Who IS this guy?!

'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Religious musing in four acts...

Parte the first...

This came as absolutely no surprise to me. None at all.

After all… the more you REALLY KNOW about Religion, the less likely you are to buy into any of it. At least that how I look at it. Because I believed once… before I really knew much about it. So it doesn’t surprise me in the least that many others have apparently taken the same path… Or went the opposite way: Starting from non-belief, looked for something to believe in and came up empty. Hey, I may be making an improper jump from positive correlation to causality here, but what can I say? This just makes sense…

And amuses me, to no end. LOL


Parte the seconde...

This post started out as something completely different, and I’d like to leave the infinite wisdom of atheism aside for the moment and talk about something else...

I originally planned to write a really scathing, venting post about Pastor Eddie Long, and use that to segue into a scathing, venting rant about Pope Benedict – discussing both men’s involvement in pedophilia: Long as a perpetrator and the former Cardinal Ratzinger as an enabler. The thing is… As I started to do research, I had a bit of a change of heart. Regarding Long it comes down to little more than a presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law. That’s a principle I believe in, and I’ll stand by it here. (Though Long MINISTRY is still a stinking pile of scumbaggery, but I’ll get to that in a moment.)

(And I still fully endorse what the chicks over on Jezebel.com had to say about him!)

But with the Pope, it was a little different.

Pope Benedict has his share of critics over what went on while he was Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1981–2005. Particularly after 2001, when that body was charged with taking over the investigation of allegations of Sexual Abuse and the disciplining of the Priests it found guilty. It’s very easy (and very fair) to say that, “More should have been done” and that “more needs to be done” and I don’t intend on giving the former Cardinal Ratzinger much credit for what progress has been made in these matters in the past decade.  Not enough was done, more needs to be done, and they’re predictable scapegoating of HOMOSEXUALITY in these matters is downright despicable. But the more I've read about the man, and his actions, the more I've come to realize that the truth was far more complicated than the picture I would be able to paint if I cherry-picked my information, and interpreted the rest in the most cynical light possible. I could easy have written a very (personally) satisfying post, vilifying the man and likely pissing off a lot of religious folks. And it’s not like pissing off religious folks isn’t one of my favorite hobbies, but I prefer to do this with what I see as the TRUTH, not shit that I honestly feel I'm making up.

And the truth as I see it is that while then Cardinal Ratzinger is perhaps no hero when it comes to fighting pedophilia in the priesthood, he is far from the enabler that he has sometimes been painted as, and he is very far from the villain in this whole sordid affair. In fact, progress didn't really start being made in full until he took over and got a sense of how widespread the problem really was. (Worldwide.) So while Pope-bashing may be a fashionable sport these days, and Benedict is pretty fucking far from being my favorite human being on earth, I’m NOT going to engage in it. Not out of any respect for the Holy See or the Catholic Church or Religion in general mind you, but out of respect for my own philosophy, and the fact that the truth depends greatly upon one’s own point of view. And thus it is incumbent upon us not to ever be too convinced that the reality we perceive – the one we create for ourselves – is necessarily the way things are; the only way they could possibly be.

The church will be drug over the coals for this, and that’s as it should be. And Pope Benedict, as its head, will receive his share of barbs over it. Which is also as it should be. My faith in that precludes the need for me to pile on. I’d have loved to… But I could not do so in good conscience.


Parte the thirde...

What I would like to do is to drop my two cents regarding the Gospel being preached by newly accused  / alleged pedophile Pastor Eddie Long: The Prosperity Gospel.

I’ve long held the view that the Prosperity Gospel is the most dangerous piece of theology to come down the pike since we stopped burning witches. And I made an analogy the other day, regarding Democrats and Republicans, that I think is equally apt when it comes to God, Satan and the Prosperity Gospel. The analogy was that of a Doctor and a Prostitute.

One wants you quit smoking, quit drinking, lose weight, exercise and undergo all manner of uncomfortable examinations and sometime painful procedures. The other will bring the beer and cigarettes and have sex with you. Which one is your friend?

(Yeah,  I know which one you'd rather be with NOW, but...  which one is REALLY your friend?)

Consider for a moment the Abramahic God. The God of the commandments. Of “thou shalt not...” Of  "passing a rich man through the eye of a needle,” and all that. Consider His message and the message of Jesus. You know… that guy who trashed the temple market, screaming about “money changers?”

Which role do you think He would more resemble – the Doctor or the Prostitute?

Now consider Satan. Consider sin. Consider temptation. Consider the nature of material greed. It should be pretty clear which role HE fits in.

Now consider the prosperity Gospel. Is it a Gospel of delayed gratification? A Gospel of Sacrifice? Of FAITH even?  Is it in any way shape of form the DOCTOR'S Gospel?

No it’s not. It’s not the Doctor's gospel at all. It the WHORE’S Gospel.

It’s the Gospel that brings the beer and cigarettes, and no small helping of venereal disease as well. It is a gospel that celebrates material wealth in THIS WORLD. It is a gospel that clearly rejects the message of the DOCTOR. The message of sacrifice, or self-restraint, of sacrifice and of delayed gratification, as one waits for the rewards that are to be found in heaven. In place it says: Grab all the cash you can! God WANTS you to have it! And don’t worry about the poor… God WANTS them to be poor! It’s their own fault for not following the Prosperity Gospel!

Or the PROSTITUTE’S Gospel, according to my analogy.

Now I'm not a religious mane, as you know.  But if there is a God, and there is a Satan, I have no doubt that the Prosperity Gospel, ranks among the latter’s singularly greatest achievements.


Parte the fourthe...

