The De-Deification Project
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24-03-2010, 08:46 PM
The De-Deification Project
First my rant;

I've had it! I sit up here in Canada watching my neighbor to the south as slowly, methodically, the far religious right creeps ever deeper into their government (local, state and federal - witness the Republicans & the Bush years), attempt to re-write history (as is currently happening in the public school system text books in Texas) and would like to re-imagine the USA constitution to more aptly suit their purposes. For decades the fundy-forces have been raising, grooming their young adults in private schools & universities to infiltrate all levels of government and society, their purpose being to absolutely make the USA into a Christian-run country. And that SCARES the crap out of me!

It's bad enough that most religious fundamentalist countries have access to basic modern weaponry to force their views and agenda on others. Luckily, for the most part, they are rather backward. Now imagine a similar scenario controlling the American arsenal. Add to that the goal of many fundy's to bring about the "rapture" in their lifetime (think nuclear).

I'm probably a little older than the mean age of other forum users, so I may have a longer perspective. In my younger days the fundamentalists in the States were not as powerful or organized as they are now. Oh, they had their bread-basket States sown up as they do now and they did some damage, such as the KKK and the likes, but their reach was more localized. Over time though, this has changed. They have become organized and focused. They have a solid goal in mind.

For a while I despaired that anything could be done. After all, "free thinkers" are likely to be stoic individuals & closet Atheists who could not publicly criticize the untouchable, sacred cow. How could we form into the groups (people power) necessary to most political systems and thus have a voice to be heard over the masses entangled in the pervasive destructive meme?

Then came the internet. At first the fundy’s labeled it as “evil” due to their lack of understanding the “Internets”. When their tech-savvy youth eventually became of age, everything changed. They came to realize the net’s potential to spread the meme. Now we had Porn and religion - the internet seemed lost as well. What they didn’t count on was the rise of the social aspect of the internet and its ability to span the globe, bringing like-minded individuals together. For the first time it was possible for “free thinkers” to unite, but things initially moved slowly.

It took the likes of Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris to finally make atheism main stream thus drawing us out like never before. But we are still a unorganized, scattered, fragmented world-wide community spread across a multitude of websites, forums, blogs etc. If we seriously want change, we too must centralize. The religious have the advantage here - they are required to group together weekly and thus reinforce the meme. Unfortunately this grates against my (and most) “free thinker” individualism, but it is also what the fundy’s fear – that we too will eventually have the lobbying power they now hold (does it not seem they are ramping up their “take-over” in the US?). This is why every time an atheist group goes public and receives press, they are labeled as “militant”. The hypocrisy of this label is glaring.

So, where do we start?

There are some fledgling unifying organizations, some who have been around for a long time but never had much opportunity to grow until now. Their focus is to eventually raise their numbers for some clout. But they have also shocked the fundy’s out of their complacency when public cash donations supporting bus posters and billboards pour in, out stripping expectations as campaigns are mounted. There’s hope to be found here.

The De-Deification Project:

My little suggested project is to address the pervasiveness of religiosity in our culture, language, media . . . and hopefully make it a spreadable meme!

Try a little experiment; for one day make note of how many religious references impinge on your senses. It’s everywhere! Even in your own language. Millennia of religious memes have saturated every aspect of our lives. Imagine Hollywood without superstition – no demons, ghosts, vampires, Harry Potter? Sacrilege! (OOPS!). What would a public ceremony be like without the inherent blessing of a deity? What would you say when you stub your toe or are in the throes of hot sex?

Now let’s try another experiment; try to go a day without utilizing a religious expletive, reference etc. There are substitutes if you think about it, but they are not at the top of most people’s subconscious, knee-jerk lists. Try to read something or watch a show or movie with no religious or superstitious references, or plot line. You will be surprised at the pervasiveness and how hard it is to counter. But this has to change! How can we claim to be free of the meme if we are socially programmed to use the same jargon as believers or to support superstition (which is the root of belief) through media & entertainment ?

It’s not easy, so baby steps . . .

Reprogram yourself;

Stub you toe? Forget “god damn It!” or “jesus christ!” and go with the tried and true “son of a bitch!”

Challenge your friends and fellow workers to do so as well.

It’s a beginning.

Any other ideas?

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24-03-2010, 09:48 PM
RE: The De-Deification Project
Amen, brother! (oops)

I mean, 'here, here'!

I actually stopped saying 'bless you' when a person sneezes. Rather, I say 'Gesundheit' nowadays.

I agree with you that freethinking and Atheism needs to be spread like a meme. I also agree that challenging someone (friend, family) to forego the religious connotations from every day speak is a good idea, provided that the person doesn't retort with 'what's wrong with saying that?'

I personally believe that, as Atheism and freethinking grows, the meme will establish itself without us really TRYING to get it to establish. Lots of people like a good idea, and there are plenty of intelligent people in the world who just need a push in the right direction.

BTW, I'm also from Canada and share the same 'fear' as yourself. I worry that the 'crap' from the fundies in the U.S. will find its way up to Canada and screw with OUR education system, etc. As we did during the war of 1812, we need to stand our ground once again, this time against the 'intelligence' of the fundamental Christians who would potentially make their way north of the 49th parallel (all freethinking and Atheist Americans are more than welcome to join the party up here...bring your mukluks...Big Grin)
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25-03-2010, 06:36 PM
RE: The De-Deification Project
This is a very cogent and powerfully stated piece of analysis. I'm going to have to agree on all points. This mass mental disorder is deep and wide and is almost subliminal in so many areas. I've often wondered why "Jesus" comes out of my mouth so much when I'm amazed by something--or how "Goddamn" is almost easier to use in polite company than "fuck". But even being aware of it, I can't seem to give it up. I like those expressions. Any little bit of blasphemy makes me feel better for some reason. I did give up "God Bless You" when people sneeze a while back--it's just silly.

I will say that this reaffirmation of the Christian phenomenon at every level of human discourse is maddening---the award shows, sporting events, movies, songs, commercials (oh thank heaven for Seven-11), court, and at the end of every campaign speech or presidential address. I don't know that there's much anybody's going to do to change it--this animal has a life of it's own. Culture doesn't just change, it is change. I envision a world where we do say "God bless you" when we want to convey that we wish someone the best, but it is simply a cordial remark and the sayer isn't really propagating belief in superstition or a supernatural being. And even the definition of the word "God" could change to reflect the vastness of the unknowns in the universe rather than the presumption of a supernatural force. I think we can mature as a society and still keep some of the traditions and vernacular around. I hate religion, but I do enjoy Christmas. I celebrate it as a way to honor our deliverance from the ignorance and darkness that created it in the first place. The real problem isn't necessarily in the words themselves, but more in the interpretation. But I gotta say I think your hitting on something really interesting here (although I don't know how I could become more aware of this stuff since it's already such a mind consuming obsession for me). I enjoy a good rant, and that one was excellent.
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