurd, the rest will soon crumble, like a house of cards.

It is enough to realise Noah never filled his ark with elephants, penguins, kangaroos and tarantulas, which somehow would’ve made their way from all corners of the Earth and all terrestrial ecosystems to one boat in the Middle East, to understand that some things in the Bible are undoubtedly fictional. And from there, this shadow of doubt is cast upon each claim it makes. Which is why apologists do their best to uphold even such laughable absurdities as Noah’s ark.

Those who still ardently believe do so because that is their core intention and no logical argument seems to be able to shake it. Nonetheless, there are many who took the path of intense Bible study and came out of it as atheists.

Watching Christians debate reminds me of a futile, sweat-inducing strife, the inability to let go of a long disproved concept, hanging on to it by any putrid, disheveling thread. In this strife, so-called holy texts are taken apart letter by letter, in the frantic search for historical facts, logic or meaning. And although the results are always flimsy, there is always some detail to imbue with sheer emotion, to be presented as a wonderful discovery.

It reminds me in a way of the inability to let go of a dead person, taking it to a pathological level.

You can embalm a cadaver, sit in on a chair, groom it, speak to it and even mimic the voice of the dead person to speak in his or her name. You can look for signs of communication, interpreting every trifle with great enthusiasm. You can deprive yourself of sleep to induce a trance and hallucinate, thinking you’ve had a real conversation.Yet undoubtedly, this is the product of your own mind, and you will never achieve this real time communication, as much as you may stage or mimic it.

If this person’s energy or soul exists out there, in a different layer of reality, it’s impossible for you to know with certainty. And whilst this is subject to imagination and speculation, one thing is clear: what you have in front of you and speak to is a cadaver which cannot hear you or answer back. That direct communication is over; it only carries on in your head.

It’s the same with this relationship with an absent, silent God you have no proof of (as by default you cannot have any). You can interpret coincidences as signs; you can thank him for helping you find your keys as someone, the same instant, needlessly dies of cancer across the road from you, but you imagine God is there for your every need, however small. You can engage in role play by praying and pretending to know what God’s message is, when observing what happens next, interpreted as concrete results or lack thereof – either way, “God’s will”.

Needless to say, this is a terrible waste of time and energy.

And century after century, it carries on – the attempt to put flesh on the imaginary bones of an imaginary God; to manifest him somehow.

Many former believers admit to having difficulty letting go of the imaginary friend called Jesus (not very strangely, no one seems to be missing Jehovah that much, when starting to lose their faith). Jesus embodies their hope, their love and feeling of purification through self-sacrifice; their resilience. These are all beautiful concepts and it is heinous of religion to get people to place them outside of themselves, to make them feel that when they let go of this Jesus character they also lose what made life worth living for them.

Ample documentation exists to prove Christianity is yet another man-made system of beliefs, achieved by borrowing elements of older religions. But even in the face of that, Christians refuse to let go of the delusion – because they feel they’d be losing a part of themselves.

That is the surreptitious, perverse nature of it all, which keeps this machine going.

Refusing Doubt – The Mental Barricade Of Religion

Having had many conversations with religious people over the last few weeks, Christians to be precise, I have come to some conclusions regarding their attitude towards the idea of an equal society, where all beliefs or lack thereof are respected in the same manner.

Religions based on proselytism seek the political domination of the area they exist in.

When living in the midst of a religious majority, in countries where laws are generally inspired by secular principles , non-believers are tolerated as long as they are not too vocal or, Heaven forbid, they try to influence or change the status quo by eliminating dogma from laws or politics, seeking to ensure religion is not imposed in any neutral environment, shared by all.

If and when non-believers raise concerns in that sense and try to diminish the imagined superiority of said majority to dictate how things are run (as it happens in the case of LGBT rights or contesting the role of religion in education), the backlash is immediate and comes with a seasoning of moral outrage.

They have no doubt regarding their right to impose their dogma on others. They refer to tradition, as if it were unheard of for traditions to change. And suddenly, they refer to themselves as a monolith, throughout history, although nothing could be farther from the truth.

Respecting others’ beliefs is a false claim, when what they really seek is to “save your soul”.

