Thursday, October 18, 2012

Again, why I oppose religion. and especially Dominionism.


Every now and then someone makes a comment that causes you to sit back and think something over.  That happened to me this morning.  I was looking over Facebook briefly before going to work and someone posted a comment on a share I made last night of my previous post about Imprecatory prayer.  Her remark went like this:

well..i have never heard of imprecatory prayer before..i am fascinated at the thoughts this provokes in me..i will be talking to my pastor tomorrow about this..definitely...will be interesting to hear what he thinks about your article and imprecatory prayer...this is the kind of Christian activity (the letter)that causes me to shudder..and shake..with frustration and disbelief at the kind of individual who wrote that letter to mikey(and i did read about him..and i agree with him in principle and in practice)and is why i do not like to be labeled a Christian...i want to be known as a Believer in Christ Jesus..i believe in his Grace..without condemnation...without judgement of my fellow man..

My first thought was that, geez, if every person in this country who called themselves a christian felt like that, there would be far fewer atheists and a heck of a lot less strife about religion.  Then I stopped and thought about that further.

Is that true?  Most atheists I know didn’t leave because of people like those who wrote the letter I referred to yesterday, but because they finally stopped believing in invisible beings.  Yes, there would be less strife, but there would still be strife, because religion still causes people to believe different ways about the same thing.

There are something like 30,000 different denominations of christianity in this country, including all the little one-horse churches in rural areas.   I can guarantee you that every cotton-picking one of them has something they do differently or believes differently and many of them interpret many of the major (and many minor) books and verses of the Bible in very different ways.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, different strokes and all that, you know.

What IS wrong is that a few of those people want to make you, me and every other American go to church every Sunday and worship THEIR way.  They want us to listen to their prayers every time we turn around, and they are busily infecting our military with their poison so the military will back them up when they make their move to turn this country into a theocracy.

That’s what Mikey Weinstein is fighting, almost by himself, and why those folks behind that letter wrote with such hostile feeling and probably do really wish their god would treat Mikey much worse than Job got it.

I’ve posted about Dominionism in the past, and I know there are those of you who are rolling your eyes in disbelief.  “This is the United States, for goodness sake!   Nobody wants to overthrow a democratic government!”  I’m sure there were Romans who were shocked and surprised that somebody turned their precious Republic into an Empire, too.  But yes, there are people who live in this country, benefit from its freedoms, are enriched by its significantly rich capitalist economy and yet feel that its culture is in danger of bringing the wrath of god down on us, as if we were still living in the Old Testament.  These are people who believe that gay marriage will somehow destroy traditional marriage, that women should stay at home, barefoot and pregnant taking care of the huge brood of kids they’ll have because they can’t refuse sex with hubby and can’t refuse to carry the resulting baby to term.  These are the folks who believe that their prayers - their prayers - will result in god bringing down his wrath on Mikey and any other enemy they choose to name for him to aim at.  These are people whose pride and arrogance are such that they believe that their enemies are god’s enemies, and they have the right and ability to get god to smite them in some horrible way.

And they’ve got the Scripture to prove it - at least they say they do, and that’s all they need.

To that commenter:  I don’t blame you for not wanting to carry the same label as scum like that.  Yes, I used the term scum, because that is the proper label for people who want to turn my country - the country they falsely claim to love and admire - into a parody of itself and a place which the Founders tried valiantly to prevent from coming to be on this continent.  Their actions are, in a word, treasonous, which is the only term I can think of to describe actions intended to overturn the validity of the Constitution I made two vows to protect and defend - and one they made the same vows to protect and yet are busily acting to breach with every breath they take.  Many of these scum are even daring to wear the uniform of our Armed Forces and are working daily to undermine the traditional political neutrality of those forces!

I would tell you that in spite of the surface similarity of your religions, your rights to worship as you please are as much at risk as mine.  These kind of people will burn you at the stake as fast as they will me, because you don’t worship your common god the right way!  To them, that’s as bad as being an atheist.

They are acting deliberately and rapidly to so confuse the political system, the voters and undermine the very laws which we live under so as to enable them to either abrogate the Constitution or to merely use the Supreme Court to contaminate it beyond recognition.  They use the system from inside so as to appear as just another political party, but their intent is the destruction of the system itself.

How do I know?

Because they claim to love the Bible more, and claim that it is a higher authority.

So, let’s examine that authority.  What is the core of biblical authority?  They claim it is the Ten Commandments, and they claim to live their lives by it and that it serves as the very bedrock of our legal system.  Well, let’s take a look at that claim.

We’ll use the English Standard version:

1.  You shall have no other gods before me.
Really?  This violates the First Amendment right off the bat.
2.  You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 
Another violation of the First Amendment - prior restraint of free speech.
3.   You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Isn’t what it sounds like.  This is NOT a prohibition of saying something like “goddamm”.  It is a prohibition against using god’s name in an oath, then violating that oath.  Again, not a basic law, either, nothing in the Constitution about that.
 4.  Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 
Whoops, First Amendment violation again!
5.  Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
Not in the Constitution at all.
6.  You shall not murder. 
State law, not Federal.  Besides, it’s been in every legal system since at least Hammurabi, hundreds of years before Moses’ time.
7.  You shall not commit adultery. 
Same thing.  Besides, almost every State has now dropped adultery laws as un-Constitutional.
8.  You shall not steal. 
State Law, not Federal.  But again, it’s been in every legal system since at least Hammurabi, too.
9.  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
This is the only one that is close to being a bedrock principle, but again, it’s been in every legal system since at least Hammurabi, too. 
10.  You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's. 
Man, this is not only not in the Constitution, but it is a violation of every principle of our economic system.  Our Capitalist system depends on this covetous feeling.  Besides, since when does the US system describe a woman as the husband’s property?  Neither are any “servants”, since they are, in our system, free agents, and thus, able to walk out for a better job elsewhere at any point in time.
This is obviously not the basis of American law.  The real basis of our law is the Constitution, which never uses the word god or the name Jesus or the title Christ and only uses the word religion twice, once to prohibit any religious test for public office and again in the First Amendment to protect against government entanglement with religion or vice versa.

