Thursday, 2 September 2010

“Turning back to God,” through art [update 2]

Glenn Beck says America should “try the old turning back to God thing.”  So I thought I’d try the old turning back to a time when the western world was all overrun by folk who were all over God—and for some reason (God knows why) it was a time (around twelve centuries of time) when those God-bothers were bothering any poor sap who didn’t worship their God the same way they did.

God, it was a great time to be alive.  If you could manage it…crusades

It was a time of enormous ingenuity…


And great humanity…inquisition_torture (1)  Ah yes, those were the days…

Here’s some artistic depictions of the “glorious” days gone by of a whole theology based on torture. 

Torture_Chamber_of_the_Inquisition_v2 An artist's depiction of a Torture chamber of the Inquisition, ca. 1736.360px-Berruguete,_Pedro_-_Burning_of_the_Heretics_(Auto-da-fé)_-_c._1500 Burning of the Heretics (Auto-da-fé) - Pedro Berruguetegiordano_bruno Burning of Giordano Bruno – Andre Durand303224 The Supplication of the Heretics in 1210 - Jean FouquetScene_from_an_Inquisition_by_Goya Scene From an Inquisition – Francisco GoyaPillar1-Foundations-galileo-Inquisition Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition - Cristiano Banti, 1857

Yep.  These sure are the sort of grand old times we’d all like to see again.  What could possibly be wrong in turning back to religious zealotry?  Hell, it worked so well the first time.

UPDATE 1:  It’s always strikes me as bizarre that Christians can make themselves feel better about the barbaric past of the faith they worship by pointing to the equally barbaric crimes of Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot—as if this somehow excuses their own faith of culpability for two millennia of bloodshed and butchery.

First, the crimes of of Hitler, Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot in the twentieth century in no way wipe out the barbarities of the christian church in centuries past—which was as bad, if not worse, than the barbarities of Islamists today. Own up to your history, religionists.

Second, the crimes of of Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot are a testament not to the evil of atheism (which says only what one does not believe in) but to the evil of the ideas these bastards did hold: i.e., the collectivist wet dream of making out of humanity one neck for one noose.  Their evils, and the fact they took so many along with them in support, is a testament to the power of ideas to move the world for good or ill—they’re a warning that we must understand the misbegotten notions that lead to totalitarianism,and not to let these bad ideas grow. 

Third, the crimes of those bloodstained collectivists were carried out on the ethical principle of sacrifice—the sacrifice of individuals to the collective—an ethic, you might recall, that was brought into the world and championed by the founders of the christian church—an ethic that still urgently needs to be wiped out. (Not, I hasten to add, with an ethic that requires the sacrifice of the collective to the individual, but one that requires no sacrifices whatsoever!)

Fourth, religionists appear blithely unaware of the religious histories of those they decry as atheists. 

Stalin attended an Orthodox seminary in Georgia before seeing his opportunity for greater victories with the Bolsheviks. And Hitler was a Catholic who was “convinced the people need and require this [Catholic] faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement.”  Who as Paul points out, believed he was “acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord [emphasis in the original]"— And why wouldn’t he believe that, since the Christian church itself had a two-millennia history of attacking Jews as Christ-killers.

And Karl Marx, who inspired the murders of Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, was the son of a rabbinical line and a follower of the philosopher Hegel. Hegel talked about a “World Spirit” who moved history; Marx talked about religion as being “the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world…the vale of woe, the halo of which is religion.” Rather than denying religious belief, he understood it and brought it down to earth—observing that the “mystics of spirit” offer a reward that never arrives called heaven, an ill-defined realm existing (somewhere) beyond this dimension and to which all today’s sacrifices are offered); he offered instead an equally illusory realm that will never arrive called “the future,” a realm of ill-defined communist nirvana towards which all of his followers’ blood sacrifices were offered, a never-arriving “somewhen” that denies the present and exists only as the goal of some never-to-be achieved struggle.

Fifth, faith and force are not opposites: they are ineluctable bedfellows.  The Bible itself is a blueprint of barbarity; the method by which one is supposed to “know” the Bible’s revelations is the very means by which knowledge is rendered impossible, honest disagreement is rendered impossible, and human bloodshed is the inevitable result.  When one holds reason as the standard by which knowledge is acquired and held, then rational persuasion is the coin of the realm for disagreement; but if one’s ideas are held by reason’s opposite, i.e., by“Faith,” i.e., by “blind acceptance of a certain ideational content, acceptance induced by feeling in the absence of evidence or proof,” then there is no peaceful way to resolve these conflicts. Sam Harris explains the virus:

_Quote The danger of religious faith is that it allows otherwise normal human beings to reap the fruits of madness and consider them holy. Because each new generation of children is taught that religious propositions need not be justified in the way that all others must, civilization is still besieged by the armies of the preposterous. We are, even now, killing ourselves over ancient literature. Who would have thought something so tragically absurd could be possible.

