first date advice, first online date, online dating advice, meaning of an open relationship, alpha male traits

Ohhhhh shit. Is he really going there? Yes, he’s really going there. Man. Touchy subject today. Everyone is going to get pissed. Let’s see how the commenters handle it. Let’s rock, gentlemen.

Religious Societal Programming is the second most powerful programming you’ll have to wrestle with, second only to Cultural Programming. If you were raised by largely nonreligious parents, you probably have nothing to worry about. If you haven’t recently converted to a new religion, again, you probably have nothing to worry about today.

However, if you were raised by religious parents or you have recently “found the Lord,” you have some serious false SP in your mind that is restricting your freedom, and thus your long-term happiness.

Is this always the case? No. I’ve often been asked if it’s possible for an Alpha Male 2.0 to be religious. The answer is yes, as long as you don’t take it too far. Alpha 2.0 is has nothing to do with religious or spiritual beliefs. Alpha 2.0 is about freedom and long-term happiness.

Thus, if your religion makes you happier and more free, giving you spiritual peace and direction in your life, then it’s Alpha 2.0 compatible. If on the other hand, your religion has brainwashed you into thinking that that God Almighty™ is pointing an angry finger at you and expects you to get legally married and sexually monogamous to just one woman for the rest of your life, and if you don’t you’re an Immature Selfish Bastard™ who needs to Grow Up™, then no, that’s not Alpha 2.0 compatible at all. That’s a path to Alpha 1.0 at best, not 2.0.

I’m about to lay out various religions and how you can overcome their brainwashing if you have them, but before I do that, it’s only fair to show you my own biases so you know where I’m coming from.

My Opinion on Religion

Religion is something I know quite a bit about.

I was raised Catholic, mostly by my mom who was a former Catholic nun (my dad was nonreligious but supported my mom’s Catholic household). I went to eight years of Catholic school as a child, attended church services literally thousands of times, have read most of the Bible, married a Catholic woman, and raised two kids Catholic, at least while they were younger. I’m no longer Catholic, but that’s my background.

I have spoken with a great deal of Protestant Christians and have attended their church services. The same goes for Jews and Buddhists. I have spent a lot of time among Buddhist monks and even stayed at Buddhist monasteries in Asia.

I have also read extensive history regarding religion, particularly European and Asian religious history.

Perhaps needless to say, I have had many long relationships with women from all kinds of religions, including Christians, Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, Shintos, hardcore atheists (which is not a religion but very religion-like) and even Wiccans.

So while I don’t consider myself an expert in religion, I do consider myself highly informed.

I have two opinions regarding religion, one societal and one individual.

While religion causes many problems, is pure fantasy, and is quintessential false Societal Programming, I think religion is more or less a wash in terms of society. Based on my research, it is very clear to me that most of the time, not all the time but most of the time, religion on the societal scale tends just as much good as harm. Hardcore atheists and anti-religionists often love to point at just the harm religion does. And they’re right; religion is extremely harmful as I’ll get to in a moment. Yet they ignore all the good things, such as the trillions of dollars religion has donated to the poor over the past years. Regardless of your feelings on the matter, religion does do great good in the world.

In terms of you, the individual, I do a complete 180 and my opinion is pretty much the opposite. I think devoting yourself to a fantasy called a religion will restrict your freedom, give you angst and unhappiness, cause guilt, make you look down on others who don’t adhere to your beliefs, and even generate self hatred. As I describe in my book, historical Christianity alone is responsible for most of the anti-sex SP that causes all kinds of pain for modern day people, from women not wanting to have sex because of ASD, to all the cheating, divorces, and screwed up kids that occur because people have been brainwashed into thinking they need to be forever monogamous or else they’re doing something wrong. And that’s just Christianity…don’t get me started on crap like Islam.

The exception to this is if you have very causal religious beliefs. If you call yourself a Christian because you think you should be a good person, but you never go to church and have tons of premarital sex and think it’s just fine, then I don’t think you belonging to a religion is any big deal.

However, just about every time I see a man truly devote himself to religious dogma, I usually see that guy become stressed out and more easily pissed off, not happier. If you’ve ever seen a Jesus freak make posts on a forum or blog (including this one), you already know what I’m talking about. Hardcore religious people aren’t happy people; they’re uptight, stressed out people. (Yes, there are always unusual exceptions to every rule.)

By the way, this is true regardless of the particular religion this person is a part of. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hardcore Christian, hardcore Muslim, hardcore Jew or hardcore Hindu. Regardless of what you are, if you’re the hardcore version, it’s extremely unlikely that you’re as consistently happy as I am. Hardcore religion of any kind isn’t conducive to long-term, consistent happiness. (Yes, there are always unusual exceptions to every rule.) At its core, religion of the right is a restrictive, collectivist ideological structure, every bit as bad as the socialism of the left.

My Religion

Regarding my personal beliefs, I don’t have a religion. Religion is fantasy. If you walk around talking about how you believe God crated Adam and Eve and Jesus Christ magically cured the blind, it would identical to me announcing that I believe that Middle Earth was once a real place and Frodo Baggins and Gandalf were once real people. I don’t differentiate between religion and fantasy, because they’re the same thing. Entertaining and interesting to be sure (Passion of the Christ is one of my favorite movies), but still bullshit.

I do have some strong spiritual beliefs, but spiritual beliefs are not a religion. I believe in some spiritual aspects of life that our current level of science and our five senses can’t prove, including intelligent design of a creator or creators. This puts me somewhere between an atheist and agnostic deist. Whenever an atheist and religionist debate, I’m always on the side of all the atheist arguments, but I have way too many spiritual beliefs to be a true blue atheist. I’ll write more about my specific beliefs at the CJ Blog soon.

How to Overcome Religious Programming

1. Identify which the specific religious beliefs harm you.

Just because something is bullshit doesn’t mean it’s harmful. Being raised Catholic, I was taught that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was almost as important as Jesus himself. Did this belief damage me in any way? Not really. It was just an interesting bit of Catholic mythology.

I was also taught that premarital sex was a horrible sin, something done only by very bad people, and punishable by an eternity in hell. Did this damage me in any way? Oh yes. This false belief was one of the biggest reasons why I lost my virginity as late as I did (age 22-23).

Identify the precise religious beliefs that are causing you pain or holding you back. Don’t be like many jaded ex-religionists and scream about how much your entire religion sucks. That’s not helpful. What are the 1-3 beliefs your religion has instilled in you that are causing you trouble? Isolate those.

2. One at a time, expel those beliefs through repetition and action.

Removing limiting religious beliefs is the same as removing any other self-limiting belief. You need to attack it on two fronts, the psychological (via affirmations) and the physiological (via action).

Pick one of your limiting beliefs, just one for now, and work on it. Once you get it nailed, then you can work on the second one. This is important; only work on one limiting belief at a time.

First, use affirmations that are the positive opposite of that belief. Either say them over and over again, or print them out on a piece of paper and stick them on your monitor so that your subconscious is looking at it all day. (Or do both).

Next, take real action against the belief. At first, this will be difficult. With practice and focus, you’ll nail it.

For example, I was raised to believe that premarital sex was evil. I identified that this belief was a serious problem in my life causing me much unhappiness. So I made an affirmation that I repeated several times a day whenever I remembered it. I don’t remember it exactly because it was so long ago, but it was very close to: “Consensual condomed sex between two adults is wonderful, natural and a gift to both.”

It’s very important that your affirmation is stated in the positive, not the negative. Instead of saying “Sex isn’t bad!” which is negative, say “Sex is wonderful!” which is positive.

Next, I took action. Instead of avoiding sex, which is what I did during my teens, I actively started seeking it. Within a year of making this decision, I finally lost my virginity and got laid, and god damn, it was wonderful. My affirmation was proven correct. Since then, sex with beautiful women has become one of my top three sources of happiness, and will be forevermore. My bullshit Catholic programming is long gone. Thank Jesus.

Let’s now examine some of the major religions and the specific bullshit they may be invading your mind with.

Christianity (including Catholicism)

Christianity’s negatives revolve primarily around two things: guilt and hatred of sex. You are born a sinner and it’s all your fucking fault, and you’d better bow down before God Almighty™ and beg his forgiveness for being born, you worthless piece of shit.

Oh yeah, and sex is fucking evil. Don’t do it. It’s bad for you, bad for society, and most importantly, bad for God. Nothing pisses God off more than his followers having sex. Oh man, does that piss him off! Unless they’re legally married as approved by big government of course. God loves the government-enforced legal contract called marriage. If your wife stops having sex with you, that’s your problem. Now shut up, get married, and stop being happy. GOD COMMANDS IT.

I’ve been hard on single mothers for a long time, and they’re bad; bad for themselves, bad for their kids, and bad for society. However, just as bad as all of these low or zero income young Christian women marrying these young low income Christian men, who then start cranking out four, five, six babies. It’s okay, because we’re married! But then, oops, since monogamy doesn’t work any more, they get divorced, and Ms. Christian is now Ms. Single mother with five or six kids she can’t afford. Way to go, Christianity! I personally know at least four women like this, probably more if I thought about it harder.

Judaism

Strangely, Judaism is pretty sex-positive. I’ve dated two Jewish women, and in both cases they were amazingly sex positive and fantastic people. I also have two Jewish relatives who married into my family, and again, they seem very happy and sexual.

The downside of Judaism is that when you get into the traditional versions, you’re always looking at a very intelligent but extremely submissive beta male married to a Dominant. Jewish women, as sex positive as they are, often tend to be Dominants, and Jewish men tend to be pussies. Yes, I’m making generalizations here, but generalizations exist for a reason. I’ve seen this too many times.

While Christianity aspires to create monogamous Alpha Males (which of course is an oxymoron), Judaism seems to aspire to create beta males married to strong women. Be aware.

Islam

I have no personal experience with Muslims, so I can’t really speak to this. I have no Muslim friends or co-workers, and have never dated any Muslim women. I will be going to Dubai next year and I will provide you with a full report at that time, but for now I really can’t comment on Islam, other than all the stuff you and I have read or watched in the news. Clearly Muslims are as anti-sex as the Christians, just in different ways.

Hinduism

And speaking of anti-sex…ohhhhhh boy!

Instead of repeating myself, just go to this article I wrote about Indian men. Hinduism in and of itself isn’t any more anti-sex or oppressive as Christianity. It’s just that when Hinduism is combined with Indian culture, it’s a deathtrap that makes it worse than any other religion in terms of negative beliefs about masculinity and sex.

Atheism

“Uh…BD? Atheism isn’t a religion.”

Au contraire. For many atheists, it is indeed a religion. I have known, dated, worked with, and communicated with online many atheists who are just as fanatical about their fucking atheism as the Christians or Muslims are about God Almighty™.

There are two kinds of atheists. First are the casual atheists, who don’t even bring it up unless they’re asked. It’s not a big deal to them and they don’t ever need to talk about it (again, unless they’re directly asked). A good celebrity example is Adam Corolla. If you’re one of these guys, then don’t worry about it, you’re probably good to go.

Then there are the zealot atheists. These guys constantly throw their atheism in your face and can’t shut up about it. Celebrity examples would be Bill Maher or Ricky Gervais.

If they ever read the word “atheist” on a blog post, they scream their heads off about exactly what you said and why it is or is not atheism according to…well…whatever their personal opinion is, since there is no consensus among atheists on exactly what “atheist” means. It can mean agnostic (“I don’t know if there’s a god”) or it means there IS NO GOD. They’re all over the place; they argue with each other just as much as they argue with the Dumb Christians™. (You’ll likely see some of these guys in the comments. Just watch.)

If you’re a zealot atheist, you need to realize that your hardcore atheism is making you unhappy on a regular basis almost as much as a hardcore Christian. You cannot be long-term consistently happy, Alpha 2.0 style, if you are a zealot atheist. Believe whatever you want, but calm the fuck down.

Buddhism

Buddhism is neither sex positive nor negative, unless you’re a Buddhist monk, but if you’re one of those I doubt you’re reading this blog. Buddhism is the most relaxed and chill of the religions I have listed here, to the point where I barely consider it a religion.

The only clear bullshit I see with Buddhism that negatively affects your happiness are some of the weird rituals they have, like those days where you’re not allowed to eat any food while the sun is in the sky. (Really, Buddhists? Really?) In the summer time these guys get totally screwed. I’ve seen these dorkballs wake up at 4:30am in the morning just so they can eat breakfast, then go back to sleep, then wake up again, starve all day at work, then pig out at 9pm when the sun finally goes down.

