Monday, March 21, 2011

The so-called "wrath of God"

A former Phoenix Mercury (WNBA player) tweeted this Saturday on the subject of the earthquake/tsunami in Japan:

"What if God was tired of the way they treated their own people in there own country! Idk guys he makes no mistakes."

"u just never knw! They did pearl harbor so u can't expect anything less."

And, to add insult to injury, in a remarkable example of Christian condescension, she tried to apologize:

"I wanna apologize to anyone I may hurt or offended during this tragic time," the tweet said. "I didn't realize that my words could be interpreted in the manner which they were. People that knw me would tell u 1st hand I'm a very spiritual person and believe that everything, even disasters happen 4 a reason and that God will shouldn't be questioned

Besides revealing the obvious fact that celebrities should self-edit prior to releasing brain droppings to the world, it brings up the more important subject of religion.

Now, I want to get this out of the way right now -- I'm not intimating that this is how all Christians think. But, by the same token, we all know that this isn't just the lunatic fringe that believes that disasters are God's retribution.

But that isn't even the subject of my post. My beef is with how religion is deemed to be the source of morality when statements like this show it to be something very different. People that are bigoted, or racist, or in Pondexter's case, remarkably ignorant, use the veil of religion to justify themselves. When you feel that God himself is behind something, you have the moral certitude to make statements that an atheist would be pilloried for. After all, "he makes no mistakes". And that's exactly the point. I have no problem with an atheist being judged upon his statements and beliefs. But that is how all people should be judged.

Godless people are deemed to be immoral and anarchistic, but I suggest that most are the exact opposite. I believe that all my actions and statements must be held to an even higher standard and must stand on their own. I don't have the luxury of misinterpreting some ancient text of dubious origin to justify a belief that outside the protection of religion would be considered bigoted.

If any other segment of society had done the atrocities to children that Catholic priests have, imagine what would have happened.

Within the framework of religion, it is considered godly and moral to be against gays, or to subjugate women. Under any other criteria, those would be hate crimes or speech.

I am not saying that religious people are universally immoral. I am saying that they are not moral because they are religious. Religion does not define one's morality. A religious person can be good or bad, as can an atheist.

And natural occurrences like floods, and hurricanes, and earthquakes are not caused by God. And they do not occur to present a moral or punish us for sin. They may present a lesson or warning to us insomuch as our actions or inaction may contribute to them or our lack of preparation leads to additional suffering. If one feels that God is infallible and omnipotent, then every happening has to mean something. But most things don't mean anything. Life can be beautiful and wondrous sometimes ... but it also can be a cruel bitch. Learn from life, but don't attach causality to random events. To think that God would punish the Japanese for Pearl Harbor while letting the US off the hook for Hiroshoma, Nagasaki, Vietnam, Iraq, etc. is an example of not only Christian blindness but also a scary kind of nationalism.

So, Cappie, keep your tweets and your religion to yourself. You are entitled to your opinion and your free speech, but you are also entitled to be criticized for such.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

There must be some kinda way out of here ...

"There must be some kinda way out of here"
Said the joker to the thief
"There's too much confusion
I can't get no relief ..."

Lyrics by Bob Dylan. Song covered numerous times, most notably by Jimi Hendrix

I'm not posting this for any particular reason. No tie-in to a current political or cultural event. The excerpt I quoted above certainly describes how I feel sometimes about work, life, the world ... whatever. But, I'm just posting it because it's a damn good song.

I just heard Hendrix's version on the radio the other day and realized how much I love the song. Dylan's version is great as well, but Hendrix imbued the song with a fire that even Dylan had to acknowledge. Dylan has even admitted that the manner in which Hendrix played the song informs his own performances since that time.

The song has obvious allusions to the Bible (as do other Dylan songs), but what strikes me is the out-of-order manner in which the lyrics unfold. The thematic start of the song is at the end, both lyrically and musically. Kinda like you would expect if Quentin Tarantino wrote a rock song. This propels the song forward and gives one a sense of anticipation or urgency for it to repeat. It's this sense of bottled-up repetition that makes it perfect as a recurring plot element in season 3 and 4 of Battlestar Galactica and really an encapsulation of the series as a whole.

"All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again."

This is a performance by Bear McCreary, the composer for the series, with a little help from Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck):

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tyranny of the Fortunate

"Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone." -- John Maynard Keynes

Is it any wonder that we've lost our way (not that we ever really knew "our way") when tragedy happens and the things we are worried about are our stock portfolios? Capitalism is broken. Our media is broken. People are broken.

Larry Kudlow Devalues Human Life With Japan Earthquake Freudian Slip

In these tough economic times, isn’t it nice to know that calamitous natural disasters needn't have an adverse affect on your investment portfolio? After the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan failed to induce a market nosedive, CNBC’s Larry Kudlow expressed his relief in terms that seemed to appall even his fellow cheerleaders for capitalism: “The human toll here,” he declared, “looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that.”

I detest the trolls that populate these channels and I detest the sheep that hang on their every word. Go and get real job. Build something. Make something. Help someone. Don't profit from the suffering of others. We need to stop rewarding people for just moving money around. Insurance agents, mortgage lenders, bankers, stock brokers, venture capitalists, CEO's ... my garbage man contributes more to society than you do.

"Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate." -- Bertrand Russell

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Political Song of the Day: BOOM! by System of a Down

I've been walking through your streets
Where all your moneys are earned
Where all your buildings crying
And clueless neckties working
Revolving fake-lawn houses
Housing all your fears
Desensitized by TV
Overbearing advertising
God of consumerism
And all your crooked pictures looking good
Mirrorism, filtering information for the public eye
Designed for profiteering
Your neighbor, what a guy.


Every time you drop the bomb, you kill the god your child has born-


Modern globalization
Coupled with condemnations
Unnecessary death
Matador corporations
Puppeting your frustrations with a blinded flag
Manufacturing consent is the name of the game
The bottom line is money
Nobody gives a FUCK
Four thousand hungry children leave us per hour from starvation
While billions are spent on bombs
Creating death showers


Every time you drop the bomb, you kill the god your child has born-



Why must we kill our own kind?

"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it." -- Noam Chomsky