I make no pretense about being tolerant.
I do not speak ill of those Christians who have the common sense to see that the Bible is not a literal history or inerrant word of God, who disregard the abundant savagery, obscenity, and cruelty exhibited by a sadistic, jealous, vindictive tyrant of a God in the Old Testament, and choose instead to focus only on the love and compassion spoken of in the New Testament.
But I detest and am extremely intolerant of brute and stupid minds that ought to know better, being the supposedly intelligent adults they claim to be, insisting that the Bible is the inerrant word of an invisible granddaddy in the sky and that anybody not believing exactly as they believe is doomed to an eternity of the cruelest suffering by their "loving" God. They ignore almost entirely those parts of the Bible that are truly inspirational and love-centered and instead cherry-pick those verses that justify their bigotry and hate. Hell yes, I am intolerant of those small-minded, hard-hearted, self-righteous fools.
My only peeve with the more loving and non-judgmental Christians is that they insist on calling themselves Christians. They ought to be eager to disassociate themselves entirely from the Christians who have caused and continue to cause so much hate and cruelty and violence in the world. By putting themselves under the same broad umbrella they are tacitly sanctioning the negative aspects of that religion. "Christian" is a man-made term. They could just as easily invent a new label for themselves, one with more positive connotations.
Here is some serious Bible (and Christian) bashing from some well known Bible bashers this editor might have heard of:
"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half of the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind. — Thomas Paine
"The Christian god is cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust." — Thomas Jefferson
"What is it the Bible teaches us? — rapine, cruelty, and murder." - Thomas Paine
"It has been fifty and sixty years since I read the Apocalypse [the book of Revelation], and then I considered it merely the ravings of a maniac." - Thomas Jefferson
"Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has raged and triumphed for 1,500 years?" — John Adams, describing the Christian religion
"What has been Christianity's fruits? Superstition, bigotry, and persecution." — James Madison
"The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession." — Abraham Lincoln
"In no instance have churches been the guardians of the liberties of the people." - James Madison
"Lighthouses are more useful than churches." - Benjamin Franklin
"This could be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it." — John Adams
"It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet that the one is not three, and the three are not one. But this constitutes the craft, the power and the profit of the priests." — Thomas Jefferson
"It is the fable of Jesus Christ, as told in the New Testament, and the wild and visionary doctrine raised thereon, against which I contend. The story, taking it as it is told, is blasphemously obscene." — Thomas Paine
"There is not one redeeming feature in our superstition of Christianity. It has made one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites." — Thomas Jefferson
"The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." — Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11, written during the administration of George Washington and signed into law by John Adams
So, Mr. Editor, I hope you'll forgive us Bible bashers the next time we engage in our own form of bashing. I'd say we're in some pretty good company.
Mr. Orr, once a person steps outside the little box of blind faith that you Christians confine yourselves to, we are in no way bound to your horrid demons and fairy tales of eternal suffering or the need to bow down blindly and obediently to a judging, sadistic God (whom you erroneously call a God of "love"). The threats of eternal damnation in your musty old book of primitive myths ring hollow. Your God is no more real than Zeus or the Wizard of Oz and your Satan is no more real than the imagined boogeyman in the closet of a child's imaginings.
We are free to curse your dastardly God because such a horrid deity as you worship does not exist. What manner of heavenly father would even conceive of such a place as hell with which to punish his children eternally for the mere "sin" of disbelief? If there be a real creator of the universe she/he/it is undoubtedly far, far greater and more magnanimous than you small minded Christians imagine (him) to be. She will not be so petty and jealous as to demand obedience and blind faith. It will encourage and respect our individuality and our choice to use our reasoning, thinking minds that it has bestowed upon us, to seek out truth and to lead our lives as autonomous beings, totally free, unbound by trivial creeds.
I feel sorry for you, sir. Let loose your mind. It is a great thing to be set free from the shackles of blind faith, superstition, and constricting, stale dogma. Truth is fluid and alive, all around you and within you, not static, not contained in any one book or preachings of some Biblical superstar, real or imagined, of 2000 years ago.
Without a doubt our government is corrupt now. But that corruption is not due to some inherent flaw in government itself; rather it is due to our politicians being too influenced by big money from corporations and the fat cats who are bribing them with huge payoffs and campaign contributions. The problem with our government now is that it has become an oligarchy, not the democratic republic that our forefathers envisioned. Our government needs cleaning up, not eviscerating.
To think that this nation of over 3 hundred million people of such diverse character, or even 50 individual states, could be run efficiently without a strong centralized government is nuts. The "individual freedom" that today's neo-cons like to speak of would amount to utter chaos, or at the very least, a return to the horrors of the Gilded Age of which David Cook speaks. We are very nearly seeing the horrors of that age manifest themselves before us here and now.
Nedneterville, we have likewise been hearing the "same hue and cry" from you government hating conservatives for over three decades now. Of course, conservatives have by and large always hated the very notion of a centralized government but since "government-is-the-problem" Reagan came on the scene the anti-government mantra from the right has reached shrill proportions, and you spout it in knee-jerk fashion, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.
But government has indeed gotten it right a lot of the time. Look at the entirety of the Bill of Rights - all conservatives and liberals agree, for the most part, on the brilliance of it. What was that but our elected representatives (government) coming together and collectively deciding what it would take to form a more perfect union for all citizens?
