This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

Archive for the category “religion”

And Then The Murders Began

Lviv pogrom (June-July 1941)People tend to think of the Holocaust as an event, or a constant:  Hitler came to power, next stop Auschwitz.   This is far from historical fact, however. The Holocaust was a process, with a beginning, a middle and, if not an end, then at least a near-culmination. There was an arc that took European societies from accepting Jews as neighbors, fellow citizens and even prominent members of the community — if with a dogwhistle here and there, and occasional down-home Jew-hating talk — to wholesale slaughter, with a side serving of unbridled abuse, rape, torture and gleeful psychological sadism.  It didn’t happen overnight.

The proto-Nazis spent the 1920’s spreading vicious, (literally) cartoonish anti-Semitic propaganda.  Those were the Der Stürmer years. Relentlessly, the future “winners” of the German state called Jews animals, vermin, criminals, racial degenerates, ideological enemies of society.  The first race laws began to be enacted in 1933. Then, in 1935, Jews, Roma and other “undesirables” were stripped of their citizenship and civil rights.  Then came the pogroms. Then came the ghettos.  And then the murders began. Sporadic mass executions were followed by systematic, mechanized slaughter of human beings throughout Nazi-occupied Europe.

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Why It’s Okay To Talk About Kim Davis’ Multiple Marriages

Titian, There has been some discussions in the liberal circles lately as to whether the messy personal history of Kim Davis — an anti-gay county clerk from Kentucky who claims that the US Constitution and Jesus give her the right to use her authority as a government official to deny other people’s Constitutional rights — is an appropriate subject for public dissection.  Specifically, it has been said that to bring up her multiple marriages is a form of “slut shaming”, or that because she did all that adultery stuff before she found Jesus, it’s irrelevant to her anti-gay stance.  I disagree on both accounts.  Here is why. Read more…

Grifters Gotta Grift

Paulus Morels, "Allegory of Avarice" (1621)As a rule, I don’t take conspiracy theories seriously. There is, however, a difference between a conspiracy and a relatively uncomplicated scam that rakes in big bucks. And in my business, you learn to be skeptical.

Remember Joe the Plumber? Read more…

Myths and Illusions: The Myth of Religion Preventing Violence

Rembrandt, "Moses Smashing the Tablets" (1659)Today’s entry into the pantheon of modern Myths and Illusions: the myth that religion prevents violence and makes people act all nice to each other. Read more…

Some Of The More Absurd Things A Lot Of “Smart” People Believe

Viktor Vasnetsov, I am continuing my list of remarkably inane things people say remarkably often. (Previous installments: here, here and here.) Today’s theme is smart people’s stupidity. Intellectuals can sure embrace some bizarre ideas, and through processes I can’t even begin to understand, some of those ideas enter mainstream smart people’s thought. Ideas like: Read more…

Un-American, The New Patriotic

Victor Vasnetsov, "The End of Prince Igor's Campagn Against the Cumans" (1880)

Over at Salon there is a worried entry about the increasingly close association between American Evangelical Christians and secessionist kooks, exemplified by Bobby Jindal’s recent waxing poetic about a coming violent overthrow of the Federal Government. With high-level public officials feeling increasingly free to state, publicly and explicitly, that they would like to dismantle this country for not being Jesusy enough (and presumably exterminate the ideologically non-conforming, which is what Jesus buried all those fossil fuels in Red States for), I can see how one can become nervous about a possible violent insurrection. But I am going to go out on a limb here and say: relax, it’s more likely to be an infuriating slow burn than a big scary explosion. Read more…

Auto-Da-Fé

The Burning of Sodomites (unknown artist, German, 1482)
My previous post, Teabagging Jesus, provoked a lengthy discussion in the comments, which devolved into a general argument about the supposedly unfocused and shifting nature of liberalism. At one point, a guest commented that people who harass confront (let’s use a polite term here) women in front of abortion clinics are motivated only by a good-faith concern for those women’s souls, not maliciousness. It’s important that we all understand that, the guest contended. After some reflection, I decided the topic deserves its own post. Read more…

Teabagging Jesus

Pieter Bruegel, "The Ass at School" (c. 1570)Per RightWingWatch, Family Research Counsel Executive Vice President Jerry Boykin gave an exhilarating speech about the meaning of “Biblical Manhood”. It’s pure comedy gold. According to Boykin, Jesus was a “man’s man” and a “tough guy”, who “smelled bad” and had huge biceps and bulging veins from all the carpentry he was doing. Boykin laments the “feminized Jesus” that the church presents, that provides no inspiration to modern Real American Men, men communicate by grunts, shoot unarmed “urban” teenagers for freedom and have more neck tattoos than teeth. Read more…

On The Need To Believe In Something Greater Than Us

Jacob Isaacksz van Ruisdael, "The Jewish Cemetery at Odenkirk" (1657)Why does anybody believe in God? I mean, outside of habit, or having been brought up in faith, such that life outside of it is unimaginable? Reasons for religious belief are invariably personal, and none is more interesting me to me than the oft-repeated “I am a person of faith because I need to believe there is something greater than us.” It is a ridiculous justification, for sure — but it reveals something very curious about human nature. Read more…

Religious Fervor Is A Gift That Just Keeps On Giving

And so is Russia. Put the two together, stir, and you’ve got yourself a portal to medieval Muscovy and the blessed times of the oprichniks — albeit with cars and cell phones, this time. Which, as scary as it is to contemplate, may be just what the majority of today’s Russians actually desire.

I apologize to the reader that I can’t find an English-language source to link here, as this development apparently hasn’t yet made its way into the Western media’s field of vision. In any event, as reported by a number of Russian sources, including Argumenty I Fakty (AIF), volunteer bands of Russian Orthodox religious enforcers, organized by the fundamentalist movement “Holy Russ”, have begun patrolling the streets of Moscow. Read more…

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