Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Comments on a Waco documentary.

<largo> interesting to watch a special on the "Waco tragedy".
<largo> to listen to the wording they use... calling Koresh "insane" and "a psychopath" and referring to his group as a "non-traditional religious group" etc.
<largo> so... having religious views that don't agree with yours makes him insane and a psychopath... and being "traditional", makes your religion real and ok?
<largo> *sigh*
<largo> and they compare the Freemen standoff to Waco and praise the fact that nobody was killed... however, while both groups disliked the government, this grievance was, as far as I know, for different reasons... and I wasn't aware that the Freemen were religious.
<largo> so you have a group of political dissidents trying to stand up for libertarian ideals versus a group of apocalyptic religious fundamentalists....
<largo> I can see a difference where, while both groups might perceive government persecution, only one of the groups believes in supernatural forces and the imminent end of the world according to biblical prophecy.

Those were my comments in #phreadom just after finishing "The Final Report - Waco Tragedy".

Odd also to consider the definition of tradition, and to somehow believe that "time honored" makes something infallibly correct. Or that something non-traditional is somehow bad or wrong, just because it's new. Where would the past 2,000 years of scientific advance be? Would we still be believing the Sun revolved around the Earth? That the Earth was flat? Human and animal sacrifice? How about Zeus and Apollo? Or even for that matter, Christianity, which broke ranks with the time honored traditions of Judaism... or Islam, which subsequently broke ranks with Judaism and Christianity? The list goes on... basing the validity of something solely on it's value as tradition is simply preposterous. And to imply that something non-traditional is inherently bad as a result of nothing more than it being non-traditional is just as preposterous.

I also wanted to quote a few lines from "The End of Faith" that I found rather eloquent:
Ignorance is the true coinage of this realm -- "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed" (John 20:29) -- and every child is instructed that it is, at the very least, an option, if not a sacred duty, to disregard the facts of this world out of deference to the God who lurks in his mother's and father's imaginations.
And at the end of a section on causality...
As long as a person maintains that his beliefs represent an actual state of the world (visible or invisible; spiritual or mundane), he must believe that his beliefs are a consequence of the way the world is. This, by definition, leaves him vulnerable to new evidence. Indeed, if there were no conceivable change in the world that could get a person to question his religious beliefs, this would prove that his beliefs were not predicated upon his taking any state of the world into account. He could not claim, therefore, to be representing the world at all.
He also describes in great detail about how believing something to be true without any evidence, no matter how good it makes you feel, doesn't make it true. For instance, I could honestly believe that Nicole Kidman was deeply in love with me... and FEEL it... and have it make me feel wonderful and warm and fuzzy inside... but would any of that make it true? Of course not.

And I'll finish it up with this last quote that made me smile:
Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything -- anything -- be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in.
Oh, I also forgot to mention another point... it seems almost funny to me that taking the bible seriously is looked on as a bad thing, taking it moderately is a good thing, and not listening to it at all is, again, a bad thing. Religious people like to just pick and choose bits of the bible to believe in... and don't much care for the literalism... they actually don't like dealing with it much at all. They don't want to follow all the rules, they don't want to face the contradictions and moral dilemmas... they just want to feel warm and fuzzy... they want to believe that they have a daddy in the clouds that loves them and will let them come live in a castle in the clouds for eternity... in paradise with all their loved ones. And they will detach themselves from the reality of their religion as much as need be to fulfill that delusion to gain that comfort. So anyone that actually follows the letter of the law in the bible is labeled as insane... for following what they themselves swear is the absolute infallible word of God... and anyone who doesn't believe in the supernatural authority of the story in the bible is considered a heathen and inferior to themselves.

It's easy to see, and not even very difficult to understand... but it is almost impossible to get religious people to understand the dichotomy between reality and the compartmentalized delusion they subjects themselves to in order to maintain their belief.
Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence whatsoever.
I have a hard time believing that my father could sit down and seriously read this book, and think about what it says, without coming away from it with doubts about his religious beliefs. But unfortunately, I know from experience that the emotional discomfort that comes from that doubt will drive him straight back to his religion for reassurance to make the discomfort go away... the safety of the "known". I've covered the psychology behind this in the past... cognitive dissonance and the like.

Enough to think about for now. A little more studying and then I'm off to bed.

Oyasumi nasai.


Anonymous said...

I love this blog! They should you on display in the Museum of Natural Science.

Don't feed the misogynistic, slightly psychotic, over analytical, self loathing psuedointellectual.

"Come one, Come all, for the man who can out talk ANYONE! Think you've seen ranters before? Just wait until you feast your eyes on Phreadom. Bring up a subject and watch him go to work. When the dust clears most of us may be utterly confused, but trust us on this folks, he is a genius in his own mind! Listen as this colorful charater spews his hatred of the world. One lucky lady may even be called a 'cunt' or 'cum receptical'. You just never know what's going to happen when you enter the land of Phreadom."

Run, Jen, Run!

JStressman said...

I just love anonymous coward trolls on here... ;-D

And here, let me help you... it's misanthropic, slightly psychotic, overly analytical intellectual with low self-esteem.

But I realize you weren't shooting for accuracy, just talking out of your ass to get a reaction. :-)

Here... good job little attention whore. Here's a cookie. Now run along and don't miss your nap. *chuckle*

(and to clarify something... my low self-esteem still ranks me higher than a lot of other people in my own eyes... it simply rates me lower than my own self-expectations. Something I wouldn't expect trolls like yourself to understand. If you think you're better than I am... step up to the plate and post who you really are and let's go head to head intellectually. If not, I've got a cock right here you can choke on... make yourself useful.)

Jen said...

Hey, don't be offering up your cock to strangers. It's mine. :P

I love you baby. :*

JStressman said...

hahaha thank you baby! I love you too :* :*

but I don't want you to choke on it... at least not to death. ;-D hehe!!