Monday, May 29, 2023

Jesus Hates "Thoughs 'N Prayers"

Thoughts and Prayers are useless, if you don't actually do something!

I saw this exchange online and it was interesting.  The Bible was written by men (mostly men) and edited again and again to serve the needs of man, particularly the men running things.  So you can find justification for almost anything you want to do in the Bible.

However, this also means, you can find condemnation for things you are doing, in the Bible, regardless of who you are, or whether you are religious or not.  The difference is, the people who quote the Bible as justification for their actions always seem to conveniently forget about other quotes that condemn their actions - or in this case, inaction.

Of course, people who believe the Bible is a bunch of silly ghost stories don't have this problem.  One pitfall I see a lot of atheists fall into is trying to argue Bible verse with so-called Christians.   It becomes a game of one-upmanship, with quote chasing quote and no one ever winning, although both sides go away thinking they have "won" the debate.  Sadly, this seems to be a problem in our times - people cannot merely discuss issues, they have to "win" and "own" the opponent, which rarely never happens, except in Twitter fantasies.   And then everyone clapped.

The actual quote from James 2, goes as follows:

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.  James 2:14-18

Sounds pretty damning.  But of course, gun nuts will dig through the Old Testament and find some other quote that argues you should put all your faith in God and do nothing.  Of course, as I have noted before, the New Testament is just that - an update and new version of the gospel.  It overwrites Bible 1.0 to update it to Bible 2.0.  And things in the Old Testament that conflict with the New Testament are archived and no longer valid.  "An Eye for and Eye" is replaced by "Turn the Other Cheek" - you can't have it both ways, and Jesus himself said the latter, not just some ancient Sumerian King.

It is an interesting contrast between "thought and prayers" and real action.  One is a passive action - learned helplessness.  "Nothing we can do, folks!  It is just like the weather!  One day it is sunny out, and the next day, you have a hail of bullets!"  Needless to say, this ignores the fact that mass shootings didn't exist before the NRA was established and gun laws were increasingly liberalized or abolished.  We lived for over 100 years with the notion that "A well-regulated militia" meant that guns could not be outlawed, but could be regulated.

For example, crazy people shouldn't own guns.  Seems like a simple proposition and Republicans pay lip service to it, but when it comes time for action, they do nothing.   And what weak laws are passed, are underfunded, so they can say, "See, toldya it wouldn't work!"  They are doing the same thing to Medicare and Social Security  - sabotaging both and then using this as justification to say, "toldya they don't work!"

The reason for inaction is simple.  If we had strict rules about crazy people not owning guns, or required that "a well-regulated" militia have proper training in firearms use and handling, well, an awful lot of people would be denied gun ownership.  Let's face it, owning a horde of guns and then laying them on your bed and taking a photo of them (It is a thing - paging Dr. Freud!) is just the definition of craziness.  If we prevented crazy people from owning guns, that would mean most Republicians couldn't own one.   You can't believe in Qanon and "stolen election" theories and be sane.

Which raises the sticky question, why are they doing this?  Is this an accidental side-effect of a policy of no restrictions on firearm ownership, or was it the design all along?   Gun ownership in the United States has actually declined over the years.  A smaller percentage of people own firearms in the USA than when I was a kid.  But today, you have a smaller group (in terms of percentage) but they own, or should I say, stockpile, numerous arms and ammunition.

We've created an army of wind-up soldiers.  They are not controlled directly by the powers-that-be, of course.  But if Republican politicians make enough disparaging remarks about some out-group, it is only a matter of time before some wind-up soldier takes them up on the implied offer, and goes off to shoot up a school, nightclub, shopping mall, or workplace.  It is a predictable outcome of this trend.

And perhaps that is what they were hoping for on January 6th.  But for some reason, many of the January 6th rioters left their firearms at home or in their cars.  Even bomb-making materials and pipe bombs were found left behind.  Maybe next time around, they won't forget.  We dodged a bullet (pun not intended) that day.  We relied on a few important people to do their jobs and uphold the Constitution.  If one or two key people, particularly in the Pentagon, had different ideas, it might have turned into a bloodbath - which would be a pretext for martial law and Trump barricading himself in the White House forever.  Welcome to North Korea.

