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Ear to the Ground

Rocketman Tackles Religion

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Posted on Nov 12, 2006
Elton John
fjkastl.de

Sir Elton John said in a recent interview that all organized religions should be banned for sowing bigotry toward gays and turning people into “hateful lemmings.”


BBC:

His comments were made in a special gay edition of the Observer Music Monthly Magazine, where he was interviewed by Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears.

“I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people,” he said. “Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays.

“But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion.”

According to the singer-songwriter, 59, his solution would be to “ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it.”

He added: “I love the idea of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the beautiful stories about it, which I loved in Sunday school and I collected all the little stickers and put them in my book.

“But the reality is that organised religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it’s not really compassionate.”

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By Bad Man Alive, November 15, 2006 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I will tell you all a secret. Religion as known by the majority of the world WILL be destroyed, by government. Religion, as most know it is a disgrace. BUT…..... If you cannot buy the evolution idea, as many can’t (including me) you must conclude with intelligent design. If the bible is really the word of god…... it says we were made to live here without death (remember death is only due to sin…. according to the bible) If that is true than this is what god’s purpose will still be right? This is why I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They have been trying to tell the whole earth of the comming destruction of religion (which is in the bible), and they are tellig people about the restoration of the original purpose…. the global paradise. NOW THAT MAKES SENSE Do not let other people tell you “about Jehovah’s Witnesses” investigate yourself, you will be VERY happy you did.

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By DFC, November 13, 2006 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How better to strengthen irrationality than to ban it?  And without a massive national imperative to seriously promote critical thinking (education) in the U.S., there’s no point in even discussing a “ban” here.  As for all those poor countries where education is little more a reality than an invisible all-knowing and all-powerful creator, I see no relief from religion.  Of course, “banning” religion is no more than a daydream; but before it can ever be contemplated seriously, the opposite must be done for egalitarian prosperity, education, and freedom from governmental corruption.  When that happens, counterproductive bans on religion won’t be necessary.

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By Snarkaholic, November 12, 2006 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A few observations:

1.  Nowhere in The Ten Commandments is homosexuality mentioned as being a sin.

2.  Every single person who condemns homosexuality has broken at least one of The Ten Commandments; otherwise, they’d be perfect, and the bible clearly states that no one is perfect.

3.  It would appear that God gave each of us enough work to do on ourselves that we should be too busy to condemn others.

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By Bloog Mandrake, November 12, 2006 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

them’s sum thinkin. has elton banned religion yet? hear that, everybody? elton banned religion!

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By R. A. Earl, November 12, 2006 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Organized religion is just a politically correct term for a “gang.” People belong because it feels good… gives them an instant support group and sense of community, and most of all, provides “answers” to the “big questions.” (Doesn’t seem to matter that organized religion’s “answers” are every bit as much a fantasy as those you might make up yourself.)

But what galls me the most is how organized religion… especially the Christian religions… have co-opted truths and values that have guided people for all of recorded history, and likely long before, and present them as their own exclusive inventions.

“Christian values” existed long before organized Christianity came along and decided they sounded too good to pass up. So “Family Values” or “Christian Values” were stolen from the ages and repackaged for consumption by the gullible.

And boy… did it work! I guess because there are just so damn many gullible fools available to soak up the BS.

Elton’s right but as with those of us who share his views, we’re just ahead of our time. It might be another century or two before the “masses” finally figure out how they’ve been conned and taken for suckers. The only thing we can do until then is try to ignore the sheep in the fold and the shepherds who fleece them, pity them, and pass laws that require them to either stay completely out of politics OR START PAYING FULL TAXES ON PROPERTY AND INCOME like the rest of us. Can’t have it both ways!

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By teamprick, November 12, 2006 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe GOD will show pitty to you all???

