On thing that christians seem to forget about when they are cherry picking scripture to suit the moment, is the very real literary game of redaction that occurred throughout the bible. Over the centuries, a group of scholars known as the Priestly group laboured intensly to insert thousands of changes to scripture. Not that they ever corrected the existing passages or sentences they thought to be wrong! They just simply added a conflicting idea or belief, and carried on with no thought to continuity. The story of Noah’s Ark is a great example. Can you find it? It’s glaringly obvious, and one of thousands. Of course cultures change, stories are told with a slant on the previous, watered down, misheard, and what should be recognized as myth anyway, result in a compilation of confusion and fragmentation that is a muddle of silliness. At least fairy tales, have a beginning, middle and end, as well as a cohesive moral to the story whether you agree with it or not…
In a literal sense, I have always felt that ‘Spiritual Progression is Personal Regression’. The apparent journey into a ‘spiritual unknown’ simply to find yourself smacks of avoidance in dealing with what’s at hand. It wastes the little time any of us have left. Are you completely sure that the gods know you better than you know yourself? Why drop to your knees and pray to a divine being for guidence, as ultimately it’s your own moral code that will give you the answers you seek.
Don’t get me wrong. I incorporate ritual into my life in many forms, but it is of an allegorical nature and of course lacks any dependency on the whim of a god or goddess. For me it is simply a venue that provides emotional/physical relief.
Spiritual progression? No. It’s leaves your life in suspension.
Simple, to the point and a damn great blog!
The moment somebody says anything along the lines of “well, atheism is kind of like a religion anyway. So in a way, your beliefs are based just as much on faith as mine,” I will drop out of a debate. That person is too ridiculous to continue speaking to. I will let them think they have won the debate; that’s fine with me. Instead of ranting and raving, however, I’m just going to have some fun this time with our favorite game of “If atheism is a religion…”
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‘Death is for the Living’. My years working in an E.R trauma center had me repeating this personal mantra many times over, often several times a day. But it was one that held my emotions in check, one that made the veneer of professionalism easier to carry amid the continuing rote of horror and tragedy that plagues any E.R department. And one that was validated time after time.
Though unspoken out of respect (and hospital policy!) for family and friends of a deceased patient, as far as I was concerned, death was the end. No heaven. No hell. No spiritual evolving, reincarnation or awaiting planets. It was finished. Anything more done for the dead would be a ritual the living encompassed in a cultural closure . But least I sound cold, the collective grief of those left behind are what tore at my heart strings: a mother beating on me at the loss of a child, a family lost in a car crash, an unforseen suicide, the charred remains of a burn victim. It was these daily scenerios and the grief of those left behind that saw me on my knees in tears after having reached the sanctuary of home.
But the difference between many of these people and myself is they hold the hope of ‘life after death’. I do not. It was this ‘hope’, encased in faith and belief that I saw as prolonging grief and estranging life. Of course I am not exempt from the stages of grief as so dryly explained by science: denial, anger,etc. and many an Irish wake has seen me ritualize relief! The difference is as an Atheistic Satanist, I find I move through personal loss unlike most as I am forced by my own convictions to deal with what is at hand in the land of the living.
‘Right now’ is the only thing that I am sure of. Umbilical cords to a personal and faith based utopia in the clouds does little more than blind us of the treasures and potential in this life. All we have is today, and why would you want to miss out on that?
‘Theological Evidence’? How’s that for an oxymoron. The partial essay below, by Dr. Paisley, has set about to ‘prove’ that the virgin birth of Jesus did indeed happen, while trying to set the foundation of his seven reasons on biblical scripture. That’s like trying to insist that Peter Pan is ‘real’ because you read the book. I did not include the good doctor’s list of reasons due to what I considered redundant regurgitation of scripture.(You can google them). Like any faith though, this type of mindless belief (despite the evidence of ‘hard science) is not representive of just christians, but of ‘believers’ in general.
Seven Reasons Why I Believe in
From the book CHRISTIAN FOUNDATIONS
by Dr. Ian Richard Kyle Paisley
WStS Note: This etext was typed and reformatted by Katie Stewart from a reprint (1971– uncopyrighted) of the original edition. The use of the letter “s” instead of “z” was correct at the time of publishing.
IN MANY QUARTERS, ecclesiastical as well as secular, belief in the Virgin Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ is scouted as unworthy of twentieth-century intelligence. Biologically, it is vehemently asserted, such a birth is impossible. Science with pontifical authority has pronounced against it. Who dares to challenge the “all knowing” of such an eminent authority?
