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BENEATH THE SPIN · ERIC L. WATTREE

The Religious Right: A Threat to America

When I became of age, one of the first things I did was to reassess all of my previous beliefs and attitudes. Thereafter, I discarded as invalid anything that didn't stand up to logical and objective scrutiny, because even at that young age, I'd lived long enough to recognize that most of the problems in this world is a direct result of our failure to re-examine our illogical views of reality. Most religious zealots not only fail to go through that process, but refuse to as a matter of religious doctrine. It is due to that zealotry, and their doctrinal obligation to even consider the fact that they might be zealots, that makes the religious right a clear and present danger to both the United States, and the world.

In re-examining my own religious beliefs, one of the very first things I recognized was that I was only a Christian due to an accident of birth. If I had been born in in the Middle East, chances are I would have been a Moslem, or if I'd been born in China I probably would have been a Buddhist, or if in India, a Hindu or Sikh. That immediately suggested that religious doctrine was more a cultural manifestation of man than it was a dictate from God. So anyone who has surrendered their soul to any organization (religious or otherwise), and their minds are too closed to recognize that fact, makes me very nervous. After all, that's why we're in Afghanistan, trying to keep Pakistan's nuclear missiles out of the hands of religious zealots - and by definition, a zealot's a zealot.

One would think that any clear-thinking person would recognize that God - or Nature, if you will - provided us with a sense of ethics, common sense, and empathy to guide us through life, so man doesn't require a users guide any more than birds require a calendar or a map to fly South for the winter. In addition, since ninety-nine percent of all the conflicts throughout the world involve a religious component, common sense should tell us that religious doctrine not only does NOT come from God, but indeed, represents the very darkest side of man's nature.

Think about it, with all of the organized religions throughout the world, and all of the billions of people who claim to love God, why is there so much cruelty, murderous atrocities and suffering in the world? Why is it that with all the collection plates being passed around, collecting billions of tax-free dollars in the United States, for example, that there's any homelessness or suffering anywhere in this country? And most instructive of all is why is it that the Bible belt was the birthplace of slavery, and the most bigoted part of the entire country?

I'll tell you why - because our religious doctrines are not focused on teaching us to love our fellow man. They're more focused on teaching us that other people who are unlike ourselves and have different beliefs are heathens. It is in our churches where we learn that God is on our side, and "those others" who don't look and think like we do are un-Godly, and are going to be condemned by God to eternal damnation. I'd be willing to bet a years pay that some of these "Godly" people are condemning me right now for having the nerve to speak the truth.

That's what makes it so easy for us to commit the most horrendous atrocities against others. Our religions spend all of their time teaching us to "have faith" in what we're being told, and hardly any time at all teaching us to love our fellow man. Man's need to control the minds of the masses dictate that they focus on teaching us to be selfish and hateful, rather than loving and Godly. It's all about saving MY soul from the devil, and what God did or is going to do for ME, instead of what I'm going to do to make this a better world.

Consider what man has told us to have faith in. Over the centuries we've been told such things as God wants us to burn young women at the stake because they're a little different. They told us that God wanted us to excommunicate Galileo and threaten other brilliant scholars with death before the inquisition for having the audacity to try to educate us and give us the benefit of their God-given brilliance. And why? Because their brilliance betrayed the erroneous thinking of church leaders who claimed to be getting their information from a direct pipeline to God.

We see that very same Mindset today. Many church leaders dismiss the validity of evolution, even in face of the fact that every time we get our children vaccinated it validates the fact that man is evolving. When we're vaccinated we give our bodies a manageable dose of a disease. This allows our bodies to evolve to the point that it can tolerate a disease that would otherwise killed or disabled us. But the church has a vested interest in discounting evolution, because it's in direct conflict with their version of creation. So for their own selfish reasons religious leaders dispute evolution, and other valuable knowledge, even though every bit of knowledge we've ever collected has served to glorify God's wondrous creation much more thoroughly than Biblical authors could even dream of. But religious leaders don't care about glorifying God - they're only interested in saving face.

Thus, some of the most serious problems that we have in the world today is a direct result of our organized religious leaders having our minds on lockdown. Their activity in that regard is a direct assault on the will of God, since God clearly made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to think. We know this, because all of the evidence available to man shows that God made man's ability to think the key to our survival.