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By One For Dissent, November 12, 2006 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Elton is an abject hypocrite. Freedom of religion is at the heart of democracy and what made America what it was. Without freedom of religion, which is bluntly: The freedom to choose what is right and what is wrong, there is not only no longer the freedom of speech, but an utter reversal of ideology.

Elton, you may not call to suppress expression and call yourself an artist. Yes, Hate is a legitimate feeling.

There is an ultimate Evil in the world, and an ultimate wrong and right, and some people are confused about which is which.

And to kill a father who speaks hate leaves a son even more the hater.

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By Atheista, November 12, 2006 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ban religion because it’s a lie.
http://www.atheistactivist.org

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By B, November 12, 2006 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Organized religions are responsible for many of the most heinous acts in human history.

Personal beliefs are responsible for many of the most beautiful acts in human history.

To often organized religion becomes a cover for those with no personal beliefs. Allowing them to cloak their deeds in piety.

I for one believe it is not in the governments right to stop organized religion entirely. The government can and should step in when laws are broken. The government however should stop ALL faith based spending out of our treasuries. The government should tax religion (and politics…).
The government should also include religion in it’s hate crime legislation.

Religion like government, is grand in theory but often corrupt and disgusting in practice.

B

http://b-political.blogspot.com/

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By harald hardrada, November 12, 2006 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

he’s right—religion preaches hatred of the Other—it’s not just about gays

religion creates an environment where hypocrisy & intolerance thrive

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By GW-MCHammered, November 12, 2006 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amen, Brother Elton!

“As all others before them, religions today are the myths of tomorrow.”
GW=MCHammered

From THE GOD DELUSION by Richard Dawkins
“...one of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.”

From WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE WEIRD THINGS by Michael Shermer
“As a culture we seem to have trouble distinguishing science from pseudoscience, history from pseudohistory, and sense from nonsense.”
-and-
“Credo Consolans. More than any other, the reason people believe weird things is because they want to. It feels good. It is comforting. It is consoling.”

From THE SCIENCE OF GOOD AND EVIL by Michael Shermer
Hitler’s 1938 Reichstag Speech: “I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews, I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”
(The German Worker’s Party, “stands for Positive Christianity.”)

“I am a deeply religious nonbeliever… This is a somewhat new kind of religion.”
~Albert Einstein

“When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.”
~Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)

“Imagine there’s no countries,
It isn’t hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace…”
~John Lennon

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By me again, November 12, 2006 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Okay, Elton, go a step further:

Here are three excellent authors to check out, if you are open-minded: Dan Barker (Losing faith in faith), Sam Harris (The end of faith) and Helen Ellerbe (Dark side of Christianity). Please embrace logic, reason, and solid evidence rather than blind faith when attempting to understand the mindset of a freethinker.

Belief in a deity (either God the father or God the son) who is both omnipotent and omniscient is impossible; God cannot logically be both. Think of the recent Tsunami, with 125,000 innocents dead in minutes. A benevolent God wouldn’t have allowed that to happen; an omniscient God would have known ahead of time that the Tsunami was coming and would have warned everyone. Religion strikes me as not only as an absurd waste of time, emotions, and money (in the form of funds diverted to the Church), but as downright dangerous to boot. If it weren’t for the gullible masses shoving it down my throat I wouldn’t give it a second thought.  I would rather joyously live the one life we know we have rather than the guilt-ridden pale alternative the pious hold in such high regard.

The entire Judeo-Christian-Muslim movement has done more to subvert freedom, science, free thought, people’s rights to dignity and freedom, including specifically women’s rights, and advances in civilization than every other creed or social movement combined. Christianity is responsible for the Dark Ages. Remember the Crusades, the Inquisition, the burning of the books at Alexandria? Recall how the Church persecuted Galileo and countless numbers of other intellectuals? What about the burning of so-called witches and heretics?  Think about the current medical (e.g., stem cell) or scientific advances (e.g., evolutionary biology) that the Church is still attempting to squelch in favor of such dumb ideas as creation “science.” Advances in art and science were so severely restricted by the Christian movement you so revere that our civilization was probably set back by 1,000 years. Just look at the advances we have made since we loosened the religious shackles during the Enlightenment and compare that to the Christian inspired Dark Ages. Man may have been on the moon in the 10th Century if it hadn’t been for this continued religious madness.