Last night, my darling, atheist, wife said that she wouldn’t want to go to heaven if it meant following (and thus ending up with the likes of)Jerry Fallwall, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, etc…

Well… what I told her was, assuming that there was some kind of afterlife with two or more destinations:

1) Since you and Falwell preach opposite things, you can’t BOTH be right.

BUT…

2) If you’re right? Rest assured, you and Fallwell will end up in different places.

3) And if he’s right? You and Fallwell will STILL end up in different places!

OTOH…

4) If you’re both wrong, you’ll both end up in the SAME place!

She hasn't laughed that hard in quite a while.

6 comments:

  1. I'm sure your wife has seen and been amused by this:
    "A new study shows that many devout Americans know less about religion than do atheists."
    From The Christian Science Monitor:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2010/0928/In-US-atheists-know-religion-better-than-believers.-Is-that-bad

    Especially if her atheism comes from studying and then rejecting religion.

    Great post - not the rant I expected from you - you must be getting soft in your old age.

    okiepoli

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  2. Okie,

    Yeah, well... That's OK as long as I'm not getting RELIGIOUS in my "old age." LOL

    And I DO sure love a good rant! They're certainly fun to write and, if done correctly, fun to read as well. :) And I had a pretty good one goind for a while there!

    But the more I looked into it (into Pope Benedict's role) the picture that emerged was quite simply decidedly COMPLEX. So THIS TIME, t just wasn't in me. I'm certainly not shy about accusing Conservatives of being oversimplistic, mistakenly placing complex issues into an unrealistic black and white context. And as tempting as it was - because I really am NO FAN of this Pope - I just couldn't see it.

    So my rant lost most of it's steam. And the only thing worse than a misinformed rant is a wishy-washy, half hearted one. So if couldn't go all out, I figured I'd be better off throwing it in and going with something more reflective and thoughtful.

    As for the CSM article? I'm calling serious BULLSHIT on the whole "evidence that Americans know the spirit better than the letter of religion" thing. That's bullshit spin and apologism, pure and simple. They can say that "academic questions [...] don’t reveal much about a person’s understanding of his/her faith tradition" but that point would fly a lot higher if this country wasn't inundated with charlatans preaching Bible Literalism and Prosperity Theology. These ideas are inherently wrong regardless of the religion they are applied to. Frankly, it's been my experience that when compared to the LOUDEST and most FINANCIALLY SUCCESSFUL Christians, atheists have not only a better ACADEMIC understanding of it, but a more profound SPIRITUAL understanding of it as well.

    But hey, that's just me. I can easily be reasonable on something like the Pope being a Nazi Collaborator or a Pedophile Enabler, but some things are still just plain wrong. (I feel a good rant coming on... LOL!)

    Thanks for your comment and for the additional link.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "That's bullshit spin and apologism, pure and simple."

    A little harsh, aren't we? Seriously Eddie, it IS The "Christian" Science Monitor. It would be different if it were SkepDic.

    Overall I find CSM to be fair with little bias, certainly better than any tract or church newsletter. Check out their "About us" page, check them on news articles that interest you, you might find an additional source.

    okiepoli

    ReplyDelete
  4. An interesting side note, one of the first books banned in England was... the holy bible.

    Well, translated into English, that is. They really only wanted religious leaders to be able to read the bible, fearful that if a more modern, advanced humanity reads it, that they would stray from religion in favor of reason.

    Apparently, their fears were unfounded. Not only would humanity stick with religion after a translated bible was introduced, they apparently don't bother to read much of it, either.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Okie - No, I don't really think it was overly harsh. The fact that is WAS the CSM is exactly why I reacted that way.

    It's SPIN. It's their way of making Religious Conservtaives look better. (As opposed to ignorant and uneducated, which is what the survey did.) In addition, it's plainly atheist bashing. Rather than give the atheists credit for actually bothering to do RESEARCH or acknowldging the more obvious point, IMHO, that the more one learns about it the less likely they are to keep believing it, they tack on some bullshit about how it's more about faith than about knowlegde.

    Yeah... that, or: people who think that way are, in general, either intellectually lazy and/or absurdly gullible.

    And if you think THAT'S harsh? Hey: My faith started to errode at AGE FIVE.

    I asked the Nun in Sunday school why there weren't Dinosaurs in the book of Genesis. (Because even at age FIVE I absolutley KNEW that the world didn't start out populated with humans.) I don't remember the exact answer she gave me, but I distinctly remember it not being anywhere near satisfactory, even to a five year old.

    Now... Since then, I've learned a very useful word: METAPHOR. Unfortunatley for religous folks, "metaphor" means that what the bible REALLY is, particulalry the old testament? Is MYTHOLOGY. It's a MYTH. Now... a MYTH can possess THRUTH, but it's basically devoid of FACTS. And when you consider the hypothesis that Religion (in general now, I'm not just talking about Christianity) puts out there, and what they ask of you in terms of sacrifice, behavior, belief and obedience? "Mythology" ain't anywhere's near enough to cut it. Not by a damned site.

    If religion were more reaosnable? I could be more reasonable about it. (And to the ones that are, I generally AM.) If religion stayed the hell out of politics? Shoot... I'd never even bring it up.

    But for all the damage it has done to our political system, ou rpolitical discourse, our laws, our freedom, and our WORLD...

    Frankly? I don't think there's much I can say that WOULD be "too harsh."

    That said, I'm actually a bit surprised you commented on this one (but thanks for doing so!) because I seem to remember you said you "were looking forward to some meaty posts that didn't involes baseball or religion" or something like that. :) (So I'm down two strikes this week; three if you count what I just said! LOL)

    I'm still glad you did though. We definitely need a few reasonable, rational conservatives around here to keep me honest.:) So thanks again for your comment, and for the article.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @DradeeusTheta - LOL! I love it! Great points, all.

    Thanks for your comment.

    ReplyDelete