Republican Atheists 2

The Republican Party is very disappointing. To judge by the way Congressional Republican leaders, and numerous “NeverTrumpers” among “conservative” journalists, actively side with the “Resistance” against President Trump, it seems they would rather have socialism, Islam, corruption, violence, open borders, unemployment, hysterical racism, endless debate about who can use which public bathroom, high taxes, enforced unanimity of opinion in the universities, compulsory payment of huge sums to Al Gore to keep the planet cool, the shaming of white men for being white, and the running of everything by women.

If more Republicans were atheists, would the party become more rational, more principled, and more supportive of President Trump?

It’s an optimistic hypothesis, but who knows?

Some competent Republican atheists have formed an organization that will test the theory, perhaps lure any secret non-believing members of the party out of the closet, and even perhaps “normalize” atheism in the eyes of the religious.

We think it worth trying. So here is a flyer for the Republican Atheist movement.

Introducing Republican Atheists: a new face for secular conservatism

Republican Atheists is a nationally and internationally recognized organization that launched in the USA in February 2017 to build awareness of secular presence in the Republican Party.

President and founder Lauren Ell decided to launch the organization after becoming determined to showcase that being a registered Republican does not require being subscribed to religion. Ell also wanted to make a statement in the atheist community that atheists can have conservative views.

“I decided I’ve had enough of not being represented in both the Republican Party and atheist community,” Ell said. “I launched Republican Atheists to represent those who are in a similar circumstance as me and to give a stronger voice to secular conservatism.”

Ell was born and raised in Southern California. She is located in Sweden most of the year since Spring 2016. Ell has identified as atheist for over a decade and has education background in Marketing and Geology. She currently works as a marketing consultant and business owner while devoting volunteer time to Republican Atheists.

Despite having an exclusive name, Republican Atheists does not solicit strictly to atheists. The organization welcomes those who consider themselves agnostic, humanist and secular. In fact, everyone is welcome to tune into Republican Atheists when they have the time.

Republican Atheists has two official board members who are registered Republicans. First registered board member Republican State Rep. Brandon Phinney from Rochester, New Hampshire, provides insight into state level politics and communicating with the public. Phinney made waves in atheist and religious media outlets in Spring 2017 when he discussed his atheist views while being a Republican representative.

Second board member is well known author and speaker, Robert M. Price, Ph.D. in Theology and Ph.D. in New Testament. Price has taught in colleges and universities and has also served as director for NY Metro Center for Inquiry. He directs his own podcast known as The Bible Geek.

Additionally the organization is pleased to have Raul D. Empaire on board, official correspondent on issues surrounding Venezuela.

Republican Atheists has been featured by United Coalition of Reason, Secular Policy Institute and Friendly Atheist (blog). Ell has also introduced Republican Atheists at well known campus University of California, Riverside, located in Riverside, CA. With a growing social media following on Facebook and Twitter, the organization continues to expand its outreach and influence.

The team of Republican Atheists looks forward to building more awareness of secular conservatism through public speaking engagements, interviews and social media activity. For more information visit the official website:

www.RepublicanAtheists.com.

Posted under Atheism, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, June 17, 2017

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Civilization’s fulcrum moment 13

This is a fulcrum moment in the history of civilized man. (Yes, MAN – the correct generic term for the human race.) What is happening to the Western world now is equivalent to the fall of the Roman Empire.

If most of Europe becomes Islamized, as it is fast becoming by the will and action of the Left – and all the governments of Western Europe are on the Left even those that call themselves Conservative – then where and how, if at all, will our civilization survive?

If most of Europe becomes Islamized, what will remain of European civilization in its homelands?

Imagine a map of Europe showing the thousands of square miles of vineyards. Think of the grapes, and the harvests, and the process of wine-making – the generations of practice and discovery that have perfected it. Do you enjoy drinking wine? Well, there will be no more for you to enjoy. Not from Europe. It will go. All those vineyards will be laid to waste. Islam forbids the drinking of alcohol.

So also beer, ale, whisky … the industries and the pleasure will all be gone. Your cosy village pub? Gone. Your  cocktail hour? Gone. Allah does not permit them to exist.

Now think of the art galleries of Europe. The pictures, the sculpture. Islam forbids the making of images of human beings and animals. Nudes in particular are haram. What will be done with Leonardo, Michelangelo, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Bernini? Their works will be destroyed. The pictures will be burnt. The sculptures will be hammered into dust.

Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne

What will be done with the libraries? They contain millions of books that are blasphemous in the judgment of Islam. They will all be destroyed.

What will be done with the schools and universities? What will they be allowed to teach? What will scientists be allowed to do? We know the answers to those questions.

Do you love music? You will not hear the great works of the European composers performed any more. Not in Europe. The concert halls will probably be turned into mosques.

What will be the position of women in Islamic Europe? We all know the answer to that. If Western women were “liberated” in the twentieth century, come the late twenty-first century their brief age of liberty will be over.

What will happen to homosexuals under Islamic rule? Islamic law decrees that they must be put to death.

