Wednesday, October 17, 2007


(Available for download only, now on emusic with itunes and others soon to follow.)

At some point during the period in which I wrote the "Don't Tell Columbus" songs, I was also writing a tune called "The End Of Faith," a number born of my disdain for religion, and therefore much too literal for the more balanced, nuanced content of the forthcoming collection.
Seeing this discrepancy coming from a mile away, I ceased working on the song and left it half finished, envisioning perhaps its eventual lack of completion altogether, or, in more rash moments, writing an entire album of anti-religious tirades and using "The End Of Faith" as the cornerstone for such an endeavor.
But I find it a very hard and tiresome thought to narrow my work down to such a dogged and literal pursuit, and the thought of the difficulties involved with composing a dozen rants that bashed the heads of the faithful felt like a lead weight, and so instead, I merely finished writing this one song fairly recently, just for the heck of it.

Apart from a long held but inchoate idea (I can't bring myself to use the word "belief" and therefore use the word "idea" instead) that religion is a malignant force, and that belief and faith are the two most dangerous concepts in the world and have proven themselves to be over and over again, I have not seen anything that brings this feeling into tangible content in my entire life until recently.
Enter the three extraordinary books that give focus to the wishy washy liberalism of my highly untrained and uncoordinated mind: "The End Of Faith" by Sam Harris, "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, and "God Is Not Great: how religion poisons everything " by Christopher Hitchens (gotta love that subtitle!).

Reading these books, especially the ones by Harris and Hitchens, is a mind expanding experience. The Hawkins book is good, but comes over as more of an appreciation of the elegance and reality of evolution and the delusionality of denying this phenomenon than the double whammy intellectual tour de force(s) of the other two.
If you have any interest in the subject, don't miss these publications. All three books were best sellers, and if you want to start somewhere, start with Harris's "The End Of Faith" itself, from whence my song title comes, which will cost you less anyway because it's out in paperback. If that book doesn't blow your mind with its clear-headed and often startling revelations (if you'll excuse the word), especially when confronting the utter lameness of the acceptance and tolerance by Liberals of other peoples' "faiths," despite the absurd and sometimes vile nature that is inherent in those "faiths," then I don't suppose the concept will interest you much anyway.

I could blabber on about my take on the subject, but due to my lack of formal education (I don't consider an English secondary modern school a formal education), my ignorance of the timeline of religion in any coherent historic sense, and my lack of the kind of elucidation brought forth by these writers, it's probably better for anyone interested to read these books for themselves.

Suffice to say, I think this is an urgent matter, and I think the sooner mankind can stamp out religion with the light of reason the better. The world and the universe will not be any less miraculous for it, more so in fact, and the misery these superstitions and "faiths" inflict in what can only be described rationally as belief in the supernatural, can be marginalized and banished to the crackpot realm where they now fully belong.

Hitchens describes in great clarity what you already know: that the whole shebang is entirely man-made, and his brilliant assessment "what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence" is the perfect antidote to the idea that openly doubting the beliefs of the faithful is off limits to people of reason.
As Hitchens also said on his often hilarious debate with Al Sharpton on a recent edition of "Hardball Plaza" with Chris Matthews, "It's time to get up off your knees. Stop groveling." Well said.


PS: (Preemptive strike against the folks out there who follow the pundits.)
Yes, yes, I know: Hitchens thought that invading Iraq was a spiffing idea and still thinks so, despite the obvious catastrophe of it all. On this I disagree.)