Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Religious Politician Proclaims Discriminatory Nature by His Own Words.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told a Church crowd this last Monday, literally moments into his new administration, that
"Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother"
The Birmingham News

On his inauguration day! He flat out said he discriminates. Now of course afterward he said he didn't mean to insult anyone. Well what the hell did he think it would mean to those who aren't christian. Its obvious he is either an idiot, or he slipped. Slipped by in letting it known that his christian biased discrimination exists. There are many implications which reaches out to touch many different people.

Bill Nigut, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League said this
"His comments are not only offensive, but also raise serious questions as to whether non-Christians can expect to receive equal treatment during his tenure as governor"
The Birmingham News

This problem is exactly the kind of attitude that non-believers have had to face for centuries from religion. This "you aren't a believer therefore you are not my equal" stance has been the catalyst for many religious atrocities throughout history, like the Crusades, the Holocaust, 9/11 and many others. This is the exact reason MOST atheists are anti-religious, it screams of anti-social behavior, and sets a precedence in followers for a discriminatory nature in this case toward non-Christians.

When are we going to be able to elect people who have humanism as their moral compass not a mystic being of indeterminate nature or some holy book of fables? When are we going to be free of religious discrimination being in control in this country. When are we going to be free of the BLATANT ignorance of these blind followers?

We live in a country where 48% of the population say they will NOT vote for a non-believer because of the discriminatory nature of religion as a whole. Openly atheist people in this country flat out have no chance to gain elected office in this country to affect change for humanistic values, NONE. When presented this argument every christian I have ever talked to ultimately says its because they,
"cannot in good conscious vote for someone they feel has no moral compass and ultimately has no one to answer for abiding their decisions"

When I point out that we do have a moral compass, and that we have to answer to our fellow human being they state the,
"institutions of man are fallible and therefore cannot be trusted to mediate justice"

They then point toward the history of corrupt politicians and how they have avoided prosecution, because these are mans institution but they will answer to god in the end. What a cope out, you have negated the fact that these instutions were/are instituted, run and perpetuated by? The Religious, faithful believers that in the end THEY had to face judgment of a court much higher than man's. Where is the religious moral imperative in these current cases? Fallible.

Religion is not the be all end all truth is proclaims to be because plain and simply,

Because it is an ancient institute of MAN and therefore fallible.

Why is there Religion? Is it Necessary?

First I am going to come at this from several different angles, Tribal, Religious studies, Anthropological and Scientific. This is very generalized to try to make it easier to read for laymen so it may seem a bit simplistic, but it is factual and does apply as is.

I am American Indian and was raised with tribal values which was and is in conflict with American ideology, it is also basis for my humanistic philosophy. In the tribal society I have my upbringing but also have anthropological study of tribal societies to add into this. Early man would have questioned the natural world. Why it was the way it was? What caused it to be this way? Why are we here? Which led to mysticism (spirits) and these spirits then became more powerful beings as the mysticism broadened over time a natural evolution as animism and ancestral worship (spirits) evolve into polytheism (gods). This is how this evolution has been seen to occur.

These natural world questions were unanswerable to early man, until the creation of a mystical world outside our ability to see. This is logical when you put yourself into this situation, as I was myself. Now Originally I was raised Catholic but taught at home Native values of community, family then self this is ultimately the core of who we as Native peoples are humanistically and religiously. Religion follows the evolution of the society it is practiced in, and leaves a pattern easily follow with that evolution.

At first tribes are small, less than 50 people, because they are dependent on food gathering and scarcity of sources, moving constantly is harder on individual members,  also Skirmishes (not war) over the food sources, and thus higher mortality rates. There would have been spirits helping the tribe as a whole, praying to individual spirits by the tribe for rain when needed, OR to all the spirits at once. This follows the egalitarian base ideas all members pull together, to work together, and survive AKA egalitarianism or primitive Communism. When the tribe was experiencing hardship the "spirits" were then interpreted by the spiritist (male or female) as being angry. This is the earliest accounts of the spirits demanding atonement for broken agreements (or rules) with the spirits, or between humans, but not necessarily the main rule over these laws, just on occasions.

