What if He didn't exist? At all. What if long ago, visiting ETs decided that the easiest way to keep these creatures (us) complacent was to chisel out some stony rules and promise a heaven and a hell, much like a kindergarten teacher promises stickers for good behavior and time out for bad behavior? Sure - it's crazy. But just for a minute, what if?
What if the bible is not the 'word of God' as it is so flippantly called while held up and venerated? What if you discover that it is a collection of stories jotted down by the fallible and earthly predecessors of Aesop and the Brothers Grimm, later bastardized and edited and tilted to meet the selfish needs of a corrupt church hierarchy?
What if you woke up tomorrow and none of it made sense anymore? 'Why would an all-seeing and all-knowing god be vengeful?' 'Why revere a book that promotes misogyny, revenge, slavery and killing?' 'Am I a thinking person, or was I indoctrinated before I had a chance to make a choice?' What if it all seems so remote and unbelievable that when someone brings it up, your brain has to click into gear: "Oh yeah! - I forgot that people still believe in that!"
Imagine how truly looney it would then seem if you heard the DOJ's very own Imp of Darkness justifying the cruel and inhumane treatment of emigrating children by quoting a bible verse. Imagine how genuinely frightening it would be to hear former White House aide Omorosa Manigault Newman report that Vice President Pence thinks Jesus tells him to say things. For the almost one out of four Americans that do not believe in God, it is chilling.
The Founders were very clear about the need for separation of church and state:
In this, one of the most fatherly-feeling quotes from our Founders, James Madison and the other framers are looking out for us in the way that parents try to impart hard-learned wisdom upon their children. How many times have we wished our kids would listen to us?
There is a musical term, tacet. This tells the musician to do nothing - still pay attention to what's going on, but do nothing. To make a sweeping and reckless generalization, atheists know how to tacet. It is simply easier to nod and smile and say nothing than it is to get into it. Sure, there are atheists at every turn that have no problem declaring their non-belief, but they didn't get there without also learning how to deal with feelings of disenfranchisement, ostracization and condemnation.
It isn't always easy to say, "I don't believe in god" when those around you do and when the indoctrination you've received makes you feel many emotions - but primarily guilt - just for entertaining the idea. Even for the loud proclaimers, it is usually easier, quicker and less trouble to tacet.
The approximately 25% of Americans that make up this Tacet Underground form a much larger subset of the population than the 1% that are Muslim, the 2% that are Jewish, the 2% that are Mormon, the 4% that are either LGBT or Q, the 12% that are Black or the 19% that are Hispanics/Latino, yet these other groups are constantly protesting, demanding and making themselves the news while atheists are mostly content to tacet and pay attention.
In 1795 John Adams said, "The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." Atheists take this seriously and are deeply offended when ignorant people like Donald Trump pretend that it is.
The Vice President's proclamation that he is a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third is deeply offensive to the (at least) eighty-some million Americans that do not believe in his god and consider that statement alone to be grounds for him to be removed from office. On the other hand, even nonbelievers may sometimes hope that hell exists, comforted by visions of Jeff Sessions roasting marshmallows with Beelzebub.
As has happened over a long period of years with the LGBTQ community, 'coming out' as an atheist carries less of a social stigma with each passing day, although small town folk and conservative communities may still find a way to disparage anything out of the norm. Time passes and the number of people that distinguish themselves as atheist will increase as the stigma lessens and the dark side of religion is continually revealed by people like Jeff Sessions, Dana Rohrabacher and Donald Trump who insist on evoking the Bible and Jesus for evil.
By 2020 the Tacet Underground could include not one in four citizens as it does now, but one in three. That would be over a hundred million Americans that don't want to hear religious dribble or quotes from the bible, but instead want logical and well thought-through plans based on research, testing and evaluation. At some point our politicians are going to have to grapple with the fact that one out of three Americans think the bible-thumpers and scripture-quoters and evil-doers are more than a little nutty and start giving us more than the incessant stale rhetoric about abortion, guns, gays and God.
