by Ray Jason at the Sea Gypsy Philospher
A handsome catamaran recently docked near my lovely sailboat. The captain is Russian and his wife is Turkish. They have two children, and although they are too young for passports, I suspect that they are from the Kingdom of Joy. That’s because all day long they spread their laughter and happiness throughout the marina. Whether it is riding their tiny bicycles or fishing with their parents or trying to learn how to swim, their vibrant innocence delights and comforts me.
It has also inspired me. The essay that I had been working on seemed lost in a mental labyrinth. It deals with the immense subject of religion, and it had become too big and too confused. But then a wave and a smile from the two kids suddenly made me realize that I should narrow my focus, and concentrate on religion and children.
The Ultimate Terror
Witnessing the carefree exuberance of these youngsters, bequeaths me both joy and sorrow. I am happy that they live so effortlessly in the ecstasy of the moment, and that their youth shields them from the woes of the world. But I am sad that all around the world hundreds of millions of children are having such blissful contentment sacrificed on the altar of hell.
How do we not understand that churches that preach hellfire are the most evil terrorist organizations on the planet? The worst that a political enemy can do is torture and murder a person. At least that victim’s suffering ends with their death. But if a Christian fails to abide by certain rules, they are supposedly doomed to eternal fire and damnation. And if a person is NOT a Christian, they too are sentenced to endless fiery agony.
If such a virulent dogma was imposed on people when they arrived at adulthood, at least they would have enough life experience to evaluate it. But forcing such a terrifying vision on an unknowing child is so repellant that I can’t find a word for it – oh wait, here’s a good one – DESPICABLE.
Consider for a moment, the child-raising process. Human nurturing revolves around the parents steadily and incrementally passing along life-lessons to their offspring. The kids learn that snakes can be deadly, that deep water can drown them and that fire can kill them. As this knowledge is passed along to the children, a bond of trust is established. So when the parents claim that there is this horrible place called hell, where bad people suffer eternal torture, the child believes that as well.
And so their world, which had been such a magical, immediate, constantly unfolding realm of wonder, is suddenly darkened and poisoned by the horror of hell. Destroying the innocence, optimism and joy of youth with such a doctrine is an indisputable act of terror!
But even more appalling is the fact that it is also an act of deceit. There is utterly no way that a parent or a priest or even a pope can absolutely know that there is a hell. And yet they proclaim that this is the case. When someone insists that something is true, even though they cannot prove it, that person is telling a lie.
And how do the hellfire spreaders defend such a perverse dogma? They insist that without the threat of eternal incineration, these children would not behave themselves. And yet the huge portion of the world that is not hypnotized by hellfire religions, such as the Hindus, Buddhists and non-believers, do not rampage around the planet wreaking havoc upon it. Even though nobody is screaming at them from a pulpit with threats of devils and pitchforks, these people manage to behave with decency and compassion.
So this is my first example of how religion is profoundly harmful to children – it mutilates the innocence and wonder of youth with the terror of a hell whose existence cannot even be proven.
Morality Does Not Need Religion
One of the common defenses of religion is that it is the keystone that keeps the arch of morality from collapsing in ruin. This is a preposterous claim that is easy to disprove. There were about 10,000 generations of humanity that preceded the appearance of the sky god monotheisms that dominate today’s religious landscape – or should that be battlefield? Without any commandments from Hebraic gods, these people managed to discover enough moral principles to not destroy each other and thus they carried on the human line.
Furthermore, throughout history there have been hundreds of other religions that arose, prospered, declined and disappeared. As each of these disintegrated there was no widespread chaos and carnage even though their ethical precepts had vanished.
Moral knowledge – the awareness of the difference between right and wrong – is innate in all of us. We do not need priests or mullahs or rabbis to reveal it to us. The revered “ten commandments” are a perfect example of this. Four of them are just a megalomaniacal insistence on reverence toward one particular god and the other six are essentially self-evident. Any New Guinea hunter- gatherer has figured out these things without the need for stone tablets.
Rather than being essential to morality, I find that religion is actually a keystone of immorality. For decades I have been arguing that the most far-reaching way to improve the world is to replace religion with “BASIC HUMAN DECENCY.” Consider this short list of things that you cannot do in the name of basic human decency, but that you can do in the name of Jesus or Mohammed:
- Suicide bombings
- Book burnings
- Holy wars
- Female oppression
- Homosexual bigotry
- Ethnic cleansing
- Unwanted children
- Demonization of scientists
One of the main reasons that religion is such a malignant rather than benign force, is because it immediately allied itself with the kings and pharaohs after the arrival of so-called human civilization. During pre-Agriculture, in the long Paleolithic hunter-gatherer era, there was no hierarchal division of rulers and ruled. But when Neolithic agriculture provided food surpluses and then division of labor this also initiated what I call “division of importance.” In simple terms, this means a society comprised of a tiny elite of dominant people and a huge mass of subordinate people.