The fact of the Virgin Birth having been declared against, the evidence and proof which established the fact must now be discredited. Let it be carefully noted that this finding against the Virgin Birth was not the result of a fresh examination of the evidence but rather the arbitrary act of science falsely so called. Having destroyed, in their opinion, the supernatural birth, these “know-alls” must of necessity demolish the evidence which supported that birth. All sorts of ingenious methods have been brought into play to destroy the records– from the mistranslation of words to the pen-knifing of whole passages of the Bible. Historical evidence is flouted without respect for any known rule of evidence. Unfounded assertions are put forward as sound conclusions and the whole basis of traditional Christian belief is subjected to the methods of a reckless infidelity.
This assault on the doctrine of the Virgin Birth is, however, but one phase of a great battle to evacuate the supernatural from Christianity and to reduce it to the plane of natural religion. These naturalists in religion are out to destroy supernatural Christianity. They go through the Bible and tell us there is no supernatural revelation there; they go through the Birth of Christ and tell us there is no supernatural incarnation there; they go through the Person of Christ and tell us there is no supernatural deity there… they go through the Works of Christ an tell us there are no supernatural miracles there; they go through the Words of Christ and tell us there is no supernatural wisdom there; they go through the Death of Christ and tell us there is no supernatural atonement there; they go through the Blood of Christ and tell us there is no supernatural cleansing there; and they go through the Tomb of Christ and tell us there is no supernatural resurrection there.
Having jettisoned the supernatural from the Gospel Ship they have reduced her to an old hulk of man’s manufacturing, a mere plaything for the storms of unbelief and the reefs of infidelity.
Well may Moses say:
“For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.” –Deuteronomy 32:31-33.
As a fundamentalist I believe in a supernatural Christianity which presents a supernatural Christ Who had a supernatural Birth, Who lived a supernatural Life, Who died a supernatural Death, Who rose in a supernatural Resurrection, and Who is coming again in a supernatural Manner.
Rejection, then, of the Virgin Birth is an attack on the supernaturalness of Christ. Of Christ’s wondrous birth, human incredulity questions, “How shall this be?” Divine inspiration answers, “With God all things are possible.”
When human impotence bows to that answer of divine omnipotence the Miracle of the Virgin Birth can be whole-heartedly accepted. He who questions the Virgin Birth challenges the almightiness of God. To discredit the Virgin Birth is not only to strike at the nature of Christ but at the very power of God.
I always wondered about the era of the Satanic Panic. By the times the 70’s turned the corner, I was an adult, and admittedly, for myself there was a huge association with the 80’s that brings to mind not only the Satanic Panic, but ‘movements’ such as re-pressed memory and abuse ‘recall’ idiocy, and the surge of a myriad of 12 steps groups. It was and is a marriage of twisted faith and pop-psychology, disguising faith as a perogative and justification to destroy in the interests of salvation and self justification.
Though having been in the U.S for a couple of years, my country of origin is Canada. There, as I am sure in the U.S, the horrifying abuse against the aborignals, especially children, at the hands of residential schools run by the church is an issue the Canada continues to grapple with as the decades old residual effects slither down the generations. It’s as if those who played a part in the Satanic Panic simply decided to take a rest from previous infractions and find a new target.
Below is a piece I found on the internet that in the simplest of ways briefly explains the Satanic Panic.
What is the Satanic Panic
The Satanic Panic was a time period roughly covering the 1980s when many people became growingly concerned about Satanic conspiracies spreading throughout the United States. People were particularly fearful that Satanists were targeting children both physically and psychologically, and they warned that unwary souls might fall under the sway of Satanic influences if they did not remain vigilant.
How Did It Develop?
The Satanic Panic was a result of hysteria, much like the historical witch hunts. Upon hearing a tale of alleged Satanic activity, people attempted to be more watchful, eventually erroneously identifying various members of their community as part of the Satanic conspiracy. The hysteria spread quickest when children were the supposed victims and they were asked leading questions.
Suggestions of Physical Abuse
Teachers and day-care workers were notably targeted during the Panic as communities convinced themselves that those in positions of authority were ritually molesting groups of children.
This alleged molestation is now known as Satanic Ritual Abuse, or SRA, and the FBI has concluded that it is a myth. No group was ever found guilty of wrongdoing in these cases.
