Uncommon Sense

July 24, 2019

We Don’t Need Regulators, Corporations Would Never Do Anything to Harm Their Reputations

Filed under: Business,Politics,The Law — Steve Ruis @ 8:47 am
Tags: , , ,

The Big Lie is a lie so obviously untrue that people would not accept it unless it became “common knowledge” which it does if the BL is repeated over and over and over.

We have been told by the “De-Regulators” that all of these regulations and regulators are unnecessary, that “The Market™” will take care of all of the bad actors. And, certainly major corporations would never, ever do anything to harm their reputations.

How many times do we need to see this is not only not true, but very, very false?

Read this!

Capitalism gone wrong: how big pharma created America’s opioid carnage

The biggest drug epidemic in the U.S. created not by human weaknesses but by the profit motive. (Read this sentence again!)

Roman Christianity?

Filed under: History,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 8:45 am

Maybe my views on the Roman empire’s influence on Christianity are not so radical after all.


PS Thanks, Ark, for the link!

July 23, 2019

Jesus and the Apostates, A Follow-up

Atheists like me are often moaning/droning on about Christians who do not know what their scriptures tell them. My recent post “Jesus and the Apostates” (A great name for a Christian rock band, no?) basically reflects this attitude, with the added repercussion that Christians who are basically good and ignore the stupid, sad, or evil recommendations/commandments in their Bibles give cover to those Christians who do act upon what their Bibles tell them, to our detriment.

I responded to a comment on that post with this rejoinder:

“Protestantism was based upon the principle of “I don’t need no stinkin’ priest to tell me what the Bible says” so they go sit in pews and let a stinking minister tell them what is in the Bible.”

How this came to be is rather fascinating (as all church history tends to be), in that the Protestant Revolution was based upon the rejection of a corrupt hierarchy in the Catholic Church. From Pope to Priests, their corruption was evident to anyone keeping their eyes and ears open. So, war ensues. That’s right Holy War, right there in River City . . . well, River City Germany, and then Switzerland, Austria, France, Spain, England . . . is it any wonder that the Founders of this country wanted to build a wall between Church and State? (Build the wall, build the wall!)

So, the Protestants who freed themselves from the tyranny of the Catholic Church, what did they do? They set up a completely parallel system. They built churches, had deacons, ministers (a big step up from priests . . . not), had services on Sundays, etc. They eliminated some of the claptrap: johnny-come-lately saints, myriad religious holidays, etc. but those were minor changes. The stamp of Christianity had been forged and they conformed to the norms.

So, where did these norms come from? The early church meetings were in people’s houses, were effectively leaderless, often centered on a meal, and were quite egalitarian. Only very rarely did a “speaker” come through town who was then invited to commune with the congregation. So where did all of the current stuff come from?

Church buildings? Came from the Romans.
To early Christians a “church” referred to the people, the congregation, not a building.
Choirs and church music? Came from the Romans.
Officials to preside over services? Came from the Romans.
Separation of the “leaders” from the laity? Came from the Romans.
The elevation of the leaders above the laity (on a riser or stage)? Came from the Romans.
The funky dress for the leaders (the miters and robes, etc.) Came from the Romans. These outfits were identical to Roman administerial garb.

Yep, all of the claptrap that make a church service recognizable and near and dear to Catholics and Protestants . . . came from pagans and was not “invented” by Christians.

And there seems to be more than a little evidence that Rome used its influence (wealth, use of force, etc.) to shape Christianity and its scriptures to its liking and use (to supplant Jewish revolt theology). The Empire Strikes Back . . . in deeds!

Jesus and the Apostates

Filed under: Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:24 am
Tags: ,

On Quora this question appeared “Can you reject God and come back?” It is easy to read a lot into such a question. It might be a poignant plea. It might be someone looking to cover his ass. There might be all kinds of motivations for the question.

Most of the answers were kindly, telling this person that yes, God is love, yada, yada, yada. Some answers were from people of religions other than Christianity and some from people of no religion.

The people who answered who are Christians are, as usual, being kind but not true to their scripture. Consider the following (italics added).

