Sometimes, For All to Live, Something Must Die

Christianity’s most outrageous and ruinous conceptual coup has also been its most brilliant, and has positioned the church for success in perpetuity by poisoning the well of humankind until the end of time. In a single stroke, this odious religion has enslaved a large portion of the human species by implanting the following malignant, two-headed brainworm into a hundred generations of potentially reasonable people:


 a) Instead of being an integral and necessary part of the way the universe works, death is a curse (hence dreaded – not simply feared, as our biology would have it) incurred by “sin”(hence “a shame,” especially if self-inflicted).


b) Christianity offers a way to avoid that curse even as one appears to succumb to it.


The latter an inconvenient datum that is rationalized to insignificance (Granny didn’t really die, she just went home to be with Jesus), a way into eternal life. And it indoctrinates children with that nonsense before they’re old enough to recognize the difference between fantasy – especially of the wishful thinking variety – and reality.


That’s why Christianity is never going to go away. Talk about brilliant! Is any more effective program of mind control even conceivable?
Continue reading “Sometimes, For All to Live, Something Must Die”

On Dealing with the Mystery of Death and the Inevitability of Extinction

(Written on my goddamn sixty-fifth birthday)

I’m going to begin this uncharacteristically brief essay with a bit of personal disclosure: I am a philosophy-program dropout. If William Lane Craig is reading this (and he isn’t), I’m sure he’s sneering at me. That’s fair: I certainly sneer at him often enough.

The degrees I managed to accrue (four at last count) while wending my way through various academic programs over the course of more than three decades are all in music. But I did spend a couple of years in a graduate program in philosophy and accumulated almost enough course credit for a masters-level degree in a field for which I was and am surely unsuited. Thinking appeals to me: mind games don’t. (To paraphrase the sorely-missed George Carlin, if I’m going to spend my time masturbating, I want to have a little something to show for it when I’m done.)

For this onetime student of philosophy, Edmund Husserl was the lion at the gate. About midway through my fourth semester in the program, as I slogged my way through Husserl’s opaque, byzantine, parenthetic prose larded with specialized terminology apparently shared by no one, it occurred to me that what I was reading shed far more heat than light on the problems that I found interesting, and that my brain was hurting not because it was growing but because it was under assault. I lost interest in making the effort and walked away.
Continue reading “On Dealing with the Mystery of Death and the Inevitability of Extinction”