Thinkerfromiowa's Blog

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Trains, Not Brains

Trains, Not Brains

Hello, everyone.

In an e-mail today (1/28) from D. M. Murdock, aka Acharya S., I learned about one of the most sickening, most disgusting things that I have ever heard of.  Here is a brief recap from a site called the New Jersey Newsroom.

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Atheist Jessica Ahlquist has been battling since 2010 to get an 8-foot banner removed from her high school auditorium. It contains a prayer that a student wrote in 1963.

The teenager has been dealing with consequences from Cranston, a highly Roman Catholic city. She has been receiving threats from social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, and had been receiving police escorts to classes. She had planned to take time off from school, but according to WPRO News, Ahlquist posted on Twitter that she plans to graduate from Cranston High School West in 2013.

. . .

According to ABA Journal, a state representative called Jessica “an evil little thing” on a talk radio show, and three florists refused to deliver her roses sent from national atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation.

– – – – – – – – – –

And this comment from Acharya’s own site:

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“Jessica Ahlquist is clearly an articulate and courageous young woman, who took a brave stand, particularly in light of the hostile response she has received from her community.”

Fortunately, the federal judge in this case – who made the above quote about Ahlquist – saw fit to uphold the Constitution and ruled in her favor. Naturally, the hate speech and death threats have continued to fly.

In the final analysis, the hate speech, death threats and irrational religious fanaticism displayed inRhode Islandcould be deemed “un-American” and “anti-American,” as well as illegal and/or immoral. Jessica Ahlquist is the true American in this situation, following the ideals of the American and Rhode Island Founding Fathers.

Moreover, I personally find the idea of a “Heavenly Father” to the exclusion of all other divine concepts, including the “Heavenly Mother” or, perhaps more appropriately, the “Earthly Mother,” to be offensive to my religion. It is a sexist and human-derogating notion that I reject – so,these spewers of hate speech and death threats are offending my religion.

– – – – – – – – – –

Earlier today (1/28), I followed a Crooks & Liars link to an article that discussed a study conducted by a Dr. Gordon Hodson, a professor up inCanada.  Hodson’s study concluded that people with lower IQs tended to embrace conservative positions and tended to accept as true conservative views regarding races and gays.  The Live Science website had an article about Hodson and his study, and the following paragraph is taken from that article:

“In another study, this one in theUnited States, Hodson and Busseri compared 254 people with the same amount of education but different levels of ability in abstract reasoning. They found that what applies to racism may also apply to homophobia. People who were poorer at abstract reasoning were more likely to exhibit prejudice against gays. As in theU.K.citizens, a lack of contact with gays and more acceptance of right-wing authoritarianism explained the link. [5 Myths About Gay People Debunked]”

I have always had questions in the back of my mind about what Hodson discovered in his research.  It has always been my personal experience and observation that intelligent people tended to be mainline believers and that those who were not so gifted tended to the Evangelical churches.  I also saw a parallel fact that those who were intelligent tended to belong to groups that were more “free-wheeling,” or who had less structured, or enforced, sets of rules, and that those who were lacking in the mind gifts tended to belong to groups that had strict sets of rules and strict enforcement of those rules.

I have always said that “He’s A Rebel,” a song done by The Crystals back in 1962, was my personal theme song.  I always was a rebel, but my rebellion was not against institutions, but against arbitrary rules and arbitrary reasons for enforcing those rules.  One rule that never made any sense to me was that the Nazarene Church, and other Evangelical churches, had against membership in “oath-bound secret organizations.”  This rule was directed specifically against the Masons and Odd Fellows, but could be directed to the Elks, the Moose, and the Lions, as well to collegiate fraternities and sororities, as well  Why in heaven’s name would a body object to membership is benevolent organizations like these?  The answer, as brayed by Evangelicals, is that these groups do not worship “the precious Lord Jesus.”  Well, DUH!   I was an initiated  Entered Apprentice when I joined the Nazarene Church for the first time in 1965.  I did NOT join the Lodge to worship “the precious Lord Jesus;”  I joined it in order to have fellowship with other men.  In the fullness of time, I came to discover that Masons in general were of higher intellectual ability than were their detractors.  You had to be smart to memorize the lectures in all the degrees that you had to recite in lodge in order to advance to the next degree.

