Sinking Deeper

Some days I am overwhelmed with awe at how brilliant people can be.  I read about new discoveries and new science every day.  And it is amazing.

And then there are days like today, when I am astonished at how willfully and intentionally ignorant some folks can be.  And I realize that the lengths to which some folks will go to remain and reaffirm their ignorance is merely the tip of the iceberg.  The icing on the cake.  The snow on the mountaintop.

Yesterday, while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, I saw this billboard:

It doesn’t mention what happens in the end, though.

And I have to honestly say, I don’t get it a whole lot of things about this billboard.

First, I don’t get why folks are bound and determined that I am going to think just like them.  And that they will keep hitting me over the head with their crap until I agree.

Second, do they really think that someone is going to be driving along the New Jersey Turnpike and need religion?  (Well, sometimes it does seem like hell, but still.)

Do they think that, while sitting in gridlock, paying exorbitant tolls or avoiding stupid drivers, people will suddenly “see the light” and say to their spouse:

“Honey, I understand it now.  God created the universe in seven days.  Period.  Seven twenty-four-hour days.  And science had nothing to do with it.  But you know, Dear, what I can’t seem to figure out is why God let us think up all this science stuff to begin with.”

My mother used to say “you catch more flies with honey.”  And it’s true.  Especially with people’s deeply held beliefs.  Christianity became such a dominant religion by incorporating much of the beliefs and traditions of the pagans.  Not by saying “nannie, nannie, boo-boo, I’m right you’re wrong.”

Even seeing stuff like this billboard and a thousand roadside signs I passed, well, sometimes I can still be surprised by the lengths to which folks will go to try and tell me, to prove to me, that my beliefs are wrong.  But today I read an article that has me still shaking my head, hours after seeing it.

Loch Ness monster cited by US schools as evidence that evolution is myth

Nessie, in the famous “Surgeon’s Photograph” from 1934 that is widely believed to be a hoax. (Thanks, Google.)

THOUSANDS of American school pupils are to be taught that the Loch Ness monster is real – in an attempt by religious teachers to disprove Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Pupils attending privately-run Christian schools in the southern state of Louisiana will learn from textbooks next year, which claim Scotland’s most famous mythological beast is a living creature.

Thousands of children are to receive publicly-funded vouchers enabling them to attend the schools – which follow a strict fundamentalist curriculum.

The Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) programme teaches controversial religious beliefs, aimed at disproving evolution and proving creationism. (Emphasis added by me.)

Me, I don’t understand why evolution and creation cannot co-exist.

The existence of God and belief in a higher power does not mean that the universe was created in a week and man in a day.  Man and woman, however we were created, have minds and a curious nature.  That’s what makes us unique.  That is also how we discover cool things, like how to photograph pretend monsters.

But public money is going to pay to teach religion.  I will repeat.  Public money.  Whatever happened to the separation of Church and State?  The founding fathers will have something to say about this at the Reckoning, I’d bet.

As a nation, and as living, rational human beings we are walking a tightrope.  Backwards.

Inherit the Wind should be required viewing.

111 Comments

Filed under Childhood Traumas, Elections, Hypocrisy, Law, Politics, Science, Stupidity, Traffic, Voting

111 responses to “Sinking Deeper

  1. Dan

    I totally agree. I’m from Europe and lived in the US for a while, the dominance of these fundamental Christians is scary.

    • And it is becoming worse. Go, I want to say, go believe what you believe. But I don’t have to believe it too. And I don’t have to pay for you to teach it to your kids, either. It makes me so angry.

      Welcome Dan. Thank you for visiting and for your comment.

  2. Boyoboy, do I agree with you! Inherit the Wind should be required reading /viewing in every school!!!!
    …”The existence of God and belief in a higher power does not mean that the universe was created in a week and man in a day.” I would point out here that not all people who believe in a god, or a higher power, take that belief from the Bible, hence the so-called creation time of seven days is only relevant to a portion of Believers anyway.

    No one has to believe in ‘science’ (any aspect thereof) for it to be ‘true’ — but ‘god’/faith does require belief in it to even exist–not even to be ‘true.’

    • Hi, MM, Thanks for your visit.

      Yes, this is such a hard issue. A frustrating one. Why do you or I have to believe what they say. Is this the Inquisition? Salem? Any one of a host of groups who tried to suppress though.

      God save me from your followers.

  3. twindaddy

    I wonder how these people believe the crap they spew. Jeebus…so the Lockness Monster is real. Who knew?

