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I have started to see little meaningful difference between a religious believer and a battered woman.
Both have given away their personal sovereignty and subjugated themselves, both believe they do not deserve better treatment and that they may have brought out their lesser than state upon themselves or have done something to deserve the treatment.
Neither think that they deserve better treatment and are afraid to leave said relationship for either fear of eternal hell for the former and being stalked and murdered for the latter. Of course, with some religious sects, being hunted down and killed or sued for leaving, or being shunned by the community and being cast out by family and friends is not that different to the social attitudes towards divorced women only a few decades ago.
The attitude that a woman should be with a man, so that any man, no matter how violent, is better than none – is not at all different from the social attitude that believing in any god is superior to not believing in one.
The only substantive difference is that with the battered woman – or let’s be really honest – battered man because sometimes the woman is the batterer coupled with that battering also occurs in gay and lesbian relationships – we are all people, no better or worse than each other - at least there is an actual person responsible for beating and abusing the battered person. Whereas, for believers, they have to do the beating upon themselves and often the family, and that has lead to a lot of religious psychological kinkiness, self torture and sadly, horrors visited upon children, teens, vulnerable adults and non-believers. Often for non-family, this takes the form of bigotry and discrimination at best and religiously motivate violence at worst.
The battered person can have some private solace that perhaps the abuse isn’t really their fault, it’s down to their abuser – but they remain for a variety of reasons – social pressure, financial, for the children; without any thought to what they are really teaching said children – but perhaps the biggest reason people stay in battering relationships is because as bad as it is, it may well still be better than their previous experiences, there is some comfort in familiarity (as horrifying as that was to write) and the fear that if their partners have all been abusers, the fear that maybe it is them that brings it out in the other person.
Now, there something to be said on that last part – in many workshops that I have attuned about dealing with difficult workplace relationships and conflict management – the so called golden rule of doing unto others is something that falls far short of the mark, because there are people who are okay with being treated badly and this then gives them permission to treat others in the same way.
With believers, they do not have that private solace of maybe there’s a kinder, gentler god out there for them – humans are inferior to a deity by definition and design – human definition and design.
Even though religion is the opiate of the masses and the social mechanism to prevent the poor from slaughtering the rich to take their stuff – it seems that the more awareness we have socially about how to treat and interact with each other – as equal and as equally deserving of compassion, consideration and equality – so too are believers beginning to re-think their relationship with god.
If society says that ever citizen gets to vote and have the expectation of security of person, home, jobs, that discrimination is not acceptable, that hate crimes are not acceptable, that everyone is equal under the law and the law is specifically inclusive of this – gay marriage being the current legal equality battle in many secular countries which proclaim human rights but have not equally extended the same rights to all citizens or would-be citizens; then believers who are told by their religion that they are special and better than everyone else and that others do not deserve the same rights and legal protect – it has to start to seep in that there’s something wrong with the religion and with god.
After all, you don’t keep chasing after a person who makes big promises, and then never calls on your birthday and generally takes your worship and adoration for granted, worse, actually demands said worship or else. A person who demands that you limit your family and friends to a narrow segment of society, which is better than the rest; when in fact and under law, no people are any better than any other. In a global economy, we are all inter-dependent nations and no nation is self-sufficient.
The people in another country who are providing resources and services are not less deserving of livable wages, workplace safety, environmental protections and dignity of their person. If we learn anything from Chernobyl, it is that it doesn’t matter where a disaster event occurs, the wind and water carry the contaminates around the world for all to enjoy and get cancer from.
As social attitudes change, our expectation of how we want to be treated and how we treat others changes. We do not have to put up with abusive treatment – there are options, there are recourse’s, there are equalizers. People in western secular democratic societies don’t want to feel bad about themselves, don’t want to feel unworthy and wretched. What do we want? Happiness! When do we want it? Now!
