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In Which Jesus Is Not An Objectivist

April 20th, 2011 No comments

[Note: The audio version of this will be available sometime soon on The Pod Delusion. Thanks to Salim Fahdley and James O’Malley for that.]

The impending release of the film version of Atlas Shrugged reminds me of one of the lowest, darkest and most desperate periods in my life. Actually reading Atlas Shrugged.

Looking back, I realize that I fit the social demographic perfectly – I was emotionally retarded.  Just out of high school, friends with a lot of girls but with no girlfriend and having turned my back in mild defiance of Christianity, I desperately searched for some reason to explain why I always wound up on the losing end of things when I felt as if I gave so much. 21st century me now knows that I was simply an enabling co-dependent with low self-esteem and the solution lay in the halls of Al-Anon, a therapist’s office and perhaps some serotonin inhibitors.

20th century me, however, grabbed for the biggest, longest and most unwieldy book I could find to make me not feel stupid. At that point, it could have been any book, but it turned out to be Atlas Shrugged. During the summer of 1980 I devoured every line and possibly even masturbated to the image of sharp-featured, dominatrix Dagny Taggart. I knew nothing about objectivism  or Ayn Rand or what a miserable human being she was. All I knew was that, finally, I found good, concise, well-reasoned reasons to tell the rest of the world to fuck off.  I was, at last, better than everyone else.

And I’m terribly, terribly sorry for that.

If, for some unknown reason, you plan to see movie version of Atlas Shrugged, it’s important to arm yourself with this key fact – Rand was a loser who wrote books for losers. Objectivism isn’t so much about strength as it is about not being perceived as weak.  It’s about BIG talk and BIG ideas and BIG actions that can only exist in a self-deluded world of fiction where silly things like “fact”, “logic” and “the laws of gravity do not exist.

Which is another way of saying it’s the perfect Republican bible.  Or would be if Republicans didn’t already have a bible.  But they do. And it’s called “The Bible”

And the two books simply cannot co-exist in the same philosophical space. Sorry.  Just can’t happen. It’s like matter annihilating anti-matter – it ends in an explosion of stupidity and schizophrenia, which, now that I think about it, is the current definition of the Republican party.

If you’re unfamiliar with either books, here’s a brief synopsis.

The Bible: Book one –  God makes everything. He tells the Jews they’re the chosen people and to obey him. They don’t.

The Bible: Book Two – God takes a different tack and decides to rule by guilt. He kills his son, a nice young man who tells us to love each other and help the poor, and condemns us to Hell if we don’t continually thank him for that. And then the world ends.

Atlas Shrugged – The world is going to hell, so all the smart people leave and set up their own cool kids club in a magical pristine canyon that nobody can find. They live happily ever after never having to care about poor people or clean up after the mess they helped create.

Notice any areas of dichotomy there?

Jesus –  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

John Galt –  Fuck the poor

Jesus –  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me.

John Galt –  Fuck the poor

Jesus –  Gimme some loaves and fishes and everybody eats

John Galt – If you think you’re getting any of MY food, think again, leech.

This is why America is so totally screwed right now – Right-wing Christian teabagging Republicans have the ideological hots for an amphetamine-addicted, atheist adulteress.  The party that damn near closed my government down because women shouldn’t have the right to abortion because God don’t like it reaches for the Viagra when they read Atlas Shrugged. The party that whines about gay marriage as an affront to God has no such problem when it comes to Ayn Rand. The party that spits on me because I’m not Christian swallows when it comes to Ayn Rand.

After all, I’m not the one that said “Faith is the worse curse of mankind, as the exact antithesis and enemy of thought.” That was Ayn Rand

In Which I Made A Mistake…But Not Really

April 5th, 2011 No comments

The other day, I noticed a picture in my BBN Facebook feed of not very flattering picture of a woman and a LOT OF CAPITALS. The gist of the post was that this woman was AN ASSHOLE and UGLY and a WICCAN and something about BUDDHISM, too. It also blasted her name all over the place and pretty much urged people to harass her for…her religious beliefs.  BBN left a comment praising the poster for doing exactly what Jesus would have done – kicking her in the face and sending her to Hell because “even Jesus knows there some sheep that ain’t worth saving.” Encouraged, I left another comment saying that Jesus didn’t like ugly people. I knew something was up when the author of the post liked both comments.

I don’t know about your Facebook experience, but with BBN I barely know anyone who on my feed. I may take a quick look to see if they’re in on it or if I’ve hooked someone, especially some xtian, but I generally forget who they are after that. Taking a look at this guy’s profile, it turns out he’s gay and probably not an xtian conservative. Rather, he was a radical atheist…kicking the shit out of a Buddhist…who probably deserved it because we know how pushy and evangelical Buddhists get.

The odd thing is, I’d already considered writing something about radical atheists because of this video

 

The guy that posted it crowed, “See what you’ve done, Terry Jones!”, a reference to the asshole that wanted to burn Korans because…um…burning paper is…um…fun…I guess. The first thought that entered my head was, “Hm. I wonder if this woman got bent out of shape of the Terry Jones flap?” The second thought I had watching watching her rip pages out of a cheap copy of the New Testament while saying “I believe compassion is everything”  was, “what the fuck.” Let me get this straight – you believe compassion is everything so rather than attempting to understand Christians you’re going to destroy the text their belief system is based on?

Here’s the dictionary definition for compassion

a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Where, in the burning of a bible, does the alleviation of suffering come in? Comparatively, where is the compassion in telling gays they deserve AIDS?

I’ve got the same problem with radical Atheism that I do with radical religion of any stripe. It’s not a new statement to say that Modern Atheism became its own religion. Rather than saying “religion is shit” they’re ironically hell-bent on getting everyone else to believe that religion is shit. Which, by the way, is one of the definitions of evangelism – getting everyone to believe what you believe.

Honestly, I don’t mind people telling me their opinions. I find it interesting to see other people’s thought processes. A line gets crossed when they expect me to believe they’re right just because they say so. Another line gets crossed when you start behaving like the “enemy”.  I like the bus-billboards atheists put out saying “Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone” and “Millions are good without God”. Those are good solid messages. “You know Jesus is a lie” does nothing to promote atheism. It’s just meant to piss off Christians, not all of which are lunatic assholes. All it does is make them feel superior. Which, I thought, wasn’t supposed to be the point. The point is not buying into some system of belief that causes conflict. The moment atheism becomes aggressive is stops being not-religion.

I hate the song “Imagine.” I’m not just saying that for effect.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on why until Elvis Costello pointed out “Was it a millionaire/Who said imagine no possessions?” The same holds true the “and no religion, too” part that gets atheists all squishy or hard depending on their gender. Perhaps Lennon really meant all that stuff. Personally, I doubt it, mostly because I’m suspect of “anthems” of any kind. It’s the paradox of leading a group of individuals. Plus you can’t discount the profit motive. If Lennon were still alive, he’d be right next to Bob Dylan while the Traveling Wilbury’s shilled for Diet Coke or Depends adult diapers.

Imagine endless comfort
You know the reason why
You know you’ve got a diaper
That always keeps you dry
….
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
When you’ve got your Depends on
Then the woooorld can be fun!

 

If you consider yourself an atheist and that offends you, then I’d suggest you’re putting to much stock into some outdated notion of spirituality.

I’m just sayin’