Tag Archives: Religion

Rome wasn’t built in a day…

It may not have been built in a day, but its decline may as well have happened over night. It’s no surprise that people are starting to notice parallels between the United States and the mighty Roman Empire, and it doesn’t matter which way you swing politically, the stark reality is staring us in the face as history once again makes fools of the human race.

Spanish philosopher George Santayana once said, “those that cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It’s such a simple, yet incredibly clever quote that had just as much relevance in his time as it does in ours today. Human beings are relatively quick to forget lessons learned from the past, simply because those lessons were learned first-hand by a completely different generation. Those that lived through The Great Depression are dying out as the US cusps ever closer to a second one. The way the game is played has changed little, and the spark of our recession is startlingly similar to what drove the United States’ economy full-speed off a cliff in 1929.

Did we honestly think it couldn’t happen again just because we had a bull market for almost two decades? When investor confidence is up, it’s easy to throw caution to the wind and ignore a very basic principle of a free market system: it’s never really free. You can’t get something for nothing, but that’s exactly what we were doing from the 80’s onward. There was once a time when you could pay off a brand-new home in your 20’s-30’s while earning a reasonable living wage. Very little was purchased with credit, and things that were purchased with credit had very reasonable and affordable interest rates.

Somehow we went from a society that worked hard, saved, and was able to actually obtain and OWN the American dream to a society that is not only in debt, but is financially and socially incapable of getting out of it. We got a lot of things for nothing, and nothing is precisely what a lot of Americans have to show for it today. It’s easy to lay the blame on the consumer, but it takes a creeping malevolence to undermine and pervert the notion of obtaining the American dream in such a passive way that no one knew until it was too late. The malignancy was small, but the cancer spread from Wall Street to corporation to government.

If you catch cancer early, it can be controlled or even cured. If you catch it too late, your body begins to shut down. We’re definitely two decades too late, and this isn’t going away anytime soon, not without some amputations.

But that was just one example of completely disregarding the past. Let’s take a look at our great, great, great, great grandfather Rome. No one can deny the power and greatness of the Roman empire. It had the world’s best military. It was the second world republic (after Greece). It had a thriving economy (using slave labor to obtain most of it). They built some of the most impressive roads, buildings, aqueducts, sewer systems… my God, it was pristine and way ahead of its time. Who knows how technologically advanced they would have been had they not “accidentally” burned down the library of Alexandria.

But all was not well in Rome. It was too big and too diverse, which meant it was a lot harder to control with a centralized government. This gave way to major corruption and gross, uneven wealth distribution. Sound familiar? That was the first problem, the second problem was the decline of the military, which ties into the first problem. When you have prolonged military presence in foreign lands, the costs to maintain that presence coupled with the cost of expansion (even through conquest) leads to eventual decay. Could this happen in a world where it takes days, not months, to travel from one end of the globe to the other? The Roman military often settled where they conquered, which further segregated and decentralized Rome. Obviously our troops aren’t going to start new lives in the middle east, but look at what this prolonged military presence is costing the country.

Military decay wasn’t the only reason an empire as great as Rome fell. The wealthy began hoarding bullion (silver used as currency), and large amounts of impure currency was minted and distributed, which caused massive inflation. Goodness, that does sound familiar. Trade between the eastern half and western half of Rome began to decline. How much does the US actually export to other countries, and at the same time, how many goods are actually made in this country to supply a demand… in this country? Take a look at where most of your products are manufactured and draw your own conclusions. That wasn’t all that aided in the collapse of the Roman economy. The barbarians also plundered the coffers, and basically left Rome for broke. This is kind of similar to what the wall street barbarians, I mean barons are doing today.

Religion! Oh here we go again with religion being the root of all evil. Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but it’s no coincidence the decline of the Roman empire began to really take off after the Romans not only tolerated Christianity, but made it an official religion! Thanks Constantine. That’s really all it took to shift the power from Emperors to the pontiff. Once Christianity spread like disease among the people, those that held the religious trump card became the new rulers of Rome. Not saying that religion didn’t exist before Christianity, but there was a reason why this particular religion was feared and discriminated against in ancient Rome. Now, couple this newly found religion with the rise of Islam in the east, and you have a conflict of, well, biblical proportions. Two of the worst religions not only accounted for countless deaths, but also had a hand in plunging the civilized world into the Dark Ages.

