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The Joel Olsteen controversy is just another chapter in the battle between America’s top two religions.
Political Church members hate to see Christianity one up them.
This is especially true of the equally shady Prosperity brand. And both prosper through 501 (c) 3 status.
The “nonprofit” hustle has flourished for decades, particularly when they’re aimed at the inner cities.
Churches and charities don’t pay taxes, so long as they can claim to be helping someone.
“Helping” is the key word there. To eradicate a problem entirely could hurt the money flow.
This allows their executives to live lavish lifestyles, while volunteers and cheap workers do the actual labor.
In the case of churches, it’s the members, mostly affluent females, that openly encourage pastors to live big.
Thus a Joel or a Creflo, fueled by lustful congregants and tax exemption, can live the life fandango.
It should also be noted that offerings and donations to churches and charities can go towards individuals’ tax breaks.
They bless God’s man, and God’s supposed to bless them. Just one greedy hand washing another, really.
This is why I’m not feigning outrage over Joel Olsteen. His not opening his church doors isn’t shocking.
He’s just another tax exempt hustler doing what comes naturally.
Next Time: Marvel Comics malaise and “message movie” madness.
Volume One of this series was pretty much about me individually getting used to the access social media provides. I really said nothing I didn’t say on my old MySpace blog. Volume Two centered around the 2012 Presidential election, and the fallout thereof. The current Volume, Three, so far has concerned the horrendously needy emotional state of America, and how it’s led us to where we are as a nation today. And almost on cue, here comes Ferguson, Missouri.
Today, we had a “Love Your Community” rally out in the East Lake area of Chattanooga, Tn. We’ve had at least three this year. These events, are very much like those currently happening in Ferguson, but hey, they make for compelling television. By now we all know the script for these little exhibitions. It had the one outstanding university student, the positive rapper, the “concerned” White people and law enforcement and of course, the long, tearful prayer.
Rest assured, tomorrow morning, the Internet will be filled with more police brutality videos and jeremiads on “RACISM!” But to all of you there with the little Michael Brown hashtags and videos depicting police brutality, I want to ask you something. If it’s so hard to live with White people, why has the Black community never learned to live without them? The Asians, Jews and Arabs running the corner stores have.
When they collectively move in a place and Whites move out, do they go on CNN and mourn a “White Flight”? No, because they see that as an opportunity to establish themselves. They make their own money, and police their own people. And they don’t even want or need other people to do it for them, or want people to always feel sorry for them. As a result, they have a better relationship with others.
Oh, yes, all the cable news outlets are milking the Michael Brown shooting. Protesters are getting their chance to vent and clown. White people are getting to show how “concerned” they are, knowing those protesters will die if they violate them in any way. But they’ll gleefully leave the savagery behind once it’s no longer a headline.
When the cameras go off, all the pastors will go back to their mansions in mostly-White neighborhoods, paid for from Whites seeking tax write offs and greedy congregants.The protesters will go back to the hood, calling on White people to break up their fights, and foreigners to cut them a break in their stores. And some protesters may go to church, if they get up in time.
And at the end of the day, the cameraman pulls out in his van, the storekeeper counts the money, and the policeman finishes his log. Meanwhile, the outraged African-American, regardless of his income or education, is just another dollar and story to make. He will need everybody else a hell of a lot more than anybody, including his own people, could ever need him. And the bad part is, he really doesn’t need anybody, either, but doesn’t even know it.
If you don’t want to police and run you own community, don’t worry. There’s always somebody else happy to do it for you.
Next time will feature the single greatest achievement of the current President of the United States.
You know, sometimes it takes a good struggle or battle to realize what really matters. It takes being in a fight to make you finally realize if what you’re fighting for is even worth fighting for. Recently, a guy asked a Deist group I was in to chime in on same-sex marriage. I did, as did pretty much everybody involved. And to no one’s surprise, the views were divided. It got ugly in a hurry, with pro, con and undecided fighting dirty (including yours truly, who’s known for potshots when the need presents itself). Well, it cooled down for a bit. I apologized for my part in it, and left it at that. No sooner did I do that than it started again. The guy posted the question on July 8th; it wasn’t answered for what everybody hopes is the last time until July 22nd. It had over 400 comments, a staggering number for any one query.
It’s only natural that such a controversial subject would bring out such heated emotions. Where the problems lie is in the arguments given both for and against it. It seemed everybody who kept it going after I stepped out simply wanted to show how “enlightened” they were. All you heard for the bulk of the discussion was quotes from the great philosophers of antiquity. A “Black Conservative” would whip out Socrates and all these Christian theologians. The liberal lady had her studies from the APA and her college professors. If they were even in the damned discussion, I could see it. Instead, those two were using other people to make their arguments for them.
It took over 300 comments until they finally stopped relying on other people and talked for themselves. THEN their arguments took on validity. I’ll give credit where credit’s due; the Black Conservative really brought some very valid points to the table once he used his own voice. He brought up things that have always bothered even me about the gay rights movement: the infringement, rather than the assimilation, of homosexuals in and on American institutions, i.e. having to have a gay this and a gay that in every social forum; the error of comparing the current movement to the civil rights movement of the 1960’s; and educating very young schoolchildren on homosexuality. The liberal lady also brought out many valid statements as well: marriage being a civil institution, and not a religious one; how absurd it is to ban SSM on the grounds that reproduction is impossible (especially when babies are on sale in Africa); and that as taxpayers, homosexuals have the rights to insurance and healthcare benefits.
The same-sex marriage debate also had some unintentionally hilarious moments. When questioned about his Black conservative affiliation, the guy proudly proclaimed he was “67% European”. I know. Never mind that Black people live in Europe too. Then we got to hear how bacteria is spread through anal sex, and how it’s no safer than heterosexual activities, which involves the damp, moist vagina that’s also prone to yeast infections…
While all that was going on, I decided to get the Audible version of Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason. I knew there was no way I was gonna sit down and read a book like that, so I got it in audiobook so I can stay busy and listen at the same time. In a nutshell, Paine exposes the blatant absurdities of the Bible, and allows his audience to simply look around them at natural wonders to truly recognize the awe-inspiring creative power of God. He didn’t need to quote Socrates to get his own point across; he used basic, 3rd-grade English to make his argument, even though a lot of his teachings had came from classic philosophers. Paine used them, true, but he also used his own common sense and personal experiences to make his ideology accessable to everybody. I cannot recommend this book enough.
One of Paine’s greatest contributions is the emphasis on a person using their reason to determine the best path for them to take in life. Socrates pretty much taught the same thing. Since both involve the human mind, reason can be and always is subjective; a person’s individual experiences or prejudices color their opinions on things. If a person of mixed heritage sees nothing but the negative side of African-American culture, he’ll slant toward a more traditionally Causasian mindset to escape that part of his persona. If a lesbian has been routinely harassed for her sexuality, she’ll lean towards more liberal ideologies. Both develop the ability to reason, but will probably come to different conclusions. How effective their conclusions are pretty much depend on them.
As stated earlier, much of Paine’s material in Age of Reason came from earlier great minds like Socrates and Plato. The intellectual elite had heard a lot of it before, so freethinking wasn’t new. It was new to Tony Jabroni out working in a field or a carpentry shop, and the idea that he would think for himself scared the hell out of the 18th century Churchianity he would walk away from. Thomas Paine was considered a threat to everybody around him, and he was ultimately blacklisted by both his native England and the United States…of which he was a Founding Father. But he never regretted making the concept of freethinking to people around the world. Freethinking sounds a lot more involved than it is. All it is is having an open mind. Simple, right? What if I say freethinking includes accepting concepts that make you very uncomfortable, or come from a source you may not like? That’s a lot easier said than done, especially if you think you know every damned thing.
This brings me back to the guy who posted the same-sex marriage question. Now, I have no doubt he’s brilliant. I’m sure he’s a genius. He’s so smart, he wrote this on my wall in response to last month’s blog about wrasslin’ and religion’s funny similarities, and has yet to actually read it…
By the time you read this, I will have celebrated the 36th Annual International Douglas Day. It’s been held at least 6 more times than I thought it would, or really even wanted it to be. I stand in amazement at every passing year. This past 12-month span has to be the one I just knew I wouldn’t see to its conclusion. It took more out of me than the last 6 did. The job sh*t, the family drama, going back to work for a paycheck for the first time in 3 years, and the headache of a car were things I had went without for a long time, and was just fine with that. But it’s nice to have more money than I was getting before, and the freedom of having my own transportation was satisfying for as long as it lasted.
I’ve been asked often why I refer to my birthday as “International Douglas Day”. The origin of the name is pretty deep. At a Church of Christ gospel meeting/revival in 2003, preacher Winford Clayborne, the host of the International Gospel Hour, referred to Troy Perry’s International Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. Perry actually calls it Universal, but I’m a syllable freak, so I got hooked on “international”. That’s got a lot to do with me saying or writing my entire name out. Then I had a damned near nervous breakdown as my 30th birthday approached. I had survivor’s guilt over seeing so many friends dying. I got through the meltdown, and promised never to let another birthday pass without meaning something. A couple of weeks later, Dr. Dre’s video to his song “Dre Day” aired on BET. I remembered the original title to the song was “It’s F*ck with Dre Day (and Everybody’s Celebratin’)”. Dre had a day, Troy Perry had a supername for his congregation, and Douglas Wayne Tipton would now have an International Douglas Day. Before you say how nutty that sounds, I’ve got two words for ya: Easter Bunny.
