Today in What Would Jesus Do

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Given that none of the Christmas traditions observed have anything to do with Jesus or  Christianity; given that Jesus – if he existed – wasn’t even born in December and given that Christmas is a totally pagan holiday co-opted by religious people, seeing a billboard like that gives new meaning to the notion head in the sand and willful ignorance.

I am also certain that given all the shit that is going on in this world – wars, oppression, hunger, poverty and the myriad of horrible things us blessed human beings, god’s children, do to one another – the last thing Jesus would be bothered by is that we do not wish each other “Merry Christmas“. Then again, given the hypocrisy of most religious people, this is the exact kind of billboard you would expect to see from such pious followers, so in a way they are actually pretty consistent and this billboard spot on.

Religious people and hypocrites everywhere care a lot about decorum and politeness, lending a civilized veneer to the sinister reality and ruinous worldviews they advocate.

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  1. #1 by Debilis on January 12, 2013 - 3:21 AM

    Yes, there are a great deal of pagan influences on Christianity (though it is not accurate to say it isn’t as much Christian as it is pagan). Nor have I much reason to think that the things such people advocate are “sinister” or “ruinous”.

    But I completely agree that Jesus would put the phrase “Merry Christmas” somewhere beneath the price of marshmallows on his priority list. In fact, he spoke out very strongly against putting decorum ahead of helping people. It’s tragic to use his name, then, to promote doing exactly that.

    • #2 by popreflection on January 12, 2013 - 3:51 PM

      There are no pagan influences on Christianity, Christmas IS a pagan holiday – in its entirety. See https://popreflection.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/some-more-fun-atheist-christmas-facts/. Moreover, if you do not see the role religion has played and continues to play in war, murder, slavery, misogyny, exploitation and torment, then you have not studied history or religion.

      • #3 by Debilis on January 12, 2013 - 5:44 PM

        I did read that blog post, and many other like it. I’m not personally convinced by the idea that Christmas is purely pagan – nor, more to the point, can I claim to be all that interested.

        Much more importantly, I am aware that religious institutions and individuals have done many horrible things. And, yes, I have studied the history of religion. I was not objecting to the idea that they have done negative things, but only to the idea that this is the sum total of what they are.

        That is to say that no expert on the history of religion I’ve ever read (and it has been quite a few) would either deny the dark moments of various religions nor claim that they can be simply and judgmentally summed up by the terms “sinister” and “ruinous”.

        Nor have I ever seen any scientifically gathered statistical data which establishes that religious belief in general is ruinous for human beings.

        • #4 by popreflection on January 12, 2013 - 8:04 PM

          That Christmas is a purely pagan tradition is not a matter of opinion, it is fact.

          So you accept the premise that throughout history horrible things have been done in the name of religion; that in fact even today lots of hatred and bigotry are committed in the name of religion, yet you don’t like to call those things sinister and ruinous because it just dodn’t sit well? To think that ones religion could be responsbile for so many terrible things…

          No one is denying the comfort that religion provides but that doesn’t make the belief in the supernatural any more valid or any less ridiuclous and unfounded. Over the course of religion’s existence more bad than good things have been committed. As I have mentioned in another post, today – in this very country, religious people, and religious people alone, are solely responsbile for the decline in education and knowledge; religious people are regularly injecting their personal beliefs into other peoples’ lives – such as with abortion, same sex marriage, stem cell research etc – interjections that indeed have devastating consequences for others, including robbing them off their humanity and autonomy. I call that pretty ruinous. If you do not see that, I suggest educating yourself.

          • #5 by Debilis on January 12, 2013 - 8:48 PM

            I didn’t say Christmas was a matter of opinion. I said you haven’t convinced me that it is purely pagan. I also said that I don’t much care.

            And, yes, I agree that many evils have been done in the name of religion. I don’t know anyone who disagrees with that. But I didn’t say that I don’t like to call those things sinister and ruinous because they don’t sit well.

            I have no problem calling evils sinister and ruinous, what I said was that it is an unsupported, sweeping claim to say that the whole of all religion in the world is sinister and ruinous on the grounds that evil has been done in the name of them.

            Nor do I recall saying anything about the comfort of religion, or about how valid or founded their claims are.

            But, seriously, do you have any documentation that “religious people, and religious people alone, are solely responsible for the decline in education and knowledge”? What studies have been done to this end? What decline in education and knowledge has there been? How do we know that no non-religious person has, in any way, done anything whatsoever to contribute to said decline?

            This seems like speculation. Is there any evidence for it?

