published Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Cook: Who should play Bowe Bergdahl in the movie? I know who.

OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE. -- Bob Bergdahl, in an email to his son.

Now, they want to make a movie about it.

That was the Hollywood news on Tuesday, as Kathryn Bigelow -- director of "The Hurt Locker" and "Zero Dark Thirty" -- announced plans to turn the Bowe Bergdahl story into a motion picture.

I know who they should get to play Bergdahl.

Each of us.

The background may change -- Afghanistan for Chattanooga -- yet like Bergdahl, we, too, must walk away at some point, abandoning our bases of beliefs -- oh, how we guard and defend them so closely -- for a wilderness where we possess neither dominion nor control, but only our conscience.

Those are frightening places, and usually, we only reach them through tragedy: we lose our job, or someone we love, or control over our lives, and suddenly, our collapsing world is no longer what we once thought, and what we once saw as true no longer is.

Yet it is here where we find real freedom, not the lesser freedoms -- We can smoke dope in Colorado! We can carry our guns in Georgia! -- we settle for in America. Here, in that place beyond right-wrong politics, we encounter the conscience of which Bergdahl's father emailed: the place within that is only loyal to truth, not party politics or memorized doctrine.

Here, we are free in ways never possible while imprisoned under the duress of trying to believe what others tell us.

"Obey thy heart," Emerson wrote.

Thy heart, not thy political party, not thy graying beliefs formed so long ago.

That's what happened to Bowe Bergdahl. He joined the U.S. Army, hoping to encounter some transcendent experience, some adventure of initiation.

"Something bigger," the late Michael Hastings wrote in Rolling Stone.

The opposite came true. His perception of America was shattered by a war-horror reality that led him toward disillusionment and his own private revolution of independence.

"I am ashamed to even be an American," he wrote to his parents. "The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting."

He's been condemned by the conservative public for these words, which is terrible and immensely sad. Any returning son should be welcomed home just as any other would, unconditionally, regardless of war-time letters or philosophy.

"Let us eat and be merry for this my son was dead and is alive again," Jesus says in the prodigal son story.

Such rejoicing is not possible in America, for we have not developed the perspective of a mature country, one that is able to be both proud and ashamed of ourselves.

For no country is divine and whitewashed pure, and it is a dangerous patriotism that only allows American pride without American shame. Study a half-inch into American history and foreign policy, and you'll find ample evidence of both -- the Kurtzian horror as well as the Coolidge heroism.

Yet we make it difficult to do this, only casting America as the shining nation upon a hill and our military a blameless force of good. So we reframe Bergdahl's return into questions of desertion and whether he was worth the release of Taliban prisoners and why Bergdahl's dad spoke Arabic at a White House news conference.

"A Muslim victory call," announced Sean Hannity on Fox News.

How juvenile and ridiculous, how shameful. Bob Bergdahl learned Arabic for the same reason he grew a beard -- as a pathway to identify with his faraway son, with the wild hope that he could one day travel there to secure his Bowe's release. It is a Father's Day love, a wild grasp at some metaphysical connection between the weeping father and his imprisoned son.

And Hannity mocks it.

But this is what you do when your political ideology is war-like, and based on the binary illusion of victory-and-defeat. My country pure, yours not. My religion right, yours wrong. My politics holy, yours corrupt. It is an unending war, with all of us taken prisoner.

Somehow, Bowe Bergdahl traveled past that. Instead of watching a movie about it, we too should make the same desertion.

Contact David Cook at dcook@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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conservative said...

Who would care to watch a movie about Bergdahl in Fort Leavenworth Prison?

June 18, 2014 at 8:06 a.m.
Ki said...

Bergdahl did the only best thing in walking away an honorable and brave soldier could decide to do in an illegal and barbaric invasion. Anyone can 'follow orders' regardless of how insane and evil those orders. Afterall isn't that what German soldiers said in WW II? "We were just following orders." E,ven some soldiers from allied nations said they'd never fight another war with America because "Americans are barbaric at war." Bergdahl is the true essence of what it means to be a hero and honorable 'warrior'. He had the balls to walk away.

June 18, 2014 at 9:01 a.m.
timbo said...

