The Decency of Humanity

Today’s sermon on the door of the Fridge is about decency. More specifically do people need religion to be decent? Then the follow up question: Is it possible that religion actually suppresses the natural decency and morality that we humans seem to portray in every culture and medium we have created? 

Personally I think most people can be moral and decent all on their own. Sure there are some that need threats of hell to be nice to others, but honestly I don’t think that is typical the case. 


Along the same vein, it doesn’t take much research to discover that the ‘divinely appointed sources’ didn’t get it any better than people who relied on their own judgment. 

Even worse, in some cases dogma takes on a life of its own. Keeping things like racism embedded in a culture way past the time the rest of society realized keeping slaves is NOT a nice thing to do.
Case in point. The bible bans shellfish…. but on slavery, that’s all good. God made sure we knew shrimp was bad to eat, and that we should kill homosexuals ‘n all. But on slavery? The nicest thing we get out of the bible about that is:

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.” (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

Thus is the value of divinely appointed sources that we are supposed to put our faith in and act on. Slaves are supposed to obey, and you are supposed to kill gay people.

The ‘truth’ of these sources is so bad that most of humanity already ignores it. Just read the part of the Old Testament where God kills a guy for spilling his seed on the ground instead of getting his brothers wife pregnant to any Christian you know. I’ll bet most won’t know it’s in there, then a few will say that part of the Bible doesn’t count anymore. (except the 10 commandments, for some reason those are still ok.) 

That’s why I have a lot more faith in humanity than the dude that is presumably filling all these books up with stuff we should apparently be paying more attention to. 

Because most of humanity already ignores all the bad stuff, even as they claim to believe in their books or leaders as giving us the inerrant word of God.

In the long run I believe humanity is winning this battle. While over and over again churches are losing due to their own greed, lies, illogic and awful dogma. Which thanks to modern information technology is exposed at the touch of a screen.  

It’s almost like the vision of the Fridge is true no matter what my voice has to do with it! 

Humanity is domesticating religion all on it’s own. Humanity is making these myths bow to their own sense of morality. Even disavowing their own scriptures and dogma. 

And that brings me hope!

Tribal Loyalty 

So today I had an epiphany. Well actually it was a few days ago, today I figured out how to write it down.

Our human default wiring is set to “tribal loyalty.”

That means we tend to cherish those of our own tribe more and those that aren’t part of it not so much.

I have even noted that those that break ranks with the tribe are often most vilified because of this natural default setting.

This came to me after a discussion with a friend. He was very upset by poor Chinese people willing to work for less money just to put rice on the table and thus steal the job from a poor American with a Fridge and a cell phone. Clearly America is in his tribe.

I personally only see poor people in these two groups now, some clearly worse off than others. It dawned on me I have been going to China a LOT lately for work. I realized by getting to know them and their families and their lives that my ‘tribe’ was now bigger than it used to be.

So moral of the story?

-> Try to expand your tribe <-

Get to know someone you wouldn’t normally know. It leads to great epiphanies and just might change that natural default setting a notch or two!

Making Pokemon a No Go is a Mistake

The Church Of The Fridge endorses Pokemon Go. Yep you heard it right, it’s a good thing. Since personally playing this magical game my interactions with my children steadily increased. Not by forcing them to talk to me, but in a natural more organic way. We share rare catches on our family text group. We go for walks together hunting creatures and stocking up on Poke balls. It’s an easy game to play. It encourages walking and interacting with each other. The ease of play makes it fun for young and old alike. A game that appeals to such a wide age range is rare indeed. Did I mention the walking part?

