The Deep Down Dirty Secret Inside Every Evangelical: They All Think THEY Are “God”

Ask ten people what “God” is, you’ll get ten different answers.  That’s because “God” didn’t invent us, we invented “him”. 

Ask ten Evangelicals what “God” is and they’ll draw you a word picture that, if you stripped it of all the larger-than-life puffery would look exactly like them. 

For reference-sake, let’s remind ourselves that Jesus preached a simple message: Do Unto Others.  It was Paul, selling his version of Jesus and Jesus’ message to the gentiles, who actually invented what we think of as Christianity.  If Paul doesn’t do what he does, there is no Christianity.

Jesus, in fact, taught his followers that they didn’t need a “church”.  He raged against not only the money changers but the Temple Priests, too, who Jesus believed were corrupt.  Speak directly to the father, Jesus preached. Talk to Yahweh (the “god” character’s actual name; “god” is actually his job description) directly, no need for a church or a priest to intercede on your behalf.

Yet lots of American Christians – Evangelicals especially – could ditch Jesus entirely and be completely at peace practicing a religion that couldn’t care less about doing unto others. What matters most to them is maintaining political power and keeping all the money. 

The trick every theist plays on themselves – and anyone they then talk to – is believing that they have a direct line to this Yahweh guy.  When push comes to shove, they can get Yahweh on the phone and get him thinking straight.  The truth, of course, is way more complicated.  Cue the Magical Thinking.

Theists imagine a deity clever enough to create the whole cosmos – and everything in it – but too inept to get human beings right.  In fact, the Yahweh character, as written, is so inept and incompetent that he (only a male would react like this), faced with the mess he’s made with humans (it never says Yahweh is unhappy with any other creature except the talking snake), is willing to destroy ALL LIVING THINGS – non humans included – out of… what, spite?

What kind of tin pot, third-rate deity is this guy?

Then – when he gets the humans he really wants, Yahweh cranks the incest meter up to a thousand.  Think about it.  First there’s Adam & Eve.  They have two sons – Caan & Abel.  It’s written how Caan, after he killed Abel, has a massive family.  Okay, fair enough.  Where’d his wife – and HER family – come from?  Unless she spontaneously sprang into being, she had to be conceived, born and raised.  Well – who conceived her?  Who was the sperm donor?  Whose was the egg?

If other people existed on earth then those people also had to spring from Eve.  If this story is “historical” (good thing it isn’t), then every human on earth is the bi-product of incest.  Theists happily re-play the incest meme hen they get to Noah.  If every other human being is wiped out, every other line of human genetics, then every last human on earth must be related to Noah – and sprang from incestuous origins.  There’s no way around it.

Religionistas all insist that they have insight about Yahweh that no one else has.  They know what Yahweh means across however many translations from the Aramaic to the Greek to the English.  Religionistas all claim to know what lurks in a fictional creature’s fictional heart. What could possibly go wrong? History is littered with the victims of religious people who spoke for god using violent means.  Religionistas destroyed whole cultures because “God” wanted it.  That would be their “god”.  Their white man’s “god”.  Them.

Advertisements

The Problem With Coming Late To The Party

Think back to election night 2016.  I bet you can still recall that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when it hit you that the impossible – Trump “winning” the presidency – had just happened.  Some of us saw that sick feeling as more than just disgust at a bad election result.  It was our noses catching the scent of corruption. 

Trump “winning” wasn’t just a bad election result, it was bullshit.  Literal bullshit.  Even Trump knew it that night – it was well reported how surprised everyone was in the Trump campaign.  It wasn’t the “unlikeliness” of the result that shocked them, it was the fact that the crime they were all part of had just succeeded beyond any of their wildest imaginations. And in spite of their efforts.

Even during the campaign, Trump’s relationship with Russia was under the microscope.  Remember Trump telling Hillary that she was Putin’s puppet, not him?  Pretty funny, that moment, if you think about.  Not so much funny “ha-ha” as funny “boy, does that stink!”.  Turns out we were witnessing something profound.  Trump was projecting as Trump does.

He was confessing: he was Putin’s puppet.

Let’s be quite clear – between then and now, Trump being Putin’s puppet has not become “less true”, it’s become “more true” and by “more true”, I mean “more painfully obvious”.  What used to sound – and be called “hyperbolic” – Donald Trump is a traitor – is now openly stated on relatively reliable news channels like CNN & MSNBC.  If we get to play this all out – I believe we will – and proof of Trump’s treason finds the light (more than it already has – ample proof having already found plenty of light), it won’t mean Trump started being a traitor at the moment we collectively decided he was guilty of it.