Ki...the Taliban attacked us on 911, they are lucky we didn't wipe them off the face of the earth. Comparing Afghanistan and our soldiers to Nazi Germany is worse than insulting and ridiculous. Where are the concentration camps with staving Afghans? Where are the gas chambers? You are a sick puppy.

More than likely Bergdahl is mentally ill. He was thrown out of the Coast Guard for bizarre behavior and how in the world he ended up a soldier is beyond me. Was he so stupid that he didn't know that the job of an Army is to kill the enemy? Was he so stupid that he thought the Army was the Peace Corp with guns?

War is barbaric...and who cares what those European socialist weenies say bout us. They are such cowards they won't confront Putin and will leave it to us. Our Army is too busy with "hearts and minds" already. If we are going to fight, we need to kill them all and come home or not go at all.

There is no dispute that Bergdahl deserted. He broke the law and needs to be tried at Court Marshall. If this imbecile is mentally unstable, they will find out and he will be treated appropriately.

It is beyond belief that you would write that we are barbaric when prisoners are treated fairly well by us and Bergdahl was treated by these guys like an animal. Do we behead or execute prisoners like these Muslim radicals do.

After all, all Bergdahl wanted to do was "help." If you ask me, it was the Taliban who treated him like Nazi's would. I wonder how he feels about his Taliban buddies now.

You have a bizarre,convoluted way of looking at things...you people scare me about the direction of this country.

June 18, 2014 at 9:47 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Timbo, the Taliban, as despicable as they are, had NOTHING to do with 9/11. Whatever ties al-Qaeda and the Taliban might have today, they are two completely distinct organizations and they had little to nothing to do with each other back in 2001. And the known hijackers were Arabs and Emiratis (not one Afghani or Taliban member among them). My god, man, how willfully ignorant can you possibly be?! It's no wonder our country is in the crapper - it's populated by too many ignoramuses like you who don't even bother to get the basic facts before spouting their ill-informed opinions. We killed, captured, and in general busted up al-Qaeda, the known perpetrators, in Afghanistan, which was ostensibly our original mission, and we should have left immediately afterward. Instead we wasted no time in focusing our wrath on others, namely the Taliban, who became our enemy mainly because we were there in the first place, occupying their country and blowing it all to hell. Whoever took up arms against us in Afghanistan did so only because they were defending their country from attack by us.

You have told me before how "counter-productive" name calling is. But you, sir, are counter-productive just by being your ignorant self. If you don't want to be called stupid, then don't say such stupid, asinine things like, "...the Taliban attacked us on 911." But forgive me if I'm being a bit too harsh and hasty. After all, you've only had 13 years to sort things out and get the facts. Maybe I'm expecting too much of people. I'm really sorry. Take all the time you need, timbo. I'll come back in another 13 years. Maybe you will have had time to sort it all out and learn the facts by then.

June 18, 2014 at 10:58 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Oh, and another thing. About what you say here: "It is beyond belief that you would write that we are barbaric when prisoners are treated fairly well by us and Bergdahl was treated by these guys like an animal." My my my, how quickly we forget. Remember Abu Ghraib? Can't get much more barbaric than that. And if you think that was just a case of lowly non-comms taking it upon themselves to act out and have a little sick fun at the prisoners' expense, well, you probably think that Lt. Calley in Vietnam was just being a good soldier when he mercilessly slaughtered innocent men, women, and children.

BTW, the private who first reported the sadistic sh#t that was going on at Abu Ghraib had to leave the service because of all the ridicule that he was getting from his fellow soldiers, and he couldn't even go back to his hometown because most of the townsfolk there were calling him a traitor.

June 18, 2014 at 11:19 a.m.
Ki said...

Timbo you are very naive and shamefully ignorant if you believe prisoners under American occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan were treated 'fairly' and weren't tortured. And the Abu Ghraib scandal doesn't even begin to touch the surface of what really took place. Heck! America has a hard time treating its own citizens it jails and send to prison. Take the case the Florida prisoner, Darren Rainey, who was basically cooked alive when forced by prison guards into a shower of scalding got water. When his tortured dead body was finally removed from the shower his skin actually peeled away. If America thinks nothing of treating its own citizens do you really believe the 'enemy' will get better treatment?