What about the Bible’s promotion of slavery, genocide of indigenous peoples around the world, the persecution of homosexuals, Jews, and others?  In fact, virtually every major war, including civil war and genocide, has in some way been inspired by religion; millions upon millions of people have died needlessly. What about the unspeakable acts conducted by clergy even in very recent times (pedophilia of alter boys and followed by the subsequent cover-up by the Catholic Church)? The God of the Bible sanctions the keeping and beating of slaves promote civil rights as well as approving of the rape of one’s own daughter. Typical biblical morals there – now pass the loot. What about sanctioning the eating of your own children? What about the dashing of infants to pieces or the ripping open of pregnant women – more and more child abuse; small wonder child abuse is so rife amongst God’s peddlers.  What about women having to submit themselves to their husbands?  Or that women should not speak in church – more stellar examples of civil rights. I really do think that the confusion of morality with religion is perhaps the most pernicious crime perpetrated by Christianity and other similar cults. Using this crudely written barbaric Bronze-age text for inspiration for how to live one’s life today is misguided at best and “socially sanctioned lunacy” at worst.

In addition to the deity-sanctioned murders, wars, looting, filth and obscenity so prevalent throughout the bible there is of course a prestigious list of failed prophesies, absurdities, and, at the last count, some 200,000 contradictions in the New Testament alone (but of course the bible is rewritten every year, each time removing some of these ‘problems’). You would think that absurdities such as incredible tales of longevity, the sun standing still, a talking donkey, a molten sea, pi=3, a tower of Babylon, and the sun revolving around the earth would give the fundamentalists pause for thought. You’d think the fact that even the crucifix/cross never appears anywhere in the bible would raise an eyebrow in those waiting at the rope line to heaven.  Sadly, no. Brainwashing through the sickening practice of indoctrination is a powerful control tool – you really can make people believe just about anything.  As many neuroscientists will tell you, and what warlords have known for centuries, is that with the right phrases, words and imagery, you can persuade the gullible masses to do anything, provided it is repeated often enough.

The contradictions in the bible make Christianity truly a laughing stock. The new and old testaments are testaments to how internally incoherent a book can be and still be called a book. Which is it? Shall we “turn the other cheek” or take an “eye for an eye?” Genesis contains two creation myths. The supposed “witnesses” of Christ’s life and death cannot agree on the simplest of details. My personal favorite is the crucifixion and the Easter story. Can you explain what happened on the day the most important Christian doctrine was born? Take each of the four Gospels, start at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul’s tiny version of the story in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. Can you write a chronological narrative of the events between resurrection and ascension?  I think not. What time did the women visit the tomb? Who were the women? What was their purpose? Was the tomb open when they arrived? Who was at the tomb when they arrived? Where were these messengers situated? What did the messengers say? Did the women tell what happened? Did Mary know Jesus was resurrected? When did Mary first see Jesus? Could Jesus be touched after the resurrection?  After the women, to whom did Jesus first appear? Where did Jesus first appear to the disciples?  Did the disciples believe the two men? What happened at the appearance?  Did Jesus stay on earth for a while?  Where did the ascension take place? Whew, a long list and guess what?  Each and every time these books are found to be in contradiction. No one knows. The bible is clearly a book of multiple-choice. And these books were the best of the numerous forgeries available at the time of the bible’s invention. Not much to work with, I guess.

