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  1. Anthropocentric Blinders Can’t Be Shed By the Pope

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    July 20, 2017 by John Crapper

    I recently looked at a document that got buried in my in-box put out by the Vatican a while back.  It got me thinking once again about a prior encyclical Pope Frances released concerning climate change.  This most recent document provides continuing proof of the perception blinders hindering the Pope with regard to climate change.
    Vatican document, Ad Resurgendum cum Christo,  dated 15 August, 2016 and says Pope Francis approved it in March. The instructions were released before All Souls’ Day on 2 November, 2016, when the faithful remember and pray for the dead.
    It states:

    Ashes must be kept “in a holy place, that is a cemetery or a church or in a place that has been specifically dedicated to this purpose. The conservation of ashes in the home is not allowed,” he said.

    “Furthermore, in order to avoid any form of pantheistic or naturalistic or nihilistic misunderstanding, the dispersion of ashes in the air, on the ground, on water or in some other way as well as the conversion of cremated ashes into commemorative objects is not allowed.”

    This is pretty anthropocentric.

    Now I’m going to take the liberty to repost an article I wrote in September 2015 analyzing in detail the Pope’s climate change encyclical because I feel it’s still extremely relevant to our current situation.


    encyclical

    1. a letter addressed by the pope to all the bishops of the church.

    2. (of a letter) intended for a wide or general circulation; general.

    3. a letter from the Pope to the Roman Catholic clergy on matters of doctrine or other concerns of the Churcht to be read from the pulpit.

    anthropocentric:

    1. Regarding humans as the central element of the universe.

    2. Interpreting reality exclusively in terms of human values and experience.

    You don’t get much more anthropocentrically centered than the Judeo-Christian belief that God created the entire world to serve man’s every need. There are plenty of passages found in the Bible that lend support and rationalization for this belief. Take for example the following verses.

    First Genesis 1:26 –

    Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ (from the New International Version (NIV)

    Then there is Genesis 1:28 (from the New International Version (NIV)

    God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

    Genesis 9:1-29 (from the English Standard Version)

    And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. …

    All of these versus lend credence to the notion that God intended man to be in control of the environment around him.

    It is not at all uncommon for ecologists to challenge anthropocentrism. Here at the Church of the Holy Shitters we steadfastly and routinely do just that.

    But it’s something else for the pontiff of the Catholic Church to do it. But that is what Pope Francis did in his latest Encyclical Letter – Laudato SI’. The significance of this letter cannot be overstated.

    And the Pope has plenty of biblical references to bolster his own argument challenging anthropocentrism. Here are a few examples:

    “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)

    “You shall not pollute the land in which you live…. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I also dwell; for I the LORD dwell among the Israelites.” (Numbers 35:33-34)

    “The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish together with the earth. The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth; its inhabitants suffer for their guilt.” (Isaiah 24:4-6)

    “You have polluted the land with your whoring and wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and the spring rain has not come.” (Jeremiah 3:2-3)

    I recently took the time to read this encyclical in its entirety. I wanted to know first-hand what the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics had to say about climate change and man’s obligations to resolve this man-made problem.

    +++ Note: All quotes of the encyclical letter are taken from the official transcript. It is quite a lengthy document but well worth the time to read. This diary, although lengthy itself, contains only a small portion of the territory covered in the encyclical. +++

    Pope Francis acknowledges the problem of anthropocentricity in just the second paragraph of his recent encyclical when he says:

    We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.

    And as you might guess the Pope couches this egocentric mindset in terms of sin.

    “For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”. For “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God”.

    And he accurately goes on to say:

    If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world’s population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.

    And he admirably identifies the importance of addressing the needs of the poor as it relates to climate change.

    Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever.

    He goes on accurately to list the problems of fresh clean water, the loss of biodiversity, the decline in the quality of human life and the increase in global inequality. He points out the breakdown of society and the weak response to date of addressing all these problems.

    He makes special mention of the increasing rate of change taking place in our societies.

    The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification”.

    And he does a good job of pointing out this rapidification is coupled with super-consumerism.

    But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.

    And finally, he points out the fallacy of blaming over-population exclusively for the problem.

    To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.