June 18, 2014 at 11:32 a.m.
timbo said...

Ki, Rickaroo...All the stuff you named wasn't even close to what the Nazi's did. That was my whole point. Ki was exaggerating. They did all that you said plus starved people in concentration camps and gassed and killed 6 million Jews. I don't think we are even close to those people. Using that comparison shows willful deceit and selective ignorance about history.

Your right and I was wrong, I should have said that the Taliban harbored and allowed Al-queda to thrive. Without that cooperation, there might not have been a 911. Yes, the Taliban was responsible too. Also, as far as ignorance goes, although support for the Afghanistan War is low now, it was over 90 % at the time of attack. Even Rickaroo said it was justified in the beginning. It was Iraq we should have left alone.

Were there abuses, yes, just like any other war. The problem here is degree...we do these things with much less frequency than any other country. You are so proud of saying that the Europeans don't like the way we treat prisoners...the English, French, and Germans could teach us a thing or two about torture.

Abu Ghraib was a kindergarten compared to the North Vietnam prisons. They got them naked, had a dog bark at them, and made them eat pork. Big whoop...It was child's play compared to how your socialist buddies like China and Russia treat prisoners. You guys are just dishonest.

Again, name-calling,and selective "facts" are the the stock and trade of your ilk. That is all you liberals have. It just doesn't work any more.

Making Bergdahl a hero because he followed his "conscience" is asinine. Hitler's "conscience" told him to kill Jews. Does that make him a hero? If your "conscience" tells you to leave your post and your fellow soldiers, then you have a faulty conscience. He could have filed for conscientious objector status if he had a problem. Why did he even join the Army if he felt this way?

It is not OK, to use these far out comparisons to make a point. We are nowhere near Nazi's and you guys know it. You just jump around like emotional children throwing out accusations and insults. Grow up..

June 18, 2014 at 12:17 p.m.
timbo said...

Cook is awful...

June 18, 2014 at 12:26 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

David Cook, most Americans do not want to hear the truth, especially not about the wars that we initiate. Americans like to wrap themselves in the flag, call every soldier in uniform who robotically follows orders a "hero," and turn a blind eye to the atrocities, preferring to think of the hundreds of thousands of innocent dead civilians as "collateral damage."

Remember Chelsea (Bradley) Manning? She was humiliated and treated like a leper among her military peers, and is presently serving a 35-year prison sentence, because she helped expose the truth about what was going on in Iraq. Was the American public aghast and repulsed by the horrendous conduct of our soldiers and the ways we were lied to about Iraq? There was perhaps a momentary gasp that arose from a few Americans but most were unfazed and continued to wave the flag and call our soldiers heroes and mouth the meaningless platitude that they "hate the war but support the troops."

Remember the private who first reported what was going on at Abu Ghraib? He was forced to leave the service and he couldn't even return to his family and hometown because most of the people there called him a traitor and a coward.

And here we have Bowe Bergdahl, who was no doubt telling the truth about "the horror of the self-righteous arrogance" of the military war machine, but he is having the censure of most Americans heaped upon him as a traitor, while they keep calling the soldiers who blindly follow orders and willfully engage in mass murder "heroes."

It is time that we stop the BS of idolizing soldiers, as if putting on the uniform is noble and heroic in itself. It is only natural to want to feel patriotic but there is no honor in patriotism for patriotism's sake. The military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about over 50 years ago is alive and well and it is every bit the monster that he predicted it to be. Most of today's enlistees are nothing more than willing dupes of the MIC who have acted in haste and youthful impetuosity and naiveté in joining. Once in the military it takes a lot more courage to say NO to the war machine than it does to blindly follow orders.

In Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan we have been engaged in unjustifiable wars, leading to the wanton destruction of countries and their inhabitants who posed no threats to us whatsoever. There is nothing honorable about soldiers who agree to become willing cogs in the killing machine in wars that themselves are dishonorable.

June 18, 2014 at 12:29 p.m.
timbo said...

