Fundamentalists Erect
'George Carlin' HelpLine
Bob Cory

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from Napalm & Silly Putty

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We will excerpt one short bit that we think is particularly appropriate -- for review purposes:

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Bullshit from the Sky

But folks, I have to tell you, in the bullshit department a businessman can't hold a candle to a clergyman. Because when it comes to bullshit. Big-time, major-league bullshit. You have to stand in awe -- in awe! -- of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: religion. No contest.

Religion, easily, has the Greatest Bullshit Story Ever Told! Think about it: religion has actually convinced people -- many of them adults -- that there's an invisible man who lives in the sky and watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And who has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do.

And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to remain and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry, forever and ever, till the end of time. But he loves you!

He loves you, and he needs money! He always needs money. He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, but somehow -- he just can't handle money. Religion takes in billions of dollars, pays no taxes, and somehow always needs a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy shit!

Copyright ©2001, by George Carlin.
Excerpted for review purposes only:
all rights reserved.

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Well, maybe this one, too, just for fun:

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Two-Minute Warning

Now, you might be wondering why I would even suggest that someone can affect the manner and style of his death. Well, it's because of a mysterious and little-known stage of dying, the two-minute warning. Most people are not aware of it, but it does exist. Just as in football, two minutes before you die you receive an audible warning: "Two minutes! Get your shit together!" And the reason most people don't know about it is because the only ones who hear it are dead two minutes later. They never get a chance to tell us.

But such a warning does exist, and I suggest that when it comes, you use your two minutes to entertain and go out big. If nothing else, deliver a two-minute speech. Pick a subject you feel passionate about, and just start talking. Begin low-key, but, with mounting passion, build to a rousing climax. Finally, in the last few seconds, scream at those around you, "If these words are not the truth, may God strike me dead!" He will. Then simply slump forward and fall to the floor. Believe me, from that moment on, people will pay more attention to you.

Copyright ©2001, by George Carlin.
Excerpted for review purposes only:
all rights reserved.

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Okay, do you understand what "Go buy this book" means?
    And support a local store, don't buy online unless you live in Utah or San Joaquin or the Deep South where that's the only place you'll find something like this.
    Then, when you get it, find some passages you like, short ones, and call up all your friends when you know they're not going to be home, and read the passages into their answering machine. If it runs out of time, beeps, and hangs up on you, just remember where you were, call back, and pick up where you left off. With practice, you'll learn how to do this seamlessly, so that it sounds like you recited the whole thing all the way through in a single take, as if the beeps were just incidental.

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Bob Cory"
Subject: Re: George Carlin Hotline
Date: December 23, 2001 7:26 PM
 

Why Faith Needs a Hot-Line

Faith needs this stuff like this faith-boosting or faith-restoring hot-line in order to even work. Could you imagine a hot-line set up to remind us that the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West? Of course not! that knowledge is obvious! nobody would need to be talked into it or smooth-talked into maintaining such a belief. In other words, how the Sun rises and sets is self-evident knowledge. There is no faith involved. Conversely, however, people must go to Church every week or "Keep coming back!" to Twelve Step meetings. They need to "re-up" their "dose" of religion lest their minds revert to its natural state of atheistic and humanistic tendencies. What we, as atheists, celebrate in the human mind is what they, as Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians, strive all their lives to conquer and bring under the submission of "the spirit."

My main concern is not that such hot-lines might be effective. I doubt that they're very effective at all -- beyond the first few weeks or months. What piques my interest (but still is not a cause for concern) is that they're so open about this, as if this is some kind of accomplishment, something that they'd celebrate rather than something that brings them shame. I'd be ashamed if my core values were on such shaky ground that I needed a hot-line in order to bring me back in line should my core values begin to waver.

Of course, being one who celebrates the natural human condition, the thought of anybody else, particularly an organization, being directly involved in the development of my core values staggers my imagination. To have another person or a group directing my very thoughts in this manner would be frightening. Of course, week after week, they've warned the victims of what will happen should they let their natural human emotions peek through the façade of "spirituality." And we wouldn't want these dire consequences to happen, now, would we? So, at the slightest murmur of this "natural man" (as they call it) reawakening and reclaiming its rightful place in our person, we have a hot-line to help bring us back in line should our faith waver.

As a purely humanistic human, I can become very alarmed when I see this as a form of voluntary sequestering of the mind. They aren't physically isolated from any non-Christian influence, like the kids at a Billy Graham youth camp; this would give them away. Instead, they have figured out ways to sequester the mind as the person goes about her or his daily business. It's all about loyalty to the group, of course, and the dogma is how we express our loyalty. Who else but the loyal follower would believe this crap? this dogma which, as absurd as it seems, is the ticket to acceptance in the group.

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Faith versus Reason:
Indoctrination versus Discovery

Albert Ellis once spoke of the viewpoint that was obtained by reason and discovery versus the worldview that is based solely upon faith. The latter, says Ellis, must continually be renewed week after week or it wears off. This is because the faith-based view is not based in reality: it is not discovered through experience. The reason-based individual could have come to such a view by comparing the claims of the religious leaders with what she or he saw in real life -- solely upon claims being made and dogma being asserted.

Discussing faith-based drug and alcohol support groups, Ellis remarks:

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The kind of the Belief System you adopt does have some importance to long-term sobriety, however. This is because we often start out gung ho with a new Belief System, but the fire dims as time passes. Farfetched Belief-Systems with little general problem-solving, happiness-producing capacities frequently lose their hold. This often happens with cults, even powerful and dangerous ones. In time we see their limitations, learn that their leaders are only human, and realize that we do better when we put ourselves ahead of the cult leader.

We lose faith in faith-inspired Belief Systems unless we continue to surround ourselves with other true believers. This is why you have to attend most kinds of churches pretty well forever. The same thing is true of some kinds of recovery meetings. If you don't attend, your faith may fade. People who adopt a faith-based Belief System and improve often think it should work for others also if those others will just "work a good program." They may feel threatened and attacked if some people don't like that approach and prefer something different.
  -- When AA Doesn't Work For You, pp. 80-81

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Everything involving a faith-based outlook requires practice. In order to keep the faith-based outlook strong in the person's mind, the person must practice, practice, practice. Without this, the victim is left is to return to the "old ways" of thinking, and these inevitably contain more reason-based elements -- at least when it comes to views about religion. With science, though, once you come upon a truth -- once you discover something to be true -- it's almost impossible to "undo" this realization. True, such scientific skills as algebra require practice in order to perform their operations, but this is not what we're talking about when discussing the need to practice a faith-based outlook in order to keep it as one's core sentiment.

Thus, most of us find it a bit odd that novelist Anthony Burgess, in order to combat what he called the "vestigial fears" of the Christian Hell, would resort to "reading and re-reading the classic Freethought literature," thinking it might help. And it ight help to combat with rote what has been created by rote. But at least atheists expressed concern for those like Burgess and myself who needed therapy of some sort to grapple with the indoctrinations we endured as children. It just doesn't seem right that we should need to do this!

But the Evangelicals seem to be so blasé and accustomed to this notion of a hot-line for when doubt gets you down. Why is this, I wonder? Why does this not seem to bother them?

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.