People Who Believe In Magic Can Never Be Trusted — Because They Believe In Magic

Oh, look — It’s the SS Ooga-Booga!

You’re lying on a gurney, about to be wheeled into emergency surgery. The surgeon appears — big smile on his face — just before they put you under.

“Nothing to worry about,” he says (a little too loudly), “You’re gonna be fine — I just know it! I prayed as hard as I could and god said — ‘you got this!’ — so ya see? You’re gonna be okay!” Then he mentions that he’s never actually performed this particular surgery before. Hell — he’s never performed surgery EVER — he PRAYS instead.

He doesn’t have a “track record” of success per se but there’s a lot of road kill where his patients used to be.

As they go to squirt the anesthesia into you — how’s it feel knowing this is probably it for you because the guy performing your surgery BELIEVES IN MAGIC instead of reality?

The same goes for your airline pilot. As he rolls you out toward the runway, the last thing you want to hear is that he decided to forgo refueling the plane (fuel’s so heavy anyway) because he believes you can all get from where you are to where you’re going on faith alone.

People making policy decisions — or going to war — because their core value is magic are dangerous. In America, perversely, we encourage magical thinking in our public officials. Up until very recently, it would have been political suicide to even hint that you were an atheist — even as a mere constituent. The ironic assumption that people with no religious faith are automatically inclined toward violence and chaos is hilarious considering all the violence and chaos religious people cause.

Let’s be absolutely real here — if you tell me that at the very core of everything you believe — that the basis for what you think and do — is a fairy tale so absurd and illogical that a child could pick it apart — that’s so fragile a construction that they had to invent a word (“blasphemy“) to describe realistic reactions to the nonsense — then it’s going to be hard to take ANYTHING you think seriously.

If you deny evolution because it’s not mentioned in a text written by ignorant desert-dwellers 4000 years ago or insist that the earth is only a few thousand years old, that an actual man named Adam and an actual woman named Eve lived for a time in an actual garden called Eden where a talking snake screwed the pooch for humanity — your gullibility is shameful. So’s your lack of critical thinking skills.

If you honestly believe that the NT is literally true — that a sky deity named Yahweh had sex with a virgin human girl in order to produce a man-god that would have to die to forgive the “original sin” committed by an imaginary woman in an imaginary garden — then you’re going to have to understand why your opinion on how I might live my life is totally irrelevant. Your opinion about anything is meaningless because you think total bullshit is true.

We should know more do what you think as go into surgery knowing the surgeon’s an incompetent fool.

America has lived too long in Christianity’s thrall. We are not now and never have been a Christian nation. That was part of the point. But Christians — as opposed to followers of Jesus (a completely separate group of people) are a pushy lot. Proseltyzing is baked into their culture (going all the way back to Paul). “Have ya heard the ‘good news’?” they want to know.

If you haven’t, can they spew it at you? If you don’t want it, can they force it down your throat anyway?

I wish our leaders were deeply spiritual. I want them all to feel connected in every way to their real constituents — the people they represent. I want them to cast off their religion though — because the first has nothing to do with the second.

America is the place where Ooga met Booga and produced a mother lode of bullshit. Mormonism was created here. So was Scientology. So was Branch Dividianism and the cults of Jim Jones & Charles Manson. These are all religions that demand their followers surrender all reason — and accept the magic.

Maybe Nancy Reagan had it right — “Just Say No!” Her problem was she should have been talking about religion, not recreational drugs.

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Wanna Know What America’s Problem REALLY Is? White Man BAMBOOZLEMENT Syndrome

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader — and traitor — Mitch McConnell got up on the Senate floor to give his “final thoughts” on The Mueller Report. Despite the fact that everyone in the whole world capable of reading English could see with their own eyes that Mitch was LYING about the Report’s conclusions, Mitch said — in his emphatic turtle voice — that the Mueller Report said what MITCH wanted it to say — nothing to see here, everyone can go home now — “case closed”.

Then — as they always do — members of the American Mainstream News Media dutifully played back Mitch’s words — or repeated them — without pointing out — there and then — that what Mitch had said was contradicted BY THE FACTS. By the very report itself.