    No one can fault the Pope for analyzing the problem of climate change through the eyes of the position he holds; that of being the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. As I read the encyclical I kept this in mind as I traveled down the path of his logic. His insights and analysis of the problem of anthropogenic climate change is groundbreaking and a huge step forward for the Catholic Church and the community of faith as a whole.

    But that spiritual perspective must be recognized for what it is. A fundamental orientation of perception that filters all thought through the lens of faith. And this lens of faith limits and blinds the pontiff from clearly analyzing certain human aspects of this human caused problem.

    Reflections of Poop John the First, Church of the Holy Shitters

     

    The problems in perception I identified while reading the encyclical fell into the following two broad categories.

    1. The difficulty religion poses of reconciling the belief in the divine nature of mankind with man’s animal connections distorting man’s correct placement in the “natural grand scheme of things”.

    2. The divine nature of man orientation tends to blind a person’s perception inhibiting the close examination of man’s bodily functions and needs as they relate to the environment.

    The starting point for the Pope is that he believes in the wisdom of the Bible.

    The Bible teaches that every man and woman is created out of love and made in God’s image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26).

    The Pope argues from the perspective that the earth was “given to man”.

    “Not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given, but, man too is God’s gift to man. He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed”.

    He analyzes from a perspective of man being above nature.

    Human beings, even if we postulate a process of evolution, also possess a uniqueness which cannot be fully explained by the evolution of other open systems. Each of us has his or her own personal identity and is capable of entering into dialogue with others and with God himself. Our capacity to reason, to develop arguments, to be inventive, to interpret reality and to create art, along with other not yet discovered capacities, are signs of a uniqueness which transcends the spheres of physics and biology.

    And above other creatures.

    Christian thought sees human beings as possessing a particular dignity above other creatures; it thus inculcates esteem for each person and respect for others.

    And this elevation of human life leads to the elevation of our role in the grand scheme of things in the eyes of believers.

    Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.

    His religion insists that each human being is an image of God but this should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. But as he states, other creatures are not at the same level as humans. Because of our elevated, in the image of God nature, we have a special responsibility.

    This is not to put all living beings on the same level nor to deprive human beings of their unique worth and the tremendous responsibility it entails. Nor does it imply a divinization of the earth which would prevent us from working on it and protecting it in its fragility.

    And it puts the value of human life in a special category as indicated by the Church’s stand on abortion (and although not mentioned here birth control too.)

    Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? “If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away”.

    And finally he analyzes from the perspective of everlasting eternal life promising a new and better existence.

    At the end, we will find ourselves face to face with the infinite beauty of God (cf. 1 Cor 13:12), and be able to read with admiration and happiness the mystery of the universe, which with us will share in unending plenitude. Even now we are journeying towards the sabbath of eternity, the new Jerusalem, towards our common home in heaven. Jesus says: “I make all things new” (Rev 21:5). Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place and have something to give those poor men and women who will have been liberated once and for all.

    In the meantime, we come together to take charge of this home which has been entrusted to us, knowing that all the good which exists here will be taken up into the heavenly feast.

    So, although Pope Francis acknowledges the problem of anthropocentricity in just the second paragraph of his encyclical, he does not come to the conclusion that humans are not the central element of the universe. He therefore continues to interpret largely in terms of human values and experience. In his mind, the problem lies not in us realizing we are not all that special in the grand scheme of things but in us not acting as God wants us to act and being sinners and not living up to God’s expectations. We need to be more aware of God within ourselves and in the universe.

    The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face.[159] The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to discover God in all things. Saint Bonaventure teaches us that “contemplation deepens the more we feel the working of God’s grace within our hearts, and the better we learn to encounter God in creatures outside ourselves”.

    The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures.

    So, although the Pope does an admirable job attempting to put the anthropocentric orientation his religion demands in a different light he still has to maintain its anthropocentric elements. Consequently, he spent very little time delving into the issues most closely related to our “animal connections”.

    I found it also blinded him to certain aspects of the problem closely associated with certain bodily functions and needs. The most well-known of these is man’s sexuality. I don’t want to dive into this aspect of our “animal connectedness” but it is well known the Church’s stand on such things as birth control, pre-marital sex, a woman’s right to choose and the acceptance of the LGBT orientations. The Catholic Church basically struggles with all things sexually as evidenced by the belief in the Immaculate Conception and the requirement for both priests and nuns to be celibate.

