Wednesday, November 30, 2011

God--Employee of the Month--My Turn

Prayer before Nebraska-Penn State Game

After the atrocities that had allegedly occurred in State College, PA, emotions ran high as the Nebraska Cornhuskers came to play the Penn State Nittany Lions. Jerry Sandusky, justifiably demonized as a modern-day Werewolf of Wysteria, purportedly committed the unthinkable. The establishment of an endless supply of children to victimize under the guise of a benevolent organization. How could something like this happen? Not only because it was at a university with a squeaky clean reputation, but in the world today at all? I addressed some of the hypocrisy of asking yourself this question in a previous post: The Cowardly Lion, however, it still remains unimaginable that people are so naive and egocentric to become disillusioned with the state of human evolution. Where were these sudden, "child rights activists" when the stat came out that 53% of black fourth grade boys couldn't read at the appropriate reading level? Did they throw their arms up in protest knowing 15 million children die each year of hunger? Did they boycott a buffet because 29,000 Somalian children under age 5 died in a 90-day period of famine? Did any of them send letters to Yingluck Shinawatra, Pratibha Patil, or Dilma Rousseff, to crack down harder on child sex tourism, considering 2 million children succumb to it? Are they begging Congress to address the 15 million children living in poverty in America? Did these child rights activists stop going to mass after 11,000 cases of child molestation were brought to light?

No, none of them did. However, few of these children are Americans. None of these children are fetuses. In the words of the late George Carlin, "If you're pre-born you're good, if you're pre-school, you're fucked."

You can't say that these people clamoring and calling for Jerry Sandusky's blood to flood the streets of Pennsylvania like a more morbid and less black Hurricane Katrina didn't do anything for the plight of children. They, above all, prayed for the victims of Jerry Sandusky. And what would be more fitting?

Before the players took the field on November 12, 2011, a scene that not even Pat Robertson could imagine emerged (hopefully none of the players were gay). The players locked hands, and Ron Brown released an impassioned, heartfelt speech to the Christian god about protecting the students, players, and townspeople involved in the game following the events that defaced so many. That there were,"...little boys around the country trying to find the definition of what manhood is all about." He paraphrased John 1:14, exclaiming that Jesus is the source of grace and truth. And finally, almost drowned out by the wild excitement of the crowd, Ron Brown asked for forgiveness for all of those involved in the scandal as the crowd erupted in a cathartic explosion. What an entrancing series of events.

One need not be a Christian to experience goosebumps with the rest of the spectators. The feelings of guilt, empathy, and fear replaced by comradery, release, anticipation. One also need not be an atheist to painfully endure the hypocrisy, inaccuracy, and trepidation of not only in Ron Brown's diction, but in what both the words spoken and apparent necessity of the prayer reveal about our society in America. attempting to think positively about the events that happened and hoping for the best for all those involved is a bad thing? Absolutely not. However, that's not what this is. That may be the pretense under which this event took place, collectively showing support for victims and insisting on restoring justice, but that's not what this became.

Many of us were ridiculing news stations by turning off the conversation of Sandusky and covering the status of Joe Paterno. We believed that even though Paterno showed immense cowardice in effectively saying he "may have done more in hindsight," it was still evading the issue of the assault on Jerry Sandusky. Maybe the media, like us, was so disgusted by what happened that dismissing Sandusky was merely a defense mechanism preventing them from addressing the intense emotional and cognitive turmoil involved in the case. Regardless, many of us were still upset.

On that powerful November day in State College, nobody seemed upset about detracting from the mythological Empusa Jerry Sandusky to come together, say a prayer, thank God, and pray for his strength, justice, and above all, forgiveness. So why does God get a break?

God, omnipotent, omniscient, and just created not just the children he claims to love perfectly, but also the monster that preys on those children, completely ravishing any chance of a normal life. We, his creation, in search for the acquisition of knowledge by either literally or metaphorically eating a piece of fruit, were thrust into eternal damnation until God, who by the way makes all the rules, was forced sacrifice his Son so that we could again achieve eternal life. How benevolent. Trading theft for murder. The fact of the matter is, God doesn't live up to the moral code of humanity in the 21st century let alone of a boundlessly good being. We praise God through thick and thin, whether we like his will or not, however mysterious it may be. God need not plead the 5th, all he needs to do is plead "mystery." Well I for one don't think there is anything mysterious about an adult  playing "pin the dick on a child." We, for the most part, can collectively agree that's fucking horseshit. Why do we give God a pass?

