Thursday, April 18, 2013

The non-belief closet

And the atheist said: "We must questoin the story logic of having an all-knowing and all-powerful God, who creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes." 
-Gene Roddenberry 

And God said: "No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord." (For the Lord thy God is not only a jealous God, but gay, too.) 

-Deuteronomy 23:1


It's been a LONG minute since I wrote a blog post,  for various reasons, but I tend to think the bulk of attribution probably forks off into what seems to be 1) an implacable genetic surplus of indolence, and 2) an even more implacable fear of self-indulgence. I'll give the former only these two lines: indolence is rectifiable simply by getting up off your ass, though one has to concede it's not always the easiest thing to do, and in my indolent oasis a nice quotable struck me clean from thin air: "At times it feels like the hardest thing in the world to do is put on a pair of pants." Ain't that the truth. Well, I've finally decided to slip mine on, one leg at a time like everyone else, and voila: I've showed up tonight ready, hungry, tunnel-visioned bent on making some moves, inciting some real thinking from the cozy but dangerous abode of complacent dormancy. 

That leaves to be addressed the latter problem, my fear of self-indulging. This seems to be a thematic undercurrent in my blogging/writing continuum as far back as I can remember, and it's probably safe to say that this insecurity is entirely justified: there's no way around it, blogging is self-indulgent. Well, shit. I don't like to be self-indulgent, at least as it appears to the external world. So, what to do? I could take a long vacation as I've done, or hang up the blogging boots completely and be done with it. But then I think about a couple things, namely the subject matter I've been writing about since Antipriety's inception, my militant atheism and the mind-fucking absurdity of religion, and then I think about said relevant news overwhelming the world at present, like the one about the two men visiting Saudi Arabia who got deported the other day, on the grounds of being too good-looking, and therefore too likely of being too irresistible to women at a Saudi festival. Or like the news in Bangladesh, where fanatic Muslims (what's the opposite of an oxymoron, by the way? Are there any two words in the universe more incapable of being separated than "fanatic Muslim"?) are calling for the execution of atheist bloggers. Those are just recent current affairs pieces. How about the daily ubiquitous mentions of His Obvious Man-Madeness, God Almighty? I swear the more militant I become in my atheism, the more my intolerance toward religion swells, the more exponentially proportioned mentions of God I see. Sorry, folks, but I mean this strictly as a pun when I say, He really is fucking everywhere. The never-ending exhausting litany of God mentions starts off as follows: 

-Rockets v. Lakers: James Harden, before OT starts, walking toward the scorer's table, all the while shooting either index finger toward the sky multiple times in an obvious invocation to God. (Who, by the way, didn't help J-Hard in this game. The Bearded One shot just 8-25. For crying out loud, give the fucking ball to J-Lin!)

-Macklemore's "Starting Over" song: If there's anything I hate more than false modesty, it's pretentiously false and specious humility. Consider the following lyrics: 

I wanna tell her I relapsed but I can't/

I just shake her hand and tell her congrats/
Get back to my car and I think I'm trippin', yeah/
'Cause God wrote "Otherside", that pen was in my hand/
I'm just a flawed man, man, I fucked up...

Mack's right about one thing: he definitely done fucked up. Am I the only one who sees the gaping hole in the rapper's pathetic, ostensible servitude? I refuse to believe it, except that on some level I do. There are two things in this universe I rarely, if ever, give: the first is souvenirs, and the second, the notorious benefit of the doubt. I'm unwilling and unwont with the latter just for the sheer, simple fact that in the 21st century, so far defined by instantaneous access to information unbound, probably some 80-plus percent of human beings still falls knees-first in the face of superstition sloppily disguised as an invisible dude in the sky whose care for trivialities extends as far as your bedroom, your Sunday activities (or lack thereof since it's supposed to be Rest Day), and last but not least of all, your hairdo (Leviticus 19:27: "Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard."). 

So back to Macklemore: can anyone really take the bolded line as humble writing? "'Cause God wrote 'Otherside', that pen was in my hand." No fucking way! Just the opposite. Think about what he's really saying. Of six-plus billion people on planet Earth God decided to make Ben Haggerty, stage name Macklemore, the conduit from which to showcase His Holy rap skills. The thinly-veiled, unbridled arrogance! And the same goes for anyone shouting out God as the sole reason to why he or she is so awesome at a particular craft: God chose me. Not you. ME. M-E, ME. You fuckin' loser. 