    Much more under the radar of most people’s awareness was his ignoring of fecal matters. Although the needs of the poor was a main theme of his encyclical, sanitation was only mentioned cursorily stating simply that the poor need access to it.

    But it is a huge issue for the poor and it matters.

    It matters because 2.6 billion people don’t have sanitation. “Four in ten people have no access to any latrine, toilet, bucket, or box.” “Diarrhea—nearly 90 percent of which is caused by fecally contaminated food or water—kills a child every fifteen seconds.” “The number of children who have died from diarrhea in the last decade exceeds the total number of people killed by armed conflict since the Second World War.” “The 1.8 million child deaths each year related to clean water and sanitation dwarf the casualties associated with violent conflict. No act of terrorism generates economic devastation on the scale of the crisis in water and sanitation. Yet this issue barely registered in this encyclical.

    To take this brief look at sanitation one step further let’s look at the predominant modern sanitation system used in the world today. Each of us pays good money to have purified water pour into our toilets. We then do our business and flush it into the sewer system. We also pay hard-earned money to carry our excrement away to a sewage treatment plant. Along the way it is mixed in with all kinds of foreign substances including chemicals, solvents and medical waste. At our sewage treatment plants varying energy intensive expensive processes are utilized to separate out the contamination from the water to return it to its pure state to be recycled. The remaining sludge’s value, as a result of human excrement being mixed with other sources of contamination, is diminished. It must be further sterilized, with questionable results, before it can be used as a fertilizer. This never-ending expensive cycle of mishandled waste indicates just how out of touch we are with our true nature. It also points out to what lengths we will go to deny our bodily functions and ignore our relationship and dependence on nature.

    The final point I want to bring up in this regard was the lack of mention of Ecological Sanitation.

    Ecological Sanitation (Eco-San)

     

    Ecological sanitation (Ecosan) offers a new philosophy of dealing with what is presently regarded as waste and wastewater. Ecosan systems enable the recovery of nutrients from human feces and urine for the benefit of agriculture, thus helping to preserve soil fertility, assure food security for future generations, minimize water pollution and recover bio-energy. They ensure that water is used economically and is recycled in a safe way for purposes such as irrigation or groundwater recharge.

    The main objectives of ecological sanitation are:

    * To reduce the health risks related to sanitation, contaminated water and waste

    * To prevent the pollution of surface and ground water

    * To prevent the degradation of soil fertility

    * To optimize the management of nutrients and water resources.

    Again, Pope Francis deserves all the accolades he has received for stepping up and publishing this encyclical on climate change. It was a huge step forward for the Catholic Church and all faith-based communities.

    But, as head of the secular environmental religion Church of the Holy Shitters, I am obligated to point out its shortcomings from our perspective.

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  2. Retirement, Time for a Cool Change, Limits to My Activism

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    February 16, 2017 by John Crapper

    Retirement – a time of cool change.

    LITTLE RIVER BAND
    “Cool Change”

    If there’s one thing in my life that’s missing
    It’s the time that I spend alone
    Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
    Lots of those friendly people
    And they’re showing me ways to go
    And I never want to lose their inspiration
    Time for a cool change
    I know that it’s time for a cool change
    And now that my life is so prearranged
    I know that it’s time for a cool change
    Well, I was born in the sign of water
    And it’s there that I feel my best
    The albatross and the whales they are my brothers
    It’s kind of a special feeling
    When you’re out on the sea alone
    Staring at the full moon, like a lover
    Time for a cool change
    I know that it’s time for a cool change
    Now that my life is so prearranged
    I know that it’s time for a cool change
    I’ve never been romantic
    And sometimes I don’t care
    I know it may sound selfish
    But let me breathe the air, yeah
    Let me breathe the air
    [Instrumental Interlude]
    If there’s one thing in my life that’s missing
    It’s the time that I spend alone
    Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
    It’s kind of a special feeling
    When you’re out on the sea alone
    Staring at the full moon, like a lover
    Time for a cool change
    I know that it’s time for a cool change
    Now that my life is so prearranged
    I know that it’s hard for a cool
    Cool, cool change
    It’s time, it’s time, it’s time
    It’s time, it’s time, it’s time
    For a cool, cool change
    Oooooh, I know it’s time for a cool
    Cool, cool change
    Now that my life is so prearranged
    Well, I know, I know, I know, I know
    That it’s time for a cool change
    Yes it is, yes it is, yes it is, yes it is
    It’s Time for a cool change Cool Change

    I am starting  my retirement this year.  It feels good.  Not that I’ve been having a bad life up to this point.  Actually, I think I’ve had a pretty charmed life so far.