It’s been great for me personally, a reason to exercise and chat with my kids. Something to talk about we both enjoy. And according to my old religion it should be avoided. When I first heard the admonition to not play Pokemon Go in a recent broadcast, I was flabbergasted. I mean didn’t he know that there are Poke stops at EVERY church building. Pokemon Go has made many an unwilling teen far more interested in going to church lately than any activity I am aware of. I think the fear promoted in the counsel to not play is unfounded. The rising generation is built to multitask. Information flows to and from this generation in lots of different ways, internet, twitter, instagram, phones, TV, cable and so on. They have been raised on reaching for a device in their pocket to access the knowledge base of the entire planet when their curiosity is peaked. I presume as the old guard, it is hard for the leaders to grasp that a child or teen can swipe a Poke stop every few minutes and still get something out of a lesson. But they can as can be attested to my kids pipping on a conversation I was convinced they weren’t listening to while they played a game.

After pondering the massive generational gap on this edict another thought hit me. Earring’s… I remember when women were limited to only one earring per ear by prophetic decree. At the time my wife was saddened as she removed her second pair. I saw her give up a piece of individuality that day, a dimming in what made her unique and valuable to the world. Sure she complied because it’s all about obedience right? But at what cost? Since we have left the faith much of the light that made her amazing has returned. That has been one of the more unexpected benefits of exiting a regime that controls so much of what you wear and how you are supposed to look.

The next thing that hit me was the poker ban. A little while after the the earring banning came the poker ban. It happened when the world series of poker was at an all time high in popularity. I suppose that is one of the reasons to ban things. If everyone is doing it it must be wrong. At the time, I played a monthly game with some of my best friends, I was playing occasionally with my brothers and sisters too. For me a small amount of $$ in a game was a great way to spend a couple of hours shooting the breeze while basically handing a friend twenty bucks of mad money. For a person that tends to be more introverted, these games were a great way to socialize and develop friendships. But, in an effort to obey I quit going and quit playing with my compadres. I remember how it saddened me at the time.

Concluding that this whole Pokemon No Go really wasn’t all that different than prohibiting other popular items like extra earrings and card games in the past I had an epiphany. I think this is a cry for attention. Religion as a whole is struggling to remain relevant in an ever changing world. For one so ensconced in gerontocracy the LDS faith is a case study in adaptation difficulties. Dogma once shrouded in ritual as divine knowledge is regularly destroyed by accessibility to information on a scale that has not been available to any previous generation. The old game doesn’t work anymore. So faith as a tool to help humanity is … well … kind of showing its age. It’s far too easy to hop back in time to a video or a text conversation and see exactly what was said.

The used car salesman tactic of BS’ing your way out of a uncomfortable corner is giving way to a style of open discussion where we have to look at and deal with faults in each other rather than ignore them or hide them. It’s not all roses, the reality is I do look fat in these jeans, and the white lies that greased human interaction such as these don’t work as well anymore. I think we are giving up some privacy sure. But we are also creating a world where open, honest, brutally honest discussion is the norm. This prevents oppression and encourages freedom. This is the party in the world today where the crotchety old man called religion is sitting in his chair being ignored so he lashes out with wisdom that used to be his gift to society but instead is rapidly debunked by google.

If faiths are to remain relevant in the world to come. Faith needs to adapt. Faith in a religion often equated to faith in oneself. Faith in your ideas and choices. Feedback that the risk you are taking is worth the effort. This is why the Fridge endorses Pokemon Go. Because it is a good thing that has strengthened families. Those that embrace it have used it to create positive change in their lives. Sure it may be a short lived success. But there will be another thing and another thing and another thing in the future that humanity creates to feed our social needs. We should watch for it and embrace it.

I think religion needs to finally realize what has always been it’s best product offering to humanity. It’s hope. Hope that wrongs will be righted and things will get better. All the hell fire and damnation fear tactics just don’t work anymore in the world of iPads and information. Humanity is basically good, and the old monster under the bed stories are being exposed for the myths they were all along. The new message is Hope for a Voltorb, but be happy with that Rattata for the candy you get. And always remember just being alive is a wonderfully magical experience waiting to be explored.

It’s time to find what works and promote that, rather than cling to outdated dogma dismissing anything new and popular. That is the sermon on the Fridge today.