The truth is, god is a construct. Somewhere in our evolution the concept of a god or gods served an adaptive purpose, whether it be in uniting groups or satisfying our psychological predisposition to predict our environment or a natural reaction to the necessity to fulfill social needs. In any event, as Nietszche suggested, God is a reflection of his believers. So if you can justify worshiping a being that loves children, yet leaves room for their victimization in his 6,000 year plan, if you serve a god that allows people to even evolve a sexual taste for children, if you don't question that the Bible calls for bigotry, xenophobia, genocide, refusing to allow the lame to approach the altar, burning a preacher's daughter at the stake if she commits a sexual deviant act, if you don't throw your arms up in dismay because Jesus loves the little children, but they can't get any state money because their mom failed a piss test, if you put all your trust in a God that felt there was no better way to exonerate his "perfect" creations from the most atrocious act of trying to ascertain the knowledge of the universe than the torture of an innocent man...maybe you should take a long, hard look at yourself.

Nonetheless, most of us still praise god when things are going great, then are rebuked by our peers by questioning his will when we aren't sure about him when things go wrong. Like that asshole in the cubicle next to you that gets employee-of-the-month despite you putting twice as many hours in, god always comes out on top.

Here's why I think I should be employee-of-the-month over god this time around:

1. Janice stole my fruit salad out of the refrigerator and I didn't kill her or go home and kill my kid. (Genesis 3:3)

2. Glenn came and said that he didn't approve of my work on the Whistler account. I didn't go murder his family. (Deuteronomy 7:2)

3. Herm always masturbates in the handicapped stall, I am yet to strike him dead on the spot for spilling his seed outside of a vagina.  (Genesis 38:9)

4. My boss has a mule on his farm...I'm actually cool with it. (Leviticus 19:19)

5. I'm cool with subordinates spending their holidays with families instead of me. (Matthew 10:34-29)

6. I actively encourage people to maintain stable relationships and reject infidelity in the workplace. (1 King 11:1-3)

7. I'm not friends with Rick Perry.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Sexual Cult of Tebow

Timothy Richard Tebow. He's been a media Christ-figure, a role model to millions, all while being subject to the ridicule of as many keyboard warriors as Michael Vick. What does this all mean? What is it about this man in particular that inspires, and conversely, infuriates so many people?

We could talk all day about his lack of proper mechanics, quarterback IQ, and ability to avoid getting put on his back. We could talk all day about how, despite these flaws, he's become the starting quarterback of a surprising dark horse in the AFC West. We could discuss his work ethic, drive, and apparent unfailing resilience to criticism. However, none of those things are what Tebow is known for, are they?

The sexual exploits and morality of Tebow rival his athletic prowess in drawing media attention. He's a devout Christian, an admitted virgin, and hence, the model citizen for parents of children across America to support and to inspire their children with.

What does this say about how we define morality in America? Pre-marital sex, that must be bad. Christianity, well that HAS to be a good thing, right? I mean, from where else could you possibly draw moral aptitude?

I never fail to mention that I believe the moral code of Jesus, as written about in the New Testament, is valid, progressive, and applicable to life today. However, that's really not what Christianity is in this country is it? Forget, the morality of the Old Testament God (who ironically is the same person as Jesus even though their moral code are completely paradoxical). That guy, well, to say that he doesn't live up to the moral code of Garfield, let alone humanity. When reading the OT, one struggles to find any difference between God and the girlfriend you had at 15 that demanded worship, calling every day, and if you didn't blindly neglect your search for knowledge and follow everything she said would damn you eternally to hell, but loved you deeply. Well, maybe that last part detaches them a bit. However, the moral code of Christianity today isn't that of the Old or New Testament, is it?

In America, in contrast to the Old Testament, you can approach the altar of God if you're lame, you don't get burned at the stake if you are a preacher's daughter and have sex, you can eat pork and shellfish, you can wear clothes of more than one fabric, you are actually encouraged to shave and cut your hair (when it's not November), homosexuality is becoming more widely accepted with the introduction of the public to biology (albeit slow), genocide is usually frowned upon, and having 700 wives and 300 concubines isn't acceptable, even for the most prominent public figures. Just ask Tiger.

