The Nerd's discussion is very popular and spirited, so I suggest breaking it up into subcategories, so as not to be inundated with comments.

I've always felt that religion weaves a pernicious web in human behavior. Making people to associate guilt and shame with our natural bodies is a crime against humanity. Religious orthodoxy takes a wonderful gift of nature and

If sex were a positive and natural activity, I believe rape would diminish and eventually cease in an enlightened society.

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Its a letter of a different sort, just making broad claims against theism. Not focusing on a particular subject. But it is meant to definitely open eyes. Good thought though. You would need a different angle to present something on closing down the prison systems.
Japan's an interesting study. Japanese culture is highly obsessed with a concept of purity and some sort of honor. Being an American Proud of A Beautiful Mess, I really don't get it; however, with their culture as highly conformist as it is, people of Japanese culture are less likely to break rules and laws.

Of course, this, while holding validity, skirts the cause that I want to get to of the correlation between religiousness and incarceration: primitive thought. Some declare themselves religious out of a sense of identity, holding religiousness as the best identity, and they equip themselves, their cars, houses, offices, refrigerators, and such, and their actions with all the symbols of their identity. Some are wimps of an extraordinary caliber, psychologically incapable of giving a little further push up the hill of "What if?" and letting their brains sort it all out for a few dozen milliseconds and rejecting this, that, or the other. All the rest don't have any real opinion on it one way or the other.

Whatever the reason for any individual, attachment to religion is what keeps religion where it is in societies, and the attachment involved is rather primitive. It is desperately complex and highly evolved, but it is, shall I say, uncivilized. It is ham-handed and maladaptive like the static rituals of someone with autism.

There are no words for the primal, wake-up-in-the-morning-and-kick-your-alarm-clock-to-death, gut feeling that some thing has to be in some state--a bond to religion remaining intact in this case. It's what leads to "lying for Jesus" and squirrelly arguments for the existence of a creator god. It's the kind of thing that would make a straightforward person yelp "No!" due to someone doing something that would alter the state of something whilst the yelp isn't really meant to address the person but to reality itself: "Reality, don't be that way!" Regardless of the irrelevant metaphysical implications, this primitive on/off, real/unreal, true/false understanding of things is the heart of continuing inappropriate religious attachments.

For issues not at an ultimate-close distance to one's traditional metaphorical heart, the urge to keep reality the same is not as strong, but it is still quite resilient. As a consequence of their being mentally entangled in the states of other things, people appropriately susceptible end up overlooking details--sometimes quite major ones, like those overlooked by every single defender of creationism ever. Sometimes the overlooked details are only things like federal tax laws. But, most often for those who employ primitive attachment techniques in their thinking (without knowing and without choice, mind) they overlook details like how people work, e.g. being a teenager and thinking that their loving relationship will last a lifetime, and they break up about a month later with their partner.

An attachment can be to something relatively innocuous, like paper being free of unnecessary marks. It can be to something esoteric, as in the case of the monomanias of Asperger's syndrome. It can be general, as in these two examples, or it can be ephemeral and forgotten with the setting sun--or, more often, the rising. The pulling forward of some affairs which necessarily pushes others backward, for example, operates through the same mechanism--just turned down a few notches. Procrastinating, a procrastinator ignores (though not really voluntarily) other things that remain to be done, having only the one thing in his or her mind.

This is what happens for vandalous delinquents in many cases, if not all. They get it up in them to do this one thing, the issue of consequences fully out of their conscious operating mind. It's still in their memory ("storage"; hard drive), but it is easily absent from the mind ("memory"; RAM) whilst they engage in stealing political signs, toilet-paper-ing the school, or simply stealing cans of beer one-at-a-time.

As Kent Hovind must use this cognitive-dissonance-resolution technique, it is no stretch to say he used the same technique in being delicately unconscious of the enormity of his repeated transaction structuring. Ignoring the chronologically or physically distant details (They're not here right now; maybe they're not coming.) for a while whilst those details pile up into a wave that later crashes over one's head is the same, really, in this case, as unconsciously ignoring the symptoms and treatment options for a quickly failing high school relationship. Oh how those emoes do cry when they break up, and so did Hovind.

As for one-event sorts of crimes, it simply takes that failure in that moment in taking certain outside details into account (laws, cameras, watching cops) combined with the initial get-up-and-go to do it--"Seeing red" I believe they call it in cases of anger. While long-term issues require squirrelly subroutines to perpetuate the self-denial, keeping outside options nonreactive at each opportunity that they might get for them to react is the method to the madness.

Overall, the root of the problems could be said to be premature attachments to things. Or, if you like, immature attachments, as these easily are often petty. In general, I prefer to call them inappropriate.

This premature attachment mechanism, I concede, may be necessary in order to feel attraction, since I see it in every young girl that I happen to speak with who hangs off of her man. It takes some spontaneous commitment--attachment to a course of action or events--to meet someone and have a spontaneous fling with them or to start a relationship and be possessive immediately, as I often see around here.