Now if only I could get Niantic to put a Poke stop here…

 

Fabricating War, a Mormon Conspiracy Theory 

War makes money

War profiteering has an old history, it goes way back, so far back that I think you’d struggle to find the first war profiteer. In fact I would dare bet that war profiteering and religion were pretty much invented at the same time. In my own life time I have witnessed two great wars touted all over the media. The war on drugs and the war on terror. Both wars that have lasted indefinitely and pretty much not accomplished anything.

Well that’s not entirely true, the war on drugs seems to have created massive criminal syndicates in Mexico and other countries that ship banned drugs to the black markets of America. Pretty much the same way the war on alcohol did in the days of prohibition. But ‘winning‘ this war? Eh, not so much. People still use drugs.

The war on drugs was the first war I learned of as a youth. But then came the war on terror. Launched after people doing what their god told them to took down a couple of office buildings full of people like you and me. Is the war on terror really a war that can be won? Or will we poor endless money into chasing shadows? You can even find conspiracy theories that the entire 9-11 incident was fabricated just to keep the populace looking at that enemy out there while the rich and powerful adjust society to their liking right here at home. War makes money, a lot of it. That can’t be argued. Did anyone invest in Halliburton before Sept 2001?

War is a distraction

Which leads me to a more recent war that has been declared in my home state. The war on porn. All over the state places have been popping up to combat this ‘new drug’ to treat people for an affliction that must be the leading cause of losing their faith and families. Save your family now! Only 12,000$ for our proven porn detox method!

Here in Utah the war on porn is in full swing. But the conspiracy theorist in me wonders why? Could this war be getting pumped for reasons only being talked about in back rooms?

Maybe there are people starting up these treatment centers and cashing in… Or maybe, just maybe this is a good distraction from what all the apostates are saying are the real reasons they are leaving the faith.

Reasons like finding out that the founding prophet is a convicted fraud that pretended to find treasure for money by looking at magic rocks in a hat. That the same guy told 14 year old girls if they didn’t marry him it would be their fault the angel God sent with the sword was gonna take the prophet from the earth. Oh and yeah that same magic rock? He used it to produce the Book of Mormon. No that couldn’t possibly be why all these men, women and families are leaving the church. It couldn’t possibly be the new information available on the internet exposing facts about the origins of the faith that had been carefully white washed until now. No, it must be the porn, we need to declare war on it!

War gets attention

Is this war on porn a conspiracy by the church to distract from the real problem that is causing the biggest apostasy the faith has experienced since the collapse of a bank with a 3 dollar bill that Joseph prophesied would make them all wealthy if they invested? (yes this really happened).

Who knows? But I do know this. If you want to focus attention on something. Declare war on it. Hmmm that might explain the war on christmas… Maybe the Fridge should declare war on the Flying Spaghetti Monster since that fake religion is clearly in a-pasta-cy. A war on pasta! Isn’t that basically a war on carbs? Given my diet centered news feed that appears to already be well underway. It never fails that I discover the signs of the Fridge are everywhere if you only have the faith to look.

May you all chill in the blessings of the Fridge, Cheese and Ice, Amen.

Happiness is Relative

Religion isn’t all bad. Sometimes false information leads to the correct conclusion or even to good results.  

Case in point: If you really do believe the Fridge is the one true being we should worship and see it’s power manifest in all our kitchens… If you truly believe the one commandment of the Fridge, a simple “Be Nice” then it follows that you might see another person in distress, remember the words of your cool God, then reach out and do something about it.  

The fact you helped another isn’t because you believed the Fridge was true. It’s because you believed that particular commandment of the Fridge was a good thing to remember. But here’s the question: Without the Fridge and the silly belief in it’s divinity would you have felt the tug of being nice in that particular situation? Something to ponder.  

