The Trial of F. Tremblay / Against the Afterlife
As a recent B-movie fan, I'm getting kinda used to being befuddled or annoyed by a horrible movie. But recently I have gone through tremendous suffering in order to watch the movie "The Trial of Billy Jack" in its entire, agonizing three hours run time. This is it. I'm a veteran now. Nothing else can hurt me.
To even grasp the horror that is "The Trial of Billy Jack", imagine the stupidest hippie beliefs you've ever heard about. Now imagine three full hours composed of a group of kids, Indians, and Billy Jack, all the worst actors in the world (as bad as people on Ed Wood movies), reciting such lines as :
Jean: "The thing that we’ve got here is a living, dynamic, positive force that has the ability to change the most warped lives, turn on the most confused and lost people, and I think we all literally feel here that it could possibly rebuild the world!"
Attendee: "Is this what you call ‘non-violence?’"
Jean: "No, I’m sorry, we call it by something else much cornier than that."
Carol: "We call it, Love."
There's also a full hour of stereotypical, nonsensical Indian rituals involving the spirit of Jesus, snakes, and Billy Jack painted blue. All in all, quite a traumatizing experience. And to think this piece of shit was a popular movie in the seventies.
There's a brillant op-ed from John Bice at the MSU which should particularly interest Aaron, since its title is "Afterlife concept devalues earthly existence; celebrates death". Some quotes :
Viewing the evolution of religion from a Darwinian perspective, as a meme, one would expect successful modern faiths to discourage suicide and promote sexual reproduction, which is precisely what we see. Suicidal cults, or faiths that discourage procreation, are at a tremendous competitive disadvantage for passing on their beliefs.
Atheists, and others who lack similarly appealing fantasies of faith, make extraordinarily poor candidates for suicide bombers.
Death is "no big deal" for the truly faithful, and that's a problem. Faith-based afterlife delusions have consequences beyond suicide bombings and nonchalant attitudes toward capital punishment; for an inestimable number of people it has resulted in lifetimes of forbidden pleasures, self-denial and unnecessary misery endured explicitly to achieve the hypothetical "eternal reward."
Gloria Steinem concisely summarizes the problem, "spirituality celebrates life, religion celebrates life after death."
Amen, John. Amen.
Finally, don't miss my first article on memetics and Christianity, just below. Thank you !