This Is A Moment In Time Where Magical Thinking Could Kill Us…

…that is if we follow Magical Thinkers and their bottomless capacity to believe utter nonsense is real. I draw a very clear distinction between ‘spirituality’ and ‘religious faith’ because there IS one. Even a humble atheist can feel a sense of awe as he or she gazes out at the cosmos — feels its vastness and mystery yet his or her own tiny existence as part of it, too. That’s ‘spiritual’. It’s dogma free. It’s the feelings without the bullshit explanation for them.

Religious faith demands a suspension of disbelief from the ground up. Religious faith is an attempt to explain that awe everyone feels (even the atheists) with a story — pulled, let’s be honest, from some person’s ass. Okay — from their imagination. Same difference really. I say that as someone pulling something from my ‘ass’ right here, right now. What I am doing here is no different in its ‘inspiration’ from whatever those scribes felt thousands of years ago when they first began to scribble their thoughts onto parchment.

I’m not entirely sure why Christianity still co-brands with Jesus. The institutional Christian churches long, long ago dispensed with Jesus’ core message: ‘Do Unto Others’. Instead they’ve all taken up variations on a theme — justifications for their own existence & continuation. Jesus didn’t ‘invent’ Christianity. If such an actual human ever existed, he was born, lived his whole life and died a Jew. What he preached was Judaism and nothing but. A counter-institutional brand of Judaism — but Judaism (it so happens most Judaism welcomes those who question).

Paul invented Christianity. Most of the New Testament is Paul setting up the ‘Church’ — its larger community — and its fundamental concepts. Those concepts did not include ‘Do Unto Others’. They included the mythology to justify Jesus (a character more than a person in their minds) as the messiah character described in the Jewish texts – themselves nothing but mythology, the product of human imagination. In the context of stone cold reality — things that actually happened vs things that actually didn’t and never could — Paul was building a sand castle atop a sand castle.

We stand at a moment in History where our ability — as a society and a culture — to discern what is from what isn’t — will determine whether we pull ourselves out of this death spiral or simply fly into the ground — and lose our Democracy and every last bit of ones freedoms. That’s not hyperbole.

As of last night, we became ‘aware’ that the FBI was hip to Donald Trump’s treason when he fired James Comey. They’d had inklings but refused to listen to those inklings. A failure of imagination. And a failure because of Magical Thinking — that it just couldn’t ‘be’. That the FACTS ON THE GROUND couldn’t be ‘facts’. That what WASN’T was ‘truer’ than what WAS.

When Comey was fired — and Trump repeatedly acted in ways that screamed how guilty he was — that, finally, was enough for reality to overcome the ‘walls’ that had been put up around The Truth by Magical Thinking. I hope we all agree that this cannot be our process going forward. We need to see Magical Thinking for what it is: prettified BULLSHIT.

If America is going to pull itself out of this — correct it’s course — and restore itself to its core — enlightened — ideals, we need to do it with our eyes wide open. We need to take the spiritual messages from religion — ‘Do Unto Others’ — and remind ourselves that all the other stuff was written by clever, imaginative men (it was probably all men) who didn’t know anything about the world they lived in beyond what they could see with their naked eyes.

If the men who wrote the foundational texts of any religion had the knowledge (that’s knowledge as opposed to bullshit) available via the internet today, they would have written their foundational texts WITH that knowledge. The core message would have still gotten through, one hopes, but wrapped up in a better-informed knowledge-base of how The World actually operates — and why.

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The WORST Thing About Anti-Semitism Is How IRRATIONAL It Is…

A Thought Experiment:  You walk into a room.  Another person enters and punches you – hard.  You ask — “What was that for?”  And the other person responds “Because you killed my god”.  Being a RATIONAL person who doesn’t want to get punched again — and who doesn’t want to resort to violence yourself — what’s your response?

There is no response.  The moment you engage with that conversation, it wins — because YOU have to agree that its made-up bullshit could be true — otherwise, why are you arguing with them?  Everything after — ‘But that’s not true…’ is a waste of time.

Want to know why Jew Hatred has lasted as long as it has?  Because who can argue with someone who, to put it another way, thinks HARRY POTTER IS REAL?  How can you argue with someone who clearly BELIEVES IN MAGIC?  How can you argue with someone so confounded by the very texts they claim to ‘believe in’?  How can you argue with people who are confounded by those texts because the INSTITUTION that assembled them and shaped them and crafted them into a particular narrative had that very hostility toward the Mother Religion in mind?

You can’t.

Instead you get vilified.  You get re-imagined as something you aren’t.  You get to be “We hate Jews cos Jews killed Jesus”.