Ah, religion. Nothing like false Societal Programming to cause needless problems in your life. At least now you’ll be armed against this, so you can (hopefully) live a life of happiness.

78 Comments on “How To Overcome Religious Programming

  1. Bravo BD. A ton of article about ridding oneself of societal programming and now we finally get one on religious programming.

    I have never in my life seen anyone who’s religion made them happier as a person.

    Every religion inflicts some silly code of conduct or regulation on you, the exact opposite of freedom. “You can’t do this on Friday, you have to be here Saturday, you have to do this Sunday”

    The list goes on and on. Certain meats, certain time of the day. Bow in this direction 5 times a day.

    Freedom, true sweet freedom, doesn’t have anyone or anything telling you how to live, love, eat or sleep.

  2. Very detailed post on how to overcome religious programming. Religion can be a major inhibitor on our Game, and on our progress here in the real world. Something that I wrote about in 32 Shards of Thought, but you went into great detail expanding on the idea.

  3. Former Jew and current Nihilist/Fatalist checking in (don’t worry, I’m not gonna talk about free will etc lol). What you said about Jewish husbands being betas and Jewish mothers being dominants is right, only my mom is an independent, or rather she was a dominant then became independent after realizing being dominant was stupid. Only my dad was disturbingly hardcore Jewish and was anti-sex. Not only did he want me to wait until marriage, he only wanted me to date Jewish chicks (which, at my high school, were disturbingly dominant, bordering on ratchet). He was also a self-admitted racist as well as a conspiracy theorist and thought that Israelis were the master race of the world. It was ridiculous. In the 9 years in between his divorce and death, I saw my dad with exactly one chick, and she told me in private exactly how beta my dad was. He caught oneitis BAD lol.

    My mom ran out on us cuz he just got crazier and crazier. He wanted me to wear bowties to school and stuff lol. This was just before high school, and I pretty much became Nihilist/Fatalist since then. I listened to a lot of George Carlin back then and he influenced me a lot, more than my dad really. I believe in God, but I also believe he/she/it is laughing at us constantly. We are one big comedy live stream to him lol.

    Pretty much every stereotype about Islam is true. Muslims are indeed the most anti-sex group on the planet. It’s sad. There’s a chick who shops at my job who is from Iran who moved to the US to go to school and she says that Iran was like a prison for her.

    Where would you place George Carlin here? Casual Atheist or Zealot Atheist?

  4. Hey BD,

    Thanks for the article. Re fasting, it’s not Buddhism but Islam, muslims eat only at night during Ramadan.

    Of course eating at night is inconvenient, but fasting is actually healthy and good for weight loss as it lowers insulin, increases autophagy (self-cleaning in cells) etc. You may have heard of intermittent fasting which is quite popular (e.g. eat everything in 8 hr window, then no food for 16 hrs). Combined with low-carb/ketogenic diet it is a good way to lose bodyfat. If you extend your fast to multiple days that’s even better, the longest medically supervised fast lasted 382 days, but the guy was really fat to begin with, so there was plenty of kcals available in the form of bodyfat.

    PS check out tagthesponsor.com website, it’s about instagram models and what they do in dubai for $$$.

  5. Your blogs are one of my go too for working on overcoming the whole money is evil, you don’t need it, people who are successful are lame/stiffs, etc etc mentalities that I’ve picked up along the way.

    Thanks for your contributions!

  6. Well done.  I would have liked to see a little more examples on the deprogramming process and a little less on the religions.  With a Pentecostal background myself, I can confirm the Christianity field (guilt, big time guilt).

    I worked with a Pakistani Muslim for a year.  He was Alpha 1.0, definitely – but lived in constant fear and of not being ‘worthy’ to his God.

  7. <i>However, just about every time I see a man truly devote himself to religious dogma, I usually see that guy become stressed out and more easily pissed off, not happier. If you’ve ever seen a Jesus freak make posts on a forum or blog (including this one), you already know what I’m talking about. Hardcore religious people aren’t happy people; they’re uptight, stressed out people. (Yes, there are always unusual exceptions to every rule.)</i>

     

     

     

    This paragraph says much less than it seems to. You’re essentially arguing that people who care about things… care about things and take them seriously. Well, yes. I’m reminded of Leftists who think that John Lennon’s “Imagine” depicts some kind of utopia. It doesn’t.  Stripping away most of what humanity has cared about throughout history doesn’t sound like much of a “utopia” to me- quite the opposite.

     

    In any event I don’t agree with the premise; my experience has been the opposite. For years I’ve been convicted by a drive-by note that I read at Bruce Charlton’s, where a reader commented to the effect that he was brought to Christian faith by observing that the only really happy families he knew were Christian. I agree.

     

  8. I liked this blog post a lot, BD. The most valuable distinction being spirituality vs. religion. For me I seek spiritually to learn about the metaphysical, meditation, and moral fiber. Religion provides the same promise of a moral fiber or code of conduct within a particular allegorical context. For example, as a spiritual person you are conscious of not causing harm to other people and in Christian scripture it is taught as “Thou shall not kill”. Prayer does not have to be religious but a means of connecting with the universe. Karl Marx was quoted as saying “religion is the opium for the masses” and when fanatical/detrimental to the quality of life of an individual it can be a form of fantasy/anesthetic.

  9. BD.. I echo E.S. comments …[Your blogs are one of my go too for working on overcoming the whole money is evil, you don’t need it, people who are successful are lame/stiffs, etc etc mentalities that I’ve picked up along the way.]

    I find it so weird how they teach that “Money doesn’t matter.” and “Money is bad” and “you’re not Spiritual if you make a lot of money” yet, after they give the sermon they pass the offering plate every Sunday and guilt you into willingly giving away your money in the forms of tithes and offerings (and no one questions why..I know I didn’t). Furthermore, the Pastor/Preacher is driving a brand new car, wearing custom made suits and living in a million dollar house… and yet we are to give unto The Lord.

    It wasn’t until I left the church that my mind became clear to see the Hypocrisy, the Cognitive Dissonance and just the flat out Insanity of it all. It seems like the younger they start you attending church (because of parents or grandparents) and the more years you spend in the church, the stronger and deeper the indoctrination  has a hold on your brain and your way of life, thus making it hard as hell to break.

    The “sex thing” I got handled a long time ago, the “money thing” is the problem.

    I really HATE that I still have some hang-ups about Making a lot of Money. 

    Currently, I do OK financially, but damn, it would be nice to do well into the 6 figure range and 7 figures would be a dream come true… but deep down I can still feel that mental and spiritual blockage and I know it comes from (part family) but mainly religion.

    I know your issue was with sex and not money, because you make a damn lot of it.

    So, BD how do myself and others like E.S. overcome this “Money is bad, money is evil” bullshit?

    Thanks.

  10. Re fasting, it’s not Buddhism but Islam, muslims eat only at night during Ramadan.

    I’m aware of the Ramadan custom, but I’m pretty sure many Buddhists do this too. Though I could be wrong.

    I find it so weird how they teach that “Money doesn’t matter.” and “Money is bad” and “you’re not Spiritual if you make a lot of money” yet, after they give the sermon they pass the offering plate every Sunday and guilt you into willingly giving away your money in the forms of tithes and offerings

    ALL major religions, even the Eastern ones, attempt to instill a hatred of money and/or a worship of poverty, regardless of the fact that religions make millions, sometimes billions of dollars. The Catholic church alone is worth $8 billion, while telling you that it’s easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven. Nice.

    Always consider the source.

    So, BD how do myself and others like E.S. overcome this “Money is bad, money is evil” bullshit?

    It’s the same as the “sex is bad” belief. You replace it with this belief:

    A THING IS ONLY BAD IF IT HARMS ME OR OTHERS.

    If you make $250,000 a year selling something people want without lying or ripping off your customers, is this harmful to you? To others? No. Then it’s not bad.

    If you have mutually consensual sex with an unattached adult woman while you wear a condom, is this harmful to you? To her? To anyone else? No. Then it’s not bad.

    For a thing to be bad, you must prove to me it’s harmful to me or others. If you just say it without proving it, which is what religion is famous for, then you’re full of shit (until you prove it with rationality and facts instead of general statements or angry finger-wagging).

    Combine that with “consider the source” (How much money does your religion actually make on a worldwide scale?) and you can wipe out that belief pretty quickly. I did.

  11. Of course eating at night is inconvenient, but fasting is actually healthy

    I know. I use intermittent fasting myself. That isn’t the point.

    If you choose to fast for personal health reasons, that’s great. If you choose to fast because you feel forced to by God Almighty™ or your religion, that’s bad. The people I see doing this are not happy about it, and are not doing it for health reasons.

    a reader commented to the effect that he was brought to Christian faith by observing that the only really happy families he knew were Christian. I agree.

    Then you’re likely biased. I know way too many happy agnostic families and happy Buddhist families to say that Christian families are intrinsically happier than other families. This is to say nothing of the many UNhappy Christian families I’ve known.

  12. A quote that helped me overcome was

    “just because I was born into it, doesn’t make it truth”

    I am very what some would call “spiritual”, not in a new agey way, but in a ‘non religious dogma’ way.

  13. Another great post! I’ve gone to church with a girlfriend if she asks me to, but I make it clear it is not something I wish to devote a lot of time to. I’ve read parts of the Bible and Bhagavad Gita and such since I do think there are some spiritual truths to be learned.

    I can never get a Christian to explain to me why premarital sex is bad if both are consenting adults if God gives us sexuality and we were created in his image. Such stupid nonsense in that regard.

    The rest of it, like not treating your fellow human beings like shit is not bad stuff, but I can’t find too many who can actually practice it.

  14. Unfortunately it seems that religion is a required component of any enduring culture. Likely due to limitations in the human brain (see Dunbar’s number).

  15. David had multiple women ( concubines) at that time there was nothing wrong it. Most Christian anti sex beliefs come from the fact sex uniting two people, and the two shall become one. Since as believers, we are the body of Christ, it’s saying don’t be the body of Christ and be sleeping around since sex is a spiritual thing according to what the bible says..There’s two ways to look at it imo.

  16. “just because I was born into it, doesn’t make it truth”

    Absolutely beautiful. Love it. Consider it stolen.

    Unfortunately it seems that religion is a required component of any enduring culture.

    What is or is not required for society is an entirely different discussion.

    My point here, as it so often is, is that what might be good for society is often toxic for you, the individual.

    It doesn’t matter if religion is good or bad or required or optional for society…you don’t want it if you want to live a long-term happy life. This includes hardcore atheists.

    David had multiple women ( concubines) at that time there was nothing wrong it.

    Yep. The Bible contradicts itself all over the place.

    Most Christian anti sex beliefs come from the fact sex uniting two people, and the two shall become one.

    Except having meaningless condomed sex with another person doesn’t make you one with that person in any sense of the word.

    Since as believers, we are the body of Christ

    Except that you aren’t one with the body of a mythical demigod.

    it’s saying don’t be the body of Christ and be sleeping around since sex is a spiritual thing according to what the bible says

    Yeah, and the Bible is wrong when it says this. When I bang one of my FBs while wearing a condom there isn’t anything spiritual about it. When I have sex with an OLTR or high-end MLTR, then there is. (Maybe.)

    There’s two ways to look at it imo.

    Yep, fantasy or reality.

  17. Another big way any religion harms society is that by definition religious people believe something without proof. For that reason they’re susceptible to believing various propaganda, also without demanding any proof. Like being infected with HSV-2 increases one’s chances of contracting HIV.

  18. BD, thanks for the response…I’ll take it to heart and use it in my life.

    @Zelezny..great quote….thanks.

  19.  

    Long-ass comment here since overcoming religion has been the hardest part of my self-improvement. Hopefully this can help some guys in a position like I was.

     

     

    I became an agnostic atheist about 11 months ago (I don’t believe in any gods but I’m open to the possibility). I was brought up Catholic in a pretty liberal way, so the indoctrination wasn’t as powerful as it is for others. Still, I’m a black-and-white thinker, and that combined with the natural black-and-white nature of religion, gave me a ton of bad beliefs. Luckily, I was taught evolution and how the world is billions of years old and other factual things, but there was still a lot of false brainwashing.

