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Communists Against Religion -- Part 9 April 12, 2004 by RedStar2000

Yes, boys and girls, it's time for another thrill-packed journey into the realm of deepest bullshit.

Whew! One of the days I simply must find something else to write about.


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quote:

Atheism is as much a "superstition" as religion...


The godsucker's ultimate whine: "you can't prove there isn't a god."

In the scientific outlook, absence of evidence is routinely considered evidence of absence.

The reason that most scientists don't loudly proclaim their atheism is that they want to avoid the flak. As I've learned on this board, whenever you publicly maintain that "the emperor is naked", you can expect "the shit to fly".

Imagine the reaction, however, if a scientist actually claimed supernatural intervention in the course of explaining some aspect of natural reality.

He might well get a job as Bush's "science adviser" -- he would lose all respect from his peers...and from any intelligent and informed layman as well. He would be regarded as a nutball and even the "good science" he did before this occurrence would probably be severely scrutinized. People would speculate about what "drove him off the tracks" of rationality.

In private, scientists have no respect at all for superstition.

Neither do I...privately or publicly.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 14, 2004
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quote:

First, your reply is not an argument but is more akin to abuse. Second, I don't believe in God, so stop misrepresenting my views. Third, what you say is ludicrous: unlike my self, there are many scientists that believe in God.


In what sense have I "abused" you?

Where did I say that you were a godsucker?

Finally, the last time I saw a poll of American scientists on the subject, 75% were atheists.

I suspect the true percentage is even higher; people don't trust poll-takers in this country very much.

I also suspect that the scientist who does claim to be a believer is just doing a little "public relations" work...possibly s/he is working in a "sensitive" area and wants to pre-emptively block some of the flak.

If you were doing research into cloning, for example, it might be a good idea in the course of your interview with the Daily Bullshit to "say some nice things about God".

Couldn't hurt, could it?
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 14, 2004
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quote:

I have to recognize that all contentions pertaining to such matters are in the realm of pure speculation because I'm a rational man.


Then on what "rational" grounds do you advocate "respect" for what is, in your words, "pure speculation"?

That the godsuckers "might be right"?

Is your "olympian neutrality" on the subject a product of your own simple desire to "avoid flak"?

Or do you think that horseshit is "good enough" for the "idiots" even though you, being "rational", are "above" such matters?

In fact, why are you even "interested" in this subject?

My motivations are transparent; I want to eliminate superstition from human experience...I think it is irrational -- not to mention a bitter and irreconcilable enemy of human emancipation.

What are your motives in this discussion?

An "utterly disinterested" pursuit of "truth" for "its own sake"?
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 14, 2004
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quote:

...the problem is that of tolerance. Something unseen in 20th Century 'communist' countries and found on this board with the likes of redstar, etc.


Organized religion was both legal and state-supported in the USSR, all of the Eastern European countries, Vietnam and Laos, etc.

Both Yeltsin and Gorbachev, born in the 1930s under the "great tyrant" Stalin, were duly baptized in the nearest Russian Orthodox cathedral on the 8th day after their births.

In Poland, the great central cathedral in downtown Warsaw, heavily damaged during World War II, was completely rebuilt at public expense.

One of the last official acts of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was a nation-wide celebration of the anniversary of Martin Luther...the vicious anti-semite and persecutor of rebellious peasants.

In Cuba, Fidel Castro himself presided over ceremonies to celebrate the complete renovation (at public expense) and re-opening of a nunnery...not to mention, of course, his warm welcome to that senile fraud John Paul II.

In Laos, a Buddhist temple complex has been completely refurbished and opened as a tourist attraction.

Wrong as you are about 20th century "communist" countries, you are quite correct about my attitude. I would have been vehemently opposed to all of that crap.

Tolerance for superstition merely advances the cause of superstition.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 15, 2004
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quote:

True Christians are tolerant; those that aren't aren't Christian.


Or "give us credit for our saints and blame the devil for our sinners".
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 17, 2004
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The obvious rejoinder, of course.

A couple of points.

Marxism has been around for 150 years or so. Christianity as a "state religion" for 1,700 years or so.

Thus, Marxism has a "very short" track record so far; on the other hand, we've had a "large sample" of Christian behavior to examine.

And secondly, of course, I hold the view that the Leninist variant of Marxism is responsible for the "bad reputation" of communism. Leninism is indeed "ideologically faulty" and communists should reject it.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 18, 2004
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quote:

I don't see how you can claim a "small sample" for communism.