It will only mean we’re finally calling Trump the thing he is: a traitor.  He’s been a traitor all along.  He’s been betraying us all along – even when we refused to think he was a “traitor”.  He was being one. 

We all know what happens when you arrive late to a party.  The food’s pretty much gone.  So’s the best wine and the best beer.  Being late gets you the dregs of everything. The news works exactly the same way.

The American News Media has been behind from day one with this story. Between normalcy bias and failure of imagination, they’ve consistently failed to see the enormity of Trumps crime in real time — even as he was committing those crimes in plain view, right in the Main Stream Media’s face. They’re just beginning to see it, get it and report it now.

That’s great that they’re catching up. Great that they see a real and viable threat here. But it doesn’t change the fact that it took the Main Stream Media this long to figure out how much they didn’t know.

Here’s What Happens When We “Pull Back The Lens” — And We NEED To Pull It Back NOW…

Lack of perspective kills.  A swimmer who sees only the immediate water around them – lovely and turquoise – but not the school of hungry sharks circling that lovely bit of turquoise?  That swimmer is chum. 

Religionistas will insist that their deity wants them to live according to the rules set down by ignorant (by our standards) iron age desert dwellers because everything anyone needed to know was “known” and set down in the texts those iron age desert dwellers produced.  But, what if those iron age desert dwellers, before they sat down to write, had had access to all the information we take for granted today? 

What if those scribes had known that microbes and pathogens cause most human diseases?  What if they knew what RNA and DNA are? What if they had a Hubble Space Telescope and every bit of its remarkable data flow to chew on?  Would they have written texts that killed people with magical plagues or put the earth at the center of everything?

If the men who wrote the OT had read Darwin or Stephen Hawking, if they had taken in a geology text book or a scientific paper on genetics, if they had ever gotten a chance to use the internet – would they have sat down and written the texts they wrote the exact same way?

Doubtful.

The people who wrote, edited and put together the canonical New Testament used significant portions of the old texts as the basis for their new texts.  The mythology Paul created leaned heavily on the Pentateuch.  The whole basis for original sin is Eve and the Garden of Eden.  If the men who wrote the originals never wrote those originals – because they were better informed about how the world really worked – the course of human history would have been radically different.

We may not have been any less self-destructive (homo sapiens are still homo sapiens) but at least we would have been denied that particular flavor of bullshit to use as an excuse. 

So – if the people who wrote the religious texts so many Americans say they rely on as the basis for their lives had been just a teensy bit more educated via access to modern technologies – had they been able to “pull the lens back” even a little — human history would have been spared the chaotic, illogical darkness that certain religions have repeatedly inflicted upon humanity.

By the same token — if our Main Stream News Media were able to find the widest possible lens they can find, they might finally be able to tell the story we’re all living through.  Nearly three years in to this nonsense, there are STILL reporters (like NBC News’ well-meaning but hopelessly feckless Kelly O’Donnell) who repeat back Donald Trump’s words as if he spoke gospel truth.  It never occurs to them to contextualize Trump by saying – before repeating his words – that nothing he says is reliable. 

They don’t.  They position their reporting lens inside Trump’s bubble – where bullshit is true just because Trump says so.  They report from inside the lie with the lie as their only apparent frame of reference.  Either they genuinely believe the lie is true or they lack the perspective to see and report the relationship between lie and truth.  Either way, they render themselves useless to We The People just when we need them most.

At the end of the day, when the smoke can finally clear and we see this story with whatever perspective we can before our generation literally dies off (and real perspective finally has a chance to flower), I bet we’ll post mortem the press this way: they failed on two major counts.  First – Lack Of Perspective. Too often, our press has turned a laser focus on a piece of the larger story.  While their focus was admirable, the fact that they lost perspective while focusing in so intently was not.  For all the detail a guy like NBC’s Steve Kornacki can tell you about how voters vote, he never places them in the context of their times.

We have never lived through what we’re living through now.  We have never had elections stolen by foreign countries before (at least not that we’re aware of).  We have never experienced one party tossing out the Rule Of Law in a desperate grab for permanent minority rule.  When these things happen, it kinda changes things.  It’s like someone shitting in the pool.  Is swimming in it – with turds bobbing around – the same experience?