Bergdahl might be guilty of desertion, might be mentally ill, or might have been going down to the corner to get some Badenjan. One thing for sure...he ain't no hero. For Cook and the rest of guys to keep telling that lie is despicable.

It has nothing to do with our "war crimes." In his case, he was no hero.

June 18, 2014 at 12:34 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

No, timbo, I do not think that any part of the war in Afghanistan is or was justified. We could/should have gone after al-Qaeda perhaps but not declared war on all of Afghanistan. In the beginning the Taliban was even willing to turn over bin-laden if we had provided proof of his complicity in 9/11. We did not do so. They did not originally even want al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The two groups were actually at odds with each other. And the Taliban, as horrendous as it is, never declared war against the U.S. or anyone else. It was only after we had occupied their country that they took up arms against us.

After 9/11 we had the support of practically every nation in the world. If we had limited our attacks only to those directly responsible for 9/11 we would be infinitely better off than we are. We have nobody but ourselves to blame for the exponentially increasing number of terrorists in the world today. We have given most Muslims and middle Eastern people every reason to hate us. Sure, many of them already hated us, but not to the point of wanting to actually do something about it. Now, there is every reason in the world for them to want to become a suicide bomber or to take up arms against us.

June 18, 2014 at 12:46 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"Why did he even join the Army if he felt this way?" - timbo

Most enlistees are very young and naïve and don't have a clue, until it's too late, about what they're getting into. They are lied to and told that joining the military is always a good and noble thing, regardless of the immorality or lack of justification for whatever war we are engaged in. And once in the service, few dare to speak out against it because they willfully joined, after all, and they don't want to appear fickle or weak for having changed their mind. It is very hard to say NO when you have been brainwashed to believe that a good soldier always follows orders and stays in line with the rest of the sheep.

June 18, 2014 at 1:04 p.m.
Ki said...

Timbro, if Bush, Blair, Cheney, Rice and the rest of those war criminals had really been serious about going after the "bad" guys, they'd have stayed out of Iraq and bombed Saudi Arabia instead of buddying up to and allowing their Saudi friends to finance the invasion and brutal occupation.

June 18, 2014 at 1:22 p.m.
timbo said...

Ki...comrade...take a chill pill.

June 18, 2014 at 1:50 p.m.
timbo said...

Bergdahl was a nut when he enlisted. His writings are bizarre. He was too much for the Coast Guard. He has a typical liberal trait of being frozen by empathy. If liberals were triage doctors they could never make the decision about which patients they would prioritize.

You guys think indecision is a good trait.

June 18, 2014 at 1:57 p.m.
timbo said...

Ki...news flash...Bush has been out of office for 6 years. Yea, Iraq was all his fault. Should have never gone. Afghanistan was the right move. Remember, Obama approved the serge. He must be as evil as Bush.

June 18, 2014 at 1:59 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Bergdahl might well be nuts. But no nuttier than those who have signed on to become cannon fodder for the MIC. They have had plenty of time to assess the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet still people keep signing up, pretending like they're "protecting our freedom." At least Bergdahl finally came to his senses and saw the war in all its ugly clarity.

It is common knowledge that the war in Iraq was based on lies and deceit, and the war in Afghanistan is massive overkill, serving no purpose whatsoever. Just like Iraq, Afghanistan will fall into tribal violence and civil war as soon as we are gone and someone will rule with an iron fist. The only way we could ever "win" in Afghanistan or Iraq would be to take ownership and stay there permanently.

June 18, 2014 at 2:18 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"You guys think indecision is a good trait." - timbo

Nope. Indecision is never a good thing. I don't see where anybody here is saying anything that even remotely insinuates that. I know you like to think that blindly following orders is a good trait, but it's not. Being a soldier should never mean that you sell your soul and stop thinking for yourself. Between Iraq and Afghanistan there have been hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children killed at the hands of American troops who have blindly followed orders. Now, you might like to think of that as collateral damage, but when that "collateral damage" far outnumbers the known enemies captured or killed, then we are doing something terribly wrong, and somebody somewhere needs to question why we're there in the first place. Of course, that questioning should have taken place a long time ago. But we have been too busy praising our troops and pretending that they are "defending our freedom."