So in non-fundamental circles, god turns to a quasi Santa Claus and the apologists come out and offer up the deathbed loopholes, you don’t have to be good or do good, you just have to accept the savior, you can do bad, as long as you repent and are really sorry. They whitewash over the bible texts, softening the edges and that Old Time Religion becomes a kinder, gentler – not quite Mr. Rodgers because he accepted everyone exactly as they were and religion isn’t ready to do that, they still like their bigotries because it just won’t be heaven if anyone could get in.
Mega-churches become as malls with chapels, complete with coffee shops, ATMs, bookstores, gym classes – a whole family community centre were religious meetings seem incidental or the value added part rather than the focal point.
Many religions who have been watching their coffers and attendance numbers dropping are embracing the big tent and polishing off the more strident of the religious beliefs, softening the religion to be more inclusive and less damnation, less religious, really.
This will help to prop up the tents for a while, but eventually, people will migrate away, to return only on special days or maybe nostalgia, because it’s okay to feel good about yourself and you don’t need religion to do it, when the purpose of religion, no matter how softened, is to say that you aren’t good enough for god, you’re unworthy which is why you have to give the money, attend the meetings, obey and worship and not use the free will that so many people are talking about.
But you are, you are good enough on your own, good enough to be treated well by everyone in your life, without exception.
I believe that we are in a global civil war for our species survival – or at least for a longer survival than we will have if we don’t try to win – between rationalism and religion.
Religion retards scientific and social development – as religion seeks to put artificial and unnatural limits on our lives – and this is why we must fight back that dark ignorance and fear with everything we have.
We are killing ourselves with polluting industry, monocrop agriculture and in wars; all which is driven by religious ideologies. The idea that we can do as we please with the earth and everything on it because there’s a deity who will be along any of our lifetimes now and return the earth to it’s original pristine operational state and reward the faithful and punish everyone else.
While we will always find a reason to not like other groups of people, we can generally get along with each other and ignore differences until the introduction of an idea that says one group is somehow superior and the other is inferior – and this superior/inferior idea comes from one of two places – religious or political ideology.
The reality that there is less than 1% genetic difference between you and any other person on the earth and this means that the differences between peoples is purely cosmetic acclimation to the climate zone they live in – darker skin near the equator to reduce sun absorption, lighter near the poles to maximize it, almond eye shape to help deflect more sunlight from sun/snow blinding you.
Body type, hair kinkiness, colour, facial features are all from cultural/sexual selection – so, knowing that, doesn’t racism seem pretty stupid?
There are no human subspecies so there’s no such thing as races within our species – and “race” is a bigoted and escalated term “breed” when we apply the concept to humans that we use to distinguish between types within a species of animals, say dogs and cats.
It is the idea of superior and inferior that permits the crimes against humanity from:
* outright genocide of an entire group or category of people,
* legalized or socialized discrimination (slavery, women and ethnic minorities getting to vote, civil rights, gay marriage, etc)
* to interfering with the personal sovereignty of a person based on their affiliation with a larger group (women and abortion)
If human life really is valuable, then no human life is more valuable than any other life – and disliking people doesn’t mean that you believe you are better or worse than them – it takes a much stronger emotion to get a person to really mistreat another one – and it takes a huge investment emotionally to override our basic natures and feel not only deserving, but entitled, to own other people and expect to benefit from their labour and efforts – in fact, it takes seeing them as not only less than yourself, but less than people.
To get to that stage, it takes religious or political ideology to few whole groups of people as less than people and to be not only comfortable with that there are inferiors, but accepting and willingness – happiness even – to benefit from the inequality; especially inequalities so great as to include enslavement, abuse and torture.
Doesn’t this make it curious that the so called pro-life people are only concerned with the unborn or vegetative state people and not at all with the healthy young men and women in prime breeding age being sent off to wage war on other humans?
Even worse, when you push and probe a so called pro-lifer – you generally uncover that they are primarily concerned with women of their own ethnicity having abortions more than women of other ethnicities having them – racist fear of being outnumbered – and you generally uncover the attitude that the woman was a slut or whore who deserves punishment of the consequences or at least isn’t entitled to avoid consequences and so should have to have the baby and give it to deserving parents who can give it a good home to always live with the reminder that she couldn’t – yet, there is no social condemnation for the man for having sex or being a deadbeat dad – it’s almost expected so no excuse or retribution necessary.