    None of these beliefs are compatible with the alpha male 2.0 lifestyle. Off the top of my head:

     

     

    1. No premarital sex

     

    2. No prenups

     

    3. Betaness

     

    4. Extreme oneitis (“She’s my soulmate”…now it makes me want to puke)

     

    5. Monogamy

     

    6. Marriage

     

    7. No divorce

     

    8. No lusty thoughts

     

    9. Harder to distinguish fantasy/delusion from reality

     

    10. Intense fear of eternal damnation

     

    11. On the flipside, the promise of eternal life that can lead to tons of bad shit from complacency (No need to rush, I have an eternity to do things) to religious martyrs (they die for a false belief… truly sad)

     

    12. Dislike/no respect for others just because they don’t follow your beliefs

     

    13. Blindly following authority figures and stupid rules

     

    14. Black and white thinking (good OR evil, can’t be both, and this extends to other aspects of life like political thinking, like BD mentions)

     

    15. Conformity (ironically, Americans think it’s creepy when the North Koreans pray to their leader… yet they do the exact same thing… oh yeah, and drinking the blood of Christ is creepy fucking cult behavior)

     

    16. False sense of security (believing God will watch over you)

     

    17. Asking for forgiveness and feeling guilty because you’re imperfect

     

    18. Learning that all failures are yours (which is good)… but that all successes are God’s (Got a job? You better thank God, he did all the work! Lost your job? You better not blame God, it’s your fault!)

     

    19. No freedom or free will (God’s has a predetermined plan for you, and you must follow church teachings)

     

    20. Giving up shit that makes you happy (Lent, no meat on certain days, sex is bad, drugs are bad [they actually are but that’s not the point], freedom is bad, and so on)

     

    21. Teaching that being religious is a virtue (it’s no different from anything else)

     

    22. Indoctrinating kids into confusing things they aren’t old enough to question

     

    23. Too much giving and feeling guilt for having money (donating or helping less fortunate people is a good thing, but in religion you’re hit over the head with “perfect” people like Mother Teresa, making you feel guilty for not being as generous as her)

     

    24. Teachings at odd with science (How can you have evolved from bacteria and also have a soul?)

     

    25. And the one that’s been the most damaging for me… putting God first in your life, above happiness.

     

    #25 in other words – you must serve God! If you don’t, you’re selfish. If you’re unhappy about it, you shouldn’t complain, since you’ll have eternal life! And why are you even unhappy? You’re serving God, for God’s sake!

     

    Because of this stupid fucking brainwashing, it’s been very hard for me to accept happiness as practical, as you talk about a lot, BD. I keep thinking of it as a pure spiritual belief or something.

     

    Example to illustrate: There are two men. One has a shitty job, loveless marriage, no friends. The other has a wonderful job, great relationships, and lots of friends. Under this religion-ingrained bullshit, I have been taught that both men should be equally happy. Both men should find and accept God and both can find true happiness through that.

     

    If you’re in a shitty job and you switch to a better one and feel happier, you aren’t actually happier. The fact that you were unhappy previously means that you’re being shallow and not spiritual. What you should have done is accept God and accept your path. Trying to search for happiness or things that makes you happy is a fool’s errand, since only God makes you happy, not some silly job. It’s literally impossible to be truly happy without putting him above all things.

    BD, so often I hear you say you’re happy and this SP rears its ugly head and I think, “That’s impossible, women/freedom/your own business don’t make you happy, only religion/spirituality does!”

     

    I’ve mostly gotten past all of the above bullshit over the last year and a half, but this one is still a bitch. That’s why your blog is such a God send (oh, irony). It’s taught me that you can achieve happiness practically through lifestyle design. This has been immensely helpful, since had I not discovered this site (or Girls Chase), I would continue to be a beta in search of some abstract happiness. Thanks to material like this, I’m instead in the process of breaking out of betaness, and it’s fucking liberating.

     

    Anyway, for all the other guys trying to break free, I suggest the following alongside BD’s suggestions:

     

    1. Read Why Won’t God Heal Amputees? and God Is Imaginary. These are sites with a ton of straight-forward, logical arguments for why religion (specifically Christianity) makes no sense. You can also find meaning in them if you’re not Christian. And there are a ton of other free sites with arguments against religion’s factuality.

     

    2. Temporarily remove yourself from religious sources. Brainwashing is powerful, and even if you logically know it’s false, it can still get you. So stop going to church, stop reading about religion, and stop talking about religion with the hardcore believers. However, I recommend talking to normal people (on all sides of the argument) about religion, since you can actually have a discussion with them, rather than the one-sided information of books or church. And once you spend some time away, you can go back and read religious stuff or go to church and look at things more objectively. For now, and for your happiness, you need to just cut things off.

     

    3. Look at the religious people in your life – are they truly happy? Or are they fooling themselves into thinking they are? If there are people who seem truly happy being fully religious, do you want this to be you? (If so, totally your call, if it makes you happy.) Do religious teachings actually work in the real world? (Monogamy, marriage, etc.)

     

    4. Don’t be bitter about it. I’m still a bit angry about the whole thing, but like BD mentions, being angry about it damages your happiness. So I’m working toward not caring one way or another, because religion can actually do good, properly applied. And you may have a similar phase (I think it may be a natural part of the rejection process for some people), but it will calm down over time.

     

    Best of luck.

     

     

  20. BD, you have been infected with political correctness when you write shit like this:

    I have no personal experience with Muslims, so I can’t really speak to this.

    Seriously? Are you afraid that some Muslim will find you and slit your throat while screaming “ALALALALALALALALALALALA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????”

    I think we all know what Islam is like and it is certainly not KJ to point out that it is the most sex hating and hateful religion on the planet today!

    I have no Muslim friends or co-workers, and have never dated any Muslim women.

    That’s reassuring. On your CJ blog someone suggested the wonderful book “Understanding Mohammed and Muslims” by Ali Sina. Ali Sina is an ex-Muslim who thoroughly described the two types of Muslims – what I would call wolves and pit bulls.

    A wolf is a terrorist. A pit bull is a normal, westernized, mainstream, upper middle class, moderate/liberal Muslim who, like a pit bull, is fine and friendly, drinks, has sex before marriage, and so forth for years or even decades, until one day, he studies his own religion, starts feeling guilty, invites you – his long time friend – to hang out with him at a bar, takes you home and then shoves a knife in your stomach due to “irreconcilable religious differences.” You should really read the book.

    Stay away from both wolves and pit bulls.  The pit bulls can snap at any time!

    I will be going to Dubai next year and I will provide you with a full report at that time, but for now I really can’t comment on Islam, other than all the stuff you and I have read or watched in the news.

    Yes, you can comment on Islam. But I’m guessing you either have Muslim business partners (you mentioned going to Dubai) and you don’t want to fuck up your money, or you’re just afraid for your life.

    Clearly Muslims are as anti-sex as the Christians, just in different ways.

    No! Christians are pornographic sex addicts compared to Muslims. There’s no comparison

    –  In Indonesia, if a woman wants to join the military, she must submit to the “two finger test” in which they stick two fingers up her vagina to see if she’s still a virgin.

    –  In Saudi Arabia, they passed a law requiring females to breast feed their male co-workers in order to “establish maternal relations in order to preclude the possibility of sexual relations.” In Bill Maher’s words, “because there’s nothing that says ‘let’s just be friends,’ then shoving your tits in my mouth.”

    – In 10 Muslim countries, homosexuality is punished with death.

    – In Iran, a woman gets the death penalty for being raped for the crime of being no longer a virgin if she cannot produce a minimum of two male Muslim witnesses who say it wasn’t consensual.

    – In Bangladesh, women and men are flogged and scourged for sex before marriage.

    – In Somalia, girls as young as 4 get their clitoris sliced off and their vagina stitched up so it can be violently penetrated open on the wedding night.

    BD, these people are psychotics when it comes to sex! And you’re saying they’re just as negative as the Christians? No man! The Christians will just wag their fingers at you, tell you you’re in danger of hell fire, and try their best to identify the gay teletubby! The Muslims will stone your ass for “turning our sister into a whore” and throw their own sister off a roof!

    Christians are pretty fucked up when it comes to sex (just see the tradcon slut shamers in the manosphere), but at least they don’t throw acid in women’s faces for showing them in public!

    Death to political correctness!

    Death to Islam – a philosophy of hate and cruelty!

  21. Dubai is hardly a place you’ll learn about Islam. Having lived there, you’ll be damn confused by the hypocrisy of Dubai and its adherence to sharia all the while alcohol and prostitution is illegal yet readily available.

    One of the most difficult things about assessing Islam in this way is that it is invariably culturally dependent. Its interpretation falls on where it is practiced.

    That said it is easy to see the false programming from scripture, re premarital sex, and enforcement of sharia on the entire population living in a Muslim country and so on. One simply cannot be consistently happy when someone else is dictating your every move.

  22. Strangely, Judaism is pretty sex-positive.

    I think you’re confusing the Jewish race/ethnicity with the actual religion. Most Jews are atheists, but still go to synagogue, mutilate their male babies’ genitals, and go through all that ritualistic horseshit in order to attain a sense of “community.” But they promote rabid individualism and societal atomization among non-Jewish cultures so they can feel safe from persecution, which incidentally, made the sexual revolution possible – thank you Jews! 🙂

    So yes, the secular Jews (read: most of them) are super sex-positive – maybe even the most sex-positive and awesome people on the planet (male genital mutilation notwithstanding). But when you get into Hasidic Judaism and Orthodox Judaism (read: real Judaism), they become even worse than the Christians (a Hasidic Jewish woman is not even allowed to physically touch her fiancé before the wedding), but not as bad as Muslims and certainly not violent or bloodthirsty (again, unlike Islam).

  23. Having attempted to date and mate with Muslim women, there are a pile of hangups they have and indoctrination they have succumed to that make this endeavor just not worth it.

    For one, Islam is not completely male dominated like everyone thinks it is. Women are not oppressed everywhere like everyone thinks it is.
    What you are dealing with, is a culture that reinforces a “legitimatized prostitution” – in the sense that if a man spends money on a woman, then she is his property and she should be obedient. All the while denigrating actual prostitutes (which men still use when their wife isn’t giving it up). There is no love to speak of regardless.

    Now, many muslim women in the less extremist Islamic countries actaully feel empowered by covering up in their garb. Why? Because as long as every other woman is also covered up (and women in addition to their proxy men encourage this) then women can maintain a sexual cartel whereby they can charge men access to simply looking at their body. THAT is why muslim women feel empowered. They know that they have some control over access to money by putting a price on themselves while creating a level playing field that beautiful women have no advantage in.
    As an average man in this society, you have no other sexual option other than to buy your own wife. In addition, I have found that Muslim women are more interested in getting married rather than who they get married to. This isn’t so different from other women really, except that Islam forces the issue that man buys woman.

    I tried getting a Muslim girl into bed once. She gave me a handjob and then started talking about marriage in the most clumsy bait and switch I have ever been subjected to. Needless to say she was shocked that it didn’t work, as she must have been expecting me to capitulate! So then the handjob magically stopped and her face changed and told me that she wanted to leave. I said “that’s OK, if you really want to go”, but that just upset her all the more and she started crying! Too much drama for me, so out the door she went!

    Muslim men seem to have paranoia issues. Their religion teaches then to fear god, fear the jews, fear the Christians, fear the west, fear that they will not do their prayers properly, fear they will not get into heaven, fear the West, fear women, fear the hellfire… Etc etc… And many are likely to subscribe to conspiracy theories about how the world is out to get them and all Muslims, when this is simply not the case….. so the mentally unhinged amongst them are susceptible to overcoming their fear by picking up bombs and guns, and we all know what happens then.

  24. Buddhism is neither sex positive nor negative,

    Oh boy! BD, you only think this because of the one good thing about Buddhism – zero force or compulsion.

    In truth, however, as a philosophy, Buddhism is probably the worst religion in the world because it teaches you to literally kill your soul so that you can cease to exist!

    Buddhism (read: real Buddhism from India) teaches that “life is a disease” and every human being would do well to end it. But they don’t want you to end your life physically, because they’re convinced that that will just lead to your reincarnation in another physical body and start the cycle of suffering (read: life) all over again. So Buddhism wants you to literally commit spiritual suicide by killing your soul so that you can cease to exist! They teach that you must rid yourself of all desires (especially sexual) because desire is the source of suffering (read: the source of life).

    Basically these people are omega losers (the eastern version of goths and emos) who preach absolute nihilism and complete sexual celibacy in order to get rid of desire and murder your own spirit. In that sense, they are the worst, most sex-negative, and most despicable religion in the world, as no other religion teaches you that ceasing to exist is desirable.

    Again, the only thing good about them is their teaching of zero physical force and zero compulsion, since they see these things wrapped up in the ego. So we don’t have to worry about getting killed by a Buddhist for having sex. Still, even Islam allows more sex than Buddhism if you’re serious about following the Buddha’s “eight fold path” to non-existence!

