The New Enlightenment

The Bible is the beginning of wisdom, not the end of it
Jesus was a liberal, why aren't you?

This essay was riginally written for Bartcop-E in May of 2005 and has been modified for the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

If there's one thing the terrorist attacks of 9/11 have taught us, it's that the conviction of misplaced faith is as strong or stronger than the conviction of faith. Just because someone claims to be religious doesn't mean we should listen to them.

In the name of his G_d, Osama bin Laden kills innocent people for an evil cause.

Invoking his religion, Saddam Hussein repressed and killed thousands of his own people.

Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others insist that G_d honors those who teach children to blow up other children and themselves.

Sen. Bill Frist leads a choir claiming that G_d told them to keep a brain dead woman chained to a machine.

Judge Roy Moore and others claim that the Ten Commandments should be inscribed in stone in US courthouses, though they seem to have chiseled in an asterisk to allow for the death penalty and pre-emptive wars.

The Taliban wanted to have their country ruled by a very narrow interpretation of their ultra-conservative religious code.

The Republicans want to have the US ruled by a very narrow interpretation of their ultra-religious code.

The Ninth Commandment says not to lie, yet to be a Republican one must lie and believe lies. Clearly, telling the truth is not a value of the reigious right. From am early age, conservatives are taught to lie to sports refs if it's to their advantage. Later, social conservatives insist on lying to justify going to war. Conservatives are destroying the morals of our society, and all they can do is whine and point fingers at someone else. They refuse to hold themselves up to the same standards they demand of liberals and other true patriots. These Nine Commandment Christians are on the wrong side of a culture war of their own making.

I'm pissed off. I'm tired of every two-bit scumbag screaming "Lord Lord!" and being given a pass on the most stupid, destructive, unreligious and downright evil things imaginable. I want G_d back on the side of the good guys. That means us.

I believe in G_d. I'm not an atheist or an agnostic. I believe that the lesson taught by the story of Adam and Eve is that all humans are in the same family: People are more alike than they are different. I despise those who use religion to separate people.

I keep asking right-wing Christians: Jesus was a liberal, why aren't you?

There is never an answer. It pisses me off that many of the followers of the most liberal religious figure in history have turned into the most anal-retentive right wing mindless idiots.

On April 24, 2005, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a story trying to "balance" the views on Evolution and Intelligent Design. This story is no longer on the web. They urged readers to write in with their views. This was the letter I sent in, which did not see print.

The Bible contains all knowledge in the same way that an acorn contains all of an oak tree. We are not realized until we have fed from streams of knowledge, drunk waters of wisdom and reached toward the light. We must grow to fulfill God's plan for us.

We live in God's World. The Creator can be seen in a microscope or through a telescope or in a baby's laugh. We are created in God's image but some want to create God in Man's image, imbuing The Creator with human passions such as jealousy and intelligence. That demeans both God and our quest for understanding.

If you don't believe in evolution, you don't believe in God.

(The Bible says there should be no representation of the Lord, so Jews and Muslims don't depict G_d and sometimes go so far as to not spell out the three letters. I don't usually do this, especially in otherwise contentious letters to the editor, but I sometimes do when writing on religious matters.)

I'm trying to spread a meme: It's time to reclaim G_d on the side of the good guys. The meme is not original with me. The Enlightenment of the 18th Century CE had a similar notion: The celebration of the human capacity. The brain is G_d's most potent creation, and we must use it. The Enlightenment for the 21st Century is trying for a new way of thinking that demands we change the world.

While the sad case of Terri Schiavo brought the issue into sharp relief, the bad guys have been claiming G_d for a long time now, and we can't let them get away with it.

I neither speak for G_d nor does G_d speak through me. My beliefs are informed by the wisdom of previous generations, the world as revealed by human investigations and my own spirituality.

I'll get off my soapbox now, but as long as I'm still in a ranting mood here are some

Quick Thoughts

Togo, Mongolia, Ukraine, etc have had major problems with their democracies of late; neocons are quick to take credit for hints of democracy when it breaks out in Lebanon or Egypt but don't have the guts to face problems with democracy in other countries. Including problems with democracy in the USA.

No one who flies a confederate flag can criticize Jane Fonda.

Republicans used to be the party of Abraham Lincoln but now they're the party of John Wilkes Booth.

Bush wants to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by relying more on... coal. Is Bush really that stupid or are his handlers really that stupid or are his handlers assuming that conservatives are that stupid?

The GOP has figured out something the Democrats haven't: What people think of the president the months after the election mean nothing. The only thing that matters is the last week of the campaign.

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