Big Election Tomorrow

My Great Good Friends,

Big election tomorrow, and, lest anyone think the opinions of 47 Republican Senators, recycled neo-cons, evangelical Christians, Likud lunatics, or messianic Orthodox settlers (which we are inundated with daily by Fox News) are representative of the wider view of civilized nations, note this cartoon which appeared in The Times of London:

Sunday Times, Netanyahu Cartoon
Sunday Times, Netanyahu Cartoon

The Sunday Times Netanyahu cartoon may illustrate the barbarity in a way even Sean Hannity’s viewers can comprehend. Although possibly not, inasmuch as they seem to think ‘Israeli – American’ ( as in: I-A security, I-A interests, etc.) is one word.

Consider; as of the signing of the Oslo Accords there were less than 200,000 illegal ( as adjudicated by the Israeli Supreme Court ) settlers, today there are over 500,000.

You should care because these zealots live (die?) to bring on Armageddon which for them means their Messiah, their rapture, and an end to this miserable existence. However we, who scoff at their Bronze Age myths, will still be caught up in the nuclear exchange they avow to precipitate following Deuteronomy’s injunction to cleanse ‘their’ land of all Gentiles. Which will have the unfortunate concomitant effect of no more Kobe steaks, vodka martinis, Ferraris, Yankee games, or sex on the beach for those of us enjoying this life, versus praying for the next one.


Copycat Religion… #7 (10 of 10)

Bob & Trent,

As I wrote a week ago the suggestion we structure the discussion around a shared reading is an excellent one. Unfortunately, having just slogged through Holt’s ‘Why does the world exist?’, this may not be the book.

Notwithstanding the title the author is almost exclusively focused on one of the oldest canards in philosophy; “Why is there something rather than nothing?”.

Paradoxically the question is both to large and too small to be useful (in the sense it was recommended to Trent) as a philosophical primer.

To large in that it has been batted around by everyone from Heraclitus to Huxley so Holt can cite dozens of venues for the question (religion, philosophy, the quantums [physics and cosmology], mathematics, inter-dimensional hackers, etc.) and quote hundreds of opinions on either side of the question in each venue.

And to small in that while quoting philosophers’ opinions on either side of the question their beliefs are only exposed as touching on this one question. For example one could spend years studying The Stoics, or any other school of unified philosophy, and allocating an afternoon to that school’s dialogue on this question would leave you with time for a round of golf.

The triviality of the question is exposed when Holt cites the Beatles’ cartoon Yellow Submarine and Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass alongside Spinoza and Aquinas.

AnyHowitzer as such, this is not a primer or survey course on philosophy.

Let me confess my goal; as you are two of the most intelligent people I know, my intent on engaging you over dinner was to fathom the source of your faith. I assumed it is closer to William F. Buckley’s apologia ‘Nearer My God’ than clinging to preposterous myths we were fed as children.

Let me confess my method; the pincer tactic of “Its bullshit….” and “Its evil….” was merely a polite way of putting Omar Khay Yam’s quatrain from his Rubaiyat:

And you think that unto such as you
a maggot minded, starved, frantic crew
God gave a secret and denied it to me
Well, well, what matters it
Believe that too

May I suggest Reza Aslan’s ‘Zealot’ as a quick and entertaining read to serve as the initial common parameter of discussion?



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Copycat Religion… #6, Reply to Trent (9 of 10)


An excellent suggestion, I’ll get the book this weekend.

Freud’s ‘The Future of an Illusion’ does an excellent job of explaining how the innate human longing you allude to gave impetus to the multiple God constructs across cultures and ages.

Vis the Pagan Gods you mention, consider: While you and I are atheists as to a belief in Zeus or Athena there were many men (some possibly as intelligent as you and I) who believed as deeply in them as you do in Jesus. Further consider the amazing similarity between hundreds of Gods’ ‘back stories’ which is dispositive as to the God is man-made argument. And finally consider, a millennia hence Jesus may be another name on the long list.