If you are a Christian or a Jew, and insist on remaining a Christian or a Jew rather than joining Islam, you may be allowed to live if you pay protection money to your Islamic overlords. But don’t count on it. Muslim powers have not shown themselves to be in a merciful mood lately. Christians are being slaughtered even in comparatively tolerant Islamic countries such as Egypt; and in what used to be Iraq and Syria they are being mass-murdered, tortured and enslaved by the caliphate of the Islamic State. And Jews? How likely are they to be allowed to exist under any circumstances? As for atheists – they will have to pretend to believe in Allah-and-his-Prophet, or die.

There will be no more fair trials. In Britain, the adversarial system with its safeguards for the innocent of guaranteed defense, cross-examination of witnesses, rules of evidence, juries, will be abolished. On the continent the inquisitorial system – examination by magistrates “to find the truth” – will also be abolished. Sharia law will replace the old systems and codes. An example of sharia justice? If a woman claims she has been raped and cannot prove it by producing four male witnesses who will swear to having seen penetration, she is held to be guilty of adultery; her punishment for adultery is death. The method of her execution? She is buried tightly up to her shoulders in a hole in a public place, and rocks are hurled at her head until she dies.

None of this is fantasy. Europe has in fact invited mass Muslim immigration. The Muslim fertility rate far exceeds that of the indigenous Europeans. Islam will predominate and rule.

It is probably too late to stop this happening. Just possibly a strong British government that grasps the horror of the impending doom, might – with Brexit accomplished and the nation being once again in a position to make its own policies – stop the Muslim influx, reduce the Muslim population, and preserve British culture, law, and freedom. Some Eastern European countries are refusing to let the Muslim “refugees” in, so there European traditions and culture might be preserved for a while.

There was some hope for the Netherlands had the voters, in their recent elections, empowered the party and the leader who would have saved them from Islamization. But they did not.

The last chance for Europe comes in a few days from now, on May 7, 2017, when two candidates for the presidency compete in a run-off election in France. If the voters choose Marine Le Pen, who does grasp the horror of the impending doom, France may be saved; and since she would probably take the country out of the European Union  and so break up that corrupt undemocratic pro-Islamic entity, Europe may be saved. Europe’s viticulture may continue. Citizens of Western countries may be able to drink French, German, Italian and Spanish wines. The art galleries may remain filled with pictures and sculpture. Music may be played in the concert halls. Scientists may be allowed to pursue science. Freedom, tolerance, justice, reason, may prevail at least to the extent that they have prevailed since the Enlightenment. The nation states of Europe may continue to exist and govern themselves.

But if a majority of the French vote for the only other candidate, Emmanuel Macron, who wants more Muslim immigration and the continuing existence of the European Union, the doom will be ensured.

 

Jillian Becker    April 24, 2017

The universe wants to kill us 1

Enjoy!

We have strong differences of opinion with both Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Maher on political issues, but not on religion. They are atheists. (Go here for a video of Bill Maher condemning Islam.)

Posted under Atheism, Religion general, Superstition, Theology, Videos by Jillian Becker on Sunday, April 23, 2017

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The need for religion – a craving for tyranny 2

Why do tens of millions in the West prostrate themselves before advancing, conquering, oppressive Islam?

Why do millions of Americans still vote for the Democratic Party?

This essay offers a chilling explanation.

It is from Jihad Watch, by Alexander Maistrovoy:

“Progressive man” refuses to recognize the crimes of Islam, not because he is naive, fine-tempered or tolerant. He does it because, unconsciously or subconsciously, he has already accepted Islam as a religion of salvation. As he accepted Stalinism, Hitlerism, Maoism and the “Khmer Rouge” before it 

Joseph de Maistre, a French aristocrat of the early 19th century, argued that man cannot live without religion, and not religion as such, but the tyrannical and merciless one. He was damned and hated, they called him an antipode of progress and freedom, even a forerunner of fascism; however, progressives proved him right again and again.

It may be true of most people that they “cannot live without religion”, but it is not true of all. We wonder how, since the Enlightenment, and especially now in our Age of Science, people can live with a religion. We agree, however, that those who need a religion are not put off by its being “tyrannical and merciless”.

Is there a religion, whether deity-worshiping or secular, that is not tyrannical and merciless?  

In their nihilistic ecstasy, Homo progressicus threw God off the pedestal, trampled upon the humanistic ideal of Petrarch, Alberti and Leonardo Bruni, who relied on Reason and strove for virtue, and … found themselves in complete and gaping emptiness. They realized that they could not live without the God-man — the idol, the leader, the ruler, who would rely on the unshakable, ruthless idea of salvation — not in the other world, but in this real world here and now. And with all the passion so inherent to their shallow, unstable, infantile nature, they rushed out in search of their “prince on a white horse”.

The idols of the progressives were tyrants armed with the most progressive ideology: Robespierre, and after him Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and finally — Islam.

Islam does not, of course, claim to be “progressive”. It derives from – and is stuck in – the Dark Ages. But the self-styled progressives of the West are welcoming it and submitting to it.

