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Originally published at jeremyjarratt.com. Please leave any comments there.

I was raised as an ordinary kid in a family that didn’t really attend church every single Sun-day but still did so frequently. My friend Mark Carper took me to an anti-rock & roll preacher sideshow at his church, the Colonial Baptist Church in the hills to the East of Nuke City. It was through that incalculably bizarre experience that i came to accept Christ the Redeemer into my heart, lungs, knees, ears, nose, and throat. I even destroyed some of my favorite LPs.

Later i became more moderate.

My grandparents (she a lapsed Catholic, i’m not too sure what he was before they became Methodists), right-thinking they were, didn’t have me baptized, reasoning that i’d do it myself if that’s what i truly wanted. So at the age of 14 i cleansed my spirit like good old St. John (but with just a dab of water, not a whole damn river).

But the whole time i was a devout Christian, i kept asking questions of our Sunday School teachers: Why are there so many religions? How do we know that Buddhism isn’t the one true religion? If killing is wrong, why does god kill so many people all the time when he gets in his moods? &c.

I’d also heard about how the Beatles found enlightenment in the East, and wondered how it could be that those four English chaps could make records so vastly incomparably better than our own Pat Boone, he of such good moral standing and strong Christian faith.

By and by, i grew up, started smoking cigarettes and screwing girls and reading books of dubious moral value. I got turned on to pot and LSD and started realizing that there is so very much more to the universe than this nice, tidy little story we’re all told in Sunday School. I realized that there are simply cultures that are incompatible with the overall Christian blueprint, much revised over the centuries as it had become. It seemed to me that Christianity obviously couldn’t be the One True Religion it heralded itself to be.

Then my uncle Stephen found himself dying from AIDS. Why should god be so incredibly crappy to us humans? After he died, my grandmother noticed that his name was no longer printed in the church directory under our family’s listing. She was understandably incensed, having taken that as an indirect denial of his continued presence as part of the hallowed twinkling in the Lord’s eyes. She pretty much lost her shit over that.

That was the final straw for me as well. I figured out real quick that Christianity, at least in its current incarnation, is about the most phony fucking gig in town.

I explored elsewhere: first Wicca, then paganism and other namby-pamby New Age spiritualities, then North American Indian shamanism, then Taoism, then Buddhism, then Hinduism, then various forms of the occult, then Qabala Judaism (not the Hollywood crap), then more occultism (including Satanism). When i finally found Eris and read the Principia Discordia (i am now a full-ass Pope*), and dove into the Church of the SubGenius (where i am a reverend), i realized what i should have known all along: all religions are full of crap. As far as i can tell, they all DO point to the same thing: lies and self-heresy. I took from all this only two things: the concept of WILL (Crowley) aka INTENT (Castaneda), and the simple damn idea that you should be nice to your fellow organisms, whoever they are, avoiding stupid, fruitless endeavors like hitting them over their heads with rocks (wherever possible).

Having had an interest in science from a young age, i always valued truth over fiction, lies, fabrications, or embellishments. I still see truth as an unalterable thing: all things being measurable, one must have mass and either be at rest or in motion. Relativity does not mean that these values are subjective. Killing another human being cannot possibly be “wrong” for one person, but “right” for another. It is either right or it is wrong. The fact that individual humans can measure the same thing and come up with wildly varying answers only points out the flaws in each of our lenses. There must be a correct solution which is not invalidated by any other.

Therefore, i reject god in all its forms, because it makes no sense in the context of the rest of nature which we have studied for the same number of millenia and have a pretty good grasp of in contrast.

*actually, my title is CounterPope

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Originally published at jeremyjarratt.com. You can comment here or there.

I put together this YouTube playlist of Carl Sagan’s “You Are Here”/”Pale Blue Dot” speech. I highly recommend checking it out.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ’superstar,’ every ’supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

“The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

“The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

“Ann Druyan suggest an experiment: Look back again at the pale blue dot of the preceding chapter. Take a good long look at it. Stare at the dot for any length of time and then try to convince yourself that God created the whole Universe for one of the 10 million or so species of life that inhabit that speck of dust. Now take it a step further: Imagine that everything was made just for a single shade of that species, or gender, or ethnic or religious subdivision. If this doesn’t strike you as unlikely, pick another dot. Imagine it to be inhabited by a different form of intelligent life. They, too, cherish the notion of a God who has created everything for their benefit. How seriously do you take their claim?”

- Carl Sagan

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Originally published at jeremyjarratt.com. You can comment here or there.

(I posted this as a response to some angry and unpleasant conservative’s blog post comment, and figured if i was going to do any research at all, i may as well reap the benefit of publishing it here as well, since that person might not be able to read very well anyway.)

McCain is 72 and has had melanoma. That means skin cancer. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is currently about 75 years for males. And he was a smoker for many years of his life, quitting in 1980 when he was about 44.

You do the math.

If McCain’s elected, we MAY very well wind up with a backstabbing moron who thinks dinosaurs and humans coexisted a mere few thousand years ago, speaks in tongues, believes in witches, can’t pronounce the name of the thousands of planet-killing warheads she’s going to have her hands all over, and thinks that the END of the fucking WORLD is a GOOD thing(?!!).*

But she winks and says something folksy (meaning, retarded and hillbilly) and mindless Republicans all over the country swoon.

It never fails to shock me how brutally ignorant conservatives are.

 

*in my book, anyone who WANTS the world to end is on the side of evil. Like Doctor Doom evil.

March 2011

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