Man arrived on this hostile planet as a necked ape, but without an ape's agility nor strength. He wasn't as ferocious as the lion, as strong as the elephant, nor could he soar like the eagle. He should have been dead on arrival, but God provided man with one tool to help him to survive - the human mind. And it is through the development that tool that man, this most unlikely and fragile of creatures, has established dominion over the Earth, and in an incredibly short period of time. Now, through our God-given intellect, we've become more fearsome than the most ferocious lion, we've created machines that are thousands of times more powerful than the strongest elephant, and we now soar far beyond the eagle's domain - even leaving the planet to explore other worlds.

Thus, it was clearly God's will that we be logical, thinking beings. So for us to now allow man to come along and tell us that we should suspend our nature as thinking beings, and "have faith" in what he tells us, is a slap in the face of God. By doing so, we're showing more faith in what man says, than what God has done - and that is the source of all of our problems, we're not remaining true to our nature. To tell a man not to think is like telling a fish not to swim, or a bird not to fly, and if they comply, they will not survive. And if we continue to listen to other self-serving men, we're not going to survive.

It was through putting our faith in man that we believed that God condoned the Manifest Destiny, that led to the near genocide of Native Americans. It was through our faith in man that we believed that God condoned the brutal enslavement of millions of African Americans. It was also through having faith in man that Hitler convinced the German people that God condoned the murder of six million Jews. And more recently, it was through faith in man that the American people was convinced that God condoned the murder of 102 thousand innocent Iraqis, who did absolutely nothing to us, other than being in the unfortunate position of possessing oil that we coveted.

Don't get me wrong, however - there's nothing wrong with being spiritual. But always remember, just because a man has the gift of gab and says he's a man of God, that doesn't mean that God sees it that way. God doesn't speak to him any louder than he speaks to you. No man speaks for God, so whenever you want to hear God's word, just listen to your heart, and God will speak to you directly.

There's one other thing. While admittedly, I don't speak for God myself, I think I'm pretty safe in saying that God will never tell you to buy another man a big house and a new Cadillac - he didn't do it for Jesus, so why should he do it for these latter-day saints?

And for you zealots out there. Don't forget, God works in mysterious ways, so maybe you should think about what I'm saying . . . if you're allowed to.

Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

Originally posted to Wattree on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 01:09 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

    by Wattree on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 01:10:00 PM PDT

  •  Tipped, Rec'd and I absolutely love your (0+ / 0-)

    sigline.
    Like George Carlin said, it is the world's greatest con. Truly a very dangerous opiate to the masses.
    As Always...Peace ;-)>

    "We're right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody's giving booze to these goddamn things!"-Hunter S. Thompson ;-)>

    by rogerdaddy on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 01:46:28 PM PDT

  •  Man? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    Please replace the gendered language referring to "man" with gender-neutral language like "humanity" or "people."  This is 2009... we've figured out that humanity shouldn't be abbreviated to include only 49% of us.

    Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

    by mistersite on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 01:51:52 PM PDT

    •  I'm sorry if you were offended. (0+ / 0-)

      I considered your point while I was writing, but "man" is a universally accepted noun for "mankind", and I decided that "man" conveyed my point most effectively in this context. And since belief that women are most adept as nuanced thinkers, I felt no pressure to be politically correct.

      But even if I did feel that pressure, as a writer, if I have to make a choice between being politically correct and expressing my views most powerfully, pc would bite the dust every time.

      And finally, unless one is purposely being rude, I feel that going out of one's way to be pc is an exercise in frivolity. Women don't need me to give them equal billing in their contribution to mankind - and to go out of my way to do so would be the intellectual equivalent of patroniziong an insecure child. As a Black man, when it's done to me, I feel insulted. I want people to just say was on their mind, and spare me all the cuddling. I'm not nearly that sensitive, nor emotionally fragile.

      Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

      by Wattree on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 03:36:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  1st century social ideas (0+ / 0-)

    for the 21st century.

    Doncha worry though, because you'll get your just rewards in heaven.

