Posts Tagged ‘logic’

The movie Trumbo is a dramatization of the events in the life of a screenwriter named Dalton Trumbo.


The man was also famous for being an activist and (here’s where the closed fist meets the face) a Communist.

I don’t know if it was by design or merely coincidence, but this film came out at the most appropriate time ever.

The fight he fought, back in the 40s and 50s, is echoed today. Some of the arguments used against him back then are in force today.

It’s the old “you’re either for me (and my opinions) or against me.” People seem to gravitate to the extremes of the political spectrum, without giving much to nuance, if they bother to consider it at all.

Trumbo fought for the right to have an opinion. That’s it, that’s all. Whether his opinion on Communism was viable or not (I believe it’s not) was immaterial. He wanted to have a voice, have a belief, and not have people castigate him for that belief.

Despite his protest, he was lumped in with all Communists of that time and put on a blacklist. The powers back then sought to keep him from making a living in Hollywood, in his chosen profession. They were so very afraid his intent was to infect the minds of the movie-goer by using stories to persuade Americans of the good of Communism.

They had no proof of this, and they couldn’t point to any one of his many many accomplishments until that time as evidence of this supposed “plan”of his.

Yet they didn’t believe they needed proof. All they needed to know was whether he was a Communist or not. The perfect example of “painting with a wide brush.”

It reminds me vividly of a guy who attended my high school. I knew his father to be a card-carrying political activist and Communist. I remember that both he and his father were ostracized by pretty much everyone. We all knew about his Communist dealings, and we all despised him for it (the son bearing the stigma of his father, of course).

It never occurred to me back then that these were people, and that there was no evidence they were hurting anyone.

If the sentiment was that strong in MY childhood, how much more strong would it have been back right after World War II?

We don’t have to guess, do we? The House Un-American Activities Committee – the group that created the infamous blacklist – went to great pains to underline how avowed Communists, as well as friends and family of Communists, were out to destroy the American way of life.

The parallels to today are painful. If you’re a follower of Obama, you’re probably an unthinking parasite on society. Someone deserving of scorn and ridicule.

On the other hand, if you’re a Republican, or a declared Christian, you’re likely a war-monger who lacks a heart. Someone without compassion who probably resembles Donald Trump.

There’s just no room for reason or honest debate. There’s little room for discussion, or for being so open to evidence and logical persuasion that one can change one’s mind.

Instead, we’re setting up camp on our prized dogmas, secure in our beliefs. Everyone outside the camp is the enemy. Instead of seeking to persuade anyone, we look to find evidence to support our already entrenched positions, to the delight and captive applause of the grinning choir.

The anti-religionist

Posted: March 16, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , ,

In the thirty-minute walk from my home to work, I had a blog idea all sketched out.  And then when I got here, and used’s Tag Surfer to skim interesting blogs, I came across one that kind of twisted my head halfway off.

It was written by a young woman who appears to be slowly turning jaded by the comments and actions of people  in her church.

Ever have an itch you just can’t scratch?  That was my feeling as I read through her heart-felt disenchantment on religion in general.  You are not supposed to say that you hate anyone.  Especially when you’re in church.

I suppose I sympathize with her to a degree – it’s tough when the carefully assembled collage of dogma, built upon the warmth of your fellow believers, starts to turn an unpleasant shade of yellow.

It’s not that it has changed colours, actually.  It’s that you have.

Man. I was *not* ready to talk about this.

A girl I was out with recently (no, not the Russian beauty – another one), remarked in frustration that it’s now fashionable to be atheist.  We talked about that a bit.  I agreed with her, and wondered out loud if people in general had just become more realistic, more sophisticated.   There are those who are so disgusted by “Christian” talk, that they want to throw the baby out with the bath water.   The equation goes something like this:  if these people represent what God is supposed to be like (including Fred Phelps of “God Hates Fags” fame), and they’re so frigging hypocritical, then maybe God doesn’t exist.

It’s a dumb equation, built more upon emotion.  Of course science comes along with incontrovertible truths, and some use that to bolster their argument.   But the core is still the same: I have yet to find an atheist (although I’m certain some exist) who at their core aren’t emotional about their atheism.   

Agnostics have more credibility, at least for me:  most that I’ve known will acknowledge that you can’t know whether there’s a God or not.  You can only guess or you can have faith.  I respect that, because I think it’s honest.

Getting back to our disenchanted woman:  I suppose if she and I were to chat I would tell her that I believe in God but absolutely have no belief or trust in religion.   I see religion as a social system, with built-in safeguards and fail-safes, much of which involves circular reasoning.   “The Bible is true. How do we know?  Because it says it is.”

You just can’t break into that “logic”.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m using this as a typical example.  I have no problem with the Bible, none whatsoever.  I arrived at my faith because of it.

The mindset that came up with that reasoning is – to use a Star Trek reference – kind of like the Borg:  it’s composed of multiple people over many centuries, is self-defining, entirely interlaced and hence unbreakable.  My experience leads me to conclude that to get some clear thinking, you need to break away from it. 

Breaking away from (what they call) “the church” is a scary experience.   Fear is a great motivator.  “You’ll be lost, without hope, if you go away from the church”.   What they don’t say, but what everyone understands is that you’ll be a backslider, to be avoided – unless to invite you back to the fold.

I stopped going, and began to realize that my love of God wasn’t threatened in the least.  It provided an opportunity to *think* – using the magical God-given organ – my brain.    I thought about what it means to be someone who was made “in the image of God”.   Logically, it doesn’t make sense that we’re talking the physical necessarily, and really – is our physicality the sum total of who we are?  

In my opinion, not likely:  the amazing amassing of intelligence and science, the industries built upon emotion (like the entertainment industry for example), the undeniable genius of our medical and space advances means that we are more than likely not just wandering meat-bags.  Anyway, it’s logical.

So.  What’s the relevance of the Bible and religion?   I would guess it’s a good starting point, particularly for those who need some sort of system to put every piece of the puzzle in place.   But grown men and women should probably think about acting as men and women and not children, who need to be told what to do every step of the way.  We like our religion, and our dogma and the company of other religionists:  it keeps us comfortable and more importantly – we feel safer with the safeguard of “the church” in place.

If God exists, and if we are built in His image, then our creativity, our ability to reason and think, all reflect Him.   And if that’s true, then we are obligated to remove our religious diapers and start walking on our own, making our own decisions, revelling in living life (and not just tolerating our existence until we get Our Reward in the afterlife).   Oh, and those who think sex is wrong:  well God made that too.  Time we stopped blushing at the idea of it.

Yes, I did not mean to talk about this today.  Our regularly scheduled program was preempted. It’s not my fault.  I wanted to talk about guilty pleasures.

Maybe tomorrow.