Archive for the ‘ Morality ’ Category

On Orchids And Intelligent Design

Here we see an Orchid. They are part of a 100,000 plus variants or species of the flower. Like any life on this planet the various species have evolved to thrive in their environment. Like many forms of life on this planet humans have cultivated them (changed their environment) in order to change them to be more suitable in some way for humans. Every time that we see them in the shop we don’t think ‘oh, it’s a cultivated orchid’. Rather we think about how beautiful they are, how delicate they seem, how genuinely frail and wonderful they are. To be certain, they are all these things and more. All that changes if they start growing in a corn field. That makes them a weed: a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants. Perspective is everything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchidaceae

Philosophies are like this.  There are hundreds of thousands of them, most of the ones you know about are cultivated, shaped by humans to be more palatable or useful. Some of them grow like weeds, thriving in their environments. The human mind offers bad philosophical weeds a fertile environment in which to thrive. Once there the human will cultivate it and work to make it grow and fall victim to the wonderment of its beauty to them. They seldom realize that the beauty of the bad philosophical weed is cultivated by them and for them, competing with the philosophies which will sustain them and help them thrive. The philosophical weeds soon choke out the good philosophies we want and need to cultivate and grow. This is not through malice. It is because we humans don’t like to change the environment that our philosophies live in very much. Change is difficult. In fact, left to our own devices humans have shown themselves to be very poor philosophical horticulturists. When it comes to thinking clearly few of us seem to have that envied green thumb. These weeds, like all weeds seem to do, spread far and wide to every niche they can find as suitable to thrive in. That’s what happens when life evolves to survive. It is very opportunistic with little or no long range planning.

It might be said that an intelligent designer might have planned that so we could all see the beauty of such weeds as orchids or some such drivel. If we carry this analogy through, an intelligent designer wouldn’t have designed our minds as such a fertile place for bad philosophies. An intelligent designer would know that bad philosophies should not be designed such that they are beautiful to behold. It seems almost maliciously purposeful that the human mind, if designed, was designed to be a fertile environment for bad philosophy. It seems shockingly bereft of logic that such a designer would turn out to not have a green thumb, unless you consider that such a designer might think bad philosophies are not weeds, and is cultivating them in human minds. If there was or is an intelligent designer it sucks at gardening or its idea of beauty is detrimental to the well being of humanity.

 

Who Is In Control?

Control? Controlling? Control freak?

Interesting aspects of human nature that we generally note with some negativity involved. Wait, what about self control? Does this dog have it?

https://i0.wp.com/cl.jroo.me/z3/v/Z/-/d/a.baa-The-Self-Control-Dog.jpg

the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations.

Actually it’s not even about control. It’s about desiring a different outcome more. Control is not about repressing bad behavior. No, it is about desiring a more favored behavior more. Think about it. When it comes down to the nuts and bolts, choosing rocky road over vanilla is actually exercising control. Control is about expressing the desired behavior over the undesired behavior. Wisdom is in choosing the right desired behavior. There is always a trick, right?

Direct your mind and the body will follow. The dog above gets no love for not eating snacks, he gets the desired loving behavior for holding still. Perspective is everything… usually … most of the time… at least on Tuesdays.

Oh wait I hear you say. Just saying you want the more desired behavior is not enough, that never works. Well, no, not just saying it. You actually have to want it. When you want something enough it’s easy to achieve.

Think of it this way: You might not like the thought of eating a kitty kat. When you get hungry enough the desire to not die will over come your desire to not eat kitty kat. Sometimes keeping control feels like that: choosing to eat kitty kat. When the alternative is not living through the week, perspective changes.

All of that, I hope, makes reasonable sense even if it seems a bit off key. Why would I tell you this stuff? When believers say that without a moral law giver humans become amoral and lawless. The god of Abraham means nothing for this dog yet he finds subjective morality and can choose a desired outcome over and above the easy route. Morality is so easy that even a dog can do it.

Oh yes I did just hear you say that without training and a trainer he would not do that. No, without training and a trainer he would not have an object of affection he wanted the love from. The trainer has nothing to do with the dog’s choice to remain controlled other than what value the dog places on the trainer’s love. Oh damn that free will stuff! Yep, I just said that. The dog wants the love of his owner/trainer more than the taste of a snack. That is control… not of an owner over a dog, but of a dog over himself because he desires an outcome from the owner.

Does that make sense?

