Jonestown

The infamous Jonestown Massacre occurred 43-years ago today.

The settlement became internationally known when, on November 18, 1978, a total of 909 people died at the settlement, at the nearby airstrip in Port Kaituma, and at a Temple-run building in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital city. The name of the settlement became synonymous with the incidents at those locations.

In total, 918 individuals died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning (a significant number of whom were injected against their will), in an event termed “revolutionary suicide” by Jones and some Peoples Temple members on an audio tape of the event, and in prior recorded discussions. The poisonings in Jonestown followed the murder of five others by Temple members at Port Kaituma, including United States Congressman Leo Ryan, an act that Jones ordered. Four other Temple members committed murder–suicide in Georgetown at Jones’ command.

Religion is an evil that, by displacing and disparaging reason, soils whatever it touches. I rejoice that it is in decline everywhere.

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When labels go bad

Finally, the inevitable has happened: their close association with Donald Trump has given ‘evangelicals’ the bad name they deserve.

Lambert said that he stopped referring to himself as an evangelical in the past few years because it does more harm than good in his more liberal city of Austin.

“I don’t want people to know that I’m a pastor until two drinks in,” he said. “The word ‘evangelical’ does nothing for me. It’s only negative. Trump was the last straw.”

Heh — Good Luck with that. Donald Trump — the nonstop lying and corrupt business practices and incandescent hypocrisy — is who evangelicals really are.

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Friedrich Nietzsche, b. 1844-Oct-15

I’ve sat through exactly one sermon in my life that I got something worthwhile out of — the sermon when the pastor read out a list of writers whose books no decent, godly person should allow in his home. I can’t remember the entire list now, but there was only one writer whose books I didn’t already have: Friedrich Nietzsche.

So I picked-up a copy of Twilight of the Idols next time I was at Barnes & Noble, and I’m glad I did. Nietzsche was a true freak-of-nature genius, and his frank contempt for pious buffoons is endlessly refreshing.

  • Plato was a bore.

  • Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire.

  • He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

  • In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.

  • To the sort of men who reach out for power under Judaism and Christianity, — that is to say, to the priestly class — decadence is no more than a means to an end. Men of this sort have a vital interest in making mankind sick, and in confusing the values of “good” and “bad,” “true” and “false” in a manner that is not only dangerous to life, but also slanders it.

  • The ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is a condition of the heart — not something that comes ‘upon the earth’ or ‘after death’.

  • The very word “Christianity” is a misunderstanding — in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.

  • “Faith” means not wanting to know.

  • The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

  • A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.

  • In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.

  • There are no moral facts.

  • Christianity destroyed for us the whole harvest of ancient civilization, and later it also destroyed for us the whole harvest of Mohammedan civilization.

  • I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct for revenge for which no expedient is sufficiently poisonous, secret, subterranean, petty — I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind.

You get the idea. Nietzsche was the first to grasp — or, at least, to say aloud — that Christianity could not possibly survive the confluence of the revival in the 1850s of critical scholarship applied to the ancient texts which comprise the Bible, and Darwin’s theory of evolution; events have proved him correct.

That is why the Pious have ever since blackened his name. Reality always has the last word, however.

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This post is re-published annually on October 15th.

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Tweet for the day

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Happy International Blasphemy Rights Day!

This is International Blasphemy Rights Day, and y’all will probably not be surprised to learn that I am a strong supporter of blasphemy rights. The more blaspheming the merrier, I always say.

I favor speaking ill of the supersized-human god of the Old Testament, the smarmy god of the New Testament, and Alvin Plantinga’s “ground of all being” — whatever that is supposed to mean. I’m fine, too, with people who speak ill of cows (beloved by Hindus), rats (beloved by other Hindus), vultures (beloved by some Zoroastrians), and magic crystals and incense (beloved by New Age nutjobs).

I don’t have a problem, either, with people who wonder what sort of deformed human being would want to spend eternity with the inventor of Hell. I’m cool, also, with people who frankly acknowledge the incontestable fact that Joseph Smith was a con artist, and that those who don’t know it are mor[m]ons. I’m allright with ridiculing Jehovah’s Witnesses, too, because they’re still trying to puzzle-out why the godly weren’t whisked to their reward in 1917. Provided you’re armed, have a good giggle at the idea that Muhammad galloped off to heaven on a white horse. And while you’re at it, flick your nose at Valhalla, where Norse warriors go after their career of carnage and mayhem down here on earth.

Just don’t make fun of Paul Bunyan. I’ll kick your ass, you do a thing like that.

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