In the 20th century, the Western intelligentsia was infected with red and brown bacilli.

Walter Duranty ardently denied the Holodomor.

That is Stalin’s forced famine in the Ukraine that killed many millions. Walter Duranty denied that it was happening in his New York Times reports.

Bernard Shaw and Romain Rolland justified OGPU terror and the kangaroo court in Moscow; Aragon, Barbusse (the author of the apologetic biography of Stalin: Stalin. A New World Seen Through the Man) and Jean-Richard Bloch glorified “the Father of nations”.

“I would do nothing against Stalin at the moment; I accepted the Moscow trials and I am prepared to accept those in Barcelona,” said Andre Malraux during the massacre of anarchists from POUM [the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification] by Communists in Barcelona in 1937.

Let’s guess: who is writing about whom? “Lonely overbearing man … damned disagreeable”, “friendly and commonplace”, possessing “an intelligence far beyond dogmatism” … “sucked thoughtfully at the pipe he had most politely asked my permission to smoke  I have never met a man more fair, candid, and honest”. Got it? It was Stalin, as portrayed by H. G. Wells.

How many sufferings – Solzhenitsyn recalled — were caused by progressive Western journalists, who after having visited the GULAG, praised Potemkin villages with allegedly heated barracks where political prisoners used to read Soviet newspapers sitting at clean neat tables? Indeed, Arthur Ransome (The Guardian), an American journalist and a fan of Mao, Agnes Smedley, New York reporter Lincoln Steffens (after the meeting with Lenin he wrote,“I have seen the future and it works”), Australian-British journalist Leonore Winter (the author of the book  called Red Virtue: Human Relations in the New Russia) and many others sympathized with the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union. Juan Benet, a famous Spanish writer, suggested “strengthening the guards (in GULAG), so that people like Solzhenitsyn would not escape”. The Los Angeles Times published Alexander and Andrew Cockburn, who were Stalin’s admirers.

Hitler? Knut Hamsun, Norwegian novelist who won the Nobel Prize, described Hitler in an obituary as a “fighter for humanity and for the rights of all nations”. The “amorousness” of Martin Heidegger for the “leader of the Third Reich” is well known. In the 1930s, the Führer was quite a respectable person in the eyes of the mass media. Anne O’Hare McCormick – a foreign news correspondent for the New York Times (she got a Pulitzer Prize) — described Hitler after the interview with him: he is “a rather shy and simple man, younger than one expects, more robust, taller … His eyes are almost the color of the blue larkspur in a vase behind him, curiously childlike and candid … His voice is as quiet as his black tie and his double-breasted black suit … Herr Hitler has the sensitive hand of the artist.”

The French elites were fascinated by Hitler. Ferdinand Celine said that France would not go to “Jewish war”, and claimed that there was an international Jewish conspiracy to start the world war. French Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet rendered honors to Ribbentrop, and novelist, essayist and playwright Jean Giraudoux said that he was “fully in agreement with Hitler when he states that a policy only reaches its highest form when it is racial”.

The Red Guards of Chairman Mao caused deadly convulsions in China and ecstatic [sympathetic] rage in Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Jan Myrdal, Charles Bettelheim, Alain Badiou and Louis Pierre Althusser. In Paris, Barbusse and Aragon created “the pocket monster” — Enver Hoxha [Communist dictator of Albania]; at Sorbonne University, Sartre worked out “the Khmer Rouge Revolution” of Pol Pot, Hu Nima, and Ieng Sary. Noam Chomsky characterized the proofs of Pol Pot’s genocide as “third rate” and complained of a “vast and unprecedented propaganda campaign against the Khmer Rouge”. Gareth Porter, winner of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, said in May 1977: “The notion that the leadership of Democratic Kampuchea adopted a policy of physically eliminating whole classes of people was … a myth.”

In the 70’s, the whole world already knew the truth about the Red Guards. However, German youth from the Socialist Union of German Students went out  on demonstrations with portraits of the “Great Helmsman” and the song “The East is Red”.

In the USA, they went into the streets holding red flags and portraits of Trotsky and Che Guevara, and dream of “Fucking the System” like their idol Abbie Hoffman. The hatred of “petty bourgeois philistines”, as Trotsky named ordinary people, together with the dream of guillotines, bayonets, and “red terror”, keep inspiring Western intellectuals like Tariq Ali, the author of the revolutionary manual Trotsky for Beginners.

“The middle class turned out to be captured by ‘bourgeois-bohemian Bolshevism’,” Pascal Bruckner wrote.

Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot passed away, but new heroes appeared in their places. Leading employees of CNN – reporter Peter Arnett, producer Robert Wiener and director of news department Eason T. Jordan – had excellent relations with close associates of Saddam Hussein, pretending they didn’t know anything about his atrocities. Hollywood stars set up a race of making pilgrimages to Castro and Chavez. Neo-Marxist professors and progressive intellectuals, such as Dario Fo, Jean Baudrillard and Martin Amis, welcomed the triumph of al-Qaeda on September 11.