    P.S. Atheism is a religion in the same way that celibacy is a sexual position.

  25. Lowes – Great comment man. Holy shit.

    BD, you have been infected with political correctness when you write shit like this:

    I have no personal experience with Muslims, so I can’t really speak to this.

    Seriously? Are you afraid that some Muslim will find you and slit your throat while screaming “ALALALALALALALALALALALA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????”

    Yet in a post last week at the CJ Blog, a blog I know you read, I said, “Islam is by far the most violent and psychotic major religion in the world today” as well as a bunch of other negatives about Islam.

    Please try to actually read what I write before commenting on it.

    I’m guessing you either have Muslim business partners (you mentioned going to Dubai) and you don’t want to fuck up your money, or you’re just afraid for your life.

    Completely incorrect on both counts, as my comments above demonstrate.

    Dubai is hardly a place you’ll learn about Islam.

    Yeah, good point. I would love to visit a real Muslim country like Saudi Arabia, but Americans aren’t allowed into the country unless invited. Gotta love big government (and religion).

    yes, the secular Jews (read: most of them) are super sex-positive – maybe even the most sex-positive and awesome people on the planet (male genital mutilation notwithstanding). But when you get into Hasidic Judaism and Orthodox Judaism (read: real Judaism), they become even worse than the Christians

    Good point and I agree on both counts.

    Atheism is a religion in the same way that celibacy is a sexual position.

    Incorrect. It depends on the atheist. I have indeed encountered many atheists who were absolutely, 100% religion-like in their atheism.

  26. @Jack

    Agreed 100%. Above this, Buddhist cultures are rife with societal programming which literally destroy any real possibility of consistent happiness. Buddhism is unique in that when practiced as an individual, it is very low abrasion in terms of negative programming, but it is almost impossible for a Buddhist society to exist without exerting force.

    @Rio

    I agree with everything you said except that doesn’t really make any different really to other religions. Yes, the media gives us a heavy dose of fear of Muslim terrorism, yet America which seems to want to see itself as a Christian society to some extent believes it has the legitimate right to enter wars as and when it pleases, and supports some of the worst regimes, i.e. Saudi Arabia.

    Muslim women using the religion to benefit them financially is no different to any other religion really. The difference is simply in the west, we’ve moved towards liberalism, which doesn’t exist in any Muslim society beyond the superficial Dubai.

    But I agree with all what you’ve said.

  27. Yeah, good point. I would love to visit a real Muslim country like Saudi Arabia, but Americans aren’t allowed into the country unless invited. Gotta love big government (and religion).

    Hint: there is no such thing as a real Muslim country (anymore anyways). They are all political constructs, mostly post WW2. So you’re better off sticking with scriptural understanding as Muslim societies are as much culturally driven as they are religiously, and the line is totally blurred. Given the choice of another religion, I think the people in the region would behave much the same as they do now.

  28. Well damn, I completely misjudged the spacing in my comment. For some reason my text editor converted one paragraph break into like three… (guess it was God’s will). 😉

    Lively discussion going on here, but I’m too uninformed about the whole ordeal to comment with authority. Although I will say that it puts things in perspective – we’re definitely lucky to be living in the west, where SP is still powerful yet nowhere near as bad as some parts of the east. (Generally speaking.) Any guys (or girls) who try to change anything out there are immensely courage people.

     

  29. The reason that the Catholic church world wide is one of the richest organisations on Earth is due to the first and best ever piece of Public Relations stunts.

    Think about it. You as the Roman Government have a rebel in your midst (Jesus) so you crucify him. And THEN, you stick him on top of a pole on a cross and use him as your logo! Pure genius.

    The sad thing with all religions is that the basic tenets are a generally accepted code of conduct (don’t murder, don’t rape, don’t steal etc.) but have been turned into a major guilt trip as a way of controlling society. Church is nothing more than an arm of government.

    By the way (off topic but worth bearing in mind) Christ was a Jew. Christianity should be called Paulism.

  30. Yet they ignore all the good things, such as the trillions of dollars religion has donated to the poor over the past years.

    Not only that, but the art aspect is also damn important! There are tons of contributions to mankind which were funded by church or religious people! From the top of my head:

    – Countless musical masterpieces (Bach, Beethoven, Mahler, Schubert, Liszt’s…)

    – Astounding architectural work (From St Peter’s Church to the Great Synagogue in Budapest)

    – Marvelous paintings and sculptures (Sistine Chapel, Last Supper, Murals of the Grand Palace in Bangkoc..)

    And so on.

    That said, it’s always been a marvelous propaganda to invest on those things. Build a spectacular church, fund a beautiful concert or mural and people will come to check it out. Message sold, done deal!

    What churches and spiritual leaders conveniently “forget” to explain is that most of those accomplishments are solo works of gifted individuals. I find it very hard to believe an immaterial entity “drove their hands” to praise their employees’ “boss”. Of course they get the expected “side effect”: solidify their position of power.

    Fact is there are very few people representing religious organizations who don’t have some kind of hidden agenda. From the local priest, to the Pope, to the monk living in a big city, there’s always something who does not feel right about them. Seek and preach enlightenment by not working and living the good life at the same time? Something is missing here. Of course I’m not counting those who choose the beggar’s life…those at least are true to their beliefs.

    I’m a guy from a very loose “happy focusing” family (thank God). Never had  any problems with my spiritual beliefs and the absent of organized religion in my life. Problem is, every time I wanted to check out the closest church, I had bad experiences. From gay priests hitting on me to the lack of meaningful explanations to simple everyday things (like sex….if it’s so bad, why it feels so good?), I found out that most of those people were more clueless than me. So their work felt like a scam.

    There’s also the constant anger and resentment about awesome things (sex, boose, music, women, intimacy, being sexually open about what you want, being straight foward, etc). Never got that about them. Life’s so short. Maintaining happiness is an everyday job who requires constant attention, so why believe there’s a might being putting hurdles in front of me?

    No!!! I prefer to think this might being, if it really exists, gave me everything I need to be happy and sent me on my way to live my life as I choose. It’s my job to do the most with what was given to me.

     

  31. My biggest issue with religion has always been, The “sin is sin” ideology.

    The notion that you could be a serial killer or a serial masturbator and both burn forever in the fiery pits of hell never made any sense to me.

    I know murderers who never missed a sermon growing up.
    I know married bible thumpers who have shared STD’s and illegitimate children, with their unsuspecting partners.

    But they are certain I will be right there in hell with satan and themselves for gambling away my savings or having a drink or a drag of pot.

    I could never understand how conduct detrimental to myself only was just as bad as stabbing someone or stealing someone else’s property. And no one from any of the religions have ever been able to logically explain this to me either.

  32. I think this article by Paul Graham gives a great explanation about spread of religion, among other things: http://www.paulgraham.com/lies.html

  33. Religious Programming is serious business. It’s a multi-trillion dollar, powerful enterprise.

    I came across this article, entitled Top 50 Ludicrously Wealthy Pastors.

    Here’s a few of them…

    Joel Osteen = $40m/ Peter Popoff = $10m/ Joyce Meyers $10m/ Creflo Dollar = $27m/Benny Hinn= $42m/ Robert Tilton= $50m/ David Oyedopo = $150m/ Pat Robertson = $500m/ T.D. Jakes = $18m  Kirk Cameron= $20m/ Rick Warren= $25m/ Billy Graham = $25m/Kenneth Copeland= $26.5m

    As you can see the amount of money they are making is insane….The Fairy Tale/Con business can make you wealthy..but what’s more disturbing is the billions of people who believe in it….whether is Religion. Disney World or Hollywood… it’s all a Game of Lies and Deception.

  34. You make a good point about Hinduism and Indian culture. I am a Hindu and have studied Sanskrit and various Hindu scriptures and philosophies. The thing is, there are many different sects within Hinduism and some of them are more oriented towards asceticism than others. I don’t think this is a bad thing, different strokes for different folks.

    Modern Hinduism has become very marriage centric, but if you study the Hindu epics like the Mahabharata, you can read that people were having a lot of sex outside of marriage. Monogamous marriage has become a standard late in India. If Hindus would read more of their religious scriptures and history of India before the Islamic invasions and British rule, they would be more open minded towards sex.

    Far worse than religion in India is Bollywood. The movies are all about finding true love and getting married. I have always hated Bollywood movies and I am more attracted to Hollywood cinema.

    Hinduism is probably the only religion that acknowledges material prosperity, including sex as a valid pursuit of life. The four objectives of life according to Hinduism are, dharma (righteousness), artha (financial prosperity), kama (sensual enjoyment) and moksha (liberation). Buddhism has really great PR management in the west, but philosophically Buddhism is very opposed to sensual enjoyment.

     

  35. I skimmed the article, Caleb, and it’s great. (I’ll read that later.)

    I had a lot of depression from my evangelical upbringing, a perfect recipe for making me a chode.

    I’m on my path now, and i would like to express appreciation for your insights.

    As for the topic, one philosophy that i like at the moment is Epicureanism. The gist is, study the physical universe in order to eliminate the fear of death. (One could extend this idea to social dynamics if you think about it. By learning about it instead of the lies brought by religion, you could find clarity on the nature of the social world.)

    Good readings for anyone interested.

    Letter to Menoeceus by Epicurus

    On the Nature of Things by Lucretius

    sound bites from the latter

    “….so much evil is prompted by Religion….”

    In the works of Lucretius, we find two reasons why we shouldn’t worry about death. If you have had a successful life, Lucretius tell us, there’s no reason to mind its end. And, if you haven’t had a good time, “Why do you seek to add more years, which would also pass but ill?””―Alain de Botton
    Read more at http://izquotes.com/quote/338877

  36. Interesting points, all.

    I’m a lay Christian of a more Protestant persuasion. I’ve been attempting over the years to heed Erasmus’ call to the source (“Ad Fontes”), and as such spend more time reading the source works for my ideologies than the commentaries that followed after.

    From what I see in the Scriptures, much of what we consider to be “Christian” theology is simply not supportable. Take the Puritan approach to sexuality, for example. The Bible advocates sex (“Fill the earth and subdue it”) but discourages divorce primarily for social reasons, fornication (sleeping around) primarily for both societal and health reasons, and sodomy primarily for health reasons. Even then, most of the patriarchs had multiple wives and/or slept around a bit. The Puritan tradition stems from Paul’s personal philosophy of abstaining altogether, which he argued was NOT the way most people should live.

    Then we could consider sin. The Bible teaches that we are all flawed people, and that even a single flaw makes us insufficiently perfect to stand before the source of all perfection (the Ideal, to use Platonic terminology). In that sense, all sin is damning. However, there is a definite gradation of sins in the Scriptures, with those most destructive sins being considered worse than those which are less so (e.g. in the Old Testament law, if you beat a woman you will be beaten to match, but if that beating causes her to miscarry you will be handed over to the child’s father to be beaten to death).

    I won’t argue against the claim that many people have become happier and more free by abandoning the Church, as I myself have by-and-large abandoned the Church. However, I believe the problem is that so many Churches preach a doctrine which is not consistent with the Scriptures, a doctrine which is filled with many of the most destructive ideas of Marxism, Feminism, Puritanism, and a host of heresies more ancient still. I have found that, by and large, the Scriptures reinforce the teachings of the overarching “Red Pill” community instead.

    Saint Augustine of Hippo said something to the effect that all truth meets at the top. So far I have found that the truths of Scripture coincide with the observable truths of our world, including those espoused on this blog. That may not be your interpretation, and I can respect that, but I would discourage anyone from ignoring arguments from any source if the arguments be sound.

    For a much wiser man’s take, look up Aurelius Moner, a monk who writes weekly posts at Return of Kings. I think most of the readership here would find his works interesting, if not enlightening.

  37. I think the positives of religion are really just the positives of human nature. In a sense, you could say that even without religion humans would still invent organized ways of doing charity, but the problem is that it always tends to happen within a body of doctrine, so it’s still religion. I started to realize this when I had one of my biggest disappointments about humanity: that when you suppress “traditional religion”, you automatically get extremely similar movements that replace it, like nazism, communism and, though it has so far had less barbaric effects (arguably), feminism. Humans are religious animals, period, and truly nonreligious people – by “truly” I mean they also shun pseudo-religions – will always be a minority. In the past I’ve always been dismayed at the horrific number of “nonreligious” people who, far from having truly broken their chains, just transferred the need for “belief without evidence” to another field, and who were, in that sense, fanatically religious. Now I just assume that nearly everyone is religious about something that hasn’t come up yet.

