Non-Fiction Friday: Have a Nice Doomsday, Why Millions of Americans are Looking Forward to the End of the World

Non-Fiction Friday is on Saturday this week due to our observance of the Day of Silence. The Day of Silence is over now. Please don’t stay silent. If you see injustice, whether it be bullying or oppression or corruption, if you see the rights of others being trampled, please speak up. Those of us who care are a majority. The world just doesn’t know it yet.


I saw this one at the book store and turned it over. The author, Nicholas Guyatt,  is British, educated at Cambridge and Princeton, and he is now a Canadian…and he just researched and wrote a book about American, right-wing religious fanaticism. I’m not kidding. I had to buy it. It had to be good, if for no other reason than to get the reaction of a British/Canadian to our nation’s own unique brand of wackjobs.  And it was good, pretty good. He met with a few crazy representatives of the American theofascist movement and took a peek inside, behind the curtain if you will, but only a peek. This book doesn’t represent an in-depth analysis and it leaves the primary thesis, why millions of Americans are looking forward to the end of the world, largely unanswered. If you’re looking for an entertaining and enlightening read, though, give it a chance.

The facts of this book are disturbing to rational people. There really are over 50 million people in the United States who believe that sometime before they die, Jesus will come down from the sky, sweep them up into heaven, and leave the rest of us to face unimaginable oppression and torture. Exactly what the first Christians thought nearly 2,000 years ago. And much like those first believers, most modern believers want it sooner, rather than later. As a result of the convoluted interpretations that this modern incarnation of Christians has imposed on the bible, many of the more prominent members believe they can hasten the apocalypse, an idea that would be hilarious if they weren’t trying to do so by starting a global war.

Guyatt gives us a glimpse into the minds and rhetoric of these new prophets as he stands back, asks them questions and lets them speak for themselves. It isn’t like embellishment makes it any more disturbing, after all. It’s a phenomenon with some serious implications. The book was written over five years ago and some of the innocence that shines through because of that fact is, at first, amusing. The author is writing before our nation elected an overwhelming majority of these lunatics to some of highest offices of the land, essentially giving them the access they need to make their doomsday a reality, at least up to the moment just before Jesus is supposed to arrive.

If you have paid attention to the theofascists and their attempts to overthrow democracy then this book will likely offer you nothing new or surprising. If nothing I’m saying is making sense to you, you don’t believe it, you vehemently disagree or you find the sad failure of human reason and its repercussions compelling and worthy of attention, then this book may be right up your alley.

God is love

An article in UK’s Mail Online today has made me ill. It highlights the trend of torture and murder of children suspected of witchcraft, a phenomenon that is growing frighteningly more common in recent years. In a world that has probed the inner depths of matter and energy and seen the far reaches of space, how can there be those among us so hopelessly ignorant that they would believe in witchcraft and demon possession much less be willing to murder over such superstitions?

According to Mail Online:

 More than 80 children have suffered appalling abuse after being branded as witches in a crimewave fuelled by medieval beliefs imported from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

The scale of the problem – with many youngsters being beaten, starved and kept in cages – was revealed as a football coach was found guilty of torturing a boy to death.

In England Project Violet, an investigative unit dedicated to fighting crimes of a religious or cultural nature, is being reorganized to answer this threat. According to the report:

 Officials suspect grotesque acts continue to thrive behind closed doors, fuelled by a toxic combination of extreme evangelical Christianity and traditional beliefs.

In some of the most serious cases police suspect children may have been sent to their native countries where they face torture, sexual abuse and even murder.

But at least we can be confident that no “real” Christians would ever engage in this kind of nonsense, especially in this country.

Eric Bikubi, the football coach mentioned above, believed he had special powers that allowed him to detect evil. According to the article:

 His defence team argued he was suffering a mental disorder, but an expert told the court he was ‘calm, lucid and rational’ when he murdered Kristy.

Calm and lucid perhaps but I think we have entirely different definitions of the word rational.

Christian fundamentalist pastors in Britain are fuelling the belief in witchcraft, experts warned yesterday.

Dr Richard Hoskins, a police adviser, said he has spoken to many immigrant Londoners gripped by the potential power of malicious ‘spirits’ threatening to damage their families.

Traditional methods of exorcism include wearing a charm, fasting or sacrificing an animal and are controlled by the Church.

The university lecturer warned that Christian extremists and evangelists have begun taking advantage of vulnerable families and perpetuating beliefs in witchcraft by offering expensive ‘deliverance services’.

Still waiting to hear that loud unambiguous public outcry from the “real” Christians denouncing these assholes. I won’t hold my breath.

A Rant and a Resolution

For centuries people have resisted the tyranny of the superstitious and irrational. Early on we began to forge the tools to overcome these influences within ourselves. For most of our history those tools were dull and largely ineffectual in the face of a biological need to conform. Then, in different places and in different times, logic and the sciences were born. These tools didn’t behave like faith did. They weren’t the product of eons of evolution. These tools were different. They grew sharper with use. Our brains were ready for them but they took work and some skill to use. They were often counter-intuitive. And they produced results that were consistent. Some powers were quick to recognize the dangers that science posed to tradition and quickly suppressed its development. Other powers were less vigilant and allowed these tools to be used. These too would have been eradicated had it not been for their utility. So long as science could be controlled, it was assumed, it could make the powerful stronger. So began the slow compromise of traditional superstition to reason.

Continue reading “A Rant and a Resolution” »


That was the sigh of me finally sitting down to write my first blog post ever. There is nothing like exploring completely new territory to make you feel like an absolute  idiot. For two days now I have been stumbling my way through what feels like a foreign land of customs, expectations, and most of all language.

3.96 GPA and I feel like a I can’t tie my own shoes.

I made it though, and now I can just write. Lets start with something that has been in my head for a few days.

On the spectrum of firebrands vs accommodationists, I fall somewhere toward the middle. Yes, yes, I am one of those “it takes both kinds” people.  Why I think it takes both kinds is simple. It took both kinds for me. I wasn’t always a godless creature. My faith started slipping away at about age 16, and I transitioned from monotheism, to polytheism, to agnosticism, and finally to atheism. Through each of  my stages I heard all types of non-believers. In the early stages firebrands pissed me off, “how dare they be so damn certain that god doesn’t exist,” and “faith is too personal, they can’t know.”  So, early on, firebrands weren’t for me. I needed a lighter touch. I needed baby steps.

Once I became an agnostic things changed.  The time for accommodation was over. I was finally ready to listen to firebrands and what they had to say, and it made sense. The firebrand technique (if you can call it a technique) pushed me from agnostic toatheist. It showed me how not to use the possibility of god as a crutch for everything in my life. Firebrands took the fencepost of uncertainty out of my ass and taught me how to stand on my own two feet.

Now, I started this story saying that I exist somewhere in the middle. That probably gives a bit of a false impression to some. I imagine my methods of talking to others about faith (or the lack of it) have been shaped by my own personal transition. Because of that, I tend to try to empathize with my peers at any given moment and be as direct as their body language will let me before I see them start to shut down. I tend to accommodate more my friends, often reciprocating their own accommodation of me. I tend to have full firebrand approach on the internet, knowing that the internet is not a captive audience and no one is being forced to hear my blasphemy. So I stand somewhere in the middle not because all my approaches are of medium-grade directness but more because of the law of averages.

So, yes, it takes all kinds.  Because of that, I am all kinds…just at different times.