It is curious that religion – Christianity in particular – is so anti-sex. Although there seems to be a correlation in religion with the idea of purity and cleanliness – which means being anti-contamination – and sex is the usual vector of contamination – so anti-sex makes a certain degree of sense – sex in moderation, with precautions is rational and reasonable.
But religion is not about rational and reasonable, it’s about extreme fears and it drives all the social phobias, religion is ritual expression of xenophobia, fear of difference and contamination.
So recognizing the fear of contamination, as represented by sex gives a very different view of the Christian Adam and Eve story – one that I have tripped over for decades, as far back as childhood, not understanding why adults were so nude adverse, when Adam and Eve were nude in the garden – nudists in the woods and wild was how their god had intended people to be – Eve and Adam ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge and learned the difference between good and evil – and they covered themselves.
Christians and other religions took this to mean nudity and sex was bad, dirty, evil – but they continued to insist that god was good and loving and pure – the religion is based on a cognitive dissonance – if god was good and pure and loving and made Adam and Even naked in the woods with no sexual and gender shame, then sex and our bodies are good and pure to start with – and it’s shame that is evil and dirty. Thinking we’re not good enough, just the way we are.
So either the religious folk got it wrong about sex and nudity and our bodies or they got their god all wrong.
Our bodies, sex, nudity and god were always on the same side – it was the covering up that earned the banishment – so Christians are still trying to cover up sex, like the leaves weren’t enough and if only they could get everyone to stop having sex, we could return to the garden – well, I guess that makes some sense – if humans stopped having sex, there’s soon be no humans and the earth would revert back to a garden state with no sentient life mucking it up.
So religion is basically there to eliminate humans either way – if we all followed it, we’d self-extinct for failure to reproduce and as long as we follow all kinds of religions, then we can’t get along with each other because there can be only one, like Highlander – the original movie, not the off cannon sequels and TV series.
“hate the sin, not the sinner”
Christians and other religions, in an attempt to hide what they really feel, cling to this idea that you can separate a person from what they are or what they do; but when they use the word sin to define things that are personal identifiers – like being gay – you can’t separate the sin from the sinner.
Which is probably why they are so keen to prevent women from having abortions – they can’t get over the whole apple thing, so are doing whatever they can to be punitive to women when it comes to anything related to sex. That Adam ate too is blamed on Eve for making him or that he was too good natured to sell Eve out and stay in the garden – perhaps this is the basis for misogyny the resentment that women “cost” men the garden and ignoring that it was Adam’s choice to chow down and follow Eve instead of refusing and staying in god’s garden. Perhaps that’s why so many religious conservatives are so homophobic too staying in the garden with god is a little gay compared to getting to play with Eve’s garden of delights.
Getting on your knees to pray has a whole other connotation, too – religion really is the brain equivalent to sexual kinkiness.
Sex is too core to our identities to be separate from our identity – “sex” is used simultaneously to refer to (and includes) both gender and sexuality and gender sexuality, sexual preferences, and expression of all these things. Our gender and sexuality forms a major part of our relationship with the world and each other and there is much that is valued and devalued that informs and forms our sexuality. We judge others based on attractiveness which derived from sexual desire and preferences – often overriding other concerns – such as fairness, reason, morals.
Love the sinner and hate the sin is nonsense and yet another impossible standard to create and set up followers as failed people, because you can’t separate any identity aspect from the person identified.
The Zero Sum Game
It is because we come from such different frameworks of understanding the world that belief and non-belief is a zero sum game in America, given the majority of literalist believers in America and in the world generally.
Almost all religions have the mentality of expansion by the word or the sword, and no real religion will tolerate other religions when at their core, there can be only one truth, one path, one god or one pantheon, whichever is appropriate to the religion du jour.
Inter-faith committees insist that there’s one god and each religion is a path to said god is to admit that there’s not one truth, that there are many truths, they are all as good and bad as the other, and in doing so, is admitting that religion is a culture product and of no import or consideration whatsoever, other than to keep the masses occupied and manageable.