Intricate mental gymnastics are employed when trying to justify to themselves that agnostics or atheists, when formerly religious at least, are automatically wrong to have abandoned their beliefs. I will paraphrase some of the replies given to me:

Your soul is, really, crying out for God, otherwise you wouldn’t have this preoccupation of sharing your opinion on this subject. Those who contest God the most are those who need him the most.

You must’ve had some emotional problems, of feeling unloved, so you turned against God and all you claim as evidence is just confirmation bias for your decision.

It’s all about your ego, as if you had a brand new toy you want to show off.

All this, as if searching for truth were not a purpose in and of itself, as well as the refusal to believe in a lie (or a potential lie, when at the doubting stage).

This brotherly love, in this particular context, turns queasy, since one realises they are sometimes treated with kindness in the communal hope that they might one day be brought back to Jesus.

Respect for a person’s mental faculties does not enter this context, let alone and admission of the possibility that the person might be correct, at least partially. This so-called goodness is a masturbatory exercise, anticipating to be proven right in the near or far future.

Which makes sense, really; you don’t apply a modicum of consideration to someone else’s processes when you are convinced your point of view will be vindicated sometime by an all-knowing, all-powerful God. Which is why religion is so toxic when it comes to human interaction.

They accuse others of Neo-Marxism while arguing for the propagation of potential falsehoods “for the good of the collective”.

The world would crumble without religion. We would revert to a beastly nature and society would dissolve. Everyone arguing against the respect for dogmas is playing a part in a Neo-Marxist conspiracy to deprive mankind of its divine connection.

It appears as though this modern red scare, becoming clearer by the day, could not have succeeded in adding to the ideological tension, internationally, without the aid of religion. Whereas the left does exaggerate (and it often does), a new type of hysteria has arisen over the last few years, proved to be partially pushed by online Russian propaganda. Namely the right and far-right’s conviction that there is an international conspiracy, rooted in atheism or satanism or both, to eradicate the “true religion”, namely Christianity, through reforms demanded by the left.

Whilst more eccentric theories such as the belief in reptilians or a flat Earth are not so widespread, for obvious reasons, the theory of a sustained persecution of Christians in secular countries is something in the vein of Ebola. It stretches from lamenting the so-called war on Christmas (which they still see as genuinely connected to Jesus, despite undeniable evidence to the contrary), to congregations warned of the dangers of vaccines, seen as a tool of depopulating the planet (again, in spite of all evidence of the diseases now eradicated through vaccination).

There is no end in sight to this. Just as the radical left is driven by a false sense of knowing it all and having absolute moral superiority, the religious right is driven by the presumed need to defend the status quo “in the name of God”.

There is a truck-load of cognitive dissonance regarding what is known and unknown about God.

On the one hand, when discussing this world’s atrocities and the apparent divine uninvolvement in them, Christians for instance claim God’s reasons are unknown, and therefore cannot be judged by us mortal, limited humans. That is the basic response to every question involving why does God allow so and so to happen.

On the other hand, and sometimes in the very next breath, a Christian will claim to speak for God, by claiming this is what God wants or does not want, this is what God feels and this is what God will do.

No comment needed here.

The unwillingness to doubt implies a lack of basic intellectual honesty in debating non-theists.

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of religion is its power to provide unwavering convictions to its propagators, to the point of rendering them unwilling, and through that temporarily incapable of opening themselves up for an honest debate.

Since their stance is combative from the very beginning, coming from a point of presumed moral superiority, there is no getting through to them with hardcore data or logical arguments. These just do not penetrate that shield of apriori “nothing you say will ever make me doubt”.

Which renders the whole conversation rather pointless.

Confessions Of A Former Homophobe

Religious tolerance is on everyone’s lips nowadays, yet increasingly difficult to sustain, depending on the circumstances. Tolerance is far more easily attained when equality is present – when a religious group cannot push back the rights of others, justifying it as a crusade and needing no other reason than that.

For me personally, as an agnostic (regarding the possibility of a universal order, yet not regarding the artificiality of existing dogmas), this is not directed at one in particular, but rather at the concept of having a state religion, whether officially consecrated in laws or not.

This comes in the context of my country of origin, Romania, being in the process of “defending the traditional family” by modifying the Constitution to have it state that marriage is “between a man and a woman”, by this making sure that any attempt of legalising gay marriage will not be successful in the near future. As things are now, 70 to 80% of voters agree to this measure, partly driven by the feeling that there is an international conspiracy to subvert Christian nations. This is disseminated through part of the media and on a large scale, in churches.

