This was originally posted in 2009.
"I AM A RELIGIOUS EXTREMIST!"
"Um ... okay?"
"EVERYTHING I TALK ABOUT IS RELATED TO THE ONE TRUE RELIGION OF PLANET EARTH ... CHRISTIANITY!"
"Can I ask one question?"
"Why are you yelling at me?"
[At this point, were this a video, I'd insert some sort of random, opening title sequence here.]
"I said, why are you yelling at me?"
"I CAN'T HELP IT."
"You're yelling because you can't help it?"
"YES, THAT'S RIGHT. GOD BLESS YOU."
"That doesn't make any sense. And I didn't sneeze!"
"A PERSON DOESN'T HAVE TO SNEEZE IN ORDER TO BE BLESSED BY GOD, ASSY MCDUMBASS!"
"Um, okay. But that doesn't explain why you're yelling."
"I'M YELLING BECAUSE I'M A RELIGIOUS EXTREMIST! MY FANATACISM TOWARDS CHRISTIANITY HAS BLINDED ME TO INTELLIGENT SELF-EDUCATION AND THEREFORE I HAVE NO ACTUAL FACTS TO BACK-UP ANYTHING I SAY ABOUT HOW GOD HATES HOMOSEXUALS AND HOW A MAN MUST BE STONED AND CASTRATED FOR EVEN THINKING OF A WOMAN WHO IS NOT HIS WIFE, BUT NOT NECESSARILY IN THAT ORDER."
"Right. And so the yelling is because ..."
"WELL, I'M YELLING IN HOPES THAT MY SHEER VOLUME WILL INCAPACATATE YOUR ABILITY TO REALIZE THAT MY DEFENSE OF CHRISTIANITY IS ABOUT AS STRONG AS A FART IN A HURRICANE."
"... would you mind terribly if I ask another question?"
"SINCE I AM A CHRISTIAN, I AM OPEN TO ANY AND ALL QUESTIONS. MIND YOU, IF I DON'T AGREE WITH WHERE THE QUESTION IS COMING FROM IN THE FIRST PLACE, I WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU LATER."
"Why are you telling me all of this? Doesn't admitting that you have no clue whatsover kind of ruin any and all chances of you winning an argument about religion?"
"WHAT?! GOD-DAMMIT! JESUS-FUCKING-CHRIST! YOU HEARD ALL OF THAT?? I REALLY THOUGHT YOU WOULD HAVE TUNED OUT ALL THE YELLING BY NOW, YOU KNOW?"
This was originally posted April, 2009. Since then, many of the referenced links have died. As an additional note to brother and family: this isn't being reposted to antagonize, but instead to share my personal reasons for atheism.
And now for another installment of "I Read It So You Don't Have To!"
For some reason, my gut is telling me that this one's for Heather (but you can enjoy it, too, Obs! Also, I'm counting on Tripp to weigh-in with his perspective).
Jason (my brother) wrote a blog titled "Easter Bunny?" that was essentially taking on the inclusion of bunnies and chocolate in "Christian" celebration. I'll share with you the passage that made me decide to write this response:
"What gets me is how the Easter Bunny and company got hooked with the Resurrection of Christ. We were trying to make Christianity more appealing to the pagans. Rather than raising them up to our level, we sunk to theirs."
Essentially, Jason posits that Christianity=Good, Everything Else=Bad, and Easter Bunny=Satan Incarnate. So we're absolutely clear, the point of this response is claim that Religion=Intolerance, Religion=Narrow-minded fucktards, Religion=Blatant disregard for fellow human beings.
I don't much care for religion, can you tell?
The first gross inaccuracy that bothered me was Jason's labeling of everyone not Christian as pagan and everything that is not Christianity as Paganism. Also, since Christianity is the worship of the one "true" god, that paganism, by a Christian default, is the worship of Satan.
I really hope that Jason gets the opportunity to make that argument to a true, practicing Pagan, because he'll likely get punched in the nose. Not that I truly want him to get punched in the nose, but I imagine it would be an eye-opening experience. For him.
