Atheists are not fighting the god they thought.
The internet floats on a cream of kitten pictures, scary truths and scammers, and everyone is selling something. Put your spoon in and stir, and what surfaces is as random as a drunken punch, and just as likely to make an impression. But we all keep clicking. It feels like there is a destination to this boredom, and you will know it when you arrive. Make a connection, find a link, always just one level away from the boss.
Then the wires get crossed and you find yourself browsing a site that has a crucifix and an AR-15 as a logo. Disoriented, you think to yourself …
… How did I get here?
Welcome to America's internet. The land where the gods are unconcerned with identity or meaning, because all they are is a brand.
"I worship Republican Jesus™ brand Christianity!"
As a thousand mega-churches and their overflowing bank accounts have shown, in the US, this has worked well. In terms of shifting vague beliefs into cash, it is unquestionably a smart business move, especially when applied to such an old and honoured business model as religion. There is no profit in altruism, and there is never going to be a shareholder meeting that ends well when the product being sold is good wishes. No. Americans realized years ago that ideals must be made beautiful, lustrous, concrete, and then brought to market. The first god to the finish line wins, because air time during the Superbowl is not cheap, right?
But this rush to commodification of religion has had a side effect. An outcome not foreseen in any of the biblical passages so often quoted at the heathens.
Most Americans have no idea which god they are worshipping.
Sure, they can give you a name, a religion and a sect, and they can even quote a few choice verses from a holy book when forced to stump up a bit of piety, but the god underneath the sheets, the being of great supremity whose existence they are worshipping … do they know anything about him?
No, they don't, and they like it that way.
To delve into meaning is to know that your running shoes are made by slaves, that your gasoline is killing your water, and your lifestyle is killing the earth. To wander the fields of knowledge looking for answers is to do the unthinkable … to hold yourself accountable for your thoughts, and the outcomes those thoughts produce.
There is no profit in serving the self aware.
So, to replace your well fostered lack of empathy and social responsibility, you learn to rely on your god to do the caring for you. Think of it this way. You believe that the men living on the street corner are lazy bums who need to have their asses kicked, but you feel good about yourself as a caring human being because your god, and the dogma you've been sold, dogma which you've woven directly into your ego, cares.
So families starve on the streets and you will spend eternity in heaven, because you and your god are both good. It says so in your bible.
The truth? The mythical figure of Jesus was supposed to have been a salvation to the poor, not a burden. He was a fighter against the money changers, a material minimalist and a believer in peace, love and harmony … at least that's what they told me in Sunday school. All those passages about abandoning and killing your family, well, passages like those are for the priest to worry about.
But it begs a question, one which I don't think any of the deluded followers ever think to ask themselves.
If they are not following the edicts of their god, which they are so obviously not, then why, aside from the aforementioned self-delusion of moral superiority, are they worshipping him?
They follow him because they know, at some level, that if they did not, if they chose to be more honest about their faith, they would be forced to admit they do not believe even one word of what he says. They would be forced to admit to the world that they follow a different god. A new god. One who consumes religions as an afterthought. One who is ugly, selfish, hard and cruel. They would be forced to cede that they are followers of the most destructive and avaricious god ever created by man.
The god of cash.
Republican Jesus™ worships money because money is now the god, and when that small realization is made all of the insanely destructive ideologies his followers espouse become rational. The purpose of their vitriol becomes as clear as glass.
A man who has worked his entire life, with nothing to show for it, worships Republican Jesus™ because one day it will be his turn. One day he will be rewarded for his hard work, and those bums who didn't share his views, who didn't wallow in the blood of his saviour, they are the only reason things aren't better now.
It is all their fault.
Unfortunately, the wealthy men who worship Republican Jesus™ do so more cynically, and for a more crass reason. They understand money is power, and nothing kills a buzz faster than paying your own bills. And if the proles want to worship Republican Jesus™ that's a good thing. With them so terminally preoccupied, the wealthy won't have to worry about a revolt.
But the Americans are not alone. Republican Jesus™ transcends religions. He transcends sects. He has shown himself to be powerful in Judaism. He is scraping the earth clean of infidels in countries all over the globe. He can adopt you, love you, empower you and enslave you no matter how you decide you need to worship him. All he craves is power, and he is the best god out there right now when it comes to rubber on the road results. Just because he's called something else where you live doesn't mean he isn't the same old goat, right?
Republican Jesus™ can give you what you want better than any other god out there, he is the king of murder capitalism, and he doesn't care what you call him.
As an atheist, I fear Republican Jesus™. I fear him because he understands power better than I do. Better than my friends. He understands that rewarding a criminal gives you a follower who will do anything … anything at all … to keep you in power. Morality isn't just subjective, it is obsolete. The market is the absolute arbiter of truth, and the people with cash decide what that truth is.
Thoughts and ideas become like fashion, to be changed every season to suit the needs of our invisible god.
Like I said, he understands power better than we do.
I feel the expression 'know your enemy' is more important now than ever, because knowing that you are facing an animal that consumes entire societies, entire continents, will help you face the fact that the road ahead is not going to be easy. It will help you understand that the battle to end the ravages of religiosity on mankind are not going to end when we somehow educate a few people away from superstition. Not even close. It will have only just begun, because it will be at that point the full brunt of the power accumulated to date, the full weight of the beast we ourselves created, will be levelled against us. It will be at that time we will understand what it means to be in a fight, and it will be at that time that the people who most need us … the poor, the disenfranchised, the suffering and the downtrodden … will be asking for our heads.
They don't know why, but they worship Republican Jesus™.
A man will kill another man to guard his home, but he’ll kill a nation to guard his god. Republican Jesus™, and all of his aliases, will make sure he can afford all the weapons he needs to do the job.