June 18, 2014 at 2:40 p.m.
Ki said...

Timbro, you're childishly naive. Starting a 'war' is easy, stopping one is near impossible. Like the arsonist who starts a major forest fire. Is it the the fault of the firefighters for the damage the arsonist caused or does the blame remain the fault of the arsonist who lit the match in the first place? Picture Bush and his gang who lit the match that started the massive forest fire. Now the firefighters are taxed with putting the fire out.

June 18, 2014 at 2:44 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

The righties like to say that we keep blaming Bush and Cheney and we should forget them and focus on the present. But what they did was so heinous and unconscionable that they ought NEVER to be forgotten. They should live in infamy in the minds of everyone with a conscience. I blame Obama for not having them and their neo-con gang of thugs stand trial for war crimes. What they did was not just a matter of poor policy decisions. They LIED outright to the American people. They have the innocent blood of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent Middle-Easterners on their hands. They are scum and it is reprehensible that they are allowed to retire in comfort. And it is particularly disgusting to see TV news hosts talking to people like Wolfowitz or Cheney or any of the others in the Bush administration and asking them their advice on what to do in Iraq or Afghanistan. Those guys got it wrong (intentionally so) every step of the way and they ought not to be shown respect in any form. The stinking scumbags should have been tarred and feathered and thrown into prison for the rest of their miserable lives.

June 18, 2014 at 3:01 p.m.
timbo said...

Rickaroo... I am the absolute opposite of "following orders." I also know that when you join up, no matter the reason, you should follow Article 90 which explained states that these articles require the obedience of LAWFUL orders. An order which is unlawful not only does not need to be obeyed, but obeying such an order can result in criminal prosecution of the one who obeys it. Military courts have long held that military members are accountable for their actions even while following orders -- if the order was illegal.

That is what a soldier needs to do. Bergdahl did not follow lawful orders. He just took off. He had no right to do that.

I think that soldiers are usually motivated by three things. Patriotism, excitement, and money. I can't see living a military life because I like to give orders, not take them but some of these guys thrive and become adults through the military. We need them and they need us.

As far as some of your statements about collateral damage, why don't you look at the conduct of Sherman in the Civil War and both sides in WWII. Those things have to be judged according to the context of the times.

June 18, 2014 at 3:01 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Look, war is hell, we all know that. Or at least we SHOULD know that, but we treat it like it's the Super Bowl or something. Only a tiny percentage of our population participates in the conflicts and the rest of America stands on the sidelines waving their flags and cheering. What happened in the Civil War or WW2 does not justify us continuing to start useless wars and then say, "Well, war is hell, what can you do?" And then accept the carnage as just a cold hard fact of war. Most people know that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not only unjustifiable but counter-productive. We need to stop encouraging young people to keep enlisting, making them think that their service is honorable when in fact it is not. They are all too willing to sell their souls to the military and become accomplices in the mass murder of innocent people, in wars that are fought for no other reason than what we think MIGHT happen if we don't bomb the hell out of whatever country we fear most at the time. Since WW2 no country has actually declared war against the U.S but yet we have been engaged in and initiated practically non-stop war in various countries for the past 50 years.

I find it interesting that all the righties who are so opposed to "big government" are nevertheless willing to sign over their very souls to the biggest baddest government agency in existence - the U.S. military.

June 18, 2014 at 3:21 p.m.
Ki said...

Rick, right wingers are banking Americans having short attention spans. Their plans were to blame President Obama all along for Bush and his gangs' screwups. If they could have their way it would be as if Bush and Cheney never held the office of Prez and vice Perez and they and the rest of their gang never set around a table figuring out how best to to lie and fool everyone into goring along with their plans to invade and occupy a sovereign nation that had nothing to do with planes flying into buildings. U And here's something else just in that will make right-wingers itsy, bitsy lil brains spin right out of their skulls: The alleged Benghazi ringleader just captured? Well he's " allegedly * saying he was indeed responding to that anti-islam video. GOP will likely try to distance themselves from this the same as they're trying to distance themselves from the attacks against the president for bringing Bergdahl home. They just keep painting themselves in a corner in their desperation to destroy this president.