  •  So close to taking it to its logical conclusion. (0+ / 0-)

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

    by lockewasright on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 03:07:11 PM PDT

  •  Ku Klux Kristianity/Amerikan Taliban (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lockewasright, gsenski

    Remember how John McCain gave that idiot Texas Republican representative (named Sessions, I believe--not Jefferson Beauregard Sessions from Alabama) hell a few months ago for calling himself and his political party the "American Taliban"?  That summed up the ultraconservative NeoNazi Republicans quite nicely.  These assholes are a major threat to this country, and Bush/Cheney's 8 years in public office destroying the Constitutional Rule of Law proved it!!

  •  Eastern religions are less intolerant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gsenski

    Great Diary.

    I would not agree that all religion are "focused on teaching that other people who are unlike ourselves and have different beliefs are heathens".  But it is certainly true of the Western and Middle Eastern ones.

  •  Great as far as it goes (0+ / 0-)

    Why would someone who's thought through all this still talk as though there's a God out there?
    Is there any evidence that a God -- rather than evolution/survival of the fittest -- gave us our intellect? I don't think so.
    There are so many horrible things that happen in the world, I can't help but think that if a God is in charge, he/she/it is totally incompetent if not actually sadistic.

    •  In spite of what I've written here, (0+ / 0-)

      I find it quite amusing how many atheists tend to take a condescending attitude towards people who believe in God as rather quaint and less than intelligent. But the fact is, when we look upon nature and the universe, the belivers in God have more evidence to support their position than the atheist has to support his.

      Personally I do belive in God - not as a matter of faith, but through evidence. Again, when we look upon the perfection of the laws of nature and the universe, from my point of view, that alone is prima facie evidence that God does exist. Even if he or she doesn't exist in a way that we can conceptualize, to me, whatever force created the universe, or even the universe itself, is God.

      When one looks at it that way, we're no longer discussing whether or not God exists, but rather, the nature of his existence.

      So for me, one commits a sin whenever one upsets the balance of nature, or God - whether we're talking about destroying the planet, or making one's wife miserable.

      Thus, one doesn't do what right in order to stay out of hell, one does what's right because it is right to do what's right. That's nature's way, and it's self-rewarding.

      From time to time I'll go up to a homeless person and give him $20. Just looking at the gleeful disbelief in his eyes is rewarding to me for days. Sometimes I'll lay in the bed and rerun the image in my mind over and over again.  Try it sometime. I guarantee you, if you do it once, you'll do it again - and you'll find that it's the best $20 you've ever spent.  

      As for God being incompetant - it's not God that's incompetent, it's man. We've created our own hell right here on Earth. Thus, the point of my diary.

      Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

      by Wattree on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:32:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hm. (0+ / 0-)

        But the fact is, when we look upon nature and the universe, the belivers in God have more evidence to support their position than the atheist has to support his.

        Oddly enough, the people whose job it is to study "nature and the universe" most closely--the people who are best at it--are overwhelmingly likely not to believe in gods.

        It appears your personal criteria for "evidence to support [your] position" are less than exacting.


        Personally I do belive in God - not as a matter of faith, but through evidence. Again, when we look upon the perfection of the laws of nature and the universe, from my point of view, that alone is prima facie evidence that God does exist.

        Ah. "[T]he perfection of the laws of nature and the universe." Mm.

        How, pray tell, would we be able to tell that "the laws of nature and the universe" were imperfect, such that we can therefore conclude that there are no gods?


        As for God being incompetant - it's not God that's incompetent, it's man.

        That's funny; you (a "man") give twenty bucks to a homeless person every once in a while, but the god you believe in can't even be bothered to let people know when a deadly hurricane, earthquake, or tsunami is coming? On behalf of my species, we (including you personally, it seems) do a much better job of helping people than the callous god you believe in does.

        Again, what could possibly convince you that your god is incompetent? Or is this perhaps not a matter of "evidence" for you at all?

        •  incompetent and/or sadistic (0+ / 0-)

          "It's not God that's incompetent, it's man. We've created our own hell right here on Earth."

          Sure, we've done a lot of that, but there are many very basic problems that we've been stuck with.  

          As Rieux writes, there are hurricanes, earthquakes ... also droughts, floods, deadly epidemics, temperature extremes that kill people.  

