Sunday, February 18, 2007

An Open Question to The Christian Right and The Muslim Extremists

I am in the process of trying to understand the great love people with religious backgrounds profess for their fellow human beings. The latest effort required some research because I am unable to understand why anyone would really care about those of us atheists who really do not accept the mythology that is so prevalent these days.

I mean, why would you care if your neighbor does not believe that there is a great mythological beast out there that sees all, understands all, and has a record of being nasty? Surely an atheist is the least of your christian worries since he does not prevent you from either adoring the great mythological beast of your choice, or fighting the great mythological beasts your religion has created? Why do Muslims have strict rules that atheists must be killed? Something most christians obviously agree with?

As an atheist, I am flattered that you take us so seriously, and have responded in such a typically christian way, kill them all! But can you explain the attitude? As a human being, not as a religious fanatic, can you honestly tell me why I need to die for my lack of belief in your beast? Surely if the beast is that powerful, he would have shown me the way, he would have taken care of getting me on board. If this beast actually existed anywhere but in your faith or sick mind, he would have made sure that people like me had no option but to believe.

I am merely asking the question because the idea that there is a vast horde of caring and adoring people out there who think nothing is wrong in killing other people who do not accept their beast can be quite scary.

Their laws are clear, as clear as my beliefs.

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Living a mythless life.

As we grow older we tend to gravitate in one of two directions in everything we do. The first is to reassert and conserve the old values, beliefs and thoughts we developed at an early age; the other is perversely the opposite as we dig deeper and deeper into unresolved questions that bedeviled our youth.

In the first case, the assumption is that we have received all we need to know about a certain facet of our lives and are content to ride that information trail to our death. In my case, I find myself reliving the music of the sixties, and enjoying the feelings it brings much more than trying to wrap my head around new versions of old tunes, from classical to hard rock. The same applies to really enjoying mechanics on classic cars, or the simpler joys of a three speed bicycle. I am of an age when I mastered those skills a long time ago, and am now become the master of the art, transcending the skill into an art form.

But the second mindset gives me no rest because I am being forced to delve into areas that are terra incognita not just for me, but for the body of culture that is being built up around the mythology. Take two of the thorniest issues in today’s society, religion and politics. Religion, long a genteel intellectual dance between consenting adults of like mind and upbringing has now become a serious threat to humanity, reason, freedom and health. In that same vein, politics is no longer the career of people with an altruistic bent, eager to promote and support the will of the people and the ability to provide services to those most in need and with the least representation.

Both religion and politics, no matter where they are practiced in the world, have become sisters in intolerance, murderous brothers and divisive harridans of affliction and pain. The horror of this situation is reflected in the fact that those no longer wishing to participate in the global stupidity have become the arch enemies of the intolerant. Religion can conceive of no worse crime than the atheist. The Muslim faith, or creed, is quite clear that atheists must be killed whenever and wherever they appear. The Christian religion, according to a large number of emails I have received for some of my writing, is just as clear. If you do not believe in their rather nasty god, you also must die.

In politics the extremist rules, and no place more blatantly than in my own country, the United States of America. All that was good has been dropped in the name of a nameless terrorist. All of our protections, our rights and our ability to look the politician in the eye and tell him that he has overstepped the immutable laws of mankind have disappeared. Are religion and politics finally coming out of the closet and admitting that they do not apply to those who wish to live the mythless life? Those of us who do not swallow their myths are condemned to live them or face the punishment? Is that the only god and country alternative now on the table?

If you choose to deny their power you will not only go to hell, but we will expedite your trip there. And the same applies to dissenters against the might of the state.

Personally, we may be seeing the blending of hell on earth and salvation for the dead.

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