Category : Christianity

Merry Capitalismas!

Express your love for Jesus by buying shit at Walmart! It’s capitalism-mass!

Don’t forget to worship Satan’s Claws, er, … I mean “Santa Claus”, the pagan god of materialism! He gives big, expensive gifts to the rich kids and tiny, crappy gifts to the poor kids… ’cause he’s, like, holy or something. Yay! This holiday makes total sense! Nothing strange or satanic about it!

Merry Capitalismas!

A shocking KSLA news report has confirmed the story we first broke last year, that Clergy Response Teams are being trained by the federal government to “quell dissent” and pacify citizens to obey the government in the event of a declaration of martial law. Economic Collapse? Another mass-casualty, false-flag attack? [/digg]

This is incredibly disturbing. Here’s the news clip for those who doubt:

Am I cynical to believe that something terrible will happen either right before or right after the elections (before inauguration)?

If it does, we’ve gotta stick together, organize and resist. This can’t happen to America. It’s like a nightmare you can’t wake up from.

Wow, okay, my last post went over like a lead balloon on Reddit. I thought it was fair and coherent, but apparently people disagreed with my conclusions and downmodded it as a result.

However, one guy (it could be a girl. Perhaps I assume too much) was rational, calm and intelligent enough to discuss it with me without a flamewar erupting. He’s known as Strontium90 in the comments of that last post. He continued the discussion over on reddit but I want to make sure y’all read this because I think his points are good, even though I’ve refuted most of them. Here’s what he had to say:

I commented on your blog as Strontium90. Unfortunately, you seem to be confused about what a null hypothesis is, the concept of the burden of proof, and the nature of positive/negative claims. You also dismiss the subtle differences between agnosticism and atheism as mere semantics, while insisting that something as innocuous as a water-like substance could be discovered, which we would call god. This is a double standard.

You also seem to be under the impression that atheists do not believe in gods because they do not like them, which is why you brought up several examples of gods that atheists would likely find favorable (such as the love-goddess) as a counter-example. Unfortunately, the repulsiveness of deities is not what causes atheism; their implausibility does.

You also seem to be unable to grasp bobbincygna’s analogy. I will attempt to elucidate.

[[[For readers: When I implied atheism is a religion someone responded: "If Atheism is a religion then not collecting stamps is a hobby." And then bobbincygna attempted to defend the analogy. -Vemrion]]]

On bobbincygna’s analogy:

Take the set of all hobbies out there. H = [hobbies]. This includes everything you would call a hobby, from collecting stamps to messing with telemarketers. Now, let us suppose that we take the (rather passive) activity of not collecting stamps. Is it reasonable to place it in that set? No, of course not. Someone who has no hobbies can call called an a [without] hobbyist [person who has a hobby or hobbies].

Now, take the set of all religions, from Buddhism to Scientology, call it R. All items in set R are characterized by various elements: the lionization of faith, the existence of holy books or scripture, the presence of some sort of supernatural elements, etc. Does a belief which simply consists of “I do not believe in the supernatural, I do not believe that books are holy, and I do not take extraordinary claims on faith” belong there? I don’t think so. It, like the lack of stamp collecting, is a lack of theistic belief. This is what atheism means – a [without] theism [belief in god].

Atheism, the most oft-displayed example of metaphysical naturalism, can be termed as a philosophy, or perhaps a meta-religious view (view about religion), but it certainly is not a religion. There are no holy texts, only books which effectively sum up the philosophical arguments against theism. There is no dogma among atheists, unless you count a lack of belief in gods. This does not really count though, because it is necessarily true that an atheist lacks belief in gods. And he certainly will not be excommunicated or disowned by his parents if he later professes theism. Faith is not celebrated, instead it is essentially abandoned in favor of reason. Leaders and followers do not exist: Richard Dawkins might be influencial, but I don’t consider his words to be gospel, and neither do most atheists. They happen to share a lot of his beliefs, though. There is no formalized ritual such as prayer, sacrifice, etc, which is another thing that sets atheists apart from theists.

Pretty well-reasoned, I thought. But I definitely want to challenge some of his assertions. Here is my response:

My apologies for the confusion over the water-diety. I didn’t make it clear, but I was referring to something similar to a water elemental — basically a spirit that is infused with one of the four elements (water is a compound, of course, but it’s also one of the classical elements), Fire, Earth, Air and Water (the Chinese add a 5th: Metal). It’s probably not a very good analogy since it’s completely hypothetical and imaginary, at least as far as science is concerned.

