Sep
27
2009
0

“Creation” and Troubles in America

There was a recent post to Derren Brown’s blog reporting that the new film about Darwin, “Creation,” was being shunned by American distributors. (It has since been picked up by Newmarket… and I think I would like to see this film. :))

On the blog and especially on the facebook post sharing this post, there were a TON of comments to the effect of, “Stupid Americans.”

I was debating with myself whether I should post a response on the blog, on facebook, or even if I should post anything at all. I decided that I would at least start a post on my own blog… mostly in part because what I have to say has very little to do with the movie in question, but also because I would rather have a discussion here than bungee in elsewhere and stir up a shitstorm.

The epithet, “Stupid Americans,” has always bothered me. I used to think (and the temptation is still there to do so) that it bothered me because of the “Americans” bit. After all, I am an American (though through absolutely no choice of my own), and for a very long time I would identify myself with that, for better or for worse.

However, I think that it was the “stupid” part of the phrase that bothered me more, because “Americans” is just a label but “stupid” is the part that’s meant to be insulting.

This might seem blindingly obvious, but please bear with me. 🙂

Why would the expression, “Stupid Americans,” bother me so much? It’s not like I chose to be born in the United States, and certainly when I was a child it was impossible for me to choose to leave. Even as an adult, it is exceedingly difficult, and it’s not like it is easy to assimilate into another culture, no matter how much of its comedy you watch on television. So, I really am stuck here, and even if I did relocate, it’s not like I would escape others who are keen on labeling entire groups of people however they like. (After all, there are those who hate ex-pats.)

No, it’s the “stupid” part that bothers me so much.

Why is that?

Well, in this particular case, “stupid” is referring to the abundance of religious belief and fervor in the United States.

However, “stupid” simply does not apply.

People do not become Christians because they are stupid.

People become stupid because they are Christians.

In order to believe in Christianity, you have to have your capacity for processing reality severely crippled. You have to be able to believe in an entirely anti-reality concept such as “god,” but still be able to function in the world.

Even then, it’s not fair to call it stupidity. Civilized people do not sneer at a paraplegic and call him “lazy” for being unable to get out of his wheelchair.

People who are religious are mentally crippled and deserve the sympathy to the extent that they deserve.

This does not, of course, excuse them for inflicting their handicap on children, especially with the access to information we have available today. Even if a religious parent did not wish to alter their belief, they are definitely aware of other religions, and especially of non-belief. It is indefensible to tell a child that God is absolutely real when there are so many resources available to parents to present differing viewpoints, at the very least.

Still, “stupid” does not apply. It is not through a lack of intelligence that religious people believe what they do. It is through having their brains damaged by being inflicted with unrealities as if they were absolutely true.

Religion is not a reasoned position; this is why presenting evidence and a strong logical case against religion fails to convince so many people.

One last thing, and then I’ll be finished.

The vast majority of people who are throwing around the epithet, “Stupid Americans,” are almost guaranteed to be holding beliefs just as irrational and just as dangerous and damaging as religion.

This is because almost everybody in the entire world today believes that violence is the best tool to use to solve social problems. This is not generally the case in their personal lives, but in society at large, they champion and cheer violence being used to further their goals.

This belief is the fundamental curse of humanity; it is the cause of war and devastation and economic crises and all manner of violence in the world that is entirely avoidable.

The reason people believe this is because, as children, they are made to believe that even though violence is bad for an individual, it somehow becomes good when used by a group. This is a complete contradiction, because members of the group are individuals themselves, and it is this unreality inflicted on children that damages their ability to process reality…

Hence, even if “Stupid Americans” wasn’t an invalid and cruel thing to say, it would merely be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Dec
24
2008
1

Valkyrie

I just saw a “sneak peek” commercial for one of the latest WWII movies to come out: Valkyrie.

Valkyrie is a dramatization of an internal plot to kill Hitler–that much has been made clear by the previews. The commentators punching it up say things like, “This is a story about the greatest evil the world has ever known.”

There are two things that are interesting about that comment. The first thing is that Hitler, while certainly evil, isn’t alone in terms of body count. Heads of state and the armies they control far outstrip the body count of the worst serial killers that act alone.

The second thing comes out of a discussion I had with a friend about WWII movies in general, especially Holocaust movies. It seems that these movies, while often gripping and emotional, don’t ever really progress beyond, “Hitler was bad, Nazis are bad, Concentration camps are bad.”

These movies don’t have to go deeper than that, but it is telling that the question, “Why Hitler?” never seems to be asked. Hitler rises to power in Germany–why? The Nazi party spreads like wildfire–why? Concentration camps are built and various minorities are rounded up and shipped off–why?

Deeper than why Hitler rose to power is why the German people were susceptible to a man like Hitler, why they looked to him as a leader. How did Hitler come to be who he was?

I think that some answers to these questions can be found in The Origins of War in Child Abuse by Lloyd Demause (audiobook) as well as in For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence by Alice Miller.

There are deeper and more ancient evils at work that result in the horrors of war.

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