No, Steve Kornacki, it is not.  Steve epitomizes this sort of “intense focus” journalism.  He can tell you everything you want to know about a particular grain of sand.  Ask him where the grain of sand IS – on a beach?  In the middle of the Sahara?  In some kid’s sand box in a suburb somewhere?

Steve has no idea.  That’s a problem where storytelling is concerned.

Second – Failure Of Imagination.  It’s directly related to the first problem – lack of perspective.  It’s kinda the “ouch” to lack of perspective’s “pinch”.  If you can’t really see what the problem (or the story) is, you can’t possibly solve it (or report it accurately). 

What happens when we pull back the lens on most of our Main Stream News Media is we see that they’re failing us – failing their Constitutionally mandated role as final check on power.  I suggest we keep the lens back here.  Their close up is really, really ugly.

Why Is It So Much Easier To Sell People Bullshit Than It Is To Give Them The Truth?

Cut to the end of the chase: even the smartest people you know have a taste for bullshit – their own. 

We all believe things that – if we actually had to back them up – we’d realize how silly we were for saying such things out loud (never mind actually believing them). We might even realize our problem’s much worse: bullshit has taken over most of our lives.

That ain’t bullshit.

I was watching the football club I follow – Tottenham Hotspur – play horribly again this morning.  With ten minutes to go, they were down 3-0 to a team they should have thumped.  Spurs lost earlier this week 7-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champion’s League.  With ten minutes to go – and defeat a dead certainty (in a week we’d been outscored 10-2 FFS!), I still experienced a moment where I thought “Hey, we’re Spurs, we can still do this!”

No, we couldn’t – and we didn’t.  We couldn’t get the ball past midfield.  We’re in a mental freefall as a team.  That’s the Truth.  It’s bullshit to think Spurs can win anything right now.

But, for a moment, I tried to convince myself that they could.  I tried to bullshit myself and I succeeded.

Bullshit is Hope’s evil twin.  Just as Hope is aspirationally positive, Bullshit is aspirationally negative.  It’s a lie easily thrown together, easily tossed off and easily forgotten – especially when new bullshit is created to replace the old.  It’s the sausage factory from the seventh ring of hell.

And yet, damned if Bullshit Brand Sausage doesn’t sell. 

For a lot of us, the addiction to bullshit starts early – with our “religious education”. That’s a non sequitur.  You can learn about religion, but to be educated IN a religion is to be fed a diet of pure, unadulterated bullshit. Religion, mind you, is entirely different from spirituality.

Spirituality is the ineffable essence of the awe any human feels as they gaze up at the cosmos and tries to see how they fit with it.  With the pure fact of “being”.

Religion is rules & regs.  It’s crowd control.  It’s the perverse corporatization of spirituality: an institution invents a “way” to spirituality – through them, through following their rules.  Followers may flirt with spiritual experience but it’s always within the context of the religion’s rules.  Any spiritual experience outside those rules?  It’s heresy.  You’re allowed the church’s definition of “spiritual” and not your own.

Funny irony?  Jesus himself preached AGAINST having a church.  He taught his followers to speak directly to god.  No need for the Temple, its authorities or priests. 

And no need to tithe any church either.  Just “Do Unto Others”.  It’s that simple.

How many American Christians “do unto others”?  Not many (relatively speaking).  Most are “church-goers”.  They’re not followers of Jesus.  They’re in it for the “exclusivity”, the clubiness. They like the mythology, too.  They like the magic behind it because the magic says they’ll never die.

Magic is sparkly bullshit. It’s no more real just because it glitters a little. 

The Truth is we’re all going to die.  There’s no escaping it. There’s no proof of any afterlife.  None. To insist that one might exist is simply magic forcing itself upon you. 

It’s me thinking Spurs could come back from three-nothing with minutes left when all the evidence said they were already in the locker room, their heads hung low.

Republicans & The Culture Of Ignorance

Republicans didn’t always used to be champions of ignorance. Funny irony? When the Republican Party was founded back in 1854 (Abraham Lincoln was among its founders), their anti-slavery mission statement spoke of their dedication to classical liberalism and real economic opportunity for all Americans not just the moneyed class.

As Heather Cox Richardson points out in her excellent To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party, after 1912, the GOP shifted away from those ideals — and started to metastasize into the hard core racist party driven by white Southern rage that it is today.

These “new-fangled” Republicans pointed squarely at their religious faith as the justification for both their racism and their backwardness — a backwardness they felt compelled to shove down everyone else’s throat. It’s not surprising. Ignorance detests knowledge because knowledge is ignorance’s kryptonite.

