05 August 2011

What to do about the gods

I am an atheist, in the literal translation of the word "atheism"--"without theism".

At one time, I was an aspirant to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America; in fact, my first go-round through collegiate level schooling (in the early 1980’s at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), I was officially pre-seminary.

Basically, what ECUSA wants is a bachelor's degree in social sciences or liberal arts before seminary, though exceptions are often made, so I was studying in the political science department. It was not until mid-spring semester my junior year that I decided that was not what was for me, and I began my conversion to the Catholic Church, in which I practiced diligently until finally having to admit to myself my unbelief in the ludicrous.

I've studied pretty much every religion in the world--all branches of Christianity, most forms of Buddhism, all forms of Judaism, Jainism, Sikhism, a little Bahai, Hinduism, neo-Paganism, Daoism, and some Islam--and I've come to the conclusion that no one knows what the hell they're talking about.

The Daodejing, the foundation text of Daoism, begins with the words "The Way (Dao) that can be described is not the true Dao; the Name that can be named is not the True Name".

In other words, anything humanity says about the Ultimate, the Infinite, is an illusion.

Organized religions are about trying to define the Ultimate, the Infinite, in terms humanity can grasp, in order to gain control, even as one claims subservience.

There is a certain amount of truth in the axiom of magic that to know a thing's name is to control it, because in claiming to know and in propounding that pretended knowledge to others, the pretenders are attempting to seize control of that Ultimate, that Infinity, as "its" chief lackeys, the "powers behind the throne", as it were.

The problem lies in the fact that every form of religion humanity has begotten and birthed could only have come from the culture in which it is born; "culture", about which the preminent anthropologist Clifford Geertz has said, "Man is an animal, suspended in a web of significance he himself has spun".

I have too much respect for the Ultimate, the Infinite, if such exists, to make any claims of knowledge or pretend to such lofty authority, and therefore am "without theism", and without religion. All religions, in fact, are an insult to "God".

The alternate translation of “atheism”, of course, is “without god(s)”.

That’s similar to the correct translation of “anarchy”: anarchy does not mean “without rules”, it means “without rulers”. It is not about creating disorder but about bringing about the conditions which will allow voluntary order, a Cooperative Commonwealth, hopefully of all humanity.

The fictional Klingons of the Star Trek Universe decided their gods were more trouble than they were worth, so they killed them all. I like that idea.

The actual nonfictional Irish in ancient myth and legend only killed some of theirs before driving them underground to live as the Daoine Sidhe. Also an acceptable solution.

Even today Zen teaches that if you meet the Buddha on the road, you should kill him. The idea is that each human should be their own Buddha. Expanding that idea to other religions or schools of philosophy, each should be their own Christ, Prophet, Messiah, Mahavira, Guru, theoretician, ideologist, philosopher, etc.

Sometimes I think that the reason all religion is blasphemy is because each of them has been cooked by those who were shallow enough to believe that gods were meant to serve any other purpose than as a sacrifice for humans to recognize their own freedom and self-sufficiency.

Supernatural beings aren't the only gods who need a stake shoved up their arses to be roasted on a spit. Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, and any other gods of Marxist orthodoxy, their time is way past due to end, especially since none of them were ever Marxist in the first place.

In fact, when Lenin seized power, he set up what by his own words was the state capitalism of the German Junker aristocracy, the very people against whom Marx began his lifelong crusade.  He also imposed upon the proletariat of the former Russian Empire the noxious methods of labor management against which theeir cousin in America had been struggling for decades called "Taylorism", as well as systematically destroying every avenue through which the workers themselves were attempting to take control over their own lives.

Marx at least knew when not to be a Marxist, propagandizing against the slave-holding South even as he acknowledged the capitalist imperialism of the North, whose position he was supporting.

The same goes for the gods of capitalism such as Smith and Greenspan, of course, but they're not the ones fucking up my end of the political spectrum.

The Trotskyists are the worst of the above lot, and now they straddle both ends of the political spectrum in America, the earliest of the neocons being ex-Trotsky disciples who carried the worst aspects of that ideological tendency into the right-wing they now love so well and have proceeded to fuck up just as badly as their predecessors have done and are still doing to the Left in the name of being true to the teachings of their god.

Until the majority of the people in the world accept our right and responsibility to think for ourselves, none of us will be citizens, only subjects of petty powers-that-be, pawns in their chess games, slaves of their avarice and ambition.

The time has come to kill the gods, or at least conquer them and drive them underground.

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