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By Carl S ~

Perhaps most of you on ExChristian were attracted to the “opposite” writers, and found yourself, as when in love, enhancing your life. “They” weren't opposite after all; they spoke to the real you. You were tempted to go into forbidden territory. Personally, I like temptation, no lie. It's the people who are in denial who rant the loudest against it. Temptation tells you what your real inclinations are, and in itself does no harm! You found out when you were a child there's nothing more tempting than challenging “Don't.” The bible may be “the world's best selling book,” (though there's no way to fact-check that claim), but the largest market in the world has to be pornography, and I bet the religious are “faithful”consumers.

I'm for temptation, but I'm for self-control too. One major problem with Christianity is that it doesn't teach self-control outside of dogmatic constraints. As soon as most adults begin to suspect the dogmas are all b.s., they're going to abandon them and do their own thing, even if it means living a double life of going through the motions for the neighborhood. At core, religions teach it's okay to lie to yourself, while at the same time telling you you’re evil to the core, so avoid and resist temptation. But reality is compelling. There's an old saying, “Where there's a church, there's a tavern.” Who are they kidding?

The prostitute is always more honest than the prelate. And honest about the prelate. We can learn about faith healing from its debunkers; the practitioners know it's all crap. Apologists are lawyers defending the actions of a criminal, God. They blame the victims. “My client is not responsible – they brought it on themselves.” Apologists make a living filling a need by rationalizing crazy beliefs for people who like their deceit with cream and sugar. Big time “prophets and spokesmen for God” are the Ponzi schemers never brought to justice; their victims won't file suits. (What think you, ExPastor Dan?)

Religions are operated by people with power who keep their own and their sects lies and sins hidden behind curtains, multitudes of curtains, so they must continually keep moving and distracting; you can't allow anyone to look behind any one of them! They have to be constantly on the lookout because they know so well: open curtains mean open questions, and they certainly don't want to be questioned.

I bet the clergy, like so many given power, get their rocks off not only in pornography but in deceit. There are individuals who take pleasure in fooling people. It has to be an addiction, the pleasures of getting away with deceiving. And the power of feeling superior, and religion is the perfect system for these needs. Clergy enjoy exemptions to the rules everyone else has to live by, since they’re “ordained by God.” We might be tempted to imagine ourselves in a clergyman's position: sitting in your office watching porno (so that you can preach against it, of course), you take your sermons off the internet, modify them, and pass them off as original and inspired. You get calls from those Abe Lincoln said are “some of the people you can fool all of the time.” But you don't have to work at making an honest living. (Unless by work you mean having to be a dependable entertainer.) And it's all tax-free!

We're all fascinated by the serial killer, embezzler, neo-Nazi, child molester, the corrupted rich and powerful, etc. They evaded being caught because they excelled at deceiving the majority and those closest to them. Maybe we the deceived are stunned to find there’s a recognition of human nature so “different” yet familiar. There's a perplexity mixed with horror when people discover urges in others they don't want to see in themselves. (On one day of broadcasts, survivors described different perpetrators, one as “a monster,” with two others saying, “the devil takes many forms.”) Others refer to Jekyll/Hyde. Those persons are humans. The “banality of evil” doesn't fit into the average mind-set. There's no Absolute to evil or good, and every goddamn thing has built-in limitations, including “God.” And it doesn't say much for the everlastingness of Hell when you realize the Inquisition, burning of women as witches, holy wars, and Crusades, had to end when death and destruction became tedious.

It's amazing how easily people are deceived. Time and time again, their perplexity is ablaze as they try to grasp how the person they thought they knew very well turned out to be acting without remorse or regret. That person is said to “lack a conscience,” but is still a human being, and even may not be responsible for his or her acts. These humans are “different.” So let's set aside “devil in human form” or “diabolical possession,” and question: What if there's something in their brains driving them, and their 'normal' feels as perfectly normal to them as it does to a clever animal acting in the wild? And at the same time, the same perplexed good people themselves, but deceived, know that a god who does nothing to stop or hinder the evil right in front of their eyes, who they would recognize to be, in every court, just as guilty as a perpetrator, is a truly loving god they have a personal relationship with.

One slick trick is telling their followers there's an empty place in one's being only a god can fill.Clergy have plenty of time on their hands to make up shit. One slick trick is telling their followers there's an empty place in one's being only a god can fill. I find it insulting to imply an unbeliever is an incomplete person. So, with gene editing, would doctors be able to implant a faith-gene in that empty part of someone's brain? That's hilarious. So maybe there's a primitive superstition gene in a vestigial part of many overly- religious brains that, like a burst appendix, needs to be removed? If there is a superstition-gene, it's certainly nothing to brag about, or to justify denigrating others for “lacking.”

In becoming oneself, you might notice your religion always claimed it's “spiritual,” and raised the “spiritual” far above human pleasures. It protested too much. Now, honestly. Religion has always been obsessed with sex and with controlling sex. But the temptation to the contrary is a part of being human, and so we asked, “What's wrong with something that's so good in so many ways?” It's like ”Who needs religion?” Others are perfectly happy and moral while “lacking” faith.

Maybe it wasn't until people started thinking with their minds about sex, and since the 1920's, that Christian-imposed sexual repression was challenged by sexual expression, and this has continued on to more open expressions of affection. Is sexual freedom equal to rational thinking as an explanation for the waning of religions throughout the western world? And sugar, for how could European minds blossom without sugar from the New World in the Age of Enlightenment?

Alexander Woollcott said, “Everything I want is either illegal, immoral, or fattening.” Now there's an observation for the ages. What was once shocking is conventional wisdom. Maybe someday dumping “evil person” will be.