Faith - it's corrosive influence on our planet and our politics
This will be a several part essay, which will hope to explain just how we got ourselves into the mess we now face.
Faith. Everyone seems to recognize it, but what is it really? What is truly meant by the word Faith? And what role has it played in politics, especially in the race for the presidency.
Faith has been defined as “a firm, probably unwarranted, belief in something for which there is no proof”. There will be more on Faith in later chapters and how it corrodes your brain. You might have noticed that superstitions and faith are closely linked. In fact, there is no difference between the two. Simply put, Faith is nothing but Superstition.
These superstitions grew over the ages because our earth-bound hominids had these wonderful tools called brains. At least in most cases, although some people today may debate even that statement, given how seldom some folks even try to use theirs. (See generally, Trump supporters and other low information persons who prefer deciding important issues based on gut feelings, rather than science or rational thinking).
Humans are mostly curious animals. We seek answers and reasons and discoveries. If a closed box is on a table, for most of us, our first instinct is to open it. For others, their first instinct is to might blow it up (think Dick Cheney or Hillary Clinton) or wish to seal it forever because it contains mortal sins. (Ted Cruz and his merry band of christianists).
Because our brains are powerfully curious, if we don’t find rational answers easily, we tend to make things up. In seeking answers, we look for repeating events, ones that can be predicted over time. All too often, our brains find patterns where none existed. That one simple cranial mechanism has been the source of all sorts of Superstitions from when we bipeds first starting walking on two hoofs.
Eventually, their Faith became bound in rituals, and resulted in today's fool-blown religious movements. Only now has our technology grown to a point where real science can answer the hardest of questions. Rather than apply or rely on technology and scientific solutions, all too many religious types, especially the most committed zealots, instead willfully ignore science and its answers, and rely solely on their Faith. Unfortunately, this type of closed-mindedness is not limited to Christianity, but affects other religious groups with equal vengeance. Sarah Palin and her supporters are a prime example of such willful ignorance and ineffable stupidity.
Much of what we now know about the universe has been due to brilliant geniuses like Newton, Galileo, Einstein, Bohr, Fermi, not to mention brave philosophers who braved the wrath of the powers that were, while they researched and dared to promote new perspectives and truths.
Partly because of the Cult of Christianity, and partly because we humans have fought too many faith-based wars, technology and discoveries have taken a longer path than necessary. Anti-science movements were incredibly strong from 500 AD through the middle of the 16th century.
Unfortunately, this willful ignorance is raising its ugly head once again.
Seriously, for you to really appreciate just how bad things are going and how they will affect our little iron rock – solely because of faith - you have to take the entire body of scientific, medical, engineering, analytical, and philosophical thought and set it aside, (many “believers” want to throw it out permanently) and replace it with a peculiar version of Christian, Muslim, or other religious based dogma. While doing so, you must rely on “Faith” and ignore your particular religion’s bloody, dubious history, and in the case of Christianity, the fact that its instruction manual was poorly and inaccurately translated and repeatedly interpreted from an archaic tongue so primitive that the creators of the language failed to discover, create, or use punctuation marks or vowels.
Christians claim that there exists a single Great and Powerful bearded god-like entity who watches each and every one of us 24/7. According to their
Faith, their god inexplicably missed out on the part about the universe being around for billions of years, with billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars, and each of which countless inhabited planets. They insist that only the Christian version of creation is true, i.e., that their god created everything about 6,012 solar orbits ago. Apparently, out of her entire, immense and infinite universe, only this iron rock and its hominids are deemed worthwhile of god’s attention.
Luckily, these Christians weren’t too overly egotistical, or else they might have claimed that everything in the universe actually revolved around them and their pathetic little rock. Oh, wait. They did make that claim.
Some still cling to that idea.
Now, before you start pointing fingers and claim how silly this all seems at this point, you had better know that it gets much worse. Theirs is a history of deadly battles over language, translations, gospel selection, forgeries, canons, Gnostic ideas, cult wars, wars against nonbelievers, assassinations, murder, riots, torture and repeated acts of treachery. The current version of their biblical instruction manual has undergone numerous translations, editing, changes, even wholesale adapting. We will look into those changes in more detail later.
Even in this modern, “enlightened age”, the most strident Christians claim that the version of their instruction manual you read today is completely “inerrant” (defined as incapable of containing errors or mistakes).
According to them, the bible consists solely of the actual words that popped out of god’s mouth into the ears of some ancient Hebrew or Aramaic listeners. Because god himself was doing the talking, it was absolutely impossible for the human scribes to make any mistakes. The same theory applies to all the translations that followed. (Some in the bible belt believe that god actually dictated the book in Modern English, long before that language ever existed.)
Because of the difficulty many people had with their Faith on that subject, the debate grew quite nasty over the years. Even in the day of the intertubes, this debate still has not been fully resolved.
