Ask ten people what “god” is and you’ll get ten distinctly different answers. That’s not because “god” is such an expansive, all-encompassing concept. It’s because “god” is an “idea” you can alter on the fly. The magical power god has one moment, he doesn’t have the next. Or he chooses not to use them that time though the circumstances are exact.
You know how “god” is — he works in “mysterious ways”.
In fact, “god” is so mysterious that he regularly hires clowns like Kenneth Copeland to speak on his behalf. You remember Kenneth Copeland, don’t ya…?
I keep thumbing through my copy of the NT (I do have one and it is well thumbed through) but, for the life of me, I can’t see what chapter or verse Ken is using here as the basis for his Christian behavior.
I definitely can’t see what, if anything, Jesus said that Ken thinks he’s emulating.
Evangelicals like Ken (like most American Christians) are churchists, not followers of Jesus. They couldn’t pick Jesus out of a police line up — which is exactly where they’d expect to find him. They know for a fact that the LAST place Jesus would ever show up is at one of their mega-churches. Just as well — they’d never let him in.
Pick an evangelical. Listen to them speak. Watch them while they do it. Bore in on their eyes.
See Ken’s eyes? That’s not “madness” shining out of them. It’s the absolute belief that he is god and it is beyond his comprehension that the reporter isn’t bowing down to that fact.
Kenneth Copeland isn’t special. He’s just good at what he does — bamboozling the mooks, half-wits & ignoramuses who keep him well supplied with jet fuel. If any of those mooks, half-wits or ignoramuses could, they’d ask themselves: “How can a follower of Jesus explain the need for a private jet to begin with?”
But they can’t, so they don’t.
Instead, they comfort themselves with their own godliness.
Pro-gun people will insist right to your face that their arsenal of death is all that stands between the collective us and a hostile, tyrannical government taking over all our lives. Their devotion to the second amendment (well, to their bizarre interpretation of it that rearranges syntax and redefines words to make them more convenient) is our last bulwark of freedom.
That ain’t just bullshit, it’s RACIST bullshit.
Do a quick survey of who mouths that nonsense. See what I mean? Not a brown face to be seen. Think it’s a coincidence?
These are the same princes who believe American Exceptionalism is the money rich white men put down in the casino of ideas. They think ownership of an idea is what matters rather than the idea itself. Of course they would — they can’t think of the ideas because their brains have all stagnated. Great ideas are born of diversity — and the many different ways of thinking that diversity organically inspires.
The joke about white supremacy of course is its total wrong-headedness about its core mythology — that white people breeding only with white people will produce white perfection. You might indeed get a “race” of people with alabaster skin — your ideal of perfection. But that blindingly white flesh will come with lots of baggage including genetic issues. Ask the Spanish aristocracy how that works out.
American Exceptionalism (it’s a real thing) flows directly from its diversity. Until travel became easy in the 19th century, most people lived and died within a few miles of where they were born. A family — a community of families — would live on the same patch of land for generations, bonding, becoming a tribe. The tribes that lived around and between the Seine, Rhone, Loire, Garonne and Marne Rivers eventually became French. That same formative process produced the English, the Spanish, the Dutch, the Belgians, the Swiss and every other nation of Europe (and the world up to that point).
Meanwhile, in North America, millions of Native Americans were thriving. When the European tribes eventually arrived, they found a nearly empty continent. That’s because the very first European arrivals brought germs with them that quickly, silently and pretty thoroughly reduced a collective population of millions to a mere tens of thousands. The European tribes were all white and saw their larger tribe as superior.
Had the European tribes had to go up against the native tribes at full size and strength? They’d all still be in Europe — without a bit of the New World’s wealth in their pocket. That fact alone would have changed the fate of humankind.
But white people stepped onto a blank canvas and saw only themselves. But others were here, too. Black people, brown people, Asian people, Middle Eastern people. As there was no native tribe anymore, all the new arrivals filled that tribal vacuum and became a tribe. Regardless of wherever they were from, most came to America to stay. To become something they hadn’t been before because no one had been it: Americans.
It wasn’t just white, European people and their money.
White, Christian people have always lived in irrational fear of every other race. Having invented the myth that America was a white, Christian country by nature, white, Christian people proceeded to make life miserable for everyone who wasn’t white. Over the course of two hundred years, America’s white, Christian people persecuted, enslaved, massacred or disrespected every single other group they encountered — and usually? They used their faith to justify it.
Go back to those faces — of the earnest, deeply concerned citizens insisting that their gun is our freedom. Replace the word “government” with “black person” or “brown person” or “Asian person” or “Muslim” or “Jew” or “Feminist” even. It plugs and plays perfectly.
It’s not a coincidence. Gun lovers fear the government because they love their guns. It’s not the government taking their guns that scares them to death, it’s how defenseless they’ll feel afterwards — when or if one of those other tribes comes looking for payback. Never mind how entitled those other tribes are to every bit of payback they can get, the white people ain’t paying it. Not willingly.
Want fairness? Want Justice? As former proud NRA member Charlton Heston once proudly asserted about gun regulators and his guns, we’ll have to take fairness, Justice and our safety from their “cold, dead fingers”.
