Sunday, October 09, 2005

Why are christians so fucking dumb?


Such obscenities as the forthcoming trial of the Tennessee evolutionist, if they serve no other purpose, at least call attention dramatically to the fact that enlightenment, among mankind, is very narrowly dispersed. It is common to assume that human progress affects everyone -- that even the dullest man, in these bright days, knows more than any man of, say, the Eighteenth Century, and is far more civilized. This assumption is quite erroneous. The men of the educated minority, no doubt, know more than their predecessors, and of some of them, perhaps, it may be said that they are more civilized -- though I should not like to be put to giving names -- but the great masses of men, even in this inspired republic, are precisely where the mob was at the dawn of history. They are ignorant, they are dishonest, they are cowardly, they are ignoble. They know little if anything that is worth knowing, and there is not the slightest sign of a natural desire among them to increase their knowledge.
Such immortal vermin, true enough, get their share of the fruits of human progress, and so they may be said, in a way, to have their part in it. The most ignorant man, when he is ill, may enjoy whatever boons and usufructs modern medicine may offer -- that is, provided he is too poor to choose his own doctor. He is free, if he wants to, to take a bath. The literature of the world is at his disposal in public libraries. He may look at works of art. He may hear good music. He has at hand a thousand devices for making life less wearisome and more tolerable: the telephone, railroads, bichloride tablets, newspapers, sewers, correspondence schools, delicatessen. But he had no more to do with bringing these things into the world than the horned cattle in the fields, and he does no more to increase them today than the birds of the air.
On the contrary, he is generally against them, and sometimes with immense violence. Every step in human progress, from the first feeble stirrings in the abyss of time, has been opposed by the great majority of men. Every valuable thing that has been added to the store of man's possessions has been derided by them when it was new, and destroyed by them when they had the power. They have fought every new truth ever heard of, and they have killed every truth-seeker who got into their hands.