          There's cancer, arteries that can clog, joints that wear out, teeth that are prone to problems, a swallowing system in which a piece of food can choke us to death, skin that can burn, bones that break, minds and eyesight and hearing that frequently deteriorate, spines that if struck can leave us permanently unable to move.  

          And pain -- why weren't we designed so we'd get only little twinges of pain rather than the endless, excruciating pain that so many people suffer?

          Yes, I do believe that any god that built into the world all these design problems, and more, would have to be considered incompetent and/or sadistic. Certainly nothing to be worshipped.  

        •  Even stars die, (0+ / 0-)

          So what makes you assume that death is a bad thing, or that natural disasters don't serve a wider purpose?

          Perhaps the universe IS God. And I would know that the laws of the universe were imperfect if they were inconsistent. If Moses could part the Red Sea, example; if fish drowned because they were created with lungs; or if some fire wasn't hot; or if anything God created didn't serve a useful purpose. Those are the kind of things that would serve as evidence that the the universe was imperfect.

          And as for God being callous, what force of nature caused me to want to help others?

          Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

          by Wattree on Mon Sep 28, 2009 at 03:47:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How cute. (0+ / 0-)

            So what makes you assume that death is a bad thing, or that natural disasters don't serve a wider purpose?

            I see. So you solve the theodicy problem by declaring death morally irrelevant--rendering the Holocaust, cancer, famine, drought, and anything else that destroys millions of innocent lives unworthy of your privileged attention.

            You are seriously interested in contending that "natural disasters ... serve a wider purpose"? You're disgusting. Say that to someone who lost a loved one in Katrina, or the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, you thoughtless reprobate.

            It's continually surprising how willing theists are to stoop to baldfaced moral depravity just to shore up their faith beliefs.


            Perhaps the universe IS God.

            And perhaps I should call my kitchen table "Eugene." That isn't actually profound, much as you appear to want to convince yourself otherwise.


            And I would know that the laws of the universe were imperfect if they were inconsistent. If Moses could part the Red Sea, example

            Wow!

            How nonsensical. The existence of miracles is now presented as potential evidence that there is no God.

            What a sorry excuse for thinking.


            if fish drowned because they were created with lungs

            Bwahahahaha!

            Well, at least that's an old mindless fallacy:

            [O]ne must not make an abuse of final causes; we have remarked that in vain Mr. Prieur, in "The Spectacle of Nature," maintains that the tides are given to the ocean so that vessels may enter port more easily, and to stop the water of the sea from putrefying. In vain would he say that legs are made to be booted, and the nose to wear spectacles.

            - Voltaire, "Final Causes," from Philosophical Dictionary (1764)


            or if anything God created didn't serve a useful purpose.

            Aha: the old "presume your own conclusion" gambit.


            Those are the kind of things that would serve as evidence that the the universe was imperfect.

            Those are patent absurdities concocted to rationalize your own willful ignorance.


            And as for God being callous, what force of nature caused me to want to help others?

            Again, the fact that you are clearly utterly ignorant of the overwhelming evidence of the manner in which empathy evolved makes you very difficult to take seriously.

            But that aside, do you really not see how disgusting your argument is? Faced with eons of unbelievable suffering and death visited upon billions and billions innocent people, you smugly intone, "God can't be callous because He made me want to help others." Well, aren't you so special?

            What an awful person you appear to be. And what obscene horrors you are prepared to condone rather than subject your own arbitrary illusions to simple reason.

  •  That's not evolution... (0+ / 0-)

    When we're vaccinated we give our bodies a manageable dose of a disease. This allows our bodies to evolve to the point that it can tolerate a disease that would otherwise killed or disabled us.

    That's exposing the already existent immune system to a new pathogen so that your body "learns" how to kill it.  It doesn't create an inheritable genetic change, which is what evolution requires.

    However, the annual flu shot (that I'm sure even the wingers get) DOES provide an example of evolution.  Influenza mutates and evolves constantly, which is why last year's shot might not protect against this year's flu.

    The rest of the diary was good.

    •  Hayate, (0+ / 0-)

      You said,

      It doesn't create an inheritable genetic change, which is what evolution requires.

      Good point, on a macro level.  But don't vaccinations allow an individual's immune system to evolve?

      Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

      by Wattree on Mon Sep 28, 2009 at 03:55:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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