I’m going to play Yahweh’s advocate in a minute, but first I’m going to be my usual bible-bashing self and mention a well known hypocrisy in christianity. Yes, I know there are many, so it’s hard to just choose one, but this one is really one of the more interesting ones. Many christians claim that they oppose homosexuality because it’s condemned in the bible. They forget that shaving, planting two crops in one field, and wearing clothing made of mixed fabrics are also condemned in the same chapters.
Now that I think about it, muslim extremists are criticized for expecting everybody else to live by their rules. Their rules are disgusting, and only believers in their insane religion would actually want to live by them. There are even americans who are paranoid about islam infiltrating the government. You can’t deny that that would suck. We do have to be on guard for that, but for the same reason, we have to be on guard for christianity infiltrating our laws as well. The laws of this country affect everyone, and it is unconstitutional for any religion to have preferential treatment. People like Sarah Palin either don’t realize this, refuse to recognize it, or pretend not to realize or recognize it due to some other sinister agenda.
That was a bit of a tangent, but an important one, I think. I want to get back to what I was saying about christians’ selective adherence to the old testament. They put a lot of importance on the ten commandments even though it’s written about in the same places in the old testament where the stuff you can find the stuff they disregard. So why do they put any stock in it? It’s because jesus talks about them in the new testament. Generally, when a christian talks about “god’s law”, he or she means the ten commandments (despite the omission of child molestation and rape). This is because the new testament has jesus kinda revising them. He specifically says that they still apply, but he makes a few addendums, such as love Yahweh, love your neighbor, don’t have sexual feelings, and don’t get angry at people. It’s not what he says specifically that is important. It’s the fact that the character pays special attention to the ten commandments.
Looking at it this way, it is totally understandable that christians would pay heed to the ten commandments and not to the rest of the nutty rules and regulations that can be found in the old testament. The new testament itself is a “testament” to christians throwing out what rules they don’t want to follow and keeping the ones that they do. Since the jesus character says nothing about homosexuality, it’s probably safe to say that christians who use the bible to defend that bigotry are just closet cases.
Emotions cloud the intellect. The number one advice given to a person in an emergency is don’t panic. This is because when one needs to think clearly and quickly, strong emotions gum up the works. They tend to supersede good judgment and result in mistakes. In an intellectual pursuit like a debate, emotions cause the discourse to devolve into fights, logical fallacies, or both. In situations where your mind must be sharp, emotions are your enemy.
Intellect suppresses emotion. I already stated above that keeping calm in an emergency helps your mind work to its fullest capacity. Whether you have a good mind or not, you have the best chance of solving any problem by leaving your emotions out of it as much as possible. That doesn’t mean to disregard the emotions of others. In fact, others’ emotions can be used to your advantage if you can out-think them. The intellect’s function is to solve problems. Emotions’ function is to react to stimuli.
Understanding when to use the intellect and when to allow the feelings to guide judgment is an important skill, one that few people can really do to much of an extent. It requires a level of self awareness and honesty that can be frightening. It takes courage. Courage is the suppression of fear, and what suppresses emotions? The intellect. Courage is an intellectual exercise, and it can apply to much more than just fear. You have to understand why you feel what you feel when what you feel is uncomfortable. In time, you will gain a perspective above your feelings, and you will be able to leave them out of decisions you make. This leads to better decisions and a better life.
The catholic church shows us why we should help people in impoverished countries. Well fed, well educated, happy people are more difficult for evil organizations to take advantage of. The catholic church claims that poverty is a virtue. Being poor, hungry, and taken advantage of are good things because there is a great reward in heaven. But look at how the pope lives. He has a magnificent palace in his own little pretend country smack dab in the middle of what should be the civilized world. Why do we allow this farce to continue? We know the church is spreading beliefs that are harmful, such as the lie that condoms increase the spread of AIDS. We know they condone the sexual abuse of children by their priests. Even other christians know that the arbitrary rules and rituals of the catholic church have nothing to do with being a good person or even following what the bible says.
The vast majority of the people in countries where the literacy rate is close to 100% who know that the catholic church is taking advantage of people in third world countries but do nothing to stop it have many reasons for their inactivity. It’s inconvenient. It’s expensive. It’s not our problem. I’m in a coma. Aside from that last one, these are all just excuses and codewords for “I don’t care”.
If you don’t care about people other than yourself living better lives, do your part to knock the pope down a notch. Breaking the catholic church’s stranglehold on poor, overpopulated, undereducated, disease-ridden countries will go a long way toward taking it down once and for all and forcing the clergy to do something useful with their lives.
In about half an hour, I’m leaving to interview for a data entry job. I’ll be posting ads on craigslist for some apartment finding business or something like that. I’ve been told the job would be perfect for me, a slightly nerdy guy who likes to be on the computer a lot. I would write a more in-depth blog than this, but I don’t have a lot of time at the moment. I’ll write something good when I get back. I think it’ll be a short interview.
I just deleted my myspace and facebook. I decided to use a regular blog, so I came here and signed up. I plan on posting blogs about philosophical topics, religion, and conditions like asperger’s syndrome and autism.