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This “sense” of the divine, this presence gets attached to religion. The bliss that you feel when you hold your granddaughter is also felt by another human being as he or she straps on a bomb preparing to blow his or herself up. Supporters of this behavior also get that same ecstatic, divine, “God” feeling. Is it time for us to evolve away from the “God” attachment of that experience?
I agree with Barack Obama when he said that there is a universal curve toward order and purpose and progress, and that when you look at history, and the way things shaped up, the evil and the anomalies are there but there is also such a thing as foreword progress. When you look at the history of holy wars between nations, even only 500 years ago, there are individuals and countries doing terrible things. But there are also people moving in good directions. In the history of Christianity anti-Semitism is no longer cool, whereas 500 years ago it was. The Israelis have sworn enemies in the Palestinians, but they haven’t rounded them all up and gassed them. They are trying to work it out. We are evolving, and it strikes me that we are evolving in a direction toward something better.
I don’t judge atheism on the gulag, Mao Tse-tung, or Pol Pot. I just say those are horrible low points for secularism run amok. The same when someone straps a suicide belt on in the name of God. That issue is an issue of where the human race is in its evolution, whatever the excuse, whatever we call those horrible, predatory, ridiculous, deluded things we do—be they in the name of religion or an atheist philosophy. The point is not the philosophy. It’s the fact that those crazy, deluded, evil people, and all points in between all exist as part of a stage of human evolution. But that doesn’t mean it either has to stay that way forever, or that we haven’t made any progress, or that those same kinds of people wouldn’t be doing the same sorts of things in the name of other excuses.
A lot of people, left and right, are very upset President Obama hasn’t microwaved the American Dream back to life after just one year in office. People like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Rush
Limbaugh are wishing and hoping for him to fail.
Let’s separate them out. If you take Glenn Beck, this is a guy that without FOX media would be standing on some streetcorner barking at the moon. He’s not a rational person. The only reason he matters is because Rupert Murdoch makes money by giving him a megaphone to attract stupid people. There is a certain level of uneducated American that finds him entertaining and even dumber folks who actually believe him and his grand amorphous paranoid conspiracy theory of the world. If you look at Sarah Palin, if the Republican Party was still the Republican Party, and being run by people like William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater, you never would have heard of her. But having been taken over by the lunatic fringe of the Religious Right—or the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe—someone like her gets a platform. But it says a lot more about the bedrock of the party right now than it says about her. Looking at Rush Limbaugh, I am sorry to say this, but he is genuinely a despicable person. This is someone who mocked someone with Parkinson’s disease for twitching. In terms of the Haiti crisis, he looks at dead bodies piled up and uses this as an opportunity to slam the President. This is just a crass and horrible person. Limbaugh is the fart in the American elevator and we’re all stuck between floors with him. He is not disheartening. There are many individuals filling our prisons who are ill in this way. But what is disheartening is that there is a media company that will actually pay a guy like this and give him the platform. It’s a very discouraging fact, not because he is from the right wing, but because he is so obviously a crass buffoon.