The Lord of the Rings: Another Look

Hi! It’s finally time for myself and my friend Henry to embark upon our epic journey involving a full read through of the Lord of the Rings. I think I’m anticipating this re-read more than any other book I’ve read, or am going to read, in the near future, and hopefully we’ll be able to follow it with a read through of the Children of Hurin, Tolkien’s other, lesser known epic fantasy. We’re going to go through the book chapter by chapter, taking two to three days to read one chapter (they are long). Then we’ll both blog our thoughts here, exchanging ideas, and maybe disagreeing about things. Feel free to read along with us, and make your thoughts known!

Tonight: beginning Chapter 1: A Long Expected Party

An Aura of Sanctity Surrounds the Religious. WHY?

Why are people afraid to criticise religion? This is a question that has interested me for some time, ever since I decided to become an atheist. I don’t think the answer is really all that complex either, but it involves the inane virtue we (as a society) have hoisted onto the idea that ‘people of faith’ are possessed of a kind of moral sanctity the rest of us mere secular mortals lack. Well, enough is enough. Religious people might be ‘offended’ by what I write here, but so be it. Quite frankly, there’s plenty of things “religious” people have said throughout history, and continue to say in this supposedly enlightened age, that offends the crap out of me too.

Not too long ago, the Pope himself, an obscene human being who for no sane reason has been invested with a great deal more moral authority than any single person deserves to possess, pontificated on the enemies of God and on those who it denounces as sacrilegious heathens worthy of eternal damnation. Take one sickening example: The Pope, and I assume most of those who identify themselves as Catholics, consistently denounce the role that contraceptives play in the lives of millions of people worldwide who, whether gay or straight, are trying to avoid the scourge of HIV/AIDS and maintain a healthy sexual lifestyle. But no, lest you be deluded into thinking that the Catholic Church would consider this devastating disease a great moral and humanitarian challenge of our age, you would be mistaken. No, contraceptives are the terrible Satanic evil – and for no rational reason whatsoever the Catholic Church, which claims to speak for the creator of the Universe (for now we’ll ignore the issue of whether or not such an entity can be said to exist at all), has issued prohibitions against their use. I ask you, how much untold suffering and how many untold dead are the result of the filthy and disgusting policies espoused even today by the modern Catholic Church?

This is not to speak of virulent persecution of homosexuals in many Christian circles (the Bible itself, traditionally taken to amount to the “Word of God”, calls “lying with man” an “abomination” {Leviticus 18:22}, and states not many verses later than they “shalt surely be put to death” {Leviticus 20:13}.), or even a passive non-inclination to accept homosexuality as a legitimate, normal and non-destructive form of sexuality, which modern psychologists insist is the case. But no, to God (what a capricious little ass God must be, to have invented a sexual orientation that 10% of the population are blessed with, only to turn around and insist that gays are sinners who should “repent” of their crime. Makes no bloody sense!) homosexuality is an inexcusable sin. This goes for Islam too, which prohibits it as haram, ‘forbidden’, and in the Hababalite tradition punishable by death. Sickening in every conceivable way.

How does this work? Why am I, as an atheist, implicitly and often explicitly expected, not only by the religious, but also by those who defend them, to remain silent lest I or my fellow atheists “offend“? Well, I’m sorry to say it but I’m pissed off, and I’m not in the business of remaining neutral. The criticism of religion in no way a thought crime. I too have values that I’m not willing to compromise on, one of them being free speech.

Bring it on.