What was it Marx said about religion being the opiate of the people?  He had that dead wrong.  If only it were an opiate that medicated people or narcotized them.  It’s much more like meth or angel dust.  It gets brains hopped up on something almost entirely artificial.

There are great, meaningful, profound lessons to be taken from the assembled texts of the Old and New Testaments.  Why is it religious people seem to take NONE of those lessons away with them?  The whole reason Jesus’ message still resonates today — even in the minds of an atheist — is because it’s so essential to living a good life:  “DO UNTO OTHERS”.  But not only simple enough for even a troglodyte to grasp — “DO UNTO OTHERS” is ‘actionable’.  it’s not some airy-fairy abstract notion of ‘goodness’, it’s a simple proposition:  “How do YOU wish to be treated?  Then treat every other person exactly that way.”

Boom.  The genius that evolved at the very tail end of the Genesis through Book of Revelations story — its takeaway theme.  The whole point of the exercise.

Except it was never about Jesus or the Jews or their message.  Why on earth do you call it ‘Christianity’ anyway?  Paul (the former Saul of Tarsus) is really the faith’s ‘inventor’.  Paul’s the guy who broke with Jesus’ family — because they were happy being Jews while Paul had other ideas.  That’s Paul, by the way, who (just going by the story here) never met Jesus ever.  Or heard his voice.  Or heard his message.

But it was Paul who ‘spread Jesus’ message’.  Except — looking over the sales materials — all the letters and epistles Paul sent to the nascent congregations of non-Jews that were flickering to life all over the Roman Empire — Paul was spreading Paul’s message a lot more than he was spreading Jesus’.

Jesus (it was never his name — just like ‘god’ is not Yahweh’s name — it’s his job description) was born, lived his whole life as and died A Jew.  If you called him a Christian to his face, he wouldn’t know what you were talking about.  And if you told the Actual Jesus (if he ever really was) what YOU now believed because YOU believed in HIM — He’d be stunned.  And he’d think you were insane.  Because very little of what YOU believe is what HE believed.

Paul started out needing to deify Jesus.  Paul traveled in messianic times.  To make his case that Jesus was a more real deal than any of the others, he needed to conform Jesus’ story to the pre-existing Hebrew mythology — all those texts we now call the Old Testament.  The messiah story had rules — and if Jesus was going to be the messiah, he had to fit into the rules.  He had to be connected to King David.  He had to be prophesied.  He had to be born in a certain place under certain conditions.

Paul broke with Jesus’ family because they didn’t want to go there.  They didn’t want or need to be part of another religion because they were perfectly happy being Jews — as Jesus had been.

If Jesus was an actual person, he existed in a world that ‘had rules’.  It worked a certain way and didn’t work in lots of other ways.  The temple hierarchy, for instance, behaved one particular way and not in a lot of other ways.  Paul (or ‘the school of Paul’) — not having been there — and having an agenda — described the scene as he needed it to be and not as it was.

Paul’s bottom line was this:  He needed a reason for Jesus’ deification — a purpose that accepting the faith would accomplish:  Salvation.  From Death.  If Jesus could be resurrected, so can you.

None of that came from Jesus.  The idea of  ‘A Church’ certainly never came from Jesus.  As I read the texts, Jesus wasn’t all that ‘down’ with the Institution.  His whole deal — as I read what JESUS SAID (and not all the other drivel put into his mouth by ‘the apostles’ — check out The Jesus Seminar — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Seminar — it was a group of 50 bible scholars and 100 laymen, founded in 1985 with the mission of discerning, if they could, an actual human Jesus from the texts), was you can have a direct relationship with the deity; you don’t need a temple or a church (or the institution inside them) to do it.  In other words, to create a church around Jesus is to, right off the bat, do the OPPOSITE of Jesus.

But, what would Paul know?

Virtually everything about the story of Jesus’ death is a fiction.  It’s no more real than Harry Potter.  There are facts and then there’s bullshit.  To hate Jews because they ‘killed Jesus’ is bullshit.

To KILL THEM because of it?

There are no words that can adequately describe it.  Maybe one:  “ANTISEMITISM”.

 

 

 

American Culture Has A White-Christian-Male Bias & It Needs To Go

How many guilty Catholic priests does it take to screw in a light bulb?  Better question — How many guilty Catholic priests (guilty of SCREWING children) does it take before a Culture opens its damned eyes?

That blind spot isn’t the Catholic Church’s alone.  The man who sexually assaulted me worked for a synagogue.  Jews do it too.  And Protestants and Muslims.  I suspect other religions do it, too but I’m not too well-versed in their cultures; I know from Abrahamic religions — they all flow from the same toxic male bias.  The religious elements are all really just ‘overlays’ of male self-aggrandizement.  If you really, really look at them, Abrahamic religions have a nasty habit of making its male believers believe not so much ‘in’ a god as that ‘THEY THEMSELVES’ are gods.