Faith and force are the destroyers of the modern world—just as they were of the pre-modern.  And the greatest destroyer of these two …. is faith, because it makes the other necessary.

UPDATE 2: Paul Hsieh at Noodle Food asks “Which is the Greater Danger: Islamic or Christian Dictatorship?”:

_QuoteIf dictatorship ever comes to America, it won't be an Islamist one. Instead, it will more likely be a Christian one, but one which would arise as a direct result of our current weak approach to the real and immediate Islamist threats. Furthermore, such a Christianist regime could gain traction here in a way that an Islamist regime never could because the Christianist regime would have a superficially "pro-American" veneer.



  1. I don't really see that this sort of thing is useful. It simply invites death toll comparisons with supposed athiests like Hitler. I'm more inclined towards focusing on how ridiculous it is to honestly consider that the universe and everything in it was created in seven days by a sky fairy, and he's still up there, and he talks to people like Glenn Beck.

    Judge Holden

  2. "I don't really see that this sort of thing is useful. It simply invites death toll comparisons with supposed athiests like Hitler. "

    Who was actually a Catholic...(albut dabbling in some occultism on the side)...the more things judge?

    Its useful to remember because look what can happem least we forget...

  3. OK, true dat.

    Judge Holden

  4. In the 20th century, atheists got their chance at ruling. Remember Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot? That was a great time to be alive!

  5. Yeah, well told you so.

    Judge Holden

  6. Religion is inherently immoral because it encourages individuals to abrogate moral responsibility in favour of the judgement of a mythical being. And yes, Hitler was a Catholic who used historical (and imagined) religious grievances as one of the justifications for the Holocaust. As for Stalin and Mao, well, I'm sure PC isn't saying religion has a monopoly on genocide just a propensity for it.

  7. It's interesting how the apologists for mass murder in the name of religion always rattle off a list of names of supposed atheists who also murdered people, while knowing full well that they did not do so in the name of atheism.

    The distinction is of no consequence to them, as they are used to the myriad of lies and ignorance of the bleeding obvious required to sustain their beliefs.

  8. You plonker Berend – the founding fathers and a whole host of American Pressies were all atheists (deists at best)and hated organised religion in particular.

    The majority of those behind organising the ‘Final Solution’ were Christians - mostly Catholics, including Hitler who founded his warped anti-Semitic doctrine from his Christian education.

    Stop re-writing history to suit you own dogma.

    “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity” (Thomas Jefferson)

    "Lighthouses are more helpful than churches." (Washington)

    “The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession." (Lincoln)

    "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." (Madison)

    “As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?" (Adams)

    If ever there was a country founded on secular ideals and a hatred of organised religion it is the United States and not Germany under National Socialism which used religion to help administer its doctrine (example: religious schools were encouraged and supported by the state)

    Like Beck Hitler used god when it was expedient.

    Here's what that so called-atheist had to say in his manifesto Mein Kampf:

    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."

    All German armed forces in WW2 made this oath before they marched-off to war:

    "I swear by God this sacred oath, that I will render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Fuhrer of the German Reich and people, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and will be ready as a brave soldier to risk my life at any time for this oath"

    This is the same god Hitler, Beck, Bin Laden,Waco Cult, The Pope
    all worship to.

    Stop watching Fox and go to the library once and a while.

    See ya.


  9. I think the post completely misses the big picture (again), high death tolls tend to result when a power base is threatened. It doesn't really matter if the power base is the Catholic Church or the Communist Party. Medieval power bases were religious, where as modern power bases tend to be ideological in nature, but it really makes no difference. Zealotry of any form is dangerous, it does not matter what banner it masquerades under, be it Glenn Beck's idiotic bible thumping or PC's rabid 'rational' myopia.

  10. AH’s core belief was survival of the fittest which is Darwinism. Anti-Semitism was only part of this doctrine.

    With God worship there is a chance it might be kept amongst private individuals with State worship you are part of the collective whether you like it or not.

  11. With God worship there is a chance it might be kept amongst private individuals with State worship you are part of the collective whether you like it or not.

    Yet...although as a rule its not usually the communists and fascists bothering me of a Sunday morn to tell me about "our" Lord and savior.

    What really pisses many of we unbelivers off is this constant forced and assumed inclusion by the belivers in THEIR fantasy and how THEIR God is also OUR God too....its that smothering,arrogant assumption that grates our goolies (and the real fear that if they ever did regain their former power "grating our goolies" may literally on their agenda!) :-0

    If they would just piss off and keep themselves to themselves things would be so much better for all....but alas the control freakery is too strong for some to resist it seems..