Communism = 150 years; Christianity (as a state religion) = 1,700 years.

Do the math.

quote:

There have been innumerable communist countries around the world, almost all of them unmitigated failures.


Well, which comparison would you like to make? Christianity's first 150 years were completely undistinguished; classical writers of the period generally don't even bother to mention them.

Or, if you'd like to compare us with the period 300-450CE, the first "accomplishment" of the Christians was to lose the western half of the Roman Empire. This was shortly followed by the shutting down of the classical philosophical schools; the teachers had to flee to Parthia (Persia).

All this, of course, long before the Christians burned their first "witch"...something that Stalin never quite got around to.

quote:

However, it has been only Leninist parties which have shown themselves to be capable of obtaining power at all.


And they never tire of reminding us of that! But their "power" turned out to be "in service to the bourgeois revolution"...as Marx foretold. (See the new thread in Theory on this.)

I think we have to be clear that the Marxist hypothesis is exactly that: if proletarian revolution and communism don't take place within the next three or four centuries (at the most), then he was wrong.

There might then be a "First Church of Marx (Orthodox)"...but it will be as irrelevant and futile as Christian philosophy is now.

And people will spend their time on other matters.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 18, 2004
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quote:

redstar - you cannot compare the first 150 years of Christianity and the first 150 years of marxism. As much as you would like to, they occurred in two completely different times when civilisation was wholly different.


Well, I was trying to respond to a point of view that implies (1) if Christianity must be held responsible for its "sinners", then (2) so must Marxism.

Marxism has generated some pretty notorious "sinners" in its first century-and-a-half...and I simply wanted to point out that Christianity did likewise. Probably the worst was the emperor Constantius...who murdered nearly all of his relatives to prevent familial rivalries over his throne (he was the Christian "King Herod"). The only one that he missed was his nephew Julian...who, not surprisingly, renounced Christianity as soon as he succeeded to the principate -- Christians know him as "Julian the Apostate".

Julian, by the way, issued the last "Edict of Toleration" of the Roman Empire...which was repealed immediately after his death in 363CE by the following emperor, a Christian.

Justinian "the Great" was the one who shut down all the philosophy schools in Athens and other cities and sent their teachers fleeing to Parthia. Non-Christians were forbidden to teach for a living after that.

But if this period does not appeal to you, pick another. I think you will be very hard pressed to find an era in which Christians can't be found "doing the dirty" to one another, the heathens, or both.

Not long ago, I believe there was an American general who claimed victory over some Muslim tribesmen on the grounds that "My God is real while their god was just an idol".

From 4th century Constantinople to 21st century Washington, D.C., many things have changed.

The behavior of Christians is not one of them.

Which raises, by the way, an interesting question: if Christianity (or any religion) were really "true", wouldn't it show?

Wouldn't the believers in "the real god" both behave qualitatively better than others and also enjoy a greater share of good fortune, the reward granted by "the true god" to those who worshiped it "properly"?

I read a science-fiction novel some years ago, called (I believe) Raising the Stones (by Sherri Tepper)...it was about "gods that worked".

These gods really existed (an alien life form, of course) and while they rewarded the faithful with unusually healthy bodies and long lives (barring accidents), their main gift was empathy -- the more faithful you were, the greater empathy you had with all living creatures. They'd even have a little chat with you now and then (inside your head).

Think of all the thousands and thousands of gods that humans have worshipped...and not a single damn one of them has worked, has actually made things any better.

Is it any wonder that we have become atheists...out of sheer exasperation?
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 19, 2004
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quote:

But don't you think its just a tad bit weird that every prediction made in the Bible has come true except for one: the second coming of Jesus.


What predictions "came true"?

As to the "second coming", according to the "Book of Revelations", that was supposed to happen "soon". We know that this book was first composed in 65CE and heavily revised around 90CE...so, after 1900 years and change, we're "still waiting". *laughs*

quote:

And I also find it weird that most Christians I know are living way better lives than any atheist I know.


What's your definition of "way better life"? How many Christians in your sample of the population and how many atheists? How well are you informed about their lives?

quote:

Well, it sort of would be easy to prove it fictional, wouldn't it? I mean, there's actual history written in there and people have somehow proved the existence of the ark. I'm not a believer in organized religion, but it's doubtful that the bible is one big conspiracy theory.


No one has "proved the existence of the ark".

And yes, much of the "history" in the "Bible" has been proven to be false.

You must remember that those people did not have our modern conception of history -- "what actually happened". To them, history was a "morality play" intended to "demonstrate" the "power" of "God".