By the same token, ignorant people detest information because information destroys their ignorance — and they need their ignorance to justify their politics and their whole belief system. Republicans are all about Magical Thinking. That’s great when you’re a kid and regardless of whether or not Santa Claus is real, the gifts show up under the tree on Christmas morning.

Republicans like Jesse Helms happily took up the name “Know-Nothings”. Originally, the “Know-Nothings” were a group of bigoted anti-Catholic politicians whose strategy — when questioned on the subject — was to insist they “knew nothing”. That’s willful ignorance with a racist, bigoted purpose.

It’s not a coincidence that Republicans describe themselves by and large as more religious than the majority of Americans. That’s “religious” as opposed to “spiritual”. Most Republicans don’t seem to have “spiritual” in their psychological makeup. They like religion for its rules and regulations. And its exclusivity. If you don’t believe what I believe…

And, of course, what they believe is based on Magical Thinking and storytelling. Funny thing? One can be a fan of Jesus — and do unto others every day — without being a member of any church. Why, even a humble atheist can do unto others without contradicting themselves. Doing Unto Others in fact demands that you put DOWN your ignorance.

It’s simple. Republicans are conservative. Conservatives — as their name implies — want to CONSERVE. But conserve what? It ain’t the future — there’s nothing to conserve since it doesn’t exist.

The present? Sure — but only the parts of the present that still hold firmly to the past. That’s what conservatives want to conserve and what Republicans want America to be — what we WERE. For some, it’s a white man’s vision of the 1950’s that only existed in their minds. For the rest, it’s a vision of the 1850’s that’s quite real. That’s what they want to conserve.

To get there, you have to stop taking in any new information. You have to assume that whatever we knew then is still good enough for now. It’s not a coincidence that Republicans by-and-large poo-poo the need for higher education. Hell, a lot of Republicans would be down with letting kids quit school and go to work. They might as well accept their servitude early.

If not for gerrymandering, voter suppression and direct Russian interference, Donald Trump would not be POTUS. The Republicans would not have won all three branches of our govt. Russia had a lot to do with that, too.

The current Republican obstructive tactics are just more of them trying to make ignorance the norm. As the desperation in their arguments makes clear — they know that the more WE know about what they’ve been doing — the worse it will be for them.

Our ignorance is a matter of their survival.

We Got Donald Trump All Wrong; As Horrible As We Thought He’d Be? He’s Way, WAY Worse

A lot of us anticipated the bad horror movie the Trump presidency would be. It wasn’t exactly rocket science.

Trump was a fraud who was given the maximum benefit of the doubt by a press both in love with Trump’s fraudulent audacity and in fear of his retribution.  Their inability to cover this story – from Trump’s overt racism (FFS, they still want to debate whether or not he even IS a racist) to his overt treason (they still want to go along with Bill Barr’s lie that the only thing in the Mueller Report are empty pages) should be a warning to us.  We see, hear and feel our country literally shrinking.

Trump has never run anything bigger or more complex than a Mom ‘n Pop Money Laundering Shop for the Russian mob.  There’s a reason Trump keeps everything crime family close. 

Fusion GPS noticed this fact while doing their due diligence after The Washington Free Beacon hired them to do oppo research on Trump (the Free Beacon’s owner liked Jeb Bush).  Fusion’s Glenn Simpson testified before Congress that what they uncovered about Trump – getting ahold of books, magazines, newspapers videos from everyplace thy could including the public library – motivated them to hire Christopher Steele, former head of the MI6’s Russia desk.

I remember not so long ago when our constant harping about Russia got annoyed looks even from friends.  It’s hard to get one’s mind around the enormity of this crime. 

I bet the folks living at Pearl Harbor felt kinda the same way as bombs exploded all around them.  How do you get your mind around being the unfortunate place where the spear tip punctures the body?  They went to sleep at peace, woke up at war.

Even now – with a shitload of solid evidence staring at us, we STILL refuse to call Trump the traitor he is.  Our news media will give him the benefit of the doubt till there’s no more left to give.  Then they’ll wonder which Democrat is the most “electable” against him.  FFS – a bucket of vomit with a D sharpie’d onto its side could beat Donald Trump.  The problem is, it’s Russia they’re running against.  Take Russia out of the 2016 equation and Trump never makes it past the primaries.