  4. Elyse, it would appear you proverbial knickers have twisted themselves into a God-awful knot … (all horrifically-inappropriate puns intended, of course). I’ve just gone on a long questioning journey of my own about spirituality, (and that was a left turn I didn’t see coming), so it’s refreshing to come here and listen to someone speaking about honoring the possibility of all sides of the equation, including evolution, (gotta love the Spencer Tracy video clip, BTW) … I’m with you 100% on that whole, “Please don’t shove your beliefs down my throat and expect me to kiss you afterwards” idea. Yes, of course. I was driving down the highway, and suddenly felt the urge to be enlightened. By a billboard. That spouts ONE view. Yep.

    • Well, and you just know where they want you to plant that kiss, don’t you!

      I also hope, 99, that you had your spiritual journey “off road!”

  5. These folks Aren’t the majority…it is not part of Catholic or Jewish teachings and I think that is close to 50 percent of the US population right there…

    • No, it’s not the majority. They are the embodiment of the squeaky wheel theory.

      But Catholics are entering politics at an alarming rate, too. We just need to keep Church and State separate. The founding fathers wrote that for a good reason. And some of us are forgetting.

  6. I’m usually more enlightened by the personal injury lawyer billboards.

  7. Let me shed a little light here. Having lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for six inconceivably long years, I think I know what’s going on. Evolution seems crazy to those born and raised in Louisiana because Louisiana somehow escaped from the whole Darwinian process. There has never been any evolution there and I don’t think there’s any coming down the pike either.

  8. Hi,
    I just can’t believe what is going on with these people that run some schools, just unbelievable, I totally agree with you, why can’t evolution and religion co-exist, I will never understand why this cannot be the case.

    • Religion and evolution have co-existed. But there is this horrible minority that has gotten toe-holds (or perhaps scraping-knuckle holds) on our society. And in spite of their minority status, they are causing all kinds of trouble.

  9. Nice weather we’re having, yes?

  10. I’ve seen that sign on the PA Turnpike. We won’t even discuss the gigantic Jesus I saw painted on the side of a barn near my daughter’s college…scared the crap out of me! When we stopped for gas I had to ask….soooo what’s up with the big Jesus? *crickets*
    I love the bibles in one hand, flags in the other as they spew hateful venom from their pie holes about the President or any one else for that matter, who doesn’t share in their hypocrisy.
    Put the bibles down, read the freaking newspaper and find out what’s really going on in this universe!!

  11. My favorite fantasy (OK, well, one of them) is for the sky to suddenly open up, and for a big voice to come down from above, saying, “Stop trying to blame your ignorance on me!”
    I’m with you in your outrage on this topic!

  12. I am one of the (unchosen) few ‘fundamentalist’ Christians that DO believe in the separation of Church and State.

    I wouldn’t want a Muslim in power using my tax dollars to educate my (or other) children in the ways of their religion, so why on earth would I think that my own religion should get a pass on this? It makes no sense to me…
    but then I don’t attend church (too many crazies) and also believe as you mention that evolution and creation should co-exist. For me, I believe that the ‘real’ truth is probably a mix between the two.

    That’s just my two cents.

    • Oh, and I’m not a Republican either, so I’m pretty much considered a Athiest in most Christian circles! ;)

      • I can’t believe they let you out, Karyn! You are an anathema.

        But we can all get along. Really we can. We just have to get the crazies to stop being crazies . Tall order, though.

        • Haven’t you ever taken studious note of the Eagles song “Hotel California?” (an all-time favorite of mine) ‘…you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…’ They don’t let you out. You have to escape! :)

          I’m with you on the getting along thing. It’s interesting to me that most Christians when dealing with people believe that their right and choice to their religion should be respected. Yet, when the opposite is presented to them (agnostic, atheist, Buddhist etc) they think they have the right to ram their views down the other persons throat and ‘fix’ them!

          The premise of getting along is so simple: Respect others and their beliefs the way you want them to respect you and yours. God knows they have just as much right to them as you do. Why it seem so complex for so many people is beyond me.

  13. Why does that billboard hate apes so much? Why? It’s so cruel and unfair.

    I agree that the point in that billboard was not to change anyone’s mind but to stick our noses in their sh*t. And that sh*t smells exactly like monkey poop. Coincidence? No.

  14. Well this depends on which end of the turnpike you were on. (I myself take 295 if heading south). If you get down around the hinterlands of exit 2 and 3 i can see where this bboard may crop up. If it was between 12 and 17, I’m surprised no one has set it on fire yet….

  15. “Christianity became such a dominant religion by incorporating much of the beliefs and traditions of the pagans.” I can’t tell you the number of fundamentalists I have met in my area who don’t even know the history of their own religion; how it began, what factors influenced what is ok to believe and what was thrown out. Sad.

    When it comes to faith, I say live and let live. But, for me, there are certain things that I don’t have to take on faith, because I don’t believe them, I KNOW them. And one of my best friends knows quite a bit more than I, because she died twice (and obviously came back). She knows things that would knock your socks off!

    And yes, the spending of public funds on religious based schools is not really ok with me, either.