Most of you know from reading the “Cena Says” posting (Number Five) that I’ve been a wrestling fan for at least 20 years. I’ve been witness to the good, the bad, and the ugly of the business. I saw how good a show wrestling can be during the “Monday Night Wars” between Vince McMahon’s WWE and Ted Turner’s WCW. I’ve seen how bad steroid and drug abuse can destroy careers and lives. And I’ve seen how ugly real-life beefs over a wrestling match can get. In the case of the recently departed “Macho Man” Randy Savage, you had all three as well. Savage is a pop icon because of those old Slim Jim commercials, but he’s also one of the most complex wrestlers ever. Savage was so good, so entertaining as a wrestler, his WWE Intercontinental Championship match with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat at 1987’s Wrestlemania III not only overshadowed the pay-per-view’s main event, which drew over 93,000 fans to Detroit’s Pontiac Silverdome (Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant for the WWE Title), but it was voted the greatest match ever by wrestling fans until 2005’s Wrestlemania 21 match between Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels. Savage also had a bad reputation for being every bit as eccentric away from the camera as he was on television. His insecurities led to the very ugly ending of his real-life marriage to his on-screen manager, Miss Elizabeth. Unlike the Superman-esque superstars like the legendary Hulk Hogan, (with whom Savage apparently had his greatest love-hate association) and current WWE star John Cena, male fans could relate to Savage, the jealous brute with the most beautiful woman in the world at his beck and call. And women understood how the delicate flower Elizabeth could stand by her often overly-Macho Man.
It turns out the “Macho Man” was even more provocative in death as he was in life. Randy Savage died the day before Family Radio founder Harold Camping predicted the world would end, May 20th, 2011. As we all know, the Judgement Day prophecy didn’t materialize. it wasn’t necessarily Camping’s absurd math formula that’s to blame. Instead, it’s been revealed that Randy Savage laid Jesus out with his patented flying elbowdrop from the top rope. The “Kingdom of the Madness” put a stomp on the “Kingdom of Heaven”, and spared the world from destruction. As a result of his dying to go to heaven to save the world, “Macho Man” Randy Savage is now the “Macho Messiah”, and has recieved his own church.
The Intercontinental Church of “Macho Man” Randy Savage held its first worship service on May 21, 2011, Harold Camping’s alleged Judgement Day. The “Macho Church” is, of course, a parody on organized religion. The guys who came up with the site are probably not as committed to Savage the way many fundamentalists are about their churches. No, wrestling fans aren’t like fundamentalists. Or are they?
Eric Bischoff is one of the most controversial wrestling executives ever. His time as President of WCW brought it its only success, but many cite Bischoff’s poor adminstrating playing a key role in WCW being put out of business in 2001. Since then he’s had a continued presence in the wrestling industry, as well as running a successful TV production with former actor Jason Hervey, and even has his own brewing company. Bischoff is the constant target of longtime wrestling fans’ ire for his role in WCW’s demise, and the fact that his current position as Executive Producer for Impact! Wrestling, the only American wrestling company to currently even slightly compete with WWE, sees him making the same mistakes he allegedly made at WCW. This group of fans are very vocal, yet surprisingly small in number. To that end, Bischoff has given these obsessive fans the condescending name of “ten-percenters”. In other words, yes, there are fundamentalist wrestling fans… When you really begin to look at it outside the box, the similarities are quite glaring between Churchianity and professional wrestling…which explains a lot of why I, among others, seem to be fascinated by both.
Everything has its own language and terms for stuff. In the transportation business, a code word for passengers is a “16”. In the police department, they use the term “187” to say homicide. In the wrestling vocabulary, a “mark” is a fan who admittedly goes for anything his or her favorite star says or does. When you see a good guy wrestler sitting in a publc place with a bad guy, that’s breaking “kayfabe”. When I first heard of somebody getting “slain in the Spirit”, I asked where they were being buried. I’m serious. And no, “alien baptism” is NOT dunking Yoda in a swimming pool.
We’ve got nicknames for just about any and everything where I’m from. I’ve been “Rkl” (a vowelless Urkel) for the past six years thanks to one of my coworkers because of the trademark glasses I wear…which you’ll probably never see me in a picture with. Some nicknames are blatantly opposite to a person, like calling a 6′ 5″ man “Shorty” or a bald-headed man “Curly”. In like manner, longtime WWE star Ted DiBiase is not really a “Million-Dollar Man/Champion”. His “Million-Dollar Championship” belt, made of real gold and diamonds, actually cost more than his house. DiBiase himself admitted this years ago. The name is simply his gimmick. And how do you call a guy “Father” when his religion requires him to dress like a mother and abstain from sex, let alone procreation. As is well documented, that’s caused some problems…
In the wrestling business, the prime target in one’s career is to be a World Champion, or at least compete in the main event at a Wrestlemania. Thousands upon thousands of wrestlers have risked life and limb to be recognized as the best in the business, with a whole lot of them falling short. Having a World Title belt signifies one’s status among the elite of their craft. Even though it has predetermined outcomes, to be the top in wrestling brings some major pay increases. Diehard wrestling fans also buy cheaper replicas of the belts and T-shirts of their favorite souveneirs. (I’ve got a replica of the SmackDown! World Title belt.) Ironically, it’s mostly adult males, who detest John Cena, that made the Cena-inspired “Spinner Belt” the best-selling item in wrestling history. On the other hand, religion takes iconophelia to a whole new, and often bloody, level. The Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, the 9/11 attacks, and the “War on Terrorism” were all justified by passages and ideologies of the venerated “holy books”. And one of the top reasons why the Bible is the best-selling book ever published? Fear of Hell if you don’t buy one. I would know; I recently found 4 in my house and threw them away.
Tithes and Offerings:
On the subject of buying, religion and wrestling have been making serious money for years, with no end in sight. As long as people have a celebrity they don’t mind paying to see, it never will. From perhaps June 1996 to the end of 2001, WWE’s “Attitude era” saw the company become the very first professional wrestling organization to be traded on Wall Street, with an average 7 million weekly Television viewers. Energetic, good-looking mic rippers like the Rock packed fans into arenas every week just to see who he’d verbally (and on occasions physically) assault next. The Rock was at Wrestlemania XXVII this year. I got to go and he is off the charts in person! “Stone Cold” Steve Austin made beating up his boss in the damned hospital look so fun, he ended up making more money in 4 years in WWE than Hulk Hogan made in 9. Despite that timeframe being extremely vulgar, the ten-percenters demand the Attitude Era back almost daily. Until that happens, they’ll gladly pay extra for WWE’s pay-per-view on demand channel. But no wrestler can touch the income made by the “prosperity gospel” preachers, whose tax-exempt status as “faith-based” organizations allow them to live luxuriously and without fear from the IRS. The average church member gives less than half of what they’re supposed to tithe. By feeding on peoples’ greed, the “name-it-and-claim-it” touters get a LOT more than a 10% offering. In 2001, just prior to getting off drugs, I got to go to T. D. Jakes’ Potter’s House megachurch. It was hilarious, and I was NOT high when I went in there! Even if their followers never quite get that Benz or mansion they’re promised by these guys, it’s ok…T.D. Jakes and Joel Osteen will be glad to own them in their place.
The gift of God gab is another facet considered rational in no other settings other than religion and wrestling. In those settings, it somehow sets you apart and above your peers…even if you can’t make heads and tails of what’s being said. I used to love the wrestler most recognizable as the Ultimate Warrior. He wore colorful attire, was very intense, and had a fan following that was the first ever to challenge that of the legendary Hulk Hogan, his Wrestlemania VI opponent. He was also known for some of the most bizarre promos and interviews in wrestling history. Warrior became the first other good guy to defeat Hulk Hogan for the WWE Title, which Hogan resents to this very day. In 1993, to prevent the misuse of his likeness and name for merchandising purposes, and at the expense of what sanity he still had, the man born Jim Hellwig legally changed his name to Warrior. I know…
Warrior’s speaking in tongues really doesn’t hold a candle to that found in Churchianity, in particular the Pentecostalists. My favorite “hoola-la-hotchuh-cha” er was the “prophetess” Juanita Bynum…
Wrestling and religion both have their men who can seemingly do no wrong. Sometimes it’s primarily because they, unlike most of their idols, actually acknowledge their presence. Some are provocative or good entertainers. And some people are inexcplicably exhalted. For his tribute to Randy Savage on WWE television shows, and his defating WWE Champion John Cena with the help of Randy Savage’s Christ-crushing elbowdrop, CM Punk was made the Macho Church’s first Patron Saint. Ten-percenters LOVE Patron Punk, because he’s an incredible athlete and interview, and he’s not a goodie-two-shoes like John Cena. And ten-percenters’ infatuation with Matt Hardy? Well, the fact that he’s constantly YouTubing and tweeting his fans with gossip on top wrestling stars (of which class he isn’t included). In other words, he’s an attention whore, a common trait of ten-percenters. Fundamentalists’ biggest gun has to be Billy Graham, who packed an average of 50,000 people in every convocation he spoke at for over 60 years. Even if the people were drawn together under him, and not Jesus, he encouraged his acolytes to attend the churches they choose…but hinted towards fundamentalist congregations. Benny Hinn has been proven time and again as a phony faith healer, yet the masses still worship him. I’m sorry, but I find it very comforting to see people more disturbed than I am.
Sh*t Only They Would Care About
The similarities between religious and wrestling extremeism show massive absurdities and their car-wreck appeal. They’re ugly, but you can’t help but look. When Edge was forced to retire from wrestling due to a neck injury, he had to give up the SmackDown! World Title. At the 2011 Extreme Rules pay-per-view, his best friend… Christian,and Alberto Del Rio, two other ten-percenter favorites, competed for the vacant title, and Christian won. Two days later, Christian lost the belt to Randy Orton, who the ten-percenters absolutely loathe. They went on pretty much any social medium they could to cry foul. Some fans actually made serious death threats to Orton. The topper was when some wrestling radio show host went on YouTube and listed 15 reasons why he hated Orton. One of the reasons was that Randy Orton had a large erection during his matches… (The video is at the end of this posting) To them, this was all the workings of a vast conspiracy against their hero, and punishment for their liking him. Never mind that Christian doesn’t have the mainstream appeal Orton does. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, when NBC aired the U.S. Open golf tournament with an edited Pledge of Allegiance, fundamentalist “Christian” groups went beserk because the words “under God” were deleted. This represented, to them, an attempt by the liberal media to diminish the “Christian foundation” America was believed to be built on. Jehovah’s Witnesses, considered by fundamentalists as a radical fringe group (yeah, they can talk) were the only “Christian” sect that recognized they were pledging themselves to a FLAG, and refused to do it. Then there’s the flop over the “Ten Commandments” being displayed in public. It’s bad when I, a Deist, know there were 613 points of law in the “Old Testament” for the Jews it was written to, but Christians don’t. And in order to keep a one of the laws, you’d inevitably break at least two or three at the same damned time.