The actual definition of pagan is "rural, rustic, or of the country". Ironically, it was Christianity that "appropriated" the term to define heathenistic Satan-worshipers. (Which, again, if you don't worship God, according to the monotheistic religion that is Christianity, obviously you worship Satan and therefore are a pagan. Or something like that.) I say ironic because the man feels the need to find out what bunnies have to do with Easter, but will conveniently and completely ignore EVERYTHING ELSE about Christianity that makes no sense whatsoever. Like how Christians insist upon calling Pagans Satan-Worshipers.
So let's move on to the second part of his quote, where he talks about "sinking" to the pagans' level to make, um, their celebration more appealing ... to them? Yes, Jason also establishes that Easter is originally a "pagan" holiday that has nothing to do with Christianity whatsoever.
At this point, I'll observe that Jason's research is second-to-none and would really make, oh, I don't know, Rush Limbaugh proud. To find an explanation of the origins of Easter, he went to a website called "Got Questions", a religious publication that offered this charming nugget in explanation of Easter: "Originally, there were some very pagan (and sometimes utterly evil) practices that went along with the celebration."
Nothing like preaching to the choir, huh?
Okay, so I can't fault Jason for preaching to the choir himself (assuming that the only people he's targeting on his website are narrow-minded religious freaks--seriously, Tripp, am I way out in left field on any of this yet? or have I COMPLETELY offended the hell out of you?) but when exactly did Christianity become such an absolute religion?
This is my problem with religion (any of them, but we'll use Christianity as the example): belief in it mandates that it (Christianity) is right and that everything else is wrong. Well, apply that to every single denomination of every single religion in the entire world. If everyone's religion is the right religion, that makes everyone's religion the wrong religion, and the only truth about life, the universe, and everything can only be found in the microscopic muck of the dot on an ant's antennae.
This is the part that made me feel like this was for Heather. You don't get anywhere in life saying this is right and that is wrong, but learning to appreciate different point of views and why, in fact, people believe different things.
The only reason that Christianity is what it is today is because just after the dawn of the 1000's, people started running around and killing other people if they wouldn't convert to Christianity. There were nine crusades in nearly three hundred years, and they all served the same purpose, to be "religion-driven military campaigns waged by much of Christian Europe against external and internal opponents."
That's what pisses me off about Christianity. The people who so blindly and haphazardly follow it and readily denounce "everything else", they exhibit virtually no mental capability of posing the question: "why?" and are subsequently quick to completely ignore that their religion itself is no model of perfection either ... and, in fact, when you learn to appreciate the roots, it is just as disappointing as all of the rest.
I don't align myself to any religion other than that of "Why". Why do we say the things we say and why do we do the things we do? I will criticize a person for their religion, but they will forever have a pass for their faith. And for the believers who read this, religion is nothing more than a man-made construct that has summarily bastardized whatever true purpose your god has tasked you with.
And what does this all have to do with Easter and chocolate rabbits? Absolutely nothing. It's all a bunch hootananny and hogwash and if you believe in Why, it's a source of hilarity for you and if you believe in your faith, it hardly matters to you and if you believe in religion, well, you're fucked.
Go on, lemme have it.
Oh, and BTW—aside from own personal life experience in asking "why", these are the webpages I referred to in writing this:
(but not really)
THE HOLY BABBLE
The following is a work of comedic fiction.
Much like the original.
THE FOUNDING PRINCIPLES
Krumbinism is the pursuit of enlightenment, creativity, and harmony among the voices in our heads.
THE PRAYER OF THE KRUMBINITES
Stay creative. Always.
Confession time: if I describe myself as an unapologetic atheist today (I do), then I can say that I grew up in a very Christian/relig-ish household. We prayed over meals. We occasionally attended the non-denominational church flavor-of-the-week. A "personal relationship with God" was my dad's self-realized most important contribution to his children's lives.
In other words, my parents' religious endeavors were certainly alternative. And yes, there were plenty of home churches, too.
So when this whole dialogue about the "nones" (self-proclaimed, religiously unaffiliated, spiritual but not religious) started a few months ago, my reaction was "this is new? shit, this is how I grew up!"