We are seeing a rise in this same theocracy that helped doom Rome in the United States today. It’s amazing that after almost 2,000 years, we’re back to this dark blotch in human history. Picture this, if the roles of Islam and Christianity were reversed, if Islam was this nation’s religion and Christianity was contained in the middle east, the roles of these religions would be reversed. You would have Christians blowing themselves up and Muslims trying to control every uterus and bedroom in the US today. This is not speculation here, because all of this has happened before! Christians, when given the chance can be just as volatile and violent as Muslims. I like to think of these people of faith as having hive mentality, and no real mind of their own.

And the final nail in Rome’s coffin was division. One of my favorite presidents once said “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” You had western Rome under two radically different rulers and eastern Rome in the same boat. In this country, we are not divided by geography, but rather by political partisan. It has gotten so out of hand that we’re as ineffective a nation as Rome was as two. One side of Rome succeeded for a while longer, but still eventually fell. Which side will succeed in the US, and does one extreme stand a chance at bringing this nation out of despair, or prolong its inevitable collapse? I’m going to say the latter. We need both political parties, because these once gave voice to people who didn’t have one. We may even need a third political party to balance the two out, something completely middle ground. Then again, we may already have them as Independents, which seems to be growing in popularity as people become disgusted with the political side they’ve once had no choice but to take.

As gloom and doom as this may seem, we have something Rome didn’t, which may be our saving grace. We have history to teach us the lessons of our past, and we have the capability to learn and adapt based on observation. The circumstances of Rome’s decline were culturally different, but fundamentally similar to what is happening in this nation today… and perhaps the world. We cannot repeat these mistakes and expect to still evolve into something better than we were. Right now is a pivotal moment in our existence. Apocalypse is said to be a time of enlightenment, something happens that makes everyone stand up and take notice and become better. Cyclical apocalypses only occur when we become comfortable with ignorance and close our minds to the consequences.

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“Put God back in our country!”

¬† Ask any “God-fearing” church-goer today what is really wrong with this county. It’s not government and Wall Street corruption, it’s not high unemployment, it’s not a crumbling economy, no. All of these things seem to be linked to one detail: the lack of God in the country. It never ceases to amaze me how much fear this one religion spreads across the nation, and just like in the days of old, given one catastrophic event, these people that claim to spread love and God’s salvation to the world are quick to turn on their fellow Americans.

Why? Because they fear God’s wrath. They believe that because they live in Sodom and Gomorrah, they too will be taken out in droves by their supposed righteous, all-knowing and above all, loving God. So, how is one spared the wrath of God in today’s melting pot of Satan’s own disciples? It’s not by only accepting Jesus as their savior and going to church every Sunday and Wednesday, they also have to impose their beliefs on the rest of us in order to get their mansions and crowns, and more of God’s love in the afterlife.

Yes, you read that correctly. Being in the presence of the most powerful being in the universe, and possession of all knowledge isn’t all that great to the average Christian. They demand streets of gold, rivers of milk and honey (ew?), a tree of life… for some reason, huge mansions and lavish crowns with jewels for every soul they saved on Earth. Of course, the bigger the mansion, the more of God’s love you receive.

It’s true! The bible tells me so, or does it?

Apparently, you have a chance to win not one, but FIVE crowns on judgement day, which seems to be more like God’s OSCAR awards ceremony to faithful Christians… or at least this is how a lot of us interpret it. To be honest, the Bible is so cryptic and has been translated so many times, no one really knows what the hell it really means anymore or what has been translated incorrectly or what was placed in there to be intentionally misleading. If thousands of years of history has taught us anything at all, it’s you can control anyone when you keep them stupid and religious.

I grew up southern Baptist, so this¬† John 14:2 verse “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you,” was somehow interpreted as this holy scavenger hunt for lost souls to claim huge mansions for yourself upon your death. Of course, as humans we only measure the worth of something in materialistic ways, so this sounds like a fool-proof life insurance policy the dead can reap the benefits of! How exciting!

We’re starting to see this Christian movement again in the US. Let’s face it, the United States isn’t exactly a country where the majority are in any ways our best and brightest. As far as cultural awareness goes, don’t even ask. Prior to 1990, 87% of adults in this country identified themselves as Christian. Of course, your chances of getting into heaven if you had asked many of those 87% was greatly lowered if anyone practiced a denomination of Christianity other than their own. The good news is, that rate dropped to 76% in 2008 and it continues to plummet as people become more aware of just what they had been told to believe. I also believe the massive publicity of the religious right has a lot to do with this decline.