Soon when the tribe turns toward sedentary society, first with pastoralist (in most cases but sometimes skipped), then to Agrarianism. The spirits would evolve into individual spirits for everything, rain, hunting, etc. How does that happen? The tribe grows larger segmenting into bands then into clans (agrarian), between 50 -150 people in pastoralist societies and greater than 150 people for Agrarian societies. This due to a more stable food sources and roots taking in an area or region. Also because of territorial invasion in these claimed lands (areas/regions) more organized warrior societies develop and war becomes a major issue, by default other societies develop as well thus leading clans and by extension new and more developed laws. This is where the spirits begin to be set as the principal rulers of social laws and rules.

 The separation in the tribe for various duties develops, women for gathering as a whole, men for hunting, there was cross over though too, some men gathered, and some women hunted, but groups were assigned specific duties forming Clans thus leading to specific leaders chosen for the various clans or group. Then specific spirits or animals for guides in those clans. Example of clan specificity, would be the clan that took care of the dead and prepared them for their burials, In some North American tribes this was represented by the Owl in the physical realm but a spirit in the incorporeal realm, often referred to as the owl spirit, but this is a mistranslation, that has carried over. Things like this followed a logical path, owls spoke in the night and whispered, death happened most often in the night, and soon became attributed to owl song. THUS Owl became the messenger of death and the physical embodiment of the spirit of the clan (totem) that worked with the dead. Now, when the tribe experiences hardship, at this point, it was based on what hardship specifically, say for example drought. Then one or more "spirits" were angry, the rain spirits  and/or the spirit of farming (growing crops), etc.

The next phase in the next stage of  evolution of religion is deities. As the specialization is applied more stringently in the various societies, it reflects a higher structure on the religion. Specialization develops in the tribes, one person excels at bow making, one excels arrow making, one excels at arrowhead making, hunting, leather making, etc. etc. Specific leaders are chosen, but over all there is a greater leader or ruler. Following suit the spirits excel and become the principals to their disciplines such as  rain and storms (fertility), hunting and war, love and relationships, etc. This can be seen most prevalently in the development of state over agrarian clan societies. Examples of this are Mayan, and Aztec Cultures developing separate empire states in the New World, and in the Old World, ancient Egyptian, ancient Greece thus leading to ancient Rome. Along with this more developed centralized government a more developed and centralized religion follows. The early hierarchy in the religious master with apprentices, become titled positions exactly like their state counterparts in government, high priest(ess), priest(ess), and monks or devotees.  The deities are the final word on laws as when it comes to rules, man now sets and creates most of them but they are still based traditionally off the original rules of the gods. Any laws set by man is trumped by the original laws of the gods (spirits)

This is not conjecture, but clear facts, from the various American Indian and world tribal cultures, with traceable heritages, and is easy to understand for one as PART of a tribe as well as one who studies the tribes.

 The evolution of monotheism does have several separate occurrences but principally are exactly the same because a choice is made. But ultimately it still comes down to a POLYTHEISTIC religion evolving into a MONOTHEISTIC religion. There are two examples I will give before going to the Abrahamic faith.

One of the earliest credited monotheistic faiths was Zoroastrianism from Iran sometime before the 6th century BCE. Based off of the teachings of one man who become the prevalent religious leader of his time. He created, taught, and preached, from the position of leadership of one (himself) and lead to the teaching of one creator. In Zoroastrianism the creator was good and not evil came from him (god). Evil comes as a force bend on destroying creation (devil) and a force trying to maintain it (god). this is the earliest diagram laid out for monotheism in the middle east and many parallels from Zoroastrianism appear in the Abrahamic faith including the clear parallel to god and its status (creator, maintainer, good fighting evil). So One man creates the religion and  one god rules over creation.