          • #6 by popreflection on January 12, 2013 - 9:54 PM

            It is called deductive reasoning and being an astute observer of the world around you. Have you been paying any attention to what has been happening in the world? In this very country? Who the players are, what they each advocate and what has been happening in the world? Do you really need a scientific paper to see how women’s reproductive rights have been eroded with bills introduced by people solely on religious grounds? Do you need a peer reviewed study to see who opposes stem cell research and why? Do you really need a scientific paper to accept that an elected official, Representative Paul Broun believes that “Evolution and Big Bang Are “Lies Straight From the Pit Of Hell”? These are the fact around you. It is like saying “I need a scientific study proving that during the last election cycle republicans opposed Obama. It is totally absurd. This isnt population genetics or the FDA testing a drug for the market or even testing of a theory. These are historic facts happening in front of your eyes everyday. You speak like you have been living under a rock and are just so shocked the world isn’t the rosy “Leave it to Beaver” reality you always thought it was.

            You don’t dispute anything i say even though you still totally disagree with it. This is an advanced progressive space. I don’t do newbie education.

      • #7 by Debilis on January 12, 2013 - 10:20 PM

        If this is deductive reasoning, please give me your syllogism. I expect that some of the premises will not be terribly strong.

        While I don’t need a scientific paper to see how “women’s reproductive rights” have been “eroded with bills”, I do genuinely wonder what the science has to say about the overall effect this has on the happiness of the communities involved. Both sides are claiming that theirs is the healthier position. Are you not interested in what studies have to say about it?

        The same is true for all your examples and, even if any one of them, in isolation, could be shown to be negative, this does not remotely mean that all religion, in all time in places, everywhere, is sinister and ruinous.

        So, I don’t dispute that some religious people have, at some times, done very bad things in the name of their religions. Nor would I dispute someone who said that some governments have done bad things in the name of their political stance, that some democrats have done bad things for the sake of advancing their party, or that some colleges have done bad things in the name of their schools.

        This does not mean that I believe that religion, government, the democratic party, and education are all inherently “sinister” and “ruinous”. Is the difference clear? Jumping from “some” to “all” like this is called a slippery-slope fallacy. It means that one’s deductive logic isn’t valid.

        • #8 by popreflection on January 13, 2013 - 9:59 AM

          Well and you are free to hold this ignorant view as much as much as you like. As I said, I don’t do newbie education. If all the things that have happened throughout history and continue to happen in the name of religion don’t strike you as ruinous and sinister, then that makes you part of the problem now doesnt it? You have that sentiment in common with a lot of religious people who scream how misunderstood religion is, yet go back and elect policies and politician who utilize religion to oppress and subjugate others – either directly by force or by introducing legislation aimed at taking away their autonomy and right to self determination and dignity.

          I personally don’t care what you believe in – easter bunny, santa clause, jesus, big foot – as long as your beliefs don’t leave your 4 walls and dont enter public policy, you can believe in purple tea cups orbiting the earth as your deity. The thing with religion, however, is that it is rarely confined to one’s personal realm and almost always infests public policy. The roman catholic church spent nearly 2 million this last election cycle on anti same sex marriage efforts – from its tax exempt dollars. I mean it is a good thing not more people are struggling economically so that the catholic church can spend shit loads of its tax exempt money on hatred. Just like Jesus would do. And no, a woman’s happiness is not increased when her autonomy and her reproductive, and with it her family planning and economic choices, are eroded away by lawmakers who want to vaginally probe her per law in order to shame her into carrying to term a pregnancy she does not want. And why? Because of their religious belief that abortion constitutes murder or as Santorum had stated once, sex was for procreation only so health care providers should not pay for a woman’;s contraception, even though no one has ever disputed that health care providers pay for viagra in order to keep a man hard and erect. I call that pretty damn ruinous to the woman whose humanity and autonomy are being taken away based on someone else’s religious views. And lawmakers standing up there denying young girls HPV vaccinations paid for by their health care plan because again it involves sex which they consider an immoral act based on their religion, is pretty damn ruinous to the girl who is not getting her vaccination and then runs the risk of getting HPV and with it cervical cancer. So no, you do not need a study to prove to you that the are some serious life and death consequences to the views religious people hold. That is nothing but a strawman.

          How ignorant and callous can one be that one is able to acknowledge that rape (forcing a woman to do something with her body she doesn’t want to) is a terrible thing, but the denial of abortion (forcing a woman to do something with her body she doesn’t want to ) is a moral imperative? I’m really hard-pressed to see why I should be any less contemptuous of a man who sits at a big mahogany desk in Washington making decisions about my body without my consent than I should be of a man who used physical force to make decisions about my body without my consent.