Wrestling and religion share similar power structures. One man rules, and others, including their competitors, get whatever the “big man upstairs” deems them worthy to have. When WWE owner Vince McMahon purchased WCW from the AOL/Time Warner conglomerate and ECW in 2001, he stopped presenting the annual King of the Ring pay-per-view tournaments the next year. That only made sense, because by then, that was his new nickname. He’s been the absolute last word in the wrestling business. Granted, much smaller competitors have been born since then, such as Impact! Wrestling. But the bulk of their top talent and executive staff came from WWE. That includes Impact’s executive producer, Eric Bischoff. Vince had to have learned tricklenomics from watching the Popes and the Roman Catholic Church. It’s the longest-existing superstructure in the world. And leaders in its “Protestant” offspring , including Bryant Warren, who leads the largest Protestant denomination in the world, the Southern Baptist Convention, owe every tradition they have, especially the always-lucrative holiday seasons to Holy Mother Rome. Here’s another something they were pitched, and were forced to like (and ended up loving)…
I don’t dress up for Halloween, but love to watch other people prance about in gaudy attire. Fancy dress just attracts the eye. The “Nature Boy” Ric Flair was my favorite wrestler for years. He’s spent himself into major debt buying his trademark, custom-made ring robes throughout his nearly 40-year career. 2006’s Wrestlemania XXII pay-per-view, held in Chcago, saw Triple H depicting himself as Conan the Barbarian, and being declared the “King of Kings”. He would lose his match against Cena, who came to the ring dressed as Chicago mob boss Al Capone. But in Churchianity, the Popes have been getting decked out since the fourth century, and their “Protestant” subsidiaries like the “Whiskeypalians” and “Predestinarians” have followed suit, if you will. I did this once and had a blast: I was getting ready to perform in the choir and had my robe on. I just up and “walked that aisle” like Ric Flair used to do. Those that got the joke were hysterical. *Ahem*…
If you’re gonna dress like a star, you’ve got to present yourself as one. What better way to do that than a spectacular “triumphal entry”? This is the specialty of WWE’s “phenom” the Undertaker. His incredible ring entrances are the most anticipated part of Wrestlemanias. My favorite wrestling entrance to date has to be Wrestlemania XXIV (2008), as he challenged and defeated Edge for the SmackDown! World Title. By the way, he’s 19-0 at the annual event.
To his credit, the Pope doesn’t have a pyrotechnic show that resembles Dante’s Inferno, but he has a pretty fancy introduction himself, complete with chanting…
The key to wrestling and religion success has to be the use of sleight of hand, and suspense of disbelief. The point of both is to get you intrigued by the drama of the scene as it unfolds and stirs your emotions. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s submission match loss to Bret “Hitman” Hart at 1997’s Wrestlemania 13 made him a superstar. The bloody visage of Austin, refusing to surrender to Bret’s sharpshooter submission hold, showed him as a fighter til the very end. What many fans didn’t know is that Bret didn’t beat “Stone Cold’ bloody; Austin actually had a small razor blade and cut himself open. I absolutely loved Curt Hennig‘s matches. He was billed as “Mr. Perfect”, and fans pretty much believed he was. Unfortunately, he didn’t die perfectly: he was 44 when he overdosed on cocaine. The absurdities of religion could (and probably will) fill an entire blog, but I’ll just stick with my two personal favorites. According to the Nation of Islam, the White man was created in a lab by a mad scientist named Yakub. He used them to try to rule the world…and get revenge on other Blacks making fun of his oversized cranium. Then we get to the “Virgin Birth”… alright, here we go… God decides to have a son by a teenaged girl in the Mideast, but wants her to stay a virgin, so he sends his intangible spirit on her. This spirit I guess touches her on the forehead like Benny Hinn does, and she gets pregnant. Now, the girl has the child, and God its…father, decides it should die to save mankind from sin. Sin includes having a child outside of marriage…like Mary apparently did with God’s son. If you can go along with such nonsense, then it’s easy to see how you can ignorantly defend marriage and worship an illegitimate Christ.
When you dedicate your life and body to something you truly love, many times that within itself is a reward. But it doesn’t hurt to know a job well done will have its perks come quittin’ time. For wrestlers, the WWE or Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame is the big payoff for a great wrestling career. Benefits include a possible lucrative behind-the-scenes role, a gorgeous ring, and airtime. As brutal as the sport may be, its accolades make up the difference. For religionists, the ultimate reward is heaven. It’s one thing to want to please your fans for a living; it’s another to only do right by people because you’re bribed with a promise of eternity in a place you aren’t even sure exists. There isn’t a single trace of tangible evidence to prove Heaven, or even its tormenting counterpart, Hell, exist. What evidence there is is found in the same book that gave us the “Virgin Birth” deal, and even then, the nameless guy in the Bible who did see heaven isn’t allowed to describe it.
Scandals and tragedies:
While wrestling and gimmicky televangelism have long been my “great escapes”, reality is never too far away from either of them. Chris Benoit’s name is not allowed on WWE television after he killed his family and himself in 2007. Why he would do such a horrible thing is up for debate, but the fact that he, like so many wrestlers, including Randy Savage, died so young due to steroid and drug-related problems, bothers me. Benoit was only 40 when he died, and he died a murderer. When I think about sh*t like that and when 34-year-old Owen Hart died in 1999, I almost feel guilty for watching wrestling. Owen died attempting a dangerous ring entrance from the top of Kansas City’s Kemper Arena during the Over the Edge pay-per-view. While Owen’s death was a major tragedy, the fall of Jim Bakker was my ultimate guilty pleasure of the 80’s. He was so over the top in his blatant excess, he was pretty much scheduled for destruction. And the self-destruction of megachurch pastor Ted Haggard is becoming an all-too-common occurence: a profound opponent of homosexuality revealed to be practicing it in the shadows.
On a lighter note, both wrestling and religion have some often unnoticed influence on everyday culture. WWE merchandise can be found on virtually any retail store shelf the world over. One WWE megastar has a milestone in the English language. In 2007, the Rock’s most famous catchphrase, “smack down”, officially became a defined term in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. No, America is not a Christian nation, as the fundamentalists constantly claim, but Mormonism is the origin of one of rock music’s greatest albums. The Mormons believe God lives on a planet populated by nothing but 6-ft. White people called Colab. British rock band Pink Floyd named its 1973 album after Colab’s alleged location… The Dark Side of the Moon.
Finally, we come to the one thing that shouldn’t happen, but pretty much always does…
Clashes with Reality:
When I first became a wrestling fan, I had no idea it was rehearsed and predetermined. Upon knowing it was, it made me respect the fact that these men and women go to great lengths to put a good product out every night. It also overshadowed the fact that the performers are human beings. Before the internet became so prevailant, it was a rare occasion that the real-life personality clashes never became anything other than tabloid fodder. But when Bret Hart competed in what was to be his final WWE match before leaving for WCW, he was expected to wrestle to a draw with his real-life enemy, Shawn Michaels, and relenquish the WWE Title the next night on Raw. WWE owner Vince McMahon saw his Women’s Champion, Alundra Blayze, throw the $25,000 title belt in a garbage can on a live WCW Monday Nitro broadcast in 1995, and had Michaels declared the winner and new WWE Champion at the 1997 Survivor Series, which was held in Montreal, in Canada, Bret’s native country, to prevent Bret from doing the same. The Montreal Screwjob would change the course of wrestling history, and so were Bret’s and Shawn’s personal lives. Shawn Michaels would have to fight for years to redeem himself for his participation in the “Screwjob”, and Bret Hart’s bitterness over losing a wrestling match cost him his marriage, his reputation, and ultimately his career in WCW. It took 12 years for Bret and Shawn to finally make peace with what happened…
It’s the ultimate irony: a real-life hatred that began over a wrestling match was ended in a wrestling ring in a very rare unscripted moment. Would that happy endings like that occurred in religion. Don’t wait on it. Because as long as there are fundamentalists demanding the masses to “turn or burn” towards an eternal realm they have no more proof of than they do God impregnating a Jewish girl, there is no happy ending. As long as there are self-absorbed atheists getting on YouTube spewing their bullsh*t and attacking people for not following their ever-changing whims, just like the Christian fundamentalists, there is no happy ending. As long as Deists attempt to maintain some elitist class, and refuse to show others a possible alternative to the religious tyranny they’ve long sought to escape, there is no happy ending. And as long as we have Mohammedans willing to do this for an eternity with 72 virgins in Heaven…
…no, there will be no happy ending. By the way, even if this was an inside job by the American government, it was still the catylyst for the ill-named “war on terror”. .. and it won’t have a happy ending, either. We owe it to ourselves and to each other to at least try to bring about a happy ending. And it can be done without annihilating those with whom we may not always agree…if we want to.
To close out this posting, let’s take a look at a ten-percenter in action. Here are the 15 reasons to hate Randy Orton. And no, there are no pics of the body part that gets a rise (hee hee) out of our speaker here. Go to 4:40 to get to the boner speak, or just watch the whole thing, and keep in mind he’s dead serious. Either way, it’s a riot…or an embarassment. Later. DWT
(NOTE: Due to the extended length of this posting, there will be no extras in this blog, such as pictures, links, and whatever.)