In America, in contrast to the New Testament, again, homosexuality is becoming more accepted (although Jesus never spoke on it and Paul, or shall I say those claiming to be Paul, referred to "indecent acts with other men," which apparently included homosexual relations but not slavery), women's suffrage began the end of sexual oppression, blatant slavery is now condemned, etc.

It has become clear that the moral Zeitgeist in this age has surpassed that of the Bible. So, one must in good reason deduce that morality is inherent in our evolution, not given to us by a higher power. If God was an American in these days, he would undoubtedly be in prison. If Paul lived in America, well, he'd probably live in Texas and fit in just fine.

However, the Christian monopoly the founding fathers vehemently opposed has reared it's ugly head and now not only affects legislation, but what morals we attribute to a "good person." Sexual restriction (which supports the theory that infers religion has become a mating strategy), going to Church, conservatism, humility, etc. To me this isn't all bad, like I said, Jesus seemed like a pretty alright dude. So are these things really good? Is the Christian lifestyle really formulated by a sentient, omnipotent, omniscient, being that knows best?

I, obviously don't believe so.

Good Christians? Evil Atheists?

First, and by far the most telling display of the hypocrisy of the myth of the "good Christian" is defined in he U.S. prison population. Christians make up roughly 75% of the country based on some polls and that is reflected in the prison population. Conversely, atheists make up somewhere between 10% and 20% of the American population, and less than 1% of the prison population. Listen, I know what you're going to say, "Well, those people are in jail, they're not real Christians." However, please also note how hypocritical that sounds when you are clamoring about forgiveness, second chances, and accepting Jesus in your life. In my opinion, this data is more reflective of the evolutionary success of liberals in generally being able to avoid growing up in high poverty areas without an appropriate education or job opportunities which makes these areas breeding grounds for both crime and religion (coincidence?).

Sexual Liberalism?

Alan Moore once said, "Sexually progressive cultures gave us mathematics, literature, philosophy, civilization and the rest, while sexually restrictive cultures gave us the Dark Ages and the Holocaust."

Why is open sexuality so frowned upon by Christians. Is their religion a mating strategy? Is it because of the spread of disease? Is it because abstinence is the best method of preventing teen pregnancies? Is it because the Bible says, "NO!" to any pre- or extramarital sexual exploits?

Well let's address all of those.

1. Religion as a mating strategy: In a study by Kenrick, Weeden, and Cohen of 902 students at 4 American Universities published in Evolution and Human Behavior, when controlling for sexual and family values, other values related to morality such as stealing, lying, etc., were not correlated to religious attendance. Expanding on this study, another study was done published in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology finding that piety, in both men in women, was linked to the perception of a large amount of attractive same-sex fellow students.

So what could this mean?

Well, this means that conservative views on sexuality and family are fundamental in religiosity. More importantly, this suggests that conservative sexual values may be what influences people to seek out religious affiliation, rather than religious participation instilling a conservative sexual ideology. Think, if you knew you were a small fish in a big pond, would it not be most beneficial to bind a mate down with condemning sexual frivolity and endorsing marriage, children, etc.? This would also help to explain the religious aversion to drugs, which are interpreted as increasing sexual experimentation. Beneath the surface, you see how silly this hostility towards sexuality really is.

2. Spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Surely we must avoid sexual promiscuity because of the prevalence of STDs in our country. A large-scale, global study of sexuality was conducted by Professor Kaye Wellings of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and her colleagues. In the study, STDs were not found to be more prevalent in responders that reported having multiple partners. However, the spread of STDs was more prevalent in Africa, where sexual promiscuity isn't the culprit. It suggested that lack of education and adequate healthcare, as well as poverty are much better predictors of STD prevalence than is sexual promiscuity.

3. Abstinence Only!: Republicans in Wisconsin and other states across America continue to push for sexual education that is based solely on abstinence training. As if that isn't in direct disagreement with the separation of Church and State. Recent statistics show that the teenage pregnancy rate is as low as it has been in two decades. At 410,000 girls from age 15-19 in 2009, this is down 37% from 1991. This is in discord with the dogmatic belief that sexual responsibility lies only in rejecting it altogether. The amount of students using two forms of contraception increase from 5% to 9% and teens having sex without any form of contraception decreased from 16% to 12%.