Those that ascended to the top of the political class tended to be the most ruthless and immoral. And since religious leaders wanted to be the handmaiden of these pitiless demagogues, they camouflaged their immoral deeds with moral platitudes. They had already sold their souls even as they were claiming that their mission was to save souls.
As I sit with my back against the mast, finishing this essay, the two beautiful children come scurrying past. A few steps behind them are their parents who are carrying tiny swimming goggles and life jackets. As they disappear down the dock this little scene of happiness somehow inverts itself in my mind’s eye. And I realize that halfway around the world there are two other parents sobbing in almost unbearable agony as they hold their dead child in their arms. Ten minutes earlier she had been the joy and blessing of their lives – a bundle of sunshine in human form.
I wonder on which of the current killing fields of the Holy Land this sad event is unfolding. Is it Gaza, where one religion opposes another? Or is it Iraq where the carnage is even more perverse — since it is warring sects of the same religion?
I quietly curse all of the senseless, cruel tragedy of life as I sit here pondering it from the evening of my years. And then I wonder about the future of those precious children on the nearby boat, who are only in the daybreak of their years. Will their twilight decades see a planet that has been purged of this evil force? Will their children get to savor a new golden dawn emancipated from this curse which has caused so much horror and suffering down the centuries?
I will not pray for this … but I will yearn for it … and I will work for it!
Climate Collapse Series | An Introduction & Partial Summary To This Video Series
by Reese Jones (Skype-based interview conducted 25 July 2014)
There is nothing like putting an introduction into the latter part of an audio-video series. Sorely indicative of afterthought, it is a response to the needs of an audience unfamiliar with Guy McPherson and features some of the major whys and wherefores of his basic premises.
Perhaps this belated beginning is analogous to the situation we’re likely in; as we approach the ending, we would like to revise the beginning. Such is the wonderful world of theater and digital media … we can change however and whatever we like as the story unfolds. However, in real life … our confrontation with climate changes offers no such resolution.
As usual, this supposed brief introduction grew in length and now will be uploaded in several parts. This first part answers basic questions and gives us a preliminary look into the man behind the message.
Many people unfamiliar with Dr. McPherson and his prognostications about our future might find this video useful. It helps to address a few of their basic questions. As always, Dr. McPherson says so much in so few words as he discusses a subject that many may find exceedingly difficult to hear.
Many will hope Dr. McPherson is completely mistaken. But, no matter what, his main message is applicable to all of us regardless of what’s coming down the pike: cherish this moment, there’s no guarantee there will be another, and live your life like it matters, for, it really DOES.
We are living in the most remarkable of times.
In about a month the producer of the docu-drama “22 After” will know if his movie is one of the lucky few to be chosen for a screening at the 50th Anniversary of the Chicago International Film Festival in October. As one of the very few people who have seen it I can tell you the film is a realistic portrayal of life one year after a chain of civilization ending events brought on by climate change. It’s told as a series of recollections from 22 survivors the narrator/filmmaker encounters in both rural and urban settings. The movie has also been submitted to the Sundance Film Festival for consideration as well. But because of the stark, hopeless message, i.e. humanity is doomed, “22 After” may be just too dark for any producer to be interested in. Here’s where you can help… If you know a heavy hitter (Penn Gillete, Michael Moore, Ed Begley Jr., Daryl Hannah, etc.) who might be interested in at least screening the movie have them contact me or the producer of “22 After,” Mark Thoma, ASAP. Here’s his personal email address: email@example.com
McPherson’s 29 July 2014 radio interview with Gary Null on the Progressive Radio Network is described here. Segment featuring McPherson begins at the 20-minute mark in the audio embedded below, and was recorded in early April 2014.
Due to an overwhelming number of submissions, essays in this space will appear at the top of the page for only two days. Essays will be intermixed with questions for discussion, of which today’s is the first. If you could ask a single question concerning near-term human extinction, knowing that everyone at NBL will ponder and then offer an opinion, what form would that question take? If you’re willing, please send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be posted anonymously for commentary in place of an essay.
Nature Bats Last joins the airwaves Tuesday, 5 August 2014. McPherson will be joined every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern by co-host Mike Sliwa for this hour-long show on the Progressive Radio Network. Follow the page and join the group on Facebook.
McPherson’s forthcoming book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind has been submitted to the publisher and is scheduled for release by mid-September 2014.
Find and join the Near-Term Human Extinction Support Group on Facebook here
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Going Dark is available from the publisher here, from Amazon here, from Amazon on Kindle here, from Barnes & Noble on Nook here, and as a Google e-book here. Going Dark was reviewed by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power, Anne Pyterek at Blue Bus Books, and by more than three dozen readers at Amazon.