2001 was a year that saw EVERYTHING change in America. I was also attending the Church of Christ Mama went to. Nobody can shoot out Bible verses like a Church of Christ elder or preacher. I began to delve all into the Bible, learning what I needed to live…and to bring others to the “one true church” that would get you to Heaven.I had also just come out of a five-year addiction to meth and coke. I was so fanatic with it, I thought if I read the Bible enough, I could also be rid of me homosexual desires. After all, religion got me off drugs, right? Then came 9/11. The Muslim terrorist group Al-Qaeda led by the mysterious Osama bin Laden and seemingly on some holy mission from their version of God, Allah, slammed airplanes into three buildings and killed over 3,000 people in less than 2 hours. Prior to 9/11, very few people knew what Islam was. It was seen as just some Middle Eastern belief that pretty much ripped its Quran off the Bible. Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, was seen as just another rich Arab who jipped his own people into following him. I knew a few Black Muslims; they never bothered anybody. They kept their beliefs to themselves, and always respected others. Ironically, they adhered to the Quran a lot closer than a Christian could ever hope to obey the Bible. This seemingly meaningless religion was now depicted as the ultimate evil. The holy Quran was anything but, and deserved investigation. With that, the Christian U. S. President George W. Bush declared war on Islam. Bush knew to call it that would raise the ire of the Arab Muslims who supply America their vital oil. Thus, he called his new religious crusade a “war on terrorism”. Fundamental Christians, like I now was, gladly stood behind this new crusade.
Many fundamentalists entered this war on terrorism with an insane enthusiasm. In righteous indignation, they brutally rebuked Muslims who just days prior were their contemporaries. Muslims who actually put patriotism ahead of religion were ostracized, and in some cases, beaten. Mosques were burnt to the ground. Some cities refused to allow Muslim women to wear their traditional veils in public, fearing they might be hiding weapons. And the Quran was dissected, scrutinized and stigmatized as a catalyst for jihad, Muslim holy war on all “unbelievers”. Then, the Muslims went THERE: they pointed out that if the Quran was worthy of rebuke because of 9/11, then the recent behavior of Christians prompted an investigation of the Bible. And the Muslims even knew what issues to pinpoint. MaIt was one thing to be so loyal to their own book, but to be able to point out errors in somebody else’s? America was the most powerful nation on the planet, and the Bible got it to that point. Besides, look at the tyranny running amok in Islamic nations. Look at how they treat Christians in these lands. And what’s more, look at the inconsistencies in their Quran. The Bible is inerrant. With me being in a fundamentalist congregation that supported the “war” against Islam, I jumped right into Bible study to prove that very point. I knew it’d prove itself in the end. I made a point of starting with the hot buttons I repeatedly heard Muslims point out in the Bible as contradictory… Within a week’s time, I was unknowingly about to enter a personal war against the very religion I was propagating. It hurt to have to admit defeat to the opposition I set out to discredit. My attempt to defend the Bible backfired on me. I had become so dependent on that “hedge of protection” around me. Now it seemed futile. I didn’t tell anybody about how I felt, for fear or rejection. And so I began to do what I later found out over half the people in America were already doing on Sundays and Wednesday nights: I “played church”.
I had been so committed to religion, and had been totally crushed by the end result. And there was nothing else I envisioned as a point of refuge. I felt trapped and resented the hell out of it. With no other outlets on the horizon, I began to burn out. Ultimately, I’d end up leaving the town I lived in to move to Chattanooga. Once again, I got into a religious outfit, a Presbyterian church. And this one even had an “ex-gay” ministry to help people remove their homosexual desires that consumed them. But their version of Christianity was very morally relative. It’s one thing to feel bad about thinking you’re the only one playing church, but what do you say to a LOT of people blatantly doing so? On top of this, Chattanooga had several gay bars, which some church members attended, often. Thus began a new, destructive phase of my life: I’d hit the bars Saturday night, get up in the choir Sunday morning, and blend in with the masses. And I hated myself more and more everyday, to the point I’d take it out on others. Three years later, I walked out of that church. The guilt was finally too much.
Fast forward four years later. Just prior to when I restarted posting blogs (around January, 2011), I was trying to find my way through the rubble of the worst couple of years of my life. Family problems kept me awake all night. Things were finally settling down, but not fast enough. I just wanted peace. I just wanted to be left alone. And so, with me at my last wit, with me wanting to just an end to the nonsense, it seemed there were only three options: death, drugs, or church. I’d have preferred death. Only thing is, I didn’t want to kill myself. I wanted to die valiantly at somebody else’s hands, like in some John Wayne movie or Queen Latifah’s character in Set it Off. That idea was (thankfully?) stopped when I ended up being my mother’s chauffeur. She was depending on me, as I had her as a child. Guilt kept me alive. Sh*t. Drugs could’ve led to death, but that would’ve took too long to kill me. Besides, I had lived around drug dealers for 3 years, and never got close to a one of them. I didn’t even seem worth killing. I wouldn’t have minded if they did. That left me with church. I was still tight with several members of the Presbyterian outfit. With my back up against the wall, I returned to that congregation. It helped me get back on my feet. It got me away from the family crises that popped up every other day. It gave me a sense of stability. But the resentment was still there. Rather than play church, I finally had to say “enough”. I couldn’t go through this anymore. Bitter as I was, and despite all I had seen and done, I wanted to be able to at least show some respect to the good people I KNEW went to that assembly. Even if I didn’t believe what they did, they deserved that much respect, at least. I left for the final time. With that, I was officially no longer a Christian. I was out of the game. No more “down low” (since I didn’t ever try to date women, technically I wasn’t down low as much as I was just a “closet case”…never mind.) No more playing church, or having to be surrounded by others who did, and me trying to rationalize doing so. No more sophomoric “holy cliques” to HAVE to be a part of. And there would be no more defending a book to folks that I believed so staunchly, but ended up having to say I honestly couldn’t.
The only difference this time was that I was determined to find not just an alternative to that one church, or even the Church of Christ. No, I was ready to find a way out of what you might as well call “Churchianity”: the social club atmosphere in churches that encouraged hypocrisy. This emancipation couldn’t be like when Abraham Lincoln set the Black slaves loose, or the jailbird that’s just turned loose on the streets. Neither of them had anything to go to upon release. That left the slave to piss in the wind, and the ex-con a major candidate for recidivism. (I just had to get that one in there.) Despite the Bible controversy, I knew there was DEFINITELY a God. All this stuff on Earth, and its intricate designs, couldn’t possibly be dumb luck. To keep from frustrating myself like I had when in the churches, I just left the faith thing alone for a while. And as has been the case in my life so often, the minute I quit searching for something, I found it. I finally found a belief system that allowed me to honor God without a bunch of power playing, politics or pressure. It was Deism.
The benefits of Deism, to me, are enormous. It’s a great alternative because of what it doesn’t involve. It doesn’t involve a bunch of titles and fancy names to boost up an ego, and ultimately set up fights. It doesn’t make you go out evangelizing or “soul-winning”, coercing somebody into doing something everybody involved, including YOU, may live to regret. It’s devoid of all the confusion over earthly creeds and the Bible, primarily because it acknowledges creeds and the Bible as man-made and propagated, which of course they are. And above all, Deism holds the individual for their own actions, and they must face the consequences of them, be they good or bad. When things go wrong in life, you can’t blame the “Devil”, or expect God to be on your side when you know your own misdeeds caused your problems. This also denies you access to “call God down” on people you don’t like, and send them to Heaven or Hell. If something can’t be backed by hard numbers or facts, it’s not going to be involved in Deism.
Recently, I decided to do something I’ve never consciously attempted to do before. I decided to go a full 24 hours, one whole day, without doing something that I know I like (or assume I have) to do. I just wanted to see if I had the willpower and commitment to make even the slightest change to my patterned life. And the habit I chose is the easiest one to pick up, and the hardest to let go of. It’s shaped my being for at least the last decade. It wasn’t smoking. It’s wasn’t Xbox. It’s wasn’t sleeping with the TV or computer on. No, I decided to go a full day and not attack the “Big Three”, either online or anywhere else. In other words, I decided not to slam people over their religion. And I’m glad I did. It proved to be a major step in ending my personal war with religion. I know a lot more about Deism than before, and unlike with the previous times, I was not afraid to ask questions, do homework, and know what I’m getting into. And the fact that I was free to do so ALONE added to Deism’s credibility.
The greatest benefit of all from the 24 hours of not bashing the Big Three is the peace of tolerance. When I was involved in Churchianity, it was pretty much my job to get people to be a part of the system I was a part of, even if I myself questioned it. I’d get frustrated when they wouldn’t comply. It’s not an easy thing to live in a world where people rarely see things the way you want them to. But man, it’s such a lifted burden to know you don’t have to change their minds. That’s really the only way people of different mindsets can co-exist. And another thing that helps? Empathy. Knowing where a person’s coming from. No two people on this planet have the exact same life experiences. Folks complain a lot of times about others getting on Deist-oriented websites, and basically ripping the Big Three. In the first place, complaining about complaining is… well, complaining. That may be the only place they can vent their frustrations against systems that have caused them, in their particular case, far more harm than good. If they can let it out and go on their damned way, hey, good for them. Let them do it. The key here is to be able to move on. If I see somebody on a posting or a shared video or whatever doing something that is meant to hurt others, or it’s just completely uninformed, oh yeah, they’re fair game. (You don’t want something you do commented on, keep it off the damned Internet.) But if a person goes on and on about something, I’ll just leave them to sort it out. The biggest thing about it is that people have a right to believe whatever they want for whatever reason they want to. The person in organized religion is in it for some kind of reason, even if it doesn’t make sense to you. And there are things about Deism those in the Big Three don’t understand. Regardless, we have to at least be able to co-exist. I didn’t say we had to hold hands and sing “We Are the World”. But as long as I’m left alone, I won’t bother anybody else. You go one way, I’ll go another. If there happens to be a middle ground, great. If not…oh well. And if you are in a religious quagmire you want out of, just remember this…the prison is your own mind, and you’ve got the key. You just gotta figure out which way to turn it.
I’ll close with this: To those in the World Union of Deists, I really want to say thank you. The support I’ve received has been incredible, and I absolutely love how we can have some really good conversations, even when we don’t all agree unanimously on something. I only hope I can be an asset to you the way you have to me. And as for those in NCF (those who go there know who I’m referring to), I say thank you, and I’m sorry, but we both know it’s better this way.
