There is an assumption in society that one’s faith is especially vulnerable to offense and therefore should be protected by a relatively thick wall of respect.
Religion…has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, ‘Here is an idea or a notion that you’re not allowed to say anything bad about; you’re just not. Why not? – Because you’re not!’ If somebody votes for a party that you don’t agree with, you’re free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says ‘I mustn’t move a light switch on a Saturday,’ you say, ‘I respect that’.Follow below for an in-depth look.
Why should it be that it’s perfectly legitimate to support the Labour Party or the Conservative Party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows – but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe…no, that’s holy! …
When you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn’t be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn’t be.1
“The whole point of religious faith, its strength and chief glory, is that it does not depend on rational justification. The rest of us are expected to defend our prejudices. But ask a religious person to justify their faith and you infringe ‘religious liberty’.”2Second, being a religion makes the people practicing it not crazy. As Sam Harris said in The End of Faith:
“We have names for people who have many beliefs for which there is no rational justification. When their beliefs are extremely common we call them ‘religious’; otherwise, they are likely to be called ‘mad’, ‘psychotic’ or ‘delusional’…Clearly there is sanity in numbers.”3Third, when you are a religion your holy book becomes Scripture. There are still some people who are persuaded by scriptural evidence. Take for instance Jesus. A common argument, attributed among others to C. S. Lewis states that, since Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, he must have been either right or else insane or a liar:
“Mad, Bad or God’. Or with artless alliteration, “Lunatic, Liar, or Lord’. 4Fourth, being a religion allows you to claim you have all the answers. There is no reason to look further. There becomes a much less need to know or reason to search further. Your faith provides you with the answers.
The Church of the Holy Shitters claims no such special privileges. We intend to earn your respect and make no claim of being entitled to it. We intend to let our reason and logic speak for itself. We will not use faith as a means to claim sanity. Finally, our religion does not provide all the answers to our practitioners.
Examining Conventional Religions and Morality
“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.”5Seneca the Younger said,
“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”6Richard Dawkins said:
“ Religious wars really are fought in the name of religion, and they have been horribly frequent in history. I cannot think of any war that has been fought in the name of atheism.”7Religion teaches us to not change our minds. It teaches us to not investigate or question or discover the how and why of things. Religion is anti-scientific.
Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion said,
“Fundamentalist religion is hell-bent on ruining the scientific education of countless thousands of innocent, well-meaning, eager young minds. Non-fundamentalist, ‘sensible’ religion may not be doing that. But it is making the world safe for fundamentalism by teaching children, from their earliest years, that unquestioning faith is a virtue.8The American Comedian Cathy Ladman observed that
‘All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt, with different holidays.’9One of the biggest problems with current religions is that they strive to grant humans unique and special status in the universe because they are human. Once again, this points to that attitude which so often gets us into trouble – “my shit’s better than your shit “. That “humans are special because we were created in the image of God” line of reasoning.
Religion also allows groups of humans who all believe a certain way to put their shit above everybody else’s shit. Believe the shit I do or go to hell! This allows my group to categorize others as infidel or heathen. Religious faith is a force so strong that it allows sane, decent people to do utterly insane, mad things. Religion brings us shoe bombers and underwear bombers. It allows brothers to stone their sisters to death for being alone with a man.
Religion just plain makes people do crazy shit! Take for instance Osama bin Laden. Why would he want to destroy the World Trade Center and all in it? Is it because he is evil? I think not. Sam Harris points it out bluntly.
“The answer to this question is obvious – if only because it has been patiently articulated ad nauseam by bin Laden himself. The answer is that men like bin Laden actually believe what they say they believe. They believe in the literal truth of the Koran. Why did nineteen well-educated middle-class men trade their lives in this world for the privilege of killing thousands of their neighbors? Because they believed that they would go straight to paradise for doing so. It is rare to find the behavior of humans so fully and satisfactorily explained. Why have we been so reluctant to accept this explanation?” 10
“Everyone is being blamed, from the obvious villainous duo of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, to the inaction of Muslim ‘communities’. But it has never been clearer that there is only one place to lay the blame and it has ever been thus. The cause of all this misery, mayhem, violence, terror and ignorance is of course religion itself, and if it seems ludicrous to have to state such an obvious reality, the fact is that the government and the media are doing a pretty good job of pretending that it isn’t so.” 11The media and the governments of the world tell us we are fighting a war on ‘terror’ and the terrorists are motivated by pure ‘evil’. But this is not the case. They are motivated by righteousness, faith, and what their religions tell them to do.
They are motivated by the same religious force that Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, an organization for the intimidation of abortion providers, is motivated by. Take this statement of his that illustrates this “My shit’s better than your shit.” attitude.
“I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good …Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty. We are called by God to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.He is truly a believer of his own shit! He is also rightfully classified as part of the American Taliban.
Our goal must be simple. We must have a Christian nation built on God’s law, on the Ten Commandments. No apologies.” 12
Voltaire got it right long ago:
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” 13Yet we continue to accept the principle that religious faith must be respected because it is religious faith. Followers of the Church of the Holy Shitters believe in the abandonment of this principle. Having faith in shit is dangerous. It can lead you into doing some really weird shit!!
