My late (,) great uncle Kenny Jones, sports editor and columnist for the Peoria Journal-Star, was one of my childhood heroes. Uncle Kenny actually got paid to write about sports! Playing with language to make something so inherently trivial seem exciting…now THAT sounded like fun. But upon further reflection…what if you got paid to make the most important, profound, exciting subject seem trivial? That’s precisely what daily newspaper religion columnists do!
So here I am, still clinging to my childhood dream. When I grow up, I want to be the Religion Editor and weekly columnist of a mid-size metropolitan daily newspaper.
Here is my first column.
Secular Anti-Humanists take the pulpit!
As everyone knows, the mainline liberal churches in America and Europe are in decline. To find out why, I spent last Sunday morning knocking on people’s doors and asking them why they weren’t in church.
After suffering a string of epithets, two lost teeth, a bloody nose, and minor cuts and abrasions from a half-empty beer bottle smashed across my skull, I finally found someone willing to answer the question. “If that wishy-washy watered down anything-goes twaddle they’re peddling is the gospel truth, I’d just as soon nurse my hangover in bed as in a pew,” my neighbor told me before slamming the door in my face.
In a bold attempt to lure back the congregations they’ve lost, some ultra-liberal churches and synagogues are replacing wishy-washy theism with bold, in-your-face atheism. In Madison, Wisconsin, the local Unitarian church has hired an atheist minister. (No, that’s not a joke.) South of Madison, in Lincolnshire, Illinois, The International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism explicitly rejects God: “After the Holocaust, it is clear that the meaning of Jewish history is that Jews must be responsible for their own fate.”
But now the secular humanist movement is being overtaken by a new competitor: Secular Anti-Humanism.
Just down the street, the Church of Jesus Christ, Secular-Humanist Liberal and Super-Tolerant Nice Guy has closed its doors. The new owner: The First Church of Secular Anti-Humanism.
The secular anti-humanists say they are simply taking the precepts of atheism and secular humanism to their logical conclusions. “Secular humanism is a contradiction in terms,” explains Dirk Boink, founder of the Secular Anti-Humanist Alliance. “If there’s no God, and humanity is just a bunch of selfish, greedy protoplasm that killed and ate and screwed its way up out of the primordial slime in a random and utterly meaningless universe, why in the world would we want to worship this disgusting human creature? On the contrary, we ought to hold it in contempt, fart in its general direction, and generally give it as hard a time as we possibly can.”
But can such a “religion” – however reasonable its precepts – attract adherents? Boink thinks it already has. “Most of the people who claim to be Secular Humanists are actually Secular Anti-Humanists,” he explains. “They protest too much that they love their fellow human beings and all of their productions, claim to be defending human rights as they mass-murder brown-skinned people to steal their resources, and sometimes even devote a small fraction of their net wealth to charity. But deep down inside, they loathe homo sapiens, starting with the one in the mirror. Their real worldview was beautifully expressed by Charles Schultz: ‘I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand!’”
But what sort of church services and religious rituals could possibly serve this philosophy?
Boink explains that everybody hankers after ritual – even folks who reject God, despise creation, and loathe humanity. “In fact, those are the people most in need of rituals,” he asserts. “People who can’t stand themselves and other people, and inhabit an utterly meaningless universe, have an even more profound need to experience the kind of rituals and consolations religion provides than religious people do.”
To that end, the First Church of Secular Anti-Humanism offers parishoners a wide array of activities. Upon joining the church, the novice Anti-Humanist is issued a string of rosary beads and a mantra, such as “Life sucks and then you die,” “People suck,” or “Well, I know it is not a great philosophy but….Well, fu$k you! I can live my life in my own way if I want to. Fuck off!”
Every Sunday, the not-so-faithful file into the First Church of Secular Anti-Humanism, take their seats in the venerable wooden pews, and listen to an uninspiring sermon on futility. Then they sing “Hymn to the Meaninglessness of Life,” “Lack of Faith Is the Victory,” “Don’t Count Your Blessings, There Aren’t Any,” ”No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus (And He Don’t Care for Me At All),” “The Only Truth Is Entropy,” “Ain’t No God So Why We Here,” “Jesus Doesn’t Love Me (Since He Lived A Long Time Ago If He Ever Existed in the First Place),” and other favorites.
The First Anti-Humanist Church is still struggling to gain adherents–despite celebrity endorsements from Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the rotting-corpse-that-never-had-a-soul-or-if-it-did-sold-it-to-the-devil of Christopher Hitchens. But over on the other side of town, the Anti-Humanist Synagogue is doing a booming business. “Jews come naturally to Anti-Humanism,” explains Rabbi Stephen Schivinitzer, founder of the Jewish Anti-Humanist Alliance. “We have a long history of disliking 99% of human beings anyway – the ones who are not Jews, especially if they are Arabs, Muslims, or worst of all, Palestinians. And now, with the new Holocaust religion, most of the world’s Jews have completely lost faith in God and humanity. We’re ready to face the hard truth, aptly described by the first great Anti-Humanist Jew, Leo Strauss, that the world is an evil place, people are evil, and the only way to get ahead is to be more evil than the next guy. That’s why we Anti-Humanist Jews are treating the Palestinians the same way the Nazis treated us. And don’t get me started about how cool 9/11 was.”
Leading Anti-Humanist Jews Michael “enter into evil” Ledeen, Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle, and Sheldon “Nuke Iran and start World War III” Adelson could not be reached for comment.