Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Critical thinking, the lack of it and the usual result on the theistic mind

Cute little guy isn’t he?
Microsoft clip art.

I’ll admit it was nice when I still was sure that some magical being that is omnipotent and omniscient agrees with whatever you decide it does.  You can claim anything for this god and be sure that it has your back.  If something happens that wasn’t what you wanted, you just convince yourself that this magical being has a “plan” that needed that child to die, those soldiers to be blown up or that hospital to be destroyed in a tornado.  You’re sure that it simply “has” to lead toward the “greater” (aka your) good. 

This lack of critical thinking leads to all sorts of rather ridiculous actions by theists. Not thinking critically does that to people.  And in this atmosphere of religious fervor by conservative Christians, the silliness is ripe for the picking.

First up, we have Louisiana Representative Valerie Hodges who is “shocked, shocked* that her state’s bigoted idiocy in attempting to funnel money to religious schools would include religions that she finds unacceptable.  This is reminiscent of how lawmakers in PA were surprised that their voter ID nonsense would impact those religious people who were their “friends” and how some legislators in PA wanted to determine which religions were allowed to marry people in the state.  It seems that, in their attempts to lie about how the United States of America is a “Christian Nation” they’ve started to believe their own lies, forgetting that there are plenty of other sects and religions here in the US.   Alas for them, the rest of us do not have a “memory hole” that we can shove inconvenient facts into.

 Incidentally, the real quote from Captain Renault in “Casablanca” is “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”  and is a lovely example of hypocrisy since the good captain receives his winnings right after he says that. 

Next we have another conservative state legislator sure that “us” isn’t anything like “them”: “Mosques are not churches like we would think of churches. They think of mosques more as a foothold into a society, as a foothold into a community, more in the cultural and in the nationalistic sense. Our churches — we don’t feel that way, they’re places of worship, and mosques are simply not that, and we need to take that into account when approving construction of those.” — Coloradostate Sen. Kevin Grantham (R), quoted by the Colorado Statesman, saying a proposal to ban construction of new mosques should be considered.

Considering how much churches want to have a say in politics, this is simply another example of willful ignorance at best or an intentional lie at worst.  We have churches involved in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” where they intentionally flout the federal laws that allow them to remain tax-free (hmmmm, remember “Render unto Caesar” and Romans 13: 1-7 where *all* authorities are claimed to be put into power by the Christain god, not just the ones each Christian doesn’t like?).  We have these religions trying to force everyone to obey their religion by trying to tell us how we should view culture and nation, with the repeated attacks on women, on homosexuals, the attempts to ban books they don’t like, etc. We have most, if not all, of these religions spending billions on converting other people to their religion.  This all sounds just like a “foothold into a society, as a foothold into the community”.  If you don’t think critically, you have no idea just how close “us” and “them” are; or how far apart.

BTW, sign the petition here to support removing the unearned tax-free status of churches when they intentionally ignore the 501(c)3 provision of the tax code.  I personally think churches should never be tax-free since they suck off the teat of the public and don’t even remotely contribute back that much to the community.  Indeed, if they did, why does my local mission have to repeatedly beg the community for money when there are 10 pages of churches in the yellow pages? 

Then we have all of the people who write crank mail to the Freedom From Religion Foundation.  I just got my issue of Freethought Today and the usual crankmail column is quite hilarious; unfortunately it’s balanced by the misery created by two full pages of crimes by the self-described religious that is always in the paper.  I’m sure a lot of Christians aren’t like this, but unfortunately they have to share a sobriquet with these people and all attempts to claim that the writers aren’t True Christians simply smacks of a no true Scotsman argument.  They rarely change in tenor, only in subject depending on what egregious attempts to blend religion and gov’t that the FFRF has spoken out against.  Here’s April 2012’s selection.  It’s not safe for work thanks to the amazing amounts profanity that seems to be de rigueur for these Christians.  It’s also unsafe just for the exposure to bad grammar, the aforementioned lack of critical thinking, etc. You can watch someone read these aloud here.  It’s not safe for work either.

Unfortunately, all of this nonsense will be repeated in some form next week, the week after that and the week after that, etc.  No, confronting religion and demonstrating that it is wrong will not stop human silliness but it will at least give it one less excuse.

Now, I *do* have a question to ask readers.  I know that at least some of you are theists of some type.  I very much appreciate your reading my writing and I’d love to know why you’ve chosen my blog to follow.  Of course, you don’t have to answer, but I’m very curious on why someone who does believe in a god or some type of power reads the words of someone who definitely doesn’t.  As always, if you have questions for me, please ask.  I’d be happy to answer.

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