I grasp the stamp hobby analogy just fine. It’s a poor analogy, though, which you seem unable to grasp. Here’s why:

Collecting is an activity. Philately is a hobby. However, you could still be a philatelist and not actually collect anything. How? By knowing a heck of a lot about stamps, that’s how. Philately is the study of stamps, not the act of collecting them. You could be an expert in stamp lore without actually having a collection or wanting one.

Actually, maybe the analogy is not so poor, since once you learn how faulty it is you might be able to understand how atheism could be considered a religion. Of course, this does depend on semantics to an extent.

An extremely simple definition of religion is this: “A religion is a set of common beliefs and practices generally held by a group of people.” Boom. You hold beliefs in common with other atheists (you refuse to worship “known” gods) and your practices are also similar in that you refuse to attend worship services (I assume. Personally, I make exceptions for weddings and funerals, but I don’t “worship”). It may be negative, but that doesn’t mean you can’t group it under religion.

For example, you’ve already admitted that atheism is a philosophy. Would you also consider it a theological perception? Just because the content of your theological perception attacks the underlying structure of most other theologies and even theism itself, that does not stop it from being classified as some form of theological outlook. Do they study atheism in theology classes? In many cases, yes (there might be some bias in many of them, of course).

As for dogma, yes I consider the lack of belief in gods to be a dogma among atheists. If someone claimed to be atheist, but continually made shrines to Buddha would you consider him a “real” atheist?

To take it even further, have you ever heard “The first rule is that there are no rules.” Is that a rule? Sure seems like it to me, even though its singular act is to bar all other rules. It may be recursive, negative and contradictory… But it’s still a rule.

Also, if you knew more about theology you’d know that there are several religions that are nontheist. They generally don’t deny the existence of gods, they just aren’t concerned with them, and don’t take a stance on them either way. Confucianism and other eastern religions are a perfect example. For this reason, many people like to call them philosophies rather than faiths or religions, but this is another semantic argument, one that is caused by the overwhelming prevalence of Christianity in the weltanschauung of westerners.

If you consider ritual a necessary part of the definition of religion, consider the scientific method. It’s also a dogma of sorts, and it prescribes a methodology for discovering and verifying knowledge in such a way as it will be acceptable to others in the sci
entific community. In much the same way that a priest prepares to consecrate bread and wine, a dutiful scientist will prepare for an experiment by controlling for variables and making predictions (hypotheses) before the experiment-ritual itself is performed.

As for proceeding from the assumption of the null hypothesis, that’s your business. It’s certainly a good idea in science, but in matters of faith things are not so cut and dried.

Also, please note that I am not calling you a religious person by stating atheism could be considered a religion. I’m just pointing out that atheism is quite similar to other religions, and as it grows there is a risk that it could be seized and exploited by charlatans. I believe there was a South Park episode about this. I am also sure you would see through the bullshit and hopefully refrain from any atheistic fundamentalism, but just remember that there are a lot of stupid people out there. In fact, some people are dumb as fuck!

Even as I’m drawing religion and science together, surely you’ll concede there is much that separates them. The problem is that the scientific method is not known to work for the business of discovering gods. I believe Scott Adams once compared this folly to using a metal detector to check for unicorns in one’s sock drawer. The fact of the matter is, we haven’t discovered a “god” (definitively, based on the scientific method) so how can we say we’re using the best tools for the job?

Perhaps a new method is called for. Of course, if I knew that method I’d present you with solid proof of the existence of god(s). But you could easily reject it by saying my method does not adhere to the principles of the scientific method. But what if my method was better, at least for discovering and identifying divine beings?

A question to ponder: Have your placed your faith in the scientific method?

Batting Around the Mouse
I’ve always liked Scott Adams and Dilbert. He’s actually got a pretty good blog, too, and it’s a surprisingly combative one. You might expect that his blog is a lovefest if you’ve never been there: “omg Scot i totully luved dilbertt today! dogbert is my hero!’

Nope, Adams goes for the throat and his (many) commenters do too. It’s an intellectual and incendiary blog, and sort of a kindered blog to this one in many respects (I gotta recognize that he’s been doin’ it longer — he’s the Dogfather).

Speaking of the dyslexic agnostic (he stayed up all night wondering if dog exists) — Scott has gone after atheists in a big way lately, and caught plenty of reddit-hell for it. Good. He’s right: Full-on atheism is just as intellectually indefensible as religion.

This brings me to atheists. In order to be certain that God doesn’t exist, you have to possess a godlike mental capacity – the ability to be 100% certain. A human can’t be 100% certain about anything. Our brains aren’t that reliable. Therefore, to be a true atheist, you have to believe you are the very thing that you argue doesn’t exist: God.