In the Netherlands, where teen pregnancy and abortion rates are low, parents are much more likely to allow their teenagers to 'sleepover' with their significant others. The Dutch are much more open, rational, and less dramatic about sexuality, allowing teens to make informed decisions on whether they are ready without being stigmatized in an open forum with their parents. In short, just like as in drugs and alcohol, you cannot regulate what you prohibit.  

4. Sexuality in the Bible: One could spend a year trying to make sense of sexuality in the Bible, especially when including its pagan origins, as well as the beginning of Christianity riddled with numerous cults. However, there are some interesting points to bring up.

In the Old Testament: Lot, to prevent angels from being raped, offers up two virgin daughters instead. Lot had sex with his daughters. Solomon, the wisest king, had 700 wives and 300 concubines. It's hard to fathom how two people could populate the entire world without multiple cases of incest. Ham butt-raped Noah. Judah had casual sex with a Canaanite.

In the New Testament, although Paul talks more about sexual immorality than Herman Cain says, "999," he never really outlines what exact acts are condemned. Certainly, he never said if you have sex before marriage it's wrong. What he does allude to is that sexual immorality can be avoided by marriage. He basically said that there are so many sexual temptations out there: sex with the same sex, animals, leather couches,  that the only way to keep yourselves pure is to get married. And hey, that makes sense--married people do have more sex than non-married people.

This also helps to explain the conception of marriage in the Old Testament. Why would getting married be so important if not to prevent "sexual immorality?" Well, as we now know through sociological studies, there is an evolutionary reason. Marriage leads to a stable family environment (well, not always) which is the best setting for a child to grow up healthily and perpetuate your genetic code. However, there is no magic "favor switch" that God turns on when you say "I do." All that means is that a low-stress, supportive, financially adequate environment is conducive to healthy children. It has nothing to do with sexual preference or marriage.

Furthermore, like I've mentioned in previous posts, remember both Testaments were conceived to emancipate these religions from pagan rituals and customs that were their origins. Monotheism became the new, hot thing, and it wasn't long before everyone jumped on the train (or on the tracks).

There are many reasons to like Tim Tebow. He's a guy that doesn't have the most talent, instincts, or ability, but he has a good attitude, works hard, and finds a way to win. However, the notion that he's a virgin isn't one of those attributes that warrant exultation. So even though Newt Gingrich blames all America's problems on secularism and says we can't trust a president that doesn't pray, even though 80% of Republicans would not vote for an atheist president, even though more people won't vote for Mitt Romney because he's a Mormon than because he's a indecisive, bandwagoning corporate whore, maybe you should start considering whether your held beliefs are truly righteous. The world is progressing, with or without you. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Cowardly Lion and Hypocrisy of the Critics at Penn State

As I sit waiting for the press conference by the Board of Trustees, I open with a line from the beginning of Boondock Saints: "We must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil we must all fear most, and that is the indifference of good men."

Let's be honest. This is an atrocity. Sexual abuse in childhood makes a child more vulnerable to nearly every single psychological disorder in adulthood. There is no excuse for the action, or lack of action, by the Penn State staff, including Joe Paterno. How could a respected member of one of them most squeaky clean universities establish a program for young boys primarily to satisfy is insidious urges? Well, there is an evolutionary explanation for pedophilia, but that's not needed here. We all had the same twist in our stomach when we read the 23 page report. We all felt a little more helpless when we heard the words of one of of the victim's mother. We were all equally enraged when a confident Jerry Sandusky redirected questions to his attorney.

But this hasn't been about Jerry Sandusky has it? Sure, it's in part because JoePa has become synonymous with Penn State football and nobody really knew who Sandusky was anymore off of campus. The plight of Sandusky, the culprit in the matter, has been overshadowed by uncertainty over the role and future of Joe Paterno. How could a man of such incredible integrity possibly let this go unreported, even if he was informed the a proper investigation had been undertaken by his "superiors." For those that are angry that Paterno hasn't issued a true statement yet, this is first a legal proceeding and any statement that could potentially implicate his colleagues, the university, or even himself, will not be allowed. The issue of Paterno's legacy being entirely obliterated relies on two things:

1. What McQueary really relayed to Paterno. And without reveling too much in the cowardice of McQueary, what adult man walks in on a child being raped, does nothing, then calls his father? I cannot comprehend the miniscule stature of McQueary's genitalia, but the events following this 2002 incident could have all been avoided if ONE person would have done the right thing. This chain could have been broken that easily.

