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How Devout?

The dictionary lists a bully as: A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people. Therefore it is inherent for this charade of power to see others as inferior or at least submissive. In the arena of the playground, the bully maintains his reign by intimidation. Making an example of a smaller, weaker person with overwhelming brutality serves to cement his or her reputation. Others, of course, fall into place not wanting to be the next to be traumatized. Naturally the recruitment of lieutenants follows to enforce the regime. Sounds familiar?

The consequences of confronting this power structure can be dire. Once the bully has been broken however, the whole house of cards can come tumbling down. How powerful is the bully really?

Just how devout are religious fundamentalists? It seems to me that, like all bullies, it's necessary to fortify a reputation to maintain a feeling of superiority. It follows then that the 'born again Christian', the 'Muslim authority', the 'Catholic hierarchy' and alike need intimidation to dominate others. Of course simple brut force would never suffice, (although it certainly isn't abandoned in many parts of the world) instead the stick is replaced by the book, (Bible, Koran, Book of Mormon, Torah etc.) and fear of injury is replaced by dread of eternal anguish in hell. The question is this, do you think that this upper echelon believes wholeheartedly in the monolithic religions in all their minutiae? Undoubtedly some do, but for the most part they are rife with transgressions against the very dogma they advocate. If they really think the price for child molestation is an eternity of torment surely it wouldn’t be so prevalent among Catholic priests. Similarly the likes of Jim Bakker, and Jimmy Swaggart wouldn't have committed adultery if forever burning in the fires of hell would be the outcome.

It's important for these parasites to keep their followers ignorant and subservient, trust me, counter literature is not encouraged. Most live lives of privilege and shelter from hardship while the foot soldiers conveniently get their rewards in the hereafter.

To the same extent those who need to immerse themselves in these beliefs to feel self worth present a seemingly impenetrable front, but dig a little deeper (if you can endure the inevitable boredom of circular thinking), and you will find individuals blindly throwing out biblical based moral judgments. Certainly not logic, neither ethical, honorable, nor honest, but supportive of their egocentric gratification. I once had the misfortune to be seated on an international flight next to a fundamentalist Christian, who pitied me when I kindly let her know I wasn't interested in her beliefs. She informed me that every word of the bible was true because it was god’s word, and she would pray for me. All I could think of was that I hoped the pilot was not a fundamentalist Christian as well - I would hate to have my life in the hands of someone trying to land a plane in Germany from San Francisco who believed the world was flat. Thinking about that, why wasn't the woman concerned that the pilot wasn't a fundamentalist? I mean if he believed the earth is round wouldn't he guide the aircraft in an arch plunging it into the flat earth?

Of course I'm having a bit of fun, because the majority of born again types choose to ignore the flat earth references in the bible. It's more convenient, that way they can get satellite TV without having to denounce god. Yet in reality, Galileo was imprisoned for the remainder of his life and Bruno burned at the stake in 1600 for believing in the Copernican theory. Is it at all possible that they could be wrong about the earth being only a few thousand years old? Well they were almost right about the flat earth, after all it only curves inches in miles, most floorboards are considerably more curved than the earth. Evolution however seems to be much more of a blunder on the part of religion when fossil remains are right at our feet. Yet the bullies, who in former times burnt and imprisoned people, want to reestablish a society where to study, learn and think critically has no merit. That way, they, and not the talented, learned, and the brilliantly astute can wield the power. Fundamentalists (assuming they are smart enough to engage in anything like a debate) are quick to point out how many scientific theories turn out wrong. On the contrary, most theories are incomplete as Isaac Asimov pointed out in his brilliant article "The relativity of wrong.” One of his examples was, in fact, the flat earth. Indeed there was a time when secular thinkers believed the world to be flat. This was overturned when the Copernican theory was embraced, (By scientists) but it was later proved inadequate and it was revealed that it is not round but was slightly flatted. This was updated when it was discovered that one hemisphere was a little large than the other. This doesn't make Nicolas Copernicus an idiot, his thinking was based on naked eye observation (prior to the invention of the telescope), and was an incredible leap of thought. Isn't that the beauty of critical thinking? You don't have to be entrenched. If another plausible explanation for fossil remains surfaced, I'm convinced there would be legions within the scientific community eager to test the merits of it. Not that another explanation is needed, the more remains discovered the more Darwin's theory, in principle, can be considered fact. Moreover, the creation model put forward by fundamentalists doesn't even meet the requirements for serious consideration. Apart from a lack of the first axiom, evidence, studies in evolution cross so many other disciplines that to consider creation as a science would be to suspend belief in so many other scientific fields that operate quite well, thank you. Furthermore, a few minutes looking into creationism reveals irreconcilable problems of such proportions, no one without a prior agenda would waste their time.

Authors publishing theories which subsequently are surpassed seem wholly discredited. That is unfair, as the theory is often built around available facts and in the light of new facts it becomes outmoded. That's why it's called a theory! Fortunately that is an attribute of science - (checks and balances). Does that make the author incompetent? Not necessarily, yet the public in its search for definitive answers is most unforgiving. Fundamentalists have no such problems, with no logic to scrutinize, or evidence to observe, their claim to the moral high ground through god's word is secure. This enables mobs to drag infidels through the streets and the rights of nonbelievers to become eroded with little resistance while the crimes of the cloth are shrouded.

So how devout are the fundamentalists leaders? Money fraud, child molestation, pornography, and violence don't seem to deter followers. Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart are still out there with a devoted following. While the satanic verses saved Mohammed, any logical evaluation would shed serious doubt on his credibility. No wonder these leaders oppose scholarly reading. Erroneous content in their religious books is, for them, totally irrelevant - after all if it ain't broke don't fix it. It has worked all through history as a proven tool of oppression. They don't need to be devout. - Nicky Garratt 2002