I don’t particularly like the way he frames his argument as a percentage; it seems too much like gambling on Heaven (but that’s what it is, at least according to western religion). This is known as Pascal’s Wager:

Chief among the alleged flaws in Pascal’s argument is that you still have to pick the correct religion among many, or else you go to Hell anyway.Sure. But picking any religion that promises salvation slightly improves your odds over picking an option that doesn’t. You’re still probably doomed, given your bad religion-picking skills, but a one-in-a-million chance of reducing the risk of eternal Hell is a move worth taking, mathmatically speaking.

I don’t subscribe to this theory since I’m an asshole — an asshole who thinks it’s more important to find out the truth than to assure yourself a slot in heaven at the good table. In that respect I have a lot in common with the atheists who are eviscerating Scott all over the internet.

But why should they care?

If they were so secure in their position they wouldn’t be calling for his head, would they?

Many atheists claimed to be “weak atheists”, which is sort of like saying you prefer a shade of whitish-black. Just say “gray”, okay? The word “agnostic” already exists; use it.

So, much of the argument is semantics-based bickering. Tiring of this, Scott moved in for the kill — or so it seems. Like a cat batting around a mouse he’s just torturing these people and mocking their cognitive dissonance (ah… a man after my own heart).

The phrase “weak atheist” is apparently nothing but a weasel self-label for agnostics who have picked a side and don’t want to be seen as giving any opening to religion. It is politics disguised as philosophy.

As Scott pointed out, we can know a priori that atheism is not logical: If you admit you are not omniscient or omnipotent how can you claim to know whether or not an omnipotent or omniscient being exists? Or put more simply: how can atheism be proven true when you can’t prove a negative? Doesn’t that make it a faith, a religion?!

Cult of Nothingness
Oh man, nothing gets atheists more pissed off then calling their movement a religion. First they get angry, then they gather in communities like chatrooms and reinforce each others’ beliefs, hand out matching T-shirts and start setting up temples dedicated to their faith.

Oops.

They even have their high priests and holy writ. I guess atheism is big business — if you can get enough people to buy into it.

And that’s the problem, isn’t it? Aren’t most of us fed up with organized religion and all the attendant bullshit? No offense to the believers out there, but much of what is known about early Christianity, for example, reveals its modern branches as spawned from hoaxes, lies and ignorance. The Bible was not written by “God.” It was written by men, who say that it was written by God. Big difference, that.

Semantic Saṃsāra
Well, the natural reaction to the bullshit of Christianity is atheism. But wait a minute; how do you know atheism is any better? Well for all the reasons above, you don’t. Furthermore, you’re following an “-ism” — a meme, a movement, a faith, an order. And isn’t that what got you neck deep in Popeshit in the first place?

So what’s the answer?

Well, look at the atheist Scott got all riled up:

Perhaps if he had spent even a small amount of time researching the matter, he’d have learned what the difference between weak atheism and agnosticism is — and at the same time, he might have even learned how and why everything he wrote in his post was either factually incorrect or logically incoherent.

He makes a fair point in his link about atheists merely denying belief in a god rather than asserting gods don’t exist. Fair enough, but it’s a semantics game, buddy! Agnosticism staked out that turf long ago.

His rejoinder:

Agnosticism is not about belief in god but about knowledge — it was coined originally to describe the position of a person who could not claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not.

Splitting hairs! None of us can claim to know for certain, except for the specious claims of religious zealots… and a few atheist zealots in the other direction as well. If we accept his argument that:

An agnostic atheist won’t claim to know for sure that nothing warranting the label “god” exists or that such cannot exist, but they also don’t actively believe that such an entity does indeed exist.

How is such a belief different from just saying “I’m agnostic”? It’s 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. His semantic games probably help to win arguments, but his tactic of dividing people up into lots of different sects sounds a lot like religion to me. It’s the natural recourse of a zealot who’s experiencing cognitive dissonance.

It’s also a way of dissociating yourself from the truly nutball atheists — the “strong atheists” or whatever he would call’em. Fair enough, those people are stupid. But it seems to me like a lot of atheists are actually agnostics who have taken an atheistic stance until such a time as god is proved one way or another.

Why not just call’em what they are: fence-sitters. Agnostics. Agnosticism, by the way, generally outweighs belief, at least among the logical. Most of us are not ready to believe in a god we
don’t know. How can you tell it’s a good god if you don’t know its properties? Saying you don’t worship something you don’t know seems redundant, but I’ll grant that there are probably crazy people out there who worship gigantic invisible hammers or something.