But that is neither here not there for Dominionists, because they intend to change that.

This is the basis for my opposition to religion.  (Besides the obvious fact that I just don't believe in any god beings at all.)

Religion - all religion, not simply christianity, is harmful because there are no restraints.  The existence of moderate or even liberal versions of any particular religion does not prevent others from taking the most fundamentalist, literal or even twisted interpretation of any sacred scripture or part of a scripture and making that the basis of their faith.  

Since the basic claims of any religion regard the supernatural, and thus are unable to be compared and contrasted with any part of the natural world, the natural restraints which act upon any normal human solution to human problems do not exist.  One cannot wait for a relative or loved one to email, text or phone from the afterlife to provide confirmation or counterpoint to a religious claim regarding heaven or hell as a final destination!

So the religious folks can claim anything they wish and point to you as a blasphemer if you protest.  You have no manner of defense.  The sky is literally the limit.

Thus, the possibilities of mischief are legion and if one examines all religions, you find a very close association with authoritarian types of government, especially feudal or dictatorial - usually with the clerical class at the top, as in Iran.  (Iran does claim a democratic process, but the fact that the clerics have literal and complete veto power over any actions of the democratic organs, any claim to democracy is false.)

So, please, don’t take the claims of love for country or liberty or patriotism coming from these Dominionists or their fellow travelers seriously.

If you do, someday you may wake up just in time to see the end of the American Dream.



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

judi here..i don't want to flood our political group with my personal background and views on religion...unlike some "Christians"and /or religious zealots on FB, i prefer,to keep my religious belief system out of the political arena.. bare with me..i have no agenda to proselytize..but there is some story telling to get to the point..and there is one! i respect your beliefs in atheism as i probably understand more than you might realize..so..your pieces on dominionism and theocracy have given me thought provoking insights...i enjoy how you think and articulate..i feel very much as you do on so many issues..with one pivotal exception..i believe in God..i believe he is supernatural..as i believe that the creation of this universe is supernatural and specifically speaks of Him..i work on my faith in Him every day and..i dislike the puritanical mind set when it comes to religion..as it stole from my childhood and beyond..i was raised as a strict southern baptist in the deep south..south carolina and south georgia..i went to church with my family every sunday, and then went home to a house filled with alcoholism and abuse of every kind..and God confused me....i got that he was an angry,unfair, unrelenting God who meted out punishment for the smallest of indiscretions..or none at all..so i was guiltily angry with Him...and all of those people who were so full of platitudes...the smug faces and pasted smiles of "Christians".....so i discounted them all as BS!..and.. i had a mother..since dead(she died accepting me for who i am)...and i still have living siblings who are strict fundamentalists..i have often been judged and rejected by them as lacking in my faith of God and his biblical laws..and i have plowed and wandered through this life hurt and angry with God and my family..fortunately(i subscribe it to a strong mind..with the three rhetorical concepts of id, ego and super ego if you believe freud)i somehow separated that from my everyday life..and am a strong, independent woman...free spirited and free thinking..i have achieved much and have been successful by many standards..i have raised two sons on my own who are good and kind young men who themselves are free thinking and free spirited; who have achieved their independence and are content & self confident..
having said that...and meaning every word of it..i will say..(every one has their achilles i believe) that over the years i have yo yo-ed with clinical depression..that i have worked ferociously to contain..it can be exhausting..one day..i felt myself slipping down again..i said as much to my friend..who is a strong minded, independent, successful individual.. i admire her..she asked me to visit her church just once..i acquiesced..that was almost two years ago.. now i never miss an opportunity to listen to this one pastor..i don't always agree with him..but he always hears my view....and he speaks to those views...he speaks to my soul..and most importantly..his message is about pure Grace..it is about the love of God and Jesus..the total acceptance of who i am, as i am..i wish i was better versed in the difference between the message of God's Grace vs the message of condemnation & biblical law.. that i find so narrow and puritanical...the message of grace is to go out into the world and show the same acceptance and forgiveness and love that Jesus gives us "let us not live merely in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth, in practice and in sincerity"..

Robert Ahrens said...

Judi,

I feel for you and your childhood, and the grief you've suffered since. It is a perfect example of why I also stopped going to church. Not the abuse, my family was fortunately not infected with that kind of disfunction. But the arrogance, the intolerance, the holier then thou attitudes were more than enough. "Good christians" who go to church on Sunday, listen to the preacher tell them what's wrong about that behavior and then go back to cheating people selling bad used cars on Monday. Sickening.

All I can say is that I hope you can work your way through it. Getting there is well worth the hard journey.

All I will say about my own situation in defense of atheism is that getting away from those things, realizing that my life and my future belong to me without obligation to an invisible being whose desires and wishes are so badly communicated by people of ill feeling and intent has been so freeing and such a wonderful release it is not easy to communicate the freedom that brings to one's life.

That is what makes me do this - the knowledge that there are people who will intentionally try their best to bring that grief and pain and force it upon the rest of us. It makes me almost blind with fury sometimes. And often quite sad that so many people can't see through their fool's gold-gilded promises.

Feel free to come back and comment, bring your feelings and let's discuss these things.