There are people who will understand what I’m saying. Believers want us to think that the dog is not capable of making a decision and neither are they. Without their god they would gorge themselves on the snacks. They think life is about the snacks or just themselves. Even the dog knows that life is about more. Even a DOG knows how the law of reciprocity works. When believers tell you this kind of thing, remember that they are not even as intelligent as a dog. Then go get some rocky road!

Self Respect?

One could be forgiven if they thought self respect went out of style with the advent of reality television. I’d forgive you that. That’s not when it happened. Self respect has been bought and sold in churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques for thousands of years.

Full Definition of SELF-RESPECT

1:  a proper respect for oneself as a human being
2:  regard for one’s own standing or position

By definition the adherents of monotheism can’t have self respect. They traded it for some promised eternal life. PT Barnum is laughing from the grave.

https://i0.wp.com/www.thequotepedia.com/images/68/i-forgive-myself-for-having-believed-for-so-long-that-i-was-never-good-enough-to-have-get-be-what-i-wanted.jpg

To believe in original sin requires you to sacrifice your self respect.

What Is On The Other Side?

Women are not more important than men. Women and men are not important, no, not in the long run. Humanity. Humanity is important to all men and women yet they blind themselves to this simple fact, this simple idea, with all the hatred their minds can muster in the dark, dank places they do their thinking. The explorers we read about search new destinations not for the fame or glory but for humanity. Fame and glory are fleeting. Identity is fleeting.

http://totallyhistory.com/biography/famous-explorers/
300,000 years ago there was an ape who thought “I wonder what is on the other side of that mountain”. Her cousin had a similar thought. His nephew a similar one. Eventually one of those curious apes found themselves in northern Europe. More spectacularly, though that sounds like a nice story these apes full of wonderment were not explorers. No, they simply were looking for more food to feed their babies.

https://i0.wp.com/images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/a-female-mountain-gorilla-and-her-child-michael-nichols.jpg
Those amazing minds among us that strive to keep alive drag the rest of us kicking and screaming into the future. No plan, no guide book, just the unmitigated gall to survive. Those that sit back and stake a claim to some branch of a tree are simply too stupid to go look on the other side of the mountain. It’s never important what is on the other side of the mountain. What’s important is going to see what it is.
https://i2.wp.com/izquotes.com/quotes-pictures/quote-violent-irrational-intolerant-allied-to-racism-and-tribalism-and-bigotry-invested-in-ignorance-christopher-hitchens-237657.jpg https://myatheistlife.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/db13d-10632352_830314300359069_1440023650_a.jpg?w=306&h=306

When the human mind stifles itself to maintain some paltry position of power it causes all of humanity to falter briefly. We’ve been stumbling toward the future of humanity for quite some time now. Do not listen to those that don’t want to go see what is on the other side of the mountain. Leave them under that tree to rot. Think not another thought for them. If they hold you back and beg you not to go to the other side of the mountain, pick up a stick and beat them with it. Their whimpering sounds will fade as you climb up the mountain, sun warming your back and the wind in your hair. No matter what you find, on the other side of the mountain is the future and it does not need that whimpering ape with the tiny mind and tiny thoughts.

https://i1.wp.com/highvibrationfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Touched-by-a-Wild-Mountain-Gorilla-Uganda%E2%80%99s-Bwindi-National-Park.jpg

Hark! He Is Risen. Remember What He Wrought On The World!

Today is the day to celebrate the risen man-god. Let’s see how Christianity has celebrated his death in the past, shall we?

https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5096/5438657338_cee7138a97_z.jpg

http://www.hearnow.org/caljp.html – shows us a list of persecution of the Jewish people.