-The gay marriage debate, and Piers Morgan v. Michael Reagan on CNN: One thing is certain. Morality has never moved forward BECAUSE of religion. (That is, at least the three predominant monotheistic ones.) Again, just the opposite. Every moral victory humanity has achieved, it has achieved DESPITE religion. God has historically been the biggest, loudest, most obnoxious naysayer to positive change the cosmos have ever seen. He reminds me of naive couples (I'm including myself in this one) saying to each other, "Let's not ever change, okay? Let's stay exactly as we are forever." Which, of course, beyond being bullshit, is literally impossible, except if you become a corpse, and even then your body can't resist braving physical change. Sameness's half-life endures for only so long; change seems to be the lone constant in the universe, unless you count my impassioned desire to forego underwear. But that's what religion tries with all its might and political lobby connects to do. God through man through interpretation through further interpretation said such and such 2,000 years ago, and that's it. We follow blindly. No questioning, no analyzing; just imbecilic adherence to commands made before Hawking, before Darwin, before medicine, when everyone and his/her momma owned a fucking goat. 

Such is the case with gay marriage. Again, quoting from what's quickly becoming my favorite Bible book for its raucously entertaining narrative, Leviticus 20:13: "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." And so millenia later we come to the gay marriage debate. Yes, it's true that in 40 years everyone opposed to its ratification, specifically the diehard picketers, are going to look like neanderthals. But hindsight is 20/20, and for sure with the blind leading the blind at all times of the hour, future verisimilitudes mean, for right now, jack fucking shit. 

Case in point: both Michael Reagan and Piers Morgan on the latter's CNN daily show. The pair, both faith-affirming Catholics, duked it out a couple weeks ago, Morgan for gay marriage, and Reagan (son of president Reagan) against. Hearing both idiots was maddening, to put it mildly, and in a nutshell here's how it went down (I'll be paraphrasing):  

MR: Gay marriage is a slippery slope. 

PM: Why? 

MR: First it's gays who can get married. Then before you know it, there will be polygamy, then incest, then bestiality, etc. etc. It's a slippery slope, to say the least. 

PM: So you're against the redefinition of marriage. 

MR: That's correct.

PM: But marriage has been redefined before. In the 1960s it was illegal in 16 states for blacks to marry whites. But marriage has since been redefined. 

A good point by Morgan. So now put yourself in Reagan's position for a second. How would you respond to Morgan's rebuttal? Remember, you're a fervent Catholic, son to a former bigotted president; you've got enormous connects and a infinitesimal worldview. What do you say? Whatever it is, doesn't matter. Reagan's answer is incalculably worse; it's got to be the single saddest thing to happen to humanity since the picture below: 

The following is verbatim: 

Morgan: Marriage got redefined by the Supreme Court to allow black people to marry white people. What is your answer to that?

Reagan: Those are laws that were made by man. Man is sinful, as you know. You're Catholic and I'm Catholic. I believe marriage was defined and blessed by God. Two different things. Man is the sinner, Christ just died for our sins and rose again last Sunday for our sins. The fact of the matter: man will always sin and make mistakes. I'm glad the Catholic church has taken a stand and is at least in this--in this day and age of the world in turmoil, they are taking a stand for righteousness... 

Nothing more needs to be said. 

And a few more to add to the list: 

1) #PrayForBoston: What good is your prayer going to do for the parents who lost their 8-year-old? 

2) Ray Lewis. 

3) And I write this one reluctantly, dejectedly... Jeremy Lin. 

4) The precarious and clinically insane Middle East.

And last but certainly not least of all...

5) Obama, half-black, which means half-marred in the intractable, bloody history of slavery, in which whites gave Christianity to blacks exactly as they've given drugs to the destitute... this same man is a proud believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ. 


I'm tempted to believe the non-belief closet is chockablock with fear-ridden atheists, agnostics, secularists and the like. But the movement toward a superstitious-free world (see "knocking on wood") is still in a state of inertia, so the encouragement to come out is virtually nil. All the matter. God is popping up every which way you look, and if you haven't noticed by now, I'm sick of it. I'm beginning to reach my personal threshold of tolerance. The list of God sightings and hearings is forever growing, and the pessimist in me thinks that at this point in time it's achieved immortality. Now, I like to be right as much as the next person, but seriously, I'd like to be proven wrong just once. A la Holden Caulfield, "And I really mean it too." Just the one time will suffice. 

Any non-believers still hiding in the closet? 

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