If actual events could be used for this purpose, then fine...they'd not only be used but even exaggerated. If no useful event was available, they'd make one up. That was not "lying" in their view; it was telling a "greater truth".

Just for a few examples: there was no "Abraham", no "Exodus", no "Wandering in the Sinai desert", no "Conquest of the Holy Land", no "Empire of David and Solomon" (they ruled Jerusalem and some surrounding territories, that's all).

"Jesus" almost certainly existed but was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem, and never traveled to Egypt or any place else further than Jerusalem.

There was no "star of Bethlehem", no "wise men from the east", and King Herod did not murder a bunch of children (though he murdered plenty of his own relatives).

It's probable that "Jesus" was illiterate...most poor Jews were in those days. But he certainly heard the Torah read aloud every Sabbath and he had a good memory.

Naturally, all the "miracles" are total fabrications dating long after his death.

quote:

You might wonder why me, a communist, is so supportive of Christianity. It is because of an experience I had when I was younger. I was born with bad failing vision. I wore glasses for years. I was told by numerous optometrists after surgeries [that] my eyes would never improve but rather deteriorate as I got older, possibly to blindness. But I went to a church, a church that is very scripture oriented (none of this post-Constantine hypocritical Christianity), and was prayed for, and right after instantly I knew I was healed. The doctors examined [me] after and I now have 20 20 vision. How can that be explained? It can't.


Praise the Lord! *laughs*

Ok, kids, here's what really happened.

1. The surgeries worked. (Optometrists don't perform eye surgery, by the way.)

2. These events took place when this guy was too young to accurately remember them...he's relying on what his pious parents told him.

3. Or, he's a liar!

I'm guessing "3" but "1 & 2" are legitimate possibilities.

quote:

I am a Christian communist because Jesus and the first church was communist...


No he wasn't. And only the Jerusalem church "held all things in common" and did so only until 70CE. There's no Biblical evidence to suggest that any other congregation followed the customs of the Jerusalem church.

Further, if "Jesus" wanted people to be communists, why didn't he say so?

Granted, he couldn't use the word (it didn't exist), but he could easily have instructed his disciples and followers in plain language how they were supposed to live in order to "achieve salvation".

In fact, he even neglected to tell them to free their slaves. But he did remember to tell them to pay their taxes.

"Jesus" was no more a communist than you are...which is to say, not at all.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 20, 2004
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"Eastern Orthodoxy" is actually the oldest surviving branch of Christianity, dating back to c.300CE and reflecting traditions that are perhaps even earlier in origin.

It was the state religion of the Byzantine empire until the fall of Constantinople (around 1450CE or so). It was also the state religion of the Czarist empire and of the USSR.

I believe it has quasi-official status in Russia today. It supports a (still small) political party -- "Holy Rus" -- that is clerical fascist.

It has no "pope" -- instead, as I understand it, each national church is governed by "patriarchs". Such churches exist in the Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece, besides Russia. Smaller congregations exist in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and I think there is a small group in Bethlehem-Jerusalem.

Priests may marry in the Orthodox denomination...but only celibates can aspire to higher office in the church. Women and gay males are excluded from the clergy.

Oh yeah, services are held "standing up"...there are no pews in a properly run Orthodox church (this is an ancient Greek tradition--Zeus, et. al., were all worshiped from a standing position).

Otherwise, it's pretty much like Catholicism...though there are some doctrinal differences. You probably don't want to know this but, for example, in Orthodoxy, the "Holy Spirit" proceeds from the "Father" while in Catholicism it proceeds from "the Father and the Son."

Stop laughing; people have been murdered over this!

Though not lately.

Probably the best example of "Orthodoxy in action" in recent times was the conflict between Croatia and Serbia during the break-up of Yugoslavia. Orthodox Serbians cheerfully massacred Catholic Croats and Bosnian Muslims...both of whom were happy to reply in kind. Religion played, I think, as much of a role in "ethnic cleansing" as ethnicity itself...and possibly more. After all, Serbian and Croatian are essentially the same language...and it's likely that the customs of the two regions were (and remain) very similar.

When discussing religious denominations, it's always vital to distinguish between what they say when they are distant from the centers of power and what they do when they really have the opportunity to "cut loose".

Like the difference between "Jesus Loves Me" and "Onward, Christian Soldiers!".
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 19, 2004
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quote:

True, religion can be oppressive, but people can be inspired to great acts by religion also. I'm an agnostic, but that doesn't stop me from admiring, say, Mother Teresa.