This Mr. Rodgers watering down of religion is to say that they are all equivalent, so one is as good as any other, which means that religion isn’t important at all, but rather, how we behave towards each other – and that is true – so why not behave well with and towards each other without adding religion to the mix – religion is like pouring gasoline on a fire. We need to stop adding fuel, stop keeping the flames burning and actually douse that fire and figure out some other form of energy to base our economies on – the dinosaurs died out and we will too as long as we rely on them for fuel.
Turning to how we behave with each other – religious people are upset at the idea that non-believers exist for we are living proof that you don’t need a god to be good. Non-believers generally have higher IQs, less criminal/anti-social behavior and more education/knowledge (even religious knowledge) than believers. We may not be happier people than believers, but one truism is that ignorance is bliss – it’s easy to not worry and fret about things that you don’t understand or don’t know about. When you know things, especially state of the world, the nation, the inequality and the suffering, it is difficult to be happy when you understand the mechanisms of the suffering and the extent.
This is why I find it so disturbing that believers are pleased with the idea of going to heaven knowing that others will be suffering in hell, and that knowing makes heaven all the sweeter for them. Believers cope with the suffering in the world by rationalizing that it’s somehow earned and deserved by those who suffer, and that because they are not suffering, that they are somehow better and deserving of reward.
Believers seem to have gone from a mentality of “me instead of you” to “me at the expense of you”.
Confronting the believer’s cognitive dissonance is difficult, because it runs deep. Believers have to reject reality in favour of a religious worldview. To maintain that worldview, they have to ignore, mis-characterize and demonize anything that explains reality and eliminates the need for “goddidit” explanations.
This was easier in the old days when few people could read and most people had a hard scrabble existence and didn’t have the leisure time to think and to revolt against the social order that discriminated and excluded them; when being actually different or labeled as different (a heretic, witch, ethnic minority, gay, etc) was a torture and death sentence. And still is in some part of the world – usually in the theocratic, dictatorships and tribal authorities.
America was founded on the principle that individuals matters, not their group affiliation, that the right to descent and have personal sovereignty to pursue your own liberty, freedom and happiness. It was a revolution that is still being fought today – for the idea is to overturn everything – including and especially religion – and those who have power do not gladly share, redistributed or give it up easily.
America has been hijacked by religion that has slowly wormed it’s way into the halls of government, adding itself to the pledge and on the money – “Under god” was not originally part or on it, where religious conservatives, longing to harken back to the old days where their families were the only land and slave owners, where they ruled over all they surveyed as gods and ruled unquestioningly as they pleased. Good for them, not so much for the rest of us.
This is why the battle lines are drawn between people who look to the past to justify their entitlements and to deny anyone else any sharing of entitlements – because there is a limited amount of freedom available – if I have freedom, then they aren’t free to do what they want to me. Their freedom to swing their arm is limited by where my nose begins.
Actually, a little father than where it begins, us North Americans like about 2 feet of empty space between us – other cultures “personal space” varies, depending on the size of the country and the population figures, we seem to have a formula of the country land mass size divided by the population determines how much personal space we like to leave physically between each other.
So making light and jokes is the kinder gentler way to point out the inconsistencies and ironic tension between religious belief and reality – and, since believers have categorically rejected reality in favour of religion, humour is the only nice way to get believers to start to listen to reason and reality.
Humour includes a range of humour types and it’s very interesting to note that one of the hallmarks of insanity is the inability to understand and be funny. Religion is generally intolerant to most if not all forms of humour. And, if you’ve read this far, you don’t need me to point out the obvious connection made in this paragraph.
There is an alternative to the American zero sum game between belief and non-belief, and the compromise is for the US to become Canada; while Canada needs to adopt more Scandinavian nations sensibilities.
In Canada, belief is a private matter, largely excluded from the public sphere, except for the retail celebration of holidays currently deemed Christian – however, if Canada really wants to be a global model for multiculturism, then we need to add a lot more statutory holidays based on non-Christian traditions or end all statutory holidays that are not purely secular and civic.