But Russia did make Trump the winner in 2016.  They made a lot of Republicans winners, too.  Those Republicans took a sledgehammer to the Rule Of Law.  That was my blind spot – the degree to which the whole GOP was well and truly complicit.  The Republican Party saw demographic extinction ahead of them.  They’ve had to steal the last two republican presidencies (W’s and Trump’s).  Without gerrymandering, the Republicans would lose the Congress, too.  The only co-equal branch available to them?  The judiciary.  Provided they stole it.

Which (Merrick Garland anyone?) Moscow Mitch McConnell absolutely did.  All those highly rated Obama judges held up and denied hearings, all those Trump Judges shoved down America’s throat. 

The result has been chaotic – of course.  But even chaos has advantages over what we’re being forced to endure.  I never saw children in cages coming. I never saw such blatant lying to Congress coming.  I never saw the love of depravity coming. 

I never saw the attrition coming – the way Trump’s constant lying (now compounded because EVERY Republican now lies) would wear us all down – and undermine our collective will.  Living in Trumpian times is exhausting. 

I never saw that  coming either.

This Is That Point In The Movie Where The Villains Decide To Go All Out…

No writer could have written what we’re still living through and gotten away with it. No one would have bought it — way too unbelievable. Yet here we are.

Perversely, the villains in this piece operate by the exact same rules by which a Bond Villain operates — power & money cos why not? With Vlad Putin, throw in a heavy dose of Russian nationalism and old fashioned Crusader-thinking.

With Donald Trump, it’s all greed. Greed and a sociopathological personality desperate for daddy-love that he can never have.

With Mike Pence, it’s the power lust of the religious charlatan. He can never be a primary villain. He’s too empty.

With Mitch McConnell, it’s power & money but more than that? It’s the Revenge Of The Nerd. Same goes with Stephen Miller. Mitch is a “man” insecure in his manhood (for shits n giggles, shout “SODOMY” right in Mitch’s face and see how he reacts). You know he was picked on relentlessly in every schoolyard he ever sat in — unfortunately. Most people deal with it through therapy or alcohol. Moscow Mitch had the Constitution at his disposal — and he disposed with it.

Back during the 2016 Republican Convention (it was reported FFS!), current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy famously walked into a meeting of the Republican muckety-mucks and said (this is his direct quote): “There’s …there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: [California Representative Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump … [laughter] … swear to God.”

Instead of responding, “If you really think that, we should call the FBI right this second!”, then-Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan “…immediately responded: ‘This is an off-the-record … [laughter] … NO LEAKS … [laughter] … alright?!”. That is literally what he said.

The Republican hierarchy KNEW. They might not have known all, but they knew some. If they knew ANY, they were obligated to pick up the phone and report it. As we’re learning though — too slowly for our own collective good — is that lots of these Republicans were in Mitch’s boat — they’d already been bought out themselves by the Russians.

When Russia gives you money, it comes with strings. When Russia gives you an aluminum factory and hundreds of millions of dollars, it comes with ropes.

Just like Donald Trump will never pivot, neither will the Republican Party. They can’t now. They committed to Mitch McConnell’s plan (imagined not by him but by the Koch-Mercer money behind him) to install permanent minority rule in America first by j=hijacking the judiciary. Can you say “Merrick Garland”?

If The Rule Of Law is going to be truly viable again then there can be no exceptions to it. Any Republican who even suspected what his co-partiests were up to was legally obligated to report it. They didn’t and we have to ask “why?” Whose interests were they protecting — when they took an oath to uphold the Constitution’s?

I fear, Republicans having nowhere to go but prison, that this ending will indeed be like one of those Bond movies where it takes 80 shots at the villain to finally kill him. It already feels that way, doesn’t it? The bombshells going off every day — the reveals of staggering corruption and debauched greed — that never result in the bad guys even breaking stride — it really does feel like bullets bouncing off a bad guy’s magical force field of pure evil.

It’s wired into our culture that just before it’s too late, a white knight rides to the rescue. We’ve convinced ourselves that the good guys ultimately win in the end. That’s all ooga-booga we made up.

Here in Real Life, truly anything can happen. Get too sucked into “normalcy” and you become the frog who gets boiled to death. The reason Uber Villains go for broke in the end is because something inside them suspects — if they can just outlast the good guy — they’ll triumph. It will be up to We The People to stop them. Because we’re the Good Guy.

I’m old enough to remember when speaking or writing in these terms would have been hyperbole on steroids. But then, I’m old enough to remember when you couldn’t write this story and get away with it.