In 1978, a group of the top evangelical “religious thinkers” (a prime example of an oxymoron, if there ever was one) gathered together to study this difficult “inerrancy” question. After much debate, even hostility, they issued the “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.” This lovely little document claims that because their instruction manual was “god-given”, “(it) is without error or fault in all of its teachings”, including about how the earth was created, all aspects of earth’s history, and even as to the creation of their fun-filled instruction manual itself.
Circular reasoning is defined as “the practice of assuming something in order to prove the very thing you assumed.” When a christian scholar claims that god exists and the bible is infallible – because their badly translated, mostly borrowed, and contradictory two part fairy tale tells them so, these christian propagandists have achieved the pinnacle of circular reasoning.
To the rest of us, it is clear, no matter what the cult members who gathered in Chicago had claimed, that humans wrote the bible. Error-prone, ineffably stupid, superstitious, mistake-ridden, uneducated, virtually illiterate humans.
The Chicago Statement was not written in a vacuum. Three hundred scholars conspired and cooperated in the creation of that statement. Even worse, there are millions who actually believe and follow their findings religiously, even though so much contrary proof is available.
The faithful’s intransigence raises the obvious question: If humans are fallible, how did we avoid mistakes when concocting this instruction manual, much less translating it? Why does it have so many competing versions, many totally at odds with each other? The whole philosophical argument of what is or is not created by man can get quite testy.
Remember, you are dealing with people who, when faced with a difficult logical problem or rational dead end, they tend to avoid answering and simply go back to Faith. Even though ancestors of theirs as well as other illiterate sheepherders concocted parts of the book at different times, in different lands, and in different tongues, they still have the audacity to claim that their instruction manual is completely inerrant. Why? Because their current translation and understanding of the manual says so.
Here are their facts on the bible’s inerrancy as we know them. Just not quite as they tell them:
A gang of uneducated, illiterate, Aramaic nomads (who later settled down to become story tellers) somehow made damned sure that each time their original Aramaic text was being translated, say, into Hebrew or Koine Greek, then Coptic, Syriac, old Greek, then into Latin, Attic Greek, Classical Greek, and later into Italian, French, German, and finally, into King James’ English and American English, each and every translation was done absolutely perfectly. Somehow they managed to insure this result even long after they had departed from this earth and turned into dust. Each and every time, without the slightest mistake, without a computer or a spell-checker.
It takes a hell of a lot of “Faith” to believe this hooey. Nevertheless, many true believers not only claim that this is true, but that everyone, including us atheistic, pagan, agnostic, heathen, devil-worshiping, moderate or liberal sinners must follow their lead as to all things religious, societal and behavioral. They contend that their (ahem) good book actually instructs us non-believers how to behave. Their idea of compromise is “our way or hell’s way”.
That is quite a demand they make, considering how poorly they themselves follow most of the rules contained in what they call their “good book”. In later postings, I’ll get into how Christians actually behave, compared to what their instruction manual demands of them. We’ll also take a hard look into the real history of their “good” book.
Back to our brief overview of world history according to christian cultists. Perhaps not exactly biblical, but close enough to the truth.
About 2,000 solar orbits ago, this god person glanced at a miserable, flat, mostly iron rock he had pretty much ignored since he pulled off his neat creation trick, and saw that it was bad. So, god took time off from his day job, which consisted of running and supervising the other billions of galaxies, their individual billions of stars, and their own inhabited planets. He decided to drop everything else and take drastic action. After all, these creatures alone were his chosen pets.
There was rampant sex and other devilish wickedness on this flat Earth, which displeased him mightily. He had to do something about it, pronto.
God looked through his Central Heaven Administrative Directory, trying to find someone who he could rely on to offer some capable assistance. Too many of his angels were busy keeping that damned Wall to Hell from collapsing, and anyway, from all available evidence, it seemed as though they were the ones who screwed up Earth in the first place. Finally, he paged his head ghost, Mr. Holy Spirit, for his help in hatching some plans.
“Hey, my main Spirit! How’s it hanging, dude?” asked god.
“Fine, G-man. How’s the big U? Still expanding?” said the Holy Ghost.
“Overall, it’s pretty OK. There’s a minor skirmish between this black hole and a nebular cluster in the Minor Antipodes, but it’ll settle down after another massive coronal ejection from a nearby supernova. A couple of binary stars still going at it near the center of Phlybemites Galaxy. No big deal. My current problem is with Earth.”
“Earth? Hmmm. Never heard of it. Hold the phone, I’ll check it out.” The Ghost accessed his database and began to search for the latest intelligence reports. “Earth, earth, earth. . . . Yo, G-man, just how do you spell that? Ah, hah, here it is, found it. What’s the problem, G-man? Looks like the apes just started banging rocks together. Nothing special going on there.”