--H.L. Mencken, Homo Neanderthalensis, June 29, 1925

Wine into water? The parting of the Red Sea? A virgin giving birth? These are events that only a school child could believe in – and a stupid one at that – and yet millions of educated adults continue to harbor these and other ridiculous beliefs. Here’s the news, folks: THIS SHIT NEVER HAPPENED! It’s an unholy hoax designed to keep you in your place. Don’t you know that?
The enormity, the boundless immensity, the incomprehensibly colossal stupidity that is christianity’s defining characteristic is almost too vast for the mortal mind to grasp. How ironic! One almost needs the intellect of an infinite being such as god (who doesn’t exist, by the way) even to come close to understanding the utterly titanic imbecility that is christianity.
Of course, this observation can be made about religion in general, but since christianity is the dominant form of superstition here in AmeriKKKa, I will limit my remarks to it for now.
There are so many examples of christianity’s incalculable damage to human progress that it is difficult to know where to start. Science? Art? Literature? Medicine? Diplomacy? Education? Christianity has left its awful mark on every school of thought and field of endeavor. Where might we be today without the constant encumbrance of christianity’s irrational dread of human development? How many lives have been wasted in misery and fear of a vengeful, man-made god?
It might be helpful to examine the origins of religion, and to more fully understand how we got to this regrettable point in human history.
When considering early humans’ relatively limited ability to explain the natural world, it is easy to see how superstitious belief systems could emerge. Thunder, lightning, rain, floods, droughts, fires, starvation, disease and privation all required some sort of explanation. How could this peaceful patch of land be ravaged by seemingly limitless torrents of water one day and consumed by insatiable infernos the next? Why is food sometimes in great abundance, but at other times as scarce as can be? What – or who – was behind the earth-rattling thunder that scared the bejeezus out of us? Or the flash of lightning that illuminated the night sky and set the trees ablaze? Or the thunderous herds that trampled everything in sight? Clearly, someone was fucking with us. Well, who the hell was it? And what did he want?
He was Thor. And Odin. And Isis. And Poseidon. And Tlaloc. And Zeus. And Shiva. And he wanted temples and shrines and burnt offerings and human sacrifices and crazy dances…
And he wanted followers. Lots of obedient, bovine followers, some of whom possessed just enough moxy to lead the rest of the dolts into some unnecessary battle or pointless, demeaning servitude.
How did the majority of humanity come to embrace this folly? I’ll tell you. But if you would simply put down the bible and pick up a fucking textbook, you’d know it already. Here’s the answer. Are you ready? Here it comes. Ready?
THE FRONTAL LOBE.
That’s right, the frontal lobe. How many of you rubes even know what that is? The frontal lobe is the portion of the brain that allows conceptualization. I know, I know. That’s a big word. Sorry about that. Conceptualization is the ability to picture oneself in other places or situations. In prison, say, or at war, or in old age, or in poverty, or in luxury.
Or dead.
That’s the big one. Death. We can’t seem to cope with the fact that all this struggle is meaningless. Hunger, pain, sorrow, loss, landlords, bosses, cops, lawyers, plea bargains, elections, plane crashes, earthquakes, tornadoes, disease – none of it means a goddamn thing. Life is meaningless. You’re born, you struggle, you die. That’s it. You have no purpose. Your only purpose is to survive long enough to reproduce, just like all the other animals. The only problem is we know it. The “lower” animals don’t know it because they don’t have the frontal lobe, or at least not much of one. They live in the present. If they get hungry, they look for food. If they see an enemy, they fight or flee. If they see the opposite sex, they fuck. The end. Simple, right? Right. That’s why they’re so much happier than we are. They aren’t consumed with the thought of their own impending doom. They aren’t burdened by the foolish notion that life means something; that some punishment or reward awaits them upon their departure from this mortal coil.
So where did this newfangled frontal lobe come from, anyway? That’s simple. It came from the same place that giraffes’ long necks came from. Or kangaroos’ pouches. Or wasps’ stingers. It was a fluke of evolution. When a species starts dying off, the hitherto recessive genes become dominant in a desperate effort to keep the species alive. If the new thing works – that is, if it enables the mutant giraffe, for example, to find food and reproduce, then the new thing becomes de rigueur. It becomes necessary for survival, and the short-necked giraffes die off.
With humans, the evolutionary fluke that spared us from extinction was the frontal lobe. Think about it. We’re not fast. We’re not strong. And from a design perspective, our bodies have many flaws. Our genitals and internal organs are exposed to attack. We suffer from foot, ankle, knee, hip and back problems due to the uneven distribution of our weight. Our relatively hairless skin provides little warmth. The one thing that allows us to overcome all these deficits is our cleverness. We can fashion tools and weapons, form spoken and written language, harness the forces of nature, build shelters and domesticate animals. We can even find ways to minimize and remedy the aforementioned bodily flaws.
Unfortunately, our gift is also our curse.
Not all concepts emanating from the frontal lobe are helpful. And humans everywhere have shown an inability to relinquish poor concepts even after they have been proven harmful or ill conceived. The evolutionary fluke that gave humans the Cassini space probe, the polio vaccine and the Great Gatsby has also burdened us with bigotry, superstition and privatization. It seems that for every brilliant concept – penicillin, say, or democracy – we produce several bad ones – the hydrogen bomb, the multi-national conglomerate, the mini-van. Do you know where the word faggot comes from? A faggot is a bundle of sticks used for building fires. It’s also what for centuries was used by superstitious christians to burn homosexuals whenever there was a flood or a drought or some other natural disaster. Fortunately for homosexuals, rank and file christian dipshits often targeted Jews, blacks and “witches” instead.
Yes, of all the stupid, dangerous and pointless concepts encumbering human progress, christianity stands proudly at the top of the heap. Christianity is to thank for the notion that women and people with dark skin tones are somehow inferior to white, penis-wielding humans. Environmental destruction, too, has its roots in christianity, as do country & western music, Michael Landon TV shows and third-world sweatshops. And why must we spend ourselves into the poor house every December simply to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior?
Of course, not all christians are evil. Most of them, in fact, are actually good people. Our wisest leaders, our most brilliant scientists and artists, our most heroic defenders of justice have sprung mainly from christianity – Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Bishop Tutu, Gregor Mendel, Galileo de Galilee to name a few. But these champions of fairness and reason emerged in spite of christianity, not because of it. Christianity’s greatest sin, in fact, is its suppression and persecution of the good people trapped within its walls. How much more could Mother Theresa have accomplished, for example, had she been allowed to provide cheap, safe birth control to the desperate citizens of Calcutta? How many bishops stood in silent complicity with South Africa’s system of apartheid before Tutu found his nuts and spoke up? How much more quickly might we have mapped the human genome had christian dogma not interfered with Gregor Mendel and other early geneticists?
And this christian hegemony continues to hinder human progress. How much have anti-abortion activists done to save the 40,000 or so American babies who die of malnutrition each year? Do they really want to save babies, or is that just politically motivated rhetoric disguised as religious conviction? As abortion clinic bombings, the Terry Schiavo melodrama and Pat Robertson’s assassination demands demonstrate, American christians are less concerned with following Jesus’ message than they are with consolidating their power at any cost, no matter how ironic this approach to (self) righteousness may appear.
The latest salvo of christian idiocy is emerging in the form of new monkey trials aimed at returning christian dogma to public school science classrooms. In Dover, Penn., eight families have sued the school district in an attempt to prevent creationism disguised as “intelligent” design from being treated as science. School boards in Kansas, New Mexico and elsewhere are facing similar debates.
These episodes raise an important question, one that christians should be asking themselves: Why is the growing body of evidence in support of natural selection so threatening to them? Could it be that they already suspect the truth – that eternal paradise is not waiting them at the end of this entire pointless struggle? After all, no one is telling them what to believe. Freedom of religion is still the law of the land. Science is simply telling us what the evidence shows. Christians’ difficulty in reconciling observable scientific evidence with their religious beliefs is just that – their difficulty. They externalize their own difficulty by making false accusations regarding the so-called effort to secularize America. America was secularized from the beginning so that the sectarian violence that had washed Europe in blood for centuries would not reach these shores.
In closing, I will give the last word to a christian, David J. Langum, the former president of the Alabama chapter of the ACLU. (Hat tip to John Scalzi):

