Thursday, January 13, 2011

Part 26

This Is Utopia ?

The following caught my eye the other day as I was reading the opinion section of the Calgary Herald. The writer shall remain unnamed:

“The dangers associated with euthanasia are similar to the dangers linked to abortion – they cheapen life and attempt to deny its sacredness. Both create a culture of moral emptiness, where everything comes down to avoiding discomfort and serving personal needs without concern for long-term consequences. If you think there is no link between this form of moral emptiness and the recent event in Calgary where teenagers engaged in public sex, you are wrong. Who do you think kids learn from? If moral principles don’t matter to adults, why should they matter to teenagers”?

The writer’s argument is not only specious, but vile and fallacious on many levels. Nowhere in the letter is religion mentioned once, but it permeates every sentence to the core. The difference between religious faith and morality is vast, sure they intersect at points, but they are two very different animals.

While it is true that euthanasia and abortion are similar in that each involves a death, the difference is large enough to end all comparisons there. I will not discuss the merits or lack of regarding abortion. First, being a male I can’t have one. Second, it is none of my business if a woman makes the choice to have one. Nor is it anyone elses.

It should be obvious that the primary difference between abortion and euthanasia is choice by the one who’s doing the dying. Anyone who claims that it is morally wrong for a person to choose to end their own life has probably never witnessed a person actively dying. You may not have control over much in your life, but I would contend that it is a greater ethical wrong for government and the pious to interfere with how you leave it. Living wills are perfectly acceptable, if I were to be in a car accident that left me brain dead, Doctors would act upon my wishes. Why should it be different when I’m lucid and able to make the decision for myself? The instinct for survival is one of, if not the strongest drive, in our DNA. If I made the decision to end my life it would not be a selfish one made lightly. It would be because the end is inevitable, and I would have to be in unbearable pain. Again, if you’ve ever seen a loved one in this state it alters your viewpoint dramatically and irrevocably. Why is it that if the family pet is suffering and we do nothing we are heinous and uncaring, but if it's Grandpa and we wish to end that suffering the label we receive is the same?

As for the ludicrous argument that this kind of moral emptiness leads to teenage promiscuity, I am reminded of the little comic books that used to be given out at Catholic Central High in Lethbridge. They were numerous, and were designed to correct your thinking about perfectly natural human instincts. Their intention was to put the fear in you about premarital sex, drugs, masturbation, blah, blah, blah. The one that sticks in my head to this day was the one about drug use. The reasoning employed was entirely devoid of any causal logic, and went like this, I shit you not: marijuana>LSD>masturbation>heroin>beastiality>necrophilia. Presumably the next step would be boning dead animals up the dirt pipe while wacky on the junk. This bullshit wasn’t even fooling 14 year olds. But this is how out of touch the Catholics, and other religions are with reality.

Here is the reality. We live in the 21st century. It is a time of wonderment where man is making enormous breakthroughs in the fields of medicine and technology in spite of those in the religious right who would like to see us firmly planted back in the 1950s, or the religious in general that would like us back in the 1400s.

Organized religions are based upon texts written centuries ago by folk who couldn’t conceive of the kind of world we occupy today. They were trying to establish a moral code where there existed only a semblance of one. Which is why only 2 out 10 of Christianity’s commandments has any application in today’s society. “You Shall Not Murder” and “You Shall Not Steal” stand the test of time, and governments have even modified these to suit their purposes. These are necessary ethical strictures that must be in place for any society to thrive, one does not need divinity to understand and apply them. We live in this world now, the year is 2010, get used to it. Progress will not be hindered, if change scares you so be it. Life is not for the timid. Please open your minds and stop trying to halt this progress. Nowhere in any holy text is there a single passage regarding stem cell research. Why? because it could not even have been imagined millennia ago, that’s why.