Canadian politicians who mention abortion are asking to not be elected, same for making mention of one’s religion as a basis for policy – Paul Martin, our Catholic PM, signed into legislation gay marriage, despite threats of excommunication and denial of the cookie, cracker, whatever that host thingy is made of that transubstantiates into literal body and blood – seriously people cannibalism is okay but pre-martial sex isn’t?
In Canada, gays are allowed to marry who they want to or can get to marry them and churches are not sue-able for refusing to perform the ceremony – everyone is afforded the ability to be consistent between their beliefs and their actions. Churches who are willing can perform gay marriages and get to and those who aren’t, don’ t have to.
Personal sovereignty can be afforded to everyone, as long as everyone understand where their sovereignty ends and someone else’s begins. But, religious believers are rarely willing to allow other people their personal sovereignty and feel entitled to dictate to other people what they can and cannot do, with whom and how long, how kinky and with what consequences. None of which is anyone’s business who wasn’t invited to participate.
One major difference between the US and Canada is that while Canada’s Charter of Rights includes freedom of religion, the right to gender (including includes gender identity and sexuality explicitly) equality overrides all other rights, including religion. Gender equality isn’t part of the US rights.
The US is terrified of Canada style health care where care is universally provided – and, the idea that illness and disaster is god’s punishment for bad behaviour and seriously, we don’t need to waste any more virgins to the volcano gods – that it’s deserved is what’s driving the fear and resistance, because what good is life liberty and happiness if you do not have security of health?
There simply is no god that did it, who could or will do it. There’s just us, and we’re good enough the way we are, but only if we use our best fitness attribute – our adaptive, pattern seeking, meaning making and symbolic capable and critical thinking brains.
Cognitive dissonance unravels very quickly when you apply meaning to the words and don’t let them float there as uncontested bumper sticker philosophies – as if you can support the troops, but not the war – which makes no sense, since not supporting the war is to not support why the troops are there and if you don’t support why they are there, you aren’t supporting the troops; who believe in why they are there or have accepted that it’s their job to be there. If you don’t support them being there, then you aren’t supporting them.
Personally, I don’t support troops being anywhere without direct reasons – defending against attackers in accordance with treaties or acting as invited peacekeepers in other nations civil disputes.
I would like the UN to be the world’s government, and to do so would require a makeover and the world’s nations to step up to a more enlightened status of government than the current mishmashes of democracies, republics (banana or otherwise), kingdoms, and dictatorships – it would mean authorizing the UN to directly impose a peacekeeping force in nations that failed to abide by UN’s Charter of Rights and it also means revising that charter to be more inclusive than it currently is. It also means putting rights in a hierarchy, as practiced globally now, the rights of religion overrides too many other human rights.
Because without the idea of individual human rights, that we are all equal under the law and equally entitled to freedoms, rights and responsibilities of our society and societies, then the American social experiment fails and we the people of the world, mean nothing and deserve nothing. (nod to Darwin Harmless!)
I, for one, just do not accept that. I matter, I mean something, I deserve better, and I am prepared to be a lone voice in the dark shadow of religion, of tyranny. And history tells me that I am not actually alone. Experience shows me that I am not alone, and the internet is a means for all the voices to connect, to stand together and hold the line – there and no farther.
Say it loud, say it proud and say it with me (in your best Gandalf voice):
the darkness shall not pass.
I think society has an interest in what people believe or at least people with beliefs that they attempt to shoehorn them into law or public policy.
Society’s interest isn’t merely ensuring that law and public policy is for everyone equally, but really any arena where a person with the ability to impose their beliefs on the public.
For example, the CEO of a polluting company who is a young earth creationist waiting for the second coming is going to be very resistant to environmental protection laws that will decrease company revenues when he thinks that the jewish zombie is coming back and will fix everything for the faithful.
Or people who influence foreign policy to support Israel because they want to bring about Armageddon based on vague bible passages.
Aside: For me, supporting the only democratic country in that region is reason enough to support Israel generally. Support isn’t blanket approval however, but when you are faced with an enemy using civilian shields, you can’t abandon your self-defense.
