More on Austin bomber

The Christian Post reports:

The man suspected of being behind a series of deadly package bombs in Austin, Texas, was a Christian who was homeschooled and advocated for socially conservative views.

Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, an unemployed resident of Pflugerville …


Schultz said they were both involved in a group called Righteous Invasion of Truth (RIOT), a Bible study and outdoors group for homeschooled kids …

[ … ]

RIOT events also included 30 minutes to an hour of Bible study, Schultz said.

She said she attended Bible study at Conditt’s parents’ home. She described the family as “more conservative, strictly religious.”

This saddens more than surprises; it’s been obvious for a long time that many on the the Evangelical Right are on the edge of violence, and many churches have been preaching what can only be called sedition for a long time.

This is going to get worse before it gets better, because the carefully cultivated irrationality of the Evangelical Right affirmatively rejects reason. That is, you can’t reason with people like Conditt because they believe reason itself is Satan’s instrument of trickery and deceit — to think is a moral failing. Inevitably, then, as they are moved toward the margins by the evolution of society, their alienation is ratcheted-up. This reaction against modernism is what has happened all over the world as the Abrahamic religions have lost their influence, and is at the root of a lot of domestic and international turmoil.

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The Austin bomber

Austin police were zeroing-in on a man named Mark Conditt and preparing to arrest him when he committed suicide by detonating a bomb inside his car.

Mark Anthony Conditt, who police say was behind a wave of bombings in Austin and south-central Texas, killed himself early Wednesday in what investigators described as an explosion inside his car, leaving them scrambling to determine whether any bombs remain and if he acted alone.

Conditt detonated a bomb in his vehicle before dawn on the side of Interstate 35 in Round Rock, north of Austin, as police approached him, authorities said.

Conditt appears to have been an Evangelical Right loony.

Conditt was homeschooled as a child and attended Austin Community College from 2010 to 2012, though he didn’t graduate. A series of blog posts he wrote for a U.S. government course at the college provide a glimpse at Conditt’s political views. The Austin-American Statesman reports that Conditt wrote about his opposition to gay marriage and abortion, and his support for the death penalty. He also advocated for the abolishment of sex offender registries.

“Just look at the male and female bodies,” he wrote in one post. “They are obviously designed to couple. The natural design is apparent. It is not natural to couple male with male and female with female. It would be like trying to fit two screws together and to nuts together and then say, ‘See, it’s natural for them to go together.’”

Meet my neighbors; I can hardly go outdoors without tripping over somebody with this educational– and belief-profile, right down to the hare-brained natural law argument against same-sex marriage.

There’s still a lot to learn about Conditt, and he will doubtless yield a more 3-dimensional appearance as a fuller picture develops, but the little bit now available points strongly toward an ordinary, off-the-shelf, far-Right nutjob.

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Religion vanishing in Europe

A report in The Guardian shows that religion is on its way out in Europe.

Europe’s march towards a post-Christian society has been starkly illustrated by research showing a majority of young people in a dozen countries do not follow a religion.

The survey of 16- to 29-year-olds found the Czech Republic is the least religious country in Europe, with 91% of that age group saying they have no religious affiliation. Between 70% and 80% of young adults in Estonia, Sweden and the Netherlands also categorise themselves as non-religious.

This is good news. The teaching that belief without evidence — faith — is a virtue is dying. Soon, inevitably, it will be allright to discuss and actually think about moral issues instead of simply deferring to whatever some Bronze Age anonymity had to say about them.

And while we’re on the subject, let’s please once for all get over the idea that morality began with Jesus’ Sermon on the mount. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics is traditionally dated to 349 B.C., and Confucius took a swipe at “turn the other cheek” ~ 500 B.C. From The Analects:

14:36 Someone said: “What do you think of the saying: ‘Repay harm with virtue’?” Confucius replied, “Then how will you repay virtue? Repay harm with righteousness and repay virtue with virtue.”

Whether or not one ought to turn the other cheek, clearly, was something that men had thought about a long time before Jesus.

There is nothing original in Christian thought but the Doctrine of Original Sin, which is among the most absurd and degrading ideas to ever soil the earth; good riddance.

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Quote for the day

An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections.

And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin’s regime.

John McCain (R, AZ)

It’s a sad ol’ day when the only Republican in the universe who will say the obvious is one who is dying.

I no longer believe that the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, can be repaired. It’s now a cult of disaffected nutjobs, sycophants and plain-vanilla cowards headed by Donald Trump.

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When art imitates sickness

Oh, boy. The Renew America crowd is rhapsodizing about a painting.

I love this painting of Sir Donald our commander in chief and patriot Trump picking up our flag, holding it to his heart with supreme love and determination on his face, gently wiping the sediment of war from her stars and stripes, so she, while wounded, can continue to be our gallant symbol of liberty, pride and freedom as we the people united with our president strive to defeat the plague of communism seeking to engulf us and all future generations.

What painting has provoked such enthusiam?

Get ready:

The Trumpers are a cult.

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