I am a lawyer, law professor more precisely, and the immediate past President of the ACLU of Alabama. I am currently on the ACLU of Alabama Board of Directors and additionally serve on its Executive Committee. And, yes, I am a Christian.
I know of my own personal knowledge that the ACLU brings just as many lawsuits under the Free Exercise clause supporting various religious groups (including Christian churches as shown earlier in this thread) in their ability to practice their faith, as it does under the Establishment Clause attempting to prevent the overt endorsement of religion by government.
The true client of the ACLU is the Constitution of the United States. We represent specific, individual clients in order to promote constitutional rights. When we act to defend helpless individuals against oppressive government (a common scenario), I believe the ACLU acts in a truly Christian manner (although this is not intended as such, and my non-Christian colleagues on the ACLU Board would distance themselves from this). After all, Christ enjoined us to help the least among us, and often the ACLU finds itself representing the friendless and the scorned.
For myself, my beliefs are not so fragile that they require blaring public pronouncement, and especially public pronouncement by less-than-honest politicians. So what if there are no public statues or monuments to any particular religious faith? Of what value is a belief system that needs such constant reinforcement?
I also ask myself what I would feel if I were a Muslim or a Hindu, living in the United States and constantly being made to feel second-class by virtue of the religious prattle that comes out of the mouths of public officials. I would not want that for myself, and, as Christians, how can we possibly force onto others that which we would not want for ourselves?


-- David J. Langum

15 comments:

BruceH said...

Well said. This country needs more people like you.

And please delete the above spam. It seems to be some sort of pyramid scheme, backed by religious nut-jobs.

The Old Hippie said...

Well said.  Nothing I can add really, you pretty much covered it - So. . . Just "Kudos."
(I agree - dump the spam)

Mike - Just an American Old Happy Hippie that also has a blog where I also rant a bit.

Big Daddy Malcontent said...

Spam deleted and thanks for the shout out, guys.

Blue Gal said...

David J. Langum read your post this morning and was pleased. Thanks for the quote and thoughtful posting, and congrats on the C&L pick up.

Blue Gal

Big Daddy Malcontent said...

Thanks, blue gal.

Nii said...

Wow man, I am only 16 years old... and i had been looking for something like this my whole life. If theres anyway you can show me how to learn more about this, i would like to know. Thanks!


Senoralboldigas@gmail.com

Nii said...

Wow man, I am only 16 years old... and i had been looking for something like this my whole life. If theres anyway you can show me how to learn more about this, i would like to know. Thanks!


Senoralboldigas@gmail.com

HellBlogger said...

Don't worry. Christianity is a dying religion - especially in the US. 50 years from now, there will be no Christians. Even if there are, they will be 'em New Age Oprah-type Christians.

Benjamin said...

YEAH! FUCK RELIGION! I want to buy a bunch of bibles, go to my local church and burn them on sunday morning in front of everyone, then piss on it.

Nicole said...

Unbelievable. You think almost exactly in the same way that I do...but you express yourself better. Bravo. This was incredibly well written and I enjoyed every word of it. Thank you.

Richard said...

I always think how sad it is that great classical theories and verified theories such as Quantum Theory in itself, Quantum Entanglement, and Quantum Mechanics are utterly wasted on the ears of these religious hypocrits. Knowledge that is so empowering to the mind and to the future of our species is neglected... and its free knowledge...

kent said...

Wow thanks for this article. It makes me feel alot better knowing there are other people out there who think like me.

Ps to anyone who likes watching atheist videos. Watch the atheist experience its a great show.

Oh and if there was a god I would not worship him. Any god that needed worshiping would in my mind be utterly petty and pathetic.

mike said...

in reference to what Benjamin said, concerning burning bibles etc. if that is how you truly feel and not a bid for attention, than you are no better than the bigots who gather at funerals to spread their hate.

Jokke said...

Well said. The truth is, I have seen people who are smart and christian, and they are all the same, people who are scared of death and independence and so turn to this vilest of religions. Also all the stupid christians I have seen are the same, either stupid and ignorant or stupid and crazy. That might even be ok if they were a small organization and kept to themselves, but instead there are huge amounts of them and they constantly try to enroach on others ways of life for things that do not affect them. Not only that, powerful organizations encourage them. Just the other day I looked up "Aleister Crowly" on google and the third or fourth result is some crazy christian talking about how he was a satanist (not true) and how satanists are kidnapping babies (I was like what the fuck are you talking about?!?) I sent a letter to google complaining about this website being a top result and they sent me an automated message saying they thanked me for my input and then did nothing. The state of the country has gone to shit and there are so few smart people like yourself, thanks.

Jarod Davis said...

I love you for this. Every word, genius.. Although it should be common sense by now, after billions of years..