Salvation is selfish.

October 26, 2008

Today, I’ve been thinking about the whole idea of salvation, as it is understood in the Christian religion.  Salvation, of course, is only attainable by “accepting Jesus as your personal lord and savior” and living a life free of sin, according to the good Christians.

Living a life free of sin, according to the devout, is of the utmost virtue.  And sin, of course, is defined by a human interpretation of the bible, which is taken to be the “word of god”.  (I sense a little room here for fallability and subjectivity, don’t you?)  Christians want the rest of us to accept their way as THE way, because some book of dubious origin said so.  (Like the ignorant bumper sticker I saw once – “god said it, I believe it, that settles it.”  They just think they’re so fucking cute, don’t they?)  But it seems to me that to live one’s life in constant fear of a celestial surveillance in hopes to gain said surveillance’s favor in an afterlife is psychologically twisted to the point of morbidity.  It strikes me more as an “alien despotism”, to borrow a phrase from Bertrand Russell.  And for that same fear of banishment from some desirable “heaven” to be the sole motivation for one to do good in the world would reveal not a strong moral character, but a truly selfish and cunning one.  It would rather that living a good and decent life in pursuit of one’s own good and decent hopes and desires without intruding on the good and decent hopes and desires of others, I should hope, would be its own reward here in this life.  Frank Zappa sang it a little more plainly: “Do what you wanna, do what you will, just don’t mess up your neighbor’s thrill.”

Religion is a paradoxical duality of sorts – a wholly individual thing and yet at the same time a collective entity.  Each member of any religious sect partakes individually in its rites – usually by birth or marriage, but somewhat willfully.  In the Christian religion, each member seeks “salvation through Jesus Christ” and yet they are all swept up together in a collective fervor that knows no reason or logic; rather, they are blindly following some handful of teachings and rituals that are self-contradicting, divisive and exclusive at best.

Salvation just strikes as such a selfish enterprise.  All of this charity and good-will seems to be just for show – because, in the end, it is each individual Christian who is hoping and praying that all of this “good deeds” stuff will add up to the correct sum on some score card and allow them admittance into the most aristocratic, elitist club in the universe.  Too bad for them that all scientific evidence and logic point to the contrary – that god’s heaven is the stuff of myth and fable, and each us – devout or not – are headed straight for the collective compost pile.

I’m sure you’ve seen this bumper sticker:

“SMILE!  YOUR MOTHER CHOSE LIFE!”

I saw it again the other day, on a mini-van which was also sporting one of those “Support Our Troops” ribbon magnets (of course it was!), and it finally hit me why that bumper sticker offends me so.

It’s not just that I can infer that the driver of this van is a pro-life nut, which means they are probably a religious nut (and that all presents a whole slate of issues that I can easily poke through with reason and intellect) –  it’s that the logic of the sticker’s message is entirely flawed.

I understand, emotionally, that this message is supposed to make me feel grateful toward and indebted to my mother for not aborting me when I was in her womb.  I am supposed to think, “Oh yeah, that’s right – if my mother had had an abortion, I wouldn’t have this great life and I wouldn’t get to… etc. etc.”.  The message of the sticker is supposed to elicit a feeling of loss – how I wouldn’t have gotten to experience my life if my mother had chosen differently.

But this, my friends, is entirely my point.

Just think about it intellectually – if you had never been born at all, you wouldn’t have this sense of loss.  You wouldn’t have anything!  No consciousness, no brain, no memories – nothing.  So, you wouldn’t even have any comprehension of what you were missing out on.  So, if your mother hadn’t “chosen life”, you wouldn’t even know the difference!  Death of the ego!  Isn’t that what all the Buddhists are always clamoring about?  Well, there you have it!  Ponder that puzzle for a while!  You didn’t ask to be born (unless you believe the rantings of some of the New Age wackos).  Your mother simply chose to be a mother, for whatever reason – because her religion and/or family demanded it, to keep her man, to have a little baby to love and cuddle, to simply do what her mother did – whatever the reason.  And contrary to the charge delivered by the 5th Commandment, honor and respect of one’s parents should not be automatic, as George Carlin once said – rather, “it should be earned.  It should be based on the parents’ performance.”  Some people, like in Nepal, for instance, sell their daughters into the sex slavery trade of Calcutta’s red-light district.  I’m quite sure these girls are not smiling about the fact that their mothers “chose life” while some guy named Habib is shelling out rupees so he can rape them.

So, lady in the minivan – quite frankly, you can go fuck yourself, because my mother chose to be a mother.  Period.  End of story.  And so here I am, left to sort this all out for myself – as we all are – and ponder the oblivion from which I sprang forth, and which awaits me when my carcass finally gives out.

Now I’ve seen everything.

October 14, 2008

By some unfortunate series of events, I found myself at home the other day, watching that new daytime show called “The Doctors.” One of their guests was an ill-fated attractive woman in her 40s who had never experienced an orgasm.  Ever.  In her life.  Damn. That’s gotta suck.

But what really got my attention was another guest, named Heather, who suffered from something called PGAD, which stands for Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder.

To which I said, “Huh?  The fuck is that?”

Here are Heather’s symptoms: She is sexually aroused throughout each and every day for apparently no reason.  She is compelled – morning, noon and night – to masturbate.  Not only to masturbate, but to have 3 consecutive orgasms each time she masturbates.  Somehow, this has completely wrecked her marriage and her life.  She doesn’t even want to leave the house anymore.