This toxic game of telephone only works like this because we, as a culture, have been “seduced” — or bamboozled — into believing that what Mitch McConnell said was true – even though it wasn’t. And the REASON we’re supposed to accept that what Mitch said was true is because Mitch is WHITE.

If Mitch were female, the media would have been all over Mitch like he was Elizabeth Warren maybe not being that little bit of Cherokee she grew up believing (and loving) that she was. If Mitch were black or brown or Asian or anything other than an old white guy — getting up and LYING so outrageously, so blatantly — so disrespectfully — would have earned Mitch some very quick, very stiff retribution.

We have a disease. A bad one: White Bamboozlement Syndrome. We will accept as true — or false but acceptably true — whatever white Christian men tell us. They don’t even have to really be Christian. They just have to SAY that they’re “Christian” — and the bamboozlement — that they “are” Christian — does the rest. Even “real Christians” (whatever that is) will go along and say, “Yeah — the fake Christian’s a ‘real’ Christian now”. They’re willing even to bamboozle themselves.

That’s some powerful stuff.

But White Bamboozlement Syndrome could describe an awful lot of America’s history. Not outlawing SLAVERY at the Republic’s start, say. That was another case of White Men Bamboozling themselves and everyone else into believing that slavery could co-exist with and inside a democracy. Why, you’d have to be a white guy — a white Christian guy — to believe that.

How ironic. White Christian culture — as opposed to anything spiritual connected to the teachings of a character named Jesus — is based on a story woven almost completely from whole cloth that even a mildly skeptical mind could poke giant holes in. But — because white Christian men say “Believe It”, people are supposed to let go of all critical thinking and “buy”.

Bamboozlement complete.

Again — Jesus preached “Do Unto Others”. He didn’t preach ooga-booga. Yes, he was a theist teaching a more direct connection to the Father Figure, but he was trying to minimize all the ooga-booga the temple (the church) was throwing in the follower’s way. To Jesus’ credit — even atheists need to be fair — he wasn’t leaning on his capacity to bamboozle people. He was saying DO AS I AM TRYING TO DO. Not — per bamboozlement’s playbook — “Do what I say (but know damned well I would NEVER be so stupid as to do it — like YOU ARE)”…

Be honest — when you watch or listen to a Jerry Falwell Jr or a Franklin Graham — doesn’t your Bamboozlement Radar suddenly go off? When these two “men of faith” stick their heads so far up Donald Trump’s ass you can see their faces when he smiles — don’t ya kinda think, “Hold on, now — this smells an awful lot like Grade A Primo Bullshit”. Even ooga-booga has its limits, logically.

America is deep in the vice-like grip of its White Christian Money Lords. Having seen the future — they lose power and influence because the demographics are running hard against them — they have thrown down every last bit of White Bamboozlement Syndrome super power they can muster. They have insisted on telling a story — that Donald Trump won an election — that simply is not true.

The Republican Party is openly insisting that we NOT investigate all the terrible facts that we already know about how exactly Trump and the GOP “won” that 2016 election. They want us to simply ACCEPT that they won fairly & squarely.

Stop thinking analytically, they say. Believe what we’re telling you. Trust us — we’re White Christian Men.

We’d never bamboozle you…

Wanna Know What America’s Problem REALLY Is? White Man BAMBOOZLEMENT Syndrome

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader — and traitor — Mitch McConnell got up on the Senate floor to give his “final thoughts” on The Mueller Report. Despite the fact that everyone in the whole world capable of reading English could see with their own eyes that Mitch was LYING about the Report’s conclusions, Mitch said — in his emphatic turtle voice — that the Mueller Report said what MITCH wanted it to say — nothing to see here, everyone can go home now — “case closed”.

Then — as they always do — members of the American Mainstream News Media dutifully played back Mitch’s words — or repeated them — without pointing out — there and then — that what Mitch had said was contradicted BY THE FACTS. By the very report itself.

This toxic game of telephone only works like this because we, as a culture, have been “seduced” — or bamboozled — into believing that what Mitch McConnell said was true – even though it wasn’t. And the REASON we’re supposed to accept that what Mitch said was true is because Mitch is WHITE.

If Mitch were female, the media would have been all over Mitch like he was Elizabeth Warren maybe not being that little bit of Cherokee she grew up believing (and loving) that she was. If Mitch were black or brown or Asian or anything other than an old white guy — getting up and LYING so outrageously, so blatantly — so disrespectfully — would have earned Mitch some very quick, very stiff retribution.