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.”(Hebrews 6)

Once in God’s pocket, if you jump out, there is no getting back in. The word “impossible” resonates with the definition of their god’s power of omnipotence, that their god is able to do all things that are logically possible. Here scripture tells us that those who have believed and who then fall away are impossible to redeem.

Evangelicals are noted for trying to woo those who have fallen away back into Jesus’ arms. Why would they do that when scripture clearly says that doing so is irrelevant, the apostates are doomed?

Christopher Hitchen’s point, which he made over and over, is that the “moderate” Christians, the ones who give cover to the immoderate ones through their social standing and good works, etc., are not good Christians. They ignore scripture and follow their own moral codes and then claim that they are good because of their Christianity.

The simple answer to “Can you reject God and come back?” is no, not if your are a Christian. Salvation awaits, however if you just change your beliefs. there are other religions which will offer salvation if you just convert. Everyone who does is saved. Of course, this is the same claim as all of the auto insurance companies make: “people who switched to GEICO (or whatever) saved an average of $402!” What they do not point out, of course, is that people who cannot save money, don’t switch. Only people who do actually fill out the forms.

Since we know you are an apostate, we are not debating what you are, just the cost of making you what you want to be.

July 21, 2019

Go Back Where You Came From . . . WTF?

Recently President Trump told Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to “go back where she came from.” This is puzzling because Representative Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx, New York City, on October 13, 1989 and now that she is their Congressman, she goes back regularly to the Bronx. She is seen there, photographed there, and has been known to frequent restaurants in her neighborhood.

I am confused. Is there something there she is supposed to do for the president? If so, why doesn’t he ask politely?

July 19, 2019

God’s Powers—Omnipresence

Filed under: Religion — Steve Ruis @ 9:11 am
Tags: , ,

♫ He’s making a list and checking it twice
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice
He sees you when you’re sleepin’
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

You better watch out, you better not cry
Better not pout, I’m telling you true
God is always watching . . . you! ♪

It seems that all of the powers attributed to the Abrahamic god are based upon what the god-believers want that god to do. Take for example, omnipresence. If this god is to be the judge of all humanity, he can’t be going about staging trials. He needs to be witness, judge, jury, and executioner. So, in order for people to not be able to hide from this god, it needs to know what you are doing all of the time. In order to “see” your misdeeds he has to be where he can see them, so he has to be omnipresent (and awake 24-7, and not distractible, and . . . , and. . . .).

To “explain” this ability, some theists have claimed that their god is “outside of space and time,” aka nowhere, while others have claimed this god is everywhere. In Gordian knot solution mode, Anselm claimed that both of those were true (and also claimed he resolved the conflict between them)!

To be omnipresent, this god is claimed to be a purely spiritual being. Of course, every time such a claim is made, problems accrue. For example, to make us “special,” it is claimed that we are made “in God’s image.” If this god is a being of pure spirit, existing outside of space and time, it has no image, so WTF? Every additional claim for a godly power creates conflicts with its other powers and makes the whole mess less and less likely. And starting from below 1% likelihood, going lower is not easy.

All of these “power problems” stem from one source: an insistence on monotheism. Who is going to be attracted to worship a god which is kinda great and sorta powerful and knows a lot of stuff? Establishing a monotheistic worship in a mostly polytheistic world is asking for a lot of competition.

This results in the social inflation of the monotheistic god’s powers. (Polytheist: My god is so powerful that he can throw lightning bolts at his enemies. Monotheist: Oh yeah, my god. . . .) The only end result for a monotheistic god’s powers is the most, the strongest, the greatest, the hugest, . . . , hmm, maybe Donald Trump is religious.

This all comes back to my basic question: why monotheism? By claiming to worship the One True God™, who is the only real god, means that everybody else is worshiping false gods and are very stupid to be doing so. This attitude doesn’t exactly ingratiate one to one’s neighbors.

Imagine living in a suburban neighborhood and when you moved in, your immediate neighbor to the left, built a tall fence so that he and his family did not have to look at you, forbade his children from playing with yours, gossiped to his neighbors on the other side that you were immoral idolaters and would come to no good. Can you imagine becoming friends with those people any time soon? Can you imagine them being good neighbors?

