Separation of Armageddon and State
Separation of Armageddon and State
Freethought at the Polls
Michael B. Paulkovich
Condoleeza Rice famously had to explain why the Bush administration ignored the President's Daily Brief of August 6, 2001 entitled "Bin Laden to Strike in US." Beyond that Daily Brief lies a menace far more ominous and globally encompassing than the September 11 attacks of 2001.
Bin Laden has stated in interviews that it is the "religious duty" of all Muslims to acquire and use weapons of any type, including those of mass destruction—chemical and nuclear.1 One cannot overstate the importance and gravity of bin Laden's edict against non-Muslim "infidels." Still out there lurk stalwart Al-Qaeda operatives striving to please their depraved and pious overlords by procuring devices as globally destructive as can be. We know from Bin Laden's adjuncts that they are delighted to use any weapon or means against innocent people, against any nationality or religion, and to die for their illogical, inhuman, "holy" cause.
This brings to my mind the scripture in Qur'an 2:191, commanding all Muslims to slay non-Muslims "wherever ye find them."
Yet radical Islam is not alone in such abject delusion. The vast majority— billions of people on this Earth— hold a numinous belief that their current life has little if any meaning, and only the next, "eternal" life has any importance: "heaven."
So, most go to church or temple now and then as insurance policy. One friend, explaining why she went to Catholic mass on (most) Sundays told me "I want to make sure I get into heaven!" This is the perennial racketeer church, attendance (and donations) being the weekly "protection payments" to their god. It seems a rather pitiful way to live one's life.
Several verses of the New Testament predicted (falsely of course) the end of the world, claiming it would come within a generation of Jesus' death— e.g. Matthew 23:35-6, Mark 13:25-31. So far, the Bible has been wrong by several millennia. Reality and the heady flow of space-time have been, to date, immune to religious superstitions of "End Times."
The Jehovah's Witnesses have been kind and diligent enough to compute the exact year of the Parousia. They know exactly when it will occur! Their Watchtower Society's first calculation was slightly off, computing it to be 1874. That year came and went without the glorious Rapture they so sincerely desired. They tried again, coming up with 1914, a 365-day time period that remained intact until midnight Dec 31 arrived, proving them again wrong. The Jehovah's Witnesses remained undaunted, their next prediction being 1915. Neither Yahweh nor Jesus showed up that year to end the world, as far as I know.
Then the JWs regrouped and re-computed: 1918 seemed right at first, but that didn't work out. Next they predicted 1920 (failure, obviously). Next 1925, then 1941, then 1975, all clearly miscalculations.3 Perhaps they'll get it right for us one of these centuries. Kudos on the effort, Witnesses!
Back to serious considerations. The morning of September 11 2001 saw nineteen Muslim men fly airplanes into buildings selected by deluded demagogues, murdering thousands. They killed Muslims, Christians, Jews, Atheists, all sorts. The suicidal murderers did not know, nor care: dozens of virgins awaited them on the other side of the life/death curtain. Those arrogant men (yes, men; as you know, all the 9/11 terrorists sported a Y chromosome) were absolutely positive that in the next moment they would leave this life, and be transported to paradise for all eternity, replete with throngs of virgin concubines. You will find in the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sunan absolutely no mention of whether those women are intelligent, interesting, or even attractive: clearly, the interest of the would-be martyr is that all 72 would possess vaginas unadulterated.
Yet the evening before their murderous rampage, several of bin Laden's underlings critically crossed Muhammad's religious laws, and sinned in Allah's eyes (see Qur'an 5:90), drinking beer after beer in a Florida strip club, and bragging about their impending Jihadist act of religiocide.2 Did they really believe in the Qur'an, then? I have to think they must have: they followed up the next day with their satanic Al-Qaeda terrorist plan, and killed themselves for their god.
I hope Allah appreciated the human sacrifice! I have to wonder why they thought that their omniscient god was looking the other way on September 10th as they swilled the immoral elixir called "beer" at a sinful American entertainment station called a "topless bar."
I am thoroughly convinced, as no doubt you are, that no such supernatural transportation occurred. They sincerely believed they had god on their side, but the nineteen frustrated and brainwashed boy-terrorists simply died that morning, as did almost 3,000 victims of their religious poison. No virgins for them— just a premature end to their lives.
You will never turn on the news and hear a story claiming "Yesterday, another Atheist suicide scientist blew himself up, killing dozens and injuring more."
Any group armed with a nuclear weapon, whether Muslim Jihadist or Occidental Head of State, who believes in either martyrdom or the Parousia or a "glorious Rapture" clearly presents a threat a million times more dangerous than Bin Laden's 9/11 minions. The Nuclear Genie has been out of his plumbum bottle for over half a century and he pervades the globe in the form of tens of thousands of plutonium-armed salvos, some protected by dubious security.
In fact many potential weapons of mass destruction require little or no radioactive substance; just a wacko religious extremist willing to abuse a dirty bomb or biological weapon.
Steven Weinberg said "good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things. But for good people to do bad things - that takes religion." This perfectly describes the new fascist Islam, as well as the centuries of genocide perpetrated by Christians, with "legal" support from the Papacy.
Most religious fundamentalists and deranged armageddonists believe that the sooner we all die, the better. Next stop: heaven— hallelujah! Those who have "chosen rightly" believe their god will embrace his faithful sheep, and will leave all others to go straight to hell. Consider the loving, Christian wish of Pope Gregory I who said: "The bliss of the elect in heaven would not be perfect unless they were able to look across the abyss and enjoy the agonies of their brethren in eternal fire"4 — that Pope is guilty of schadenfreude of infinite breadth! The same sadistic Gregory "the Great" had the library of Palatine Apollo burned, lest its secular literature distract the faithful men from the contemplation of heaven. Gregory condemned all books but the "Holy Bible"; then he forbade everyone but the clergy from reading the Bible.5 Pope Gregory should consider himself lucky that the Christian mythologies and superstitions are in fact not true, lest he'd be in a hell of a bad place for all eternity.
These facts underscore the many reasons that Church and State must remain separated like matter from antimatter. The "L" component in the Drake equation, essentially the number of years an advanced society can hope to last before it destroys itself, clearly is inversely proportional to the religiosity of that society— the more religious (and less freethinking), the faster a society will devolve and destroy itself.
The Next Polling Cycle
Having "faith" has forever been presented as being something good and virtuous; but it is not a positive attribute, and nothing to be proud of. It equates to being merely gullible, superstitious, unquestioning.
No matter where you live on this globe, the next time you go to the polls, remember that the best candidates for high offices are the least faithful. We desperately need freethinking leaders, not brainwashed believers.
Any world leader who sincerely believes he has "god on his side" is capable of bringing about — and is not afraid— of Armageddon.
1. Kimberly McCloud, et al, CNS Reports, "WMD Terrorism and Usama Bin Laden," 7 March 2001.
2. Jason Boyett, Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse, 54.
3. Associated Press, "Manager: Men spewed anti-American sentiments," 14 September 2001
4. James Paterson, Curiosities of Christian History, 378.
5. Homer W. Smith, Man and His Gods, 228-9, 253.
[This article was originally published in American Atheist, April 2010]