A Calendar of Jewish Persecution

70 A.D. Destruction of Jerusalem 1,100,000 Jews were killed and 97,000 taken into slavery and captivity.
115 Rebellion of the Jews in Mesopotania, Egypt, Cyrene and Cyprus. Jews and Romans inflicted many barbaric atrocities on each other, causing the death of several hundreds of thousands of Romans and Jews.
132-35 The Bar Kochba rebellion (Bar Kochba was a false Messiah). Caused the death of 500,000 Jews; thousands were sold into slavery or taken into captivity.
135 Roman Emperor Hadrian commenced his persecution of the Jews. Jerusalem established as a pagan city. Erection of a Jupiter temple on the temple mountain (Moriah) and a temple to Venus on Golgotha. Jews were forbidden to practice circumcision, the reading of the Law, eating of unleavened bread at Passover or any Jewish festival. Infringement of this edict brought the death penalty.
315 Constantine the Great established “Christianity” as the State religion throughout the Roman Empire; issued many anti-Jewish laws.
379-95 Theodosius the Great expelled Jews from any official gate position or place of honor. Permitted the destruction of their synagogues if by so doing, it served a religious purpose.
613 Persecution of the Jews in Spain. All Jews who refused to be baptized had to leave the country. A few years later the remaining Jews were dispossessed, declared as slaves and given to pious “Christians” of position. All children 7 years or over were taken from their parents and given to receive a “Christian” education.
1096 Bloody persecutions of the Jews at the beginning of the First Crusade, in Germany. Along the cities on the Rhine River alone, 12,000 Jews were killed. The Jews were branded second only to the Moslems as the enemies of Christendom.
1121 Jews driven out of Flanders (now part of Belgium). They were not to return nor to be tolerated until they repented of the guilt of killing Jesus Christ.
1130 The Jews of London had to pay compensation of 1 million marks for allegedly killing a sick man.
1146-47 Renewed persecution of the Jews in Germany at the beginning of the Second Crusade. The French Monk, Rudolf, called for the destruction of the Jews as an introduction to the Second Crusade. It was only because of the intervention of Emperor Conrad who declared Nuerenberg and a small fortress as places of refuge for the Jews, and that of Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, that the result was not quite as devastating as at the time of the First Crusade.
1181 French King Philip banished the Jews from his domain. They were permitted to sell all movable possessions, but the immovable such as land and houses reverted to the king. Seven years later he called the Jews back.
1189 At the coronation of Richard the Lionhearted, unexpected persecution of the Jews broke out in England. Most Jewish houses in London were burned, and many Jews killed. All possessions of the Jews were claimed by the Crown. Richard’s successor alone, relieved the Jews of more than 8 million marks.
1215 At the IV Lateran Church Council, restrictions against the Jews by the church of Rome were issued.
1290 Edward I banished the Jews from England. 16,000 Jews left the country.
1298 Persecution of the Jews in Franconia, Bavaria and Austria. The Nobleman Kalbfleish alleged that he had received a divine order to destroy all the Jews. 140 Jewish communities were destroyed, and more than 100,000 Jews were mercilessly killed.
1306 King Philip the Fair banished the Jews from France. 100,000 Jews left the country.
1320 In France, 40,000 shepherds dedicated themselves for the Shepherd Crusade to free Palestine from the Moslems. Under the influence of criminals and land speculators, they destroyed 120 Jewish communities.
1321 Jews were accused of having incited outlaws to poison wells and fountains in the district of Guienne, France. 5,000 Jews were burned at the stake.
1348 Jews were blamed for the plague throughout Europe, especially in Germany. In Strausberg 2,000 Jews were burned. In Maintz 6,000 were killed in most gruesome fashion, and in Erfut 3,000; and in Worms 400 Jews burned themselves in their homes.
1370 Jews were blamed for having defiled the “Host” (wafer used in the Mass) in Brabant. The accused were burned alive. Again, all Jews were banned from Flanders and until the year 1820, every 15 years a feast was kept to celebrate the event.
1391 Persecutions in Spain. In Seville and 70 other Jewish communities, the Jews were cruelly massacred and their bodies dismembered.
1394 Second banishment of Jews from France.
1453 The Franciscan monk, Capistrano, persuaded the King of Poland to withdraw all citizens’ rights of the Jewish people.
1478 The Spanish inquisition directed against the Jews.
1492 The banishment of Jews from Spain. 300,000 Jews who refused to be “baptized” into the Church of Rome left Spain penniless. Many migrated to the Muslim country, Turkey, where they found tolerance and a welcome.
1497 Banishment of the Jews from Portugal. King Manuel, generally friendly to the Jews, under pressure from Spain instigated forced baptism to keep the Jews. 20,000 Jews desired to leave the country. Many were ultimately declared slaves.
1516 First Ghetto established in Venice.
1540 Banishment of Jews from Naples and 10 years later, from Genoa and Venice.
1794 Restriction of Jews in Russia, Jewish men were forced to serve 25 years in the Russian military. Many hundreds of thousands of Jews left Russia.
1846-78 All former restriction, against the Jews in the Vatican State were re-inforced by Pope Pius IX.
1903 Renewed restrictions of Jews in Russia. Frequent pogroms (massacres); general impoverishment of Russian Jewry.
1933 Commencement of persecution of Jews in Hitler Germany. Inception of the systematic destruction of 6,000,000 Jews throughout Nazi-occupied Europe.