They are not made in Yahweh’s image (Yahweh’s his name, god is his job description), Yahweh is made in theirs.

When you start out — deep down — thinking YOU are ‘the gods’ — and if YOU have control of the Culture (made much easier when you tell everyone that YOU and YOU alone can communicate with ‘the gods’) — things like ‘bias’ just sort of flow naturally.  Like toxic waste from a turd factory.

What we Americans need to grasp is that we begin every conversation or debate about who we are with a heavy bias that distorts our image.  We are NOT that thing the Culture insists we are.  We are not predominantly White-Christian-Male — and never were.

But, when you jealously guard the means to tell stories to the widest possible audience, you risk fooling yourself first and foremost.

White-Christian-Male Culture wants us all to believe their excrement smells like roses.  It doesn’t.  They know better than anyone.

They’ve stacked the deck best they can to keep hold of their Ivory Tower.  Problem is, they’re surrounded — by the rest of us.  We need to overtake them — remove them from their tower and then remove their tower, too.  It all needs to go.

It will start — shortly — with our votes.

America Is Still Dealing With Its ‘Original Sin’: We Screwed Up On Slavery

If you really think about it — and you don’t have to think too hard — an awful lot of our current debate about racism in this country is as old as the Republic itself.  When the Founders of this Republic sat down to hash out what this country was and what it wasn’t, what they wanted it to be — and not be — they got bamboozled by the pro-slavery faction.

The fact that the Founders of this country couldn’t/wouldn’t outlaw slavery within our borders was a staggering mistake.  We fought a whole Civil War over it.  We’re battling over it still.

Either ‘All Men Are Created Equal’ or they aren’t.  There can’t be ‘Some Men Are Created MORE Equal’.  Well — there can — but that isn’t this country.

Except it is.  Because we screwed up at the start and allowed slavery to not only ‘be’ but — and here’s where slavery STILL haunts us — to guarantee slavery’s survival, we reverse-engineered how OUR version of democracy would ‘work’.  We empowered the slavers.  We empowered A MINORITY.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that that minority is WHITE, CHRISTIAN & MALE.

Historically, White-Christian-Male Culture has hated and feared any culture that wasn’t IT.  It’s used the Law to punish ‘the other’ and their culture.  Quick ‘for instance’ – marijuana prohibition never had anything to do with marijuana being a health risk (it isn’t — not compared to thousands of OTHER things we do or imbibe LEGALLY) – it was about the fact that marijuana (unknown to White Christian Male Culture) was enjoyed by MEXICANS who brought it with them when they migrated (many after the Mexican Revolution started in 1910).

Those same White Christian Males hated marijuana even more when Jazz Musicians — code for Black Men – took to it enthusiastically.

If you look at the arguments we’re having today — and it’s heavy with racism — you can’t miss slavery’s echos all over the place.  What is VOTER SUPPRESSION if not white people trying to keep black people from voting?  That’s not occurring in a vacuum.  It’s White People resisting the fact that Black People (‘slaves’ to the republican mindset) are free, are citizens, and can vote.

Republicans despise the fact that Black People or Brown People or Asian People or ANY PEOPLE that aren’t them can vote.  They’ve seen for eons where this would lead — to the demise of White Christian Male Culture as the ‘dominant culture’ in America.  To the End of Slavery, really.

And Republicans desperately don’t want THAT to happen…

Is Jeff Sessions Too Stupid For Christianity?

Our ‘sistah-sight’ Mulligan Jesus (which, biased-biased-biased I highly recommend) asks what I think is a very provocative question:  Is THIS MAN — Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions — too stupid for Christianity?

We know already he’s TOO STUPID FOR JESUS… But,, who am I — a very humble atheist — to judge.  That’s I leave it to those better qualified…

Clearly Christianity Is ‘Too Hard’ For Some People (Talking To YOU, Lil Jeff Sessions…)

Spoiler Alert:

Sessions

The answer is YES — DAMN RIGHT!  Jess Sessions IS too stupid for Christianity…

Most Christians Only Like The Bible For ‘The Good Parts’ Anyway…

Clockwork_Orange - Malcolm McDowell

I rail often here about Christians and their insincerity.  Yeah, sure — low hanging fruit and all but — but even low hanging fruit tastes good and has some nutritional value.  So I’ll pick it.

Simple fact:  Most American Christians know virtually nothing about their professed faith.  They’ve NEVER read ‘The Bible’.  Most have never picked one up — except to have in their hands like everyone else — at a church service they did not want to be at.

