Sunday, January 12, 2014

Free Floating Rant- Essay and Podcast

As should be apparent by now, I take frequent issues with the numerous religious numbskulls and idiots out there. This may sound like harsh language but it’s better than calling them fuckwits and assholes. The common refrain I’ve heard is that I should be tolerant of others’ religious convictions. For the most part I am. When there are important issues at stake or demeaning language is hurled with impunity, I do what I do best: take up my keyboard and GoMic and speak.
This essay and podcast are in response to some bullshit I’ve recently come across on the web. There are multiple targets and plenty of ire on my part.

So this solid gold asshat has stuck his foot in to his mouth once again. This is one of the “man’s man” preachers, one of those macho motherfuckers who are still stuck in a 1950s mentality on gender roles. When he’s not insisting and demanding women take a subservient role in their marriage, or plagiarizing other writers to shill fortune cookie nonsense to his flock, he seems to get a massive preacher stiffy for harassing non-believers.
A recent tweet of his had this to read: “If you are not a Christian, you are going to hell. It’s not unloving to say that. It’s unloving to not say that.”
I’d be upset if I hadn’t heard or read this from countless other evangelical blowhards over the years. My issues with Driscoll are many but they can best be illustrated by this metaphor: Mark Driscoll is a nerf vibrator. Interesting to look at but not what you really need for anything useful. Driscoll’s claim that it’s unloving to not tell non-Christians they are going to suffer in agony for eternity is the kind of batshit I’ve come to expect this from evangelicals like him. But Driscoll doesn’t know anything, he believes it. He believes it because it comes from a book with more updates, revisions, and versions than all the Windows operating systems combined. The Bible has been updated more times than Itunes, for fuck’s sake.
Driscoll is a special kind of asshat and to be honest, I pity him. My pity stems from the fact that Driscoll, the congregation that employs him, and the millions who buy his products have sacrificed their basic human decency due to their warped version of faith. If you’re a person comfortable with another human being tortured for eternity, regardless of the reason, you have no moral compass or moral standpoint. You are simply the unthinking drones of a celestial Kim Il Sun-like dictator.
-Lady Theresa Thombs Friendly Atheist Post on Thombs
This women is running for a seat on the Texas State Board of Education, that hallowed bastion of critical thinking and rational thought. I’m kidding, of course. The Texas BoE has been responsible for pushing a pro-Creationist agenda in their schools for decades. Thombs is, sadly enough, more of the same. Here’s what I mean: she said during a speech for prospective voters that history should be written by “experts, not people from higher socialist learning”. She insists that a socialist, anti-religion curriculum will be forced on Texas young people. She also parrots Ken Ham (of Answers in Genesis) when she said, “We know we didn’t come from monkeys!”
It’s almost too much to ask that religious nuts like Thombs keep their religion out of science classrooms. Religion is not science and vice versa. Evolution deniers like Thombs should not be running for a spot to determine what young people will learn. Let her teach her own children (if she has any) this nonsense. Thombs thinks that a scientific phenomenon with over a century and a half of supporting data across multiple fields of study is bullshit. Talk Origins Creationist Debunking If she wants to deny reality in her own mind, that’s on her. Teachers, however, are required to present the facts as we currently understand them determined by experts who have often spent decades surviving rigorous peer review studies. Thombs has no business determining the curriculum for children and teenagers. The so-called “socialist higher education” are the experts Thombs dismisses because their facts don’t match with her delusion.
I found a recent blog post by Mr. Dalrymple (henceforth called Mr. D in the podcast) about a war on Christianity. I find it strange that a country where three-quarters of the population is Christian could possibly experience a war against their beliefs. Here’s where I feel Dalrymple is coming from: the loss of dominance is akin to war.
Being the majority doesn’t mean the majority gets to impose on the minorities. While Dalrymple is correct that polemic language is rife on all sides (see the previous two targets of this post), the reason for such heated language (from my side, at least) is simple: we’re the tired minority. For decades, Protestant Christianity has tried to force the rest of the country to adhere to its value system. The laws created by this majority have increased the mental and physical suffering of their fellow human beings, all the while Protestant leaders wear sanctimonious smiles and talk about their god’s enduring, all-encompassing love.
Dalrymple brings up the Affordable Care Act (I do not discuss politics) and the impact on Christian businesses. Many feel that they should not have to follow a law that would violate their religious principles. This is mostly due to the fact that provisions in the ACA include providing health coverage that includes free access to birth control. Dalrymple thinks that holding a faith principle is more important than preventing harm to another person. He claims the media denigrates Christians for their irrationality and hatefulness.
Speaking as a former Protestant, Dalrymple should realize something: while your religious observances are protected by the Constitution, your religious observances should not be the law of the land. I wonder if Dalrymple believes that only believers work for Christian businesses. If he does, that’s more than a little delusional. Free contraception is not nearly as devastating as an unplanned pregnancy. Grown adults are going to have sex. Sex is a health issue. Pregnancy can result from sex. That means pregnancy is a health issue. If you can get health insurance to cover the costs of dealing with crabs or HIV/AIDS, why are birth control measures off the table?
On a final note, I find it funny that Dalrymple cites Benjamin Franklin at the end of his post. Perhaps he’s unaware that Franklin stood against the authoritarianism inherent in religion. Franklin was a self-described deist and a follower of the Enlightenment. Franklin saw church as necessary for communal good during a time where a tight-knit community was essential for survival. For Franklin, doing good works was the key to community.
Dalrymple should concern himself less with an imaginary war and focus more on doing good works that will actually benefit his fellow human beings.
-Rebecca Hamilton Academia and Christianity
Ms. Hamilton recently wrote a post about anti-Christian bias in academia. She feels discriminating against evangelical and fundamentalist Christians due to their faith is unfair and wrong. To back up her claim, she cites Dr. George Yancey, author of Too Many Christians, Too Few Lions.
Hamilton fights a generalization (fundamentalists aren’t too bright) by using another ill-conceived generalization (academics hate Christians). Here’s a few reasons why an academic university might be disinclined to hire a fundamentalist Christian in advanced degree programs and teaching positions:
·         Fundamentalists more often than not tend to bring their religion to work. This might be fine for a religious university but state universities want to make sure their faculty members don’t turn classrooms into bully pulpits.
·         Educational backgrounds might also play a factor. A post-graduate applicant who got a Bachelor’s Degree from Liberty University or another religious college with questionable academic standards might not have the necessary training to get an advanced degree. If you have a hard science degree and openly espouse Young Earth Creationism, you shouldn’t be surprised when a science department at a big university doesn’t feel you’re qualified.
Discrimination in any form is demeaning. But allow me to present this thought exercise to Ms. Hamilton and her readers. If an avowed atheist with spotless credentials applied to teach at a Christian college, provided he or she only speak about their atheism when answering direct student questions, would they be discriminated against due to their lack of faith? Would the administrators hire someone who they feel doesn’t share the college’s vision of what should be taught to students?
Ms. Hamilton, academia doesn’t hate Christians. Quite the opposite. Higher education tends to turn believers into non-believers. This doesn’t happen due to ranting professors or intolerant conditions. The process starts because believers are given access to evidence-based lessons and facts that lead them to slowly remove the blinders placed over their eyes by religious dogma. No one should be discriminated against for having or not having religious beliefs.

I think excoriating four people is enough for one essay and podcast. I might do one of these again in the future, depending on how much anger I discover while surfing the web and the news. 

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