Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Faithosis and my Solstice-and-Friends Resolution

There's no such thing as Jesus. Look, I know, three days ago we just did that whole routine with chopping a tree out of the snowy landscape to take it inside and cover it with fake snow and LEDs (just like Emperor Constantine used to) which accompanies the impersonation of a morbidly obese home invader, who in turn is just the sidekick of a magic baby. Out of all that mess, I don't mean to pick on the baby specifically, though his name (sorry, His Name) does tend to pop up a lot and I had to get your attention, get your nose out of the eggnog somehow.

The whole highfalutin' mess has got to stop. No, not just that one day. In fact, you can keep the stories about the manger-rat and the fat guy sliding his fat sac up and down your chimney, and if you like the smell of incense by all means adopt it as aromatherapy, and if you like waving your hand around in front of you and mumbling Latin gibberish, you can certainly do it as performance art... so long as we always, always admit that it truly is just performance art. Nobody's going to beam you up to some big public park up in the sky because you said your Pater Noster with just precisely the correct note of humiliating humility.

See, it's not just Christmas around this time but also the New Year, itself a nonsensical figment of our calendar system, but just for the sake of subdividing time let's call it Solstice and Friends. Around this thought-provoking time of Solstice and Friends, this emblematic memento mori of deepest darkness, our minds naturally struggle to encompass the changes in ourselves and the world around us since last Solstice and Friends. So, between the delightful little romp at Charlie Hebdo and the rest of the constant attacks by fundamentalists elsewhere we find Belgium, Britain and Germany overrun with fundamentalist immigrants forming enclaves immune to the laws by which the rest of us must abide and Europe's hands tied by its own mis-application of freedom to those who adopt denial of freedom as a fundamental dogma. Meanwhile, across the ocean, the only people who don't have to worry about Islam won't shut up about it. Remember when Alabama passed anti-Sharia laws? Well, ya gotta defend yourself from the rampaging barbarians. All three of them, or however many forgot to disembark their flight in California.
Then again, that's just another facet of faith-based mindlessness: the constant desperation to pose as a defender of the faith, to take as much territory as possible in the name of da lawd a-mighteh.

Hardly a challenge to find examples of religious atrocity on every scale, from those rainbow-sprinkle plaster eyesores Catholics call statuary to, oh, say, burning people to death for kicks. Still, no matter how often I and others are brought to a frothing rage by the latest fundie head-up-the-assery we should never lose track of the central problem. The things done by religion and the religious are bad enough, but even in their absence the precept of faith would warrant denouncement. Were it all good-intentioned, it would still be false.

Jesus ain't real. Mohammed was a filthy street-corner prophet the likes of which you can see mumbling against "da gummint" in any gutter from Chicago to Osaka. Siddhartha Gautama was a half-baked burn-out with a good eye and even better distaste for exploitation. So on and so forth. Sure, sure, archaeologists can quibble about whether two thousand years ago there actually was some poor sap wandering about Galilee who thought he was the son of yahweh or yo momma or whatever, but none of that makes the proposition of the supernatural true. There may have been a Yeshua with sand in his butt-crack preaching love and forgiveness, but there's no Jesus-son-of-dog-bringer-of-Apocalypse-and-snappy-dresser up in the clouds. More interesting, most of you who closed the browser tab as soon as you saw the first line of this post, you actually know that. You know damn well it's a lie, through all your kneeling and chanting or patting the kneelers and chanters on the back.

Some years ago, in a state-mandated "speech" class, I began a speech about gullibility with a phrase along the lines of:
"I am the earthly incarnation of the almighty creator of the universe, and you should all bow down and worship me... and if you don't believe me, why would you believe anyone else?"

Nobody worshiped me - in fact, as my claim to martyrdom, I was flunked for that little presentation. Still, that remains the relevant distinction. If some guy walks up to you on the street and says "hey, I'm Jesus, gimme twenty shekels" you neatly sidestep him while avoiding eye contact and try to catch the first bus out of crazy-town.

Rationalists are often active truth-seekers. We are too easily tempted to take the facetious demand "you can't prove there's no God" at face value, as a challenge, as an intellectual exercise, instead of the purely linguistic sophistic trap it represents. The thoughtless intentionally place an impossible burden of proof on thinkers. Yet not only should science and reason not be called upon to prove a negative, but sheep must be called out to back up their bleating. Despite every human society suffering its own peculiar strain of endemic faith-osis, science's attempts to cure the infection do not represent an action in itself. The initial action is taken by the faithful of all faiths. By declaring the existence of a creator, the mindless propose an interpretation of the universe, one which should elicit the very same skepticism I encountered when claiming to be the earthly incarnation of that creator. What's more, when the charlatans and fanatics fail to provide such proof as their divine hypothesis requires, day after year after millennium, we have no excuse whatsoever for taking the socially convenient route of appeasement, for mumbling some conciliatory "mmmyeah, you still might be right."

There's really no such thing as agnosticism on a social scale. If there might be gods and heavens and eternal souls, then I might be a sentient gerbil in disguise, I might win a different lottery every day, I might just spontaneously float off into space and the sun might just decide to disappear tomorrow. Yet you don't walk to work every day half-expecting to float off the face of the planet with every step, you don't give up setting your alarm clock because the sun might go out tomorrow; you are not agnostic about every ridiculous crackpot notion you hear.

As for those who call yourselves agnostics in regards to religion, most of you are really just atheists spinelessly sucking up to the fundies. Just as you don't act agnostic with regards to gravity you don't act at all uncertain with regards to the existence of a domineering sky-dwelling control freak or his hippie "son" by any measure of your daily actions. You watch the weather report just like I do instead of praying for rain, you make graven images of whatever you damn well please, you masturbate and stuff your faces with Bic Macs and covet the hell out your neighbour's wife's fine derriere with no second thought as to whether a celestial voyeur might be looking down on you. It's when you run into the faithful, the mindless degenerates who demand their lunacy be treated as virtue that your social ape instincts kick in, altering your behavior so as to form convenient social alliances, altering your thoughts so to appease others at every step. You're not a morally superior tolerant liberal. You're a facetious self-serving coward.

So here's my Solstice-and-Friends resolution: I'm going to be less tolerant of your stupidity and spinelessness from now on, not just because of my own anger but because niceness doesn't work. You can't just hide your head in the sand and call yourself agnostic and hope the idiots around you see reason. You have to speak reason. Like any zoonosis, faithosis must be treated as an invasive animal influence which reason must combat, as a social pandemic crippling the individual mind, as degenerative parasitic primitivism to be exterminated like smallpox or the black death or rabies, because there simply is no other way. The faithful interpret every concession not as benevolence but weakness, and the more you give the more they'll take. If you let loose a rabid dog, you are responsible for the death it causes.

Truth is not a fad or a preference. We may be yet unable to discern all truth, but to whatever extent we can it is one of the clearest prerequisites for all other actions. There are no gods, no heavens and no souls. If you believe in any of those lies, seek mental help, because if you meet me on the street you sure as imaginary Hell shouldn't expect me to chant along with your mental disease, or with those who promote mental illness.

No comments:

Post a Comment