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Daily (OrWhen The Mood Takes Me) Gripe: Religion!

Only a month or so ago, a 15-year-old Muslim boy left his home, paid a fleeting visit to his local Mosque, chaned his clothes from everyday wear to a robe, then walked to the Parramatta Police Centre, and shot a non-police pencil pusher as he left the building to go home, all the time yelling religious quotes. Police officers shot him dead. Good tiddance, I say! Appears that he had been indoctrinated online by ISOS. 

The real horror of this is…RELIGION! That a 15-year-old…caught at the most confused and influential time of his life…can be turned into a religious fanatic through technology is frightening! As usual, we are told it’s a solitary event, and to get on with our daily lives without letting it frighten us…but even liberal-minded lefties like myself are getting concerned. I’m not frightened in the literal sense of the word…it’s more like a nagging, unsettled feeling. That I am now expecting all attacks like this to beMuslim-centric speaks heaps about the worrying changes in my thinking – from tolerance and acceptance, to actually siding withthose  fighting the building of Mosques in their communities. And I hate myself for even beginning to think that way. Why is it that the examples of this type of terror are becoming the predominant face of the Islam religion! Yet, now we have the Paris attacks! Even more innocent bystanders! People out for a meal in a cafe, or attending a concert are now dead, and the sheer barbarity of the attacks harks back to the dark days of the Crusades.

And therein, once again, lies the crux of the problem…RELIGION! What is it about religion that promulgates so much hate, intolerance, discrimination and death – the EXACT opposite of everything it is supposed to stand for…according to those who lead and preach it, anyway!

I’m an Athiest, as is just about everyone I know. I’m an intelligent, thinking, analytical man. After many years of blindly following theologies, tenets, doctrines, philosophies and faith that I was always sort of suspicious about, I sat down and had a good, long think about it. After getting up from this self-imposed think tank, I tossed it all overboard! What intelligent, thinking person could actually fall for that crap! A man wandering around a desert with 12 other men; dying, coming back to life (after creating a mysterifying shroud), moving a stone wighing many tons and just toddling off; flying up to heaven on a cloud; popping back down occasionally for a visit; likewise for his mother..a virgin impregnated by a spirit (a hortor movie in the making there); she seems to keep her dead self busy by appearing at the most unlikely places, usually to neurotic women or fanatical men; a Jew and Jewess who are depicted as anything but; a fierce, sadistic, demanding,  megalomaniacal God  who evidently has a very long beard, and sits around all day listening to a lot of griping, and judging people – whilst seated up amongst the clouds on a throne, reached through some pearly gates and along a gold road. He’s surrounded by all these winged people playing harps and blowing trumpets – who are also busy popping down to earth and creating a bit of havoc – and whose arch-enemy lives in this fiery place under the eath, where he is busy torturing people, wearing red outfits topped off with forked tail, horns and a pitchfork. If you believe the bible – which all true creationists do – then the earth was made in 7 days, Adam and Eve played with snakes under apple trees, and had two SONS from whom we all came…and to think – the people who follow these fairy tales obstruct marriage equality…mmmm! Then we have huge floods with two of EVERY animal, bird and insect cramned onto a boat…with no deaths, or fights…or preying. We have wine being created from water, 5,000 people being fed from one loaf of bread and a fish, some walking on water, healing some lepers and blind people by touching them…and these are just the biblical foundations of belief! No wonder I’m Athiest!

Mind you, the Muslim religion – which I confess to knowing bugger-all about – is not the first religion to try to claim world domination. The Catholic religion had dibs on that long before they came along. If you didn’t follow all the tenets of the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church..then….well, lets have a look at that! As soon as anyone started to think outside the square – take the Cathars as an example – then the church got antsy and sent out a group of very umpleasant men called the Inquisition (or Spanish Inquisition, depending on where you lived) who, as a way of helping you back to the one true faith, would judge, torture and burn you at the stake…unless you recanted your heretical ways! Henry VIII got a bit jack of not being able to divorce his wife – who was his brothers wife originally, and who he married to keep the peace – and told the same One Holy Catholic etc etc to go to buggery, as he was starting his own church, which was going to be way better than theirs, and he’d divorce and marry anyone he liked, even if he had to lop their heads off to do it. The Catholic church got a bit miffed. And as a way of getting his revenge Henry tore down all the monasteries – who, by the way, provided most of the assistance to the poor and dispossessed, so he just added to any social problems they already had – and stripped the churches, cashed in all the art, artifacts and building materials, and killed or burnt anyone who defied him. For the next couple of hundred years, including the rise and fall of the religiously fanatical (Protestant) Thomas Cromwell, England swung between Catholicism and extremist Protestantism, with thousands of people being killed as they tried to keep up with the latest religious trend. What a fuck-up…all in the name of God! 