What they DO know about the supposedly foundational texts at the core of their belief system are the selected phrases of those using the bible for their own messaging purposes.  For instance:  ‘Do unto others — before THEY do unto you first’.

Then there’s the whole ‘pick-n-choose’ quality of American Christianity.  Some rules they like, others not so much.  You’d think they were choosing sides at a fast food restaurant instead of the ‘Rules’ by which they would live.  ‘I don’t know — murder’s horrible and all but if you really have to…’.

Maybe the perfect illustration of how most American Christians really feel about their faith comes from one of my favorite movies ‘Clockwork Orange’.

Alex is a heartless criminal.  He’s murdered a woman after a whole ‘career’ of causing havoc and finally, he’s ‘paying for it’.  In prison he appears to all like a model prisoner bent on reforming himself.  The Prison Chaplin sees Alex reading the bible (or ‘bibble’).  Assumes he’s taking ‘the right lessons’ from it.  However…

If the Jesus ‘story’ was true (meaning — all the window dressing added on to Jesus’ very simple message) — and Jesus DID have a second coming and returned to earth — ALEX would be how most American Christians would think of and ‘approach’ Jesus — not as his follower but as his tormentor.

Why Do They Even CALL It ‘Christianity’?

Screenshot-2014-07-09-at-11-17-35-am
Paul (the former Saul of Tarsus) is pissed:  Yeah, yeah, Jesus — sure.  But Jesus didn’t invent Christianity, PAUL did…

Growing up Non-Christian in a predominantly Christian country does things to you — especially when you realize that you know more about Christianity than most Christians — if only because you bothered to actually READ the texts the religion says it’s based on.

You start to develop a sore neck cos your head’s always tilted on one side (as if you were a dog asking a question).  And you start to realize that, when it comes to their own faith, most Christians don’t know what they’re talking about and would be hard-pressed to have any sort of in-depth discussion about the particularities of their faith.

This is a triumph of the Institution — The Church — over its core message/messager — “Do Unto Others”/Jesus.  And that’s not only fitting — but inevitable.

Jesus did not invent Christianity.  If you were to dig him up today (sorry, he did not rise from the dead), and ask him his take on ‘Christianity’ — the faith supposedly named for him — he’d stare at you like you had three heads, two of which are on upside down.  Cos Jesus never HEARD of Christianity.

Historical Jesus — if such a person ever existed — was born a Jew, lived as a Jew and died a Jew.  He never for a moment in his life ever thought of himself as anything other than a Jew.  He preached to Jews exclusively — a message not about a new, non-Jewish institution that he wanted to see formed and founded, but about how to make his own ‘Mother Religion’ — Judaism — better.

His own words — his core philosophy — are so simple, so elegant, so UNIVERSALLY TRUE that anyone can do them.  And their message is so UNIVERSAL that it’s transcended time like very few other messages:  “Do Unto Others”.  Actually?  A fairly ‘Jewish’ message.  But who’s counting?

Jesus never intended (or wanted — based on his words) a Church to be built around him.

Good thing (if you’re Christian) that there was Paul — the former Saul of Tarsus — converted on the Road to Damascus to… what exactly?  I don’t think even HE knew.  But once that idea — whatever it was — was inside his noggin, Paul refused to let the thing go.

Aside from the gospel writers (who can’t agree on a whole lot of actual ‘details’ about the life of the man they claimed to love like no other), most of the rest of the New Testament is Paul — his letters to far flung congregations, his instructions & and his formative notions of how to make Jesus’ message play outside of Judea.

But Jesus’ message stopped being Paul’s point early on.  Paul took over not only the messaging but the message.  If Paul never exists, there IS NO Christianity — because there would have been no one to imagine it, describe it & its aims, and then cajole goyim (strangers — non-Jews) — into following its newly minted tenets.

Paul became so convinced that HE was the right guy to ‘preach’ the message that he even went up against Jesus’ own family for control of Jesus’ message.  And PAUL — who didn’t know Jesus, never spoke to him, heard his voice, broke bread with him — won the argument — at least in the historical sense.  Here we are.

If I’m Paul — and I had the luxury of perspective — I’d be thrilled that my idea of how to make Jesus’ Idea better spread exactly the way I said it would.  But I’d be a little angry, too — cos who really thinks about Paul any more?   A few Catholics?  Meh.

If I’m Paul I’m pissed as hell.  In some small way the religion itself SHOULD have Paul’s name on it.  If there were any sort of Justice in the Universe, we wouldn’t have called it Christianity in the first place.

The religion would always have been called ‘Paulism’.