REPLY #82 TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
RE: Reply #78 to Religion
(R) I'm tempted to start this with "Jesus Fucking Christ, where did this idiot come from...his parents should have been sterilized prior to his conception!" However, being a civilized man, I will refrain. :-)
(R) I read this post with a mixture of indignation, concern, apprehension. Of course, all these feelings emerged after my stomach and jaws were too sore to laugh any more without pain.
(MB) This sort of opportunistic and brain-dead proselytizing has always been an insult to any thinking person. This particular message, however, was just too crass and ridiculous to go without a response. It's time that the voice of reason was heard in rebuttal to the voice from the pulpit.
(R) I find it hard to imagine the kind of upbringing that could result in such twisted, convoluted, absolutely irrational thought. It further amazes me that once having written such garbage, the author could read his prose and not see the insanity screaming from every sentance.
(MB) Such is always the case with zealots attempting to shout their message. That message is so important to them that all other considerations are swept aside. The real problem here is that those who share his basic beliefs (if not his zealotry) will be persuaded to believe the nonsense he writes.
(R) I applaud your ability to respond to his mad ramblings line-for-line without losing your intelligence, wit and calm (albeit scathing) sarcasm. I fear I would have devolved into a lecturn-pounding mad philosopher echoing his insanity with diametrically opposing spewings after just the first few paragraphs.
(MB) I try not to lose my mind while engaged in the refutation of those who have clearly lost theirs. In the case of extreme irrationality, it's much more effective to refute the opponent's tone along with his claims.
(R) I especially enjoyed your little Biblical history notes (Xians hate it when one uses Biblical text to discredit their arguments) and hope the gentleman takes a long look at his motivations.
(MB) It is disarming for Xians to realize that most non-believers know the Bible better than do those who thump it. Such demonstrated knowledge tends to remove the thumpers' primary rhetorical weapon and leaves many of them defenseless.
(R) I would be curious to know how many of those 60,000 dollars went to bury the dead, pay for the injured's medical bills, and supply succor for the survivors.
(MB) I suspect that we shall never know. We can only hope that little or none of it went towards "administrative overhead".
(R) The letter brings up several issues which cause me concern (being a non-Xian in this god-fearing nation) and I will address a two.
First and foremost is the way Xians turn such catastrophic incedents into forums for spewing their dogma. One doesn't need to turn the channel more than a few times following a horrific disaster to hear someone shouting the praises of god or thanking god for sparing them. It sickens me how many otherwise intelligent people can buy this drivel.
(MB) It's gotten to the point where I can accurately predict the Xian comments to any given tragedy before it becomes public news. Needless to say, it would far more effective if *no* Xian suffered any injury or death despite the tragic event. Why do we never see a hurricane do an about-face or simply disappear despite the concerted prayers of those who are about to suffer its wrath?
(R) I remember shortly after the Jonestown incident, I was in church (yes, I was once a nice little god-fearing American) during a sermon in which the leader of our church claimed to have been spared by the glory of god from being among those listed as dead in Jonestown. He claimed that he had visited "Brother Jones" a mere week before the koolaid party and had received a vision from god telling him to abandon Satan's camp and return to his flock. He said that in this vision god told him it would be taken care of and that he should remember this vision and tell his flock of his narrow escape so that they would be blessed with the knowledge that god cares for his own. I remember thinking at the time that if this was true, why did he wait until after the incident to preach about this divine chat with the almighty. As it turned out, he was exposed as a fraud by a member of our church who had dinner at the holy man's house two days after he had supposedly left for Jonestown. This is but one of the hundreds of reasons why I began seeking alternative spiritual answers.
(MB) Great story! I suspect that this is not a unique instance, either. As you suggest, it would be far more impressive if the "vision from God" had been made public *before* the tragedy instead of being reported retroactively. It is not "prophecy" if it happens after the fact.
(R) The other issue which this brings to mind is the utter arrogance of those belonging to the Xian faiths. With few exceptions, they claim to have the only answer and that all things must be for the glory of god, else why would they happen? It makes me sick how many times a day I'll hear "It was god's will" or "We're not supposed to understand, it's divine logic, not human" or some equally appaling little statment to the omnipotence of Jehova.
(MB) The best way to defeat these claims is to ask why we are to believe that this is the will of Yahweh/Jehovah/God instead of the will of Vishnu, Ra, Zeus, Odin, Coyote, Ta'aroa, the Great Green Arkleseizure, the Great Prophet Zarquon or some other deity.
(R) Along those lines is the current upsurge in pushing their faith on all us poor innocents. They're worse than the pushers who beat up little kids for not selling enough dope on the playground! If anyone is offended by me comparing religious dogma with hallucenogenic drugs, let me once again point out Jonestown.
(MB) It's a reasonable comparison. After all, both dope pushers and religious pushers are peddling something to those who don't know any better and who aren't able to deal with life by using their own minds and abilities.
(R) I'm not sure what I do believe, but I know that I do not believe that an omnipotent, omnipresent being would allow 7 people to be slaughtered whilst assembling to pay him homage.
(MB) One doesn't have to know the right answer to a question in order to accurately identify and discard the wrong answers. It has also been powerfully argued that any God who behaves in the manner attributed to him by the Bible and his believers is not a God who is worthy of being worshipped.
(R) Oh well, there's always Laurel and Hardy and Bugs Bunny and the Power Rangers...they at least are somewhat believable.
(MB) Personally, I rejected belief in God before I was able to reject the belief in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. I guess it just takes some people longer to give up their childhood fantasies.