2.17.2006

...And So I Said: #1
These Boots Are Made for Walking

...from
Walk on Water - Just Like a Messiah!


The feedback from a Miracle Whip story about a schoolgirl who invented shoes that allow you to...anyone? Yes, you in the back... Exactly. Walk on water. My contribution to the story was the headline and picture used, both above. That was enough to piss someone off...


WaDe said...
I don't think I would compare it to Jesus Christ, after all, he had no fancy water shoes and it only took 2000+ years for someone else to do it. If there is no God, then explain to me the purpose for living any kind of moral or ethical life. If nothing exists after death then why not do as we please, and if you think it is because it just feels wrong to kill or rape, or steal, then ask yourself where this feeling of right or wrong came from. There is no good other than God and no good can be known without knowing Him. Hence the reason for laws, because our founders new him.


And So I Said...
A] Jesus didn't walk on water. Gilgamesh didn't have superhuman strength, the Oracle at Delphi didn't receive visions from Apollo, an alien warlord named Xenu never seeded earth with souls, and pharaohs weren't really living gods. These are myths, each specific to its religion and each equally false. Every religion has its miracles and supernatural icons (without these "truths," a religion would never attract followers) and each religion dismisses the miracles and icons of other faiths as myths - without realizing that they are all myths, imagined or invented, passed down from generation to generation by someone who never saw the event to someone who simply accepts this version of the myth as fact.

It's no coincidence that all of these incredible events and people were born hundreds or thousands of years ago, back when thunder was God's anger and epilepsy was demons, long before such deity-slayers as science, medicine, reason, and telecommunications came along. Miracles have a funny way of evaporating when exposed to science, the objective eye, or a camera. (When was the last time someone parted a sea? Or raised the dead? Or battled a hydra? Even such modern myths as the effects of prayer circles has been enitrely discounted.) That's not to say every miracle was without merit - as science has shown again and again, placebos are effective; giving someone water and telling them it's medicine has proven medicinal benefits. But that's neurochemistry and the power of suggestion, not proof of god.

And just because a myth is written down - on a pyramid wall, in a cave painting, on a Sumerian tablet, or in an old book - doesn't make it true. And just because a myth is believed in as fact by a lot of people doesn't make it true either. I point to the ancient Greeks, the Flat Earth Society, Tom Cruise, and any of the modern religions with more followers than Christianity.

A carpenter named Jesus may have existed, and he may have been very wise and wonderful, but he was just a carpenter (if he existed at all). Just as Gilgamesh was just a king and the Oracle at Delphi was just a guy in robes guessing.

I digress.

B] This may contradict your view that the world revolves around you and your specific religion, but right and wrong existed long before Christianity. Murder was wrong before the Ten Commandments (another myth - see above). It's a little myopic, pretty arrogant, and simply ignorant to credit a relatively recent religion for the entire history of ethics and morality that predates it, ethics and morality that without which society could never have formed. Society requires recognition of a communal right and wrong. Even the first tribe of primitive humanoids could have never existed without recognition that murdering and eating each other was wrong, that love felt good and that death of a love hurt.

Ancient Greeks, some atheists and some woshippers of Zeus, were, literally, writing the books on ethics and philosophy upon which modern civilization is based eons before your God was even invented, and their rights and wrongs never descended into the laughable Levitican morality concerning menstruating, hair length, crop composure, pork chops, how to morally beat your slaves, and the ungodly blasphemy that is Red Lobster.

Ethics (personal philosophy), morality (societal philosophy), right and wrong, and the evils of shellfish do not come from the Bible, any specific religion (right and wrong shifts drastically by faith), religion in general, or any specific source. For some, the unquestioning followers, they do. For others, unethical behavior and immorality are a way of life, regardless of their faith or philosophy. The rest of us rely on reasoning, experience, and emotion. I'm always amazed how Christians don't seem able to fathom that "good" and "right" can exist without them, but they do, even in places that have never heard of your God.

For me, doing good feels good, and being mean to someone riddles me with guilt. I do good without incentive - no Pearly Gates dangle just out of reach; and I feel bad for doing ill because I like to think I have a good heart - not because of Hell. Every moral dilemma, from abortion to cruelty to stealing, I have to decide for myself, sometimes case by case as life is rarely as black and white as the text in the Bible.

Many times I agree with the Bible - much of its right and wrongs are common sense and predate the book - and many times I don't. I could say the same about Buddhism or Wicca or Scientology. As an atheist, you tend to approach life objectively - skeptical but open to ideas. It's a healthy way to live, as you often find something worthwhile in what the faithful automatically dismiss or burn as blasphemous.

Where do I think right or wrong comes from? Invalid question. It assumes they come from somewhere, specifically God. As history and culture shows, it doesn't.


Then Anonymous Chimes in...
Antigone-

Very small point. The Oracle at Delphi was always female. It was one of the few major powers ceeded to women. Other than that; pretty much ditto


So I'm All...
Goddammit! I knew it! As a little kid, I was obsessed with Greek mythology, and came away from it thinking the Oracle was female. But in the few times I've come across it in print as an adult, I've seen male pronouns more than once. I just figured that I read it wrong as a kid and that she was a male after all. Which sorta made sense considering the role of women back then.

But I was right from the start! When will I learn I always am! ;O)

Correction: Well, not always. I thought just because Mork wore them, rainbow suspenders were cool. But there's just nothing "cool" about them. (I'm not too fond of Robin Williams anymore, either.)