Having done six different blogs, I’m at the point where I can reflect on the things I’ve said, seen, and done, since then. It also gives me a chance to prepare for future subjects. I’m also opening up the floor for suggestions. Feel free to send any questions or ideas on the fb page or, if possible, the comments section. With that said, I’ll now begin the “Mid-term” analysis, beginning with…
The New Number One: Are Math and Biology REALLY That Hard?
The original first blog I did on Posterous was horrible. The original title was pretty cool, but I hadn’t done my homework like I should have. The repost, as you know, was about one of my least favorite “holidays”, Easter. The issue of Jesus’ resurrection has never been an issue, but there are several other things. One is Easter’s blatant pagan origins, and the way “Bible-believing” Christians enter the season with such fervor. I also don’t like the fact that people find it okay to tell their children lies like the Easter Bunny fable (beautifully illustrated above), and feel it’s alright for that time of year. If you’ll tell fibs like that to them in childhood…I’m just saying. But the real pet peeve is the “Good Friday” theory. Why is it the “Big Three” (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) feel they can defy the laws of physics, mathematics, and plain, old common sense to further their agenda, and claim a person has a lack of faith when they don’t beleive such nonsense? Think about it. 2+2=4. Well, maybe if I have enough faith, 2+2 will equal 5, right? Reason trumps superstition, at least until you walk in a church building.
Number Two: The Three “H”‘s: “Holiness”
Looking back, maybe this should have been the “Original Number One”. I thought nobody was reading, so I could say whatever (still do). I was dead wrong. My phone, email, and facebook page blew the hell up. Most people knew about the homosexuality part. What set a lot of people off was my requesting explanations for some of the Bible’s inconsistencies and the entertainment aspects of Sunday worship. If you’re a Christian, it’s not a question of if, but a matter of when, you’ll meet someone who wants to know what justifies those things. The day I left that church, I had a chat with a guy over the Eddie Long scandal, and he just couldn’t beleive a megachurch pastor could be a practicing homosexual. I insisted he could. Game recognizes game. That same Sunday, the leader for the worship service was so effeminate, people had to make him cut his permed ponytail off when he was 20. Rather than live a lie to please the masses, like he, among others, was doing, I left the church. And I don’t regret it one bit. Especially now, which I’ll get into later.
Number Three: The Three “H”‘s: Hulk Smash!
In May 2010, I ended up leaving the taxi business I had been enmeshed in for the previous three years. The spare time, and a whole lot of sh*t going on with my mother, gave me ample reason to begin writing a book about my life. I also decided the theme of the book would center around the similarities between my life and that of the oldest active character in Marvel Comics, Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner. It sounds absurd, but I felt it would work…at the time. As a warm-up, I decided to analogize the lives of childhood abuse victims to the Incredible Hulk (pictured above). The fictional Hulk’s alter ego, nuclear phycisist Bruce Banner, endured a childhood very similar to real-life child abuse victims, yet went on to have a great job. But he was never free of the demons that were birthed in his youth, yet continues to try his best in spite of them. In other words, I was showing that comics were useful for a lot more than movie scripts and videogame themes, and that there are life lessons in them. They also help you learn to read, as they did in my case.
Number Four: The Three “H”‘s: The Final “H”
This one seemed to back me into a corner. I don’t feel it did. Relationships of any kind, be they straight, same-sex, interracial, whatever, are doomed if people are in them for ultimately selfish reasons. If you’re with somebody to prove how “different” you are, you’re wrong. If you’re with somebody to fulfill some plantation fantasy, you’re wrong. And if you’re with somebody to improve your status… you’re a prostitute. Marriage is two people for life. Even if those who claim to “defend” marriage fail to remember this, if you’re a same-sex couple seeking marriage rights, you WILL be held to a higher standard, because you have to plead your case, and heterosexuals don’t. And yes, your opponents are aware of the “couple seeking a third” ads on adam4adam. Hell, I got so many guys like that (among others, to be sure) trying to meet me on that site I closed my account. And for those wondering, the pic is of the X-Man Northstar, the first character in Marvel Comics history to come out (Alpha Flight vol. 1, #106, the best-selling book in the series’ history.)
Number Five: Cena Says…
Since that blog was posted, two NBA players, (LA Lakers phenom Kobe Bryant and the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah) were heavily fined for calling heckling fans “faggots”. NBA legends like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, and David Robinson were more than just spectacular athletes; they were ambassadors of the sport, if not American achievement. They’d never lose their cool against their paying audience like these overpriced thugs and field n*gg*rs the NBA is overflowing with now, so yes, the fines were justified. Professional wrestling, by necessity, has always been the most politically incorrect entertainment venue on television. It’s thrived on stirring its audience. “Gorgeous” George Wagner was so good at infuriating his opponents that 19-year-old Kentucky boxer Cassius Clay began to taunt his opponents like Wagner. The backlash GLAAD got for targeting WWE star John Cena was intense. (Don’t wait for GLAAD to admit it.) Ironically, most longtime wrestling fans constantly complain about Cena’s gimmick, that of a buff, superheroic, White rapper, and his uncanny popularity with children, women, and yes, sissies (see above picture for explanation. Duh!). But they, like most people, hate politcal correctness even more.
Number Six: Sorry, I Got the Wrong Number!
On Mother’s Day, my car was smashed to bits on I-75 by some girl texting on a phone and driving. I got out alive, got enough money to buy another car, which I’ve opted not to do, and was checked out as OK at the doctors I went to. If ever there was a time to realize how valuable life is, I’d say that wreck was it. Another thing that seemed bad but turned out to be very good was the conversion to Deism. It’s truly a blessing to find that a person can appreciate God without going to some absurd book to try to read about Him. What “absurd book”? The same one guys like Harold Camping (pictured) use to predict the end of the world. Tell me something: can you really find a difference between Camping threatening Armegeddon and the usual preacher threatening Hell? There is one. Well, more like one million, which Camping has no doubt already spent.
Alright, here are some potential future subjects. If something happens in the news worth mentioning, it’ll get some discussion, too, but otherwise, here they are…
The Mass for Christ (guess what that’s about)
“Gay Christians”/Why the “Down Low” is low down
Lynda Carter (you read that right; it’ll make sense)
And just to make things really interesting here are three interesting things you’ll notice in future posts:
Reducing, if not outright eliminating, the use of the word “gay”
Reducing, if not outright eliminating, the use of the word “kids”
Avoiding spelling errors
Thanx to everybody for reading.
I was going to take a break from writing for a minute, but recent events pulled me back in the fold. Since my last posting, my world got shook up a little. The first event was FINALLY having a name for my beliefs. In a nutshell, a Deist is one who believes in God, but sees His handiwork in his surroundings and not through the precepts of men. As a result, Deism all but annihilates the bulk of organized religion’s ills. The ways Diesm goes about doing that may be deemed heretical, but they ARE the most effective. I’ll get to them later on.
What really drew me out of my cocoon was the recent fervor over the so-called “Second Coming” that was to occur on May 21, 2011. Harold Camping, an 89-year-old evangelist based in California, came up with some sort of “Biblical Mathematics” to predict the day the “end time” would begin.
The events of the “Second Coming” are just as convoluted as Camping’s math formula, so I’ll try to explain it as best I can. The “Second Coming” of Jesus Christ is supposedly “Christians”‘ payoff for services rendered to Christ, and a time of torment for those who were not Christians. The Second Coming is actually a series of events under that one banner. First, Christians get mysteriously snatched off the earth to meet Jesus in the clouds. While airborne, they basically cool out with Christ while Earth’s final moments are played out. This process is called the“Rapture”.
Those who did not follow Jesus Christ get to watch the world come crashing down around their ears through wars, famine, and the tyranny of a cruel yet fascinating “Anti-Christ” figure (who’s either the Devil in disguise or one of his superpowered servants). These events will occur over three and one-half years. However, if the former unbelievers can avoid being branded Anti-Christ property (AKA the “Mark of the Beast”)and revert to Jews, they’ll be spared Hell, too. This time frame is known as the “Tribulation”.
To climax the Tribulation, Jesus absolutely punishes the Devil in one last battle known as “Armageddon”, named after a valley in the Middle East. And yes, just like wrestling, the outcome of the match is predetermined long ahead of time.
As confusing as all that hubbub is, that isn’t even the end of it. After the Devil gets his comeuppance, he gets a thousand-year banishment to a bottomless pit. During that time, Jesus begins to rule in modern Jerusalem over all the proselytized Jews/Tribulation Saints on Earth, who also end up serving the Raptured Christians in some capacity, depending on which church you attend. Meanwhile, to symbolize their loyalty to Christ without having to go through the Tribulation, the Raptured get a golden crown with literal stars in it. This is known as the “Millennial Reign of Christ” or the “millennium“.
Now, when the millennium ends, Jesus takes all the Tribulation Saints to Heaven. Then God Himself decides the fate of all the people who ever lived. Those that refused to worship either God or Jesus, even during the Tribulation, and the Devil himself, get sentenced to Hell. That number seems to include pretty much EVERYBODY. Those it doesn’t, the loyal folks, consisting of the Raptured, the Tribulation Saints, and those who worshipped God or Jesus before the rapture, get to attend the eternal worship service in Heaven. This is known as “The Judgement”.
Robert Fitzpatrick, a retired MIT engineer in Ellis Island, spent his entire life savings ($140,000!) advertising his book, which was based primarily on Camping’s math, and the end of time itself. But Bobby is only the most prominent guy to do that, not the only one. In fact, Harold Camping’s radio network, Family Radio, encouraged others to give up all their earthly possessions to prepare for Christ to call them up in the sky, and not a few gave Family Radio all they had. Almost as soon as the doomsayers showed up, the Seattle Atheists countered, and they did so brilliantly. They announced the commencement of “Rapture Parties” to welcome Camping’s alleged end time prophecy. If the prophecy was true, they promised to take the donations they received from the parties and distribute them among the people who didn’t get airborne. If it turned out to be a hoax, they pledged to send the money to a local youth camp…
Robert Fitzpatrick, a retired MTA engineer, decided to give up all he had, and stand in the middle of Times Square waiting for the end to come. All he’s got to show for it is a picture with a fat guy laughing at him and a big-ass baby bottle behind him.
