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The Howling Hounds of Hell

By       Message Richard Mathis       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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Have you ever had to live between two packs of rival dogs? If it 's not one pack barking then it 's the other pack. And as soon as one pack hears the other barking then they have to start barking to drown out the other pack 's barking. The only time both packs bark in unison is when a stranger comes into the neighborhood. Then both packs will unite to let the intruder know that this is their territory and only they are allowed to fight over it.

That 's how most zealous fundamentalist right- and left-wingers sound to me. They 're like a pack of Pavlov 's conditioned dogs who know how to ring each others ' bells. Hell, neither side seems to want things to get any better because then they wouldn 't have anything to bark about. As is, they love to keep us tossing and turning all night long.

In particular, I remember the first response from a "progressive " to an article calling for more dialogue and tolerance between secularists and conservative Christians. What can you say about meaningful dialogue when the first posted response accuses anyone who has religious beliefs of having a psychological disorder?

As the son of a Holiness Baptist minister, let me tell you straight out that a fundamentalist is a fundamentalist and there is a lot more in common between hard core atheists and holy-roller Christians than there are differences.

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For starters, both insist that beliefs are the most important thing in the world. They both believe that actions are secondary to your intentions, which are totally conditional upon your beliefs. If your beliefs are perfectly right then you can do anything you want so long as you can justify it by appealing to your beliefs. Say you burned those witches? That 's all right. I know you were doing it for Jesus and to protect the purity of the beliefs. Say you sent those right-wing evangelicals to a gulag for reeducation? Right on, brother, the revolution must move forward. Don 't let people get in the way.

One of the biggest myths of all times is that atheism is not a form of religion. A holy-roller has to explain everything that happens by invoking God. A fundamentalist atheist has to explain everything that happens by invoking anything but God. Either way, both packs have a one-size-fits-all explanation for everything. And you can be assured with both sides that the response will be the same if you disagree with them: they 'll start whelping like a pack of rabid attack dogs.

It 's that way with any group that has fundamentalist tendencies. Dissent is not allowed. You had better run with the pack or the pack is going to turn on your ass. You had better not tell a true believer down at the House of Holiness that he is remarkably like an atheist. He 'll tell you in a heartbeat that he 's morally superior, saved and going to heaven. Likewise, tell an atheist that he 's remarkably like a holy-roller. Hell no, I 'm not, he 'll say. I 'm educated and smart and know how to think for myself and have been freed from the slavery of religion. Anybody who disagrees with him is causing the world to go to hell in a handbasket.

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For all fundamentalists the solution is remarkably simple: the world will become a better place as soon as everybody is converted to believe exactly like the fundamentalist. Otherwise, they 're bad doggies and need to be punished and even eliminated for their wickedness if they won 't repent and start toeing the official dogmatic line. Atheists, religious right-wingers, politically correct, right proper conservatives: all I hear is a bunch of howling dogs who are too scared to let it go.

All zealot fundamentalists can 't change their minds and won 't change the subject. Their viewpoint is the only thing that matters and how dare you call it a viewpoint when it is the one supreme truth that will save the world. How laughable it is to read comments from atheists about how long it will take before people finally come to their senses and accept atheism. How pathetic it is to read them discussing the need for having a really good spokesperson to make their case. Ah, yes, even some atheists are looking for a savior, a messiah to come and deliver them unto the promised land where everyone will believe like them or else be convicted of a psychological disorder and thrown into a reeducation center. Now, I do tend to like that approach better than the Christian fundamentalist approach of the afterlife. After all, why wait for your enemies to go to hell when you can send them now? And if you 're not sure there 's a hell after life then by all means do your damnedest to make life a living hell now.

So, go ahead. Be right at all costs. After all, what matters is not if we can get along and tolerate diversity of opinion but all that matters is being right and going "gotcha. "


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B. 1952, GA, USA. D. To Be Determined. Beloved husband, father, grandfather, lover, confidant and friend of many from bikers to Zen masters; American writer and speaker, known for his criticism of Mammon's unholy trinity of big business, big (more...)
 

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