Imagine these standoffish neighbors, are surrounded by people like you, so there are now tall fences on all four property lines. They no longer gossip with their neighbors, but they continue to write letters to the editor of the local newspaper condemning the immoral, demon worshipers in their community.

A community of people not desiring to blend in, assimilate, or compromise anything aren’t going to be liked. If you think this is an uncharitable portrait, look up the ultraorthodox Jewish communities in New York right now and see what kinds of issues they are dealing with.

So, the Hebrews, situated in a high traffic land between largish superpowers of the day, adopt monotheism, thereby picking a fight with everyone around them. How did that work out for them as a people?

And please, comments that I am “blaming the victim” for what happened to them is not what I am doing. I am trying to get at why there was a push to convert the Hebrews from polytheism to monotheism (and then hand off that hot mess to Christians and Muslims).

For those of you that think “Hebrews? Polytheism? Weren’t they always monotheists? The answer is: not according to their Bible. Over and over again, those pushing monotheism (remember the winners write the histories) warned about worshiping false idols, false gods, building altars in “high places,” etc. If they were all monotheists, then why all the warnings? Israelite monotheism seems to date back to the seventh century BCE, but not earlier.

From the Biblical story lines and other histories it seems that the only beneficiaries of monotheism were the religious elites, the priests. The secular elites, kings and whatnot, inherited grief, grief, and more grief, so they were not all that rewarded by monotheism. The common people? They always were keeping their heads down, trying to avoid the attention of the elites. And, while a few busybodies were always looking to count coup on their neighbors, those people always had ammunition for their pettiness, monotheism didn’t provide any more of that.

So, why monotheism? The downsides were huge and the upsides were few. Any ideas?

It Pays to Know Some Mythology

Filed under: Religion — Steve Ruis @ 9:07 am
Tags: , ,

Many of the aspects of the Garden of Eden myth are puzzling. After reading this, I find them less so.

Yahweh’s Divorce from the Goddess Asherah in the Garden of Eden


Why Atheism?

Filed under: Reason — Steve Ruis @ 9:06 am
Tags: , ,

There is a brilliant, indefatigable writer on Quora who addresses questions of theism and atheism brilliantly. His name is Barry Goldberg. Here is a taste of his writing.

What are the top ten reasons to be an atheist?

Barry Goldberg, Born Jewish, Raised Mormon, Discovered Philosophy and Became Atheist

Updated Oct 31, 2018

What are the top ten reasons to be an atheist?

The Top Ten Reasons to Be an Atheist (in no particular order) are:

Drum roll please…

  1. It’s obvious that all world religions are the product of extremely ignorant (not stupid) near barbarians who didn’t understand much about the world around them and made up stories to explain things the best they could. We no longer believe that the universe is made of four elements, that our health is governed by the balance of our four humors, that the Earth is the center of the universe with everything revolving around it, that mental illness is caused by demonic possession, etc. Why, then, should we still cling to ancient ideas about gods?
  2. It’s obvious that most people who say they believe in God believe in the God that is worshiped by the culture in which they grew up. And everybody is convinced that their religion is the only “right” one. They can’t all be right, but they can certainly all be wrong.
  3. It’s obvious that the universe is just too vast and full of stuff not in any way related to humans to seriously believe that it was all made just for us and that we are the pinnacle of all creation.
  4. It’s obvious that the religious beliefs of today are substantively the same as every other discarded superstitious belief of the past. If it’s silly to believe in Thor and Osiris, it’s just as silly to believe in Allah or Jehovah.
  5. It’s obvious that every single bit of proposed “evidence” for the existence of God has either been totally debunked or can be explained through other means. And it is obvious that any justification for believing in God is part of an ever-shrinking “god of the gaps” argument.
  6. It’s obvious that the various “Holy Scriptures” that supposedly provide the only source for knowledge about God are riddled with internal inconsistencies and blatantly wrong information about the world and world history.
  7. It’s obvious that every depiction of God that is actually worshiped by anybody is riddled with logical inconsistencies. How can God be all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving if he permits massive suffering throughout the entire universe (and not just suffering caused by man’s free will)? Why would an all-loving God set up a system whereby the vast, vast majority of his children would never get a chance to hear the “truth” and be saved, and thus be condemned to an eternity of torture? How can God simultaneously be immaterial and timeless (“pure mind”) and still interact with the material world?
  8. It’s obvious that things like “God moves in mysterious ways” and “God always answers prayers, but sometimes the answer is no” are just lame excuses to explain why God rarely (if ever) keeps his supposed promise to actually GIVE the faithful what they ask for in faith (not just “answer their prayers”).
  9. It’s obvious that “God” is just Santa Claus for adults. Believing in Him may give you comfort in times of trouble and give you something to look forward to, but that doesn’t mean He is real.
  10. And, to top it off, after thousands and thousands of years, no believer has ever offered a shred of compelling evidence or any sound logical argument to support a belief in such a being. Although, to be absolutely honest, the entire notion of “God” is so insanely ridiculous and childish and obviously the product of ignorant superstitions in the first place that it’s hard to even imagine what sort of “evidence” or “argument” would actually be sufficient to support a belief in such a being. And if you think that makes me sound “closed-minded,” then I’m afraid you’ll just have to blame the people who came up with such a ridiculous notion in the first place.