The Stain of Christianity

To me, saying you’re an agnostic is sensible, but taking it one step further and saying you’re an agnostic atheist is presumptuous. Given that, to date, humanity has proven the existence of exactly zero gods, doesn’t it seem like putting the cart before the horse to say you don’t honor any of the thousands of gods that may or may not be out there? If, for example, humans knew of the existence of 1, 2, 10 or 2000 gods, then fine. You can say, “All of these gods suck. I’m an atheist.” That would be logical, but dismissing the panoply of possible gods beforehand is a logical leap that rigorous thinkers should not make. Perhaps there’s a big-tittied goddess out there who has no worship requirement, but has lots of great advice for lovemaking, thoughtful advice for living happily and the promise of eternal life. Many of the greco-roman gods were totally horny, and pretty tolerant, too. Don’t forget those Vedic gods who were into tantric sex rites. Are you gonna pass that shit up?

Atheists are, ironically, letting the blinders of Judeo-Christian tradition blind them and limit their imagination. I, for instance, don’t accept the notion that there can only be one god and he must be male (…somehow), omnipotent and omniscient. One can be extremely powerful without being all-powerful. Atheists are too concerned with the Christian conception of god and are letting those assumptions fuck with their logic. I would encourage so called atheists to explore eastern religions, many of which are more properly called “philosophies”, to get a good feel for belief outside of the Judeo-Christian deathgrip. Some suggestions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Confucianism.

Subdivisions
There’s that “-ism” suffix again. Atheists are as guilty of it as anybody. Isn’t that a lot of busywork, subdividing yourself down to a certain sect, all so you can feel some sense of belonging, of having that “god” thing squared away? Done. Full stop. Finished. Problem solved.

But it isn’t quite that easy, isn’t it? Atheism is making alliances with other groups, such as hardcore fans of evolution and science in general. It’s growing and becoming a money-making venture and it’s increasingly gaining clout, especially on the internet. Atheism, in its way, affects all of us, and will do so even more in the future. In time it could become a political force and when that happens atheism will become just as corrupt and controlling as Christianity.

Atheists have a stigma — right or wrong — of being close-minded, of having decided something. That, to me, is the most dangerous part. Faith, god, reality, truth — these things are too important to just put in some box. Then again, maybe I’m just a contrarian or a purist because I wouldn’t call myself a Christian simply because some fellow ‘Christians’ would include Hitler and G.W. Bush.

Seeker of Truth
So now that I’ve criticized everybody else, what do I think? Fair question. I think that what’s important is not who or what you believe in, but that you try to find some truth. Life is a quest, and as long as you keep searching for truth or a clue or whatever, you’ll be okay. I believe that ‘seekers’ are safe in the eyes of any benevolent god.

Given a malevolent one, you’re fucked either way.

If there’s no god, oh well, at least you looked. If you’re not going to search how can you really mock the religious folks? Shit, that’s every atheists’ hobby, isn’t it? Their true tenet, their sacrament, I think, is to mock religious dumbshits. And god bless’em for that. I enjoy doing the same. But if you’re gonna talk the talk, you should walk the walk.

Ultimately, it about responsibility. If you’re labeling yourself with a convenient “-ism” you’re not really thinking. Take responsibility for your own faith or lack thereof and try to improve your level of knowledge. Lumping yourself in with a group is too easy. Everybody has different beliefs, so why do we gotta keep making these walls, these sects and strictly delineated sets of believers?

It just makes it easier for people to manipulate us, and isn’t that what atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers have tried to escape for centuries?

What I think we need is 6.5 billion people courageous enough to believe in 6.5 billion personal religions without killing each other, or amassing followers. … Yeah right. A guy can dream.

In the meantime, I guess we’ll have to get used to atheism as a legitimate “faith” in this country. There’s just one problem: I don’t believe atheism really exists! Haha, okay, I’m joking, but the point is that most so-called atheists are actually more agnostic when you come right down to it. But who knows, I could be wrong and as such I’m keeping my options open.

The only thing I know for sure is that people who claim they know “The One True Path” are full of shit. Fuck them. Find your own path.

Pope Dumbshit made another lame proclamation recently:

Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation.

This is the theological equivalent of saying “My dad can beat up your dad!” Part of the reason the Catholics like to give the finger to other Christian churches is because the other churches don’t accept the Pope as the Vicar of Christ on Earth (’cause, ya know.. he’s not. He’s just some fucking pederast in a funny hat).

So basically, Bennie the great is asserting the primacy of his dick. “WORSHIP ME, mortals!! Bow before the mighty Benedict!!!”

You know what, Ratzinger, you creepy-looking megalomaniac? Go fuck yourself.