The romanticization of  the “forged boot” and “iron hand”, the worship of “lonely overbearing” men with “the sensitive hand of the artist” — this explains the amazing easiness with which recent anarchists, pacifists, Marxists, atheists, after having changed a couple  of ideologies, burden themselves with the most primitive, barbaric and despotic religion of our time: Islam.

Atheists of the Left only, being atheists who dispense with belief in the supernatural but still need a religion.

What they crave for is not religion as such. They don’t want Buddhism, Bahaism, Zoroastrianism, or even the mild Islam of the Sufi or Ahmadiyya version. They want a religion that would crush them, rape their bodies and souls, and destroy their ego — one that would terrify them and make them tremble with fear, infirmity and impotence.

Only bloodthirsty medieval Islam is able to do this today. It alone possesses unlimited cruelty and willingness to burn everything on its way. And they  gather like moths flying to the flame: communists Roger Garaudy, “Carlos the Jackal”, Trond Ali Linstad, Malcolm X, Alys Faiz; human rights defenders Jemima Goldsmith, Keith Ellison, and Uri Davis, the fighter against Zionism for the rights of the Palestinians. Fathers favor Castro, such as Oliver Stone; their sons accept Islam, such as Sean Stone. According to a public opinion poll conducted in August 2014 (Madeline Grant, Newsweek), “16% of French citizens support ISIS”. There are 7% to 8% of Muslims living in France. Who makes up the rest 8% to 9%?

Ken Livingstone, Jeremy Corbyn, John Brennan, Hollywood stars, Ylva Johansson, Sweden’s Integration Minister, who like her boss Stefan Löfven claimed that “there was no connection between crime and immigration”; Michael Fabricant, a former vice-chair of the Tory party, who said that “some conservative Anglicans are the same as ISIS”; German politicians that established a media watchdog to “instruct the press to censor ethnicity and religion in crime reports” (a modification of Soviet censure); the Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Phillips, who believes that it is inevitable to recognize Sharia courts in Great Britain; atheist-apologist for Islam (O my God!) CJ Werleman; Canadian Liberals, who support  the anti-Islamophobia motion; Georgetown professor Jonathan Brown, who justifies slavery and raping of female slaves; Wendy Ayres-Bennett, a UK professor who is urging Brits to learn Urdu and Punjabi to make Muslim migrants feel welcome; Ohio State University, that offered a course on “how Muslims helped build America”; the Swedish state-owned company Lernia encouraging the replacement of standard Swedish with the “migrant-inclusive accent”; American feminists with the slogans “Allahu akbar” and “I love Islam”, who endorse the BDS movement; Swedish feminists wearing burkas in Iran; “proud  feminists” such as Elina Gustafsson and Gudrun Schyman defending Muslim criminals who raped Swedish girls – all of them and thousands of others have already converted to Islam, if not de jure, then de facto.

They appeal to Islam to escape from their fears, complexes, helplessness, and uselessness. They choose the despotism of body and spirit to deprive themselves of their freedom – the freedom that has always been an unbearable burden for their weak souls full of chimeras. They crave slavery.

They are attracted by Islam today, but it’s not about Islam. It’s about them. If Islam is defeated tomorrow and a new Genghis Khan appears with the “religion of the steppe”, or the kingdom of the Aztecs rises with priests tearing hearts from the chest of living people, they will passionately rush into their embrace. They are yearning for tyranny, and will destroy everything on their way for the sake of it. Because of them, “we shall leave this world here just as stupid and evil as we found it upon arrival”. (Voltaire)

Posted under Anarchy, Anti-Semitism, Atheism, Britain, Buddhism, Cambodia, Canada, China, Christianity, Collectivism, communism, Cuba, Environmentalism, Europe, Feminism, France, genocide, Germany, Hinduism, History, Islam, jihad, Judaism, Leftism, Marxism, media, Muslims, nazism, Norway, Pakistan, Palestinians, Progressivism, Race, Religion general, Russia, Slavery, Socialism, Soviet Union, Sweden, Terrorism, Theology, Totalitarianism, tyranny, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela by Jillian Becker on Sunday, April 9, 2017

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Giordano Bruno, atheist 8

Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was a Dominican monk who  fled from his monastery in Naples at the age of thirty-six, wandered through Italy and France, lived for a few years in England – and having repudiated Christianity, embraced the Epicureanism of classical Greece.

The Epicureans, who taught that life was to be enjoyed, were essentially atheist, but were careful not to deny that gods exist in case some intolerant authority punished them for holding and expressing such an opinion. They dared to assert that yes, there were gods of course, but they lived very far away from the human world, occupied themselves with nothing but their own pleasure, and took no notice whatsoever of what humans did, thought, felt, or believed.

When Giordano Bruno was fifty-two, and foolishly chose to express his opinions where the long arm of the Inquisition could reach him, the intolerant Catholic Church burnt him to death for doing so.