The bottom line is that there is not a single shred of reliable evidence that anyone called Jesus Christ ever existed. Despite supposedly conducting miracles that would make 9/11 pale in comparison as a historical note, no historians who lived during Christ’s purported lifetime left any record of such miraculous occurrences or of Christ himself. These 40 or so writers, historians, philosophers and politicians, all writing at the time of the Christian savior’s supposed “advent,” make not a single mention of his existence, deeds, or words.  Their silence is deafening. Christian scholars cling to one passage (Testimonium Flavianum) by Flavius Josephus in “The Antiquities of the Jews” written around 95CE.
Despite writing numerous volumes, the exciting news of the alleged Jesus finds its way into just one tiny passage of Josephus’s work.  I suggest you read the passage.  If this is the strongest and earliest evidence for the historical Jesus then the Jesus scholarship is on the shakiest of grounds. The passage has been shown conclusively to be a forgery; even the most conservative scholars admit it has been tampered with. The passage contains anachronistic phrases and terminology and did not even show up until centuries after the death of Josephus; church “historian” Eusebius is widely credited with the forgery. This dismissal of the passage is not based on “faith” or “belief” but on intensive scientific scrutiny. Such investigation has been confirmed repeatedly by numerous scholars who were mostly Christian. And this is the most important evidence for your savior!  Clutching at more straws, apologists usually cite Pliny the Younger (writing in 112CE) or Tacitus (writing no earlier than 117CE), none of whom lived at the time when Jesus was said to have lived and are also widely discredited by scholars.  They certainly offer nothing to support the historicity of Jesus. 

And for the record, in case you didn’t know, the Gospels were all written long after the purported death of Jesus (approx 33CE). Scholars agree that Mark came first, and was followed by Matthew, Luke and John and since Mark mentions the destruction of the Jewish temple which happened in 70CE then there is a gap of at least four decades where we hear nothing of Jesus apart from the Apostle Paul.  And if Jesus did exist, well no one seems to have told Paul. In all his letters and some 80,000 words, Paul had never heard of Joseph, Mary, Bethlehem, Herod, John the Baptist, any alleged miracles – in fact he never mentions Jesus having a ministry of any kind at all.  He doesn’t mention entry into Jerusalem, Pontius Pilot, the Jewish mob, the trials etc. There you have it. The supposed most important contemporary of your savior doesn’t seem to know anything about what we would call the story of Jesus. He mentions the resurrection and the ascension but tellingly Paul does not place these allege events on Earth. Just like the dozens of savior Gods that co-existed and predated the Jesus myth, Paul’s Jesus died, rose and ascended in a mythical realm. And there’s the problem. Jesus supposedly existed until 33CE. Then everyone forgot all about him for decades. Jesus finally re-appears with an uncanny resemblance to the traditional Hero/Savior-God pattern. Using Raglan’s measure, you can see the folklore similarities with the likes of Oedipus, Theseus, Romulus, Hercules, Perseus, Zeus and Robin Hood. Justin Martyr seems to agree. Go read how he compared Jesus to the sons of Jupiter. And that’s it.  Mythology, folklore, forgery and no reliable contemporary evidence. Not one jot. Jesus was no Julius Ceasar in this regard, but just another God in a long line of Gods, that existed only in the imagination of mortal man – the quintessential God that wasn’t there.
 