We get very distracted by the high media profile of the religious righteous’ opposition to gay marriage that few tend to see these bigger picture issues.
Although, I think it’s funny is that the religious righteous seem to think that they can prevent gay marriage – and make gay people stop being gay by extension - when they have lost every other human rights advance in the last century.
Delay is possible, but not prevention. Sometimes I wonder if these large organized church groups want to be engaged in future litigation and reparations arising from their active oppression and suppression of equal rights.
I also think that we don’t have to examine beliefs very deeply to determine which are the more extreme and harmful ones.
Any group whose basic premise is that their belief defines them as a special privileged group with a mission to bring others into the fold or eliminate non-believers is a problem.
Because these groups come down not to “Us vs Them,” but “Us at the expense of Them.”
Us vs Them is workable because that has some balance, conflict is between an evenly powerful pair of groups or at least on somewhat equal footing or at least one not favoured by law over the other.
But the mentality of Us at the expense of Them is what drives and justifies – well, demands actually – the oppression of the Them group from denied equality to special laws limiting Them’s ability to participate in society as any other member, all the way up to genocide.
Humans dominate the planet not because we’re the best or smartest or strongest – we lack tearing teeth, claws, scales or fur, our sight and hearing ranges are limited – our sense of smell is impaired – but it’s our ability to co-operate – to share resources to develop and build upon technology – that has allowed us to become so dominant and alter our environment that we are now a threat to other life on the planet.
Groups that do not want to work and play well with others are everyone’s concern.
I guess that wasn’t that funny.
I just finished watching 2 documentaries. One on the current Haiti post earthquake and the other on the Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami. Last weekend, I had watched a tsunami one using footage filmed by people at the sites while the waves destroyed everything and they were interviewed about what they went through and who they lost.
It’s impossible to watch these without crying. It astonishes me how in the Haiti one, the geologist who’s the on camera narrator and main character, insomuch as documentaries about events and science have a main character, is able to go about his photos and observations without crying.
I guess at some point the horror is just too overwhelming, but I couldn’t help but interprete some real glee and excitement in many of the geologists in talking about we knew this was going to happen, we just didn’t know when.
And I know that data is critical to gather while it’s fresh, but it’s just a bit hard to take watching a calm man get excited over cracks in the ground, upthrust areas and sunken areas, while in the background of the shots, people are digging through rubble trying to find loved ones or some in tact item from their former life.
The geologist talks about the overwhelming stench of death in the air, and it strikes me that that isn’t all that has a bad odour.
A huge part of what caused the enormous death toll and destruction wasn’t the heavily populated area on a fault line, but the lack of a building code and no infrastructure to enforce any.
Most heavily populated areas are in some kind of disaster zone. The next time Vesuvius blows like it did for Pompeii, and 2 million + people live in the immediate area…… well, it would be the worse natural disaster in recorded history.
It’s the word, natural, that kept jumping out at me while watching the documentaries.
In the Five Years later, one village had been reduced from 6000 people to 1200 – with only 400 women and 8 children five years later. The older children who had survived were now teenagers, orphaned, and largely leaving the village without an education for other places for work.
While the village had been rebuilt – and to new stronger building codes, the tourists were not returning. Partly because no destination hotel or resort was rebuilt and this was largely owing to a fundamentalist Islamic group that had descended on the site in the immediate aftermath to help clear debris, bury bodies and begin the rebuilding.
But, they didn’t leave. They remained and told everyone that the disaster was divine punishment. They put Sharia Law in place and they police the village. Some villagers became devote, others, not as much and for the most part, these are the ones who are leaving.
And them staying and enforcing the law to anyone within the village means that the one industry that could ensure the villaige’s economic future and existance – tourism – is not going to happen.
Tourists do not go to romantic beaches to sit 3 feet away from each other and control their bodies and hands. Women tourists certainly do not go the beach to cover up.
Saving a people’s souls while destroying their bodies and ability to be self-sufficient, isn’t a help to them.