We have a disease. A bad one: White Bamboozlement Syndrome. We will accept as true — or false but acceptably true — whatever white Christian men tell us. They don’t even have to really be Christian. They just have to SAY that they’re “Christian” — and the bamboozlement — that they “are” Christian — does the rest. Even “real Christians” (whatever that is) will go along and say, “Yeah — the fake Christian’s a ‘real’ Christian now”. They’re willing even to bamboozle themselves.

That’s some powerful stuff.

But White Bamboozlement Syndrome could describe an awful lot of America’s history. Not outlawing SLAVERY at the Republic’s start, say. That was another case of White Men Bamboozling themselves and everyone else into believing that slavery could co-exist with and inside a democracy. Why, you’d have to be a white guy — a white Christian guy — to believe that.

How ironic. White Christian culture — as opposed to anything spiritual connected to the teachings of a character named Jesus — is based on a story woven almost completely from whole cloth that even a mildly skeptical mind could poke giant holes in. But — because white Christian men say “Believe It”, people are supposed to let go of all critical thinking and “buy”.

Bamboozlement complete.

Again — Jesus preached “Do Unto Others”. He didn’t preach ooga-booga. Yes, he was a theist teaching a more direct connection to the Father Figure, but he was trying to minimize all the ooga-booga the temple (the church) was throwing in the follower’s way. To Jesus’ credit — even atheists need to be fair — he wasn’t leaning on his capacity to bamboozle people. He was saying DO AS I AM TRYING TO DO. Not — per bamboozlement’s playbook — “Do what I say (but know damned well I would NEVER be so stupid as to do it — like YOU ARE)”…

Be honest — when you watch or listen to a Jerry Falwell Jr or a Franklin Graham — doesn’t your Bamboozlement Radar suddenly go off? When these two “men of faith” stick their heads so far up Donald Trump’s ass you can see their faces when he smiles — don’t ya kinda think, “Hold on, now — this smells an awful lot like Grade A Primo Bullshit”. Even ooga-booga has its limits, logically.

America is deep in the vice-like grip of its White Christian Money Lords. Having seen the future — they lose power and influence because the demographics are running hard against them — they have thrown down every last bit of White Bamboozlement Syndrome super power they can muster. They have insisted on telling a story — that Donald Trump won an election — that simply is not true.

The Republican Party is openly insisting that we NOT investigate all the terrible facts that we already know about how exactly Trump and the GOP “won” that 2016 election. They want us to simply ACCEPT that they won fairly & squarely.

Stop thinking analytically, they say. Believe what we’re telling you. Trust us — we’re White Christian Men.

We’d never bamboozle you…

Wanna Know What America’s Problem REALLY Is? White Man BAMBOOZLEMENT Syndrome

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader — and traitor — Mitch McConnell got up on the Senate floor to give his “final thoughts” on The Mueller Report. Despite the fact that everyone in the whole world capable of reading English could see with their own eyes that Mitch was LYING about the Report’s conclusions, Mitch said — in his emphatic turtle voice — that the Mueller Report said what MITCH wanted it to say — nothing to see here, everyone can go home now — “case closed”.

Then — as they always do — members of the American Mainstream News Media dutifully played back Mitch’s words — or repeated them — without pointing out — there and then — that what Mitch had said was contradicted BY THE FACTS. By the very report itself.

This toxic game of telephone only works like this because we, as a culture, have been “seduced” — or bamboozled — into believing that what Mitch McConnell said was true – even though it wasn’t. And the REASON we’re supposed to accept that what Mitch said was true is because Mitch is WHITE.

If Mitch were female, the media would have been all over Mitch like he was Elizabeth Warren maybe not being that little bit of Cherokee she grew up believing (and loving) that she was. If Mitch were black or brown or Asian or anything other than an old white guy — getting up and LYING so outrageously, so blatantly — so disrespectfully — would have earned Mitch some very quick, very stiff retribution.