The earliest monotheism is solidly recorded monotheism in Egypt was the Aten cult under the pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) . He abandoned the traditional polytheistic religion of Egypt for a monotheistic. His principal goal was to centralize his rule and familial control over Egypt, by proclaiming one creator over all Aten (the Sun) and aspect of Ra, but ultimately a combination of Ra, Horus, and Aten.  Then he proclaimed the he and his descendants were the embodiment of Aten on earth. It failed in the end as one because of Ahkenatens tyrannical rule made the faith unpopular and he died leaving a young heir who changed the religion BACK to the original polytheism.  Coincidentally the sun in Zoroastrianism was gods eye. Again one man creates the religion and one god rules over creation.

Abrahamic faith, is different in that one man did NOT create the faith. The Hebrew tribes had become sedentary (Recall the explanation of sedentary tribes above) and with this new society came war. the Hebrew were constantly t war in the area they settle as at the time it was a narrow region of land that could be settled with a huge diversity of culture and tribal life, we have seen similar examples of this diversity in a small region in the California coastal areas. As the Hebrew people were constantly bombarded with raids and warfare they congregated together for more solid protection under a unified banner and thus the great tribe of the Hebrew people were formed. During this time they were a polytheistic faith and many gods were prayed to, but they were constantly losing battles, it was decided by the leaders that one of the gods needed to be chosen as their main god. They chose not the strongest war like god, but the one god that was known as a protector of the people. The choosers, chose their god, thus becoming the chosen people of that god, Yahweh. So we have the birth of the monotheistic Abrahamic faith, from a polytheistic one, this is well documented.

So far I have mentioned tribal and anthropological, touching on religious studies. Now I go to the scientific, touching on religious studies and biological anthropology aspects. Biologically, we have developed, a region of the brain, that is highly active in religious settings and scenarios. This region of the brain has been mapped and studied and proven to be hyper active during, prayer, meditation, vision questing, and many other various religious related ceremonies and practices. When speaking in tongues or  feeling the presence of spirits, or god. When seeing visions or hearing the word of god/spirits speaking to them. All can be attributed to the same region of the brain. It has also been mapped as the SAME region that allows for artist and writers to create internalized imagery of the world or worlds they are creating on canvas when painting or on paper (drawing or writing). There is a drawback however in that it is also the same region that allows for  the mental disorders of delusion and schizophrenia. (Research Neurotheology for more detail)

This is the path for how and why religion exists as it stands today, the meanings and development ultimately leading to why it persisted to its present forms. But there was a second question.

 The answer is simple once you take into account the evolution of religion. That SINCE religion is an aspect of human creation, coinciding with the evolution of human society, to a point. Then NO religion is no longer necessary, in that as society has evolved, religion was becoming more marginalized with humans creating their own laws and depending on their own moral values learned through humanistic means. Religion adapted as society adapted mainly to keep itself relevant to society, but ultimately, humans created it to answer the questions that at one time could NOT be answered. Which over time have been slowly answered. Leaving the one question still debated by many "Why are we here?" Which this debate is now totally dependent on ones position. Creationists argue, we are here because of god. Scientists argue we are here because the universe moves towards constructs of higher orders of complexity and we are here to further that complexity. To seek out the meaning to life, the universe, and everything.

42 BTW.

Hello From My New Home Here on Blogspot

Hello all,

I just moved here from Xanga. I was only over there for about 7 months and got tired of the whole feel over there... and so few people actually being around. This way I am totally blind to a community and thus don't feel so depressed by the lack of visits. Yeah ok how pitiful.

I was Born in Kansas City But live nearly all my life in Springfield Missouri, AND I am a fifth generation Springfield resident. In fact I am in the house that my Great Grandparents had built for my Grandparents. That WILL be changing soon however as we will be moving from springfield this next year (2012), so that my mate Kris can go to grad school.

My Father was a mix of Lakota Sioux (American Indian) and Irish. My Mother was Norwegian, Irish and Mni Wakan (American Indian). I was raised white American society obviously being in Springfield (2nd whitest city in the US as of 2010), but with American Indian values at home. This means I put a lot of emphasis on community (friends, family, neighbors, and so forth) then most people. American Indians traditionally prioritize differently from the average American, what I mean by that is, we put Community first, family second, our selves last. In White America it is exactly opposite, worry about yourself first, your family second. Your community? Well, If you really think about it then sure, most don't really think about it though.