This is from The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt*:

[Giordano Bruno] found it thrilling to realize that the world has no limits in either space or time, that the grandest things are made of the smallest, that atoms, the building blocks of all that exists, link the one and the infinite. “The world is fine as it is,” he wrote, sweeping away as if they were so many cobwebs innumerable sermons on anguish, guilt, and repentance. … And his philosophical  cheerfulness extended to his everyday life. He was, a Florentine contemporary observed, “a delightful companion at the table, much given to the Epicurean life.” …

Bruno found the militant Protestantism he encountered in England and elsewhere as bigoted and narrow-minded as the Counter-Reformation Catholicism from which he had fled. … What he prized was the courage to stand up for the truth against the belligerent idiots who were always prepared to shout down what they could not understand. That courage he found preeminently in the astronomer Copernicus …

Copernicus’s assertion that the earth was not the fixed point at the center of the universe [as all the Christian churches maintained it was] but a planet in orbit round the sun was still, when Bruno championed it, a scandalous idea, anathema both to the Church and to the academic establishment. And Bruno managed to push the scandal of Copernicanism still further: there was no center to the universe at all, he argued, neither earth nor sun. Instead, he wrote, quoting [the Epicurean poet] Lucretius, there were multiple worlds, where the seeds of things, in their infinite numbers, would certainly combine to form other races of men, other creatures. Each of the fixed stars observed in the sky is a sun, scattered through limitless space. Many of these are accompanied by satellites that revolve around them as the earth revolves around the sun. The universe is not all about us, about our behavior and our destiny; we are only a tiny piece of something inconceivably larger. …

These were extremely dangerous views, every one of them. …

Bruno, however, could not remain silent. “By the light of his senses and reason,” he wrote about himself, “he opened those cloisters of truth which it is possible for us to open with the key of most diligent inquiry, he laid bare covered and veiled nature, gave eyes to the moles and light to the blind . . . he loosed the tongues of the dumb  who could not and dared not express their entangled opinions.”  …

[I]n 1591 he made a  fateful decision to return to Italy, to what seemed to him the safety of famously independent Padua and Venice. The safety proved illusory: denounced by his patron to the Inquisition, Bruno was arrested in Venice and then extradited to Rome, where he was imprisoned in a cell of the Holy Office near St. Peter’s Basilica.

Bruno’s interrogation and trial lasted for eight years, much of his time spent endlessly replying to charges of heresy, reiterating his philosophical vision, rebutting wild accusations, and drawing on his prodigious memory to delineate his precise beliefs again and again. Finally threatened with torture, he denied the right of the inquisitors to dictate what was heresy and what was orthodox belief. That challenge was the last straw. The Holy Office acknowledged no limits to its supreme jurisdiction – no limits of territory, and, apart form the pope and the cardinals, no limits of person. It claimed the right to judge, and, if necessary, persecute anyone, anywhere. It was the final arbiter of orthodoxy.

And its orthodoxy was, by its own definition, the truth.

Before an audience of spectators, Bruno was forced to his knees and sentenced as “an impenitent, pernicious and obstinate heretic”. …

On February 17, 1600, the defrocked Dominican, his head shaved, was mounted on a donkey and led out to the stake that had been erected in the Campo dei Fiori. He had steadfastly refused to repent during the innumerable hours in which he had been harangued by teams of friars, and he refused to repent or simply to fall silent now at the end. His words are unrecorded, but they must have unnerved the authorities, since the ordered his tongue be bridled. They meant it literally: according to one account, a pin was driven into his cheek, through his tongue, and out the other side; another pin sealed his lips., forming a cross. When a crucifix was held up to his face, he turned his head away. The fire was lit and did its work. After he was burned alive, his remaining bones were broke into pieces and his ashes – the tiny particles that would, he believed, reenter the great, joyous, eternal circulation of matter – were scattered.

Thus did the religion of love.

As far as the Catholic Church was concerned, the science of the universe was settled.

 

*The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt, W. W. Norton & Company, New York and London, 2011.  Our quotations come from pages 233, 237-241.

Posted under Atheism by Jillian Becker on Thursday, March 9, 2017

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The right and the totally absurd (repeat) 1

This essay, repeated here almost in full, was first posted on June 11, 2011.

In the new Alternative Right there are many religious believers. The argument for conservatism without religion is the same for the Alternative Right now as it was for the old right then.

(Also see our post, Religion is the problem, April 5, 2016.) 

*

Most (American) conservative writers take it for granted that those who share their political opinions also share their religiousness, and are surprised, even shocked, that some conservatives are atheist.

We look at the matter the other way round. It is a perpetual puzzle to us why so many persons who are clear-sighted and rational enough to be conservatives yet believe in the supernatural.

Writing in the American Thinker, Lloyd Marcus opines:

Without beating around the bush, I believe the battle being fought in America today goes beyond politics; right vs. left. It is a spiritual battle; good vs evil.

We agree that the battle is between good and evil. We think the Left and Islam – in alliance with each other at present – are evil.