    Retirement doesn’t mean I still don’t have important things to do.  Now the most important work begins. It’s time for me to devote myself to trying to draw attention to the urgent problem of climate change in an attempt to make the issue go viral.  I figure I’ve got a chance of succeeding about a little better than a snowball’s  in hell but I’m still going to try.

    Most people look at me a little strangely when I tell them that this is what I’m going to do in my retirement. And actually, I must admit, a strong argument can be made I shouldn’t even care about climate change at my age.  That’s because of the timeframe of the projected negative effects.

    You see, in connection with a book I’ve written, I did extensive research determining what the future looks like if we keep going down the fossil fuelish path we are currently on.  I projected out until the year 2200.  I concluded from that research that even though we are currently seeing and feeling some of the negative effects of climate change, significant life-altering events won’t start happening with regularity until around the year 2030.  I’ll be almost 90 years old at that time.  Going out a little farther shows that between 2040 and 2050 the shit really starts hitting the fan and civilization as we know it starts falling apart.   I won’t be around to see it.

    During my life I’ve lived through both personal and societal missed opportunities when it comes to our energy future.

    First let me tell you my earliest personal disappointment.

    To do that I need take you back to the first oil crises back in 1973 when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC (consisting of the Arab members of OPEC, plus Egypt, Syria and Tunisia) proclaimed an oil embargo. This was “in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military” during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. During this time cars waited in long lines to fill up. At the time the 1973 “oil price shock”, along with the 1973–1974 stock market crash, were regarded as the most severe economic event to happen since the Great Depression.

    Then there was the second oil crisis which happened in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. Amid massive protests, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled his country in early 1979 and the Ayatollah Khomeini soon became the new leader of Iran. Protests severely disrupted the Iranian oil sector, with production being greatly curtailed and exports suspended. When oil exports were later resumed under the new regime, they were inconsistent and at a lower volume, which pushed prices up. Widespread panic resulted, added to by the decision of U.S. President Jimmy Carter to order the cessation of Iranian imports driving the price far higher than would be expected under normal circumstances. Due to memories of oil shortage in 1973, motorists soon began panic buying, and long lines appeared at gas stations, as they had six years earlier during the 1973 oil crisis.

    I was in college at the time.  I came up with the idea of The American Rock.  The idea was to raise money from rock concerts  and direct the proceeds into helping solve our energy dependency.

    A formal campus organization was formed with the stated goals of:

    • supporting research in non-polluting renewable energy projects being conducted by University academic departments and,
    • providing funding towards conservation improvements on campus. i.e. student housing weatherization projects, recycling programs, car pooling program

    A logo was created. It consisted of a hand-sized granite rock with an American flag affixed to it.

    A date was set for the launch. A venue for our first concert was secured and a band was hired for our first benefit concert.

    A media campaign was drawn up. Teaser ads and articles were to be placed in the campus newspaper to entice curiosity.

     

    The morning of the kickoff 2000 pounds of small granite rocks with American flags attached were placed about 25 yards apart along all major walkways on campus.

    A grand total of 6 tickets were sold.

    I have other personal stories but this one was the first and most illuminating.

    On the broader political/societal level there has been the defeat of Al Gore, John Kerry and most recently Hillary Clinton, all of which acknowledged the existence and seriousness of climate change and campaigned to take action on it.  All were defeated because “enough votes” were not cast for them.

    Now as I enter retirement, we have the climate denier Trump occupying the White House.  I never realized the darkest hour before the dawn could look so dark!

    I think we are in need of a new religion.  Religion is the glue that binds a group of people together. It is the moral framework from which a person judges the world. It is the hub in their wheel of existence. It provides them a way to maintain long-term attention to the principles by which to live in the face of life’s short-term distractions. Religion provides a person with a path to travel in their desire to lead a good life.

