Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Power to the Sheeple!

Power is freedom from evidence. The more power a person has over others, the less evidence they need to back up their claims. Atheists like to imagine a world where everyone is rational and doesn’t surrender their power to some weirdo with an old book, but its not going to happen. People surrender their power because they can’t handle it. With practice anyone could learn to play a guitar or reason. But genetics decide if you are going to be jonny play-Hotel-California or Eric Clapton, and genetics decide if you are going to be a well-read pew warmer or someone truly amazing (and hot) like Rebecca Watson.

People need religion because whether to drink Coors or Miller is about all the empowerment they can handle. What atheism really needs to go mainstream is shrines and their ilk. A pretty little place with firelight where one can have a spiritual moment. Atheism needs to create a religion with all the extra bunk.

Is it in the spirit of atheism? Not at all. But people need some ceremony, some candles, some ego masturbation. Give it to them along with correctly presented truth, and they still get the truth. These people are going to believe things based on authority no mater what we do, so let’s make their dogma consistent with reality.

I mean the Bible, and therefore people who follow it, are right on with things like “Be ye kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other…” it’s just the places where it says things “Let’s beat our kids with sticks, stone to death disrespectful children, sexually active unmarried people, and homosexuals” that they run into trouble.

Heck, the whole book of Ecclesiastes is basically a bronze age apology for existentialism. (And makes points completely in conflict with the rest of Scripture.) In the end the real problem is that people aren’t capable of critical thinking. So, let’s make up religion that teaches critical thinking. Technically, the people running their mouths about critical thinking would be doing so because they were told to, but parallel it to people loving other’s because they have to. [As part of God’s non sequitur message of “Love me, or I’ll kill you”] . The fact that Christians attempt to love each other for reasons other than love doesn’t mean that people aren’t getting loved. Sometimes, rarely, the parts of the Bible about taking care of the poor are even followed. Good is done even though ultimately, blind faith in authority has equal potential for bad.

Basically: the fruits of critical thinking make people happy even if they get them by NOT critically thinking. So, we’ll start a church that teaches critical thinking as a command, giving the sheep a chance to be benefited by it without them actually developing the skills, because seriously, with people like Focus on the Family blowing 150 million a year on misinformation, who has the time to convert people one at a time?

Instead of missionaries, we can have ad executives. Instead of pastors we can have licensed therapists. It’ll be great. Who’s with me?

Doctrine to be announced.

November 3, 2008 Posted by | atheism, Paranormal, Religion, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shrine of Godlessness.

It was a beautiful day in the Mosel valley, today. We’ve got sun only about every 4th day or so this time of year, and one must take advantage of it when one can. Finishing a wonderful late lunch of a dry chicken curry, we laid the youngster down for nap, enjoyed a bit of marital bliss, and a post bliss nap, then went for a walk in the “forest”.

Now, forest here doesn’t mean quite what you might imagine. It’s a fiercely “managed” forest, i.e., there are no trees in a certain age/size range because they have been logged out. Biodiversity suffers correspondingly, making it more like a park than a wild wood, but its a lovely, leafy still place to take a walk. Down the middle of it is an old cobblestone road. It could be 200 years old, or 2000, you never know around here.

When the hand is held at arm’s length, every finger between the sun and horizon is 15 minutes of day light. We got to the woods with a finger of of sun left in the valley. The sky was orange, and the trees gradually lost color, the vibrance of their brown of bark and green of moss gradually fading to navy and gray on their way to the black of silhouette. As I walked along the muddy cobbles I saw lights on the hill. It looked as if Christmas lights had been laid in a heap on the floor of small room, and the lights shown red and white out the arched door.

As we walked the lights seemed to grow brighter against the gathering darkness while they go closer. In the last of the sunlight I could see the tiny building. It was shrine to Heilige Maria, Mutter Gottes, Saint Mary, the Mother of God. The red and white lights I had seen where the candles on the floor shining through the red and white glass that held them. The keystone of the arch read 1877, making this shrine a century younger than the one up the path a few miles.

I am not a Catholic, I am not even a Christian, but out of respect for the beliefs of those who built the shrine I removed my hat as I walked in. The shrine was warm, still holding the heat of the day in its massive stone walls, while the warmth outside disappeared with the sun. The ceiling was low, and the interior cramped by the two small kneeling rails.

I knelt on the first kneeler, the air thick with the scent of hot wax. I stared through the wrought iron bars at the tiny icon of Mary, holding the wounded Christ. Religiously, neither meant a lot to me. I never met Jesus, despite 25 years of looking. The Protestants tell me that woman holding him is not so important either, though the Catholics venerate her. As art, it was fairly weak, a mass produced bit of old plaster in a dusty hollow in the wall.

But that’s not to say I didn’t feel anything. I felt the press of history and the warmth of candles in room lit the color of gold and blood by the flame sparkling through the crimson wax. A shrine is repository of dreams and desperation. Though “Danke Maria” was written in stone on the walls, mostly I feel the dark peace of those accepting that there was nothing they could do to cause or prevent something. Kierkegaard’s dread poured out on the terra cotta tiles of this little stone room.

As always, I liked it. It’s the feeling you have when you stop crying and you know you aren’t going to cry any more. It’s the feeling of accepting the unacceptable because the only control you have is how you choose to feel about it. And so ironically, the shrine worked. I rose from the kneeler, feeling hard and strong. No mater how much I wanted something to be true, I couldn’t make it true. But I can change things by my actions.

November 3, 2008 Posted by | atheism, Paranormal, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment