14 Replies to “Minds full of mush”

  1. That’s a perfect quote. It really is. But I read it and all I can do is think of the damnable indoctrination humans (and, I totally realize I say that as if I’m not ‘one of THEM’) seem predisposed to inculcate in their offspring. Hatred, intolerance, prejudice [add to this list] — all are hard-wired prerequisites, it seems, of many cultures and religious teachings. And yet, no matter how ‘enlightened’ I am about this observation, I sit with this heavy remorse for “the world”, feeling that the most I can do is be a better me — while all and practically everyone else around me turns to sh**. Hitchens’ truth won’t change radical Islam any more than it will change radical [insert list of religions here]. Why do we feel such compulsion to control one another? Tell me! And I better like the answer or I’ll burn down your house!

  2. Instead, let’s teach them fairy tales like a frog really can turn into a prince, that something can come from nothing, that everything you see is the product of random mutations and natural selection, that life can come from inanimate objects, that rape and murder aren’t really wrong, they’re just socially unacceptable. All before the age of reason.

  3. Or better yet fairy tales about a loving grandfather type who lives in the sky and will burn you in hell if you don’t believe in him.

    If something can’t come from nothing, where did God come from…or is he nothing?

  4. Part of Hitchens’ problem is that he cannot distinguish between a radical Muslim who says, like Theresnodanhere observed, “I better like the answer or I’ll burn down your house!” and someone like Mother Theresa who said, “I’d like to build you a new house.”

    He’s guilty of the inductive fallacy. It’s much like someone saying, “I was driving in Kansas City the other day, and I saw a person driving like a maniac. Kansas City drivers sure are awful.”

    Hitchens loves to focus on the evil done by religious people who, in some cases, act in opposition to their religion, but in other cases, act consistently with their religion. But he can’t, or won’t, see the difference.

    He also can’t bring himself to acknowledge the good done by, for example, Christians in the West. There are not too many Atheist orphanages, hospitals, and schools out there. Wait. I forgot about public schools. There aren’t too many Atheist hospitals and orphanages out there.

    Perry, you really believe that something can come from nothing? And you think that I do too if I believe in God, because God had to come from somewhere?

    I think a better set of comparisons would be between…

    1) An eternal God and an eternal universe
    -or-
    2) A universe that came from nothing and a God that came from nothing.

  5. I’m not sure I follow you. How is an eternal God any different than an eternal universe? The addition of God seems an unnecessary complication.

    I don’t see how whether the universe (or God) came from nothingness or just eternally existed are different.

    Either way, if you have a problem with believe something came from nothing (like when God created the universe out of nothing), then how about we just say the universe is eternal? No God required.

    You’re mistaken about Atheistic hospitals. See this link for a thorough explanation. http://www.americanatheist.org/aut03/T1/ittner.html

    “The oldest American hospital in existence is New York’s famed Bellevue hospital, established in 1736. The hospital, initially a six-bed hospital, was not created by any religious institution but was a municipal hospital created by a secular, non-religious government.”

    I agree that Hitchens gets a bit over the top. However, I’ve never heard a good explanation for why moderate religious people take a metaphorical view of radical things written in religious texts.

    Who said it was ok for Muslims not to kill infidels? It clearly states that you should in the Koran.

    Who said it was ok for Christians to stop stoning their children for disrespecting their parents? Who said it was ok for Christians to stop accepting slavery?

    My mother firmly believes that there was an actual Noah’s Ark. It says so in the Bible. Logic be dammed, it’s a miracle. I’m not aware of any instance when God came down and said the stories in the Bible weren’t literally true. So, how can anyone tell my mom or radical, murderous Muslims & Christians that they are not following the word of God?

  6. Somewhat chagrined to admit that I don’t know Hitchens well at all. Only what I read about him. In the above posts. 8^b What I find far more interesting is the ensuing comments.

    Perry, if my former Bible-thumping, born-again, Holy-Roller Christianity memory serves me well, Biblegod doesn’t require you believe in him, does he?

    Volumes of writings devoted to what “believe in him” means or could mean have been written, I know. Again, if memory serves, Biblegod wants his flock to believe that he’s the One and Only, not that he actually exists, ’cause, y’know….I mean, of COURSE he exists, right? Christianity (and Hinduism, as well) addresses the issue of monotheism vs. polytheism by negating the latter. There can be only one Supreme God.

    Sort of sounds like it could be an advertisement for Highlander Pizza.

    One of the things that starts my synapses a-smokin’ is this “Eternal God” angle.

    Is it not just so human to assign SOMEone/thing responsibility for all of this [waving arms wildly] around us? How else can you explain it?? Godpa MUST exist! Otherwise, where in hell (err…no disrespect intended, Satanpa) do *I* fit in!? Where would I go if I die? If I “believe in God” or, more specifically, that his only begotten son, Jesus, shed his blood for me on the cross, can I truly die? Remember, “Born once die twice. Born twice, die once.” [s h i v e r i n g]

    One of the ways I think Biblegod differs significantly from the premise of eternal universe is the obvious (if not laughable) anthropomorphic nature assigned him throughout religions. I’m most familiar with Christianity, but, I’d wager my prayer beads (sorry for the sudden jolt of Catholicism) that it’s somewhat true unilaterally. I’d be a liar if I don’t regularly chuckle at a Vishnu or a Ganesha — I like how well-dressed and adorned they always seem! It must be so cool having a couple of more armpits to design around!

