Rambling on about the Great Shaitan

So I was reading this morning about how atheists in America are banned from holding many positions of political import. For example, the Texas Constitution says that you can be “excluded from holding office” if you don't “acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being”. Maryland says that to be a juror or witness you must “believe in the existence of God”, South and North Carolina both say the number one factor that disqualifies anyone from office is “denying the being of Almighty God”, and Pennsylvania and Tennessee go farther and say you must also believe in heaven and hell.

And so on…

Feel free to tell me that these are old Puritan laws that no one has gotten around to getting rid of yet, but either way, for now they're still on the books at a Constitutional level. However, I've been giving it some thought, and I actually believe that the law should be amended (reversed) to say:

“Any person who acknowledges the existence of a Supreme Being and an after-life state of rewards and punishments for acts in life, is excluded from holding office or acting as a juror.”

Let me explain why I feel that people who are religious (or at least of a religion that believes in hell or another form of supernatural punishment that supersedes the laws of man) are unfit for public office:

  • FACT: The “laws of God” are not the same as the laws of man and except in a theocracy never will be.
  • FACT: Many “laws of God” can not be shown to involve demonstrable harm to others (ie. bans on masturbation, birth control, blasphemous speech, gay marriage, atypical sex acts, or abstinence from prayer, shellfish, pork, and so on) and are matters of moral debate and personal opinion.
  • FACT: God's laws are believed to be from a supreme being, absolute and not up for debate or editing.
  • FACT: There is no way for a person to talk to God in a way that other people listening can hear the answer, so it is impossible for “God” to pass on his desires directly to the people of the world.
  • FACT: There is no objective consensus as to what God's laws actually are, or even who or what God is.
  • FACT: No objective source confirming the validity of God or God's laws is possible, and in fact, mountains of evidence and conflicting theories strongly imply that God does not exist as defined by any major religion (ie. even if there is a god, the fact that there are many “gods” to choose from, shows that most people will be wrong — and there is no objective test to determine the “real god”).
  • FACT: The punishment for violating the law of God is far worse than the punishment for violating the law of man. Worst case scenario, man can punish you for this life, while God promises to have you tortured for all eternity.

A religious person who takes office believes in a set of laws that differ from the nation's laws, and believes that they come from a supernatural source that can not be validated by non-believers. This source is opposed to the wishes of a large percentage of people in this world (ie. those not of the same faith), but followers believe that to violate these laws is to risk eternal damnation, a worse punishment than any human can dole out. Thus a person who is religious can not be fundamentally trusted to do what is right for the nation or for all people.

That's why I'm just so thrilled that Canada (and of course other heathen places like The Netherlands) is moving toward a system of moral law that is objective — if you say something is “wrong”, you have to be able to prove it objectively. For some reason, God hates anal sex between men and it should be punished, right? Fine, but you have to be able to show that it actually causes demonstrable harm to society… Saying “but God says it's wrong” doesn't cut it on its own.

Not that I expect many people in überreligious Saudi America to lobby for this kind of much needed change, given how backward and uninformed public opinion is in general these days… I hope one day it will change, but I was reading the latest Harris Poll this morning and the results are disturbing:

  • Only 16% of Americans believe that Iraqis are worse off today than they were under Saddam.
  • Only 35% of Americans think that Iraq was not a serious threat to the US.
  • Only 33% of Americans are aware that Saddam did not have links to Al-Qaeda.
  • 54% of Americans believe it's possible that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, and 58% are unaware that non of the hijackers were Iraqis.

Hell, 50% of Americans still aren't convinced that Iraq didn't have WMDs. All of these facts are ones that can be confirmed as true or false with relative ease, but still, a large majority of Americans have beliefs about them that are not supported by objective reality. I have to wonder if this is laziness and apathy and media manipulation, or if its roots are religion — something like 85% of Americans claim to be practicing Christians. To put that clearly, 85% of Americans are willing to accept that the ultimate source of law is completely unconfirmable and supernatural in nature (but that there are “special” priest humans that can act as God's avatars), rather than the ultimate source of law being real world observations teaching us how best to make everyone in our society happy and fulfilled.

But let me give you something real to worry about (search for “Dr. Niels Skakkebaek” if you want to learn more on this subject). This is for all those people who think I'm wrong in singing the praises of the rural and organic lifestyle. In the last half century, sperm counts among humans have dropped by more than half, and ejaculate volume has dropped by a quarter — and the drop is escalating every year. Sperm banks are even having trouble finding men with counts considered healthy by WHO standards. Oh, and this isn't just affecting humans… It's affecting much of the life on the planet as we slowly kill Gaia.

And you thought the fact that we're almost out of oil as consumption skyrockets (and biofuels and other renewable energy likely can't even come close to meeting our current needs gluttony) was the biggest problem we're facing? Nope… Mass extinctions caused by polymer-based artificial hormones and other pollutants risk destabilizing the biosphere so much that in five hundred years the population of humans on this planet could be 1% of what it is now, if not less.

Well, as I've said before, if you're going to choose a time to be alive, choose the apocalypse because it's the most interesting.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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