There was also growing concern that Satanic organizations were attempting to recruit people through a variety of manipulative means. This included the allegation that various music albums would reveal Satanic messages when played backward, and that be hearing these messages in reverse they would be subconsciously imprinted upon listeners. Scientists consider such suggestions to be junk-science.
Another potential source of recruitment was roleplaying games, particularly Dungeons & Dragons. Many of the accusations circulating about the game were flat-out untrue, but since many who read the allegations were completely unfamiliar with the game, that fact was not evident.
Rise of the Religious Right
The United States is considerably more religious than most Western countries, and the conservative branch of Christianity really started to entrench itself in American culture by the 1980s. Satanic Panic allegations most often came from (and still come from today) conservative and fundamental Protestant Christians.
Elsewhere on the Web
Copied below is a section from the essay ‘The Anti-Christ’ by Nietzsche. In it’s entirety, this essay has always resonated with me on a primal or instinctive level. Why? Perhaps it is a lack of understanding on my part about ‘why’ people make themselves slaves to pity, breathing from it, taking other’s hostage for it. Perhaps it is because of my will to live life to the fullest that I despise pity. Pity, like any faith demands full submission and as quoted by Nietzsche – “.. stands in opposition to all the tonic passions that augment the energy of the feeling of aliveness: it is a depressant.”
Most of know someone who makes a career out of garnering pity. I once knew a woman who I, out of frustation and impatience, quit asking ‘how she was doing’, thinking that mundane pleasantries could remain as such. The result was a hang dog-look and impatient posturing that more than indicated where she was about to head the conversation regarding her cold, her flu, her sinus condition, which of course were all affecting the more ‘serious’ condition’ she was coping with. Was I a confidant to her? Of course not. She could work a room like a pro with tales of woe. That she hadn’t actually nailed herself to a cross yet and has someone wheel her around still remains a surprise to me.
Fuck it. Pity remains defeative and anti-life. Those who choose to live it as ‘way of life’, have already died.
Neitzsche -“Christianity is called the religion of pity. — Pity stands in opposition to all the tonic passions that augment the energy of the feeling of aliveness: it is a depressant. A man loses power when he pities. Through pity that drain upon strength which suffering works is multiplied a thousandfold. Suffering is made contagious by pity; under certain circumstances it may lead to a total sacrifice of life and living energy — a loss out of all proportion to the magnitude of the cause ( — the case of the death of the Nazarene). This is the first view of it; there is, however, a still more important one. If one measures the effects of pity by the gravity of the reactions it sets up, its character as a menace to life appears in a much clearer light. Pity thwarts the whole law of evolution, which is the law of natural selection. It preserves whatever is ripe for destruction; it fights on the side of those disinherited and condemned by life; by maintaining life in so many of the botched of all kinds, it gives life itself a gloomy and dubious aspect. Mankind has ventured to call pity a virtue ( — in every superior moral system it appears as a weakness — ); going still further, it has been called the virtue, the source and foundation of all other virtues — but let us always bear in mind that this was from the standpoint of a philosophy that was nihilistic, and upon whose shield the denial of life was inscribed. Schopenhauer was right in this: that by means of pity life is denied, and made worthy of denial — pity is the technic of nihilism. Let me repeat: this depressing and contagious instinct stands against all those instincts which work for the preservation and enhancement of life: in the role of protector of the miserable, it is a prime agent in the promotion of decadence — pity persuades to extinction…. Of course, one doesn’t say “extinction”: one says “the other world,” or “God,” or “the true life,” or Nirvana, salvation, blessedness…. This innocent rhetoric, from the realm of religious-ethical balderdash, appears a good deal less innocent when one reflects upon the tendency that it conceals beneath sublime words: the tendency to destroy life. Schopenhauer was hostile to life: that is why pity appeared to him as a virtue…. Aristotle, as every one knows, saw in pity a sickly and dangerous state of mind, the remedy for which was an occasional purgative: he regarded tragedy as that purgative. The instinct of life should prompt us to seek some means of puncturing any such pathological and dangerous accumulation of pity as that appearing in Schopenhauer’s case (and also, alack, in that of our whole literary decadence, from St. Petersburg to Paris, from Tolstoi to Wagner), that it may burst and be discharged…. Nothing is more unhealthy, amid all our unhealthy modernism, than Christian pity. To be the doctors here, to be unmerciful here, to wield the knife here — all this is our business, all this is our sort of humanity, by this sign we are philosophers, we Hyperboreans!”