Religion & Philosophy

Kill your TV: RT has landed

rt-logoLet me show you what RT does to a person. I have a friend who calls himself Lee Camp. This man is incredibly talented in terms of logic, rhetoric, charisma, and humor. He recently became exposed to RT television. Suddenly his comedy, which had been brutal satire of the excesses of capitalism, in which he spoke the truth to an audience of 99% of the people, became a farce in which he peddled cheap jokes at the expense of 90%+ of the population, effectively shooting himself in the foot.

This guy was good. He used to do a bit called the “Moment of Clarity,” a manic two or three minute rant about slippery pension-thieving consultants. He spoke the truth and everyone respected him for it. We still do. We just want the facts. Say it as expletive deleted as you want. And just like every purely good deed, it created a natural depression in the fabric of the universe. Attracted evil. Karma or whatever. He paid his dues and the opportunities were not forthcoming, except from an outlying Russian syndicate.

They totally agree with his position vis a vis the bribery and corruption in the American government. They totally agree with his position vis a vis the venture capital system. Can he please just sign on to their terms vis a vis the atheism. I fought this same battle months ago when he posted the “love is not a sin” propaganda. I thought he had resolved to live and let live, to cultivate his garden, and not to sow hate and fear among the ignorant. I was wrong.

January 11 at 11:33am ·
Thank you, God, for ebola, for small pox, for potholes, and sudden infant death syndrome. Thank you God for earthquakes that kill thousands, and for splinters stuck in feet, for devastating car crashes, reality television, drone bombings of wedding parties, skin rashes, premature ejaculation, body dysmorphic disorder, child molesters, mass extinctions, Dick Cheney, sexism, racism, schizophrenia, and the complete takeover of media by Comcast and Time Warner. Thank you, Lord above, for all those things. Oh, and cancer. That too. Thank you, God. …OR wait. Maybe there is… no God. No god means I don’t have to sit here furious at the complete psychopath prick who came up with all that horrible, demented shit I just mentioned… Geeze, what a RELIEF! What a compassionate, understanding, humanistic way to view the world!
[If this made you think or you found it interesting and want more – join my free weekly newsletter at LeeCamp dot net. It takes 30 seconds.]
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Josh Booth
Everything on your list is made by humans except earthquakes and diseases which are the earth maintaining equilibrium. So basically you’re blaming someone else(God) for problems you(humans) created, or you’re taking the position that the only thing that matters is you and every other species and eon and configuration of continents doesn’t matter. Congratulations. You have become what you were fighting against.
Like · Reply · 7 · January 11 at 3:15pm

Carol Ann Machin
But if God is our creator than he technically created all these things. Just saying.
Like · 2 · January 11 at 4:22pm

Shannon Kelly Lung
God gave humans free will. If they use it for evil reasons that is humanities fault
Unlike · 4 · January 11 at 6:18pm

Josh Booth
Carol Ann Machin, that’s like blaming Bill Gates for internet piracy. Shannon Kelly Lung, high five. Atheism is intellectual laziness.
Like · 1 · January 11 at 6:31pm

Josh Booth
And I know Bill Gates is an atheist. Lots of great scientists have been uninterested in pursuing knowledge outside their field. It would be the same as if I went to an introductory seminar on calculus, failed to understand it, and decided that I don’t believe in calculus.
Like · 1 · January 11 at 6:50pm

Kevin Eldreth
Haha Josh you’re being a moron in the moment my friend. Let me use a fine example I just used two minutes ago. A Christian is very much like a schizophrenic patient. Talks to a make believe person, believes if he doesn’t feel the right way about this god that he’ll burn eternally, etc. Don’t use the false argument of substituting an analogy for an example. You just make yourself look stupid. Especially when people call you out on it. Like I am right now. God, this is awkward.
Like · January 11 at 11:09pm

Kevin Eldreth
Btw don’t be a dick. I’ve read your bible more than more than once. I’ve read several religious texts. I’ve read Dawkins, Plato and king David. All that and you want to call being atheist intellectually lazy? Here’s lazy: believing that an irrelevant book written who fucking knows when by who knows who telling the same story Egyptian texts have read for centuries, this book predicts the future, it tells you by your nature that you’re sinful and ugly but if you believe in your heart that Jesus will save you from the fiery hell of only you, in your tiny mind, believe that he is your savior. So you tell about the Internet with this collective self righteousness as if it’ll happen. That’s lazy. In fact, it’s ugly and saddening.
Like · January 11 at 11:14pm

Kevin Eldreth
Troll about the Internet*
Like · January 11 at 11:15pm

Kevin Eldreth is not Lee Camp. Lee would never say these things. His thoughts would be clear and logical, with some acknowledgment that I might have a different point of view. This is hate bait. This is pressing all the buttons hoping to stumble on a chord. Who is this “Troll about the internet?” And why is it waiting in the wings for any sign of resistance to the atheist propaganda?