With the push of a magic button, religion goes away, but emotional teens, homeopaths, ufophiles, etc. will still engage in the detail-ignoring (effectively, science-ignoring) of this sort, leaving the world just as full of accidental babies, quackery, and wrong ideas as it was before. This is the cause of the cancer. I hope we can cure it eventually.
People NEED sex. It is what helps drive us to be better people. I know I keep myself in check mostly so that I may have more sex in life. I have always felt that Catholic priests should have sex as well or else that sexual desire and energy, after years of penning it up becomes tainted and perverse. It is just unnatural to hold back this basic human need. Why would a God have his leaders involved in such a recipe for moral disaster? *...In response to where this thread has lead.*
Rayray, to me Catholic celibacy is a study in memetics. All membots who carry the Christianity memeplex are concerned about one thing: the replication of the memeplex. By far, the most effective way to achieve this is by vertical transmission, i.e. father to son and mother to daughter. Once the child reaches Sunday school, the memeplex information is confirmed.

Celibacy goes against the grain. It would seem that the most devoted memeplex carriers would be the best vectors for memeplex transmission. Most of the other religions realize this. But, just as in the case of gays that don’t reproduce, the Catholic priest is sacrificed for the sake of group cohesion, in that the priest can devote full time to indoctrination of other people’s babies. It’s a sort of memetic tradeoff.

We see the same thing in memboids, people who kill themselves for the sake of the memeplex. They are sacrificed even though they are devout believers, but the group becomes more cohesive in its beliefs.

It’s important to realize that religions are information—computer viruses, as Dawkins puts it. They have no feelings or concern for the natural world. It’s as if Islam and the religions know that they will go the way of the thousands of other religions the world has seen come and go. Religions must replicate to survive.

Of course, the religion doesn’t know this. Memetic selection has favored the religions that replicate the best in numbers and accuracy. That’s why they are still here. Islam is by far the most safe and secure, because the madrassah system is impenetrable. Alien ideas are filtered out. By the time the kids graduate, they are full-fledged, hard core membots, ready to live and die for Allah.
The memeplex also uses guilt to absorb more membots into its purpose. We are all born with evil in our hearts, as the song Amazing Grace goes "who saved a wretch like me". We all are good by default. We dont need the church to forgive us for being so wretched. Its human cognition to be good. Too bad those people really believe that we cannot be good without God. It is usually religion that distorts things.
Dawkins has a good one for people who say, "there is no morality without God."

Ask them, "all right, what would you do if you found out there is no God. Would you go out to murder and rape? Almost everybody has to say "no," which disproves their statement.
And my arguments for that is that the church didnt help us overcome slavery. It didnt help humankind overcome oppression of women. We didnt stop stoning women to death in the streets when they had sex out of wedlock. The religious did nothing to stop stoning our children in the streets when they were shameful to the family. It is human intelligence, we are evolving as a race to this point. We need to leave that behind and evolve. We are still hanging on to human cognition from its infancy, before we learned it is best to be truthful rather than use lies to control a nation.
Well, I read Classism for Dimwits and certainly enjoyed it. Divine Right looks historical, whereas your early books are personal.

Historical books are fun because we get a chance to learn how things were at a deeper level. Here's a little tidbit about the Romans, a hobby of mine: Augustus enacted a law that decreed that a woman is not a Roman citizen until she gives birth to four children. He was a family values moralist, so when his daughter Julia was screwing anything that walked under the fornix with all the prostitutes, the emperor was pissed and had her banished to a little rock in the Mediterranean.
Sorry...I have a really warped sense of humor :>

If you have a warped sense of humor what the heck is mine. Does God Throw Poo, to me this is a valid theological question that should be discussed at every religious college across the land.

Here's my favorite paragraph from Mirror Reversal. I love the line about, "The Lord could strike me dead..."

“My, my” said a beautiful black girl, early 30s, with facial features that could get her work as a cover girl. She was svelte and elegant, wearing a red T-back thong with an orange double ring wraparound bikini top. She looked so glamorous she could have made it in a James Bond movie. The streetwalker looked at the newcomer for one second and knew exactly what was happening. “The Lord could strike me dead right now, and I wouldn’t mind a bit, ‘cause now I’ve seen everything. ‘Fifty dollars for fellatio and a hundred for coitus.’ I gotta write that down so I can use it on the muckty-mucks from Connecticut.”
Who can deny this wise statment? This line should be a line from the next Bible—but I don't know if I'd swear to it.
As long as we can call them Bollocks. The British really nailed this one I think.
Rayray, this is an excellent paragraph. You are saying a great deal in just a few sentences.

The think James Joyce's message is that the "inner man" is good. I certainly don't need a church to tell me what's right and wrong. It's common sense, for Jebus' sake.

I recently went for a job interview and the man behind the desk said, "do you mind I we do a background check?"

I said to myself, “Holy crap, what if he finds out I cheated on a geography test in the sixth grade?” I feel guilty if I drop a candy wrapper on the sidewalk. If I ever hurt somebody seriously, I couldn’t live with myself.

“The Battle Hymn of the Republic” has a good stanza also.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:

As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,

While God is marching on.

Imagine singing these words as you’re marching to battle. The third line is a meme saying it’s all right to die for a good cause. If I were there, I would have yelled out, musket in hand, “What do you mean ‘us’? You believe in the afterlife, I don’t.”




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