by Joel Atkinson
I wonder if one single fundamentalist even knows who Joseph Campbell was. Well, thanks to my atheistic best friend, I now do (and actually have for several years). Joseph Campbell was one of those pluralistic nuts (or so they would no doubt say) who dared to see the beauty in diversity of culture and mythology and went a step further to criticize the way in which Christians, Muslims, and Jewish people get caught up in the metaphors of their mythologies to a harmful extent. "A harmful extent?", some may ask.
Yeah, the extent to where the Jews of old invaded lands occupied by their native peoples only to slaughter them all, tear down their gods and sacred places, claim their land for themselves, and then stamp it with the always dependable "God said I could" bullshit excuse.
Yes sir, the extent to where the Christians of only some few hundred years ago reenacted the same story when they came to this wild and free paradise called America, slaughtered the natives (those savages who dared talk to trees and paint their bodies with feather and sun), tore down their gods (in some instances even burning their sacred crops and groves...see Kit Carson, a true American hero and Sharp Knife, better known as President Jackson...course, I think Sharp Knife belongs in the 'slaughter the natives' category myself), claimed the land for themselves (anyone remember learning about the beautiful belief of manifest destiny...i.e. the landlust birthed in a shitter somewhere outside a seedy bar in the lower depths of a eurocentric hell?), and then stamped it all with yet more divine right vomit filled with chunks of pregnant Indian women with bayonets through their wombs.
Yes ma'am, the extent to where Muslims (who I admittedly know less about) can sometimes seem so eager for jihad that some among them gladly die on a daily basis so long as it means taking only a few infidels (christians, jews, nonmuslims???) with them. I think you get the point about the extent these 3 major religions go to when it comes to taking the metaphors of their mythologies just a tad bit too seriously. Joseph Campbell most certainly got the point. Moreover, he understood the importance of enacting the right kind of mythology, or story.
Boyo, boyo, I am pretty fucking positive it's high time we get a new story to enact. We could flip a coin, you know? Say...between a story that would lead away from jihad and conquest and conversion ethics and a story that would lead away from jihad and conquest and conversion ethics. I think that's a pretty fair choice. Of course, if these religious zealots continue in their enactment of apocalyptic stories where their side wins out and everyone else gets to bathe in fire and brimstone where there are just no virgins or streets of gold to be found, we may just have to kick their asses if it means keeping this planet green instead of ash colored dust (for all you apocalyptic junkies out there, that's what the earth will look like if you idiots persist in your violent, bloodlusting, "I win, you lose, get fucked" stories).
So, anyone out there think the late Joseph Campbell had the right idea? Any Christians reading this want to tell me your stories don't affect the way you look at us heretics and sinners? Any fundamentalists want to tell me why you cannot just enact the stories that your Savior told (like the one where he said that not everyone who calls him Lord, Lord will enter his kingdom?) instead of all the bullshit he fought to rid the world of (like the stories in the OT where Canaanite babies died for the sin of being born not Jewish? or the stories in the NT where the world ends with everyone BUT Christians getting dropkicked into a barbecue pit that just never seems to stop cooking). I mean, when are their God and his people going to stop the bbq and just eat our sinful asses...damn it, just let me die a sinner and be done with it...so long as they baste me in honey bbq sauce, I'm cool, baby...after all, I was so "unhappy" in my "indulgent, sensual, cum-spurting filled life" that I deserve at least some peace, don't I?).
Oh, well, I doubt the stuff of Campbell will do anything but threaten the fundies of the Big 3 and piss them off. He was far too kind and enlightened for their narrow dead eyes to see and appreciate. Maybe we should just let the man rest in his eternal darkness as the flames roll over his body. And maybe we should breathe a little fire in remembrance of those like him and roast the bigots first...but only with the sword from our unholy mouths. Words can be sharp enough, after all. Just read their very own end of Revelation to see that.
Well, in my story Jesus comes back and kicks all the fundies' asses. Riding next to him are Crazy Horse and a few of the Pharoahs who want their slaves back. Their calvary is followed by crocodiles, tigers, and an endless flow of hissing horny toads who chase the Christians into the sea. But I'm just drunk...don't mind me. "I want your blood. I want your souls. And I want 'em both right now." You know what, maybe I'll stay drunk. Better that than to enact a story that leads to the end of all things and the death of all life, not to mention the shattering of dreams dreamed far and near, apparently all dreamed in vain because of a stupid people enacting a stupid stupid story.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)