What we have here are two prepared arguments, not logical arguments, but emotional triggers, designed to engage the target. The first is “don’t be stupid.” What you already know is all there is. Do not continue searching. The second is “Don’t be a dick.” What you have said is offensive to another culture. Do not continue searching. You will only bring shame upon yourself.

I could tell you that Secretary of State Clinton judged us to be “losing the information war” to RT. I could tell you that RT media targets English, Spanish, and Arabic language audiences only. I could tell you that Russian foreign policy is 100% opportunistic use of western journalism to further the narrative that Russia survives, taking on all challengers, if necessary radicalizing fringe elements in English, Spanish and Arabic language speaking countries.

But it doesn’t really hit home until a friend of yours goes lights out, stops thinking because disseminating the party propaganda is easier, even if it is hate speech, even if he must ask for email addresses to find out who among his followers is weak enough to allow hate speech to be delivered discreetly to their inbox. Talk about being radicalized.

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11 replies »

  1. Josh, I’m completely lost here. Lee is an atheist so obviously he isn’t actually attacking a god he doesn’t believe exists. So huge critique is against a certain type of Christian, a type I think we all know fairly well. Now, if you want to criticize it for being gratuitous, sure. I mean, it isn’t like this kind of indictment of that viewpoint is new, and it seems to owe a lot in structure to Burroughs’ famous Thanksgiving Day rant. But past that, I’m not sure I get what the issue is. The critique seems on point enough from here. So what am I missing?

  2. And by the way, I’d like to hear you define “hate speech.” The term originally applied to speech aimed at minority groups, but the way you use it here it seems to have been generalized to include any speech that crosses a certain vehemence threshold in talking about, well, anybody. The Christian segment that’s under fire here is many things, but an endanger minority is hardly one of them. Have a good look at the composition of the US House of Representatives and get back to me on this.

    If speech that hates on a person or a non-disadvantaged group is hate speech, then I’m certainly guilty, in literally hundreds of posts here over the past few years. More to the point, I have never gotten the sense that Lee hates, if that’s the right word, any particular group for what it is or what it believes. The issue is that these groups translate what they believe into political power that imposes those beliefs on others.

    That is a very definitely different things, and if hating it and those who do it is hate speech, I’m afraid you’re going to have to sign me up. I hate those who attack our freedom and undermine progress and enlightenment and equality. A lot.

  3. Josh,
    Is it really your opinion that atheists are intellectually lazy?
    First, let me say that I do believe in God. However, the atheists I have met have probably delved into scripture more than most (pardon the phrase) Bible-thumping Christians.
    If you are angry with your friend for not being who you think thought he was (or think he should be) perhaps you should go directly to him.
    After all ….”So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:7

  4. “Anger Wisdom for Cooling the Flames” by Thich Nhat Hanh
    “…with the energy of mindfulness, you can look into the garbage and say, ” I am not afraid. I am capable of transforming the garbage back into love.”

  5. It’s divide and conquer. It’s sowing discord. Lee has done an amazing job raising awareness of injustice and mobilizing people to create change.  These atheist posts, which started around the same time as his exposure to RT, don’t address injustice, don’t provide useful information or direction, don’t further his goal of creating change,  and don’t even build his audience or exhort them to “keep fighting. ” They divide his audience. They provoke confrontation. They spread misunderstanding and fear. Instead of influencing people to act justly and expect others to act justly, they influence people to fear their differences, to feel isolated and alone. They suggest that the solution to ebola, schizophrenia, and drone warfare is to attack religion. This makes people who believe in God feel attacked, and it makes people who don’t believe in God feel that their enemy in the fight against injustice is a nebulous immortal idea to which most of humanity is loyal. That’s an incredibly discouraging prospect.  To rid the world of injustice means taking our inalienable human free will back from mortals, be they bankers or dictators like the man who pulls the strings of the Russia Today network. If that dictator can convince us that we must overthrow God before we can even begin to take him on, he’s safe for the foreseeable future.

    • You make your case more lucidly here, and I appreciate it.

      I do think your argument unravels toward the end, though, because of its reliance on an assumption that I don’t think bears scrutiny. It happens in here:

      This makes people who believe in God feel attacked, and it makes people who don’t believe in God feel that their enemy in the fight against injustice is a nebulous immortal idea to which most of humanity is loyal.

      The main problem here is that you’re asking me to believe that there is something unitary about “people who believe in God.” Not only is that not one crowd, it’s a LOT of crowds, and more often than not they pose a far greater danger to each other (and the rest of us) than atheists do to anyone. Let’s be clear: ISIS is “people who believe in God.” Boko Haram is “people who believe in God.” The Protestants and Catholics in Ireland – the ones behind “the troubles” – they’re “people who believe in God.” Sunni and Shiite militants bent on annihilating each other are “people who believe in God.” Eric Rudolph is “people who believe in God.” Timothy McVeigh is “people who believe in God.” Those who kill doctors at clinics providing women’s and family services are “people who believe in God.” People who shoot up Unitarian worship services are “people who believe in God.”