I did it. I turned down the Vicodin during the pre-op appointment. When he asked why, I replied, "I like it too much". Instead of considering the acknowledgement I'd just made that I am to some degree addicted to opiates, or perhaps even complimenting me on my self-restraint and self-awareness, he pressed the idea that I would need some pain relief over the weekend, and we compromised on a prescription for ten pills of something 'similar' to Vicodin.
During interactions with doctors, nurses and support staff in the hours before and after my surgery, I told five other people that I like Vicodin too much. Each time I expected them to make a note in my chart but no one did, although Heaven knows that anything else you tell them gets noted and is then impossible to get deleted, even if it is in error! Two of the medical professionals made comments along the line that there aren't enough pills in a normal post-op prescription to make a difference - meaning not enough to rekindle an addiction, which is of course completely wrong. Without exception, my obvious cry for help and support: "I like it too much" was ignored and pain killers pushed. I don't know how to tell you this Mr. President, but if you're going to kill opiate pushers, you'll need to start with two doctors, an anesthesiologist and three nurses here in my town.
Several years ago my doctor prescribed four Vicodin a day to deal with arthritis. Month after month I swallowed those along with others that I finagled from my dentist. When it became clear that the time had come to stop taking them it wasn't terribly difficult, but it wasn't easy either. If I had accepted the normal prescription of thirty Vicodin for this recent operation, by the fourth day after surgery I would have already been scheming to get more.
It's great that as a nation we have become more aware of opiate abuse. It is not great that the old white politicians always automatically assume that any problem is with the poor, the not-white and criminals. America did not get hooked on opiates by the poor, by any race more or less, or by those whom we normally label as criminals. America is hooked on opiates because of doctors and a medical industry et al. that are both compassionate and very concerned about you having a good (pain-free) experience so you won't hesitate to come again, while being unconcerned about whether or not you get hooked or re-hooked.
The proliferation and furtherance of widespread opiate addiction may be aided by a more typical 'criminal' element, but they are merely providing a supply for a demand created - and also proliferated - by the medical industry. If anything should ever be noted in one's medical chart, it is an admission of an addiction! Once noted, a cessation of offering that substance to the patient would then be in order. It is truly amazing that the very nice and otherwise competent people that saw me through this surgery, and the medical industry in general are getting this so very wrong.
I did it - I turned down the Vicodin. Good for me. Hey medical industry - how 'bout a little help next time?
Hey Mr. President - killing opiate dealers will wipe out the all medical professionals; got another idea?
School is for Winning
as a .pdf
All Hail the Chancellor
posted Jun 15, 18
Trump and the Big Leagues
posted Jun 11, 18
Bogus Commission on School Safety
posted Jun 08, 18
To Insure Promptness in the Age of Entitlement
posted May 31, 18
posted May 27, 18
posted May 24, 18
Being Mean to Kids!
posted May 22, 18
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for Professors and Teachers
posted May 20, 18
School is for Winning
posted May 16, 18
The League You Need
posted May 12, 18
posted May 09, 18
posted May 04, 18
Some Go To College - All Go Through Life pt1
posted Apr 20, 18
Some Go To College - All Go Through Life pt2
posted Apr 19, 18
Some Go To College - All Go Through Life pt3
posted Apr 18, 18
posted Apr 18, 18
Leaders in School
posted Apr 04, 18
The Grass is NOT Always Greener
posted Mar 14, 18
Teachers and the Sun
posted Mar 13, 18
Can Social Media Contribute to Mental Health Issues?
posted Mar 08, 18
Hope - A Beautiful Sight
posted Feb 28, 18
All You Need is Love … and enough money
posted Feb 24, 18
Teachers and Guns
posted Feb 22, 18
NEA or NRA?
posted Feb 21, 18
I don't (k)NO(w)
posted Feb 20, 18
posted Feb 18, 18
Helmet to Helmet HIts Must Go
posted Feb 06, 18
posted Jan 15, 18
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