But what do the religious mean when they use the word “spiritual”? We understand “spirit” to be adverbial: one does this or that in such and such a spirit. They believe that spirit is a noun, identical with the “soul”. And what is the soul? It’s the ghost inside “you” which will continue to live when “you” die. Christians believe that it will live forever in “heaven” if it was good on earth, and will suffer forever in “hell” if it was naughty.

As if to strengthen his argument, Marcus quotes a passage from the Epistle to the Ephesians, ascribed to St. Paul, but of disputed authorship. Whoever wrote the epistle put into it one of the most egregiously Gnostic passages in the New Testament, and that’s the one Lloyd Marcus quotes:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. – Ephesians 6:12*

In Gnostic systems there were layers of heavens between the ascending spirit of the Gnostic and the highest sphere of the good God. In them dwelt powers called Aeons (heavenly beings and ages in time) and principalities (Archons). A low-dwelling, evil god, identical to Jehovah the god of the Jews, created this world and ruled it with his own set of Aeons and Archons.

That is not orthodoxy to any Christian sect. Christians are hard put to interpret the passage in their terms, which is probably why some argue that St Paul didn’t write it.

But Marcus means that flesh and blood Democrats are the “powers and principalities” he and his fellow Christians are wrestling against, and the Senate and the White House are his “high places”. In other words his battle is within the realm of politics. He just vaguely supposes that good and evil are terms that belong only to religion, so quotations from his scriptures leap to his mind:

The mindset of the American left is a spirit of Antichrist which is man making himself God.

Before writing me off as a Bible nut, please hear me out. Understanding this reality will explain much of the left’s behavior. Because they believe man is God, in their insane arrogance, the left think they can fix everything; legislate equal outcomes and even save or destroy the planet.

Now we agree with him that lefties arrogantly “think they can legislate equal outcomes and even save or destroy the planet”. And we know they cannot. Not because they lack divine power, but because equal outcomes cannot be legislated, and because the human beings who “infest” the planet (as H. L. Mencken once put it), cannot affect the thing to any significant extent.

What the religious right cannot or will not see, is that you can believe in the market economy, small government, low taxes, strong defense, individual liberty under the law – all the important conservative ideas – without believing that they issue from, or are sanctioned by, a supernatural source.

Marcus defends Sarah Palin:

Make no mistake about it folks, we are in a spiritual battle. Ask yourself. Specifically, what about Sarah Palin inspires such visceral hatred from the left? The word is “wholesome.”

We agree that she is wholesome. We like her wholesomeness. We like her decency and probity and patriotism and moral strength. We like what we have gathered are her favored policies. We agree with Marcus that the Left hates her for the very things we admire in her. And we are willing to disregard her religious views, as we have to disregard the religious views of all possible presidential candidates because the time has not come when a self-confessed atheist will stand a chance of being elected to the White House. (We suspect, however, that many a presidential candidate is a secret atheist – and perhaps a few presidents have been too.)

Our point is, good values make good sense and don’t require the sanction of a Nobodaddy-in the-sky. All moral ideas, all ideas proceed from the minds of human beings. A person who knows this to be the case is not one who “thinks he is God”; “God” is superfluous to him or her.

Marcus holds that without God to tell us what to think, none of us would ever get it right.

Because liberal elitists think man is God, they assume moral authority to confiscate as much control over our lives as we simple-minded god-fearing peons will allow them, including procreation. I picked up a government-funded brochure at my local library which basically said birthing babies is an irresponsible abuse of the planet.

Folks, this is leftist control-freak hogwash!

Yes it is.

The seven billion people who live on the planet could fit in Texas enjoying about the same amount of living space as residents of New York.

True. But he adds:

God said be fruitful and multiply. But then, what the heck does God know?

Sarcasm of course. But what the heck does “God” know? If there is a being who knows more than man, how can man know that he does?

The rest of the article (see it here) rambles on about this and that – “Christianity only religion not respected, Jesus is divine, true Christians trust God, zz-zzzz” – the points being tied together only by the buzz in his head that they all represent aspects of wrong guidance by “the Antichrist”.

Like an episode of Star Trek, the left believes universal peace can be achieved via America apologizing and admitting to the world that we suck, surrendering our power, signing treaties and singing a few verses of Kumbaya. They believe the greatest source of evil in the world is warmongering Christian white guys like George Bush. If only Bush had “Given peace a chance.” Liberals always cater to man’s lowest base instincts. They hate standards for behavior, labeling all rebuke of bad behavior as being intolerant and judgmental.

We don’t argue with that. But this follows:

And yet, they believe without divine influence, man is capable of someday achieving universal peace. Totally absurd.

Has he not noticed that a great many wars have been fought over religious issues? What has “divine influence” ever done for peace?

Christians believe that though we strive to do the right thing, the heart of man is critically flawed which is why we were in need of a savior, Jesus Christ.

And just when will his “savior” remove the flaws in the human heart?

Totally absurd.

 

*From this quotation, the title “The Darkness of This World” was taken for 3 sets of essays under Pages in our margin.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Commentary, Conservatism, Gnosticism, Islam, Leftism, Mysticism, Religion general, Superstition by Jillian Becker on Thursday, September 1, 2016

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War is the answer 1

In his recently published #43 of a series of podcasts with the overall title of Waking Up, Sam Harris talks about the ISIS magazine Dabiq and reads chilling extracts from it.