Who taught people in India (INDIA!) that birth control was a "sin".

quote:

Also, it's worth pointing out that only the extremists in each religion are oppressive.


If the religion is a vigorous one, then the "extremists" run it and all the other believers just go along for the ride. Decaying religions are different...until a "revivalist" comes along to spur the faithful into action once more.

The Episcopalians (Anglicans) are a decaying branch of Christianity...the ones who are really serious defect to Catholicism.

It is possible that they may become the "church of choice" for GLBT folks...after another century or so. Otherwise, I think they will fade into insignificance.

quote:

All Christians say no matter what, Christianity is a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP.


So is cannibalism.

Seriously, that "personal relationship" stuff never holds them back when they see a chance to legislate their "personal morality" into law. When they had the power, church attendance was compulsory...you could be fined or jailed for not showing up on Sunday morning. You could also be directly taxed to support the church, regardless of your personal inclinations (which you had to keep quiet about or else!).

The Bush regime is currently funneling federal tax dollars into churches for "social work".

Can't get more "personal" than that, can you?

quote:

Every church has its dark history just like everything else (yes, communism).


Some histories are darker than others...by a rather wide margin.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 20, 2004
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quote:

RedStar have you ever read any of the Nag Hammadi (gnostic) texts? It's a very interesting set of religious writings.


Well, I've read about them.

Within the large "social constructs" of religious institutions, there has always been an "underground" of mystical approaches to the supernatural.

Sometimes tolerated and sometimes persecuted, these approaches demand an intense personal commitment in an effort to personally contact "the other world". Fasting, isolation, dancing, drugs, meditation, etc. have all been employed in these efforts.

They are normally "secret" or "semi-secret"...to those who run organized religion as an economic-political racket, they are useless at best and sometimes thought to be dangerous to the prevailing social order.

As you might imagine, I think that the personal-mystic approach to religion is self-deluding but otherwise harmless. As long as no one tries to institutionalize it -- turn it into a church -- I would leave it alone. It's never going to attract more than a very small minority of people and it has, as far as I can tell, no measurable social impact.

It is, quite literally, unearthly in its concerns and priorities.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 20, 2004
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quote:

And that makes her a bad person?


Yes.

quote:

I think the good outweighs the bad, don't you?


No.

quote:

...and the vast majority of all the Christians that I know aren't wackjobs that think homosexuals are evil, birth control is a tool of the devil, and evolution shouldn't be taught in school.


Well, one possibility is that your sample of Christian acquaintances is "a-typical"...you don't happen to live in a place where the "real wackjobs" predominate.

But when I said that most ordinary Christians "go along for the ride", I meant that they don't protest what is said "in their name"...no matter how reactionary or just plain stupid or both.

The most that an ordinary "non-extremist" Christian will usually do -- if confronted by something totally disgusting -- is quit that church and join a different one that "isn't so bad".

I'm not saying that they "agree" with Jerry Falwell...but where are the sermons saying that Falwell's message of "comes straight from the devil's mouth" or something like that? Where are the demonstrations and pickets against Falwell et.al.? If there's a "good side" to Christianity, where is it?

Is it that the "nice Christians" are "so nice" that they will tolerate the shitty Christians? And if that is the case, then don't we have a situation where the shitty Christians get all the public attention -- create the image of Christianity in the public mind -- while the "nice Christians" are off "doing good works" some place?

In a contest where only one side fights for their ideas, guess who wins???

quote:

...and communism has the darkest [history], no?


This illustrates a point I have made in a number of other posts. "Leftists" who are seriously religious will take the side of religion over "leftism" every time!

Any conflict between their religious beliefs and their "leftism" will always be resolved in favor of their religious beliefs.

It's a matter of priorities.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 21, 2004
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quote:

...but still, Christianity has done a lot of good for the world, i.e. fed and clothed a lot of people that live in third world countries.


While "justifying" those conditions -- hunger and nakedness -- as "the Will of God".

If you believe that charity is an adequate substitute for revolution, then your position "makes sense".

Indeed, if you just want to "help people", then charity makes "more sense" than revolution...charity is something you can do right now.

And it makes you "feel good about yourself", too.

Unfortunately, the measurable effect of charity in reducing human suffering is too small to detect. If you feed one in 100,000 or one in 10,000...it has no discernible effect on collective misery.

"Mother" Teresa may have "earned" herself a "Backstage Pass" in "Heaven"...but as far as the mass of human suffering in India goes, she may just as well have never existed.