This latest hustle from Harold Camping is hardly the first “Judgement Day” rouse. The first recorded big one happened in 1843, when a Baptist preacher named William Miller began telling people he had used the Bible to determine when the last day on Earth would be. If he would have said he used just a plain old calculator, oh no he’d be deemed a lunatic. But because he used the BIBLE, oh, that made him a sure thing. A good number of people gave up all their worldly possessions to loved ones, and waited fervently for Jesus. The date came and went. Then Miller announced he had been off by one year, so the folks waited. And once again the proposed date came and went. But that didn’t stop the end-time prophecies. Since then, people like Hal Lindsey (who predicted 1984), longtime asylum resident Edgar C. Whisenant (1988), and South Carolina’s “Overcomer Ministry” preacher R.G. Stair (1988) have predicted the end, and every one of them, including Harold Camping himself (1994), have been proven wrong. (Note: In time some of Miller’s former followers took many of his teachings and formed what today is called the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.)
But as difficult a time as Harold Camping will have explaining his daffy numeric definitions, the Presbyterian will have to explain why they should do right when they’ve already been predestined to Heaven or Hell…and don’t even know which one it’ll be. As hard as it’ll be for Robert Fitzpatrick to explain why he gave away everything, the Baptist will have to explain their fascination with “blessing” modern-day Israel and its Christ-denying inhabitants, primarily to gain for themselves. And the Bible thumpers look no better when they condemn homosexuality, yet allow an obviously gay man to lead their worship service or choir.
Deism recognizes books like the Qur’an and Bible as human, philosophical, and social commentaries over the centuries. It doesn’t allow for people to use a constantly reinterpreted book as a weapon against others. As a result, it also avoids the constant contradictions in the previous paragraph. Deism lets people acknowledge and appreciate God, not worship Him as a matter of fear or being subject to rejection for not doing it just right. And Deism has one final benefit: people are accountable and must directly face the consequences for their actions. Rather than go through the “sin, repent, repeat” cycle, hoping you’ll be forgiven (and not knowing until you die if you were), and the repercussions of one’s actions are to be attended to here and now.
My first time on posterous, I had not written anything in almost three years. The first blog I did was proof of it. It was so bad I decided to redo it. Before I go any further, let me thank everybody who read “Cena Says”. WWE has been around for as long as most of us living, and have done incredible work for children’s causes and disaster victims. GLAAD has done…not a damned thing, really.
I’ll admit it. I was a sh*tty sudent. I had so much chaos in my life as a teenager, I often wondered why I was still alive. When I felt like actually doing homework, I focused on math and biology, and that was only because I liked the teachers. Most of the teachers knew about my home life, and seemingly had mercy on me. Somehow, I managed to graduate high school. Looking back all these years later, I realize how we as adults take things for granted. Math and biology are the very building blocks of society. Both have been around since the beginning of time, and we’d be wiped out without them. Biology is needed to figure out when we’re sick, and math tells us how much medicine we need to recover. And some of the worlds most absolute truths are in both. Nobody questions 2+2=4, or “the birds and the bees”. Then religion gets involved.
If you got overcharged at a restaurant, you’d damned sure bring it to somebody’s attention, wouldn’t you? What if some woman walked up to you and said she got her husband pregnant? You’d either laugh you *ss off or be totally freaked out. Yet people over the next several days will dib and dab in something just as absurd, with situations like the aforementioned all the sudden making perfect sense. Somehow, religion makes it rational. You see, next week is Easter Sunday, the “Christian” day commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Never mind that it’s held on a different Sunday every year. Never mind that it’s named after a bunch of pagan godesses. And never mind “Protestant Christians” indulging in a holiday created by the church they claim to want nothing to do with.
Christian preachers and theologians spend hours upon hours debating the origins of Easter, and there are several trains of thought regarding it. Many of Easter’s observants are quick to claim it is an amalgam of the Jewish Passover and the resurrection of Jesus. Opponents of the tradition point to the fact that Easter was an ancient springtime fertility festival, with various nations worshipping some form of a fertility goddess. She was called, among other names, Ishtar (in Assyria and Babylonia), Astarte (in Egypt and Phonecia, among other places), and Eostre (in the lands surrounding what’s now called Germany). The most prevailing opinion is also the most arrogant. Most Christians indeed acknowledge the pagan origins of Easter, but just like they did with rock, rap, and weightlifting, they claim to have “Christianized” the season. The popularity of Easter all but forced the early Christians to keep people interested in the growing group, so they engaged in it, amalgamating it into worship of Christ. In later years, the unity between the pagan Easter and Christianity was strengthened by… the Roman Catholic Church.
The customs of Easter are entirely pagan. You will not find a single substantial thing in the Bible that describes its trappings. Thus, people have to seek information on the customs have to search elsewhere. Ironically, I ran across an interesting piece from Christian website allaboutjesuschrist.org concerning the Easter ham, Lent, the Sunrise service, and the name “Easter” itself:
“… Noah’s grandson (Cush) and his wife Semiramis had a son named Nimrod…After Cush’s death, Nimrod married his own mother and became a mighty king. He too was eventually killed. His mother then began the deceit of deifying her son/husband, claiming he had become a “sun-god” (the origin of “Easter Sunrise services), and he was then to be called Baal. (Baal was worshipped as a god of fertility and promoted sexual sin.) She proclaimed that the people of Babylon should worship him…This wicked Queen, doing the work of Satan, was creating a new religion and set herself up as the goddess called “Ishtar.” Hence the root of the pronunciation “Easter.” After she became pregnant, she bore a son named Tammuz claiming he was the product of a sunray, which caused her to conceive. But Tammuz grew to be a hunter and was later killed by a wild pig. “Ishtar” then designated a forty day period (the source of Lent) to mark the anniversary of Tammuz’s death. During this time, no meat was to be eaten. Every year, on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, a celebration was made. Ishtar also proclaimed that because a pig killed Tammuz, that a pig must be eaten on that Sunday.”
Nimrod was reportedly responsible for building the Tower of Babel in the Bible. This meant this tale was out at least a hundred years (probably closer to a thousand) before the Passover feast was created, so you know even Jews had heard this tale. Another thing: did you notice how Semiramis/Ishtar claimed she was impregnated by a sunray? I recall another young girl making a similar claim around 2000 years ago. And how do you combine a Jewish passover day with eating a pig, which Jews abhor?
Then we get to one of the most controversial aspects of Easter: the Easter Bunny laying Easter eggs. No doubt when you ask the average Christian about it, you’ll hear something to the effect of “Oh, thats just for the kids to have fun with.” Well, that does have some validity, but the original reason why there were eggs and bunny rabbits go right back to the name of the day. Easter was originally a springtime fertility festival, and rabbits are the most fertile animals around. And eggs are also an ancient fertility symbol, so the pagan observants of Easter simply decided to combine them and have the bunny rabbit (which, by the way, could be female or male) lay eggs as a symbol of the festival. Why not? This of course morphed into Peter Cottontail and the Cadbury bunny. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what the Roman Catholic Church, the first church to make Easter an official state holiday, had to say about it, via the Catholic Encyclopedia:
“Because the use of eggs was forbidden during Lent, they were brought to the table on Easter Day, coloured red to symbolize the Easter joy. This custom is found not only in the Latin but also in the Oriental Churches. The symbolic meaning of a new creation of mankind by Jesus risen from the dead was probably an invention of later times. The custom may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter. The egg is the emblem of the germinating life of early spring…Both coloured and uncoloured eggs are used in some parts of the United States for this game, known as “egg-picking”…The Easter Rabbit lays the eggs, for which reason they are hidden in a nest or in the garden. The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility…”
I can see parents footing the bill for their child’s college going clean the hell off if they found out one of the professors was teaching the type of biology in the picture above. Yet they go along with this in the name of religion. Writer Dan Brown gets slammed for claiming Jesus was married to Mary Magdelene and had a daughter, and people go along with this in the name of religion. And Christians deem homosexuality biologically incompatible, but go along with this in the name of religion.
Miraculously, adults in some places saw the absurdity in such a thing, and felt it better to let children go through childhood beleiving such nonsense. Besides, they’d get some great candy out of it. I mean come on, is there any real harm in a little white lie?
Another long-brewing query has to do with the date of Easter. Actually, it’s not hard to figure out. Well, maybe it is. The easiest way to do it is to find the first day of Passover, and add eight days to it. Passover does not have an official one day to begin, seeing that it’s based on the moon phases. And to figure out Passover it depends on what part of the world you’re in. The Western world uses one calendar (Gregorian) the Eastern world another (Julian). Both, however, base their Passovers on the various phases of the moon. In other words, Jews, Roman Catholics and Protestant Christians, who claim to want no part of Rome, all celebrate their respective springtime festivals based on the same formulas used to calculate the damned horoscopes in the newspaper.
The last major aspect of the Easter season is easily the most baffling of all. The chronology of Jesus’ life has been up in the air forever. People, who date the modern Christian calendar, are arguing even now on what year he was born (thus the B.C.E. acronym). His long-beleived birthday, December 25th, is proven wrong by the Bible itself. And then there’s the day he died. I’ve been led to believe that Jesus only died once, and returned to Heaven. It only takes one day to die; hell, it only takes one second to die. On top of that, in the Bible, Jesus himself said he’d be dead and buried three full days and three full nights before he rose from the dead. So the concept of a Good Friday and an Easter Sunday (or as some like to call it, Resurrection Sunday) is mathematically impossible. Would you let your HR department at work calculate your vacation days using just any old math formula? But then again, religion can rationalize anything, can’t it? Just to say we did it, let’s look at the Catholic Encyclopedia’s take on Good Friday:
“From the earliest times the Christians kept every Friday as a feast day; and the obvious reasons for those usages explain why Easter is the Sunday par excellence, and why the Friday which marks the anniversary of Christ’s death came to be called the Great or the Holy or the Good Friday”
If you’re a fairly honest person, you’d have to admit that just saying you like to do sh*t on Friday as opposed to trying to religiously rationalize something that makes a lot more sense. There’s not a Christian anywhere that can justify all those extra-Biblical activities involved with Easter. All they have to justify them is piety. So do Islamic jihadists, Tim McVeigh, and abortion center killers. The evil people engage in for religious purposes is incredible, and next time, we’ll look at some of the religious evils perpetrated by the most powerful “Christian” entity on the planet: the Roman Catholic Church. You’ll also see the connections and impact they have on the “Protestant” churches that come from them.