      I could go on, but one hopes the point is clear. I’m a big fan of punishing the guilty and not the innocent, and a great many of my best friends are also “people who believe in God” – and in that group I include you and your father. But I think we’re WAY past the point where any legitimate argument can rest on the idea that Lee Camp is attacking “people who believe in God.” He’s attacking certain people who believe in God, yes, and with every reason. I attack them, too.

      And so should you. In the war for justice, they are not your allies. Atheists are. You shouldn’t take offense when Camp lambastes those who hate and murder in the name of your god, you should support him. You should be no more offended by his rants against religion than I am when somebody talks about what a bunch of racist hillbillies you find in the South. Well, yeah. Not talking about me, and there’s a REASON I left the South.

      If all you’re doing here is making an argument about partisan political tactics – what’s the best way to accomplish objective X, for instance – fine. Perhaps there’s an argument to be had there. I know I have tried a variety of approaches in my life, and while I’m pretty good diplomatically these days when I have to be, I fear that my rep as someone who “doesn’t suffer fools gladly” is well-earned and will follow me the rest of my days. And no, I can’t tell you that method is more effective than what you’re advocating.

      But this doesn’t feel like a tactical discussion. It feels personal – very personal. It’s loaded with emotion and you sound, in spots, like a man who feels betrayed.

      I get that you’re passionate about your beliefs and I admire your principles. I have always been incredibly proud to tell people that I know you. But I think you’re a bit off base, when all is said and done. I don’t think Camp has betrayed the values you share in the least, and if you sat down over a beer I suspect you’d walk away feeling like you were very much on the same page.

  6. The lack of unity among “people who believe in God” is something that troubles me every day. The problem I’m address here is an opportunistic attack on fault lines, wherever they may lie. In this case atheism is a large minority which may be radicalized against the majority. That’s America for you. Our most vulnerable persecuted minority religious group is atheist. Because Muslims don’t count. An American accidentally killed a Sikh because he thought non-western clothing equals Muslim. Amish, Mormon, Jewish, Buddhist, Druid, Satanist, all fine, but if we suspect someone of faith in God through the prophet Muhammad we ride with guns blazing. That mindset is the result of a televised terror attack.

    The terror attack in Paris is designed to pit the religious minority Islam against the secular majority. The terror attack that killed two non-white police officers in New York was designed to pit the ethnic minority Black America against the white majority. Secretary of State Clinton was right to call it a “war of information,” because history is written by the winners. “The Russian perspective,” which RT claims to present, is actually a cocktail of despair and impotent rage, which may be redirected from the self to a target chosen by the media provider. It’s old school KGB mind control with updated special effects.

    Make up your own mind about God. I’ll gladly discuss my experience. But don’t tell me this is about people who bomb abortion clinics, because the post clearly attacked God for creating reality television. And don’t tell me this kind of vitriol does not radicalize people on both sides of the equation, because look at us, the best of friends, fighting. If I agree with you and Lee Camp about what should be done vis a vis the people v. the tiny minority oppressing them, why are we fighting? God did not start this. Lee Camp did not start this. You did not start this. I did not start this. RT did.

    • Well, everything else aside, you and I aren’t fighting. We’re a couple of smart progressives discussing something important to society.

      If I grant you the attacking along fault lines thing, and if I felt it were my job to defend Lee, I guess I’d simply say that he didn’t create those fault lines, and if you’re in a war it perhaps makes strategic sense to do just that. If there’s a big crowd of people over there with guns and you can explain to half of them why they’re fighting on the wrong side, that’s something you damned well better do.

      And we damned sure are in a war. A big one. One that may well get worse before it gets better, especially if America’s dingbat religious right and radical Islam ever figure out that they’re actually on the same side. I wish to hell this weren’t the case, but this is kinda the world we live in, like it or don’t.

      Now, some people’s approach to this problem is to mount up and ride into battle – some rhetorically and some literally. Others take your approach – peace, education, harmony, understanding. You’re aligned with the likes of MLK and Gandhi in this, and that obviously says very good things about you.

      Honestly, more than I can say, I hope your strategy wins out. If you and people like you carry the day the world will owe you a debt it can never repay. So I’m pulling for you.

      But as you surely know by now, what I hope for and what I expect aren’t always the same thing.

  7. Thanks for the comment thread, Sam, at least now I understand the post which I didn’t before.

    Josh’s argument is nonsense of course, as are all religious arguments, but it’s useless and unkind to point that out.

    • In truth, Josh isn’t making a religious argument. It’s very much a political strategy argument, although it’s pretending to be a religious argument. And he raises a good point, which is ultimately about what’s the best way to win an important battle. As I say, I wish him the best, even though I’m jaded and skeptical. In very many ways he’s a better person than I am and we’d all be better off if all religious types were more like him and less like, well, what they all too often are.