That's the record of charity, Christian or otherwise, in general. There's no recorded instance (to my knowledge) of charity ever making a real difference in human conditions.

For the poor, it's a kind of lottery...and a cruel one at that. If you "win" (get fed that day), then you can worry about getting fed tomorrow. If you "lose" (sorry, there's no food left)...well, maybe you should have prayed harder.

But then charity, especially religious charity, is not really about ending human suffering anyway. It's a kind of "public relations" campaign -- "see how godly we are", etc. It's a form of boasting and, like most boasting, it's empty of content. While "Mother" Teresa was "feeding the poor", the Catholic Church was building a $280,000,000 new cathedral in Los Angeles. While she was "tending the lepers", the Vatican was financing Opus Dei -- a semi-secret clerical fascist group heavily involved in promoting military dictatorships in Latin America.

Teresa's worm-shit now...but Opus Dei is more active than ever. I'd bet my net worth (feeble as it is) that their people are busy little bees in Caracas right now.

Ah, the Christians!

quote:

You are a fool if you would rather die than accept clothes and food and medicine from a church while starving and in need of clothing and medicine.


As it happened, I did once have the misfortune of being "down and out" for a period of 17 months or so -- living on food stamps, sleeping in "welfare hotels", etc. I lost about 40 lbs. during that time.

I could have had two free meals a day from the big "charity church" in San Francisco's Tenderloin...but I just couldn't make myself go there. Somehow, I preferred a diet of stale sweet rolls and cheap coffee...and retaining my self-respect.

Perhaps that makes me a "fool" in your eyes.

quote:

["Mother" Teresa] spread a message of love in various places where craziness and killing prevailed.


Which had no effect on the "craziness" or the "killing" whatsoever...it continues and has even increased further in India today.

"Messages of love" are about as useful as a third shoe.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 21, 2004
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quote:

Ok, so Mother Teresa didn't help everybody in India, but she did what she could. I think that's good. Saying that she was bad because she didn't help everyone in India is ludicrous.


Not very good at this "reading with comprehension" stuff, are you?

I said she made no real difference...and that charity never does.

I was unaware of her refusal to treat gay males...but it figures. One of the beauties of the charity racket is that you get to decide "who is worthy of help" and who "deserves" to die in their own shit.

Revolutions, on the other hand, are for all of the exploited and oppressed...not just the "lucky few" and the "worthy".

"Obviously", revolutions "are" the work of the "devil".

quote:

You are just writing her accomplishments off as insignificant to make yourself feel better about not doing shit for anybody else.


That must be the reason. *laughs*

quote:

And whats wrong with delusions? Reality sucks. And it's kind of harsh of you to want people to adopt you cynical realism.


You're right...it is harsh.

I just don't see any other way for people to get out of the shit that is the real world except to criticize all illusions in the harshest possible way.

I understand this irritates some folks quite a bit. There's always an active thread about me (and usually not a flattering one) in Chit-Chat now...perhaps I should make a "sticky" -- "The Universal Redstar2000 Sucks Thread".

The truth of the matter is that real communists are a "pain-in-the-ass"...it's in our job description. We're always telling people stuff that they really don't want to hear.

Many people desperately want to believe that "God's in His Heaven" and "all's right with the world". Not to mention that "the President knows more than we do", or "corporations want to serve their customers", or "America loves freedom and is generously spreading it across the world", etc., etc., etc.

And when we commie bastards jump up and yell "bullshit!", a lot of folks just hate that!

Look at us. We're spreading disillusionment and cynicism and anger and, hopefully, rage against the world as it is...and against those who run it.

Yeah, that's right...that's exactly what we're doing. We don't intend to stop until we have completely overthrown and utterly destroyed ten thousand years of class society.

It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 21, 2004
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Ah yes, worship.

A word with an enormous amount of historical and psychological weight behind it...that describes something that I've never felt and can't even imagine.

To me, it's literal meaning is grovel or self-degradation or abasement. It positively stinks of servility.

The public ass-kisser is universally reviled and we feel ashamed of ourselves when we do it...even for the most urgent and pressing of reasons.

(Confession: when stopped by cops, I grovel...even though it disgusts me. Why? They have the guns and I don't -- if the situation should ever be reversed, my reactions will be very different.)

But what is "worship" if not "celestial ass-kissing"? Groveling for the sake of groveling itself.

Why would any sane and self-respecting human being ever want to do such a wretched thing?

Beats the hell out of me!
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First posted at Che-Lives on March 27, 2004
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