 

Yes, it’s a long list and does not indicate that these are acts of isolated fundamentalist groups. No, this looks systemic of Christianity. This is enough evidence on its own to motivate the rest of us to ensure that Christianity never again gains control of the law system. In case you’re wondering, this list is only what they did to the Jewish people. The list would be much longer if we were to list all of the atrocities committed by Christians against others. Their religion is not a religion of peace and its adherents are not prohibited from committing atrocities against others they deem evil or of the devil. Human history is littered with examples of humans claiming divine right to kill and harm others. We have a duty to ensure they never again have the law behind them. Remember that they believe in the very same book now as they did when these horrendous acts were committed.

Being Christian is not a virtuous thing on its own. You are either good or you are not. Being a Christian doesn’t make you good and it ties you to a legacy of very horrible things. If you happen to believe you need to remember that this is what I think of when you say you are a Christian. This list of atrocities that stretches back through human history is how your chosen belief is remembered. You get no pass with me. Your holidays are simply a reminder that you are clinging to the very beliefs that promulgated these horrors.

Killing The First Born For Pass Over

Pass Over is a really big Jewish holiday. They have lots of things to celebrate but the name’s origin has a gruesome story. While the Jews were enslaved in Egypt (if you believe that part) Moses is born and after 40 years as a sheep herder decides to go and free his people.

“When the Pharaoh refuses, God unleashes 10 devastating plagues on the Egyptians, culminating in the slaying of every first born son by an avenging angel. The Israelites mark the doorframes of their homes with lamb’s blood so that the angel will recognize and “pass over” each Jewish household.”

Later, to celebrate the killing of the first born sons the Jewish people had Jesus killed at Pass Over time. Of course they’re never going to tell the tale quite like that but that’s how it happened. YHWH should have put some lamb’s blood on his door, or something like that. The holy book is not quite clear if he was sacrificed before the feast or after but hey they’ve got 8 days in which to do the celebrating.
The whole business of religion is pretty iffy. Here’s a few good reasons why:

Easter, as we know it today, is not really the Pass Over celebration of years gone by. The Christians made a dubious choice and decided that they would celebrate the death (and resurrection) of their man-god hero at exactly the same time as the pagans (you  know them, everyone that’s not a Jew or Christian) were celebrating spring and the rituals of renewal and life. That’s where the name Easter, the rabbit, and the eggs come into it. Enterprising businessmen brought us peeps, jelly beans, and all manner of candy eggs. For those reasons some Christians are getting a bit picky about what they call their celebration. Good on them I say. It’s about time they stopped claiming other people’s holidays.

I just wanted to remind everyone that Pass Over is that time of year when the Jews celebrate killing of other people’s first born sons. Just something to think about as you’re ‘exploding some peeps in the microwave’

 

Nothing makes the holiday more ‘Murican than exploding some stuff.

The First Christian … Ever

Christians manage to quote their holy book quite a bit in conversation and blog posts. It often seems like they might have read it. I don’t think they have. Yes, I’m walking out on a limb here. Today I had an exchange with a believer who said “you don’t understand what you’re reading or you’re not willing to believe” when I posited that reading the Christian bible was a fast track to atheism and that their certainty that their faith was right should be questioned. I think that moments like this are double face palm moments. There is no reasonable manner to read the new testament and think that Jesus and Paul were talking about the same things. Google is your friend. There are many Christian websites and blogs talking about how they definitely were not talking about the same things.

Sometimes I want to scream at believers asking them whether they are followers of Jesus or Paul. Most of them I run into don’t seem to know the difference. For those that haven’t read the book it might not seem a big thing. If you have read it you will know that Jesus and Paul had quite different messages. Conservative Americans will be fans of Paul. Liberals and socialists will be fans of Jesus. It’s not really a book for anarchists or those with the will and desire to face life on it’s own, on their own. It’s really a self help book with rules about how to not spend eternity burning alive, and of course some ways that you should punish your neighbors if they do stuff that Paul didn’t like. It’s not really a pleasant read and right at the end it gets downright loopy. Once you discount the repeat stories and plain crazy stuff, Paul wrote most of the rest of it. He had a lot to say to various people, quite a bit more than what we supposedly know that Jesus said.

I think Paul’s episode on the road to Damascus is a bit dubious, I always have. The most prolific writer in the NT and his conversion story has two versions is something I find more than a little bit interesting. There are people that talk about hermeneutics. They want you to interpret the stories in just the right way. The whole thing is up for interpretation and the way I read it Paul was a pretty ambitious man. He went from persecuting believers to telling them how to live. In some ways that’s not much of a change but in other ways it was pretty radical. What makes a guy who is pretty much a dick change tactics and go completely the other way? It’s interesting to think about. He not only did an occupational about face but he also taught differently than Jesus did. This guy was coloring completely outside the lines, and he brought his own crayon box with him. He was off the reservation right up to the Council of Jerusalem around 50 C.E. That’s where he got his street cred and off he went. That’s where Christianity took a left turn.