    Our modern life screams out for a new kind of religion offering a new glue to bind people together, a new moral framework from which to judge and a new hub in their wheel of existence. This new religion needs to focus exclusively on our physical existence. It must be secular in nature and concern itself with our life on this Earth and our relationship with it.

    This religion is the Church of the Holy Shitters.  It demands of us a new mind—a lower transcendent reason – able to plug our species into its rightful place in nature. It demands that each of us assume a new responsibility for nature and all its living creatures. It promises a life that is more liberated, healthier and more beautiful than anything mankind has known if we only have the courage and the meekness to seize that life.

    But if I’m wrong and this new religion doesn’t resonate within a realistic timeframe, I’m going to unplug and enjoy the rest of my retirement.  I’ll be content in the knowledge I tried to wake people up to the cool change needed and comforted that I won’t be alive to see the worst happening.

    And I’ll spend the rest of my time in retirement camping, hiking and fishing.  As the Little River Band said, “I know it may sound selfish, but let me breath the air. Yeah, let me breath the air”.

     

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  3. The Winds of Change and the Prevailing Winds

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    February 2, 2017 by John Crapper

    I do a lot of posting on a site called Daily Kos.  This is one in particular that was written specially for that audience but worth posting here.

    Change is in the air.

    The prevailing winds  certainly don’t look good these days.    But one thing about winds.   They are very unpredictable.  That actually gives me hope we might see the winds of change.

    I haven’t been posting much lately.  I decided to take a long hiatus. Part of my motivation for doing this was the election. You see, I was getting drawn in to the political vortex so easy to get sucked in to here at Daily Kos.    I don’t like to get involved with the he said/she said political cat fights that happen during a campaign.  I view it as a big waste of time.  I therefore took the time during the heat of the campaign to work on my own personal writings.  I got a lot accomplished.

    The last time I was posting here a lot I was trying to accomplish many things simultaneously.  I was the coordinator of Seattle and Puget Sound Kossacks.  Then I took on the volunteer position of Daily Kos Washington State Community Builder.   In connection with that role I established a Washington State Open Thread posting current events pertaining the the Pacific Northwest every Sunday.    I thought I could do all this and still continue to keep the issue of climate change front and center.  I thought this in part because I’d assumed I’d get the help and assistance from some key people.  For various reasons, probably largely do to my own shortcomings,  that did not materialize.  As a result, I soon realized I was not going to be able to do this.

    I therefore began reevaluating where I was at and where I wanted to go.  I began reflecting on a time in my past with similar parallels.

    Please allow me the liberty of reposting what I previously wrote about this past similar situation.

    My wife and I had been trying to achieve a long-term goal of our own about 25 years ago. That goal was to live overseas.

    When we first set out to achieve this goal, we made a few miscalculations and missteps. We did not fully appreciate all the little things needing to be done on a day by day basis. For a while we kept giving lip service to it. One day it dawned on us while shopping we were actually doing many things on a day to day basis that were taking us away from our stated desire to move and live overseas. We sat down again and seriously examined our actions and vowed to focus our attention without waiver to its achievement.

    After this serious discussion we constantly reminded ourselves to put the target of living overseas first and foremost in our thinking so our every action would directly lead to its accomplishment. Once we did this our day to day life became an eye-opening experience.

    It was amazing how many times we caught ourselves getting ready to do something that not only wouldn’t get us closer but actually would move us further away. Take, for instance, in the area of our finances. We had set a goal of having the money to afford to travel overseas for one year. Yet numerous times we caught ourselves on the verge of purchasing a piece of furniture or household item that made no sense to purchase if we were serious about leaving the country. Sometimes it was hard to forego the item. We knew it would mean short-term sacrifice or inconvenience. Hold on, better not buy that piece of furniture even though it’s on sale. Makes no sense if we’re going overseas. Oops – Let’s pull back on going to that expensive show and fancy restaurant this Friday night. It would just blow the savings plan for our upcoming trip. These little day to day decisions meant some short-term sacrifice and inconvenience but were necessary to achieve the long-term target.

    Our personal purchases and activity choices were not the only areas where we felt unease. Here we were in our early forties, happily married living in a wonderful newly remodeled home in Seattle. We were in successful careers and surrounded by wonderful friends. Life was good.