I was also raised Catholic, to believe in god and worship and fear him. I did so whole heartedly believe at one time that I was an alter boy, and I even thought about the priest hood. Thankfully I was cured of that. Through a series of faith questioning moments in life, I left the faith, and went to native spirituality and through a series of faith questioning moments in life, left that too.

So my series of faith questioning moments in life, what s that about? Lets see the very first thing that caused me to question my faith was a lie. Yep a lie, I lied to a nun at school. Holy Hannah a nun, you say? Yep a nun, the most respected females of god, married to Christ and the surrogate mother (sort of) of all children in catholic school. I lied bold face straight out and lied, and she accepted it. I waited, and waited.... And Waited, But god didn't smite me. Wow I thought, if I could lie to a nun, who was next to a priest , who was so much closer to god than I. Well I wondered... WHAT ELSE CAN I GET AWAY WITH!!! Well obviously this vexed me on some level as Lying is a COMMANDMENT that you CANT break. You know <Big Booming Voice>
Well I went to confession got that sucker right off my chest, I didnt tell the priest who I lied to but just that I had. I was absolved and BOOM Get out of jail free, (Whew) that's over, I thankfully said my penance and went on.

But it still itched in the back of my mind, and I thought a lot about it it. I mean this was a major Commandment for Pete's sake, and to a NUN!!! it wasn't for some time that i had another serious issue hit but it came. In the summer of 1983 ( I was 12), My cousin came to visit, NOT just any cousin, my most favoritist cousin in the whole world, we were like peas in a pod growing up. But NOT this time, No. He came to my house with the Devil's Music.... ACDC (***SHRIEK*** OMG). He was Blasting out of a boom box (yeah total 80's reference).

Hell Bells starts
(Christian Faints from the Blasphemy).

OK so I didn't Faint BUT, My heart pounded and my head grew light, my vision blurred, how could my god fearing cousin be listening to this, this, SATAN WORSHIP JUNK???? Well needless to say when my cousin left at the end of the summer, I to was a Satan worship music listener. I had discovered the important issue about it. Well, the important issue about heavy metal music is... ITS MUSIC... its not Satan trying to dig his ever so share and vile claws into your head its music. But it did make me question my faith, NOT because of the ominous words subliminally repeating Kill your Father, Kill your father... No it was the sheer fact that the Priests and Nuns had LIED to me!!! Whoa, yeah that was the realization they lied, and god didn't turn the whole church into a burned out crater of DOOM... So this led me back to my lie to the nun and then wondering...

"What Else did they lie about"

The next thing was my Grandfathers death. Now you have to understand, My grandfather had adopted my mother, because he and grandma could not have kids. I don't know why never asked, never really cared. But my grandfather was to me the GREATEST man on the face of the earth. I tried to model myself after him, and FAILED miserably, but nonetheless he was awesome. He spent EVERY Sunday in church, and even in retirement maintain his tithe to the church. Every Sunday he had an envelop for the collection plate, and one for the prayer box. He never to my knowledge said a curse word, least not in my presence. He was the epitome of Christendom to me.

Then he got sick... Not just sick, He got Cancer, BAD CANCER.

I saw whim the night he died, he was riddle with open ulcerated sores all over his body, he was breathing on like half a lung, and ashen, Oh man was he ashen. I started to cry, but he stopped me. Even then he thought of others, he told me he didn't want me to cry, that my mom was going to need my strength and to promise him I wouldn't cry. I did, and I didn't, not till many many days later. So how did this make me question god?

Well I should think it obvious, but... Why? Why would god, a loving god, a caring and thoughtful god, take such and amazing man, in such a HORRIBLE way? The nun I talked to at school said "Maybe your grandfather had something he had to atone for from earlier in his life"

That was it within a year I was no longer going to catholic school or church. I was seeking and wondering how to find god. I never did. I thought I had a couple times and tried real hard to believe. But just could not do it.

This is how I came to be here a Mid-West Atheist...