    Maybe I’ll wait for when you talk at length about your beliefs (BD), but I suspect I’m going to disagree. Wanting the universe to make sense and to have a higher purpose/higher power is also a human need, which means we should be skeptical whenever we “gaze at the immensity around us” and “somehow know” that it has a meaning: I know the feeling, and I used to be very angry at, say, absurdists for example, but that’s also what made me mistrust it: if it always feels good, then there’s a pattern. I mean, look at this: “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”. Any one trying to use this kind of quote to justify spiritual belief is gonna sound amazingly wise, because we’re programmed to like this. And the opposite point of view sounds “wrong” even if it only preaches doubt, not certitude of the contrary.
    I have absolutely no problem with rather non-spiritual hypotheses about “gods”, for example Nick Bostrom’s Simulation Hypothesis. But as for being certain or near certain (not “in doubt” or “entertaining the thought”) that there is a higher purpose or higher power, I call it out on what it is: a gratuitous conviction that feels suspiciously good, and therefore has a very high likelihood of simply being a garde-fou of the mind. I think the difference between being certain of the existence of the christian god, Zeus or the Valar and being certain of the existence of a higher purpose is merely in the degree of abstraction, not in the degree of irrationality. It sounds less absurd but the idea is the same :”I can’t fathom that there is a possibility the world just is, there has to be something else.” It’s just that today educated people know that the Zeus-like version is bullshit, so they retreat and shelter their religious need into a more abstract version that’s still respectable, for now.

    BTW, I wouldn’t classify Bill Maher in the hardcore atheist category. He’s hardcore in his militantism, which may be argued to be bad, but from several quotes of his I’m pretty sure he is far from being in the “I know for a fact there is no god” category. He said somewhere that to him the only appropriate human response to the god hypothesis is doubt, but it doesn’t prevent him from accepting the label “atheist” because it’s broad and/or because he doesn’t give a shit.

  38. @Jack Outside the Box: as a former muslim, I can tell you that the wolf/pitbull image is correct to an extent, but a bit too reductive. There are more shades of grey than just that. My impression is that islam is a few centuries behind christianity in its process of de-radicalization (around Galileo’s-time status), and nowadays’ increased muslim fanaticism is probably due to many muslims realizing the progress and panicking, and reacting by solidifying their orthodoxy. I tend to think that the religious texts themselves are more inherently hard to de-radicalize than those of christianity, but whenever I rememeber some of the passages of the New or Old Testament I realize I’m probably wrong. In my last year as a believer and my first two years as a nonbeliever, I read a crapload of “more liberal intepretations of islam”, and they made me realize that a small, but not vanishingly small proportion of muslims truly are harmless to the West (and I was part of them shortly before dropping out of religion for good), or no more harmless than the average westerner: think Freeman Dyson or William Lane Craig etc, with a muslim flavor. Some muslim theologians are truly brilliant and I intend to re-read them, although I still think they’re wrong and that all religion is human-made.

  39. @ Gil   Why is it that Islam is a few centuries behind Christianity in de-radicalizing? I tend to agree with you that humans are inherently prone to religious beliefs, and that truly non-religious people will always be a small minority.

    So what are the de-radicalizing features? I see no difference whatsoever in the quantity and quality of contradictory, ambiguous, non-sensical statements in the holy texts of these two religions. In both instances, they’re a mess of nonsense contradictions that make zero sense, and, if you weren’t raised to think the text was sacred and special and great, don’t even seem at all compelling, profound, or interesting (at least to me). So the de-radicalizing element must be something external. Is it simply technology? Agriculture rather than pastoral cultures? Did Christianity at some point kill off or jail most of its extremists, while Islam did not, thus altering the gene pool? I’d really like to know.

    I do think, for example, that there is a genetic basis for susceptibility to religion and that certain families and genetic populations are simply just more prone to religious beliefs than rational beliefs, and the more you get an inbred stock, the more that’s the case. My understanding is that many Islamic populations in certain Middle Eastern countries, such as Afghanistan, are heavily inbred, but correct me if I’m wrong. In fact, polygamist cultures in general will lead to more in-breeding because you have one dude in town who is the grandfather to like 300 kids and naturally more cousins end up marrying. The same occurs with fundamentalist Mormons or any polygamists. So perhaps the shift to monogamy leads to less in-breeding of personality traits and ironically leads to less extremist religious types.

    On BD’s bigger point, I am as non-religious as they come and always have been. I’ve spent a lot of time, successfully in many cases. converting other people out of their religious beliefs. For a long time I believed that the world would be a much better place without them. I’m not sure I believe that any longer. I have been dismayed at people’s ability to hold themselves together psychologically absent a religious worldview. Many of the people I have seen convert out of religious beliefs have seriously fucked up their lives with depression, suicidal behavior, becoming drug addicts, losing jobs, giving in to nihilism, etc. So my conclusion at this point is that most humans may not be able to psychologically cope with a non-religious worldview that tells them that their life is essentially meaningless. If their life is really, really, good, then maybe they can deal, but lots of people have crappy lives and it’s just too damn hard if they can’t believe that there’s a caring god and a reward waiting at the end and that things will eventually all get settled.

    I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t endorse fantasies and laughably false beliefs, but I also don’t like to see people suicidally depressed.  Yes some people are happier without the limiting beliefs but I think the nihilism of a non-religious worldview can really be a major problem for a lot of people. What about all the people who don’t really have friends and no one wants to have sex with them and they’re poor and no one loves them? How are they supposed to feel absent a belief in a magic loving sky parent? It would seem that higher living standards and a quality life for everyone is a pre-condition for a culture without religion. It’s blatantly clear that the least religious societies are those with the highest standard of living, but it’s a bit of a chicken and egg question.

    Also, I am pretty sure the psychological research shows that religious involvement and belief is one of the most consistent and strongest predictors of happiness. I’m not trying to argue with your post for individuals, BD, but I don’t think we should ignore the research. I’ve never been religious so I wouldn’t know, though I would think it would be a warm fuzzy feeling to truly believe that I was special and mattered and that there was an eternal being who cared about and loved me. It would sort of be like being an eternal 2 year old, protected by an all-powerful loving parent who could never die or abandon me. Actually, that’s exactly what it would be like, lol. Well I can’t even slightly imagine believing such a thing, but it’s also been a looong time since I believed in unending unconditional love by infallible biological parents, either, so I can’t even remember what it was like to believe in such things. But they seem like comforting beliefs that generally make people happy. There’s a reason it’s the opiate of the masses, no?  I don’t think you can inculcate someone who’s a real adult into religious belief for the first time if they didn’t get it as a kid, because the whole thing is modeled on the fear/love/security one feels as a child towards their parents. Once you grow out of that as an adult, there’s no emotional analogy.

    P.S. Here’s a tip for anyone trying to deprogram: attend the religious services of a religion that is very different from the one you were raised in, but that has devoted believers. Seeing from the outside perspective just how absurd religious devotion looks to a non-believer is a good jolt to the system.

  40. @Kryptokate: somehow I knew you were going to comment LOL.

    -By de-radicalization I meant the spread of a less harmful, less anti-fact and anti-science, “interpretation” of the texts. Like for example when Pope Jean Paul II accepted (“theistic”) evolution, based a on a “metaphorical rather than literal” reading of the bible. And all the tortuous interpretations they come up with to explain that, after all, nonbelievers don’t go to hell (+ hell doesn’t exist…there are many degrees on the radical-liberal spectrum), fornication isn’t a sin, etc, etc.

    -Maybe there is no substantial difference in how hard it is to de-radicalize islam versus how to de-radicalize christianity, but one factor immediately comes to mind: islam was born six centuries later, so it makes some sense that it’s centuries behind.

    -I never said the texts were compelling, I said that the ability of the less traditional theologians to defend a lost cause was pretty impressive. From the get go, it should be clear that when a christian or muslim realizes that sex before marriage or being gay etc aren’t bad things, or that creationism is false, he should immediately suspend his religious belief, and only “come back” to it if he finds new elements later. But this is psyhologically too hard, so what happens is that the person continues to believe but looks for some saving idea, some alternate interpretation that will make the texts make sense while integrating the new beliefs about sex, evolution, hell/heaven, etc. He doesn’t handle the problem as an agnostic who is looking for the truth, whether it leads him to atheism or back to faith, he handles it as a believer clinging to the faith. He doesn’t realize that like a devout and intelligent theologian can force the Bible or the Quran to “behave”, someone else can also find an “interpetation” of the Iliad that is “compatible” with Homer being actually a messenger of the Lord or whatever.

    -I don’t think that reproductive patterns/incest are the main factor in why islam is late in its process of liberalization. They may be a factor, but I’m throwing a bone to “culture” this time and making it the main reason (but bear in mind that to me culture is nothing more than the causal result of biology intersecting with geography + contingency). I think when it comes to fathering many children, muslims have been beaten by far by Chinese emperors and maybe the Aztecs and others, and in China the fanatically religious aren’t so many.
    The islamic world stopped inventing or creating anything independently by the time the steam engine was invented and the decline of the ottoman empire. Concurrently, the opposite happened to Europe, possibly thanks to the prosperity associated with discovering (and pillaging) the Americas. You can’t have an entire continent building railways, designing new types of ships, inventing electricity, etc, without the brains that did it also doing some philosophical work, which means that non-scientific stuff is gonna have a harder time. As Orwell put it, two and two can make five in religion but when you’re designing a gun or plane they have to make four. That didn’t happen in the islamic world, so they stagnated/regressed intellectually. The West slowly cast religion aside (and replaced it with other religion-like ideologies), but the arab world didn’t. It’s just economically and historically lagging behind, that’s all.

    -I agree that people of average intelligence and below need something like religion. But I think many of them will be content with what they find in, say, Paulo Coelho’s books, which, if you’re naïve enough, will convince you that you’re special and the universe is on your side etc without the need for adhering to a doctrine with barbaric tenets. And they can satisfy the “tribal” part of the equation by being versed in and proud of their national culture. End of the story. In practice of course you can’t make all pseudo-religion benign, but you can reach a safe ratio.

    -On a less serious note, when I need to cope with nihilism I read Jack London’s White Fang and/or The Call of the Wild. They remind me that I’m an animal, and they ground me in the present moment with its constant struggle against death. When I remember that, I realize that there really is no need for a a “meaning” to life. There is no need for the because because there is the Is: I don’t need a reason to keep living because biologically, I already want to keep living, just like White Fang when he’s slowly choking to death under the bulldog’s bite: he doesn’t need a reason to struggle against it, he is the struggle. That’s why active nihilism doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t mean that one tragedy or another, or having nothing interesting left to do (unlikely) couldn’t make me commit suicide for example, but I wouldn’t do it “because life is meaningless”, that’s ridiculous.

  41. @ Gil

    Yup: http://thechive.com/2009/02/26/every-single-evolution-cartoon-we-could-get-our-hands-on-36-photos/#jp-carousel-22393

    I don’t really have a problem with life just “being” without a secondary meta-meaning or purpose existing. But I’ve found that most people who were raised to believe that there is an invisible secondary meta-meaning/force behind reality experience it as a big hole and loss when that belief goes away. Even if it was just an illusion and a made up construct in their minds in their first place. Very bizarre. I don’t know. I never found it a problem to experience Christmas as wonderful and magical, even now, though I don’t remember ever believing in Santa Claus. I just like the lights and the music and the decorations and all that. And understanding how chloroform works doesn’t make a tree less magnificent and understanding why a beautiful face is beautiful doesn’t make the experience any less so. But for others it seems to. Understanding things ruins it for them.

    I’m laughing that you brought up Paulo Coelho because when I was in my early 20s I literally read the Alchemist and then made immediate, life-altering changes to my life because I was so moved by it. Like, ended certain relationships and started the one that would would be the guy I ended up marrying (and divorcing a few years later). Wow. What a lapse from reality I had with that one!! That book was responsible for me making very silly decisions! So maybe not so harmless after all. Though yeah, better than justifying murder and genocide. 🙂

     

  42. @Kate: Sorry about what Coelho did to you, he was more uplifting and less harmful to me when I reading him in my late teens.

    It’s funny the list of cartoons includes cows evolving into a humanlike form because right now, I’m obsessed with finding a free version of a book (Helliconia) where a humanoid race is descended from bovines. The book summary pushed pretty much all my damn buttons (exoplanets, binary star systems, aliens that are humanoid because of convergent evolution, and GoT-style super-long seasons), I need to find a pdf of it. Same with West of Eden, which has been reviewed like this on goodreads: “If you’ve been searching all over for a book where a human has sex with a (descendant of) dinosaur, look no further.” LOL.