But that wasn’t even the worst of it! The Holy Roman etc etc Church was intent on displaying just how Holy and Apostolic it really was…not! One hardly knows where to start here. Well, on top of forcing itself on the poor folk of Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Holland etc etc, it decided it needed to be totally inclusive, and force any other infidels to come into the fold. Jerusalem looks good, as does Byzantium. Those pesky Muhammad-pushers are also interested..so, let’s have a war, but we’ll call it a Crusade. That way, everyone can get involved, and have a jolly good time raping and pillaging their way across Europe, and take Jerusalem away from both the Jews AND the Turks. This went on for about 200 years (1095-1291), with no clear outcome, though once again many thousands died in the name of The One Holy etc etc. Naturally, both Popes and Kings had nothing better to do with their time, and got involved. Holy indeed!

This broughts heaps of money, art and treasure into the hands of the One Holy Roman etc etc, so it got richer and richer, greedier and greedier. The richer and greedier it got, the more demanding and controlling it got. It created prelates and princes. Popes married, or were just licencious, fucked around, had kids…but…don’t do what I do, do what I say. All these Popes, and prelates and princes covered themselves in gold bling, ran around in silk damask robes lined with ermine furs…drag taken to its most devout degree! To make even more money, they promised that if you parted with some cash and bought some of their recently released indulgences…hey presto! You get to skip purgatory! Feeling a bit bored? Hey..,go for a pilgrimage to some far flung corner of the earth to pray in front of some fake blood, or fake “saints” bones, or a rigged statue that bleeds. Don’t forget to buy some souvenirs! Part with that hard-earned cash, and buy your way into heaven. Let’s create an institution….no, we’ll make it a sacrament…called “marriage”. It has no legality as it is just a ritual, but we’ll hijack it anyway, and use it as another way to control people! We’ll bedazzle you with rites and splendour, intone ceremonies in ancient language, convince you that sin is bad, gulit is good! Make women a sub-class, and deny our priests a fulfilling life by enforcing celibacy. Want to molest some children as an outlet for repeessed sexuality and control? That’s fine, as long as no one finds out. After all, you are a Cardinal, or a Bishop, or a Monsignor, or a monk, or a nun. You are way beyond reproach! Let’s totally confuse you with rhetoric and theology…words like “transubstantiation” sound so much better than “cannabilism”, don’t you reckon! Want to become a saint by becoming a martyr in defence of all this “faith”? Then get yourself spit-roasted, or pack-raped, or see visions, or get frenetic enough about it all to develop stigmata, or get burnt at the stake, or whatever…then off you go! In 200 years, after appearing on a fence post and curing someone of something you’ll be sainted! 

Books? Don’t try and educate yourself, or read anything alternative or progressive! We’re burning all those, and if we catch you reading it…we’ll burn you too! 

And with all our Catholic humanity and compassion, we realise that there are primitives and cannibals around. Look at all those tiny islands, South America and Africa…full of them! We need to make them all Catholic or Protestant so they have something genuine to believe in! Destroy their culture? Don’t be silly…they never had a culture, fucking little pagans! Some nice missionaries will knock dome sense into them! They must be saved from themselves!

Even in more enlightened times we remain in the past, locked in a time when we could influence the gullible, instil fear, create guilt. Want to take the pill, or use a condom? Of course you can’t! Nothing quire like a religion that promotes STDs, and unwanred children! Sex for PLEASURE! Who are you to even think that! Missionary position, everyone…and NO pleasurable sounds, please! This is your duty!

And that was just the Catholics! The Protestants – who broke away from Catholicism for all these reasons – were no better!  Subjugate everyone with excessive guilt! Rob them of every single pleasure and joy life has! Convince them that deprivation, hardship, blandness and fanatical devotion and zeal were the sure paths to heaven! Thousands died so that these beliefs could be upheld. 