All religions, he emphasizes, are bad, dangerous. Religiousness as such has done great harm to humankind. But one religion is worse, more dangerous than any other, and that religion is Islam.

It needs to be fought. ISIS needs to be destroyed in a real all-out war.

The whole lecture is good except for one statement that we find incongruous and even rather absurd in its improbability: that it would be best if “Muslim armies” were to fight “this death cult” of jihadism. Up to that point he has made it brilliantly clear that jihadism is what Islam is all about!

It is long, but thoroughly worth hearing all the way through.

Posted under Atheism, Islam, jihad, Muslims, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, August 22, 2016

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Punishing criticism 2

In the year 1857, at the summer assizes of the county of Cornwall, an unfortunate man, said to be of unexceptionable conduct in all relations of life, was sentenced to twenty-one months’ imprisonment, for uttering, and writing on a gate, some offensive words concerning Christianity.

Today offensive words against Islam is a crime in Britain and most of the countries of the European Union.

Within a month of the same time, at the Old Bailey, two persons, on two separate occasions, were rejected as jurymen, and one of them grossly insulted by the judge and by one of the counsel, because they honestly declared that they had no theological belief; and a third, a foreigner, for the same reason, was denied justice against a thief.

This refusal of redress took place in virtue of the legal doctrine, that no person can be allowed to give evidence in a court of justice, who does not profess belief in a God (any god is sufficient) and in a future state ,,,

Meaning an afterlife in a Christian heaven or hell …

… which is equivalent to declaring such persons to be outlaws, excluded from the protection of the tribunals; who may not only be robbed or assaulted with impunity, if no one but themselves, or persons of similar opinions, be present, but any one else may be robbed or assaulted with impunity, if the proof of the fact depends on their evidence.

The assumption on which this is grounded, is that the oath is worthless, of a person who does not believe in a future state; a proposition which betokens much ignorance of history in those who assent to it (since it is historically true that a large proportion of infidels in all ages have been persons of distinguished integrity and honor); and would be maintained by no one who had the smallest conception how many of the persons in greatest repute with the world, both for virtues and for attainments, are well known, at least to their intimates, to be unbelievers.

The rule, besides, is suicidal, and cuts away its own foundation. Under pretense that atheists must be liars, it admits the testimony of all atheists who are willing to lie, and rejects only those who brave the obloquy of publicly confessing a detested creed rather than affirm a falsehood.

A rule thus self-convicted of absurdity so far as regards its professed purpose, can be kept in force only as a badge of hatred, a relic of persecution; a persecution, too, having the peculiarity, that the qualification for undergoing it, is the being clearly proved not to deserve it. The rule, and the theory it implies, are hardly less insulting to believers than to infidels. For if he who does not believe in a future state, necessarily lies, it follows that they who do believe are only prevented from lying, if prevented they are, by the fear of hell.

The quotation comes from John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, first published in 1869.

New curbs on free speech (see the post immediately below) are taking the people of the West in the 21st century back to the 19th century.

Will the unaccountable passion among Western rulers and legislators for protecting the appalling ideology of Islam from criticism, take us all the way back to the time of Calvin’s Geneva and the Catholic Inquisition?

The answer has to be “all too possibly”.

Posted under Atheism, Britain, Christianity, Europe, Islam, Law, United Nations by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 19, 2016

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The church of J. C. Capitalist 1

Although we are atheists, we’re happy to bring our readers John Cleese’s persuasive recruiting ad for his new Christian church, because we are also capitalists:

Posted under Atheism, Capitalism, Christianity, Comedy, Humor, satire, Videos by Jillian Becker on Monday, August 1, 2016

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Richard Dawkins: mostly right but rambling 3

Richard Dawkins was unable to attend the Reason Rally in Washington, D.C. on June 4, 2016.

Here’s the speech he would have given:

There are those who fear reason as cold, bleak, cheerless, unpoetic. That’s not just untrue; it’s the very opposite of true. Science is the poetry of reality.

The fact that you exist should brim you over with astonishment. You and I and every other living creature are machines of ineffable complexity. This complexity and its powerful illusion of design is why so many people succumb to the God temptation. The temptation to evade, by invoking a designer, the responsibility to explain. The God temptation is an evasion of responsibility because it invokes the very kind of thing it’s supposed to be explaining.

I’m a biologist, so I speak first of the biological version of the God temptation, the false argument destroyed by Darwin. There’s also a cosmological version. The fundamental constants of physics are said to be “fine-tuned” so that, in the fullness of time, eyes and peacocks, humans and brains will come into existence. The God temptation here is to invoke a divine knob-twiddler to adjust the dials of the physical constants so that they have the exquisitely precise values required to bring evolution, and eventually us, into being.

“God did it” can never be an explanation for anything. It is sheer intellectual cowardice. If you’ll stoop to magicking into existence an unexplained peacock designer, you might as well magic an unexplained peacock and cut out the middleman.