“Yeah, but when these apes bang rocks, they usually are holding someone’s skull in between. I want to teach them, you know, some rules and stuff. Kind of give them a lesson.”
“Sure thing, big guy. What are you looking for? I can call up a hurricane, some earthquakes, meteors . . . how about sending them a nice juicy plague? Those always seem to work. Or a long, dormant sexual disease to really confuse them?”
“Naw, those are too predictable. I’ve gotten a little bored with that stuff. I want something new.”
“Hey, G-man, check this idea out. Picture a huge solar flare. I mean HUGE. Color and sound and everything. Man, I sure do love those things. Better than fireworks. No? You don’t like it? Well, I can always get you a big, fat, Greek or Italian belching volcano. Lose a whole island, like Atlantis. Or, lightning. Lots of lightning. Lightning, fire and brimstone. Always a real party favorite. Hey, what about meteors? ”
God pointedly ignored Spirit. Spirit chewed on his lower lip as he thought more about the problem. Well, Spirit’s job was not to question why, his job was to do or . . . . Finally, an idea struck him.
“Say, G-man, if these rock-banging, un-evolved ape-men are that important to you, how about me doing a personal appearance? You want I should drop in and scare the Holy crap out of them? It might be fun. Plus, I could use the air miles. An unholy Ghost, so to speak.”
“Hmmmm. Hey, Spirit, you may be on to something. But, I can’t spare you just yet. I’ll need you for other stuff. Can’t be me either. There’s that shindig on Xerxes LXXIV that I have to prep for. I may not be back in time. Those Xerxite babes really know how to throw a real ball, if you catch my meaning.”
“No biggie, boss, I got infinite time on my hands. You ask, I do.”
“Thanks, Spirit, I knew I could count on you. Anyway, I need you to stand in for me on Lesser Losages Expanse. You’ll need to accept their gift, usually, some highly radioactive alloy that they toss out of their power plants. Thank them, just don’t shake hands after you get the gift, grab a few brews, stay for the party. Just be sure to toss the gift into a nearby Class M star when you are done.”
Again God went silent as he thought some more.
“Hey, Spirit, what’s up with my worthless, shiftless, lazy excuse of a son? You seen him around recently? What’s he been up to?”
The Holy Spirit had been dreading this. He knew exactly which son god was referring to. Only one of them qualified as a “worthless, shiftless, lazy excuse.”
“Which son, G? John? Joseph? Or Jesus? Last I saw of him was near those pubs on 69th and Missionary. You know, where all those hooker angels keep in practice?”
Ghost knew that JC was a bit of sore spot for the big guy. Some offspring could be so disappointing.
“Well, how about him doing some grunt work for a change? Send him down to Earth, get his fingernails dirty. At the very least, it’s time he got off his lazy fat ass.”
“Gee, G-man. I don’t know. He’s well, pretty raw and green. I mean real green. You sure you want to risk it?”
“Spirit, you said yourself that they’re only rock-banging apes. They’re so un-evolved, that they’ve barely gotten past the stone wheel stage. What harm could he do there? Plus, it would be good to give him a rest away from those angel hookers. Give those babes a chance, and they’ll eat you alive. There’s this little redhead down there who can drive you crazy, she had this way of squeezing her . . . . Never mind. My fear is that JC will never amount to anything at this rate. Even I have to admit he has been less than heavenly in his behavior.”
God sighed deeply as he thought about his least promising child. He was under no illusions about JC and his serious behavioral problems. But maybe this could work out for the best.
“Yeah, that’s the ticket. Spirit, let’s give him the job. Would you mind doing the honors? You know, get him dried out, washed up and trained and educated about Earth? I’ll give you carte blanche to keep him on a short leash. Hell, I’d even give my Platinum AMEX to get him cleaned up. Make sure he gets the plan right before he heads out. Even in the worst-case scenario, these are still un-evolved, simple-minded, illiterate hominids. He can’t do too much harm.”
“Anything you say, boss-man.” The Holy Spirit’s poker face was perfect. No wonder he cashed in at the Heavenly Indian Casino so regularly.
Reluctantly, Holy Spirit headed to pub row and searched out the worst public houses and taverns. Eventually, he found the right dive, rousted a vomit-covered, stinking, unconscious Jesus out of a dark corner in the men’s room, and dragged him home. It took a day just to get him sobered up.
And so it was. Day after day, night after night, he trained and tested Jesus until finally, he seemed to catch on to the whole plan. Role-playing, virtual reality, pop quizzes, and video training, 24 hours a day. It was worse than a bunch of shoe-less Evangelicals preying for their soles.
After seven days, the Holy Spirit rested. He had reached the end of his rope. This was about all he could expect to do with JC. It was now or never.
