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Sunday, September 9, 2012

RELIGULOUS AGAIN

 


Earlier in the day I heard a radio announcement about a debate, or whatever, between two people on the question: Is the USA a Christian nation? My first thought, What's there to talk about? The talk would be between a preacher and an atheist, their opinions. They told time and day. I made it a point not to hear them. I did not want to know, unless maybe to avoid it. Opinions between a preacher and an atheist? All I could think was What a laugh. Brings up a somewhat documentary film I saw of Bill Maher going around to religious places and talking with religious people of all varieties. Not one was worth listening to. The film was called RELIGULOUS. Of course, ridiculous: religious. I watched it all the way through. After a certain point, the point where I used to think, it can only get better, by now experience has taught me it never gets better, I leave a concert or turn off a movie. Bill Maher lost his charm for me in that film. He showed me he, himself, is ridiculous. Yes, he's smarter than the dumbest people on the planet. Hooray. There came a time very early on in the film where I was wondering why, after a certain point when the director must have seen it was going nowhere, they kept on making it. The director had already rounded up producers and the money to make it with, so they'd just as well go on and spend the money.

The method of newscasting that wants to give equal time to both sides of an issue turns out to be nothing at all like news, just opinions that cancel each other. How informative can that be? This is the aspect of NPR that I have a difficult time with, besides the kowtowing to the Repos threatening to cut off their funding, and doing it an axe chop at a time, systematically, the way they've been chopping at the foundation of democracy until that tree is finally down. It's funny now to see how they make a big thing of democracy like it is something precious. Used to be. Now it's just a word with a dictionary definition for kids to memorize to pass the test and the education major teacher to talk about like there is something to it. The argument I have is that assessment of any given issue is never settled, because the discussion on the matter has all been about sharing opinions. What about information? Logic? Reasoning? Good sense? Thought? Confucius. Opinions are usually sentences that either start with or might start with, By God....

An hour of listening to a preacher and an atheist, just those two nouns, the thought of them in relation to each other talking, makes me want nothing to do with it. I've experience with both and don't even see a reason to get them together, except to keep up with the trend now of getting the religions together for discussion, which is ok by me as long as it's other people doing it. The preacher in this case would have to be somebody who could converse intelligently with somebody unaccustomed to the cliches of religion, like you gotta get saved or you're gonna go to hell; just believe in the name of Jesus Christ and you'll be saved. When you're saved you gotta get baptized and join the church. Then it's your DUTY to go to church every minute the door is unlocked. Then, maybe God will put you up for consideration in the lottery of who really gets to go to heaven. Preachers first. Then, if you don't do that, or if you do that and God doesn't like you anyway, you go to hell. FOREVER. Burn in hell for all of eternity; fire, brimstone, the fiery furnace, wailing, gnashing of teeth, misery and agony, woe. Either that or browbeat everybody in your life about Jesus and the plan of salvation---don't forget Satan. It's about absolutes, which are only ideas that go nowhere to somebody from outside the flock.

Is USA a Christian nation? LOL. Who is even innocent enough to ask the question? Opinions. For every individual on earth has a different opinion, like the favorite saying around here, Opinions are like assholes: everybody's got one. I listen to some of the NPR daytime talk shows and find nothing is definitive as far as value in the way of ethics. They find somebody to say, This, then find somebody to say, That, and what we, the listeners, get from it is nothing. More evidence of what Yeats wrote in his poem, The Second Coming: the center does not hold. It's like pixels of various colors that once made an image flying off in all directions, millions of tiny squares and no substance. I'd say USA is a Christian nation in that it claims to be, the way Egypt claims to be an Islamic nation. On the surface, there being more Christian churches than any other, Christendom wins the majority contest. On the surface where politicians belong to and attend the church in town the upper middle class attends, and the churches are arranged according to status like everything else. it gets back to what Jesus said about the synagogues. Christians like to point the finger when Jesus talks about the Jews like they don't get it. What they don't see is they're doing the same thing as Christians that the Hebrews did as Jews. Jesus would say the same thing to them he said to the Jews (religionists) of his time and place.

Neither can I believe the atheist. Atheism is based in reasoning. Reasoning has limitations. It's a good tool, like a Craftsman wrench. Reasoning cannot transcend reasoning, and to find the way of the spirit it must be done. The spirit of God, which is defined over and over in scriptures as Love, is beyond reasoning, cannot be found by reasoning. Atheists tend to need ideas to be subject to reasoning. If God is Love, then looking for God by reasoning equals looking for love in all the wrong places. An atheist is locked in the reasoning box and the preacher in the supposed-to box. The only point I'd be interested to listen for in the talk is the use of the word love. I'd guess it will never be used one time, and if so, trivialized. This is why I have no confidence in such a confrontationless confrontation, or boring drama. The preacher will talk about supposed-to and the atheist will talk about reason. Back in Reagan time a silly column in the local paper, a discussion between conservative and liberal. The one from conservative was a Reagan enthusiast, fascist, and the one from liberal was so middle of the road as to be the space between the two yellow lines down the center. And his middle of the road stance was studied, believing what you're supposed to believe to be in the middle, same as the guy on the right. Called himself a liberal. The editor wouldn't let a real liberal write in the paper.

Again, I'll say American is a Christian nation only in that it wants to be thought so. Look at American behavior. Look at the behavior in DC and on the news. We are the country in the world where somebody takes military weapons and kills as many people randomly as can be done before the cops kill them. Gun world. Look at the behavior in your own world, the people you know, the people not killing each other. I'm not saying it's reprehensible, not saying it's bad, not saying it's anything but good, which most people's behavior is; going so far as to say nearly all, allowing for exceptions that prove the rule. An awful lot of people are sincerely devoted to Jesus. Then consider that the spiritual capital of America is Las Vegas. Everybody looking for free money. That's what you get when you're rich is free money. The people who boast about being Christians tend to be republicans who say things like, I don't know what socialism is, but I know it's bad. Oh really. I heard this in conversation yesterday with the Christian of Christians, my mother. I could not stop myself from saying, "How can you know it's bad if you don't know anything about it?" Pointless. Flapping my jaws. Barking to hear my head roar. I already knew the answer: the preacher sez. Atheists talk rationally and preachers talk supposed-to. One cannot communicate with the other. I don't even want to think about what might be said. The Bible sez vs Nietzsche sez. Too ridiculous. Religulous.

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