One experience I ponder that forever affected my outlook occurred on my own mission for the Mormon faith. Something I obviously consider now was served under a completely false premise, in case you didn’t notice. 🙂 

It happened while I sat and visted with a member on a tiny wood bench on a dirt floor in his little ro’choch, just talking. Since K’ekchi is an all but forgotten language let me use a picture to translate. The inside of his ro’choch looked something like this. 


It was his home. A small 10×15 thatched roof, hand made house his family lived in. By comparison, I was unbelievably wealthy to be there living on about 150$ a month just to preach to this guy how much God needed him to pay tithing. (And how rich he would he eternally if he did!)

I marveled as we talked, this man was genuinely happy. Together we’d worked hard, picking the greenest, yet sweetest oranges you’d ever seen, taking them to market to eek out a living for his wife and kids. I’d gotten to know him really well over the months spent in that area and he was happy, nearly all the time. Happy to be alive, happy to share, happy to have family and friends. I still remember him offering me one of the oranges and thinking this is all this guy and his kids survive on and here he is sharing one. It was incredibly sweet and delicious as I remember it now. Could the situation I was in have affected the flavor? I think so. 

The lesson I learned that day that was happiness isn’t about what you have, it’s about the value you place on what you have. To him he was a doing great. He was a leader in his community, he had a family in which most his kids had survived their childhood. By local measures he was doing just fine. Where I saw poverty, he saw wealth. Where I saw a struggle for survival he saw gratefulness just to be alive. The secret to happiness I realized that hot jungle day, was perspective. Even now, even though I believe the premise under which I went there was ultimately a false one. I am still happy I learned that valuable lesson. It has come back to me over and over at the hardest moments in my life and well, helped me be happy again. 

Not everyone gets a chance to go and live and work among the poorest people on our planet. But I wish were so because it only takes one time seeing and feeling the joy the girls in this picture felt getting lucky enough to take a take a bath that you realize an eternal truth of the universe:

Happiness is relative, all you have to do find it, is change your perspective. 

Abraham Was A Coward

The worlds two biggest religions celebrate the faith of the same man. A guy named Abraham. 

Abraham was so faithful that he took his own son strapped him to an altar and plunged a knife toward his chest.  

Now the believers will tell you no harm was done because an angel stopped Abraham before it was too late. 

  
I kind of doubt this is true because I can’t imagine that the kid didn’t feel traumatized after such an event, but even then. So what? 

So what if God stopped him before it was too late? How does that make what Abraham did ok?

Let’s put this story in another context to see what I mean. Suppose a powerful leader demands a person kill his kid as a sign of faith in thier leadership. Go ahead, pick one. Hitler? Obama? Al Capone? Is a faithful submission to such a demand ok in that case?

The God of Abraham is presumably a really powerful person and can kill others pretty easily.  So why does he need someone else to do it for him? And why celebrate that act as something only the most faithful person would do? Why make that a model to strive for? 

I think religion f%#ks up a person’s sense of morality and the story of Abraham is a prime example. In any other setting Abraham would be considered a coward. A man too chicken to do what is right. To concerned with saving his own eternal skin to consider the morality of tying his own son to a rock and attempting to kill him. 

This is a guy trying to ‘win favor’ with the mob boss by any means necessary. But religions call it ‘faith’ and celebrate it. The more I contemplate this the more I think deep down the religious are cowards. They seek out the biggest wolf in the pack and fight others in his name and for his protection.  

We see this all the time in the animal kingdom. I have a couple of pet dogs that are more than willing to take on others for the protection and home I give them. Given mammals share a lot of DNA I can understand the genetics that reinforce this behavior in humanity.  

But isn’t being human about going beyond our animal instincts? Shouldn’t we celebrate standing up to oppression rather that accepting it? 

I think it’s high time we celebrated people like Jack Harper more than cowards like Abraham. 

In short, we should do what is right and let the consequence follow. Even if you fear the consequence is eternal damnation. True courage is doing what is right even when you have everything to lose.