To date I have barely gotten into the ‘Man created God(s)’ half of my stated argument objective. And to the extent you have called an audible with the book-centric discussion I probably won’t get an opportunity to persuade you of my second stated argument’s objective; ‘Religion is a Source of Evil’. So I’ll leave that second objective aside with one image: The nineteen most devoutly religious passengers on the four 9-11 planes were the hijackers.


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Copycat Religion… #6, Reply from Trent (8 of 10)

Glad he’s paying attention to my rants.


It takes a lot of faith to stand up against so many centuries of human wondering, longing and assuming that somehow, somewhere there is a God. All those many pagan “gods” the world has forgotten about too. Frankly, I appreciate that I do not have the tools (nor required time) to adequately enter into a debate on the existence of God with you. However, examining why we are were we are with respect to our beliefs might be a worthwhile endeavor.

I plan to read Jim Holt’s philosophical primer Why Does the World Exist: An Existential Detective. The title aside, I heard it raises great philosophical problems that let few of us off the hook. The framework of Holt’s book may be a good place to have a conversation as to how we end up where we are on this fundamental question.

A client has sent me 4 books in the last couple weeks that I need to look at, not on religion or philosophy, but I plan to order Holt’s book today and invite you to do so as well.


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Copycat Religion… #6 (7 of 10)

Bob & Trent,

As promised in my Epistle to the Innocents #5, I said the next thought topic would address how is it that dozens of Gods (which we know of) have an element of their creation myth which coincides with December 25th, have a three day death prior to their resurrection, have believers who followed a star in the East, were hung on a cross, etc., etc., etc.

Remember my objective is twofold; to persuade you Gods are Man-made, and, religion is evil. This polemic is in support of the former.

If either of you have misplaced your copy of ‘Bowditch: The American Practical Navigator’ a brief reminder of how the world goes round:

A) In the primitive times from which you choose to extrapolate your Judeo-Christian morality there was no cable TV. So after dinner, and sunset campfire tales of how our piss-ant tribe bested the neighboring piss-ant tribe, there wasn’t much to do but look at the night sky and let it feed one’s imagination.

B) Their sky then, is our sky now. And yes the 41 Gods I listed as examples in a prior ‘Letter to the Credulous’ were all conjured in the northern hemisphere.

C) Sirius is the brightest star in the sky and through the month of December it aligns with the three stars which are prominent for their proximity to one another, and are known as ‘Orion’s belt’ and “the Three Kings”. (Or in the most recent version of the story The Three Magi, a title lifted from Zoroastrianism.) The alignment is perfected on December 24th with the point of sunrise on December 25th. Ta Dah…

At dawn on the Winter solstice the sun begins its six month trip north bringing light, warmth, re-birth, etc. And, being at the extreme of the elliptic, the sun appears to have had its migration south stopped dead on the 22nd – 23rd – 24th, for three days before a birth or resurrection. Also due to the elliptic, on the day of the solstice the sun appears to have moved one full degree making for a dramatic Ta Dah… Ta Dah…

As the solar year concludes its march south the final days are perceived as being in the foreground of the southernmost constellation; ‘The Crux’ or ‘The Southern Cross’. Ta Dah… Ta Dah… Ta Dum.

So the brightest star in the sky followed by three adoring kings points to the place where a dramatic son/sun rise will herald the end of winter’s death of nature and begin summer’s bounty. All after laying low for three days in front of a cross.

Back to cases: Hundreds of Gods share a foundation myth that is nothing more or less than primitives’ personification of the night sky. An astrological allegory.

So, repeated divine intervention by a magic man in the sky, or, human imagination layering something they could relate to onto the same show they watched every night ?

Man created God not the other way around. In fact lots and lots of Gods, and because they were all made by men with a limited understanding of the physical world, and based on the same nightly observations, it should not surprise you the end products are so similar.

Or maybe God kept running the same play for 3,500 years because he couldn’t think of anything else?


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