How do you make sense of the senseless? The destruction, the loss of life, not even being able to bury the body of your loved one.
My mind goes blank trying to comprehend it even.
But, what doesn’t make sense is to accept that the disaster was somehow caused by human social or moral behaviour. Nor does it make sense to then turn to the very deity that, let’s face it, pretty much allowed the disaster to occur.
Disasters really should spell the end for deities. If deities are all powerful, then why allow a disaster to kill so many, destroy so much. Do you really want to beleive that all the dead babies were going to be evil? Or that their parent or sibling are, so the baby had to die to punish them?
Really? Evil babies?
We know what causes disasters – the tectonic plates shifting, subduction, releasing pressure and the earth quakes and when that shift displaces water, we have the tsunami. Wind and differing water/air temperatures cause hurricanes, and wind conditions tornadoes. Volcanoes are welling super heated magma from the earth’s mantle.
There is no reason to think that any deity is using this natural events to punish people.
There’s no reason to think that a deity spared particular people either. What kind of so called loving deity picks and chooses?
When Katrina happened, many religious leaders claimed it was to punish sinners and because abortion was legal and gays/lesbians were tolerated.
Imagine hearing that – you’re in New Orleans, your city is under water, your home is gone, you are separated from your family, there’s little in the way of water, food or help.
And some moron in a suit’s biggest concern is Roe v Wade and gay marriage?
One of the underlying issues of disasters is being prepared for them. And most of us are not.
Cities need to prepare with building codes and enforcement to minimize damage before it happens. With infrastructure, disaster routes and an informed population.
At higher government levels, there needs to be first responders and aid agencies on call. And that needs funding.
What it doesn’t need are fundies of any religious bent.
Consider a fundie politician who genuinely believes that disasters are divine punishment.
What this means is that he is certain that the disaster is the deity’s plan. Is he really going to vote for funding to mitigate a disaster and thwart a deity’s plan?
Is he going to be willing to vote to spend money on aid to help people the disaster missed?
Is he going to be willing to spend money on large scale mitigation, like proper levees, water barricades, public disaster shelters?
And then you have to wonder, will these same politicans also vote to protect the environment locally and with climate change on the horizon, especially when that conflicts with business?
After all, if the rapture is coming and the deity is going to fix it all, why should we now?
Or, if we’re all or most of us are doomed, again, they are going to interfere with that?
So, as much as I thought that the geologists weren’t emotional about the disaster because they were too focused on learning what they could about the disaster in front of them, I realize that the reason this focus is there is so that they can learn and save lives in the future.
Something that the religious zealots are not interested in. They want to hurry the endtimes and be rewarded now. Because they fear dying and things like the rapture are along the lines of Don’t Pass Go, Don’t Collect $200, go straight to jail – only the opposite good mean – don’t die, go direct to heave where you get to look down and see everyone suffering on earth.
Funny weird and to a lesser extent, funny ha ha.
People who understand that disaster are natural and arbitrary, know that life is precious because it’s the only one we have.
We have to learn as much as we can to prevent and reduce future deaths. We have to see that disasters are natural. And we have to spend money to mitigate and reduce disasters before they happen, whether they are going to happen in 10, 50 or 100 years.
We need to look at cities that are below sea level and vulnerable and build the safety systems to a 500 year standard – if we ensure the defenses can withstand a category 6, then anything else below that is inconvenient, not utter destruction.
We need to look at cities in any danger zone has appropriate and enforced building codes, exit routes, close by disaster relief resources, and capacity to evacuate if there’s an ability to give notice or after to relocate and reunite people (and their pets).
We need warning systems that span regions, not just here and there in an uncoordinated manner.
The earthquake in Alaska in the 1960′s caused tsunami damage down the coast of British Columbia and into California – where deaths occured. No one at the time knew that the event were related.
We improve technologies, we conduct research and explore new ideas about disasters and we can save lives and the property and infrastructure damage is minimized to help those lives carry on.
It’s okay for people to turn to a faith for personal comfort, but it’s not okay to rely on those religions to help us avoid or recover collectively from those disasters.