First off, I’d like to thank everybody who read the Three “H” series. It was among my personal favorite commentaries ever. Now, this week, we get into a subject near and dear to me and one of the weirdest couples I have ever seen.
The gay rights movement of the last two or three decades has often been compared to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s. Like the Civil Rights movement, society in America has undergone drastic changes. Several states, most notably Vermont and Massachusetts, offer legal marriage rights to same-sex couples, major corporations like Sprint and Pepsi offer insurance to gay partners, and gay people like Ellen DeGeneres and Elton John are household names. The biggest difference between the two movements is the use of political correctness. For simplicity’s sake, political correctness is vilifying a public figure or group for making an insensitive comment towards a particular group. Theoretically, that seems like a good idea. The problem is that it doesn’t usually work that way. The way it plays out usually sees the offender crucified, while the offended pretty much has free reign to say whatever they want. The gay media has vilified numerous people for saying things that were deemed negative to gays. For simply saying they don’t agree with the gay lifestyle, now, not just calling people homophobic slurs. The list, which will grow regularly, includes rappers, actors, countless politicians, and professional wrestlers.
GLAAD, the Gay/Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, recently formed (or more correctly, forced) an alliance with the world’s largest professional wrestling organization, WWE, to discourage WWE’s viewers, which are primarily teenaged boys and young children, against bullying gay youth. This uncivil union came about after GLAAD employees saw two of WWE star John Cena’s promos, which they deemed homophobic and potentially harmful to gay youth.
Here’s the latest big tag team in WWE: John Cena (left), WWE superstar, Role Model, Sex Symbol, Alleged homophobe, and Adult bullying victim. His partner? GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios. Their opponents? Gay bullying. Whatever.
On the February 21, 2011 broadcast of WWE’s flagship weekly program, Monday Night Raw, John Cena “cut a promo” on his future opponent, The Rock. (“Cutting a promo” is basically when you diss and put down your enemy.) It centered around Cena mocking Rock, who is also known as actor Dwayne Johnson, for playing gay characters in his movies. Here are some highlights:
The next week, Cena ripped into two adversaries, the Miz and his manager, Alex Riley, in like manner. (For simplicity’s sake, just forward it to about 4:00 to get to the sh*t disturbing)
As a longtime wrestling fan, and a gay man, I was not offended at all by Cena’s Rock rap. In fact, that’s probably the most entertaining John Cena’s been in years. I will say this: the rap promo was pretty rough, but not necessarily from an anti-gay perspective, but for the language. It barely fit a PG rating. (I WAS offended by his segment on the Miz because it was lame as hell). Nonetheless, this is not GLAAD’s first go-round with wrestling. In 1999, when the wrestling audience was its highest ever, GLAAD attacked WCW over a “gay” tag team named the West Hollywood Blondes. In 1996, GLAAD blasted WWE for the androgynous Goldust, who groped male opponents. WWE owner Vince McMahon was reprimanded for a segment in which he called Cirque de Soleil dancers performing for his birthday party “gay” in 2009 . But the ultimate battle line was drawn in 2002, when WWE concocted a storyline that saw 2 male wrestlers getting married. GLAAD, knowing wrestling shows are scripted, presented tag team Billy and Chuck with a damned gravy boat on the Today show as a wedding gift. (And the look on Billy Gunn’s face was f*ck*ng priceless; if you have footage of that show please let me know) But when GLAAD found out that Billy and Chuck would announce they were actually straight, and subsequently get their *ss*s beat by a rival team, (GLAAD says that signified gay-bashing) GLAAD picked up a grudge they may never drop. Ironically, they never did anything to condemn the “Hot Lesbian Action” on Raw that also became (in)famous around the same time.
GLAAD calling John Cena a “homophobe” doesn’t hurt him half as much as GLAAD seems to think. Cena’s actually despised by longtime, adult WWE fans who watched it during WWE’s profanity-laced “Attitude Era”of the late 1990’s and the first few years of the new millenium. In those days, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was pointing a toy gun at WWE owner Vince McMahon’s head and making him piss his pants. The Rock was referring to people’s “roody-poo candy asses”. And the endlessly horny “Sexual Chocolate” Mark Henry ended up making out with a man in drag, and getting a nearly 80-year-old woman pregnant (she gave birth to a hand). Here’s another example of the antics of that day, actually one of the cleaner promos of that time. It’s a very interesting promo involving Triple H, who’s married to Vince’s daughter, Stephanie, and 1996 Olympic wrestling gold medalist Kurt Angle.
When that segment was aired in September 2000, Monday Night Raw was under a TV-14 rating, true, but it had about eight million viewers a week, nearly double the TV audience WWE programming currently has, so you know youth saw that. In other words, what Cena said in those promos is actually infantile compared to what made WWE its most money. (It should be noted that GLAAD also overlooked that segment.) And GLAAD using their magic words (intolerance, bigotry, homophobic) to describe John Cena actually rallies people behind him and WWE, and make people see GLAAD for the glory hounds they’ve become. The proof of this is when, less than three weeks after GLAAD announced they had bullied WWE into a gay-bullying program (which is pretty much what they did) http://glaadblog.org/2011/03/17/wwe-to-partner-with-glaad-on-anti-bullying-messages/, WWE announcer Michael Cole called fellow announcer Josh Matthews a “faggot” on Twitter. The truth is it was Michael Cole blatantly showing how absurd he thought GLAAD’s bully pulpit was. It should also be mentioned that Cole’s TV persona was being established as a bad guy, so what better way to “turn heel” than piss off the most sensetive group on Earth?
Could you really be insulted by a guy who mugs in a camera like WWE announcer Michael Cole (left)? Just days after WWE “joined forces” with GLAAD, Cole showed his commitment to the forced teaming by calling fellow announcer Josh Matthews a “faggot” on Twitter. And when Cole got out of his sensitivity class, he and Josh were probably lol.
Here’s a quote TMZ got from a gay wrestling company regarding Cole’s “tweet”:
The champion of the Pro Gay Wrestling Federation is OUTRAGED that WWE announcer Michael Cole has not been suspended for posting a homophobic slur on Twitter … TMZ has learned. The Gay Avenger tells us he’s upset by Cole’s “intolerant and insensitive” comment … and insists the word encourages a “hostile bullying environment.” PGW founder and CEO Francis Minks adds, “How can ANYONE at the WWE say anything derogatory about gay people?? Look at what they do and have been doing for a living for years! Big muscles, small tights rolling around! I’m just saying, honey.” Minks adds, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw sconces!”
He DOES have a point about the tights, but did anybody stop to think the male that Minks is answering may not be comfortable being referred to as “honey” by another man? Everyone knows Josh Matthews is not an openly practicing homosexual. If you see his wife, he really doesn’t have a good reason to be. At any rate, Cole had to be punished, for political correctness’ sake, so he attended “sensitivity training”, facilitated by GLAAD. I can just imagine the chuckles Cole walked away with from it. And GLAAD could never imagine the joke people see them as. And those in that segment are not just bigoted heterosexuals, but mature homosexuals who don’t even like wrestling. They are not traitors; they’re just beyond such childish antics.
After all these years of wrestling WWE to a draw, why is GLAAD once again pouncing on a scripted sport? And did it ever occur to them that it may well have been a gay person writing the promos Cena did? Would they be considered homophobic then? GLAAD’s attack on WWE can really be explained in five sentences, but I’ll elaborate to prove the point being made.
John Cena isn’t interested. Is there anything worse than a georgeous, nearly naked guy drenched in baby oil not wanting you? The love/hate relationship between the gay community (the men in particular) and wrestling stems from the fact that while wrestling has blatantly homoerotic elements (near nude men drenched in baby oil play-fighting), it is not a very gay-freindly envionment, which is contradictory. Most wrestlers, even those who play “gay” characters, are happily heterosexual. Bret “Hitman” Hart, one of the most popular wrestlers of all time, had pink and black as his primary ring attire colors and is a married grandfather. Ric Flair, who even now holds the record for the most World Championships, wore robes with sequins and boas for over 30 years, and was one of the most notorious womanizers in the industry. And Shawn Michaels, considered by most fans as the man whos had more great matches than anyone in the history of the business, actually posed for Playgirl, assumably unaware it had a primarily gay male audience. Real men can wear tights, and that’s one of the reasons why GLAAD takes the buff, butch and b*tch-loving Cena’s comments so personally.
They attack WWE because they can. In 1999, WWE had made so much money in two years time that it became the first independent professional wrestling federation to be traded on Wall Street. By 2001, WWE had actually purchased its cheif competitor, WCW, from Time Warner. But the lack of creative competition, and the high body count from wrestlers dying from drug and steroid abuse (the most notable being wrestler Chris Benoit killing his 7-year old son, his wife, and himself) took a major toll. WWE responded by lowering the “violence” and profanity,and targeted the smaller but steady youth market, and ended up with major advertising and merchandising deals. GLAAD knows WWE has a questionable past, and is using it against them. They also know they have HUGE earning potential, something they, as a nonprofit organization, can get in on and indulge themselves.