June 18, 2014 at 5:21 p.m.
timbo said...

Rickaroo..I am not saying these wars justified anything. I was pointing out that at the time it was done, the general feeling was that it was justified. Sherman would be tried as a war criminal today. Some of the things done in WWII would never be done today. What I said is that history is judged in the context of its time.

What happens today is nothing..nothing compared to what has been done in the past. It can't be compared on any level. In the bible, Moses would kill everything when he defeated an Army. All the women, children, animals, etc. because he did't want anyone left at his rear and have to refight the same people. Are you going to compare us to Moses and Hitler next? That is just going to far.

How do you know what the Benghazi terrorist said? He is on a ship with no communication.

June 18, 2014 at 5:38 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

You are really stretching, timbo, if you have to resort to using a mythological character like Moses to support your argument. The entire Old Testament is utter garbabe, based on a sadistic, misogynistic, genocidal egomaniac of a God. And the fact that Christians worship that sort of deity and hold Moses up as some kind of saintly character only shows how sick and twisted is their thinking. It's no wonder American society glorifies troops who blindly follow orders without thinking. Our predominant religion has always placed more importance on blind faith and obedience than on intelligence. To this day, most Christians and many Americans in general think that intelligent people are "elitist" and that dumb rednecks with unquestioning loyalty to God and country are the only true patriots. Good ol' U.S. of A. Dumb as dirt, but by cracky, we're number one! Of course, we're not even number one in anything any more. But most Americans are too busy THINKING we're number one to realize that we're not.

June 18, 2014 at 6:24 p.m.
timbo said...

Rickaroo..for a minute, you seem to be coherent and aware of the world around you..then you go off. I was using the story of Moses to make a point. I could have made the same point about the Romans. They were just not dumb enough to kill the women, children and livestock.

June 19, 2014 at 12:23 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Well, if I'm coherent at least some of the time, that's a heck of a lot more than can be said about you, Mr. Science Guy. You use a silly fairy tale about Moses to make a point about something in the real world and you accuse me of being incoherent? That's rich.

Some of the so-called parables in the Bible might have some pearls of wisdom imbedded within them. But there's not really anything in the Old Testament that translates well to life in the real world. Virtually every tall tale in the OT only shows God to be a ruthless, jealous, egomaniac who for some strange reason decided to make the Israelites his "chosen" people. Whatever Moses did, he was just following the orders of a merciless God who was ready to kill anyone who wasn't one of his "chosen." To try to make the case that killing every man, woman, and child related to the enemy is only smart warfare and that Moses was some shrewd warrior - albeit a mythical one - who was a genius in the stratagems of war is absurd.

June 19, 2014 at 4:38 p.m.
timbo said...

Rickaroo...I used that example because Moses is accepted as "real" by about 3.5 billion people, both Muslims and Christians. I don't know personally whether of not he was real, but fictional characters and stories have always been used to make a rhetorical point.

Just a little advice, I am, like most scientists, agnostic. I don't know whether religion is right or wrong. I am not sure God exists but I am not an atheist. Your preaching hat there is no God is just like the people you criticize by saying that all religion is myth and 4 billion people are delusional. When I was younger, I tried to make some of your points and finally realized that religion is a part of life, it affects us all, it is part of the culture, and we all need to peacefully coexist. My life became a lot more enjoyable after that.

Your tone is as fanatical as anyone you criticize about religion. Why are you so bitter?

June 20, 2014 at 10:54 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

The terms "atheist" and "agnostic" are often misunderstood. Even atheists and agnostics themselves disagree about the precise meaning. There is a common misperception, which you have apparently fallen prey to, that atheists are more dogmatic and intolerant than agnostics, who claim merely that they "do not know" and they therefore are more tolerant of Christians and religionists in general than those "insufferable and intolerant" atheists. Bertrand Russell himself admitted confusion as to which to call himself, saying that it depended entirely upon the sort of audience or person he was addressing, either an intellectual/philosophical one or someone not so philosophically inclined.