Rachelle Mee-Chapman was tapped by SogoMEDIA TV to delve into the subject of living a religious life when the various tried-and-true institutions of church have summarily failed you. The subject matter is granular, but I was attracted to it -- as I have been with Tripp's material -- because it is overtly well-meaning and, in my mind, a healthy, progressive way to balance the playing field against those who take their religion to extremes.
Because here's the secret about Religish: it doesn't work if you don't have an open mind. And open minds are the only solution to narrow-minded religious extremism.
A bit of a technical note: while the video below is Rachelle's first episode of Religish, it's not the same video that was posted on SogoMEDIA. By way of self-introduction, I ripped the original video and recut it, offering my production services to Rachelle and Religish.
Watch the video and let us know what you think. Is a religish practice new to you, or is it something you've lived with for a long time?
-- Jordan Krumbine
I originally wrote this missive on December 15th and posted it to Facebook. It got a handful of shares, which was surprising for a long chunk of text. Later, as Tripp continued to noodle on the subject, I forwarded the missive to him where it continued to spread.
-- Jordan Krumbine
It's interesting that one of the most meaningful things said about the Sandy Hook shootings came from a tech blog editor. After sharing someone's Facebook comment about "don't just say you sympathize, here's the school address, SHOW THEM you sympathize" the tech writer closed his very brief post with this:
"Hug your kids, remember the victims. And don't ever stop trying to make this world a little better."
I wonder if we're looking manifest destiny in the face. While the fiscal cliff won't have an immediate or particularly terrible impact on normal people in January, the economic panic could still be devastating. Whether taken seriously or not, we're living in a period of time that has long predicted to be the "end of time". With the opening act of Superstorm Sandy fresh in our memories, who's to say that mentally unstable people like the Sandy Hook shooter (or any of the other shooters this past year) aren't unwittingly acting as agents of our twisted, societal manifest destiny?
We've encouraged this climate of doom. It fuels our entertainment -- both fictional and non-fictional, with news broadcasts pouncing on even the most of mundane of events, twisting it into an apocalyptic nightmare because it's good for ratings. Even in our personal lives, there are many who are in lock-step with doom: suffering the daily indignity of pointless drudgery to further someone else's bottom line, so that we can wrap our fingers around a meager paycheck that will finance our ability to continue engaging in our doom-filled weekly drudgery.
Maybe it's not obvious to everyone, but it's there. Even for people who are blindly optimistic -- doom lies wait in the shadows, lurking beyond the narrow focus of the present day.
Is this really the social climate we've invented for ourselves? Like the tech writer said, are we not even TRYING to make this world better? A LITTLE better?
I apologize if this is an indictment of friends, but I am amazed at the outcry against gun control I've seen on Facebook. Flabbergasted at the people who use the excuse that "criminals don't obey laws, so what's the point of legally restricting their access to guns?" Indignantly refuting the possibility of change -- change that could hold the promise of a better world -- while simultaneously offering empty words of sympathy to the victims of Sandy Hook.
Again, apologies for the indictment, but this is what the culture of the religiously-motivated, right-wing Republican agenda has delivered us: staunch, unmovable opinions that often carry little to no regard for the common good. Blind opposition to the simple and genuine attempt to make things better.
Gun control is not the answer. The Sandy Hook shooter needed mental and emotional help that perhaps was not acknowledged, offered, or maybe even available to him. As a society, we failed him and the ready availability of firearms gave us opportunity to fail his victims as well.
It really is simple. Put aside the politics, the religion, and the media. If you say events like Sandy Hook should never happen, but you are unable to support even the hypothetical idea of making things better for our society, you are a hypocrite.
Our society has been broken by these divisive things. Politics, religion, media. They inspire conflict and hate and while these things don't always lead to horrific events, certainly one event like Sandy Hook is one too many.
Let's put them aside. Even if it's only temporarily. And let's be open to trying to make the world a better place.
Alternative, emergent, right-fit, out-of-the-box, and occasionally outright incomprehensible. Horribly right or horribly wrong, either way this is Horbawrong Religion.
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