There is not one single, solitary off-shoot of Chritianity that is redemptive, or lives up to the so-called precepts of said religion. We have Opus Dei; evangelicals; glossolalia; snake charming; Jim Jones and Jonestown; Hillsong (sing alleluia and pass the plate); Mormons…who are themselves divided; Scientologists…yeah, lets base a cult (it is NOT a religion) on science fiction; Baptists; Methodists; Uniting Church; Church of Christ; Unitarians; Westboro Baptist Church…where hate and intolerance is openly preached; Right to Life movements…who ignore the most basic of human rights…choice;  Jehovah’s Witnesses; Bahai..the list just goes on…and on…and on! A whole raft of idealogical theologies that do NOTHING but promote hate, intolerance, injustice, prejudice, stigma, discrimination…and yet blame everyone else for their own shortfallings. It  disgusts me! 

The most blatant lies of all…that the bible has the answers for starters! This heavily quoted tome is a collection of stories passed down through word of mouth, and eventually put into writing by civilisations and lifestyles long dead. And should remain so! Every single Christian religion has added and subtracred from this book…depending on what met their needs, or what was surplus to requirements. It is so corrupted, distorted and misquoted for all the wrong reasons that I just laugh when I read it being quoted…usually by half-witted fundamentalists. The other lies belie and degrade the true nature of our humanity, of how we would be if we were just left to sort out right and wrong for ourselves. After all, Christianity is only 2000 years old, and does not have the history to define the most basic of human precepts. Civilisations were doing just that LONG before the Christians came along. You see, we do not need Christianity, or any other religion, to prescribe morals and ethics. We can do that…and indeed have, in times past..as a society. We all intrinsically know what is right, and what is wrong! What we need to do to live in harmony and peace, to respect each other, to not judge, to not pontificate. Religion seems to think that without them, there would be no charity, no humanity, no help for the dispossessed or those in need. It would appear to the unthinking that we need obscure Jews wandering the deserts of the Middle East, bearded men in the sky, and fanatical prophets to achieve these things. Wrong!

If we cannot achieve morals and ethics through our own humanity, through our own sense of self worth,through a sense of justice that is all encompassing, through our collective belief in the good that is inherent in all of us (and acknowledge that aberrations exist, for better or worse), that I cannot help and support my friends and family as part of a living, thriving society that does not need to resort to fallacy, misconceptions and gobbledygook for its existence…then perhaps we don’t deserve to exist at all!

I am not sure why we fail to acknowledge that almost every single genocide, mass instances of torture, sadistic, unnecessary deaths, indeed most wars are religion-based. Millions have died in the name of religion! Millions! And still are! Isn’t it time we grew up, and admitted that as an institution, religion has failed! The current Royal Commission into institutionalised child abuse is one of the most horrifying instances of religious and secular abuse imaginable. All the disgraceful hush-ups, turning a blind eye, shuffling the problems around, and disbelieving everything that was being said by the victims is staggering! Many committed suicide, many others live every day with the aftermath of this abuse. It hasn’t been going on for decades, it has been happening for hundreds of years! Every single religion, every single religious order, every single charity is involved! To be on the commission panel must be heartbreaking! To sit through every day listening to that horror!

It is time to say…enough is enough! Begone religion! Leave us in peace!

Tim Alderman (C) 2015


Floating Over The Alice (part 11 of ‘The Northern Territory Suite’)

Moving through the cold desert night
Awakened from our warm, cocooning beds.
Night flyers seeking the right winds, we wait in expectation
At last to be told we fly.
Red and yellow teardrop rising into the early morning sky
Transporting us into another world.
Purple, pink, orange aura on clouds foretells of the rising sun
As we wait, our breath held.
Below us in the rising light
Kangaroo and emu run from shadow cast from on high,
A dry riverbed awaiting the rains,
Delineation of land by scrub, as if drawn by our own hand.
At last the sun appears, washing away the cool of the night. Disappearing for a minute more behind foamy clouds
It reaches its zenith on the horizon,
And at last, we let our breath go.
Floating gently back to earth, a basket in the swaying Spinifex.
The sun warms us again.
We are alive!
We have seen!

Tim Alderman
(C) 2001