Look at the Civil Rights Act. Most sane people agree that civil rights trump states' rights and our Jim Crow laws were immoral and inhumane.
Look at Social Security, a glaring success for over 70 years, liked and appreciated by most liberals and conservatives alike - except for the most biased and irrational right-wingers and libertarians who like to call it a "Ponzi scheme." It is in trouble now, yes, but it's nothing that a little tweaking won't fix. It is not in need of trashing entirely and replacing with voluntary private investments - that would be a huge mistake.
Look at Medicare. Like SS, it is in trouble financially, too, but that is not because of a flawed system but because of out-of-control health care costs in general - something that Medicare-for-all would alleviate.
And look at how our public school system used to be - it was an indisputable success for over 30 years. What brought it down? The conservatives' obsessive mission over the years to "starve the beast." Through less and less funding these past thirty years, due in large part to an increased funneling of funding for vouchers, our public school system has become a wasteland, with no support or way of sustaining itself.
We have an economic and educational crisis in America and we cannot wait around for entrepreneurs to build a new private school here, a new private school there, with profit being their primary motivation. We need something done TODAY to address the huge problem of children from poor and working class families not getting a decent education, and those needs can only be addressed in a collective fashion, not piecemeal, in dribs and drabs. And besides, there are many things, such as education, health care and our penal system, that should not be considered a commodity, put up for sale in the marketplace.
Mr. Urbaniak, I'm sorry your letter was limited to 200 words or less. I would love for you to have explained the ways exactly that the Bible is "is continually proved to be accurate historically, archaeologically and prophetically." Christian scholars, archaeologists, and Biblical historians have been digging, searching, and hoping for centuries to unearth some new finding that "proves" the authenticity of Jesus or any of the Old Testament tales and characters, and as yet there has been NOTHING that validates the Bible stories or the vast majority of its characters, from Abraham to Moses to Herod to Jesus himself. Certainly some few of its characters are known to be real but most of them are as fictitious as Peter Pan. For example, King Herod was known to exist but there is no evidence outside the Bible that he slaughtered male infants en masse. Likewise there is no evidence outside the Bible that an Israelite named Moses really lived or that there was even a mass exodus of Jews wandering the desert for years and years. As for Jesus, every artifact or holy relic that has been discovered and supposedly related to him in some way - whether the Shroud of Turin or the Spear of Longinus or the Holy Grail - has been debunked as an outright fake or of dubious authenticity at best.
Some other interesting tidbits of info regarding the Bible: Pontius Pilate was a real, historical character, but there was actually no Roman custom of allowing the public to decide upon the fate of prisoners, such as the large mob of Jews supposedly did between Barabbas and Jesus. Nor did the Romans allow burial for those they crucified. It was customary for them to leave them hanging on the crosses as a deterrent to others. There was no census at the time that Jesus was supposedly born, nor did the town of Nazareth even exist then. When there really was a census established, long after Jesus (supposedly) lived, it was not necessary for any citizens to travel to register for it.
These are just a smattering of glaring historical inaccuracies. The list could go on and on.
Librul, I did not know that those videos were available on PBS. I will definitely check them out. I have been watching "Cosmos" with Dr. Tyson and it's great. But still, I think you can't beat Carl Sagan's old series. Sagan was one of a kind. He had an infectious enthusiasm about him that I've always found uplifting.
PT, I am indeed intolerant... of ignorance, bigotry, and self-righteousness. And I will always speak out against them. I have no desire to be accepted, respected, or understood by people who espouse ignorance and blind faith. They can either open their eyes and hearts and awaken their dormant intelligence to seek out truth, or they can go to hell, as far as I'm concerned. And speaking of hell (if there really were such a place), they are more likely to go there instead of that eternal paradise they THINK they are going to.
The notion of "original sin" is one of the most horrendous religious precepts ever to exist. It has done more to enslave humankind than any other tenet of Christianity. And there are still way too many feeble minded followers who ascribe to this pathetic, damnable doctrine. We will not have our much needed and long overdue Age of Enlightenment (21st century style) until that disgusting and pernicious doctrine is completely laid to rest. It should have been laid to rest a long time ago.
PT, if you are too blind and stupid to see how they do it every single day, spreading their message of hate, bigotry, and ignorance, cloaked in righteousness, then I'm not going to spend any more time trying to spell it out for you. I'm not talking about the more compassionate Christians who focus on loving and spreading good will. While I disagree with them as to their supposed need for clinging to the label of "Christian," I at least appreciate the fact that they have distilled the Bible down to its best parts, the few parts of it that really matter, and they have realized that it is neither history nor the sacred "word of God." I do respect them for that. But the fundies...nah. They deserve every bit of ridicule and scorn that anyone can heap upon them. They are despicable in their arrogance and self-righteousness.
Zableed, get over it, you weenie. Political cartoons are meant to mock and stir things up. That's just what they do! Besides, Christians deserve to be mocked and called out, at least the ones who constantly mock science and reason. Those cretins are always pushing primitive creeds and concepts down our throats, like original sin, the need for "salvation" and telling us that their religion is the only true religion and that America is supposed to be a Christian nation. Hell, this cartoon is pretty lame, actually. If they want to cling to a symbol of death and make an idol out of it and if they want to believe in a fictitious figure no more real than the Easter bunny and make a "savior" out of him, and if they want to take a musty old collection of myths and make it their sacred, inerrant "word of God," well, anybody that devoid of reason and plain old common sense deserves a good mocking now and then.