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Not Surprised

By Carl S ~

New Years evening 2017. My wife's church had a bonfire to celebrate New Year’s Day. I told her they were late; the pagans celebrated solstice with a bonfire, in December. It's no surprise a church would copy a pagan ritual. Christianity stole all its beliefs from the pagans and adapted them.

Let's talk about people and their actions. Could you reach that point, described by some, where, “nothing surprises me?” If you were a soldier in combat, chances are you'd see killings and atrocities you thought you would never have accepted. After many, one becomes jaded. If you are married to a spouse who cheats on you, you won't find the news a “shocking revelation” if a celebrity has been unfaithful for years. Can you think of a person who would never surprise you, but surely, others? It used to surprise me when game show contestants would throw away thousands of U.S. Dollars on a gamble. Now I'm only disgusted. We know that many people are willing to throw away their lives on a wager of a paradise they'll never get.

Here's something to talk about: If you sincerely believe religious bullshit, you'll always be vulnerable to surprises. Doesn't this make sense: if you believe your bible is without errors, any scientific evidence that contradicts it makes the scientists “anti-God?” And wouldn't you be afraid to hear that evidence? Fascinating. How 'bout this: What if you, unafraid, asked a clergy member, “Do you believe in God?” Would you be surprised if his lips answered “Yes,” but his eyes told you otherwise?

Are you surprised that all prophets are false prophets? If a delusion is “a false belief or opinion,” then what is it false in reference to? Another person's belief, or the beliefs of the majority? Aren't believers in all branches, dogmas, their interpretations of scriptures, etc., heretics to one another? Truly, one man's faith is another man's delusion. And therefore, aren't they all deluded?

Isn't it simple to accept that people are willing to believe lies just as readily as truths? Why then do humans, who are at other times sane, involve themselves with the preoccupation of praising faiths, those delusions to which humankind burns bonfires and other humans? These things have become so obvious to me, they're boring.

I've come to not being surprised people still attend church services. I don't think their attendance has any connection with morality. It's because of what they want to feel. Church means feeling pleasant and comfortable, and getting assurances everything will be okay. Guilt's washed away and fear is placated, for a while. Social contact, belonging. Evidence their beliefs are irrational only make them more determined to commit themselves. If proof won't stand in their way, nothing will. I believe that some day, their types will be the only attendees, because, unlike most of the population, they need to feel validated, and to be assimilated into “something bigger” than themselves. It matters not what sect they choose, as long as it fits them like a glove. Some members will knock themselves out for their churches. You can understand why, when I see there are still Catholics or Scientologists, I'm not surprised.

It doesn't come as a surprise people want heavenly feelings. The promissory note for never-ending ones is a con job. Is this sadness, madness, or tragedy? Believers believe heaven is a stupendous reward, “the mind cannot conceive,” because they haven't the slightest inclination to think about it. I find the believers' absence of curiosity about beliefs, well, curious. It goes against a natural quest for finding new truths. Is an infinite capacity for boredom a prerequisite for admission into paradise? Wasn't it Henry James who said if he arrived in heaven, he would ask, “Is that all there is?” There was a time when I happily sang Gregorian chant - the music of heaven?- every day. Then, after hearing the first 3 minutes of “The Rite of Spring,” everything changed. I was surprised there could be so much to music! By definition, heaven means there will never be the unexpected. To quote Dorothy Parker, we would be “underwhelmed.”

You've heard of the Ages of Faith? It wouldn't surprise me if historians absolutely confirmed those times weren't all that religious; that a lot of people didn't agree with what they were told. They had to be silent, “or else...” They were “faithful” because they were compelled to attend services, to follow rituals, compelled to give up their hard-earned money. And the only steady jobs available were those provided by the Church. And sure, they were promised eternal rewards in abundance.

There is that old saying, “False hope is better than no hope.” But by and by, things have changed dramatically. It's only those still living under church serfdom circumstances who accept their beliefs unconditionally. The rest of society has reached the point where the numbers of church attendees have switched from the majority to the minority. It won't surprise me if this progress continues.

Whenever I hear religious people say they're praying, I know they mean they’re hoping. They hope their wishes come true for themselves or others, including their hopes of vengeance. They grab at the straws their god gives them as answers to their prayers. Answered hopes are attributable to chance. Hope-prayers don't do anything, only doing does. Prayers are the way people use to fool themselves into believing they're doing something. And people really like to lie to others, to themselves, and enjoy hearing the lies they're told. No surprises there.

I'm not surprised Christians voted overwhelmingly for “that man.” I've been following their propaganda for years. They would've voted for another Mussolini or Hitler if he promised them what they wanted. I'm not surprised, but depressed, knowing that in one single day my country will switch from having what one commentator termed “the most ethical president in our history,” to its most unethical president. Knowing what I do, nothing that “God's chosen ones” will attempt can surprise me, even if involves the destruction of the world. I would like to be surprised to be wrong. I'm fighting them while waiting.