October 28, 2012 by Bill
It was Theodore Roosevelt who called Thomas Paine “the filthy little atheist.”
What that stupid statement accomplished was only to prove the ignorance of Roosevelt. Thomas Paine, one of our giant founders, was not in any sense an atheist. He did have a total contempt for the Bible, the church and the clergy, as did our major Founding Fathers. But having a contempt for the Bible and the clergy does not, in any sense, make one an atheist.
Thomas Paine was a devout deist, who said and wrote time and time again “I believe in one God…”
He also wrote “I would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by attaching His name to that book (the Bible). Men and books lie. Only nature does not lie.”
He explained what he meant in these words: “The character of Moses is the most horrid tale that can be imagined. Moses was a wretch that committed the most horrible atrocities that can be found in the literature of any nation. ‘For Moses said unto them (according to the Bible) kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him, but all the women that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.’”
“Among the most detestable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses. Here is an order, attributed to ‘God’ to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers and to debauch and rape the daughters. I would not dare so dishonor my Creator’s name by (attaching) it to this filthy book.” More…
October 21, 2012 by Bill
As one who has studied the Plains Indians at the Graduate level at the University of Colorado, and as one who is ordained in the United Church of Christ (Congregational) the farce of Friday nights “debate” combined with the ignorance of one of the participants sent my blood pressure to a new level.
The bigotry and obscenities inflicted upon the American Indians by Christian missionaries constitute one of the most repugnant periods of American history. But among the more enlightened elements of the Christian church there have been signs of maturing spirituality. I refer to the recent requests for forgiveness to the Native American people. The warm and touching apology from Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders of the Pacific Northwest reads as follows:
“Dear Brothers and Sisters: This is a formal apology on behalf of our churches for the destruction of Native American spiritual practices. Your spiritual power can be a great gift to us. We ask for your forgiveness and blessing.”
This was signed by the senior Bishops, or Executives, of the Roman Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal and Congregational churches.
The United Church of Christ (Congregational), the church of my ordination issued another apology of their own:
“We bear a heavy burden of responsibility for the ongoing injustice and religious imperialism that have been so disruptive of the spiritual values of Indian life and culture. The effect of the Christian missionary legacy, and the Christian influence has been the disparagement and undermining of the Indian culture and a spiritual impoverishment. The missionaries were blinded by a religious ethnocentrism. The depth of this tragedy is now being realized. We take full responsibility for our part in the ongoing atrocity, and we express to you, our brothers and sisters, a deeply felt sorrow and penitent spirit.”
The United Church of Canada put their apology in these loving and tender words: ore…
October 14, 2012 by Bill
Well, here we go again. We lived through the superstition of the Millennium and Armageddon, staggered by the onslaught of superstition and ignorance, masquerading under the phony and scary heading of “prophecy.” This virus of illiteracy even affected the Oval office. Then President Reagan’s weird and stupid speculations about an “imminent arrival of Amageddon in the Middle East” left intelligent people gasping.
Today we are playing that tape again with the gullibility of the American public. We are being smothered by radio, books, television and movies by those out to make a buck, about the disaster and world destruction waiting for us on Dec 21, 2012, when the Mayan calendar predicts an apocalypse for the end of the year, end of the world (they say). It will be open season on reason, rationality, normal intelligence and religious literacy. “Survival kits” are now being sold by the con men and fast buck operators. Sandra Noble, the Executive director of Mesoamerican Research Foundation, says: “portrayal of that date as doomsday is a total fabrication and a chance for a lot of slick people to cash in.”
But to refresh your memory about the “millenniumn, armageddon” circus for the gullible clowns that set the stage for the circus being replayed today under a different heading, what seemed to be missing from the brain/mind (I use the words loosely) is the fact that time is fiction. Time is man-made. A history of man-made calendars would enlighten many.
Christian fundamentalists of course are panting for the day when Armageddon arrives, but with the vast majority of the world it is a non-event. In the Jewish calendar the year 2000 was 5760, no big deal. For Muslims, who date from Muhammad’s move from Mecca to Medina, it was the Islamic year 1420. Muhammad said that the “day of doom” would not come for another 50,000 years. The Islamic calendar follows the cycles of the moon rather than the sun, and that year was 1418. In the Chinese lunar calendar, it was 4695. Hindus were in the midst of a calendrical cycle that has over 350,000 years to go until it ends.
With all American Indian concepts of time, this entire subject is absurd. Most American Indian languages do not have past and future tenses; they reflect rather a perennial reality of the now.
What an interesting contrast in mentalities. Christian fundamentalists waiting for the world to be destroyed in flames. And the beautiful thought of the American Indian living the perennial reality of the now.
December 21, 2012, is simply a date that the calendar will go into the next long count, which will happen on October 13, 4772.
Oh well, the clowns of superstition and “militant ignorance” (as Goethe put it) do keep us entertained as we smile at the fiction that live with the millennium and armageddon… a Mayan fantasy of Dec 21, 2012. We may “smile” but superstition also has a sad and destructive side when it takes over human lives. We must never forget that.