    Don’t get me started on Christmas, I loved it as a muslim kid and my dad didn’t like that, it’s hilarious. And on people who feel like scientific explanations ruin everything (smh). “Love ain’t nothing, just chemicals in the brain, it’s not genuine”, etc. BD wrote something about this that makes me laugh out loud everytime I read it:

     

    Here’s my final word on why determinism is irrelevant even if it’s 100% true:
    You’re playing World of Warcraft and having a lot of fun. Suddenly, while fighting a dragon with your buddies, you stop and say, “This is all an illusion. It’s just a bunch of ones and zeros on a screen sitting on a server somewhere. The software determines my goals and actions. I have no free will here. We’re all equal here. What’s the point?”
    Then you just stop and stand there. The dragon kills you and kills all of your friends because you suddenly stopped cooperating. Now your friends hate you and refuse to play with you. When you resurrect, you just walk around aimlessly as you lecture everyone about how all of this is not real because it’s just a game on a server. All you do is annoy people, and you stop having fun.

  43. Yo! BD. I would like you to address how Happiness (Alpha male 2.0 style) & bullshit from your family about your relationships life can be/not be together.

     

    because I did got hurt by my mom when I secretly told her about my wishes of mt relationships.

    I came from a religious-jew family. and oh boy I cannot do shit till I seperated from my family. and I need to choose between my family and my Alpha male 2.0 lifestyle. and both choices make me feel non happy.

     

    how do you handle it?

     

  44. @Jack Outside the Box: as a former muslim, I can tell you that the wolf/pitbull image is correct to an extent, but a bit too reductive. There are more shades of grey than just that.

    Not for me.

    If you are (1) a person I’m acquainted with in real life (2) who has, or had, any intimate history with Islam, I consider you to be threat to my physical safety unless you (1) tell me that you are not, or no longer, a Muslim and (2) are willing to verbally recite “Mohammed was child raping pig and may dog vomit be upon him.”

    If you satisfy the first two conditions and refuse to satisfy the second two (or one of the second two), I will assume that you are a threat to my physical well being and life.

    There have been so many stories about pit bulls (the good westernized liberal Muslims) that involved them snapping and slaughtering innocent people or doing other injurious things that trusting them is a fool’s errand that might get you killed.

    From Ali Sina’s book “Understanding Mohammed and Muslims:” Two British Muslims (both born and raised in Britain) who were completely westernized and liberal (as liberal as you could be), drank alcohol, had sex before marriage, never went to mosque, never prayed, were addicted to Hollywood movies and fully immersed in British and western culture, owned a store where they sold cakes. One woman noticed that the cake doesn’t taste right. She had it analyzed in a lab and they told her that the cake is laced with human excrement. When the police confronted the two Muslim men, they freely admitted that they laced all their cakes with their own literal shit as their own way of getting back at the infidels for occupying Muslim land and insulting the prophet.

    From America: Liberal Muslim Muzzammil Hassan owned a company called Bridge TV, an American Muslim television network broadcast in English. It was designed, in his words, to “counter Islam’s violent reputation and make people see that true Islam is a religion of peace and beauty which doesn’t condone terrorism, violence, or any human rights abuses.” In 2009, he was arrested for cutting off his wife’s head with a sword due to her filing for divorce.

    As Ali Sina says, there is no such thing as a good Muslim. They’re all physically dangerous on some level. The liberal pit bulls who haven’t snapped in 20 years should fool no one. By having any contact with any Muslim whatsoever in real life, you are risking your safety and life.

    Also, everyone must understand what Muslims mean when they say they are a religion of peace, or when liberal Muslims say “I bring you peace” or “peace be upon you.” In Islam, there is no peace outside submission to Allah. Islam is definitely a religion of peace because “peace” means the calm that results from submission to Allah. So when a Muslim says “peace be upon you” or “I come in peace,” this is a threat or, at best, a demand for conversion. They say Islam is a religion of peace. Well yeah, that’s the fucking problem! That’s what causes all the slaughter – the infidels refuse to be peaceful (submit to Allah and his pedophile messenger).

    Also, “charity” means spreading Islam, which Mohammed considered “the ultimate charity.” Thus, forceful conversion to Islam is considered charity. And murdering people who don’t convert is considered the second highest charity because you are preventing the person from committing more sins while alive thus sending him to a less harsh punishment in hell than if he were allowed to live and continue sinning.

    All Muslim charity organizations investigated by the FBI were found to have terrorist ties. The ones that weren’t haven’t been investigated yet. In Islam, charity is terrorism and murder.

    To anyone reading this: Stay away from ALL Muslims. Otherwise, you’re risking your life!

     

  45. @Jack: I’d do both 1 and 2, or maybe I wouldn’t because I’d think I’m not gonna play monkey just to reassure you. But on paper yeah, I’d do both. I still think you’re having “first source bias” (that is, the typically human habit of trusting the first book(s) they read on a subject more than anything they later hear or read, including, in this case, what I might tell you, since I’m cursed with coming after Ali Sina) along with other issues, but since I don’t care about islam’s reputation I won’t discuss that.

    @Kate: yes, it took me some time to extract “chlorophyll” from “chloroform”. You’re very worried about how we see your comments (excessive length, typos…) aren’t you ? I’ve written some embarrassing stuff in my career of commenting on the internet, and since I’m still evolving, I have this problem that my “one year ago” self is a total idiot every year, whom I’d like to choke and erase his words from existence.

  46. I still think you’re having “first source bias” (that is, the typically human habit of trusting the first book(s) they read on a subject more than anything they later hear or read, including, in this case, what I might tell you, since I’m cursed with coming after Ali Sina)

    Hahaha! You enjoy being a condescending elitist, don’t you! You act and sound like an American college professor – the worst and most arrogant type of human being on the planet (next to Muslims). Stop making these garbage assumptions about people’s psychological states and hidden motivations. It’s crass.

    No, it’s not just Ali Sina. It’s virtually everyone I’ve ever met and everything I’ve ever experienced as it pertains to this death cult. It’s everything I’ve ever read on the subject, everything I’ve heard on the news, virtually every second hand experience I’ve heard about, FBI statistics, Islam’s history of conquest, the testimony of elementary school children (age 6, 7, 8) attending Muslim private schools in New York saying they wouldn’t fight Osama Bin Laden because he’s a “fellow Muslim,” the new program Al Jezeera Plus refusing to condemn ISIS, and on and on and on and on…….Ali Sina is just the latest!

    But most of all, it’s the Koran! That is my primary source on this death cult (and the Hadiths). You can pretty it up all you want, but it still reads like blood soaked garbage to me!

    Have a nice day!

  47. @Jack: Oh stop it with the word “elitist”. Somehow if anyone uses an elaborate notion in debate, he’s automatically using it to show off, huh ? I mean, are you fundamentally against elaborate thoughts in the first place ?
    You’re still wrong: I was referring to the first source about what muslims are, not what islam is. If one muslim was danegrous and a hundred were not, you’d still only hear about the dangerous one – I mean, those who never tried to kill you, um, never tried to kill you, so you’re not gonna hear about it in the news or in books. What’s funny is that even I didn’t claim that: I said that a minority were harmless. You’ve just put me in a box, as usual, and you are now arguing against what you think I am. It’s clear to anyone calmer than you that I’m 1° rabidly nonreligious, 2° think islam is a barbaric totalitarianism, 3° think most muslims are dangerous for the West, 4° think that all religious texts are garbage. It’s like you’re squeezing a rock to get more nonexistent conflict out of it.
    I was saying that just like there are christian theologians who don’t even believe in hell, intelligent design, proselytism, etc, there are muslim theologians who are like that too. That’s literally my only claim. That there are smart but regrettably delusional people who refuse to acknowledge that their religious texts are garbage, and try to squeeze metaphorical bullshit out of them because – and that’s the whole point – they can’t stand their religion’s barbarism. You’ve been doing everything, except arguing about that single point I was making. We agree on literally everything except that, but you don’t like my tone (and it’s hard not to have a seemingly professor-like arrogant tone when english is your third language and you learned it from books, mind you). Every single word in your comment (wanna go one by one ?) was against arguments I didn’t make. Just slow down – no irony -, you’ll start to actually discuss with people decently.

  48. And, I mean, some weeks ago we were arguing about transhumanism, for chrissake. If anything, you were on the pseudo-religious side then, not me. And you still think I’m trying to sugarcoat a religion ? I guess you’re not even familiar with high-level christian theologians, so it was dumb of me to try telling you that muslim ones exist too. And I took the precaution of adding that I still thought they were wrong, just that like the christian ones, what they do that is still wrong is also impressive nonetheless. Which was hilariously useless of me to add. You’re the one with the insane levels of automatic certitude.

  49. I hate to comment on a thread that is old and long but I’d like some genuine advice. I know just how terrible religion can be. My father is a Christian, he has had a hard life and his faith is one of the only things that get’s him through it. I’m an atheist (I can’t believe in the bible even if I’ve tried) and today I went to church with him. He wanted to introduce me to the pasted and such and kids my age and that’s when it hit me. I can’t keep this up forever and when my father finds out it will kill him. Think about it, Christianity teaches that if your an unbeliever you burn in hell. My father is a good man and I don’t want to crush him but I don’t think I can keep up the charade anymore. Any one who was ever in a similar position who can give possible solutions? Maybe even BD? I look up to you like an older brother man.

  50. @Andrew: How old are you ? I am in a similar position. My family vaguely realizes that I’m “not perfectly orthodox”, but globally they think I’m a muslim. If the charade is making you miserable, one of the things you can do is reduce the time you spend with your family by, I don’t know, if you’re currently a student, graduating to go study/work in a place that requires you to move out from home: that way, you won’t be under their gaze 24/7 and you’ll only have to keep up the façade once in a while when you visit them, which makes it much more tolerable.

    The other option is to ask yourself this question: how much harm is done if 1° you are forced to keep up this façade for many more years versus 2° if you stop pretending and your father suffers from the revelation ? If you think that hearing it would make your dad suffer more than you are now, perhaps you’ll prefer sucking it up, but it’s really your choice, because you never asked to be raised religious after all.

    And there’s probably gonna be a point where you’ll have to tell him – or at least tell him that you’re not the “traditional” type of christian. For example I’m supposed to burn in hell even if I was still a muslim because I’ve been having all this casual sex lol – but under the radar. If one day I start an MLTR relationship, I probably won’t be able to just hide it from my family, so I’ll either have to pull off some bullshit like “oh I’m still a believer but, ya know, it’s love, God forgives this sort of thing, I know fornication is sin, blah blah…”, or I’ll have to disclose everything.

    Ultimately it’s about how much your situation forces you to give up on things. If there’s something important you really want to do that your christian façade doesn’t allow you to, then it becomes unacceptable because hell, you’re supposed to strive for happiness, so in that case you’ll have to come out in some manner. But again, start by working on personal autonomy so that your contact with your dad becomes a periodic quality time instead of being within his radar all the time.

     

  51. I can’t keep this up forever and when my father finds out it will kill him. Think about it, Christianity teaches that if your an unbeliever you burn in hell. My father is a good man and I don’t want to crush him but I don’t think I can keep up the charade anymore. Any one who was ever in a similar position who can give possible solutions?

    You really, really need to read my book if you haven’t yet. Seriously.

    Beyond that, unless you’re under age 18 you need to live your own life, dude. Live it as you choose and if your father hates it, that’s sad but that’s his problem, and likely he’ll eventually get over it. You think my Catholic, former-nun mother likes it that I’m nonmonogamous and publish a blog about having sex with women? Same deal. Man up.

  52. He wanted to introduce me to the pasted and such and kids my age

    Giving you any advice that contradicts the wishes of your parents or encouraging you to do anything they disapprove of is technically a felony. There’s a law against “Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.” You should look it up and come back here when you’re 18.

  53. BD,

    Thank you for your reply. Sometimes I need someone to set me straight even if I don’t like it.

    I turned  18 about a year ago and since then I have working on becoming financially independent I’m not their yet but if I stay on my current course It’s very likely that I will be within the next two years. Before I’m there it makes sense to live with my parents to save money. We all need to do what we can when we can.

    I know a lot of people who don’t have good dad’s. Even though my father and I disagree on some things he’s one of the best father a person can have. I’ve had some rough times in my life and he’s always been their for me. Growing up my dad always tried to spend time with me. He was an excellent example of what masculinity is. He taught me how to fish, change a tire, shoot, and he paid a lot of money for self defense classes so I could defend my self.  In high school when I was failing my classes my Dad saw to it that I got help and graduated on time. My Grandfather had a stroke when I was just a baby.  For most of my life I saw how my father would sacrifice his time to care for him. He’d change his catheter, and change his diaper. This is why I don’t want to hurt him.