Sweet Jesus McGillicuddy!


Oh Velicirapture!

In his boundless love he can even cradle and soothe a young velociraptor. This photographic proof disproves evolution…. but if Jesus loves velociraptors so much why did he smite them with a mighty asteroid? Maybe they’re all sitting on his lap in Heaven.

Merry Mithras’ Day

We’re all familiar with the story of Mithras, right? He was born of a virgin on December 25th and lay in a manger where he was attended by shepherds who brought gifts. He took a last supper with his followers, died, and then rose to heaven. He was worshiped on Sunday and was often depicted with a halo around his head. You know this guy, right?

Mithraism precedes Christianity by as much as 1,400 years. Much of the myth of Christianity appears to have been grafted onto Mithraism in order to make it more palatable to the Roman Empire at large, which had adopted Mithraism as one of many state religions. Roman Emperor Constantine was a follower of Mithras before he added Christianity to the list of religions he ascribed to. It was Constantine who moved worship day of Christianity to Sunday (previously it was Saturday, springing from Christianity’s Jewish roots) and declared that Jesus’ real, official, because-I-said-so birthday was December 25th. Constantine decided this in 313 AD without any evidence. It was just more convenient to stick it on Mithras’ Day, which as already an important holiday in Rome because it corresponded to important days in Sol Invictus and Saturnalia. December 25th is important to pagans because it was clear that the sun was returning by then, after months of the days growing colder and shorter. By December 25th, court astrologers could assure the Emperor that yes, the sun had decided to return. The head priest of Mithras was called papa or pope.

So when you’re celebrating Christmas this holiday, don’t forget to sacrifice a bull for Mithras. After all, he is the true origin of many of the rituals that Christians celebrate every year. Jesus, it’s worth noting, venerated Saturday as his holy day. Jesus was probably born in February or September and he was not born of a virgin. But in order to compete in the crowded marketplace of faith in 300 AD you pretty much had to be born of a virgin. Oh, and Jesus was probably not very keen on the Romans since they had conquered his people and forced them to worship strange gods (like Mithras). In fact, the whole point of becoming a messiah was so he could throw off the yoke of Roman oppression. Something to think about for all the Roman Catholics out there.

Ah, I love little squabbles like this. They are such “teachable moments.” Not sure what they teach, exactly, except that Christian video games are pretty goofy.

Liberal and progressive Christian groups say a new computer game in which players must either convert or kill non-Christians is the wrong gift to give this holiday season and that Wal-Mart, a major video game retailer, should yank it off its shelves.

The Campaign to Defend the Constitution and the Christian Alliance for Progress, two online political groups, plan to demand today that Wal-Mart dump Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a PC game inspired by a series of Christian novels that are hugely popular, especially with teens.

The game has been getting abysmal reviews from gamers, but not because of the “convert or die” storyline (gamers are used to slaughtering electrons). It’s because the game has committed the worst sin: it is shitty quality and not fun to play.

Nobody has enough faith to endure a game with such a hokey story, terrible mission design, serious problems with the interface and graphics, and loads of crippling bugs.

Slashdot has additional discussion on the merits of the game and whether it should be pulled from shelves. Personally, do I think it should be pulled or banned? Hell no. Just because a game sucks doesn’t mean we should yank it. Yes, it’s intolerant, but as the GameSpot review makes clear, the game drops into self-parody at several points. I say let people make up their own minds.

The stupidest part about this game, IMO, is how rock musicians are portrayed. Maybe that’s because I’m a rock musician, but I think it’s so fucking lame that rock musicians are a sort of default bad guy. If this is how the Christian fundamentalists perceive us is it any wonder that we think they’re a bunch of intolerant dumbfucks?

Perhaps even more stupid (because it’s not as goofy and laughable) is how Muslims are portrayed in the game as followers of the Antichrist or neutral folks to be converted (or killed if they resist).

Players can choose to join the Antichrist’s team, but of course they can never win on Carpathia’s side. The enemy team includes fictional rock stars and folks with Muslim-sounding names, while the righteous include gospel singers, missionaries, healers and medics. Every character comes with a life story.

When asked about the Arab and Muslim-sounding names, Frichner said the game does not endorse prejudice. But “Muslims are not believers in Jesus Christ” — and thus can’t be on Christ’s side in the game.

“That is so obvious,” he said.

Oh really, Mr. Frichner? I guess he’s been too busy drinking the kool-aid (or “blood of Christ” in this case) to notice that Muslims recognize Jesus as a great prophet, teacher and holy man. They may not agree with the batshit notion that Jesus = God, but most rational people believe the same. (Jesus called himself “the Son of Man” not “I am God!!! Worship me, bitches!!”)

