Saturday, July 22, 2006

To the Faithful


For Norma, who taught me to be proud of my unbelief.

We are simply living in separate realities.

The mindset that is now so gleefully cheering an all-out war in the Middle East comes from a different reality than the one that you and I share.

In this reality, some innocent people simply have to die. And if they are in proximity to a terrorist, no matter their age or status, they are not innocent.

In this reality, ethnic cleansing is called "trying to minimize civilian casualties".

In this reality, this is all OK because it's part of God's plan.

And here we get to the 8000-pound gorilla in the room. Religion. We are all viewing the growing crisis in the Middle East through the lens of our faiths, or lack thereof.

The God of the fundamentalists in America and the Middle East really loves it when his children kill each other. That's the only reason I can come up with for him to keep ordering his followers to off each other at such an astonishing rate.

If your faith tells you that that it was God himself that gave Israel to the Jews, then any "collateral damage" in "defending" Israel is OK because it's part of the plan. Says so in the Torah. Written by the Jews.

If you are of the faith that says the infidels must be scourged from the earth, then it's just fine to behead helpless captives and launch missiles into civilian neighborhoods. Repeatedly.

If you are of the faith that says your God is going to return as soon as most of the Jews and Muslims obliterate each other, you really don't have much of stake in making peace between them.

Frankly, I've about had it with all three of you goddamned idiots.

You're all like a bunch of stupid, spoiled children playing with a loaded gun.

See, I don't believe in your imaginary friends that sound just like voices in your head and happen to write books with the hands of humans. I also don't believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny.

And when I stopped believing in fairytales, life became very precious to me.

I believe every single life, every human being, is a rare and precious thing. And when you kill, when you take life, it's over. They're not coming back. They're not in heaven with the angels, nor are they in some other Paradise with or without virgins.

They are dead. They can never be replaced. There will never, ever, be another one of the individuals that has been killed needlessly in Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, or Israel.

Their single light in the universe is gone. Snuffed out.


This is the reality in which I live. The reality in which lots of people live. It's hard and it's scary. We don't know that "everything is going to work out", we don't believe we will see our loved ones in some eternal hereafter. We get one shot at loving them, here and now.

But for all the trouble, we get the unique perspective on humanity. That we are this wonderful, violent, fearful, angry group of really smart monkeys on a planet in some out-of-the-way corner of the vast universe. And if we can ever overcome our childish superstitions, all of them, we could have a shot at making this place here, Earth, our paradise.

So, to the bloody faithful: Take your Gods, guns, and glory and shove them up your asses.

We don't want to play anymore.


Anonymous ML said...



Hundreds, if not thousands of deaths by now, tens of thousands of casualties, but this pointless blow will be felt in every corner of Earth:


Brings tears to my eyes once again. Bastards, bastards, bastards!!!!!

[shakes head, packs bowl]

Sun Jul 23, 04:29:00 AM  
Blogger JasonJ said...

Robert, you are so on the spot with this post. If you stop and think about the near impossibility that life can evolve from information, random bits of naturally occurring crystalizations that managed to form nucleotide strings which found a neat trick in reproduction, then you have to take life as a serious miracle. I'm not, of course, talking the fake diety type of hands-laying miracle. I'm talking about the type that makes a sentient being created from such an occurence to stand and take notice.

This is our world, our lives, our only chance to enjoy the wonders and mysteries that surround us. I cannot say that there are others in other parts of the universe, although it would be an aweful waste of space. But then, nature isn't concerned with our fulfilment and nature isn't concerned with wasting it's resources on what we deem unimportant. In fact, all meaning in our universe is based on an anthropomorphism. To clarify, the whole universe and everything made from it is just information. If you can believe Einstein, matter and energy are interconnected; but what separates the useless subatomic processes from the interesting things in the world? Exactly that! Interest. Interest is what makes interesting things interesting to us. These are the things that capture our attention.

Having said that, I agree, every life is precious. Even my enemies have a basic RIGHT to life, liberty, and a pursuit of happiness in a manner that is suited to their personal objectives as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others in their pursuit of the same.

Sun Jul 23, 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Nemo said...

Better make that TWO "pounds of flesh" for the brutally savage Shylock nation -- "Big Brother" has apparently granted the forces of annihilation an "extension": US to Give Israel Another Week for Attacks: Paper ==== And for a fine-toothed, utterly decent human perspective on this horror, written by a long-term resident of the Blitzkrieged city, see: The Empire Leaves Beirut to Burn, by Robert Fisk.

Sun Jul 23, 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Nemo said...

In dealing scrupulously with the legitimate question of war guilt in the Middle East, there's no doubt in my mind as to who's *actually* at fault. Israel's military onslaughts were fully premeditated (as Juan Cole pointed out) and, in qualitative terms, utterly unprovoked -- a single act by Hezbollah has been cynically exploited as a pretext for an immensely disproportionate campaign of indiscriminate GENOCIDE against the entirety of Lebanon by Israel: Terrorism on Both Sides, by Ivan Eland [Consortium News] ==== By declaring that "Israel has right to defend itself," the Bush administration is tacitly approving Israel's pounding Lebanon into rubble and reinvading Gaza. ==== Since 9/11, the administration has tried to cast its "war on terror" as broadly as possible, including an invasion of Iraq and the labeling of groups that focus their attacks only on Israel -- Hamas and Hezbollah -- as terrorists. And these groups do oftentimes engage in monstrously unacceptable acts of terrorism -- that is, by striking innocent civilians to get them to pressure their governments to change policy. ==== But sometimes these groups undertake legitimate acts of war. Yet the world's most powerful governments -- led by the United States -- seem to deem any actions by these groups as terrorism. At the same time, they avoid that label for any actions taken by other governments, such as the disproportionate measures now being undertaken by Israel. ==== The G-8 nations, at their summit in St. Petersburg, concluded that Hamas and Hezbollah started the war by Hamas' rocket attacks in Gaza and the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier and Hezbollah's abduction of two more Israeli soldiers. The G-8 leaders declared, "These extremist elements and those that support them cannot be allowed to plunge the Middle East into chaos and provoke a wider conflict. The extremists must immediately halt their attacks." ==== But contrary to press coverage in the United States, the actual time line of events indicates that Israel attacked first and also committed the first acts of terrorism. ...

Sun Jul 23, 09:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Nemo said...

Latest news? More of the same. The IDF are butchers!: Blasted by a missile on the road to safety [The Guardian UK] Family ordered to flee were targeted because they were driving minivan

Sun Jul 23, 10:10:00 PM  
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