If a God truly exists he did not give man an intellect then expect him not to use it. We are born filled with intellectual curiosity, if there is a cosmic design then this is as it is meant to be. What kind of God would give us this gift and then punish us for using it? You were born with an ability to question things, use it. Believe it or not science tries only to improve our lives, there is no such thing as too much knowledge.

There are even harder moral and ethical decisions coming down the turnpike in the decades to come, many that cannot be foreseen. Overpopulation springs to mind, there will come a time when all countries will have to limit the amount of children conceived. Greater sacrifices will have to be made to save our environment. What they involve may displease you.
Get used to the fact that your idea of Utopia is not wanted by a great many people, and is doomed to fail.

I laughed at the Vatican’s response this week to the fact that the Pope’s visit to Britain didn’t go as planned. Thousands of tickets to see the Pontiff went unsold causing the Catholics to conclude that Brits are ignorant about religion. But could there be a simpler explanation? Maybe they aren’t ignorant of it at all, perhaps they are too fully aware of its nature. This Halloween kids will go trick or treating dressed as Spider-man, Indiana Jones, and Batman, but not a single one will dress as the Pope. You want to know the reason for this? It’s because they are heroes, when they see an injustice they do something about it. Batman would not close his eyes and ignore the fact that someone was mouth fucking children. Yeah, and it’s the Brits that are ignorant. (The fact that the Pope is a creepy old guy in a bizzare hat informing you that your feelings and impulses are not only invalid, but evil probably doesn't help matters.)

                              Never touch your wiener, allow me....

At the time of this writing the religious right are becoming a troublesome force in the United States, and are starting to make their annoying presence felt in political circles here in Canada as well. One need only look at the Pastor Terry Jones debacle to see what happens when the pious get out of control. Mention of course must also be given to the media who simply should have ignored this lunatic and avoided an international incident that blighted America and Christians in general.

Therein lies the biggest problem with organized religion; they want to mind your business. They simply can’t get it through their heads that a freedom to worship must necessarily include the freedom not to. They would like nothing more than to force their Utopian vision upon you through moral outrage and sneakily through legislation. They refuse to succumb to the fact that there are two sides to an argument. When the atheists ran ads on the side of buses here in Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry cried foul saying that the ads were insulting and offensive to his church. Well Mr. Henry many non believers find religious propaganda equally offensive, but we turn the other cheek. The Pastor also went on to say that the atheist “agenda” was a threat to civilization. That’s quite a pedantic stance from someone whose church has committed some of the most inhumane acts in history in the name of God.

Again, live in the real world. You don’t want to give birth control pills to teenagers because it will lead to premarital intercourse. Let them get pregnant then and have an abortion, oh wait they can’t do that. Teenagers are going to have sex, end of story. Further, it’s not because their parents are morally empty, it is because when their bodies are mature enough their genetic imperative makes them want to. That is how humans are designed, it ensures the survival of our species. When you take everything that is naturally instilled in our nature and make it a sin, everyone becomes a sinner. I guess that is a brilliant way to ensure job security.

I believe I understand this need that Christianity has to try to reassert itself in these times, their numbers are steadily dwindling. In contrast there are thousands of new Muslims born every year. This lack of interest in religion must be particularly distressing to folk like the Mormons who want so badly to get their membership to a level where they can be considered a bona fide religion and shed their cult status. Then there’s the secular world going about its merry way paying little or no attention to them when they have the truth, God damn it! Oops. This can only mean that the Churches will once more have to alter their doctrine to suit man (the fact that this is not the other way around is another constant source of irritation to them.)

I wouldn't have any problem if religious folk would just keep it to themselves. Worship who or what you like, just leave me out of it. Worry about your own salvation, anyone else's is none of your concern. If the temporal world isn't to your liking don't involve yourself with it.
I will end this with a couple of wonderful quotes from unknown sources:

“Follow those who seek the truth, run from those who claim they’ve found it”.

“I have nothing against Jesus, it’s his fucking fan club I can’t stand".

 Smile, it's folks like these that shape your life.

-James Saito

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