It’s not like they have anything else to do. GLAAD is the gay community’s NAACP. In the beginning, both groups set out seeking equality and justice. But once the major milestones were met (desegregation, Civil Rights, domestic partnership benefits,) people began to blaze their own trails, and had no need for the advocacy groups. But the NAACP and GLAAD executives got used to the living they were making, and began seeking out any venue they could to keep a vital media presence, so they’ve attacked every group they could get away with attacking to make people think they still needed them, including WWE.And I’m sure they get a kick out of the Republican backing McMahons bowing to their pressure. This is one of the biggest coups GLAAD has ever pulled off, and you can tell by the Michael Cole incident how highly WWE really thinks of it.
They beleive gay youths need political correctness. GLAAD claims to be protecting gay youths from further bullying by putting the clamps on WWE. This comes after a rash of suicides related to gay bullying over Summer 2010. What a wrestling promo aired eight months later has to do with it, I don’t know. When I was growing up, there was no GLAAD, LOGO channel, or “It Gets Better” ads, with all due respect. We had to take either the Martin or Malcolm route. If you took the Martin route, you took the worst your tormentors had and showed you could. Eventually they’d wear themselves out and leave you alone out of frustration…or maybe even out of respect. The Malcolm route meant you took it, but you gave it just as good. If a little boy was going to tote a purse, he knew how to swing it or get that knife out. It was about survival, not acceptance. If they did accept, fine, but if not, f*ck ’em. And we didn’t commit suicide to run away, either. How is it that the gay community has all these damned outlets for youth, yet the suicide rate is higher? The answer lies in the fact that groups like GLAAD never prepare these young people for the rigors of reality; instead they promise to “legislate” the disagreeing mentality away. In a life-or-death situation, who’s going to sit around and recite a damned self-help mantra? GLAAD should be honest and say “it gets worse before it gets better”. And keep in mind that when GLAAD gets on the “tolerance” soapbox, but refuses to tolerate others, it’s showing its true colors. The rash of suicides is not a loss to them; it’s an opportunity.
They beleive WWE reenforces negative stereotypes of gay youth and people. GLAAD and the NAACP don’t attack record labels for the use of “nigger” and “faggot” because A) The record labels see them as the self-righteous glory hounds they are and won’t spend a dime or minute on them and B) they know gay and Black artists (who use those words more than anybody) need those labels to make a living… and to be able to line GLAAD and NAACP’s pockets. The same goes for music videos. The NAACP and GLAAD would be cutting their own throats to try to condemn them, especially when you consider LOGO, the gay cable channel, is owned by Viacom. As are LOGO’s parent company, MTV, VH1, and BET. In 2005, American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino came out with a song glorifying her being an unwed, teenaged mother. Top 40 radio stations refused to play a song like that, and they were called racist. But Urban/R&B stations played it every hour on the hour, because they knew their audience was primarily unwed, teenaged mothers. Should they not have been doing something to curb this trend? Remember when Dr. Laura had that gabfest with the Black woman married to the White guy, and his friends were making racially tinged remarks towards her? Dr. Laura’s response was dead-on correct, but she caught hell for pointing out that Black comedians used the word “nigger” ad infinitum. Then she told the lady that if she couldn’t handle her husband’s friends making those comments, she should marry within her own race. For her troubles, Dr. Laura ‘s radio show was all but forced out of national syndication. Suppose a Black radio host gave the same answer? What about Cena and Triple H’s depictions of gay men? You know the worst thing about stereotypes? They’re almost always true. Be honest. We all know gay couples who love interior decorating, overpriced alcohol, and sappy movies like “The Notebook”, although I don’t know anybody with a tandem bike. Because John Cena mocked it, he’s bigoted. If Danny and Eric DO those things, it’s a damned near prerequisite. Here is the fatal flaw of political correctness: it’s alright to mock those who don’t do what you think they should, but woe unto them that mock you for doing it in the first place.
When I began really keeping up with professional wrestling, I was 14 years old. I didn’t watch it because of the gay overtones. I watched it because it was cool to hear some of the putdowns the guys traded with each other. It was an escape and my source for ammunition. I knew, at that young an age, they were not talking to Douglas Wayne Tipton; they were talking to each other. It was part of a show, and that’s all it ever was or will be: a show. They had never met me, and I had never met them. GLAAD’s attack on WWE is a desperate cry for attention. They don’t give a decent damn about gay youth. They’re simply using those young people’s corpses as a platform. I’m sure it makes them feel big to claim they’re doing all this for the children. The reality is that they look every bit as bad as the bullies they claim to be battling. But keep this in mind: the alleged homophobes John Cena and even Michael Cole are raising millions all the time for the children (Cena’s incredible work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation being a prime example), while groups like GLAAD use the memories of dead teens to raise mere thousands for themselves. Have you seen all those ads WWE did to help Japan? Go to GLAAD’s website and see what they’re doing for anybody in Japan, let alone gay people.
Now, since Astarte Day is April 24, I’ll be redoing the very first blog I did on Posterous. And you already know where I’m going with it…
I’m sure the last blog raised some eyebrows. In a sense it was meant to, but above all else, it was a very overdue purging. People get upset when you challenge spiritual things, and I don’t see where that’s wrong. When a person goes to a car lot, does he just take the dealer’s word that the car they’re looking at is ready for them? Why, hell no, they take it for a test drive. You ever look at an ad for a house, and go right then and start moving in? No! You go see the house itself, see where it is, if the picture matches what you see, and check the price. And if the Protestant Christian Church didn’t have a challenge to God, then where did the over 100 denominations come from? Well, last time, we focused on the whole church factor- holiness. This go-round, the focus is on my personal favorite case of poor anger management- Marvel Comics’ Incredible Hulk.
The birth of the “Silver Age” of comic books coincided with the “Atomic Age” of the 1960’s. Creativity, ingenuity, and paranoia were the coins of the realm, (much like today), and Marvel Comics, at the time a struggling comic company, capitalized on all three. Spider-Man, the entire Fantastic Four, and Daredevil were all given powers by radioactivity. And so was the Hulk, who was created in 1962.
The premise of the Hulk is pretty much like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: an emotionally weak scientist, suddenly made physically strong, and the horrendous results that follow when he gets what he thinks he wants. As a child, Bruce Banner watched his scientist father, David, kill his mother, Rebecca, in an abusive rage. David never served any jail time, primarily because Bruce refused to testify against him. His father told him if he did testify against him, he’d end up in Hell. Sound familiar? Nonetheless, Bruce ended up being a scientist, like his father, but the horrors of his youth stayed with him, even after the government hired him to help him develop a nuclear bomb. While testing the bomb, teenager Rick Jones decided to accept a dare to enter the testing site. Bruce hurried to get the boy to safety, and did…only to absorb the nuclear radiation himself. The good news was that both he and Jones both survived. The bad news was his repressed trauma and the physical side effects of the nuclear blast would soon combine, and turn him into a monster. The Hulk represents all of Bruce Banner’s darkest and most personal desires. The 5’9″ 150-lb Banner transforms into a green, 7’4″, 800-lb juggernaut. He’s primal, uninhibited, and seemingly unstoppable. The only real way to defeat the Hulk is to get him to revert to Bruce Banner, and he actually gets stronger as his rage continues. The irony is that the Hulk simply wants to be left the hell alone, and most of his destructive onslaughts only begin after he’s been provoked.
In some form or another, we all have a “Hulk” living in us. At one point or another, we just want to rip into our tormentors, and level them with unbridled savagery. The ability to just lose all inhibitions, to do what we want, it’s tempting, let’s face it. But the average person can keep such desires in check. The average person can hold and fold when they know it’s needed. And when faced with challenges, normal people just adapt to them. They can toe the tightrope.
But what can be done when a person seemingly can’t toe the line? While it’s true that the numbers who can are like 10-1 to those who can’t, the 1 exists all the same. It’s still a number, even if it is small. Bruce Banner was the victim of years of abuse, and watched his own father kill his own mother as a child. Ironically, Brian Banner didn’t even want children, fearing he would become like his abusive father. Bruce even had to briefly be his father’s caretaker, which opened the wounds even larger. Trauma of any kind hardly ever leaves a person unscathed, and it definitely doesn’t help when it takes place in a person’s formative years. Youthful memories are the strongest, and if they’re predominantly bad, the bitterness continues into adulthood. Yes, it’s very much possible to leave a dirty past behind and become a success, but there will always be that seed, that grain of shame, that’s there. And the imbalance that one incident can bring produces that “all-or-nothing” mentality so prevalent in the inner cities and broken homes. Look at how many athletes were pulled out of the gutters, became big stars, and later ended up in the same type of relationships they had or, in the case of most of them, didn’t have, with their fathers, broke, or both. Many, many people can mask their pain through throwing themselves into a field or hobby they excel in. That also helps explain the gym queen, the workaholic, and the holy-roller.
Granted, the “all-or-nothing” mindset can have some advantages. It was a gym rat who got me in the best shape of my life. One of my current supervisors on my job, who is a state certified *sshole, does have things looking perfect when he’s done telling us how he wants it done. And the Hulk, for better or worse, was officially a founding member of Marvel Comics’ most important super team, the Avengers. All three of these individuals did really good things, but they were fueled by hurt. The gym rat had frequent arguments with her father, and the supervisor had to dodge bullets from both Korean soldiers and White Southerners. In the end both of them ended up making it out of their dark pasts, and making peace, becoming better-rounded in the process.
If Bruce Banner was to find actual peace at last, the memory of the Incredible Hulk’s adventures would be with us, but the series itself would either have to be reprints or just canceled. This being real-life, it doesn’t quite work that way. In an ideal world, people who have had traumatic experiences could just press “delete” and it’d all go away. Oh, people try to pretend some things never happened, but eventually the facade will reveal itself in a far more damaging light. Then their trauma is used to excuse their actions they got caught in, diminishing the efforts of those who tried hard to make amends with their past without entering into even more destructive behavior. Only when you deal with the issue can you be at peace with it. No doubt people get pissed when somebody gets on the Internet and airs their “dirty laundry”. It isn’t always to get attention, money, or to vent. In my case, I do it to purge. And next blog, the third and final “H”-bomb will be dropped. Guess what it pertains to…