As he was preparing to head out for Earth, he found Jesus waiting for him at Exit Central. JC had brought six huge crates, four large suitcases, three carry-on bags and his new iPad Pro.
Ghost just shook his head.
“Jesus Christ, just what the Hell are you packing?”
“Oh come on, Ghost-man, I need all this stuff. You know I can’t concentrate without my tunes, man. It puts me in the zone.”
“Look, Jeez, you’ll have to find your own tunes down there. No. Strike that. Stop that thought.” He shook his head and glared some more at JC.
“Here’s the scoop. These apes don’t even have electricity yet. You know that that means? No tunes, no broads, no designer drugs, no orgies, no nothing. You go there and do your job, then come right back after your job is done. When it is time, just get yourself crucified, then come right home. No parties in Trump Casinos, Adelson hookers in China, no Japanese bathing spas. Nothing. Got it?”
The look on JC’s face was similar to that of last Sabbath, when Ghost watched JC bet his whole wad on a promising full house, aces and kings, only to lose to Satan’s straight flush, queen high.
Afterward, JC admitted to Spirit that he was sure that the Devil cheated, but how could he accuse him when JC himself stacked the deck to get his full house? A cheater complaining about being out-cheated? That would look good in the Herald Tribune Picayune Daily News. It was sure to make the front page. His dad would never stand for it. And after the big man was done with his heavenly leather belt, JC might not be able to sit for while, either. Godly spankings were something powerful indeed.
Sullenly, JC hired a porter to take his bags back home.
Sans luggage, they headed through Heavenly security, with JC having to take off his shoes and deal with a full body cavity search. God's TSA was not only intrusive, insulting, and ineffective, they loved watching travelers anxiously look at the waiting time and wondering if they would make their flight. The new transportation security guidelines were for their own security, they were repeatedly told. The search put JC into an even darker mood.
They finally boarded the flight to Earth. Safely on the flight, Spirit gave JC a head’s up about the final details. For the first time, he filled in JC about the whole plan, including the requirement that he appear as a newborn baby, born to a virgin, no less.
“What? Since when? Me, be a diaper wetter again? Spirit, what’s the deal? Why the hell do I gotta be born again? Who came up with this lame-brained plan? Why can’t I just appear like this with a big flash and a drum roll? That’s what all the training manuals say. Oh man, think of all that time wasted. You’re talking years, decades even. I had plans for some neat gigs.” JC was becoming livid. He shook his head in anger.
“This really sucks the big one, Ghost. Isn’t this a waste of a perfectly good virgin? Come on, give me a break. Please, dude. Please?”
A whining JC was not a pretty sight.
The Holy Spirit did his best to maintain his composure. “JC, the big guy needs more of an impact. The committee decided that this is the only way to do it. He’s relying on you. We are all relying on you. Your dad needs you.” Privately, Ghost thought JC could use an extended second childhood, the first one being totally wasted.
The rest of the trip was a downer. To lighten JC’s mood, the Holy Spirit blew up a nearby supernova. He told him to treat it as an omen of his arrival. JC just shrugged his shoulders and said he had seen better shows at a grunge concert. They continued on with their flight to Earth without uttering another word.
Once they arrived, Spirit took a good look around. He was not impressed. Backwards by any standard, he could not understand the G-man’s attraction to this pathetic, illiterate, and filthy rock. He shrugged his ghostly shoulders, then, he started his search for a virgin.
This turned out to be a very long, almost fruitless, search. Weeks went by as he searched for a proper Earthly mommy for JC. So many gynecological exams, so little success. Not one Virgin to be found. Even though he had repeatedly question the G-Man about this requirement, God was adamant that she give a virgin birth.
Just when he was about to give up hope and call it quits, at last, he finally found one, probably the last woman with crossed legs on the entire planet. She was some dumpy broad named Mary, roaming around the country with some average Joe. They lived in some hideous desert that was even more backwards than the rest of the globe.
By the time they found a virgin, JC’s spirits had revived somewhat. He had just learned that the G-Man had granted him some magical powers. JC actually clapped his hands for joy. He even tried placing a bet with Ghost about his chances for successful serial coupling, even with these primitive apes. When it came to interacting with other species, JC had few scruples.
The truth be told, JC had no scruples on any subject, especially if sex, drugs or rock and roll might be involved. The Holy Spirit just closed his eyes and prayed.
“Down you go, son. Enjoy your stay. Remember the plan. Call me only if you need help.” Once again, Spirit thought that JC was a hopeless basket case. But, he was G-man’s youngest son.
And so it was. JC, a son of god, was sent from Heaven to save the Earth from itself. To do that, he had to be hatched by a virgin, attract attention, stay in hiding for a few decades, toss a few miracles around, feed some people, insult some bankers, create a cult, eat dinner, die, wake up, move a rock, show himself to a whore, then head back home. Mission accomplished