I sometimes vacillate between either term but I am aware that many religionists erroneously think that agnostics are just so wishy-washy about God that they cannot make up their minds, and that is what agnosticism represents to them - wishy-washiness and indecisiveness. To those people I declare emphatically that I am an atheist. Because while I admit to not knowing for certain whether a "creator" of some sort lies in the vast mysterious realm beyond that which science can explain, I do firmly believe that, if there be a creator at all, he/she/it is most certainly not the preposterous sort of two-dimensional granddaddy in the sky that Christians ascribe to, who is watching our every move, demanding blind obedience, and ready to cast us into everlasting hell if we do not believe exactly as he says we should believe. Really, one has to be intellectually dwarfed to entertain even the remotest possibility that that sort of God exists. And if you want to say that I am being intolerant for calling such people intellectually dwarfed, then so be it - I am intolerant then. Because I do not have any patience with those who would believe in such a cruel and crudely primitive deity. The sort of God one believes in defines the sort of person one is at heart.

Furthermore I have zero tolerance especially for people who cling to a religion that they claim gives them the right to point their fingers at other's "sins" and who think that they have the ONLY TRUE belief system and that others who do not believe accordingly are doomed to eternal damnation. And then, as so many of those regressive cretins are working within our political system, pro-active in trying to force their asinine primitive beliefs on society in general, well, I am doubly intolerant of them. No matter how steadfastly I might believe in the rightness of my own beliefs I do not try to force my beliefs on other people; I just try as best I can to stop the self-righteous religionists from forcing theirs on the rest of us. And if you think that being tolerant of those people makes you somehow more virtuous and understanding, well, so be it. But in truth you are being a coward, or else just inexcusably apathetic, not to stand up to such pernicious and insidious attitudes and behavior.

June 20, 2014 at 2:14 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

One final thought (final for now at least): you will never find me saying a harsh word against those Christians who LIVE their religion without proselytizing or preaching or judging others. And most atheists/agnostics feel the same way I do about those sorts of Christians. It is only those who thump their Bibles the loudest that I bitterly oppose and call out - those who try to make everyone believe exactly as they believe and who try to cross that line between church and state. And yes, you're damn right, I am bitter and outspoken about those knuckle draggers and self-righteous pompous creeps. I will say no to them as forcefully as I can. If that makes me "bitter" in the eyes of timbo or others like you who pat themselves on the back for being so "tolerant," well, so be it. Bitter I am, then. I'm good with that.

As for me being "fanatical"....ha! Ain't that the pot calling the...well, you know.

June 20, 2014 at 2:22 p.m.
timbo said...

rickaroo....Your comments are so far over the top, it makes you look like a fanatic.

I agree about the "live their religion" comment. The problem with Christianity is that most adherents use it as an insurance company. They don't seem to get, that if you are religious because you want a selfish reward, like heaven, then you just committed a sin and your not going. The other side is that if you "believe" because you are afraid of burning in hell for eternity, it is a sin and again you go to hell. About 15% are sincere and seem to get it. They think that it is just the right way to live and if something happens after death, that much better.

You can't buy eternity insurance and I won't believe in a God that would send someone to hell that lives a perfect life just because they didn't worship me.

June 20, 2014 at 3:30 p.m.
timbo said...

...but it is useless to constantly attack these people because they are only doing what they have been taught since birth. Some people can resist, some can't.

June 20, 2014 at 3:34 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

That's ridiculous. There are a lot of things that I learned "since birth." Growing up and maturing means thinking for yourself and determining what is true, regardless of what parents or preachers or teachers or others tell you. It is never too late to "unlearn" something that is based on a lie, as is practically the whole foundation of Christianity and all the monotheistic religions. I know that I am most likely not going to change the mind of anyone who is diametrically opposed to my views, especially not religious or political views, but to those more impressionable people listening to the debates, still trying to decide what is right or wrong for them, it is worth making the argument, worth pointing out the flaws in and the irrationality of blind faith. As long as evangelical Christians are always thumping their Bibles, forever on the prowl, trying to brainwash others into their cult of insanity, it is not only good but necessary to address the lunacy of their barbaric, moronic beliefs so that others can see just how unrealistic and foolish they are.

June 20, 2014 at 4:49 p.m.
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