Who wouldn’t question their beliefs after seeing these fools on every news network for the last year.

So, roughly 76% of Americans are Christian, and the other 24% are bringing this country down. For that, I do apologize. My lack of faith will most likely bring about the inevitable destruction of the United States, but hey, at least the 76% will be going to heaven! As for poor me, I will be roasting in fiery torment for eternity.

But wait a second, that can’t be right. Only the few will be chosen to enter the kingdom of heaven. Of those 76%, how many are actually born again Christians? Well no one really knows that number, but if there is one thing we have been good at since puritan times, it’s faking it!

Now let’s get into politics, and why the republicans won’t have a snowball’s chance in the darkest and hottest parts of hell of retaking the presidency in 2012. The days of intelligent, fiscally responsible, pro-active and politically fair republican presidents and presidential candidates died with Theodore Roosevelt. If you ask any republican, it died with Ronald Reagan, but the rest of us are a little smarter than that. Reagan’s presidency brought about the corporate government era, which gave a messy birth to the incompetent and legislatively useless pile of crap we have in our nation’s capitol today.

Taking a look at the republican “hopefuls,” we don’t really see any kind of tangible relief from the right. What we do see is a bunch of moral and religious rhetoric, and completely ridiculous claims to solving our financial woes with simple percentages. Herman Cain anyone? He preaches 9-9-9 as religiously as the most rabid southern pastor pushes salvation, but when asked about the complicated problems his simple-minded simple plan would cause, Cain simply answered in his own simple way “I have no idea…”

Well it’s certainly not the first time we’ve caught these people living in worlds of their own. Michele Bachmann lives on a plane of existence that is so different than our own, I half expect her to start sliding in and out of parallel universes in the middle of a debate.

Rick Perry is, of course, Bush 2.0 with a twist! You would think that the second version of something would be an upgrade, not a downgrade. This isn’t the case with republican candidates. He’s receiving a lot of negative publicity lately, but it’s not the right kind! There is a treasure trove of things the press could be pushing, but we’re still hung up on “nigger head” for some reason. Come on, it’s Texas. If you honestly gasped and held your face in disbelief that any evidence of racism has surfaced with this man, you may be mildly retarded. Everything you see is bigger in Texas, except what really matters…

Brains. What did you think I was going to say there?

Now we have Willard Romney, the *gasp* Mormon republican that can’t decide whether he wants eggs for breakfast, or cereal, or both… or none at all. Of course his religion fans the flames of republican debate in a mostly “good Christian” party. Yes, we all know Mormonism is Christianity 2.0 with another twist (yes, the same downgrade works for religion too), but let’s not forget that what most of these people want is a theocracy. They want their own version of sharia law, which is Biblical law. It’s basically the same thing. Death penalty or prison sentences for gays, women are second-class baby-makers… you know where this is going. I could make a list that would take up five full pages of all of the horrible things that could happen if these people ever succeeded in their ultimate goal. If you want to return to a time of serfs, nobility and the crusades, vote in an evangelical right senate majority and president. After all, the time when the church ruled the people is considered “the good old days!”

Those of course are the bigger candidates. Huntsman, the “intellectual” Mormon, as much of an oxymoron as that is, isn’t really worth mentioning right now, but I thought I’d give him some light. Some of what he claims to support is on par with what I think is good for our country, but he’s so far center that his eyes are actually firmly lodged in their sockets instead of bugged out and crazy, so chances of him getting anywhere in his own party are pretty damn slim. Of course, I’m wary of anyone with a Mormon or any type of over-the-top religious background. Trusting these people to make sound and unbiased choices would be like trusting and Indian cab driver to take you down a steep mountain in pea soup fog.

And speaking of sound and unbiased choices, no, Newt Gingrich will probably never again darken another doorway in Washington. Your first born are safe… for now.

I’d say, God is alive and well in the United States today… just a little unpopular considering who is representing him. If 76% of the country claims to be Christian, and just about every political leader on the right has strong Christian roots, who’s really to blame for the problems in this country? I kind of want to say God is, but that wouldn’t be very fair at all. I mean, the omnipresent being hasn’t shown us his backside since the time of Moses. I kind of want to say human beings in general are to blame.

Yeah! That makes more logical sense.

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