    I am not going to live my life trying to please my father. If he is not happy with my unbelief then so be it. But the though of someone you love burning in hell forever is a terrible thought. And understandably I want to spare him that pain.

    I probably should read your book I’ll purchase it soon.

    By the way, if Dad does come around he’s getting an introduction to the Blackdragon site!

  54. Andrew,

    Contrary to the overwhelming anti-social social programming here . . . Christianity, to me, is perfectly compatible with Alpha 2.0 in it’s most unheralded (by the Bible itself) but most essential value Free Choice. I can already hear people balking . . . yes, Christianity is not about being free once you choose it . . . but the choice to follow, not follow or follow and leave is suppose to be free.

    The operative words being “Free” as in unfettered, free of outward influence and even free of ignorance or at least recognizing and accepting the risk of what is not known, what is not proven . . . and “Choice” . . . that it’s your choice to live with, yours to answer before God if there is a God . . . not your father’s, not society’s, not even BD’s nor mine (hell, I’ve got enough answering for myself if there is a God then to ever let anyone put that responsibility on me).

    Surely if your father loves you and is this person of faith, he should eventually recognize that is your choice and that God values honesty, genuineness, transparency. But like with anything, just because you disagree with someone doesn’t mean you have to hit him like a train with the news.

    I think you look for an intimate moment to tell him and when you do begin by telling him how much you see and admire the realness of his faith. And then tell him that you are troubled or saddened or conflicted because God is not as real to you as it is to him and you want to be honest about that because you want an honest relationship with him, just as you hope that if there is a God, God would want you to be honest. Of course, you can go on and be even more honest and say that by “not as real to you” you mean you just don’t think, even doubt, there is a God.

    Though BD might contest this, if you want, I think it’s all right to throw him a bone by saying you are sorry to disappoint him or hope he can forgive you and you hope he can still love you because you still love and look up to him and hope someday you will experience God as strong as he does. Chances are, he might respond to this by telling you how much he still loves you.

    This is off the cuff, but hope this helps.

    Fwiw, I am agnostic though probably now leaning towards theist. My best and life long friend is a Christian and to me far more true Christian than the majority claiming the label of Christian. My friend has struggled a lot with his faith. One of the points he told me that this struggle has impressed on him is how much God wants the choice to believe and follow him or not, to truly be free and knowing and constantly re-thought, challenged, and renewed, if free and true.

  55. No offense David but Christians believe that their god will roast non Christians forever. That’s like saying that a thug who puts a gun to your head and gives you two options “give me your money or die” is giving you a choice.

  56. Andrew,

    No offense taking. But if there is no God, then who cares. And if there is a God, then I guess we are fked presuming what Christians say is accurate . . . presuming what they say is accurate and you just want to stop there, no need to go seek and think about and try to know God for ourselves . . . presuming . . . you get the idea.

    No real Alpha takes “presuming” as is. They take ownership of all areas of their lives, including what they believe, their spirituality. They don’t settle for pat answers or pat put offs: I resent there is a “gun” to my head, so screw you Christians. More like, gun or not, the issue of spirituality and the source of everything is something that wise men have thought worthy to ponder and I think worthy to ponder.  It is my responsibility to ponder such issues. As my friend would say, in the end it’s each person’s responsibility to deal with what they think on the issue of a God/Creator and if there is one, to deal one on one with whatever questions, resents, etc. that person has.

    That still doesn’t change my suggestion on how you might phrase it and go about it. If you want, you should tell your Dad how you are bothered that Christianity seems to be this “gun” to your head. As is, nothing would be more Alpha or Manning up, then to have a “gun” to ones head and say “I don’t give a sh*t” to God. But that presupposes actually encountering God. Again, that’s your decision to make or not make and whatever reasons or excuses you have for making it or avoiding it.

    David

    P.S. As mentioned I am leaning more towards theist. My best friend, a Christian, has been an influence on that. Here’s something he shared with me:

    That after much struggle with his faith and looking at his life, he decided that there was no God and that he would be an athiest. He then told me the instant he made that decision, he just knew that there is a God.  No voice, no vision, no burning bush . . . he said it was like he could feel the molecules in his body vibrating that there was a God, Creator, Source, etc. Sounds stupid, silly . . . my friend would be the first one to tell you, he totally gets that and that no one is going to be convinced and he is not expecting that. But likewise, he’s got to make and live with his choice and it’s his choice. In the end, my friend chose to continue to believe because he experienced something that he feels he would be dishonest and caving to social pressure to deny. 

  57. BD

    Good article on a difficult subject.

     

    Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby,

    no matter how strongly people may voice their opinion.

    A good place to start is there are not and never have been any gods of any kind.

    There is absolutely no evidence of any gods ever existing and they are a total hallucination.

    That would apply to intelligent design also.

    If you look at the world and can not believe it just happened the short coming is in your mind.

    You still have some programming you have not gotten rid of yet.

    Just repeat there are and never were any gods.

    Gods are impossible.

  58. @Buzz: when you say “atheism is not a religion” and then you say “just repeat there are no gods” like a mantra, you’re contradicting yourself.
    I rarely use the word atheist about myself (except in the sense that I am sure organized religions and their books have a human origin) and prefer sceptic/agnostic, but regardless you’re giving irreligion a bad rap with your attitude.
    Lack of evidence doesn’t prove something wrong. Occam’s razor means a hypothesis is uninteresting based on the current knowledge, it doesn’t have definitive truth value. In my opinion, what people need isn’t a new certitude about how “there are no gods” (which may well be true), what they need is precisely to get rid of those goddamned certitudes and at least realize that maybe, maybe, we’re just here with no cosmic parents whatsoever. To me, one of the most important lessons of irreligion is that people HATE to have to handle doubt. It continually surprises me how many people I know keep wanting definitive answers and can’t seem to settle on an incertitude.

    One of the rare french authors who nailed this (I hate most of the others) is Camus in The Plague. In the book, a city is struck by an epidemic that looks like the plague; a renowned physician is in doubt and the prefect insists that he gives him a yes or no answer. It goes like this:  “Your view, I take it,” the Prefect put in, “is this. Even if it isn’t plague, the prophylactic measures enjoined by law for coping with a state of plague should be put into force immediately?” “If you insist on my having a View, that conveys it accurately enough.”
    It’s the same with purpose and the meaning of life: We can’t know for sure that we have a “plague”, that life has no meaning, but some measures have to be taken “as if”, because we can’t afford to rely on hopes with zero evidence.

    By the way BD, it’s “Au contraire”, not “oh contaire”. Didn’t want to nitpick but I hate to see a french mistake on my favorite blog, lol.
    Do you differentiate “zealot atheists” from atheists who are simply vocal, not necessarily fanatic or super-sure of their belief ? After all, anyone who thinks opinion X or Y is interesting or worth mentioning is gonna be perceived as “fanatic” by those who oppose it, even if he advocates it calmly. I’m sure some people think you’re a “nonmonogamy zealot”, yet they’re wrong: you just think it’s worth advocating, and you speak up against Disney monogamy, just like an atheist would speak up against religious belief. I wouldn’t consider that the only non-fanatic atheists are those who “only mention it when you ask them”.

  59. @Gil

    not a mantra read the post

    ***2. One at a time, expel those beliefs through repetition and action.

    Removing limiting religious beliefs is the same as removing any other self-limiting belief. You need to attack it on two fronts, the psychological (via affirmations) and the physiological (via action).

    Pick one of your limiting beliefs, just one for now, and work on it. Once you get it nailed, then you can work on the second one. This is important; only work on one limiting belief at a time.

    First, use affirmations that are the positive opposite of that belief.

    ***Either say them over and over again, or print them out on a piece of paper and stick them on your monitor so that your subconscious is looking at it all day. (Or do both).***

    ***Lack of evidence doesn’t prove something wrong.***

    yes in this case it does.

    This has helped me clarify my thinking.

     

    The religious people say:

    I do not believe the ideas that our universe exploded

    out of virtually nothing all by itself and that life on earth sprung from

    non-life all by itself

    But I do believe:

    a super creature exploded out of virtually nothing all by

    itself and then created our universe and life on earth out of

    virtually nothing all by itself.

     
    AND NOW YOU WANT TO ADD
    AND DID NOT LEAVE ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL?

    Wow………
    People will believe what they want to believe
    and it really is just a waste of time to even talk about it……

     

     

  60. By the way BD, it’s “Au contraire”, not “oh contaire”. Didn’t want to nitpick but I hate to see a french mistake on my favorite blog, lol.

    Fixed, and thank you.

    And proofreading is not nitpicking. I appreciate it.

    Do you differentiate “zealot atheists” from atheists who are simply vocal, not necessarily fanatic or super-sure of their belief ? After all, anyone who thinks opinion X or Y is interesting or worth mentioning is gonna be perceived as “fanatic” by those who oppose it, even if he advocates it calmly.

    Not really. “Zealot” to me means “brings it up when it’s not even the topic at hand.” I know several guys like this, have talked to guys online like this, and seen celebrities like this (Ricky Gervais comes to mind). They throw this “I’m an atheist” stuff at you when you’re talking about something that has nothing to do with it.

    It’s the same with vegans. There are some that throw it in your face, and others that keep it to themselves.

    I’m sure some people think you’re a “nonmonogamy zealot”, yet they’re wrong

    Right, because I don’t bring up monogamy when it has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    To be fair, 7-8 years ago when I first started posting on forums, I was a nonmonogamy zealot. I brought it up all the time, including when it didn’t belong. It was dumb. But as Dr. Who says, “Fortunately one mellows with age.”

    you just think it’s worth advocating, and you speak up against Disney monogamy, just like an atheist would speak up against religious belief. I wouldn’t consider that the only non-fanatic atheists are those who “only mention it when you ask them”.

    Correct. A guy who had a blog that discusses atheism (for example) I would not consider a zealot assuming he never brought up his atheism at other times.

    Knowing atheists, though, that’s a big fucking if.

  61. In truth, however, as a philosophy, Buddhism is probably the worst religion in the world because it teaches you to literally kill your soul so that you can cease to exist!

    I have been practicing Buddhist meditation and studying Buddhism for 20 years and this is 100% wrong. First of all there is no soul in Buddhism. In Buddhist meditation you learn to recognize your ego. As you recognize it, it naturally falls away and you are eventually left ego-less so you can experience ultimate reality.

    In Buddhism we all have Buddha nature, in other words we are basically good, compassionate, blissful and free. Buddhist believe our ego prevents us from experiencing Buddha nature. It is not a battle against ego but actually a very soft process where as you practice and show compassion to yourself, your ego falls away and you open up to the world.  You also become more free and for lack of a better term more long term happy. Personally after 20 years of practice, I have become more free and happy.

    Re: Islam

    The traditional Islamic Caliphates were very tolerant for their time especial compared to Roman Catholic dominated states.  Christians and Jews were generally free to practice and live (e.g.  Al-Andalus).  In my opinion as an historian, Wahhabism and the post WWI colonization and decolonization of the Middle East are the driving factors behind the Islamic extremism we see today. Islam in and of itself is not inherently a bad religion any more than Christianity or Hinduism are bad religions.

    To say all Muslims are bad which is essentially what Jack is saying, is like saying that all Catholics are bad because the Catholic church encouraged the genocide of Native Americans. Jack, I’ve respected most of what you’ve said in the past but this is bigotry plain and simple. Have you ever had a conversation with a Muslim? Have you ever been to a Muslim country? Have you ever studied the History of Islam?
     

  62. Sigh. Here we go:

    I have been practicing Buddhist meditation and studying Buddhism for 20 years and this is 100% wrong. First of all there is no soul in Buddhism. In Buddhist meditation you learn to recognize your ego. As you recognize it, it naturally falls away and you are eventually left ego-less so you can experience ultimate reality.

    In Buddhism we all have Buddha nature, in other words we are basically good, compassionate, blissful and free. Buddhist believe our ego prevents us from experiencing Buddha nature. It is not a battle against ego but actually a very soft process where as you practice and show compassion to yourself, your ego falls away and you open up to the world.  You also become more free and for lack of a better term more long term happy. Personally after 20 years of practice, I have become more free and happy.

    Which Buddhism do you practice? Theravada? Mahayana? Zen?