We have a disease. A bad one: White Bamboozlement Syndrome. We will accept as true — or false but acceptably true — whatever white Christian men tell us. They don’t even have to really be Christian. They just have to SAY that they’re “Christian” — and the bamboozlement — that they “are” Christian — does the rest. Even “real Christians” (whatever that is) will go along and say, “Yeah — the fake Christian’s a ‘real’ Christian now”. They’re willing even to bamboozle themselves.

That’s some powerful stuff.

But White Bamboozlement Syndrome could describe an awful lot of America’s history. Not outlawing SLAVERY at the Republic’s start, say. That was another case of White Men Bamboozling themselves and everyone else into believing that slavery could co-exist with and inside a democracy. Why, you’d have to be a white guy — a white Christian guy — to believe that.

How ironic. White Christian culture — as opposed to anything spiritual connected to the teachings of a character named Jesus — is based on a story woven almost completely from whole cloth that even a mildly skeptical mind could poke giant holes in. But — because white Christian men say “Believe It”, people are supposed to let go of all critical thinking and “buy”.

Bamboozlement complete.

Again — Jesus preached “Do Unto Others”. He didn’t preach ooga-booga. Yes, he was a theist teaching a more direct connection to the Father Figure, but he was trying to minimize all the ooga-booga the temple (the church) was throwing in the follower’s way. To Jesus’ credit — even atheists need to be fair — he wasn’t leaning on his capacity to bamboozle people. He was saying DO AS I AM TRYING TO DO. Not — per bamboozlement’s playbook — “Do what I say (but know damned well I would NEVER be so stupid as to do it — like YOU ARE)”…

Be honest — when you watch or listen to a Jerry Falwell Jr or a Franklin Graham — doesn’t your Bamboozlement Radar suddenly go off? When these two “men of faith” stick their heads so far up Donald Trump’s ass you can see their faces when he smiles — don’t ya kinda think, “Hold on, now — this smells an awful lot like Grade A Primo Bullshit”. Even ooga-booga has its limits, logically.

America is deep in the vice-like grip of its White Christian Money Lords. Having seen the future — they lose power and influence because the demographics are running hard against them — they have thrown down every last bit of White Bamboozlement Syndrome super power they can muster. They have insisted on telling a story — that Donald Trump won an election — that simply is not true.

The Republican Party is openly insisting that we NOT investigate all the terrible facts that we already know about how exactly Trump and the GOP “won” that 2016 election. They want us to simply ACCEPT that they won fairly & squarely.

Stop thinking analytically, they say. Believe what we’re telling you. Trust us — we’re White Christian Men.

We’d never bamboozle you…

An Atheist’s Easter Sermon: Why REALITY Matters More Than Ooga-Booga

Christmas is a pagan holiday redirected.  For all its “holiness”, all its fanciful storytelling about Wise Men from the East and stars that shine above spots on a planet light years away from them, Christmas still celebrates something; it’s a happy holiday.  Easter, on the other hand, is about Christianity’s core message: “Jesus died (but then rose from the dead – as YOU can, in essence, IF you agree to accept the story we’re pitching you as ‘gospel’ truth.”

Jesus being born and having a life is all well and good.  He can preach all he likes.  But it’s dying that gives the Jesus character purpose.  If Jesus never dies the way he dies (if, say, the NT celebrated his living a long life, dying in his bed surrounded by loved ones), there’s no Christianity.  It doesn’t happen.  But it wasn’t Jesus who told his own story.  Most of what we call “The New Testament” was written by Paul.  13 of the canonical texts are ascribed to Paul though only 8 can really be ascribed to him.

In 1985, the bible scholar Robert Funk created a group of 150 similar scholars.  The Jesus Seminar wanted to coax a historical Jesus from the NT texts.  They discerned a Jew whose core message (they found a dozen-and-a-half sayings that Jesus could have said — that weren’t clearly PUT IN HIS MOUTH BY OTHERS (like, say, PAUL).  What they also saw clearly — “According to the Seminar, Jesus was a mortal man born of two human parents, who did not perform nature miracles nor die as a substitute for sinners nor rise bodily from the dead.  Sightings of a risen Jesus represented the visionary experiences of some of his disciples rather than physical encounters.”

The historian A N Wilson wrote a biography of Paul that I highly recommend — if only to create the proper context in which to understand Christianity’s creation.  The bottom line is simply this: Jesus did not “invent” Christianity.  Paul did.