  12. 'PC's rabid 'rational' myopia.'

    Hilarious! As opposed to what, exactly?
    Really am laughing out loud.

    Funniest thing I have read today.

  13. Tom misses the point (unlike many victims of the Inquisition in their tender bits0

    Those who believe absurdities commit atrocities...quite how PC...who belives in freedom,human rightsfree minds and free trade between peaceful people can be compared to mass murdering control freaks, both religious and not is hard to fathom...

  14. @James: I obviously keep my murderous fantasies carefully hidden. Lucky Tom's onto them.

  15. J S Mill wuz kuul2 Sep 2010, 13:38:00

    Do not see christians committing these sort of crimes nowadays.
    In the west we have pretty much got them under control.
    What we don't need is another bunch of barbaric nutters getting any sort of toe-hold. You know the ones, they stone and mutilate people etc. Or the ones that think whales are family members.

  16. Paul: National Socialism which used religion to help administer its doctrine (example: religious schools were encouraged and supported by the state)

    Just one example of the plethora of interesting "facts".

    The only thing I can ask Paul is: really?

    And secondly, I suppose you went to a public school.

  17. J S Mill wuz kuul: Do not see christians committing these sort of crimes nowadays.

    How many babies are killed in the womb every year Mr Mill?

    World-wide, would that be more than even the Catholic Church managed during the 1400 years of its existence (started with Pope Gregory I)?

  18. PC: It’s always strikes me as bizarre that Christians can make themselves feel better

    I obviously hit a nerve. I offered no defence for the inquisition as there is none.

    I just offered a simple comparison. Since we know that believers (from whatever religion) are evil, mad and psychopathic, let's turn to those who do not believe. How do they do?

  19. Paul, I think I can make my point best by offering you $100 when you can source "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession." to something actually written by Lincoln. Page number and year of printing please.

  20. It's quiet here... Everyone busy trying to earn the $100?

  21. a: You only offered it to one person, and b: it's a pretty widely referenced quote judging by a quick google.

  22. And after two minutes further looking I found this:

    "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession."
    -Spoken by Abraham Lincoln, quoted by Joseph Lewis

    So it wasn't written by him, and your $100 is safe. Whoop de do, must mean you're right and god does exist after all. That sounds about right for your level of logic.

  23. twr, how could a small demonstration of the faith of atheists in "facts" and "citations" say anything about the existence of God?

    Just contrast this with PC wrote: "blind acceptance of a certain ideational content, acceptance induced by feeling in the absence of evidence or proof" and the supposed "When one holds reason as the standard by which knowledge is acquired and held".

    Yeah right.

  24. Robert Winefield2 Sep 2010, 17:10:00

    I have a quibble with Paul Hsieh's article.

    "There's still a general "ornery streak" alive and well amongst many Americans that would reject any such an attempt to subjugate us to Sharia law."

    He seems to think that ornery Americans would reject a Islamic dictatorship and accept a Christian one - because it has an 'American flavor.'

    I'm sorry but I don't buy that.

    This is a country of 300 million and 600 million opinions and 900 million guns.

    There are more flavors of Baptists here then there are disciples. There are Christian factions within factions. And that just describes those who even bother with church. A large number do not even though they believe in God.

    Yes, the religiosity is palpable in the USA and the Mid West especially. But there is also a healthy respect for thy neighbor. Who knows, he might have a bigger gun than you do.

    I'm sorry, but this foreboding certain objectivists have of an imminent Christian theocracy is silly. Especially so seeing as it is the Socialists (whom up until recently were declared dead by certain objectivists) who are in the act of imposing tyranny and ruin upon us this very minute!

    Aren't there already enough philosophical missiles within reach without having to grasp at one so far fetched?

  25. Great, new proof in:

    Glad that's all cleared up now and everyone can move on.

  26. Heh! Just heard on The Rock...."If we are all Gods children why is Jesus so special?"


  27. Why is Hitler being placed with atheist? Not only did he do what he did in the name of Christ (wrongfully), but he also had the support of many churches. Among his sayings are:
    "I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator."
    "What we have to fight for is …. the freedom and independence of the Fatherland; so that our people may be enabled to fulfil the mission assigned to it by the Creator."
    "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour as a fighter."
    "The national Government sees in both Christian denominations [Catholic and Protestant] the most important factor for the maintenance of our society."
    "The [Nazi] party as such represents the standpoint of a positive Christianity, without owing itself to a particular confession."
    "We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit ... We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theatre, and in the press - in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess."

  28. there are bad people in both those who worship GOD/GODS and atheists.What matters is how we behave with our believe.....

  29. And to think Jesus pushed over the books of the Sanhedrin and said "Love your neighbor as yourself and love God with all your heart"


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