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Monday, September 17, 2007

A compelling solution.

I routinely follow the writings of those I disagree with. I find this helps me keep my mind limber, since I constantly have to grapple with perspectives that I dislike, and it keeps me forewarned, so that I am not surprised in arguments. One way that I keep up with those I disagree with is to keep an occasional eye on World Net Daily, the crazy evangelical news site that doesn't need actual reporters, becuase the Bible tells them everything anyway.

Recently, World Net Daily "published" an article dealing with the recent prominence of atheists in public discourse. Of course, this isn't exactly the way they explained the situation:

THE RISE OF ATHEIST AMERICA: Why almost half of voters polled say they'd support a God-denier for president

The signs are everywhere. Many of America's top-selling books right now are angry, in-your-face, atheist manifestos. Judges try to outdo each other in banning references to God like the Ten Commandments and the "Under God" phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance. And nearly half of Americans, according to a recent Gallup poll, would be willing to vote for an atheist for president of the United States of America – a nation founded by devout Christians.

In its groundbreaking September edition, titled "THE RISE OF ATHEIST AMERICA," WND's monthly Whistleblower magazine provides a powerfully eye-opening analysis of what's really behind the current atheist phenomenon.

So, in other words, they're upset because not quite 50% of the American population seem to think that the mere fact that someone is an atheist isn't sufficient reason to not vote for them. I don't want to get into a half full/half empty sort of discussion here, but that does mean that for more than 50% of the population, a candidate's atheism is sufficient reason to not vote for them. So, really, I don't think theism is in much danger.

I could keep talking about their bizarrely alarmist view of Atheists- our overwhelming numerical inferiority must be threatening to them- but I have bigger fish to fry. The funny thing about World Net Daily is how their articles end. The article I mention above, for example, is really just an extended advertisement for an issue of their "Whistleblower" magazine. The end of the "article" even includes the following:

SPECIAL OFFER: For a limited time, when you subscribe, renew or give a gift Whistleblower subscription for one year WND will send you, FREE (including shipping), an autographed, hardcover copy of the New York Times bestseller, "The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada."

Written by Jerome Corsi, Ph.D., co-author of "Unfit for Command" which became a No. 1 New York Times best-seller and a decisive influence in the 2004 election, "The Late Great USA" exposes the multifaceted plan to turn the U.S., Canada and Mexico into a North American version of the European Union.

Subscribe, renew or give a gift subscription for two years and we'll send you, FREE, the acclaimed, in-depth 2-DVD exposé of America's money system, "The Money Masters: How Banks Create the World's Money."

This three-and-a-half-hour, fast-paced historical documentary throws back the veil of deceit hiding the origins and operations of the corrupt banking elite that clandestinely controls America far more than most people realize. In today's climate of financial turmoil and uncertainty, information in "The Money Masters" is more important than ever.

This is a fantastic offer, but it will end soon. So please act now, and don't miss out. Offer good in the U.S. only.

Odd. When was the last time an article you read in the New York Times ended in a pitch for products sold by the New York Times? If you're having a hard time remembering, you're not alone. If you take a look at most of the articles put out by World Net Daily, you'll see the same phenomenon repeated over and over again. For example, their article about how Cindy Sheehan gives the terrorists hope? It's an advertisement for a book titled, in part, "Schmoozing with Terrorists." The article on the upcoming Republican values debate is mostly advertisement free, but ends in a pitch for a book. There are a few articles without any noticeable advertising, but they tend to be articles on other new sites like MSNBC.

Then, we can consider the more blatant product ads on the World Net Daily site. Like the link to a site that sells conservative t-shirts. My favorite is probably the Top Ten Good Things About Liberals, which is entirely blank except for #1: "They die eventually." Don't even get me started on the baby/child shirt that reads "Imagine no liberals." It must be tough teaching children to hate from such a young age.

And that's where the true weirdness of World Net Daily hits me. It's a site that talks, over and over, about how it's pro-Christian and pro-God and pro-religion, and then spends most of its time hate mongering and trying to sell its crap. I mean, honestly, it's as though a preacher inserted product placements into his sermon, explaining how when Lot fled Sodom he stopped to quench his thirst with an ice cold powerade. It reminds me of nothing so much as the "Fosterites" from Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land who mesh religion and capitalism into a seamless whole.* Didn't Jesus turn the money changers out of the temple? Didn't he have some rather pointed things to say about mixing money with god? For that matter, didn't he say a thing or two about sin and casting stones? I think he did.

All this causes a lot of trouble for me because I have a difficult time with the fact that the folks on World Net Daily label themselves "Christian" while, at the same time, other folks I know, like Slag, also label themselves as such. And these others that I know are good, decent, forgiving people who do their best to live up to the hardest parts of the bible: the parts about loving, and forgiving, your neighbor. How the hell am I to resolve the idea that these extremes are all Christians?

Well, folks, I've reached an answer, if only for myself. I've decided that they're not both Christians. From here on in I will regard those like Slag who attend to the teachings of Jesus Christ as Christians. Others, like those from World Net Daily, belong to a different religion, a religion that worships a Messiah of hate, bloodshed, and oppression, and I shall label that faith Messianism.**

Stupid? Maybe. Unlikely to catch on? Sure. Helps me sleep at night?

You bet your ass.

* Not unlike Scientology, as it happens, but I digress.

** It is, of course, worth pointing out that I don't personally agree with or approve of many of the teachings of Jesus Christ, but they are by and large superior to the sort of crap the Messianists would have us believe.

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Blogger Bad Runner said...

"I mean, honestly, it's as though a preacher inserted product placements into his sermon, explaining how when Lot fled Sodom he stopped to quench his thirst with an ice cold powerade." LOL.

To replace all that lost sodium, I presume.

Monday, September 17, 2007 3:28:00 PM  
Blogger SARA said...

"The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada." ...ohhh please, tell me it ain't so! ;) Our dollar is high, our economy just fine, we have lots of oil and we're a very PEACE LOVING country!

The other night I was out for dinner..the topic of US politics and religion came up for discussion. We did a survey around the table and only 2 out of 8 new the religious denomination of our Prime Minister..we seem to separate politics from religion very well.

P.S. How is the art work coming along? Watercolours or markers? Curious here.

Monday, September 17, 2007 6:14:00 PM  
Blogger Jay Livingston said...

For a minute when I started reading this post, I thought you meant the Weekly World News (may it rest in peace).

But World Net Daily sounds like a good paper for atheists to read -- like the old joke about the Jewish guy who reads Thunderbolt (or whatever it's called now) and his friends ask him why, why not read the Forward? "In the Forward what do I read? 'Jews being killed, Jews put in prison, synagogues burned.' But in the Thunderbolt, 'Jews run the world, Jews have all the money. . . .'" So if you're an atheist, read World Net Daily and you'll see that things are looking up.

Thursday, September 20, 2007 5:16:00 AM  

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