This isn't by accident.  The manta of the far-right, is that the 2nd Amendment places absolutely no restrictions on gun ownership (even though it explicitly does) and that isn't just some abstract concept or mere political plank.  It was a plan - it IS a plan - to create a rag-tag army that could be summoned, at will, when the time is right, to take control of the government and "purge" those who stand in the way of their power-grab.

Five or ten years ago, I would have said this was a paranoid fantasy or conspiracy theory.  But it is clear today that is their intent.  Again, these wind-up soldiers are not directly organized. Most are "lone wolves" which are taking matters into their own hands - these are misfires.  Others are loosely organized into a number of far-right, white supremacy, neo-nazi, or other "patriot" organizations.  They are training, they are marching, and they openly talk online about the coming revolution and the subsequent "purge" of opponents.

While the people who are vying for power are merely in it for the power-grab, the stories they are telling these wind-up soldiers are that groups of people are trying to destroy America and the Christian way of life.  These out-groups have names like "Jew or "Muslim" or "Socialist" or "Communist" or "Gay" or "Trans" or "Black" or "Hispanic" or "Illegal Immigrant" - just to name a few.  These wind-up soldiers are being trained - like a Pavlovian Dog - to hate these out-group people with all their heart, and to think of the out-groups as less than human - the first step in creating a genocide.

Remember the war in Bosnia?  Hotel Rwanda?  That's all it takes to start a civil war.  It is, in fact, how our own Civil War got started.  Get people a-hatin'  and pretty soon they'll start a-shootin'.

Will this happen?  If we let it.  And it seems a lot of people are inured to the danger.  Again, we dodged a bullet (again, sorry) on January 6th, much as Germany dodged a bullet during the Beer Hall Putsch.  It was just a dress-rehearsal.  It seems kind of crazy, in retrospect, that a few drunks in a beer hall could take over Germany.  But Communists actually did it, albeit for a short period of time, in Bavaria, and Italian Fascists, in FiumeBoth were arguably dress rehearsals.

So this gun nutz mentality and the treatment of the 2nd Amendment as a religion has created this de facto army, which just needs a leader to organize them and direct them, when the time is right.  And that time would be during a period of upheaval, economic uncertainty, and social disruption.  That time may be very soon - sooner than we expect.  Let's face it, no one thought that Trump would actually try to take over the government by force - but he did.  Thankfully, it went about as well as the Trump Casino, the Trump Shuttle, the Trump Princess, and just about any other endeavor he got into, with his name emblazoned in gold letters.  He sucks at running things, let's face it.

But he's not the one behind all this gun-nuttery.  And I am not sure it is as organized as we might like to think.  It is a conspiracy of thousands of people, but not one where they have secret meetings in hollowed-out volcanoes or even meet at all.  Most are not aware that they are working toward a common goal, but rather have subliminally created the conditions necessary for such a take-over to occur.  The only one really "organizing" this is perhaps our Russian friends, who want not so much as to take over, as to disrupt and create the environment where our country is no longer the most powerful in the world.  I'm sure the Chinese are on-board with this as well.

Constant negative messages on the Internet and in the "news" hammer home the hate.  Hate your neighbor.  Hate the minorities.  Hate the homeless.  And hate the trans and the gays.   And fear them!  They are all out to get you and if you don't shoot first, that 11-year-old ringing your doorbell as a prank will likely gun you down.  Live in fear, be in fear - what little you have is going to be taken away by them.

Conspiracy theory?  Nope.  Because there is no formal conspiracy here - no Illuminati meeting in secret chambers, chanting satanic slogans.  It is just shit that happened - by a lot of people nudging things in a particular direction, often unawares they are doing it, themselves.

When the time is ripe, the right person will find themselves in the right place at the right time - and the rest of us will be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Thoughts and Prayers!  We're gonna need 'em - not that they'll do any good.