I wonder if Mr. Frichner would be interested to know how highly venerated Jesus is in the Qur’an/Koran?

Jesus is described as one who is min al-muqarrabin (among the nearest to God) and as min al-salihin (of the upright) and as wajih (eminent) [Surah 3:40-46]. Baidhawi amplifies this, saying that Jesus is illustrious in this world as a Prophet and in the next as an intercessor (Hughes, Dictionary of Islam, p.229.) Following the Qur’anic presentation of Jesus, he is known among Muslims as Kalimatullah (the word of God), and Ruh Allah (the spirit of God) [Surah 3:45; Surah 4:171]. No other prophets have been described in such terms. No other prophet nor Muhammad has ever been called the spirit of God.

Instead of fostering dialogue between religions Frichner is spouting ignorance and contributing to the baseless Christian hatred and persecution of Muslims, a people whose religion is actually founded on the tenets of Christianity. In essence, this game is a monument to the stupidity and intolerance of the religious right. Leave it on the shelves.

Star Wars Last Supper

Click on it for a larger view. Yes, that’s Luke as Jesus. Mmm…. sooo blasphemous. I love it!

The artist is clearly a talented guy.

I’m glad that he used Leia in Mary Magdalen’s spot — I’m convinced that The Da Vinci Code is right and that it’s a chick! No way is that a male apostle.

This is the most fucked up thing I’ve ever heard. The gang members have named their gangs after all these heavy metal bands — like Judas Priest — and made alliances based upon which bands they thought were good and which weren’t, leading to constant gang warfare about who’s music is better, along with terrorizing the populace in response to hundreds of years of colonialism.

I can’t really describe this, so I’m just gonna quote the (level-headed) article in The Bulletin:

But the Port Keats people were too strong to fully succumb to the church. Autonomous forces survived and, over the past 20 years, gangs have come to steer the under­current of life in the town. “They never sleep,” ­Perdjert says. “They’re always causing problems. ­Everyone stays up till daylight waiting for them to go to sleep. When the daylight comes, that’s when we sleep.”

On October 23, 2002, after a policeman shot dead a Judas Priest gang member in Port Keats, the JPs – who that day had been fighting the Evil Warriors – turned savagely on anyone with links to the Warriors. ­Perdjert felt their wrath due to her marriage to Eugenio Kurungaiyi, the deputy commander of the Evil Warriors.

“They [Judas Priest members] smashed my house, all my property, everything. They trashed my washing machine, my deep freezer, DVD and video machine, TV, table, chairs, everything,” she says. “They burned my clothes, mattresses, blankets. I was there.”

It was anything but a casual going over. Twelve houses were destroyed and eight cars burned. The message was clear: the traditional owners of Port Keats were no longer welcome on their own land. “They smashed everything,” ­Perdjert says. “They smashed the toilet, the sink, the fan, even the power points – everything.”

Six weeks ago, she sneaked back into Port Keats to visit her sick grandmother. But she was quickly found out and Judas Priest gangsters went to her aunt’s home, where she was hiding. ­Perdjert was punched three times in the head. The boys said they were looking for her husband. Her aunt’s house was trashed as punishment for shielding ­Perdjert, who immediately chartered an aircraft back to Wyndham.

The Evil Warriors align themselves musically to the heavy metal bands Pantera, Iced Earth and Testament. Outcrops of graffiti across the Top End testify that Pantera’s Cowboys From Hell album is regarded as a seminal work. Iced Earth, a shock-rock band, has albums called The Dark Saga, Dark Genesis and Burnt Offerings. Testament album titles include Demonic and Signs of Chaos, all of it suggesting the gangs rejoice in concepts forbidden and reviled by the church.

The Judas Priest boys take their name from the leather-and-chain British band. Metallica, the band that screams against injustice over studiously disjointed machine-gun bursts of sound, is also rated highly by JP. Both groups reject the other’s music as crap.

Beneath the two dominant gangs are sub-gangs with names like the Lica (from Metallica) Warriors, Mad Warriors, Fear Factory, Big T (taken from the band Testament), the German Punks, the White Lions and the Cowboys From Hell – a small group of young boys from just up the road at Palumpa. They are variously aligned to the two main groups.

“These smaller gangs,” says a lawyer with experience in the area, “represent the small Port Keats family groupings or clans that aren’t terribly powerful. They form their small gangs almost as a defence against the larger family gangs but inevitably they need to align themselves to the bigger groups.” In a power switch that came after October 2002, when the Evil Warriors lost influence in Port Keats, most of the smaller gangs got onside with Judas Priest as a matter of survival.