And I can say, not without a fair amount of shame, that a few years ago I used to think like them, when this delusion added to the Christian base of my education. In order to see religion realistically, one must step outside of it and look at it from a distance, just like one has to when wanting to see the whole mountain and cannot do so while sitting under a tree at the foot of it.

In order to see the poison, the distortion and brainwashing one is subjected to when growing up in a religious country.

In this political context, of the need for a culture shift in order for everyone to have equal rights, a false need for preservation is foisted in people by propaganda, which makes them think a so-called soulless western world seeks to upturn their values and impose a Neo-Marxist tyranny upon them. Nothing could be more false.

They are arguing for a fossilised ideal, which was never a reality and can never be – the so-called sacredness of the traditional family, which is, as we speak, laden with a large number of divorces, child abandonment, infidelity and insecurity, on every level.

Moreover, their views on gay people are even more divorced from reality. Their main argument resides in the Bible, in a country which is not a theocracy, yet has managed to maintain a level of religiosity and ignorance enviable by Middle-Eastern theocracies.

For a member of Parliament to cite the Bible as a reason for discriminating against part of the population they are representing seems unreal in 2017, yet that is the reality.

And this reality is quite grim. Because gay people cannot wait for a few generations to enlighten themselves. They need these rights now. In this day and age, they are living as couples in secrecy, because of the risk of facing a backlash if found out. In the current year, in Europe, this is totally out of place. And yet, when this is debated by politicians, Biblical views are cited as relevant.

It’s quite baffling, really, the influence these archaic, unfounded views continue to have.

That other people’s sky goblins have to be shown reverence, or at least a modicum of respect, by those who do not believe in them.

That anyone should think an infringement on their presumed right to discriminate is an infringement on their “freedom of religion”.

Religious brainwashing is not limited to the countries where violence against infidels is encouraged. Christians lead their own “holy wars”. And some of them explicitly target people who are born with a different sexual orientation, and who have done so throughout history.

 

Heaven – The Selfish Mirage

As a child, I often wondered how would marriage after widow-ship fare with Heaven, if a person was supposed to remain with their spouse in the afterlife. Namely which equally legitimate spouse would be one’s eternal companion.

That, of course, was only one small question regarding this mysterious promised land of peaceful green pastures, where everyone, from infants to the elderly, would dwell until the end of time (or outside of it). Well, everyone minus most people on the planet, since the path to “salvation” is supposed to be so “narrow”, so narrow the troubled souls of the living would have to compete in arduousness in order to squeeze into the fortunate convoy.

Arguably, Hell is a much more grotesque and disturbing concept, yet in its own way, Heaven is as well. Atheism aside, if one is spiritual, the whole idea seems very unfair.

First of all, we should assume that arbitrarily, since God decides who lives or dies, he only allows some people a substantial duration of their existence (growing, maturing, becoming wiser), whilst for others that is cut short without the possibility of fully experiencing life on Earth.

Then, the status of children who die without having been christened comes into question: do they go to Heaven as well, and if not, how is this prospect not morally repugnant enough to make people doubt this religion? Some denominations, such as Orthodoxy, claim no one can enter Heaven without the ceremony in this specific rite. Recently, I’ve come across a fanatic online who didn’t deem such people worthy of a conversation on religion, regardless of their views, which is beyond medieval.

There’s something about clinging on to people who have died that seems a bit selfish, from a spiritual perspective – in terms of imagining they’re simply waiting for one’s presence, stacked on a vaporous shelf somewhere, looking down at the living they left behind.

As someone who believes in reincarnation, I find it more reasonable to think that when souls are freed from their mortal bodies they move on to different experiences and continue to grow through them. Reincarnation has long been studied and at times the search revealed cases where coincidence could only be claimed through the sheer belief that this phenomenon is impossible. The work of Dr Ian Stevenson alone is proof that this subject is anything but fiction or wishful thinking.

 

 

Will Most Christians Side With The Right Wing Again, As History Repeats Itself?

In the US at least, right-wing voices are intermingled with that of conservative Christians, all seeming to reach for the same goals, in the grand scheme of things. Of course Christians are greatly diverse, ranging from denominations and their hierarchies to individual believers.