July 13, 2019

Does This Blog Need a Different Title?

When I began this blog, mainstream opinions regarding there being a class war in the U.S. were little better than scoffing at the idea. It seems now that most people accept this class war as a fact. I began this blog with the intent of just establishing the war is real, but I could continue, focusing on the conduct and disposition of the class war.  Of late, I have been writing more frequently about religion (specifically Christianity as that is the religion I know most about) in that I believe the religion plays a role in the class war.

Religion, specifically Christianity in the U.S., plays a role in our current class war because mainstream religions have always worked hand in hand with secular state power for their own benefit. Religions that do not accrue state power have a hard time surviving. And a religion acquires state power is by exhibiting practices of which the secular powers approve. The example I use often is that Christianity supported the institution of slavery (scripture still does!). Had it not, it never would have been adopted as the state religion of Rome and would not have had Rome’s power to expand the church’s power for over a century. (Does no one else find the name of the Roman Catholic Church ironic? The Messiah (Jesus?) was supposedly coming to remove Rome’s boot heel from the necks of the Jews, then under occupation by Rome. Some actually called them the enemy! Apparently the enemy won.)

Some may argue that the history of the United States belies my conclusion. That in the U.S. state power is forbidden to be used to support or oppose any church. Ah, that explains the tax free status of churches and all of the other laws exempting churches and church leaders from having to comply with state or federal laws. Discriminate against women in your hiring practices? This is fine if you are a church. Discriminate against people of other faiths or—gasp—no faith at all, in your hiring practices? This is fine . . . if you are a church. Discriminate against gays and lesbians in your hiring? This is fine if you are a church. A governmental position of neutrality with regard to churches would mean they would all be taxed the same, not “not taxed at all.” There are many other laws that churches violate with impunity just because they can.

So, I still hold that churches support the status quo when it comes to the secular leaders as they have accrued some political power and they do not want to lose it. And, in reality, some of these churches have gone on the offensive, wanting more power than they have now, trying to make the case that we are a Christian nation, a ludicrous claim. (The Bible does not support any kind of democracy in any way, shape, or form. Nor does it support the forbidding of cruel and unusual punishments or any other of the cornerstone concepts of the Constitution. Sheesh.) They have also arranged to have legislation introduced exempting churches from more and more of our laws.

So, if you have an opinion, does this blog need a new title? (And if you say “yes” do you have any suggestions? I suspect JB would call it “Steve’s Snark” or “Steve’s Ignorance.”)

I Have Said This Before But Hearing It Again Always Helps

Filed under: History,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 11:16 am
Tags: , ,

The cost of liberty is eternal vigilance is, I believe, the correct assessment.

Is There a Global Future for Unions?

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.