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Tribal Lore in the USA

By Carl S ~

How often in your life have you been exposed to motion pictures and documentaries wherein tribal elders pass down the lore, the "wisdom" of generations to their young? Their wisdom is lauded and becomes sacred in ancient tales and rich rituals. Along with survival techniques, food and medicinal plants are pointed out, gathered and described. Oftentimes, sacred purification ceremonies are held, as in sweat lodges. Ah, traditions!

As sacred places, explanations, and observances are mixed in with the practical, they all tend to have tacit acceptance as equally valid. But, if you stop to think about these things, you come to the conclusion that much of this traditional “knowledge” is pure crap. Take this one step further, and you realize that established major religions may be more elaborate, but in essence they're just tribal superstitions with different incantations, and they are still taught right here in the U.S.A, still passed down to the young from the tribal elders, the shamans of the church.

The Christian Right, forcefully, and many others to a lesser degree, wants a "Christian nation." This is an old-fashioned appeal to authority. They proclaim themselves the most patriotic of Americans. But think about this: every church is like a Soviet Union, censoring differences of opinion and thought and only allowing its own propaganda, preaching its party line, damning dissidents, allowing zilch criticism and correction, or even investigation. THIS is the system churchgoers support; the self perpetuating repression of free speech, the authoritative dictatorship of "my church right or wrong."

One might ask if believers are serving two masters, an authoritarian system and a country, with the country in second place, even as they attempt to misuse the laws of the country to suit their purposes and to replace the laws of man with their "laws of God," completely ignoring that the U.S. Constitution specifically states that all laws are man-made. So much for patriotism.

And please, any Christian reading this, if you’re going to turn my country into a bible-based Christian nation, please let me know whose version. Despite my service in the U.S. Army, at my advanced age I am unprepared at present for the religious wars this will bring about.

I recently asked a churchgoer, "How did Noah get all those animals back to where they came from?" His answer was, “Someday we'll know." Bullshit is the answer to a reasonable question? Does that sound familiar? And he drives a car to church, not an oxcart. Whenever believers don't have an answer, they invoke "mystery." Practically everything they believe is "mystery;" they lie around in it and get drunk on it, sometimes very arrogantly. “Nah nah! We're going to know it all... after we're dead!“ Believers love mysteries, and fear them. Scientists solve them.

Here is a country where politicians, radio and TV talking heads, and tabloids make outrageous claims, and commit destructive character assassinations, without a shred of evidence to back those claims, and are believed. After all, this is just tradition, as practiced and accepted by the clergy. Why, if you don't need evidence, you can invade a country and kill its inhabitants on any premise at all! Without evidence, any fool can claim that human life begins at birth or that a fetus is a baby, and if enough people believe in that fool, women can be denied the right to choose what is done, or not allowed to be done, to their own bodies, and be denied birth control or the morning-after pill. Without evidence, I guess the next thing would be to forbid the removal of a tumor from a woman's body. After all, it grows there and becomes part of her anatomy. (Or have you already forgotten the decision made by a Catholic bishop, that even if the woman will die as a consequence of giving birth, the baby must be delivered.)

Without evidence, everything is possible, even supremely ridiculous and contradictory claims. But this is dangerous. Consider the bible story of the three youths in the fiery furnace as taught to children. The three were saved from the flames by “praising the Lord." And yet, millions of the Chosen People, while “praising the Lord,” perished in gas chambers and crematoriums. (Well, St. Paul did say they weren't the chosen people anymore; the Christians inherited that mantle.) Why were three boys saved while millions perished? "It's a mystery and God moves in mysterious ways."

Are they listening to themselves? You can bet not. And here in 2lst century America, believers take silly crap seriously, and dismiss serious things, like truth and reality; silly things like a talking snake, a talking ass (god talking out of his ass?), 9OO year- old men (with Alzheimer’s for 825 of them?), and ignore the millions of deaths religions have caused, and the children raped while the religion hides their rapes to save the faith. They prefer the popcorn-enhanced matinees and sweet stories. That sign one sometimes sees in the workplace should be posted in churches, too: “They treat us like mushrooms - keeping us in the dark and feeding us bullshit.

So here we have one explanation for how this country has become so screwed up. It involves the continuous, traditional propagation of that same old tribal bullshit. It’s a bit scary to realize the similarities to the witchdoctor, spirit-infected darkest parts of Africa we have right here in the U.S.A.