This concern is mostly rooted in the declared support by the current administration of Christian causes, such as promoting religion (and creationism) in schools, stricter abortion laws or a halt in the progressive social engineering (the gender theory etc). While championing for these causes, Christians are being lured into supporting other policies which objectively conflict with their belief system – based on warmongering, xenophobia and corporatism. In terms of warmongering and xenophobia, this phenomenon is oddly reminiscent of the rise of the right in Europe during the 1930s and 40s, in the 20th Century. Though some claim this comparison is a crass exaggeration, there are parallels to be made.

Over the next few years it will be interesting to observe how they will react to the political shift towards isolationism and the ethnic purges envisioned by those favoured to reach power in Europe, as well as those already in power in the US.

Some reactions are positive (in terms of solidarity with the genuine underdog), such as participating in the creation of sanctuaries for immigrants who risk deportation. Indeed, many churches have joined this initiative, together with a number of synagogues and mosques.

The strong message from certain voices is not so encouraging, as many try to get people of faith to engage politically, putting all their support towards the new rise of conservatism, in a manner so uncritical one could compare it to the creation of a cult of personality.

“God will curse Trump’s opponents and their children and grandchildren”

Perhaps no type of rhetoric is more cringey and deserving of a spewing bucket than that of snake-oil-peddling Inforwars&Co, Alex Jones once claiming Trump had been touched by the Holy Ghost, on the night of his inauguration.

Christianity is, nowadays, in the positive sense, associated with humanitarianism, which stands in contrast with most reform ideas conservatives argue for.

Please pardon the minimal research and of-the-cuff nature of this post; the only certainty is that the following years will be very interesting and the true nature of many will be revealed, as individuals and collectives.

 

 

 

“Healing From Toxic Whiteness” – Social Justice And Religion

You won’t be surprised to hear that besides toxic masculinity, sectionable intersectional feminists have come up with the concept of toxic whiteness. In fact, Everyday Feminism is holding a free workshop for those interested in healing from it. It might not involve the handling of live snakes, convulsions and speaking in tongues, but the message is the same – you were born a sinner, you must repent, convert and make amends in order to be saved from yourself.

Like original sin, toxic whiteness goes unnoticed without the sufferer presenting any symptoms; however, akin to chlamydia, that doesn’t mean that it’s not there. In fact, it largely affects those who’ve never suspected they have it – all white people who have not yet repented of their melanin privilege, that is.

And doing healing work in community and not alone makes a big difference. So having a separate anti-racist healing space for white people, led by a person of color who can hold them accountable, is important for white supremacy to be dismantled.

Much like manginas, self-flagellating white people who have not committed one racist act in their entire lives seem to be affected by some sort of masochism, acting as vaseline to help the Marxist bullshit funnel slide down their throats more easily.

What radical socialists want is an enormous mass of converts, regardless of the type of guilt they insidiously instill into their minds. The so-called privileged are not the enemy but a recruitment pool of gullible fools who cannot see beyond adopting a trendy facade, even if the end result is the opposite of what they claim to be supporting – division, segregation and the breeding of actual racism.

It’s difficult to ignore the cult-like nature of social justice activism, if only for the crazed, manic looks it imprints on some people’s faces.

Submit. Repent. We will teach you. Will will heal you. We will deliver you from evil and show you the right path. Fight the good fight with us.

I for one am opposed to the notion of anyone being racist without knowing it or in spite of constantly analysing their potential racism. It seems to me that the people going to that type of event are the last ones needing “reeducated” in that sense.

The whole thing is reminiscent of how Christians go through their every word and thought with a fine-tooth comb, in search of any trace of sin, despite knowing they had no foul intentions to begin with.

Some become fevered with the obsession of being able to participate in changing the world, when in fact they cannot even get passed their own daily trivialities, such as microaggressions or, where Christians are concerned, anything from having wanked the week before to having sworn at an asshole in traffic.

Social justice activism demands total submission and dedication, 24/7. 

People are advised to disassociate from their significant others for contrary views, Scientology-style.

When some of them realise the farce they allowed to take over their existence, it will be too late to undo the damage done to their personal lives, never mind their sanity.

