But noooooo. People – even those in our supposed-to-be secular government – are constantly trying to foist their particular religion on the rest of us – and have been for over 200 years. Placing crosses and 10 Commandments on public property is no different from gang-bangers tagging buildings in their neighborhood or dogs pissing on fire hydrants. It’s simply a form of marking turf and saying we are in charge here.
Here are a few other things God also wants (or wanted):
Spina bifida, cockroaches, serial killers, landslides, osteoporosis, hurricanes, cavities, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo TV show, flat tires, tornados, hemorrhoids, diabetes, bad breath, kidney disease, leprosy, polio, pot holes, farts, boogers, pimples, eczema, warts, mosquitos, mold, rats, plague, the (Jewish) Holocaust, all the other holocausts, Richard Nixon, pigeon poop, tsunamis, crappy Wi-Fi reception, diarrhea, excessive earwax, alopecia, urine that smells like asparagus, phlegm, frostbite, fish die-offs, broken shoelaces, people who don’t have their payment ready at the cash register, myopia, hip dysplasia, humidity, influenza, Hell (see 9 Circles of Atheist Hell), DVDs that skip, breast cancer, lung cancer, throat cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, the other 100+ kinds of cancer, the 1969 Chicago Cubs, tapeworms, hair where you don’t need it, no hair where you do need it (see alopecia above), Adolph Hitler, jellyfish, poisonous snakes, poisonous everything else, dogs who wipe their asses on carpets, unappreciative cats…
A perpetually non-air-conditioned Catholic church in August in Chicago. You are sentenced to an eternal wedding mass which includes taking communion, doing all the Stations of the Cross, and an interminable homily about the sanctity of marriage from a man who’s never been married and never will. You had to go to confession beforehand, during which the priest recognized your voice and knew you were bullshitting him with venial sins to try to get the confession over with quickly.
The groom’s bachelor party was the night before where you were timed to see how fast you could drink juice glasses full of warm Southern Comfort. In church you notice grass stains on your suit, and 4 of your fingers are swollen. You don’t know whether to puke or pass out.
The L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibit on Hollywood Blvd. Because you gave the church all your money and can no longer afford housing, you are sentenced to an eternity of talking tourists from Des Moines into forsaking the religion they grew up with by trying to convince them that aliens landed on earth 75 million years ago on modified DC 8 airplanes.
When Tom Cruise arrives (yes, he’s there too) to inspire the workers, you are punished for laughing at his height. They hook you up to an e-meter with a short in the circuitry and shock you until you salute an animatronic L. Ron Hubbard in his navy costume for stints of 10,000 years.
That’s right, if you’re not going to church, not tithing, not praying, not doing all the things that will get you a 50-yard-line seat in the afterlife, you are screwed in the eyes of most Abrahamic religions and walking on thin ice in many of the others. Religion favors the devout, so if you’re watching football on Sunday morning, you might as well own up to the “A” word. You’re going to burn either way. (I should point out that any religion that doesn’t have some version of hell associated with it isn’t worth worrying much about. Sorry Bahá’ís)
But don’t worry atheists; you’ll have plenty of company in H-town. Let’s look at the numbers.
At over 2 billion adherents, Christianity is the world’s largest religion. But it only comprises just over 30% of the world’s people. That means that on a good day, almost 70% of those who die worldwide will be taking a dip in a lake of fire. (See John 3:16-20 for confirmation that non-Christians are BBQ-bound.)
Of course, plenty of God-fearing Christians will miss the exit ramp to the Pearly Gates too. Even a casual tune-in to the TBN will reveal the many roads to perdition. So can we safely say that (even Christians believe that) at least 3 out of 4 people are destined for eternal damnation? Easily 3 out of 4.
No matter how you crunch it, all individual religions are a vast minority in the world.
I happen to think the “War on Christmas” is a hyped-up Fox News (sic) creation that lines up nicely with the rest of their business model: convince the American public that something dear to them is in imminent danger of being ripped from their bosoms – so they’ll keep watching… Fox News.
The rippers are, variously, the liberals, Hillary Clinton, socialism, Nancy Pelosi, the left, Hillary Clinton, the atheists, Barak Obama, everyone in California, and Hillary Clinton.
But this war is really more like a highly localized skirmish, and there is at least a little blame to go around for people being uptight during this time of year. So here I will attempt to straighten things out with some frank talk to both the Christians who think Satan’s minions (and Hillary) are trying to put a halt to everything Christmas, and to the atheists who become enraged every time they see Santa Claus.
11. Take a moment every day to be grateful
No matter how bad it gets, someone out there is worse off or dead. That’s the bottom line, isn’t it?
You, on the other hand (if you’re actually reading this and not merely in a coma), aren’t dead yet.
So there’s that.
It’s just got to be mentally healthy to shift your thinking from what’s wrong with the world (or your life) to what’s right — at least once in a while. Hope springs eternal.
I don’t know who the hell this Hope is, but I think she’s got the right idea… springing like she does… whatever that means.
Don’t think just because the odds are long that there is a creator/designer behind a rare event. If a gust of wind blows a can of paint off your roof and it happens to explode all over the new patio furniture your wife just bought at the OSH going-out-of-business sale, the spatter pattern it would (theoretically) generate would be unique… gazillions to one to ever re-create the exact same pattern. Did this rare and singular event have a creator or designer that fine-tuned that spill? No. It just happened. An accident. Nobody’s fault. Nobody at all…
The following article originally appeared in the July/August 2011 edition of The American Rationalist. At the beginning of any discussion of the (non) existence of God, one might do well to dismiss Stephen Jay Gould’s notion of “non-overlapping magisteria,” that is, the idea that those things with which science concerns itself and those things with which religion …
Yeah, yeah, yeah, stealing is wrong. Even apes and wolves know that. Try grabbing a gorilla’s last banana and making a run for it. When he catches you, shakes you like a can of spray paint, eats the banana you stole in front of you, and shoves the peel into your ear, that’s his way of saying stealing is wrong.
Because he instinctually knows – as do we – that stealing is wrong. How many apes can recite the 10 Commandments?(Probably about as many as congress members.)
The point is that if apes don’t need this spelled out, why do we?
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
This is a problem. Every major pro sport plays on Sunday. God doesn’t want to mess with the NFL.
And Christian women, look closely at this commandment and notice who doesn’t get a day off… YOU!
Cattle get the Sabbath off. Strangers within thy gates (there are plenty of these in my neighborhood) get the Sabbath off. Slaves? Yep. (and this is pre-OSHA)
Women? Sorry. No.
One more thing here. Why does the all-powerful creator of the universe need rest? Does he get tired after a long week of whipping up matter and energy? Is he out of breath or have a stitch in his side? If you are ALL-powerful, you are in tremendous shape. Ironman triathletes don’t have to rest when they walk up a flight of stairs. Apparently God does.