Nevertheless, it’s hard not to feel sympathy for such cowardice. The complexity of a living body, every one of its trillion cells, is so mind-shattering to anyone who truly grasps it, the temptation is overwhelming. It’s like when you see a really brilliant conjuring trick. You have to smack yourself and say, “No!” However largely my senses and my instincts are screaming “miracle”, it really isn’t. There is a rational explanation. In the case of the conjuring trick, we know it’s not a miracle. And honest conjurers like Jamy Ian Swiss, James Randi, and Penn & Teller tell us so.

In the case of nature’s apparent miracles, Charles Darwin plays the role of honest conjurer.

But conjurers only tell us that it’s a trick. Darwin tells us exactly how nature’s trick is done: cumulative natural selection. Darwin’s brilliant explanation has withstood 150 years of sustained attack and emerged without a scratch.

Physicists are well on their way to disposing of the cosmic God temptation, too.

My book The God Delusion, celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2016, provoked a score of what came to be called “fleas”: religious books with plagiaristic jacket designs and parasitic titles like The Dawkins Delusion or Deluded By Dawkins. The flea name came from a line of W. B. Yeats: “But was there ever dog that praised his fleas?”

Some of our best theologians, if indeed theology is a subject that can be good at all, if indeed theology is a subject at all, some of our best theologians pathetically tried to argue that, far from being complex, God is simple. There is no limit to the explanatory purposes to which the simple God’s infinite power is put. Is science having a little difficulty explaining X? No problem! Don’t give X another glance! God’s infinite power is effortlessly wheeled in to explain X. Along with everything else. And it’s always a simple explanation, because, after all, there’s only one God. What could be simpler than that?

The effrontery of it is beyond astounding. This supposedly simple God had to know how to set the nuclear force 1039 times stronger than gravity. He had to calculate with similar exactitude the requisite values of half a dozen critical numbers — the fundamental constants of physics.

Do you, with your prodigiously complex brain, understand quantum mechanics? I don’t! Yet God, that paragon of ultimate pure simplicity, not only understands it but invented it! Plus special and general relatively. Plus the Higgs Boson. And dark matter.

Finally, the icing on the cake: On top of being the ultimate mathematics and physics genius, this “simple” God has enough bandwidth to listen to the prayers of billions of people simultaneously, in all the world’s languages. He hears their confessed sins and decides which would be forgiven. He weighs up which cancer patients shall recover, which earthquake victims shall be spared, even who shall win a tennis match. Or a parking space.

God may be almighty, all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, but the one thing He cannot be, if He’s even minimally to meet His job description, is “all-simple”. The statistical argument against the divine designer remains intact and inescapably devastating.

God also presents a temptation to laziness that may define our allegiances.

I am Christian! Well, of course I don’t believe in any of that supernatural stuff, but I was baptized, we go to church at Christmas, and I’m certainly not Jewish or Muslim, so I guess that makes me Christian!

By 2050, the population of Mauritania will be predominantly Muslim. It’s simple demography. Just compare the birthrates of the different communities in Mauritania.That makes the lazy assumption that a child of Muslim parents is defined as a Muslim.

Would you define a child of logical positivist parents as a logical positivist?

Would you define a child as a Keynesian on the basis of her parents’ economic school of thought?

One of the reasons I formed the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science in the United States is to combat America’s legendary religiosity, a form of obstinate backwardness that has serious implications for the rest of the world.

What church do you go to? The question is presumptuous to the point of rudeness, yet informant after informant tells me how often it’s thrown at newcomers to certain neighborhoods in America, as casually and automatically as a comment on the weather. That the newcomer might not attend the place of worship at all simply doesn’t cross the friendly neighborhood mind. It doesn’t cross the mind of a typical American politician, either, which is why they drag God into every speech, why they bend over backwards to appease religious lobbies when taking important decisions on abortion, stem cell research, and the teaching of evolution.

The Reason Rally is the antidote to all this. Today, in Washington, we celebrate science and urge the retreat of superstition. It is people like you, people who have traveled far to be here, who support secular organizations with your time and money, who are courageous enough to make their atheism known, that are the hope for the future.

I’m sorry doctor’s orders stop me from being in Washington today, except by this minor miracle of science, but I hope to see you at the next Reason Rally!

Although we agree with him by and large (of course), we don’t think it’s a very good speech. It is not sufficiently coherent.

The population of Mauritania is right now 100% Muslim. The children of Muslims are defined as Muslim by Muslim tradition and law. If Dawkins wants to say that the child of Muslims does not have to remain a believer in Islam, he should say so, but he doesn’t make the point. In fact from then on his speech rambles.

We like best the part we have emphasized in bold.

Dawkins was apparently kept from making the speech in person by “a small stroke”. We hope the stroke has not permanently impaired his fine brain. While we have always opposed him on political issues, we have read his books on evolution with much pleasure and learnt a lot from them.

Posted under Atheism by Jillian Becker on Friday, June 10, 2016

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