    When I was in college, I had a philosophy professor who was East Indian by race (Christian by religion), and he educated all of us about Americans like you. He once said to me (in paraphrase):

    I come from the land of Buddhism. I’ll tell you what it really is. Buddhists in India will tell you the truth because they don’t give a damn what Americans think. American Buddhists  try to make Buddhism appealing, so they feed you a bunch of lies in order to get you to join it. And those lies make it into official American college textbooks.  American Buddhists don’t know what real Buddhism is. They practice feel good nonsense. Buddha said that life is a disease and he gave the prescription – spiritual death! That’s true Buddhism – a religion of nihilism. A death cult. Let no so called “American scholar” tell you differently!”

    Buddhism teaches you to, metaphorically speaking, cut off your own balls, as you are about to demonstrate in reference to Islam:

    The traditional Islamic Caliphates

    Stop right there! How did those traditional Islamic Caliphates come into existence? There are 57 Muslim countries in this world. They became Islamic through genocide, conquest, slaughter, rape, and torture!

    were very tolerant for their time

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for a good laugh!

    Christians and Jews were generally free to practice and live (e.g.  Al-Andalus).

    Sure, as long as they paid their Muslim taxes, they could enjoy second class status as dimmis. And if they were non-Muslim, non-Christian, AND non-Jewish??? Well, then they were fucked!

    In my opinion as an historian, Wahhabism and the post WWI colonization and decolonization of the Middle East are the driving factors behind the Islamic extremism we see today

    So….we made them do it?

    So a murdering, raping, and child molesting prophet (pig vomit be upon him) had nothing to do with it?

    What were the driving factors behind Mohammed’s pedophilia?

    What were the driving factors behind Islam’s slaughter and butchery of 57 countries which it then claimed as its own and allowed its members to take all the women as their possessions and rape them at will?

    What are the driving factors behind your anti-western white guilt?

    Islam in and of itself is not inherently a bad religion

    HAHAHAHA!!! Yeah, let’s give the benefit of the doubt to a religion founded by a narcissistic pedophile, prone to epileptic seizures and delusions of grandeur, who claimed that anyone dying for him will receive pussy in heaven from 72 inexperienced women who don’t even know when and when not to use their teeth!

    Brilliant!

    any more than Christianity or Hinduism are bad religions.

    Now you have truly revealed your SJW credentials with this bullshit PC moral equivalency! Islam is way, way, way, worse than Christianity and Hinduism. And yes, both Christianity and Hinduism are bad religions (saying “bad religion” is a redundancy), but Islam is the worst of the worst when it comes to its attitude towards human rights!

    To say all Muslims are bad which is essentially what Jack is saying,

    No, it’s not “essentially” what I’m saying. It is DEFINITELY what I’m saying!

    ALL MUSLIMS ARE BAD!

     A-L-L!

    is like saying that all Catholics are bad because the Catholic church encouraged the genocide of Native Americans.

    What a bullshit false equivalency!

    First of all, Catholics today do not take their Catholicism seriously. There are probably less than one hundred true Catholics in this world (not counting the clergy). And even the clergy constantly let slip that they know that it’s all bullshit! Catholicism is a dead religion, much like most of Christianity!

    Most Catholics don’t follow the Pope’s horseshit, or even go to church. They are mostly liberal and secular (Catholic in name only). They are not a threat.

    And pointing to what happened in the past (i.e. the slaughter of the American Indians) has no relevancy to today because (1) most Catholics are secular and no nothing about Catholicism and (2) the Catholic Church has changed its doctrines and officially renounced all that barbarism. Today, Catholicism is nothing but empty ritual, punctuated by a celibate clergy populated by repressed pedophiles and child porn enthusiasts! Still pretty sick and evil, but nothing compared to both traditional and modern day Islam!

    By contrast, when I mention Islam’s past, I’m doing it because Islam has not satisfied the above 2 conditions. The Koran is claimed to be infallible to this day and the pedophile Mohammed (may pig vomit be upon him) is still touted as “the most perfect man who ever lived.” Plus, I’m countering the bullshit that you said about Islam being peaceful before WWI.

    Thus, Islam’s past is relevant, whereas the past of the Catholic Church is not. Oh yeah, and the Muslims are still calling for “death to all infidels” whereas the current “infallible” Pope is on his hands and knees doing a global apology tour, blessing gays and lesbians, and telling atheists to not change a thing!

    Jack, I’ve respected most of what you’ve said in the past but this is bigotry plain and simple.

    Yes it is! Thank you! Bigotry towards Islam is an elementary requirement of any decent human being. If you are not a bigot towards Islam, you may need help, as I am concerned for you and your sanity.

    But thank you for not using “Islamophobia” even though I would definitely wear that with pride as well.

    What do you have against bigotry? It all depends whom that bigotry is directed against that makes it good or bad!

    Have you ever had a conversation with a Muslim?

    Typical condescending question asked by PC social justice warriors.

    Yes I have.

    Have you ever had a conversation with a 9 year old girl who was brutally raped by a cult leader?

    Because I have (in my early lawyer days). And let me tell you, I picture that little girl when I think of Mohammed’s 9 year old wife and I am sickened to my very core!

    How can you defend this trash? Or claim that it was peaceful before WWI? That’s insane!

    Have you ever been to a Muslim country?

    Do you think I’m fucking suicidal?

    Have you ever studied the History of Islam?

    You mean that politically correct and whitewashed pig vomit that passes for history in college? Sadly, yes I have.

    If you mean Islam’s real history, then also yes! It’s real history is more convincing, beginning with its sexually sick, narcissistic, and murderous founder!

    Seriously, lay off the Buddhism! It’s bad for your testosterone!

  63. Well said Jack!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks Buzz!

    Unless the Captain over here wants to continue this, I’ll leave this topic now with some red pill videos unmasking the true face of Islam:

     

     

     

  64. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I just watched this and feel compelled to share it here:

  65. This horse is not dead yet….

    Oh what the hell….one more for the road 🙂

  66. Another great article. I live in a country in which people are Muslim (98%). I have to say, it is total BS.

    I lived in Europe for 2 years, those people are believers but they are not like Muslims. Muslims, let their belief affect EVERYTHING in their lives. It is like they rented their brains to some Muslim scholars.

    Thanks for sharing.

  67. @Leo: I don’t think it’ll really be 98%, even if the stats say it. I come from that type of culture, and believe me once you get the hang of it you can spot those who are either closeted nonreligious or “de facto nonreligious” in that they want a secular state, have no hang-ups about sex, etc: even I used to think I was almost alone when I dropped out of religion, and I was blown away when I realized just how many “muslims” are de facto westerners (at least in the North African countries + a few more like Lebanon, Egypt, etc).
    But I tend to resist my attraction to “cultural muslim girls” when I’m in my country, I just find it too dangerous: basically I have a dry spell every time I’m there and then I bang when I’m back in France. I think Dawkins was right when he said that in this type of society, the huge number of closeted nonbelievers can only become public when it exceeds a “critical mass” that gives the scared people the courage to finally come out.

  68. @Gil Galad

    You are right. It is not 98% in reality. Most people here use alcohol and have sex before marriage.

    Although the top 10% of men can get laid a lot in my country, I think it is easier in Europe.

    As Caleb mentioned in his book, religion is a societal programming tool. And I don’t like to be surrounded with people who think “Is this a sin?” or “Will God punish me for this?”. They are not free, their brains have religion shackles.

     

     

  69. I don’t like to be surrounded with people who think “Is this a sin?” or “Will God punish me for this?”

    @Leo: 100% agreed. That’s the second reason I steer clear of those girls (after the danger of being caught banging in those countries).

  70. Christian here. I used to believe that premarital sex was a sin when I was younger. I even signed some BS card that said “True Love Waits” when I was 21 in my church. That was when I was a fundy Christian, though. Now, I know that premarital sex is not a sin. Fornication is a word that really shouldn’t even be in the Bible, but is referring to idolatry, not premarital sex. Here is a website that talks more about that:

    http://www.libchrist.com/bible/contents.html

  71. Very good post on this subject of how religion uses the sexuality of people to get power over people to control them.

    From childhood to the start of high school I was naturally attracted to girls and I thought bodies and sexuality was beautiful, and that it was fine for non-married people to have sex.

    I was raised in the Catholic Church, and around high school we started hearing more about the church being against everything involving sex, and I totally disagreed with all of it. I continued to Masturbate, watch Porn, and I said when I get married I will use Contraception. However, all of a sudden against my will I got caught up in the Catholic Church, as my best friend’s mother was a former nun and I began going to prayer groups with them, we taught sunday school and they told me to teach Abstinence (I’m against sexual Abstinence so almost every week to this day I say in my head sorry to those few kids we taught Abstinence), a pope and more priests were preaching more often against sex, a Catholic tv network was brainwashing Catholic youths into Chastity/Abstinence Only, we went to Chastity speakers, Churches gave us pamphlets/books on Chastity and that even in marriage the lie that “sex is for procreation only,” then I read the bible (that we were told was “the word of God”) where it said Fornication was a sin, plus priests continued to preach the Limiting Belief brainwashing lie that “Sex is for marriage only/people Have To be married to have sex.” Even though I disagreed with it I said to myself well if that’s what the bible says I guess I’m going to have to wait until marriage to have sex. I didn’t have sex in high school. Years later I learned my friend while he was preaching Abstinence to kids was having sex and going to Confession like a crack house, and three local priests were in the Priest Sexual Abuse Scandal and one went to jail (who was the most strict and was handing out books against sex and preached Chastity).

    I went to a top Division 1 college, was on ESPN once, and lived next to players who went on to star in the NBA and NFL, but I never had sex during college because of Catholic brainwashing. I was a virgin until much later than mentioned in this post. I have relatives who are an 89 year old virgin, 41 year old virgin, 34 year old virgin, and 28 year old virgin, and they’re not even fanatic Right Wing Christian Fundamentalists, it’s Catholic normalization to be basically asexual similar to the “Chaste” Nuns/Priests, plus a poverty stricken rust-belt small farm town where it’s a struggle to survive and most of the young people move away, join the military, work on farms, or get married.

    One day I thought if I’m going to ever get married “to be allowed by the Catholic Church” to have sex, then I’m going to have to learn how to meet girls. In high school girls used to ask me out and I always said no because of the fear of the bible saying Fornication was a sin. I saw a few early Game blogs (before the recent Game blogs that have Anger and Hate on women and are possible manipulative covers for conservative politics) and saw a few Youtube videos about Approaching women, and not going on expensive dinner dates. What Christians were saying against sex did NOT feel right within me. I began to look for Loopholes or ways around it. Then, I started to Question my LIMITING religious beliefs (that I naturally did not agree with anyway), and I did Internet searches like “church wrong Fornication” (or something like that). I saw some comments and a few articles (such as the VERY helpful libchrist site mentioned by another commenter that’s a poorly designed site and not run well anymore but it helped to get me going in the direction I was trying to learn more about and I’ve learned MUCH more details than even that site since then). Temple prostitution probably was not going on much anymore by early AD. The original word in the bible was Porneia and in the original context Porneia was about paid sex with prostitutes who were SLAVES, or pederasty where the boy was treated like a SLAVE, and Porneia was NOT about regular prostitution, and Porneia was NOT about “pre-marital sex” as that was NOT even an issue way back then anyway. Evidence of this is the Greek word Porneia was translated into Fornicatio in Latin because Fornix was the archway where Lower Class prostitution took place (and it also wasn’t about regular or Upper Class prostitution either. Then, the modern English word Fornication was used in the bibles of the late 1500’s/early 1600’s and still meant Lower Class prostitution. It was the Puritans who by the mid 1600’s changed the MEANING of the word Fornication to THEIR incorrect PURITAN definition as “pre-marital sex.” In the 1600’s to around 1776 in England and the early U.S. Colonies the Puritans established a Theocracy and publicly whipped “fornicators.” Even as of 2017 there is U.S. states that still have Puritan religion based anti-fornication “laws” still in their law-books, and most people (especially basically all Christians) still think the word Fornication means “pre-marital sex” when in fact it does not and they also believe that God/the bible is against “pre-marital sex” when in fact it is NOT. For me learning this was HUGE.

    My number one biggest regret in life is that because of the Catholic Church and the Bible I did not have sex when I was younger. If I could take what I just said here in this comment and go back 20 years I would 100 percent honestly HAPPILY pay $2 MILLION and be 100 percent HAPPY paying it. Religion is harmful and does cause many people mental harm. I disagreed with all of the Christian Church being anti-sex, and I still think about this negative/harmful/Limiting religious programming every day like self-therapy to overcome it. Eventually, I left the Catholic Church and all organized religion, learned the entire bible and Church was made-up, and I have had much more freedom and have been much HAPPIER.

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