There is a very rigid “my way or the highway” way of thinking in very religious communities. Fundamentalists tend to be absolutists. Absolutists believe there are absolute rights and wrongs. My way is right and your way is wrong. They use their religion to legitimize their absolute rights and wrongs. The only competitor is patriotism. As the Spanish film director Luis Bunuel said,
“God and Country are an unbeatable team; they break all records for oppression and bloodshed.”14There is a great quote from Sean O’Casey which says,
“Politics has slain its thousands, but religion has slain its tens of thousands.”15Bible thumpers also tend to attribute natural disasters to “the will of God”. A tsunami is not the work of a shift in tectonic plates but God’s wrath on “human sins”. Their entire “education” leads them to conclude that natural disasters are bound up in human affairs and paybacks from God for “breaking the rules”. Richard Dawkins, in The God Delusion points out
“what presumptuous egocentricity it is to believe that earth-shaking events, on a scale at which a God (or tectonic plate) might operate, must always have a human connection. Why should a divine being, with creation and eternity on his mind, care a fig for petty human malefactions? We humans give ourselves such airs, even aggrandizing our poky little ‘sins’ to the level of cosmic significance!” 16This attitude in people that “my shit is so important”; that “my shit doesn’t stink”; that “God is watching out for my shit”, is exactly the type of thinking the Church of the Holy Shitters is vehemently opposed to. The kind of thinking that believes that man is made in the image of God. God has given man rules and regulations to live by. God is watching man’s every move. Step out of line and he’ll sweep man away in a tornado, flood, or massive hurricane. Keep your shit together or pay the price!!
Here is a perfect example of the dangers inherent in this egocentric, fundamentalist, holier-than-thou attitude. In November, 2005, citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania voted out their entire fundamentalist school board because of the board’s attempt to enforce the teaching of ‘intelligent design’ in the town’s schools. When Pat Robertson heard about this he had a warning for the citizens of Dover.
“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover, if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God. You just rejected him from your city, and don’t wonder why he hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin, and I’m not saying they will. But if they do, just remember you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, then don’t ask for his help, because he might not be there.” 17Holy shit!!! Now that’s some scary thinking don’t you think?
It is also really weird that Christians seem to focus so much on connecting sex and sin. Sam Harris is magnificently scathing in his Letter to a Christian Nation in this regard when he states:
“Your principal concern appears to be that the Creator of the universe will take offense at something people do while naked. This prudery of yours contributes daily to the surplus of human misery.” 18Evolution explains belief in God
Richard Dawkins presents a very compelling argument to explain the pervasiveness of religion and the belief in God through the process of natural selection. Natural selection builds children’s brains with a propensity to believe what their parents and elders tell them. This trusting obedience is useful for survival. The flip side of trusting obedience is slavish gullibility.
“The inevitable by-product is vulnerability to infection by mind viruses. For excellent reasons related to Darwinian survival, child brains need to trust parents, and elders whom parents tell them to trust. An automatic consequence is that the truster has no way of distinguishing good advice from bad.” 19The parents say you must believe in our God. You must go to our church every Sunday. You must confess your sins to be saved. The children believe the parent. Very likely when they grow up they will pass these same beliefs on to their offspring.
Just as geographically isolated populations evolve differently, different geographical areas develop different belief systems. These different arbitrary beliefs, regardless of whether or not they have any factual basis, will be handed down and believed with the same conviction from generation to generation.
Holy Shitters respect the religious beliefs of other religions. Ours is strictly a secular, natural religion that only concerns itself with your life on Earth. We do not concern ourselves with your soul. However, when the spiritual religion a person believes causes them to distort their relationship with their natural world we are obligated to point out the flaws and problems with such beliefs.
1. Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. pg. 42/43
2. Ibid. 45
3. Harris, S. (2004). The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason. New York: Norton. pg. 113
4. Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. pg.117
5. Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. pg. 313
6. Ibid. 313
7. Ibid. 316
8. Ibid. 323
9. Ibid. 195
10. Harris, S. (2004). The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason. New York: Norton. pg.29
11. Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. pg. 343/4
13. Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. pg. 345
14. Ibid. 266
15. Ibid. 268
16. Ibid. 270
17. Pat Robertson, reported by the BBC at
18. Harris, S. (2006). Letter to a Christian Nation. New York: Knopf.
19. Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. pg. 205
The Church of the Holy Shitters will post articles on our holy S.H.I.T. day ( So Happy It's Thursday)
Last week: 5/8/14 - Truman, Nuclear Blasts and Me
Next week: 5/22/14 - SkyMall Shopping - Spying & Escape
Hoping to add some humor, provoke thought, spark debate, deepen understanding, and shed some light on the fecal side.Remember: "If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit." ( Shitbit by Poop John the First of the Church of the Holy Shitters)Church of the Holy ShittersA secular environmental religion, scientifically based, with a focus on the psychology of it all. Our ego is the culprit when it comes to dealing with climate change. We cannot save the planet. We can only save ourselves. Our current egotistical self-perception makes that prospect a dubious one at best. Meekness, humility and a realization that our shit does stink, guides us on our path to true sustainable living and climate equilibrium.
Cross posted at http://holyshitters.com/