And Then Finish My Rant...
Regarding my comments above and the "source" of good and evil, I quote Abraham Lincoln:

"When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion."

C] Regarding your comment implying that the Founding Fathers "knew Him" and created this nation in some obvious Christian mold. I don't doubt that most of the FFs were Christian – most humans are religious, most Caucasians are Christian, most politicians are male, and all the FFs were white male humans. The math works. But knowing "Him" doesn’t mean loving, following, or even tolerating Him.

Founding Father/US President Thomas Jefferson:

"The Christian god is a three-headed monster; cruel, vengeful, and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three-headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites... Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies."

Founding Father Thomas Paine:

"All national institutions of churches appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."

"It would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. [The Bible] is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize humankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel."


Founding Father/US President John Adams (someone I'm almost certain George Bush has never heard of):

"The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion...This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."

So, no, the Founding Fathers did not create any sort of Christian Nation, despite what the religious right and Pat Robertson would have you believe. In fact, some of them despised Christianity. Religious freedom was one reason the FFs broke with England; the idea that they would do so only to create another theocracy is, well, unfounded. The word “God” appears nowhere in the Constitution, and Christianity joins Islam, Druidism, Satanist, and Chiquita Bananism in the unspecified “religions” the government is prohibited from harming or helping. Religions sole role to the FFs was to have none.

And the laws we enjoy – against murder and theft, for example – span most religions and predate Christianity. But the U.S. has no laws – only cosmetic biases and overt political favoritism – based on Christianity specifically. No laws against working on Sundays, no laws on how to beat your slaves, no laws against the heresy that is Red Lobster, no laws against saying "Fuck Jesus," no laws requiring beards of a specific length, no laws granting the meek their own reservations. Nothing.

The religious right has had 200 years to elect politicians with little respect for what America means, who can only see how they can "fix" it to reflect their own faith. The results are many largely cosmetic blemishes – "God" on $10,000 bills, praying in the Supreme Court, swearing on Bibles, and forcing the words "under God" into the Pledge every child is compelled to recite every day in school (I remember how uncomfortable I was, mouthing the words without actually speaking them so I wouldn’t stand out – kids shouldn’t be made to feel excluded or un-American by their own government.) It’s insidious, arrogant, hostile, and un-American. Jefferson would eat his own tongue before declaring a Day of Prayer to a specific deity. The only ones who don’t see a problem with these things are Christians, a majority that has no qualms imposing its beliefs and will on the minority. If it was "under Goddess" or "In Vishnu We Trust" or swearing on Korans or a Day of Zen Meditation, they’d be shrieking "Separation of Church and State" and "Theocracy" louder than anyone. But when they benefit at the expense of others, they could care less. Typical.

This is the Land of the Free, not the Christian version of China, India, or Iran, where dogma is a brutal and unforgiving law. Christians should either embrace America for what it stands for, for what it was intended to be, and for what makes it the envy of the world – freedom, plurality, and equality. Or they should found their own country.

On that bitter note, I want to thank you for replying. Really. Few people read this blog, and it’s rare that anyone replies. Most replies I get are either from Christians or aren’t even replies but ads for products or websites posted by automated programs. Unlike other Christians who’ve replied, with anger and hate, you were respectful and tried to reason with me, which I totally respect and appreciate. And unlike most atheists, you actually replied to something. Don’t get me wrong – you’re still wrong, so very, very wrong – but differences in opinions are interesting and engaging, and there are worse things you can be in my book than mistaken. All my best friends are mistaken! So I appreciate you taking the time and being polite; hopefully, I wasn’t too angry in my endless responses.

7 Comments:

Blogger Miresse said...

Hey GW, I just thought I'd pop in to say thanks for the rant, it feels good to hear a strong response to the questions that people like WaDe seem to ask over and over and over again.

Keep up the good work.

February 17, 2006 3:19 PM  
Anonymous ungod said...

Keep up the great work. Everytime I read your new posts I simultaniously laugh and bang my head against the wall over the religous craziness you expose to those of us who have left superstition behind.

February 18, 2006 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree completely with your points, but based on my past research, I am convinced that the quote from John Adams ("The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded upon the Christian religion. . . ." is not authentic, at least with respect to that sentence. Adams was a Unitarian, and the second part of the quote might have been consistent with Adams's sentiments. The first sentence, however, appears verbatim in the legislative history of a late-18th century or early 19th-century treaty with Tripoli (remember the Tripoli pirates?), and specifically with respect to one article of the Treaty.

February 19, 2006 6:47 AM  
Blogger Darren said...

Thanks!

February 20, 2006 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Truth Be Told said...

Believe me (pun intended), Godless Wonder, you are read, and appreciated. You're one of a couple of "skeptic blogs" I read regularly. Great writing, fun snark and thoughtful commentary, but not too much. :-)

Keep it up, we love you!! We really love you!!

Truth

February 21, 2006 7:21 AM  
Blogger Darren said...

Wow, thanks! That was so flattering that I sense a trap!

'They're all gonna laugh at you!'

February 22, 2006 3:33 AM  
Blogger Anesha said...

Hi Nice Blog . I don't really know a lot about Human Anatomy study or art, but that's just my 2 cents. Really great job though, Krudman! Keep up the good work!

July 24, 2008 12:53 AM  

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