The good doctor explained that there were certain areas of the brain, blah blah blah.

OK, hold the phone here.  You’re telling me that the urge to jerk off frequently is now some sort of serious medical condition?  I thought it was called boredom.

According to a website I found on this matter, PGAD is primarily experienced by women, has no known cause or cure.  Imagine that.  Oh, but I’m sure the pharmaceutical companies will launch some new pill for it soon. Maybe they’ll call it “Orgastrol”.   Imagine the TV ads for that disorder – you thought the ones for Restless Legs Syndrome were funny!  (At least I thought they were.)

Anyone out there suffering from this same sort of disorder?  Pardon me for making such light of it – I don’t know about you all, but I think most teenagers (and many adult men) suffer from this “malady”, don’t you?

Shitty jobs for America!

October 14, 2008

So great that I had to share.  Check out this video, faithful readers!
The Onion rules!

Obama Promises To Stop America’s Shitty Jobs From Going Overseas

Bailout rant, part 2

October 7, 2008

OK, OK… so I don’t understand this whole bailout thing academically, so perhaps my criticism of it is unfounded.

However – I think I understand it morally, and it just ain’t sittin’ right with me.

Perhaps I don’t understand what all the ramifications are of the bailout – whether we really need it or not, what would happen without it, etc. etc.  Would there really be another Great Depression?  Would people – heaven forbid  – have to start actually conserving a bit?  As in doing things like combining errands in order to reduce fuel consumption, or turning off the fucking lights when you leave the room, or turning down the thermostat at night, or baking bread from scratch rather than buying it in the store?  (Heh, these are things I’m already doing.  Go figure.)

Or am I being too simplistic here?  Are people losing their shirts and their life savings because of all this mess with the banks?  Did that man in California wipe out his whole family because of economics?  Or did he just have a screw loose in his head?

A part of me wants to see society, as we know it, come to a screeching halt.  I’m not sure why, but I think it’s more just a desire for some general shaking up of things.  Call me crazy, but I think we Americans, as much as we bloggers (and others) like to bitch about our country, we do have it pretty easy.  We’ve got our cable TV and our iPods and our box scores and our porn and our processed foods and we just don’t want to have to sacrifice a damned thing for the next guy.  “Do unto others before they do unto you, but wave the flag and put a magnetic yellow ribbon on your SUV and eat an animal that you shot with your own gun, or I’ll call you a socialist hippie bastard.”

But, Christ – $700,000,000,000 – look at all those zeroes – that’s a whole bunch of money to be tossing around.   OUR money.  Money for which many of us worked our asses off, so that these fat-cat banks can sell off their bad loans to the government.  Too many people are living above their means; they’ve bought into the “American dream of home ownership”, and now they don’t really “have” anything except for a mountain of debt they can never hope to dig themselves out of.  How dreamy is that?

Even though a majority of Americans didn’t want this bailout, here we are, staring down the barrel of 7 tenths of a trillion dollars worth of saving the fat cats from their greed-fueled, dim-witted lending practices. Oh, but the government will swoop down and save us.  That’s what the Democraps all want us to believe, right?  Government will help us (even when we don’t want the help).  And the Repugs, they don’t like all the government interference.  But isn’t it all of their resistance to oversight and rallying for deregulation that got us into this mess?

I need some direction here.  I feel like just saying “fuck it” and moving to Canada.  Hell, I live in Maine, which is so close it should be part of Canada anyhow.  Cessation from the Union, ah, now that’s another can of worms.

No confidence = no vote.

October 4, 2008

I think it’s official, folks – none of the bastards are getting my vote this fall. 

I can’t believe that these fuckers who are supposed to be REPRESENTING us – the 75% of us who categorically rejected this bailout in polls – actually pushed this bailout bill through in record time.  My blood pressure has been sky-high all day long.  It’s clear to me now that it doesn’t or won’t matter a damn WHO is elected – because, no matter who it is – Democrap or Repug – they will do whatever the fuck they feel like doing, whatever the mighty dollar and the lobby of this interest or that instructs them to do – and all of it will be over the backs of us poor working class stiffs.  No matter who is president, there will be bullshit wars, bullshit deficits, bullshit shortages in money for things that matter the most – healthcare, education, etc. etc.  Obama is a good talker, but that’s ALL he is.  He would’ve gotten my vote if I’d decided that the whole “democratic” system was even worthy of my participation.  But I can’t vote for anyone who, for example, urged support of this 700 billion dollar fleecing of Main St., and who also categorically opposes things like gay marriage.  I would expect as much from a neo-con like McCain, but Obama?  What is it about blacks and gays?  Why can’t they commiserate and share in each others’ struggles?   Does he really believe that marriage is for people with different private parts, or is he just saying that because many people think that, too, and he’s just looking for votes?  Either way, it’s despicable, and he doesn’t deserve my vote.  Whatever.  I’m done.  I’ve had it.  Actually, I probably WILL show up to vote – but it will be to check off the empty boxes and write NONE OF THE ABOVE in huge block letters (as big as the little golf pencil will allow, anyway). 

I apologize that this is not the most coherent of my posts – but I had to get this out of me in one fell swoop with no editing, or I wasn’t going to get it out at all.   I want to hear from others out there who are as fed up as me.    I think WE are the ones who will make a difference – not these assholes who are begging for our precious votes.