    • It does seem to me that folks who are so determined that you must think their way tend to know less than those who have made conscious decisions to take other paths.

      I hope you have or are writing about your friend’s experiences. They would make fascinating reading.

      I am not at all anti-religion or anti-spiritualism. I am against other folks trying to force me to believe what they believe. Try to convince me is fine. Force? Nope. They won’t win.

      • For sure, live and let live.

        I wasn’t particularly religious or spiritual until about 1 1/2 yrs ago when I had a spiritual awakening that came out of the blue. These days I am spiritual and it suits me well. As for my friend, she has told me that she has written her story and one day she might look into getting it out there. I blog about things that have personally happened to me, like having an angel experience.

  16. I totally agree. It is really scary how religion has taken hold of many aspects of our government and life. I remember we had some pro life people who held a pro life rally on our campus. It wasn’t the fact that they were there that bothered the students. It was the fact they were holding up graphic pictures of half formed fetuses which disturbed the students. But they “had a right to be there”. I’m sorry but do I go traipsing around your place of residences with vile pictures shoved in your face. NO.

    • The “right to life” bunch makes me completely crazy. As if there are people who “like” abortion. Abortion is a horrible thing — no body is “pro.” Why do they never show the women who have had botched, back-alley abortions in their pictures? Or the ones who cannot feed their children? Or the ones whose parents will abuse them for getting pregnant? Or the lives lost due to pregnancies that cannot come to fruition?

      And why do they care more about the unborn than the born?

  17. I can’t believe you would suggest that there aren’t just two, very simple, diametrically opposed options for truth.

  18. Any religion over love is a lie.

    Is that a proverb?

    Love,

    Ben

  19. This is so depressing, Elyse. And it’s not just in the US — I stumbled across this over the weekend: https://leavingfundamentalism.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/top-5-lies-told-by-accelerated-christian-education/

  20. I have absolutely no problem with people of differing religious viewpoints and beliefs. I think it makes for a more interesting world. I do have a serious problem when one particular group claims superiority over the others then tries to make their beliefs into state and federal laws. As a non-Christian, it infuriates me.

    • Well said, Paprika. I have the same problem with it. That and the whole idea ofthe Rapture where they can watch nasty stuff happen to the rest of us. It just seems so “unChristian.”

  21. There is no reason Creation and “evolution” cannot co-exist. As humans we are limited in our comprehension of God and His creation. We tend to put God in a box because that’s all we know how to do. Even “Christians” cannon comprehend the incomprehensible God. A.W. Tozier is a great read on this subject.

  22. Gee I forgot what I was going to say. Everyone seems to have said all. I’ll just add. Everyone believes what they believe is true until they believe something else.

    • You’re right. But it becomes so much more complicated to change the laws along with your mind. Better if you don’t legislate this stuff!

  23. I’m just going to stay speechless for this one, since it would be inappropriate to loudly curse (and possibly blaspheme) while sitting at my work desk.
    Inherit The Wind is a great play.

    • Yes, I reacted just about the same way when I read the Nessie story. And the play/movie really is great. I just wish we didn’t need to rehash old arguments again and again, don’t you?

  24. Love the post Elyse! Well done! Too bad I didn’t get to this early because then more would see this. (Sorry, I had to do a quick road trip).

    1) The interchange of religion and science is deeper than most people image.

    2) The topic is only controversial between those at each extreme.

    3) Not enough people here have read my posts as I have 38 in the archives on the interchange.

  25. My favorite so far this week has been a poster on Facebook of a Gun and a Bible with the comment that it was unfortunate the use of each was not taught in public schools. At first I thought this was a hoax, then I saw where it originated from, face meet palm; it originally wasn’t a hoax.

    Being not of a religious bent myself I often wonder what those who are think when they are shoving and pushing. Do they think the more vicious the attack the more likely the convert?

    • Who knows. I think perhaps the operative phrase here is not “what do they think” but “do they think.” And I think the answer is most assuredly NO THEY DON’T.

  26. Elyse, I’m with you all the way, and what comes to mind, is that you can never argue with a crazy mind. Or a the mind of a religious fanatic. You can try, but logic is totally lost on these types, and they only believe what they want to believe, no matter what is really true.

    They routinely cherry pick the parts of the US constitution that they want to uphold, such as their distorted version of “the right of the people to to keep and bear arms”, while rejecting and refusing to accept the parts that they don’t like, such as “separation of church and state”. You can’t reason with these kind of people, because their entire world view is based on being unreasonable and illogical.

    A fake picture of the Loch Ness monster to prove that evolution is a myth? It just proves that there is nothing too over the top for them to do, to continue promoting their false religious fantasies.

    And like you, it also galls me that they are getting public funding to teach children their false and toxic fantasies.