    We were getting ready to give all this up, strap on 15 pound backpacks and go off into the wild blue yonder without any guarantee of ultimate destination or employment. Many of our friends called us crazy. “How could we chuck it all and just take off? What about our security and future?”, they said. It was unsettling to say the least as major change can be. But we did not allow ourselves to be deterred.

    Well, to make a long story short, the one year of travel turned into fifteen years of overseas living. We landed excellent jobs in three different countries (Taiwan, Thailand and Burma). Our lives were enriched beyond belief. Our friends no longer called us crazy but instead indicated how lucky we were. The short-term sacrifices had paid off and a long-term dream with multiple benefits had been realized.

    I view my decision to pull back from the various auxiliary duties I had taken on with Daily Kos in the same way.  I was doing things that were taking me further away from my stated goal.  I wanted to return to writing about climate change.  It turned out to be a very good decision.

    Time waits for no-one.

    Now I’m once again ready to start posting regularly.  This time, hopefully, I won’t get sidetracked because you see, with the issue of climate change, I can’t afford to get sidetracked.  There isn’t time for any sidetracking.  Anyone who truly cares about climate change, who truly doesn’t deny the problem and its severity realizes time is of the essence.

    As Naomi Klein says in her latest book, This Changes Everything:

    “the ‘this’ in This Changes Everything is climate change. … And what we mean by that is that climate change, if we don’t change course, if we don’t change our political and economic system, is going to change everything about our physical world. …That’s the road we are on. We can get off that road, but we’re now so far along it, we’ve put off the crucial policies for so long, that now we can’t do it gradually. … (It)requires such a radical departure from the kind of political and economic system we have right now that we pretty much have to change everything.”

    Yes, Naomi is right.  And when she wrote those words she wasn’t envisioning a climate denying Trump administration.

    A picture says a thousand words.

    But Trump and his administration are nothing more than a bunch of ignoramuses on the issue and deserve the same attention and credence one gives jokesters, pranksters or ingrates.  They are a joke and deserve to be made relentlessly fun of for their environment positions.  They should be, no must be, considered obsolete and not needed for reference when it comes to climate change.  By ignoring them and ridiculing them at every juncture and focusing at the state and local level we can make them look foolish and render them impotent.  It will take a change of focus, discipline and sustained effort.

    Actually, we’ve been in a pretty powerful environmental shit creek well before Trump.  The truth is the currents just got swifter and the water a whole lot stinkier because he got elected.  But that does not stop the winds of change.

    I’m not one to approach climate change from a gloom and doom, depressing perspective.   I like insightful levity and sincerely believe there is reason for, if not optimism than hope, because the changes we need to make can really be boiled down to doing one thing.  We must utilize the sun to the fullest extent possible.  It’s really that simple.

    There have always been powerful forces standing in the way of the winds of change. They come primarily from three different groups.

    Gatekeepers

    A gatekeeper’s purpose is always the same: to control information, block change and hold on to their power and vested interests. They act as status quo security guards, blocking outsiders from infiltrating their ranks or changing the system.  Their job is

    a) telling you what to think,

    b) telling you what to do and

    c) telling you which choices you have.

    Cynics

    Cynics are expert pessimists. Their argument can be boiled down to one succinct sentence: Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.

    They stand ready to give all kinds of reasons why it won’t work. They tell you everything they think is wrong with your ideas.

    Silver-Bullet Types

    Silver-bullet technocratic scientific types are “we’ll solve climate change so “don’t worry about it” people. There is always a new innovation on the horizon promising inexhaustible cheap energy. There is no reason to worry. We are at the cusp of climate change’s resolution.

    But even they cannot stop the winds of change unless we let them.  And I refuse to let any of their arguments dissuade me.    I’m ready to reemerge from my forced blogging hibernation..  I’m ready to once again launch my Holy Shitters series posting every S.H.I.T. (so happy its Thursday) addressing all the many psychological aspects of climate change and the hope and humor contained within the issue.

    You see, I’m Poop John the First,  founder of the Church of the Holy Shitters and I’m humorously serious about addressing the issue.  Our Church’s goal is not to ask you for money.  We have no plans to do that.  We’re not that kind of Church.  Our goal is nothing less than to cause the issue of climate change to go viral.  And when the chances of the Church of the Holy Shitters succeeding in doing so, in my estimation, is slightly higher than a snowball’s chance in hell you can see

    why we need a new religion to cause the winds of change we need.