    No doubt it’s storytime most Sunday mornings at 9:30 and 11:30. People (not just your mom or other Christians, of course) seem to be addicted to being threatened with god’s happiness or hellstick. So much so, in fact, that unless this happens and is continually — dare I say? religiously reinforced, they would slowly go insane, for most of the flock (no disrespect intended toward your mom, of course, I don’t even know her!) can’t make sense of ANYthing remotely enlightening as contemplating eternity without gran’pa, rockin’ away up yondah.

    Or is it, “over yondah”?

    Aside: For some reason, recently in my area (Michigan) I keep hearing “the man upstairs” referenced. Did somebody just build a new addition? Did he pull a permit?

  7. It’s my understanding that you can’t go to Heaven if you don’t believe in God. At least that’s what mom always said. Something about accepting Jesus as being the only way to get to be with His Father after you die.

  8. Theresnodanhere, you definitely have a gift with the language! Your writing is very entertaining (the theological content notwithstanding). I don’t know what you do for a living, but I have a feeling you may have missed your calling.

  9. Thereisnodanhere, you may have found your calling. We all tell stories to others and to ourselves. We pick up stories from others and pass them along adding our personal touch. The Bible talks about the fool who said there is no God so there were probably “atheists” and “believers” going at it back then. If kings had played their cards right and given their subjects more freedom we might still be living under a monarchy and the church might have more influence over the people. Of course history is repetitious so our descendents could see those days again.

  10. ==missed/found my calling==

    Bless you all!!

    [oops…. ]

    Garshk, folks! I can’t type if my head gets too large!! Thanks for your kind comments.

    Perry: As it relates to “belief in god” I’m not sure if I’m arguing semantics or not (I’ve been known to do so and sometimes just can’t “see” it — sorry). I was trying to discern between the “investment” some make in having/knowing/communing with “God” and intellectual acknowledgment of the god entity.

    ==btw, can I just say that I LOVE writing and reading “god” instead of “God.” Does that make me bad? Am I going to hell?==

    Okay…I think I know how I arrived at this whole “belief” tangent. Legacy theology, I’m afraid. It was my former pastor’s fault, not mine. I remember in my BornAgain days coming to the epiphany that, “The Devil doesn’t require you to believe in him!” Meaning, that he exists, whether or not one believes in him. The same must be true of God, then. So…what’s my point? I suppose it’s akin to ordering one’s life around ‘pleasing one’s boss.’ It’s as if, by deferring nearly EVERY damn thing to Him (“Oh! Would you look at that! A parking space close to the front door of the store! Praise Jesus!” or “It’s on sale! Praise God!” — and buh-leeve me, those are real life sound bites) the “Believers” have something others don’t.

    I mean, I don’t hate your boss or anything. I just don’t attribute the “Buy One Ketchup, Get Another One Free” to his/His mystical intervention. Do you really think the boss cares about putting your fat ass closer to front doors? I think I heard him say, “You’re going to go in and buy Oreos anyway! Park in back of the lot, ferChrissakes! You need the damn exercise!”

    To me, the boss (and, moreover, BELIEF/INVESTMENT in Him/him) is another one of the stories to which Dedwarmo so eloquently (and succinctly, I might add) refers. Of no greater value or worth than, say, the valet who’s parking his car.

    Close to the front doors, no doubt.

    Dedwarmo: I don’t see the church as ever again having the level of influence it once salaciously enjoyed. Do you? At least in Western culture. Europe may be different. However, the world is most definitely smaller, ‘With Blog As My Witness.” But the freedom you mention has given the subjects the keys to the castle (working the analogy hard, I hope you notice). I don’t think the masses can ever get duped again.

    ==[yow! Typing “the masses” just got me bitch-slapped by Plato]==

    As you point out, history repeats itself; so for the church to assume substantial influence again, I can only imagine that you, Perry, Bobmo, me (well, perhaps not *me* — I could strike a deal) — would have to be silenced unless we took “the mark.”

    Seriously, it would take something on the order of mass annihilation wouldn’t you think? Communication (or, more to the point, the paucity thereof) arguably worked in favor of papal authority, sometimes taking *years* to disseminate news, hierarchy and edicts, due to the sheer vastness of that empire (staggering even today!). The ignorant masses couldn’t wait to be fed their putrid papal puke.

    Today, however, we can get fresh puke from a live feed. Do you think this will/may change drastically, hurling us back into historical ignorance? I’ll be the first to confess I don’t see all (or most) angles of arguments. Just those that (once again, to your excellent points) serve to forward “my story.”

  11. Not sure I share your view that it could never go back to how it was. Look at the influence that Islam has on the Middle East. These are civilized people right?

    Then look at our government and the way bible thumpers get “morality” legislation passed. I still have yet to hear a good (non-religious) argument for why gay marriage should be outlawed.

    It seems critical thinking is a rarity these days with the general population falling for belief in psychics, ghost hunters, herbal supplements, astrology, blah blah blah.

    Want to know the best way to assure you’ll never be voted into office in America? Just tell people you are an atheist.

  12. Even believers in psychics, astrology, etc. don’t want to be told what to do by an all-powerful Church. I think even they would at least be in favor of keeping the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  13. I do not think the government should tell parents how to bring up their children though, so they should be free to indoctrinate them at home if they choose.

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