There is no doubt in my mind that Christianity is just another man-made identikit religion following the same old tired formula used for Gods going back thousands of years. There is substantial evidence to support this hypothesis; just take a closer look at many of the elements of deities that pre-date Jesus. At least 25 other deities (e.g., Attis, Buddha, Dionysus /Baccus, Hercules, Horus/Osiris of Egypt, Krishna of India, Mithra of Persia, Prometheus of Greece, Quetzalcoatl of Mexico, Zoroaster) share many characteristics with Jesus. Here are just a few you may recognize: (1) born of a virgin on December 25th; (2) visited by three kings bearing gifts at his birth, guided by a star in the east; (3) taught in a temple at age 12; (4) reemerged at age 30 after an absence of 18 years; (5) raise one from the dead called “eL-azuras” (6) was crucified between two thieves; (7) his father was a carpenter; (8) he was transfigured in front of his disciples; (9) that he fed multitudes from a small amount of food; (10) that he walked on water. The list goes on and on. We also see the ubiquitous flood story, the sermon on the mount, the 12 disciples, John the Baptist, etc. Horus was even called KRST (‘The Anointed One’), The Lamb of God, The Messiah – yawn! And what do the apologists say about these known facts? “The Devil Got There First,” they say – another logical fallacy. And of course, we know the Vatican is built upon the papacy of Mithra – the cave of the Vatican belonged to Mithra until 367CE. And virtually all the elements of the Catholic ritual, from miter to wafer to altar to doxology, are directly taken from earlier Pagan mystery religions. Of course, Christians don’t like to discuss these things. “Ignore the evidence, and keep the faith,” your priest will say, closely followed by “pass the loot.” Anything but face the reality that the Gospels are not history; they are religious propaganda, contradictory, exaggerated, and mythical. .

Even if you could prove that God exists in some form, where is the proof that “he” has anointed any particular humans to be his representatives, and why are virtually all of those humans male? It’s an unfortunate fact that some people need approval from a supposed “higher authority” to run their lives, and usually that authority is in the form of a father-like god or earthly representative; this human failing is exploited to the hilt by lecherous, greedy churches. I agree with Martin Noble when he wrote the following in a piece for the NSS (National Secular Society [of England]): “The power of authoritarian organizations lies in the usurping of individuals’ right to choose what to believe, offering them instead the comfort of a parent taking responsibility for them in exchange for slavish obedience whilst offering the threat of punishment for transgression, the withdrawal of that parental love and worse eternity in hell. No wonder then that ridicule has little effect.” 

In this country, churches pay no taxes and their books are not scrutinized; they perform precious little charity work and even that is usually just for their own members. It is now relatively easy to become a reverend or minister and then set up shop to collect others’ money, all out of view of the government, which is in fact subsidizing prejudice and subversion of civil liberties (you can also obtain a divinity doctorate on the internet for $30; I guess every bit helps with the con).  The fact that some people take time out of their life to travel to listen to these “representatives of God” lecture them about their lives (and then pay them for the privilege) is absurd. Why pay a supposedly celibate priest to lecture you about your sex life, for example, or to tell you that women should be not “liberated?” (I’ve heard both.) No thanks. I’ll make up my own mind. And what about the scandalous practice of faith healing; it really does take religion to make a human stoop so low as to prey on the sick and needy, offering them false hope of a cure, and as usual it comes with a price tag.  I also resent the tax breaks going to pay for all these delusions when the same money could instead support research to improve the human condition, protect the environment, and make human life on earth more bearable.

What was truly devastating to me, the veritable nail on the coffin, was reading the history and sheer extent of the abuse of power by the Church. The Church slayed competing sects (e.g., The Cathars in France), destroyed or repressed any literature that contradicted the Church’s position or revealed their fraud, insisted on holding all masses in Latin so that people couldn’t understand the ritual, accused people of heresy just to steal their property, accused women of being “witches” when they turned down sexual advances by priests, in one case, killing an entire church full of women, many of whom were still nursing their babies, who then vainly clung on to the breasts of their dead mothers, screaming in horror. This work is covered in the Ellerbe book, so I won’t go into any more detail; suffice it to say that such abuse makes Hitler and Sadam Hussain look like patron saints in comparison.

Had enough?

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By Anchorite, November 12, 2006 at 8:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Hateful Lemmings” - good one.  But perhaps keep the lemmings, and let go the hate.

Civil society requires uniform law.  We should be at least a little like lemmings.

Some religions resort to negative tenets like victimhood, self-defense, “those not with us are against us”.  But not all do.

Attitude is key.  Friend or foe.  Respect or denigration. Con-struct or de-struct.

The hard part is staying friendly in the face of opposition.

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