Dreaming of Neverland: Faith and Extinction

This essay is my response to a song from Peter Pan. Here’s a video

Many historians and observers of the human condition have likened the “stages of life” of civilizations and empires to those of individual human beings. They have spoken of the birth, infancy, adolescence, maturity and senescence and, of course, death of countries and cultures. This is, needless to say, a poetic use of language; but poetry often serves as a vehicle for truths that cannot be conveyed nearly so well – or perhaps at all – by other means.

 

I want to take this line of thought a step further: I propose that the human species as a whole follows a parallel developmental trajectory, and that there are valuable insights to be gained by recognizing it. It may be a bit surprising to some, exactly where I fix the watersheds.

 

In a nutshell: I liken our Pleistocene, Paleolithic condition to the childhood of the species, and reckon its condition ever since the Agricultural Revolution to be a form of adolescence out of which we are currently struggling to emerge into full maturity. Dotage is far in our future, and whether our species will survive to see it is very much an open question.
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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?
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How do you view the future? (Jehovah’s Witness Leaflet)

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Everything from the leaflet will be typed in italics. How do you view the future? Will our world… 

  • stay the same?
  • get worse?
  • get better?

Well already we don’t have much of a choice do we? My first reaction, if this had been spoken at the door, or I mean to say if they were unlucky enough to have me greet them at my door, would be “why is it any of your concern what my view of the future is?” Regardless of my rudeness, I can see why they point towards the future to get followers. As I have been known to say, if the human race had found a cure for death, or no fear of it, religion would become obsolete. It is our fundamental flaw of fear (poetic no?) which the religious plays upon. I don’t fear hell as I know it is fiction, it holds no weight with me. I fear death in a normal sense: missing loved ones, them missing me, having to leave once the party is still going on, knowing I will miss the next Batman movie etc. I do not fear death enough to make believe I will attend a theme park afterwards, which will be even better than this life. My fear isn’t strong enough to make me deluded or irrational. So using peoples’ fear of the future is a cheap tactic of the shameless.

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