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Sometimes, after a long, frustrating week, a soothing sonata to ease the built up tension just won’t do the trick. Sometimes a sublime symphony is wasted on a battered soul that just doesn’t have the fortitude to fully appreciate it. Sometimes you need something that will defibrillate your arrested senses, something that will inject adrenaline directly into your atrophied psyche, something that will forcefully infuse life back into your weary body.

Sometimes what is required is something angry and very, very loud.

I have been a Metallica fan for most of my life and “The God That Failed” is one of my favourite tracks from The Black Album. It expresses the anger I feel every time I find another story of children needlessly dying because their parents decided to pray and find a priest instead of a doctor. And even more so my anger that they don’t learn in spite of all the harm their faith has wrought. Never they hear the discouraging lies. When faced with that kind anguish and frustration, sometimes all you can do is crank up the volume and scream along.

Just read teh Bible, and seek the answers…  What happens when you literally read the Bible.

Man, that herb was good.




children   Religion doesn’t just happen in the 21st century in the West.   Religion must be instilled into children, magic and fable must be taught to be revered and most darkly, the fear of eternal punishment must be enshrined in young minds.

Hell for children is a very real fear – it torments their thoughts and causes a great deal of unnecessary anxiety.  My question to the religious is simply this:

Why make your children fearful?

Isn’t there enough to worry about life with regards to food, shelter, and security to add another imaginary layer of anxiety to the mix?  Is that a responsible action to take as a parent?

Of course it isn’t.

Being afraid for yourself is not a great motivator for ethical action, and yet that is the implicit lesson that resonates through so much of religious teaching.  Consider also how the fallacy inducing mode of binary thinking is encouraged and reinforced.  You are good with Jebus and bad the the Devil… etc.  Serious ethical actions and thoughts require moving past that first easy binary of good and evil because almost every encounter we have as individuals in society is a mixed bag of ethical and unethical choices and behaviours.

Stating moral relativism here always leads to the conclusion that somewhere down the line – anything and everything will be permissible.  Given that the last 1700 hundred years or so of religious dominance in the field of ethical behaviour I would have to say that absolute morality path isn’t exactly a slam dunk either, as far as worthwhile moral systems are concerned.

I’m always here on Sundays giving both barrels to religion and its antiquated notions of how the world is – seldom do I offer what I would like to see happen instead of the religious tomfoolery so easily demarcated and dispatched.

The vision I have is one that requires a society that understands how ill equipped our species is for rational, logical thought.  Bearing that in mind no expense must be spared to raise children in a safe, welcoming, and stimulating environment in which the only worry they will have is what new thing they will learn after lunch.

How far off is this goal?

Too damn far away.  Every time I’ve been called to a kindergarten or pre-k class some of the children there have come to school hungry.  Nothing defeats curiosity and learning like an empty belly.  Too many times I’ve been empty handed at lunch, because I’d already distributed my lunch to other children, yet there was yet another to feed.  (Don’t worry we always find something).

I need my society to realize how important it is for all children to have the basics of life taken care before I can start helping them explore and comprehend the world around them.

Bringing this back to religion and the insecurity it supposed to soothe – how about some more focus on doing ‘good works’ rather than all the political nonsense currently dominating the religious sphere.  How awesome would it be to have another volunteer (religious or not) in every classroom there to support learning and socialization?

There are so many ways to help children.  The problem being that the outlay of time and emotional investment (for both the secular and religious) is prohibitive; and that, sadly,  is structural feature of society.

Religiously deluded, bigoted, right-wingnuts say the darndest things. Just the other day, Manitoban PC leader Brian Pallister wished the very best to “all you infidel atheists out there”.

Say again?

“All you infidel atheists”

He didn’t say that.

He really did. On camera. Check the vid.

Pretty amazing, right? But it gets even better. This video spurred an understandably unfavourable response from the secular community. Pallister did have some defenders though. They suggested that it was a joke, albeit in bad taste. Damn liberal media sheep, they whine that the poor conservatives are too uptight, but as soon as one delivers a little joke, they get all offended. Except that it wasn’t a joke – not that it would actually excuse this if it was.

Later, in a response to the fallout of his holiday greeting, Pallister defended his wording by stating that, according to the dictionary, ‘infidel’ means ‘non-believer’. He was just being inclusive. “I’m always disappointed when people misrepresent the meaning of the words. What I was trying to do there is include everyone in my best wishes over the holidays” Riiiiiiiight. Let’s explore why this is total bullshit.

First, no one identifies as an ‘infidel’. Quite a few non-believers don’t even identify as an ‘atheist’. I mean, sure, I’m also a non-stamp-collector, but it has no inherent meaning to me. However, if people were being ostracized, abused, discriminated against, and even killed because they didn’t collect stamps, I’d have to speak up as a non-stamp-collector too. So saying that he was trying to include ‘infidels’ when the only people who think the term means anything are non-infidels, is beyond suspicious. It is a blatant affirmation of the religious ‘us vs. them’ mentality.

Second, whereas ‘atheist’ is purely descriptive – absence of theism, ‘infidel’ is riddled with negative overtones. Sure one of the definitions listed in the dictionary is simply ‘one who doesn’t believe’, but dictionaries aren’t known for deep explorations into connotation or social context. ‘Infidel’ is the name that members of an in-group call members of the out-group. It is a term meant to belittle, demean, and undervalue. An atheist is a non believer, period. An infidel is a non believer, understood as an unworthy subhuman piece of filth. Pallister’s comment is analogous to someone attempting to be “racially inclusive” by using the word ‘nigger’ then defending the slur by saying that it just means ‘people with dark skin’. No, it’s offensive, divisive, and hateful, I don’t care how happy the surrounding message is. And Pallister knows it.

If he really thought ‘atheist’ and ‘infidel’ were as synonymous as he claims, then there would be no reason to use both words. Pallister’s defence is that all he meant to say was ‘non-believing non-believers’. There is no justification for such a redundancy. The negative hateful baggage is jammed right into the word ‘infidel’ and it is the only reason for Pallister to have used it. I am willing to concede that it may not have been a conscious decision, not that it would be a redeeming admission. It would mean that his religious elitism is so ingrained that he automatically demeans the irreligious without thinking about it.

If he was just some guy, Pallister’s words would just make him an asshole in need of good chewing out. But the standards for our elected officials is higher than that. Especially in a country that thankfully separates church and state, such a slur should be met with much harsher repercussions. Manitobans, please see too it he is not re-elected. Manitoban conservatives, get him evicted from your party. If you ever want to be in power in Manitoba again, step 1 would be to distance yourselves from ignorant jackasses like Brian Pallister.

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