Chuck Heston wasn’t staring at the government when he said that. He was staring at “the help”.
Not a revelation: smart people are as capable of profound stupidity as the profoundly stupid.
The instant even an Einstein-level genius begins to view the world with limited or diminished perspective, it’s just a matter of time before they turn as deeply, utterly, right-down-to-his-tighty-whities stupid as Texas’ Louie Gohmert — the (certifiably) Stupidest Man In Congress. When discussing “stupid”, it’s important to define one’s terms.
As a “baseline” for stupid — “stupid” we can all agree is 1) genuinely stupid and 2) quantifiably stupid — Louie Gohmert is (in my humble opinion) The Gold Standard. So — when I say Democrats are capable of profound stupidity, I’m saying Democrats have it in them to be stupider than Louie Gohmert — stupider than the stupidest man in Congress.
But, I’m not here just to call people stupid (as much fun as it is). I’m here to explain WHY they’re stupid. I want to help after all. Louie Gohmert is stupid because stupid is baked in to his genetics. In the human gene pool, Louie and his kin are all “floaters” in the shallow end — turds someone squeezed out because they regularly shit where they eat and sleep. Unfortunately for us, it’s now too late to clear out the pool, empty it of floaters, and give it a good scrub before refilling.
Louie epitomizes conservative stupidity. It has zero intellectual curiosity. Everything a Louie-Conservative knows (or needs to know, it says) comes from the bible. Never mind that had that works’ authors (the bible is a compendium of multiple texts written by multiple people then edited and assembled into the form we know now by other multiple people) operated from a very limited knowledge base. They thought everything in the cosmos revolved around the earth (they were wrong). They thought magic caused and cured disease (they were wrong). They thought the whole world and everything in it was right there where they lived — that no other “continents” existed filled with millions of humans with vastly different experiences from theirs (they were wrong about that, too). Louie-Conservatives holds up this religious text as the basis for all history, science and cosmology.
So — a Louie-Conservative will take the genetic stupidity he starts with and add heaps of experiential stupidity. Rather than open his eyes or, better yet, his mind, a Louie-Conservative will dig in his heels, insisting that these ancient texts, like their authors were “divinely inspired”. They were transmitting the literal “words o’ god”. That’s what every author things, stupid…
Conservative stupid is because it will do everything in its power to live in the past — and living in the past (say it with me) IS STUPID.
Democrats get stupid in the exact opposite way. In a sense, Democrats get stupid because we so very much want to live in the future. While conservatives long to live in a past where their tribe dominates (everyone in power needs to look and sound just like them), Progressives (Democrats) want to live in a future where no tribe dominates. That’s a terrific ideal but might not be as doable as Progressives think. Certainly not now the way homo sapiens are “configured”.
Democrats want to think the best of people. Because they want the pool to be as diverse as possible, they allow a tremendous amount of variability in terms of who can join the pool. Progress can’t happen any other way. There are inherent risks because people aren’t uniformly good. Some of us are greedy. Some of us are really greedy.
Greed is a whole other kind of stupid. Everyone is capable of greed.
The moment greed-stupidity enters, all bets are off. Greed-stupidity trumps everything and all other stupidity becomes instantly irrelevant. Greed stupidity is the most willful. It will sacrifice everything at the altar of Greed right down to its own future — like Abraham sacrificing his beloved Isaac just because the voice in his head told him to. The Nature of Democrat-Stupid is we’re terrible at recognizing Greed-Stupid.
Democrats get stupid when they give the benefit of the doubt to Greed-Stupid because they can’t adjudge Greed-Stupid’s true motives. Then Democrats get nuts when Greed-Stupid changes the rules — or flat out ignores them — because all Greed-Stupid cares about is holding onto power (and money) — so they can maintain their Conservative-Stupid hold over everyone — the majority of people.
In bending over backwards to be fair, Democrats initiate the process of their own destruction. Stupid, right? The problem? It’s as baked in as a Conservative’s stupidity.
As the French would say, Voila la probleme.
Is there a cure for stupid? It’s a fair question. I’m afraid the answer’s unsatisfying: no. Homo sapiens are incredibly clever. Industrious. We’re great problem-solvers — maybe the best among sentient beings on earth (though we have no way of really knowing — lots of other sentient beings are good at solving problems). But we’re self-destructive in myriad ways — starting with our knack for over-production. There are far, far too many of us on the planet. We’ve destroyed 90% of all the other creatures we’ve encountered. Destroyed them or made their habitat unlivable, take your pick. They disappeared regardless.
We’re facing a massive, genuinely existential crisis caused by our own greed and short-sightedness. But, in part because there are so many of us and because we’re so diverse, it’s impossible for us to collectively help ourselves quickly if at all. And even if we could collectively help ourselves, because variation is baked in — and because so much of that variation is motivated by greed — we’re doomed from the start.
It’s a fact — homo sapiens will be no more durable on this planet than the dinosaurs. We’re just as doomed to distinction. The one big difference? Dinosaurs had no hand in their own destruction. The cosmos did that courtesy of a massive meteor strike.
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…
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.
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’.