The story of Christianity is not a single, homogeneous story. Basically shards of stories, letters, stuff that you have to piece together to get a picture or glimpse of the authors and what they were like, what life was like and so on. It’s all up for interpretation and it takes a lot of study to make sense of it. That is something that most believers just don’t have in them. It’s stuff they aren’t going to do. They are going to regurgitate what they hear from the pulpit each Sunday.

https://i2.wp.com/img.deseretnews.com/images/article/mcontentimage/1166288/1166288.jpg

That doesn’t mean that nobody has ever sat down and read it and thought about what it all means. Let’s run to a quote that inspired the title of this post. Read it a bit carefully, the language is a bit of a run-on but if  you go slow it makes sense.

    The first Christian. All the world still believes in the authorship of the “Holy Spirit” or is at least still affected by this belief: when one opens the Bible one does so for “edification.”… That it also tells the story of one of the most ambitious and obtrusive of souls, of a head as superstitious as it was crafty, the story of the apostle Paul–who knows this , except a few scholars? Without this strange story, however, without the confusions and storms of such a head, such a soul, there would be no Christianity…

That the ship of Christianity threw overboard a good deal of its Jewish ballast, that it went, and was able to go, among the pagans–that was due to this one man, a very tortured, very pitiful, very unpleasant man, unpleasant even to himself. He suffered from a fixed idea–or more precisely, from a fixed, ever-present, never-resting question: what about the Jewish law? and particularly the fulfillment of this law? In his youth he had himself wanted to satisfy it, with a ravenous hunger for this highest distinction which the Jews could conceive – this people who were propelled higher than any other people by the imagination of the ethically sublime, and who alone succeeded in creating a holy god together with the idea of sin as a transgression against this holiness. Paul became the fanatical defender of this god and his law and guardian of his honor; at the same time, in the struggle against the transgressors and doubters, lying in wait for them, he became increasingly harsh and evilly disposed towards them, and inclined towards the most extreme punishments. And now he found that–hot-headed, sensual, melancholy, malignant in his hatred as he was– he was himself unable to fulfill the law; indeed, and this seemed strangest to him, his extravagant lust to domineer provoked him continually to transgress the law, and he had to yield to this thorn.
Is it really his “carnal nature” that makes him transgress again and again? And not rather, as he himself suspected later, behind it the law itself, which must constantly prove itself unfulfillable and which lures him to transgression with irresistable charm? But at that time he did not yet have this way out. He had much on his conscience – he hints at hostility, murder, magic, idolatry, lewdness, drunkenness, and pleasure in dissolute carousing – and… moments came when he said to himself:”It is all in vain; the torture of the unfulfilled law cannot be overcome.”… The law was the cross to which he felt himself nailed: how he hated it! how he searched for some means to annihilate it–not to fulfill it any more himself!

And finally the saving thought struck him,… “It is unreasonable to persecute this Jesus! Here after all is the way out; here is the perfect revenge; here and nowhere else I have and hold the annihilator of the law!”… Until then the ignominious death had seemed to him the chief argument against the Messianic claim of which the new doctrine spoke: but what if it were necessary to get rid of the law?

The tremendous consequences of this idea, of this solution of the riddle, spin before his eyes; at one stroke he becomes the happiest man; the destiny of the Jews–no, of all men–seems to him to be tied to this idea, to this second of its sudden illumination; he has the thought of thoughts, the key of keys, the light of lights; it is around him that all history must revolve henceforth. For he is from now on the teacher of the annihilation of the law…

This is the first Christian, the inventor of Christianity. Until then there were only a few Jewish sectarians.

from Nietzsche’s Daybreak, s.68, Walter Kaufmann transl.

But we’re just not reading it right apparently. Only believers can read it right, so I’m lead to believe. The problem I find with that is that whenever a smart person reads the book then end up not believing and tend to have the same kind of interpretation as I do. I’m not trying to say I’m smart or something, just that confirmation bias seems to really skew what the book says. Nietzsche doesn’t seem to have a high opinion of Paul – the first Christian. I tend to agree with Nietzsche. Moreover I think that modern day Christians are not really doing what they ought to be doing as Christians according to their Jesus.
That won’t stop them from trying to tell the rest of us that we’re doing it wrong.

Somehow, I just don’t believe it. How is my interpretation wrong? Oh yeah, I don’t believe but I think I’m in good company.

 

 

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