    • You’re right about all these things, Chris. And I am tired of it and tired of them. Deeply. Live and let live really shouldn’t be so damn difficult.

  27. I am still wondering why the loch ness monster disproves evolution. How do these geniuses know that nessie didn’t evolve from some protozoan nessie?

    • They claim that the existence of Nessie, a dinosaur, indicates that dinosaurs walked the earth simultaneously with man. Therefore, their determination that the world was created, as stated explicitly (in so many words) in the bible on a particular day 6,000 years ago. That fact disproves evolution, which of course is the devil’s theory.

      Does it make perfect sense now?

      I didn’t think so.

  28. Once again I enter the lion’s den, Elyse. The way I look at it, public funds are not going to teach religion, they are going to teach children. Children who need to learn their ABCs and 123s. That is what the money is going for. Parents who choose to send their kids to a school that ALSO teaches their religion’s beliefs are still entitled to some benefit for their kids from their tax dollars. Just remind yourself that the tax money is going for math, while the much higher tuition that the parents pay out of their own pocket funds the religion portion.

    And let’s not kid ourselves; while religion is banned from public schools, morality is taught there. Those lessons are often directly opposed to what some faiths hold to be right or wrong, but none of us has a say in that.

    To me, the bottom line of the debate is this: if you agree with a particular moral view of the world, then it is a reasoned viewpoint that everyone should share. If you disagree, it is the lunatic rantings of people who should be silenced.

    Let me conclude by going Rodney King on the subject: Why can’t we all get along?

    • I disagree entirely, Peg.

      Public funds go to pay for public schools. Not private schools. Not parochial schools. Public schools. They teach reading, writing and arithmetic and a few other things. That is why they are called “public” schools. If parents are unhappy about the quality or what is being taught at those schools they can work within the system to change it, or they can go elsewhere. But not on my nickle.

      Parents who choose to send their children to private schools should pay for those private schools. Period.

      I say this as a parent who sent her son to private school. The schools in our district did not meet our son’s needs. So, in spite of the taxes I pay to support those schools, I coughed up more money to send him to military school because he was in need of learning serious self discipline (he was not a behavioral problem). That was my choice to do so. Nobody helped me pay for that, nor should they have.

      People send their children to parochial schools for general learning and for religious reasons. And if they want religion then they should be devout enough to pay for it themselves.

      But there is a great deal of difference between your average parochial school and one that fosters and promotes ignorance. I went to Catholic schools for a brief time, as did my siblings. And we got a pretty good education, which our parents paid for.

      To my recollection, they did not teach that the “existence” of the Loch Ness Monster.

      Not to mention the hypocrisy of the whole thing. Folks who decry “Over regulation,” “government interference” and “keep the government out of my pocketbook” are all too willing to collect when they have their hands out.

    • That answer above was from me, Elyse, on my work computer. It wasn’t an imposter Elyse. And I did not intentionally switch Gravitars, either!

  29. Stupid me. And here I thought he created that phone number at the bottom.

    • I hadn’t even noticed the phone number! Yes, that is our direct line to God.

      Have you noticed that those who hear voices are called “schizophrenics” — unless of course they hear the voice of god. That is considered a good thing. How on earth can we tell the difference?

  30. And how many more thought that when they did, they’d get an education voucher. At taxpayer expense, no less.

  31. I will completely agree with you on everything you said. Actually, I always agree with you on what ever you say. Thanks for inspiring me to stay honest with myself and others.

    • Arindam, you are sweet. Thanks for reading and commenting! But I’m not sure I always agree with myself! But I certainly do on this one.

  32. GOF

    Well done Elyse…..I don’t think Australia is as besotted with religion as your country, but we still have our share of believers who think it is acceptable to knock on my door on any day of the week to expound their beliefs. To date I’ve not felt like reciprocating on their front doors.

    There is a rusted old sign nailed to a tree not far from here. It’s probably been there for 50 years. “Jesus is coming” It lacks just one piece of essential information.

    • Thanks GOF. When we were growing up, my brother used to answer the door to those believers and then leave the house — with me in it!

      I am always so confused by those signs. Didn’t Jesus already come twice?

  33. It just gets stupider and stupider.

  34. It blows my mind how people can believe in a all powerful god, high up in the sky, watching your every move. And if you don’t do as HE says you will be condemned to fire and brimstone to burn forever and ever. BUT HE LOVES YOU! As George Carling said. However, its your right to believe what you want. Just stop condemning me and all others who insist on rational thinking.. We can all live on this planet together without killing each other over religion or anything else! It just takes understanding yourself and others as human beings worthy of respect!

    • I know what you mean. Doesn’t God have better things to do than to watch my every move? For the master of the Universe, I should think it would be a wee bit boring. Besides, the idea that entire populations who are not Christian will go to hell just strikes me as fundamentally wrong, wrong, wrong.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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