“I’m not in favor of the government mandating a prayer in school because our country was founded on the fact that no particular religious faith would have ascendance over or preferential treatment over any other.” — Jimmy Carter
Before I get to the meat of this essay let me say right now the hardcore atheists are going to call me an apologist hypocrite and the hardcore religious are going to call me a misguided fool at best, and hell bound sodomite ay worst. Both sides will tell me I’m wrong and dangerous or some other tripe, and I was fully aware of that before I typed word one. The five percent, I refuse to believe the idiots and asshats make up a higher percentage of the population, will never be happy.
Want to know I secret?
I don’t really give a shit what either extreme side has to say. I’m talking to the remaining ninety-five percent of the human race. I’m talking to the people whose voices are never heard because they’re drowned out by big money and screaming zealots. I have no interest in demagogues and those who live in the narrow cracks. We’ve given you the microphone for too long and I say enough of it.
Okay, here’s my controversial premise, big breath… religion in and of itself in not a bad thing. In fact under many circumstances it can be, and in many cases is, a very good and positive force. And before my peers get their knickers in a twist the same goes for atheism.
Two “Religious” issues have dominated the news and social media in the last week. One of them is as serious as they come and the other is one of the dumbest freak-outs I’ve ever witnessed. You probably already know where I’m going with this but let's dive in anyway.
Let’s start with the stupid. No reason for that other than I want to get through it as fast as I can. Recently Starbucks decided to go minimalist with their holiday season cups. In past years, they’ve decorated their cups with winter and Christmas images (Snow Flakes, Snowmen, Trees, Holly, etc.) but this year the cup is a solid red accented with the white and green Starbucks logo. Yes, I’m sure I wasn’t the first to instantly think some version of, “Hey, those are Christmas colors and that cup looks nice” but let’s set the rational thought aside.
Then there are the religious fanatics, the insane Christian zealots who seem to dominate more and more of the American religious landscape. They aren’t the majority, but they are the ones with the most money and the biggest mouths. These people, spearheaded by a self-appointed, neck beard messiah, and professional shyster douchebag Joshua Feuerstein, immediately screamed WAR ON CHRISTMAS!!!
Seriously, Google that shit, it’s disgusting.
This crap has been vomited across the infosphere to the point where I cringe when I open up Facebook or one of the news outlets. Thank Tesla for the BBC and Al-Jazeera America otherwise all I’d see are red cups and the Donald when I log on.
Of course, it’s all bullshit.
Extreme religious zealots need to have something to be outraged about. Conversely, the extreme new atheists need the Christian zealot outrage to push against as the flagellate themselves and make a spectacle… I’m fucking looking at you, Bill Mahr.
What’s been the response from the reasonable Christians and Atheist communities? At the worst they’ve been silent, we’re all so tired of the back and forth between the extreme camps that we just want it to be over. But at the best we seem to be pushing back also because we’re all so gods damned tired of the petty pointless back and forth. Christians and Atheists alike are sick and tired of the extreme fringe representing us in the public eye. We are tired of FOX, CNN, MSNBC and the rest of the mainstream media choosing to use members of the extremiests as the public representation of the whole. We’re pushing back separately, but we need to do it together. Maybe we’ve been given an opportunity, maybe out of tragedy we can come together.
Friday, November 13th, 2015 will be burned into the collective human memory for years to come. On that day a series of coordinated terror attacks killing more than 150 people and injuring hundreds more (exact numbers are still shaky as of this writing). Since the attack, the terror group ISIS has claimed responsibility for the massacre adding another notch on their blood-soaked belt.
Sadly the mainstream response has been predictable.
Calls for war, calls for mass deportations, calls for rounding up Muslim Americans and placing them in internment camps (this isn’t made up, some people are calling for it), and other rhetoric fills the info feeds and mainstream press. Every extreme faction has jumped on this tragedy in order to fuel their own agendas, that this happened during the American Presidential Primary season only compounds the seriousness of our situation. The tragedy should be bringing us all together and in many places it is. But in order to see that, we have to look beyond the mainstream media, you have to seek it out and most people don’t have the time or the energy to do that.
We’re racing toward something horrible.
History is one of my passions. I know most people find it boring, kind of like how I’d rather pull out my own teeth with pliers than learn more math, but I love it. If you look at the times before the big wars (WW1, WW2, 9-11, and such) you’ll see the same things. You’ll see the terror, you’ll see the hate, and you’ll see the same types of people using those things to push their agendas and increase their wealth and power.
We’re being used, we’re being pitted against one another, and we’re ultimately the only ones who can stop it.
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