I am so thankful for Dr. Hodson’s research because it confirms what I have seen and experienced.  A few examples are in order here.

Fifty years ago, when I was a junior in college, a good buddy of mine started attending church with me at the Nazarene Church in my college town.  In time he became involved with a girl in the church who was essentially an adopted sister to me.  John and Sally thought it would be neat if they found a girl to go out with me and the four of us double.  So Sally talked to a mutual acquaintance in the church.  At first this girl thought it was a wonderful idea.  But she backed out just a few hours before we were all to get together.  She decided that I would want to go steady with her after one date!!  Where she got that stupid nonsense, only God knows.   When he saw how deeply this good Christian girl had wounded me by chickening out at the last minute,  John, of course, quit going to church with me then and said that he never again wanted to hear the awful, revolting name of Jesus Christ!  Who in his right mind could blame him?

When we lived in California, I was a choral music consultant with the local Christian bookstore for a year.  One day, I was working at home and the phone rang.  It was someone in south San Luis ObispoCountywho wanted some information concerning good background music for a social function that she was giving.  I told her that that was a no-brainer; that anything by Tchaikovsky would make good background music.  The lady’s function was for a bunch of Evangelical Christians, and they were hostile to Tchaikovsky because they believed that he was gay!  I have no idea where in the world they got THAT nonsense!  The lady told me that if she even suggested Tchaikovsky, the Evvies would have her head on a platter.  I believed her, since the meanest, most vicious people I have had the non-privilege of knowing have been Evangelical Christians.

When we lived in California, we attended the local Nazarene Church.  We both had Sunday morning responsibilities, but we simply had to have some time away from there, so we would recruit replacements for a given week.  One Sunday, we drove down to Santa Barbarato go to church at the PCUSA church there.  Unlike the church we attended, the Presbyterian Church was virtually silent before the service.  In the chancel, there were three chairs and a harp.  Before the service, a flautist, guitarist, and harpist sat down in the chairs and began to play.  I knew and loved the piece they were playing, and a tear started rolling down my cheek.  Carol leaned over and asked me if I was OK.  I told her that I was just fine.  We had an absolutely wonderful service that morning.  After the service, we had coffee on the church patio.  The Presbyterians were so happy that we drove down highway 101 to join them for church.  When we got back to the car, Carol broke down and started crying.  She said, “Honey, for the first time in months, I feel like I have been to church.”  I told her that I felt the same way.  She and I were both intellectual in nature, and the church we attended regularly was definitely NOT an intellectual church.

So I am not surprised at the Christer reaction to Jessica  Ahlquist’s legitimate court case.  I have watched a video of her, and she is extremely well-spoken for a high-school junior.  She reminds me a lot of AngryLittleGirl, the user on YouTube that I have mentioned before.  Her name, incidentally, is also Jessica.  I have been so impressed with these young women because of the level of their intellects and how poised they are, and also how convincing they are in their presentations.  And, like me, they are frustrated at the ignorance and out-and-out stupidity they have witnessed and experienced at the hands of Evangelical Christians.

When we were kids, we would ridicule any of our number who said or did a stupid thing by saying something like “When God made Johnny, he asked Johnny if he wanted any brains.  Johnny thought that God said ‘trains’ instead of ‘brains’ and  he would tell God, ’No, because I am not the president of a railroad.’”  Over the course of my 70 years of life, I have seen far too many Evangelicals who also thought that God said “trains” instead of “brains” and they likewise declined his offer.  Oh well.

All of you have a great day today.




January 29, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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