Paul took the notion of Jesus as a messiah — threw out Jesus’ core “Do Unto Others” message and focused his proselytizing instead on making Jesus The Messiah the basis for a whole new religion that he sold to non-Jews for whom Jewish tradition was meaningless.  But, to prove, HIS invention’s “truthfulness” (maybe “truthiness” is more warranted), Paul based his mythology on Jewish mythology.  Paul needed Jesus being prophesied as part of his branding.  To make the “prophecy” part of Jesus’ story stand up, Paul had invent a story for Jesus because Jesus’ actual story just didn’t fit.

Paul didn’t worry himself with his story’s lack of authenticity.  He wasn’t selling real.  He was selling magic.

But part of Paul’s mythology involved making Jesus’ death important — more important than his life, really.  Jesus needs to rise from the dead to garner the star power needed to front Paul’s new religion.  To rise from the dead, Jesus needs to die spectacularly — even more spectacularly than mere crucifixion. And, because Paul was now committed to selling his story to non-Jews, it mattered nothing to him if Jews became the villain in the STORY he was inventing.

The early church fathers who bought & then themselves began selling Paul’s story loved having a villain.

As a member of the “villain” tribe — I have issues with this.

Jesus preached a simple message.  Even a humble atheist can easily (and happily) “Do Unto Others”.  Most do, actually because, humans are social creatures.  We recognize that behaving one way versus the other makes your life better.  There’s no reason to muck that message up.  It doesn’t cry out for explanation.

It requires no magic.

It stands — resolutely — without any need for Ooga-Booga to justify it.

So here’s the deal.  Believe whatever you like, Christians — it’s your “god-given right”.  But what you do with that faith — how you manifest its teachings out here beyond the walls of your church — it matters.  When your pervert “Do Unto Others” into “Kill The Jews” — you’re doing it wrong.

Sunday Sermon: The Inexplicable Power Of OOGA-BOOGA

I consider myself an aficionado of bullshit. I don’t “like” bullshit — but I do see how pervasive bullshit is. I see (having fallen for it myself to the point of nearly offing myself because of it) — how seductive bullshit is; I see how easily every last one of us can fall under its sway — and become its slaves.

Bullshit captures us and holds us because it appeals to the lazy, irrational, can’t-be-bothered-with-the-Truth lizard brain that epitomizes conservative mind-think. It sees a mystery — and, where the “gaps” are in its knowledge, it puts ooga-booga instead of a simple “I don’t know the answer to that yet”. It assumes magic must be the answer to what it doesn’t know. Ironically — if it waited five minutes (while someone curious went at the answer), they’d LEARN — it isn’t ooga-booga, it’s biology or chemistry or physics or some other natural explanation that simply needed to be stumbled over.

There’s a reason the religions of the world love to educate children — they can break a child’s capacity to think at the get-go and replace analytical thought with acceptance of mythology and ooga-booga. Did Life-As-We-Know-It begin in a singularity — or in the mind of a physically powerful but emotionally fragile deity?

If you don’t have microscopes or telescopes or celestial navigation or calculus or any of the other human innovations that gave us the TOOLS with which to replace ooga-booga explanations with REAL ones — you’ll give in to the ooga-booga because you don’t know any better. “KNOW” is the operative word here.

On this subject — quick side note here — I recommend this remarkable lecture by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Among other things he touches on naming rights (why do so many stars have Arabic names?)

The point of “naming rights” is that it reflects “discovery”. Being the “inventors” of celestial navigation — a human innovation that put a big chunk of ooga-booga to bed — Arabs (having no competition to consider) named the stars they identified — and fixed in the heavens & their mind — in the language they spoke: Arabic. It’s a great lecture — absolutely worth the time to watch. He touches on ooga-booga, too.

As Tyson articulately explains — even the greatest minds in science have given in to that old, (apparently) hard-wired-into-us urge to give in and fill in the gaps in our knowledge with ooga-booga and its bedmate Magical Thinking.

Those of us NOT beholden to ooga-booga must call out the ooga-booga for what it is whenever we see it. Maybe we should use the term “OOGA-BOOGA” to describe it — instead of “bullshit”.

Even calling it “bullshit” gives “ooga-booga” way too much credence.