From the Vault #4: Rick Perry and 'Hope'

I’m on an airplane with WiFi!  Ah, science and technology.  So glorious.  Think of all it’s done for us!  Once upon a time a family spent its entire day on the hunt or tilling the fields (or both) just so they could eat that night.  Now we have plentiful food and can spend more time with our loved ones.  Family values through science!  :)

Once upon a time satisfying our slavery to our thirst for water meant the risk of catching all manner of diseases, but now we have clean water.  Many of those diseases have been amputated from humanity through the science of medicine.

Once upon a time hurricanes blind-sided entire cities, decimating their populations.  Now, with the science of satellite imagery, we can evacuate ahead of time by being days ahead of deadly storms.

Science and the aptitude of the human mind, our capacity for reason and logic, have transformed a world of threats into a place where we can live comfortably, free of worry from things that once threatened our very existence.  Through our ability to solve problems through thinking, our lives our a veritable Utopia compared to every generation that came before us.

But that just isn’t enough for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

“Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.”

What a fucking nimrod.  Jesus has never once solved a single problem for humanity.  His followers have been indefatigable in leeching off the actual efforts of clever and/or hard-working people so they can try and steal the credit for Jesus, but prayer has only ever wasted time.  To say that we waste time asking Jesus to solve our problems rather than buckling down and thinking or working on them is so stupid as to be both offensive and immoral.

Perry adds that “there is hope for America … and we will find it on our knees.”

This explains why so many Republicans get caught banging dudes.

So often I hear from religious people, flustered that I dare say nasty things about their beliefs, that I am cruelly sundering people from the best source of hope.  Bullshit, says I!  I’m certainly attempting to separate them from the lousy, lazy for of ‘hope’ they’re using – which is the same ‘hope’ that Perry is talking about.  Let’s talk about that brand of ‘hope’…

First, hope does not equate to truth.  The truth sometimes can be downright unpleasant, since it does not conform to our sense of wishful thinking the way religions do.  So you need to ask yourself what your priority is: do you want your beliefs to be true or simply positive?  They cannot always be the same.  There is a very large (and consequential difference) between hoping you have won the lottery and believing you have won the lottery, and failing to draw that difference would be quite a costly mistake.

Second, hope can be found most abundantly not by embracing unreason, but by mapping out reality as accurately as we are able.  Every 200 million years on average an asteroid of sufficient size to annihilate most life on Earth will strike the planet.  No amount of hoping otherwise will alter this fact.  However, by acknowledging this fact, we can then set our collective minds to finding a solution.  It should be clear to anybody that hoping to find a solution through effort is a much more full and meaningful hope than simply hoping the collision event won’t happen (or claiming to know it won’t happen).  The hope of religion, in opposition to the unpleasant facts of the universe, is merely the hope of closing one’s eyes rather than facing the oncoming problem.  That is not hope; it is ineffectual cowardice.

We have the power to make the universe the way we want it to be, we’ve proven it through all of the scientific advances that make our lives easy.  But when we trade reason for desolate wishing, we are forfeiting that power.

Third, an examination of Christianity will reveal that there is very little hope to be found.  We have this idea of Hell, this eternity of suffering so great that every second the agony of it escapes human comprehension millions of times over, exists because god allows it to (he could easily unmake it, being omnipotent and all), and the only way to avoid it is to sacrifice your checks against gullibility and worship the tyrant.  But god’s punishment is infinitely worse than that of any terrestrial tyrant, and his standards are infinitely more unfair.  To pass god’s test, you must not merely prostrate yourself before the dictator, you must also believe that events took place that are admittedly impossible by their very definition (miracles) – a feat that I argue is impossible (if you disagree, try convincing yourself by force of will that gravity doesn’t work or try choosing to believe that you won’t burn your hand on a hot stove).  This is hope?

And even if the situation weren’t so terrible, even if Christianity did offer something that really did sound appealing, is it really hope if it’s based on an untruth?  I would argue that hope based on a lie is just false hope, and that it’s nothing to be proud of – especially when actual hope, the kind that can help us face the unpleasantries that exist whether we have the courage to acknowledge them or not, is attainable through intellectual honesty.  We just need to learn that we can run faster without the crutch – as scared as we are to let go of it.

Rick Perry is an idiot, and his admonitions hamstring humanity.  He gets away with it because there are a lot of people out there taking the lazy path to empty hope and thinking it’s grand.  Because we’re a nation of god-drunk lamers, Rick Perry is being mentioned as a candidate to run for President of the most militarily powerful nation on Earth, not because he’s particularly intelligent, he’s not.  He may be a viable Republican candidate because he’s saying such counterproductive, foolish things.

Rick Perry, and the grand collection of idiots who unthinkably buy the rubbish he’s selling under the label of ‘hope’, should be ashamed of themselves.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Colin Ritchie

    Much as I admire the US, and the majority of the people who live there , sometimes it nice, when reading the latest garbage spewing from Gov Perry, to remember the 3000 miles of cold dark Atlantic that divide the US from Europe .. nothing personal guys its just that in the unlikley event of thei idiot being elected The drawbridge is going up!


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