Wyndham exile Peter Cumaiyi confirms the lawyer’s assessment. “The reason why they’re in a gang is to protect themselves from other gangs,” he says. While his sons and nephews are members of the Evil ­Warriors, Cumaiyi, 47, insists he is too old to be in the gang – even though, when it comes down to it, he has stood alongside his boys and fought Judas Priest.

This is really weird, eh? Check the article out, man. It’s seriously weird. And it gets weirder:

For a start, these are bush kids who don’t speak English well enough to explain themselves. The church sent their parents – like Cumaiyi – to Catholic boarding school in Darwin. But then came the era of self-­determination, which demanded the church move aside so that Aborigines could do things for themselves. What in fact happened was that a whole generation – these very boys – fell into a vacuum. They got to grade six and seven then disappeared into the bush.

They deal with problems the best way they know how – through confrontation, using their clan numbers, or forming allegiances with others, much as their ancestors did. But their life as bush gangsters has bitten back.

So you can actually trace much of this back to the Catholic Church’s insistence on “christianizing” the Aboriginal population. Interesting… The Aboriginal youth were probably warned by the church that heavy metal was evil. So naturally, when the church lost control, the youths embraced that which they had been denied. It’s very interesting, but it’s too bad that it’s degenerated into a series of tense, violent, stand-offs with white settlers and each other.

I can assure you that most of the bands mentioned in the article kick ass. I’m sure they would not want to see such destruction in their name. But they understand oppression, as do the gangbangers:

When they first emerged in the 1980s, the gangs were not seen as a threat. Because each gang is tied to one of the region’s 20 clans, or wider family groupings, it was thought the boys had simply updated clan names along contemporary lines. Recent events have forced a reappraisal.

“The music they’re listening to is the music of the oppressed and disadvantaged and these kids really heavily identify,” the lawyer says. “It’s anti-authority, angry, violent and rebellious and these are sentiments a lot of Aboriginal people can identify with. I’m no musicologist but that’s what it seems to be. You just better hope they don’t find Islam.” The lawyer pauses and adds: “I think I’m joking.”

The best way they can explain the love of heavy metal is, in the words of Francis, the “inspiration” it gives them. It needs no beer or ganja to kick it along. He says the music “works” when they are sitting at their out­stations, bored and in search of a shared muse. Most like to be seen wearing Kmart-issue camouflage gear they pick up on occasional trips to Darwin. The militia costume would appear to send the message that the boys are combat-ready at all times.

By and large, Port Keats men have lean, hard-cut phy
siques, with veins that rope in their biceps and powerful shoulders. The boys are careful to highlight these features in spray-on clothes. The men of Groote Eylandt, off Arnhem Land, and the Walpiri tribesmen of the Tanami enjoy their reputations as hard men. But for the men of Port Keats – nowadays the most jailed people of any NT community – a special respect is reserved.

Blending the symbols of hard-edged western cultures, gang members – perhaps surprisingly – prefer the angry guitar sound of white metal bands to the tempered black ghetto beat. Rap music, they say, is for kids – even though the shot-dead gangster-musician Tupac Shakur is singled out as an affectionate exception.

They reject the idea that the allegedly demonic nature of the metal bands puts them in the Devil’s hand. “We can be Evil Warriors and we can still go to church,” says Gerard Cumaiyi. “We go to church every Sunday here in Wyndham. We are strong believers. It’s that mob [Judas Priest]. They don’t believe. They never go to church.”

Wow. I think these kids need to get into reggae music, mon. Bob Marley, man. They need to get that aggression out. I think they still need the heavy metal. It provides solace in a world of shit. But reggae offers sunshine, even in the depths of oppression and cruelty. As this article makes clear, skin color doesn’t matter. Music speaks to you, and sound doesn’t have a color.

Shelvey is far from pleased that JP have the upper hand in his town. “All sorts of people in Wadeye are absolutely shit-scared of him getting out,” says an observer. “The Jongmins, as a matter of pride, would say bring it on – but it’s the women and kids generally who are afraid of being caught in the crossfire.”

The Wyndham-based Evil Warriors say they are depending on Shelvey to lead them back to Port Keats. “What the boys are suggesting,” says Gerard Cumaiyi, “is that we need a fair fight with them [Judas Priest] and then there might be peace.” After that, he says it’s over. “We want no more Evil ­Warriors, no more Judas Priest, no more gangs. We’ll settle down with true family.”