 

 

 

Religion And Creativity

Some say religion, as a spiritual matter which does not interfere with most other aspects of a person’s life, is relatively harmless if one does not engage in proselytism and bigotry. There is at least one instance, to my knowledge, of it interfering with someone’s vocation, when said vocation is artistic and involves creativity, which is based on free thought.

Below I will detail a few qualms I personally dealt with as a writer, for years on end, back when I considered myself a Christian (though never a practicing one).

Unless it glorifies God, all art is supposed to be pointless

Writing for the love of it is therefore a fruitless endeavour one only wastes time on, unless their purpose is to convey a message which is in accordance with religious teachings. Which basically invalidates everything related to purely human experience, including the dubious and sinful, from religion’s point of view. Logically, it would put writings which are intended as morally neutral in the same category. Investing one’s limited days on Earth, energy and emotion into something vacuous would therefore be a waste of time.

One is told they are either “of God” or “of the world” and should not become attached to anything the world offers, as it is a distraction from salvation. In this context you can end up asking yourself if writing is really worth it, if it may well be in vain.

The energy flow and writer’s block

Being stuck in a restrictive paradigm means filtering every thought through your value system, automatically, without even being conscious of it. This leads to strong internal conflict as you’re actually repressing and censoring yourself. For a person who naturally thrives on the creative act, that can be soul-destroying.

Writer’s block, I suspect, might be directly related to this process of limiting or stopping the transcendental flow of energy and the connection to the collective subconscious, which allows access to ancestral wisdom. Dismissing intuition; stopping budding thoughts and hypotheses about the world can only lead to stagnation, which is an unnatural state for the creative mind.

We often hear of  artistically prolific people using substances which stimulate the mind, making it race, to the point of achieving revelations (non-religious ones) about this confusing human experience. More often than not, when expressed, their findings ring true to many others; they are relatable as they strike a chord inside their very core. They gain access to timelessness, to values and ideas far beyond the preconceptions every human being is brought up with.

Filtering thoughts through the tight net of religious permissions means slowing the mind, missing the mark, being constantly thrown off course and never reaching those higher states, unless they can be associated with religious origins. The mind wastes away trying to reconcile the natural and the artificial in order to excel; it’s basically like living with a disease which halts development. One’s path is littered with minutiae, with the imaginary guilt of having violated the ultimate law.

We can plainly see that in the SJW generation as well, as it treats ideologies much like religious dogmas. Every minutia becomes an issue and reality itself is reduced to a source of constant discontent.

 Adult humour and adult themes in general

Though the whole message of a book might not be to actually promote principles contrary to religious teachings, even the inclusion of down-to-earth situations with a neutral attitude can seem “problematic” (I have developed an allergy to that word since SJWs have started using it so frequently, but it is appropriate here).

As someone who employs humour and humorous contexts as often as possible, I’ve found myself coming up with some which were hilarious yet involved sex outside of marriage, adultery, prostitution etc, with no condemnation whatsoever or negative consequences arising from those situations. Which is when I started asking myself – am I promoting this? Am I contributing to the minimisation of the negative effects these aspects have? If I published this, would it be able  to impact someone negatively, even in the slightest?

This is the level of needless guilt someone can experience because of indoctrination, instead of reveling in the fact that they have an open mind (and heart) and refuse to condemn others for behaviours society regards as transgressions. It’s not promotion of said lifestyle choices but merely describing facts of life. Whitewashing life is not possible. We are all prone to error; I know from experience that the little wisdom I have acquired is a result of making mistakes and analysing them in hindsight.

Language

As are risks and mistakes, profanity is also part of life; obstinately choosing a “clean” vocabulary deprives characters of their individuality, of their spontaneity. Letting the energy flow, engaging with the situations they are facing, makes language flow as well, in a multitude of directions.

When you allow that, they take on a life of their own, so to speak, independently of your views and standards of optimal behaviour. Or language.

Proselytism and propaganda

It’s only natural for writers to approach narratives which are close to their hearts and values. And it can be amazing as long as characters are allowed to be individuals with fully developed personalities and not just automatons or loudspeakers for a certain point of view – which religion can certainly cause.

The risk of pedantic, preachy dialogues, I fear, is directly proportional to the level of indoctrination in a certain direction (not necessarily religious, of course). And it’s then that it becomes transparent and feels artificial, and obviously appeals less to others.

There is definitely more to say on this subject, yet these are some important points, hopefully useful as well.