“Imagine the Creator as a low comedian, and at once the world becomes explicable.”
“Infidel, n. In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does.”
“Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.’
“Our Bible reveals to us the character of our God with minute and remorseless exactness….It is perhaps the most damnatory biography that exists in print anywhere.”
Here in New Hampshire, the land of “Live Free or Die,” the government purports to dictate educational curriculum – not a good sign in a supposedly free society. The legislature, as reported in the Feb. 3, 2012 Keene Sentinel, is contemplating a law that would require schools to offer an elective course on the Bible.
Isn’t the damn thing in our faces enough as it is? Are there no other collections of folk-tales, pseudo-history and kindergarten morality that merit our attention? Is there no civilization, however primitive, that doesn’t have its version of how things came to be and how people are supposed to act? This is just forcing the dominant religion’s version to the fore once again. What is this, Saudi Arabia?
Fortunately, opposition was quick in coming. The best quote came from Claire Ebel, of the NH ACLU: “This is a specific attempt to hold one religion over others and hold a religion over no religion.”
The problem with the Bible is its inflated importance, maintained by both civil and clerical authorities. The cause and effect is circular: It’s important because it’s always been – and that’s partly because clerics have filtered and whitewashed its more primitive stories. Massive numbers of rabbi-hours have been invested in giving the Torah far more respect than it deserves.
Once again: the Bible is not inherently unique. It is very special mainly TO CHRISTIANS AND JEWS, who exert a disproportionate influence on the actions of Western nations. A heavily armed, religious nation like the US is a threat to the stability of the world. I wouldn’t mind if Denmark had nukes. But religion drives policy in many other non-Christian nation as well.
God and the Presidency
And of course, there is no way an atheist could be elected to lead this great land of ours, even though a person free of religious superstition (I’m willing to believe that Obama’s such a person; he just goes through the motions) is a much better choice, because he/she can make decisions without having to believe that God is on our side (they ALL believe that).
Milllions of people believe the Bible represents history, despite all efforts to disprove its truth (especially the most primitive parts: why do people cling to the psycho-killer God in the Torah?). Disturbingly large numbers of people believe without proof. There’s no debate about the folk-tales of other religions; they’re false.
NOT a Christian nation
Another factor that’s inflated the importance of the Bible is the fallacy that every time the Founders said anything about God, it bears on the question of whether this is a Christian country. WTF? I hate the way religious believers cherry-pick their quotes, but that is the way of ignorant, devious people.
The truth is that some of the Founders were outright atheists. Jefferson cut out all the mythology and isolated the parts that were relevant and worthwhile. Maybe some of the Founders mentioned God because they were politicians and the rabble expected it.
The point is that the government they created in no way rests on religious fantasy. And before that, they didn’t rely on prayer to deliver them from the British. They acted exactly opposite to the church poster I saw in Troy, NH: “Put your faith in God, not yourselves.” Passivity, always. God will take care of everything.
God as underachiever (Woody Allen)
Except that he takes care of nothing. He didn’t stop the Holocaust (sorry, cheap shot). His resume is thin. Prayers may or may not be answered. Anything clerics say come from God – forgiveness, grace, salvation, strength – comes in fact from people themselves.
The NH proposed law is just another example of creeping Bible-worship. I’m sure it’s not the only such legislative proposal in this great religious land of ours. But give it a rest. There’s plenty of Bible study going on. Way too much, in fact. Along with all the Bible courses, formal and informal, that we already have, there are entire institutions devoted to obsessing over it.
Who the hell do these politicians think they are, deciding what knowledge is important? As one of the measure’s opponents said, the Roman Empire is just as important to our history and culture – why not mandate that?
Politicians should get out of education, stick to the Constitution, and concern themselves with the threats to our rights and liberties, chief among which right now is the government itself.