2. If Paterno, fully aware of the gross nature of the events merely reported the incident to the next in command was satisfied with the investigation, or lack thereof.

However, what none of the facts will suffice in explaining to me is that Paterno, aware that SOMETHING happened, whether rape, molestation, or playing swords, continued to have good faith in Jerry Sandusky without a strained relationship. Speaking subjectively, if any of my friends or colleagues was implicated in a child sex abuse case, I could not, with good conscience, allow them to continue to act in an institution that served as a model of integrity. Moreso, I could never allow that person to continue to work SPECIFICALLY with more young boys.

The legacy is tainted. We'll hear it again and again: "Paterno acted correct legally, but failed to live up to the moral standard attribtued to him." I agree. I think that anyone who is a true model of honor and principle should be held to a higher moral standard than what they are merely legally binded by. From the little we've heard from Paterno, we know he, "wished he would have done more." Paterno dropped the ball either way, that's what we're sure of.

The Board just made the decision, he's gone. I feel that they made the right decision, and if JoePa truly cares about the reputation and future of this university, no matter what role he truly played, he needs to be the scapegoat. We've seen that Jerry Sandusky isn't going to be it, certainly McQueary isn't going to be it. There is no separation between Joe Paterno and Penn State football, so if Penn State football takes a hit, he has to know Joe Paterno takes the same blow. The university cleaned house so they could move forward. Despite the rioting of the student body, it is imperative so that the players, students, and good, innocent people of this university can start to rebuild a tarnished identity. Joe Paterno would have been that last ruin, residual of a nefarious past. As long as he was on the sidelines, there would be no moving on.

I am in NO way condoning, nor justifying any of the actions of those involved in this cover-up, and don't hold the illusion that this wasn't at some level just that. But before you get self-righteous, before you crucify Joe Paterno, please don't fail to think objectively. Don't underestimate the power of groupthink. Joe Paterno's life was Penn State. If you truly can't fathom how such a "great" man could fail to report such an atrocity, you fail to imagine the power and investment Joe Paterno had in the university. You truly have no idea what you would have done in his position. Almost ANY program would internalize this, control the damage, try to pay off the victims, and if possible, move away from it without media attention. That is the disgusting reality of the way these corporations (and tha'ts what they are) operate. The most inexcusable part (if you can allocate that to any one) is that they continued to allow Jerry Sandusky to be involved with the program and have access to children. To stand in confusion of how this event happened is to stand in oblivion of the nature of humanity in our current evolutionary state.

But please... if you don't take anything I say into consideration, don't continue to be a hypocrite. Stop blaming the players and program for the gross negligence of a few men. Stop saying you feel sick to your stomach that his happened to a child. Why?

Do you feel sick to your stomach when you eat a buffet knowing 15 million children die each year of food shortage? Do you get indigestion from the canned food sitting in your pantry, or from the 29,000 Somalian children under age 5 that died of famine in a 90 day period recently?

You can't possibly watch a Penn State football game without throwing up? Between 1950 and 2002 nearly 11,000 instances of sexual abuse by nearly 5,000 priests were brought to attention, many of the priests being merely moved to another parish after the assault had been validated. Do you throw up every time you take Communion?

Solon, one of the Athenian fathers of democracy, mandated the protection of the rite of pederasty. Do you want to throw up every time you vote?

In America, 1 in 4 children live in poverty, but you want their parents to be drug-tested before they qualify for welfare because y'know they should get their parents straight, right? Or what about the fact you think that adequate funding for these children's schools and teachers isn't worth a small tax surtax on 0.2% of the richest in this country? How about that preschoolers with a step parent are 100x more likely to die by homicide? At least they don't have gay parents because it's those homosexuals that are ruining the sanctity of marriage and family, not Kim Kardashian.

How many children died in the Middle East in drone strikes? Wait, that doesn't matter because those aren't good, Christian, American children, right? They grow up and become terrorists (although 94% of terrorists aren't Muslim).

This year, Anders Breivik mercilessly gunned down 69 people, mostly cihldren, to restore "European Christendom." Are you beside yourself with anger? Did you riot in the streets about political extremism and bipartisan detachment?

You can be disgusted by what went on at Penn State, but don't pretend you don't directly and indirectly support children getting the shaft (literally and figuratively). Hey, maybe they'd have things a little bit easier if they all just stayed fetuses.