Gerard is asked if he hates the boys from Judas Priest. “We don’t hate them,” he says. “They’re the same mob as us – same language, but different country.” “It’s very hard,” says Peter Cumaiyi. “They can be right, we can be right. It’s a seesaw. Who is right? Which way does it go? We just want to be equal.”

Much of it comes down to how young Port Keats men see their place in the world. They have all been through manhood ceremonies and many have known the inside of Berrimah prison. Yet they are so strongly connected to ceremonial business that other communities rely on Port Keats people to guide them through correct ceremonial performance.

It’s a cycle of violence, as they say. And not much good comes of it. Can’t they get together and put this feud asside? Probably not. The warring gangs each have families where the rule is concentrated, and they get their power through conflict. We should not expect to see an end to this conflict as long as it is so profitable (power-wise) for certain gang families.

The ending is hopeful, however:


Same for the heavy metal gangster culture. These young warriors will fight, will go to jail and will go to jail again for their clans. But they are not beyond reach. There is none of the lethargy among Port Keats people that so demoralises many others. The boys are feared by other communities, seen by the cops as trouble, but are nevertheless warm and intelligent and would surely prefer to be doing more than fighting each other. As such, the heavy metal scene could be read as an attempt to engage in the world beyond their fishbowl existence in a community at the end of a long, dirt road. In a startling admission, it turns out there are Elvis Presley and Hank Williams lovers hiding beneath the furious wall of sound. “Yes, we like angry music,” says Gerard Cumaiyi. “But we also like the crooners.”

Good to know they’re finding other good bands and singers. They need to spread their wings and find the good that exists in all kinds of music. Maybe then they can learn to appreciate the good that exists in all kinds of peoples throughout the world.

Jesus was gay

I don’t get this whole thing. Jesus was clearly gay. Here’s a historical image of him groping a follower:

Okay, I’m totally joking. But let’s not forget that Jesus was a rabble-rousing radical revolutionary. He is usually depicted in Christian imagery as being a bit of a hippy (long hair, beard, sandals, probably smoked weed, etc.). Heck, he was basically the original hippy, preaching nonviolence while evil festered and grew all around him. Instead of being thanked for his wisdom and optimism he was nailed to a cross, much like hippy war protestors were shot in the ’60s and ’70s (Four dead in Ohio).

How come the people who claim to love Jesus the most seem to act in a way that is directly opposed to everything Jesus stood for?

Where exactly in the Bible does Jesus say:

“Hate your neighbor, especially if he’s a fag.”

‘Cause I couldn’t find that particular verse. Maybe it’s just not in my copy. I guess I must not be reading the same Bible that the Republicans in the Senate are reading. From the article I just linked to last post:

“The Republican leadership is asking us to spend time writing bigotry into the Constitution,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, which legalized in 2003. “A vote for it is a vote against civil unions, against domestic partnership, against all other efforts for states to treat gays and lesbians fairly under the law.”

In response, [Sen. Orrin] Hatch fumed: “Does he really want to suggest that over half of the United States Senate is a crew of bigots?”

Uh, yes, Orrin. That is exactly what he is fucking suggesting, dumbshit. Glad you finally caught on.

So, Orrin, can you point me to the place in the Bible where it says we’re supposed to hate and persecute gay people? I’m having a little trouble finding it, you fucking bigoted, pandering piece of donkey shit. Oh, am I swearing to much for you? Fuck off, bitch. Don’t lecture me about decorum when you’re the one pushing a hateful amendment designed to make a certain class of Americans into second-class citizens. Meanwhile you claim to be Christian (well, Mormon in this case)? Fucking hypocrite slime. What a bunch of fucking bigots!

Christians: is this who you want representing you in Congress? People who HATE with every fiber of their being? People who will systematically, deliberately and consciously try to fuck over the rights of a group of people just because they are different? Does that sound Christian to you? Does that sound American to you?

Don’t let these assholes speak for you. I’m not a Christian because I don’t want to associate with people like Orrin Hatch and Tom DeLay or the rat-fucking pope either. The decent Christians out there need to speak up — LOUDER — and say that these assholes don’t represent you or your views. Otherwise, what am I to think? That Christianity, the religion of compassion, has become a twisted and evil shell of its former self, that’s what I’m thinking. Speak up, Christians.

Many Christian assholes have a persecution complex wherein they constantly bitch about persecution just because they don’t get their way. But then they turn around and try their damndest to persecute others?!!

Ever hear of the Golden Rule, fuckers?

Come on, I know there are still some good Christians out there. SPEAK UP! Speak out against hate! One day you will have to look God in the eye and explain to him why you did nothing.

SPEAK UP!