          Ultimately the difference between a society run by religious doctrine vs a society not run by religious doctrine is that the society not run by religious doctrine respects aa person’s autonomy, humanity as well as the right to choose their own path (not just with respect to abortion). The non religious influenced, pro choice position does not force anyone to get an abortion who does not want one; the anti-choice, religious position, however, prevents women who want abortions from getting them. The pro-marriage equality position of non religious people does not force anyone to marry a person of the same sex, nor require that any churches perform same-sex marriage ceremonies; the anti-marriage equality position influences solely by religion, however, prevents same-sex couples who want to get married from doing so and prevents churches who want to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies from doing so. The progressive position allows for individual choice; the conservative, highly religiously influenced position does not. The progressive position expands freedom; the conservative, religious position limits it. The progressive position treats women and LGBTQIs as autonomous, rights-bearing human beings deserving of full equality; the conservative, religious influenced position treats women’s bodies as state property and LGBTQIs as second-class citizens. Therein lies the difference. Now that you are in denial over that is your choice and your problem and not something I can help you with.

      • #9 by Debilis on January 13, 2013 - 11:30 PM

        You, too, are allowed your opinions, of course.
        To echo your sentiment, I’d say that everyone would be fine with you holding them, so long as they stay within the four walls of your home, and don’t inform your political decisions.

        Yes, that is a bit silly, but so no more than asking religious people (of any religion) to do the same with their beliefs.

        As to the opinions you state, I agree with many of them. I disagree with others. But those were never my point. I was wondering how you know that non-religious people are automatically morally superior to religious people. Simply citing a few cases (on either side) proves nothing other than that people are people.

        This is the kind of reasoning that has always been used to promote prejudice against a group – point out the worst things one can find and say that this is all “those people” bring to society.

        So, yes, we actually need to study if we are going to conclude that these few cases tell us the whole story.

        Personally, I suggest running a few searches on Google Scholar. You can find scientific data on whether or not religious people and communities are more destructive.

        • #10 by popreflection on January 14, 2013 - 10:30 AM

          To promote prejudice against a group. That is like the KKK saying that their dislike and hatred for black people has total validity and merit that ought to be respected and that attempts to stop their actions constitutes discrimination. Wow. That is like the king of France circa 1780 saying that the demands of his subjects for equity constitute an infringement upon his right to oppress them. How truly willfully ignorant and intellectually insincere do you have to be to draw such analogies and compare the struggle of freedom from religion to make a case for freedom of religion, which includes the imposing of a variety of religious beliefs onto the lives of non believers – with devastating and, yes, ruinous consequences.

          And the things stated above and all the terrible things that have happened in the name of religion are not just “a few cases here and there” and opinion – those are facts. Historic facts, whether you like them or not. The only thing that is an opinion around here is religion, with its superstitions, fairy tales and myths that are being, literally, shoved up my vagina. Religion has made the lives of millions of people miserable, to state it mildly, for thousands of years and continues to do so with people like you holding on until the bitter end insisting that in fact it is those being oppressed that got it all wrong. It is almost like you are gaslighting “no no, you are misunderstanding. This is all in your head. You are imagining this, religion is good for mankind. This is all in yuor head, you are crazy” Uh-huh.

          Finally, I do challenge you to name one piece of legislation, policy or bill that was introduced taking into account atheist beliefs and subsequently has had adverse effects on the lives of people; legislation other than demands of separation of church and state. As stated in the previous comment, atheists do not force anyone to do anything they do not want and in fact believe in the dignity of human life and in respecting peoples’ autonomy and right to self determination, living their lives, making their own choices and determining their own path as they see fit (within limits). On the other hand, it is religious people who repeatedly interject their beliefs into public policy – from school prayer to “in god we trust” on the bills to a myriad of other policy choices, some of which do have very real life and death consequences (stem cells etc). To accuse atheists of interjecting their beliefs into other peoples’ lives like religious people do, is again ignorant, deceptive and just flat out false and aimed at doing nothing but maintaining the status quo. You seem to be under the impression that the things i pointed out – which are only the tip of the iceberg and stand out – are just some minor, inconsequential side issues while the bulk of religion is just so good and dandy for human kind. Denial, gaslight, project, obfuscate. All too familiar silencing tactics.

      • #11 by Debilis on January 14, 2013 - 6:05 PM

        Now we have moved on to the question of whether or not these things are the norm. That would require a study.
        Personally, I’ve never seen a study showing this, but I’m open to the idea that there could be one.

        As for “atheist” legislation, atheism isn’t a belief system. But there are a number of laws that preclude the possibility of certain religions being true. Whether I agree with the laws or not (and I do agree with many of them), its no different to say that my voting for them is “sinister” than to say the same about their voting.

        That is, unless we have a study showing that what they are voting for really is ruinous.

        • #12 by popreflection on January 14, 2013 - 9:29 PM

          Ok, I see we are going in circles. Your comment has been noted. May you find all the studies you need to be a Mensch.

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