    Religion is the glue that binds a group of people together. It is the moral framework from which a person judges the world. It is the hub in their wheel of existence. It provides them a way to maintain long-term attention to the principles by which to live in the face of life’s short-term distractions. Religion provides a person with a path to travel in their desire to lead a good life.

    Our modern life screams out for a new kind of religion offering a new glue to bind people together, a new moral framework from which to judge and a new hub in their wheel of existence. This new religion needs to focus exclusively on our physical existence. It must be secular in nature and concern itself with our life on this Earth and our relationship with it.

    This religion is needed for us to keep hope alive in our efforts to combat climate change.  So I ask you to join our Church.

     Help us

    to create the winds of change

    and change the

     

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  4. Church of the Holy Shitters Manifesto

    0

    January 22, 2017 by John Crapper

    photo-2_2

    The Manifesto

    of the

    Church of the Holy Shitters

    “An Environmental Religion” 

    by

    John Crapper

    Our climate is changing.

    I’m humorously serious about addressing it.  

    I’m convinced my ego is the main culprit.  

    My religion,

     Holy Shitters

    demands I humble myself and celebrate the fact my shit stinks.


    “A secular environmental religion, scientifically based, with a focus on the psychology of it all. Our ego is the culprit when it comes to dealing with climate change. We cannot save the planet. We can only save ourselves. Our current egotistical self-perception makes even that prospect a dubious one at best. Meekness, humility and a realization that our shit does stink, guides us on our path to sustainable living and climate equilibrium.”


    My Goal is to make climate
    change your number one priority.

     

    Let me shock you with just one statement.

    If you are

    under the age of 50

    it is critical I succeed

    for you to lead the rest

    of your life with any

    semblance of

    normalcy going forward.



    If you deny the existence of climate change please stop reading now!



    Since you’re still with me let’s proceed.

    Why do we need a new religion? 

    Religion is the glue that binds a group of people together. It is the moral framework from which a person judges the world. It is the hub in their wheel of existence.  It provides them a way to maintain long-term attention to the principles by which to live in the face of life’s short-term distractions. Religion provides a person with a path to travel in their desire to lead a good life.

    Our modern life screams out for a new kind of religion offering a new glue to bind people together, a new moral framework from which to judge and a new hub in their wheel of existence. This new religion needs to focus exclusively on our physical existence. It must be secular in nature and concern itself with our life on this Earth and our relationship with it.


    Religion affects a person’s perception of everything and as Naomi Klein says in her latest book, This Changes Everything:

     

    “the ‘this’ in This Changes Everything is climate change. … And what we mean by that is that climate change, if we don’t change course, if we don’t change our political and economic system, is going to change everything about our physical world. …That’s the road we are on. We can get off that road, but we’re now so far along it, we’ve put off the crucial policies for so long, that now we can’t do it gradually. … (It)requires such a radical departure from the kind of political and economic system we have right now that we pretty much have to change everything.”

    My research tells me we don’t have much time to make these changes.  There is urgency of action connected with this Manifesto.

    Dealing with climate change is going to require group thinking and solving the problems associated with it is going to be a collective effort.   We need to come together in concerted action.  There is no way around it.

    “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

    Martin Luther King Jr.


    Again, as Naomi Klein explains in detail in her book, this coming together is in fact already happening and is increasing around the world.    But it needs to keep gaining in momentum in the same way a snowball gathers size and speed as it rolls down a snowy hill.  And it needs to happen in an atmosphere of optimism, passion and most importantly, levity and fun.  This is the purpose of the Church of the Holy Shitters and this Manifesto.

    I am passionate about speeding up this “coming together” by coupling it with levity and fun and the religious zeal of common purpose.   I’m asking you to join me.  I believe it’s critically important for your future.

    The changes we need to make can really be boiled down to doing one thing. We must utilize the sun to the fullest extent possible.  It’s really that simple.

    But unfortunately, there are forces standing in our way.  This opposition comes primarily from three different groups.

    Gatekeepers 

     A gatekeeper’s purpose is always the same:  to control information, block change and hold on to their power and vested interests.  They act as status quo security guards, blocking outsiders from infiltrating their ranks or changing the system.

    Their job is

    a) telling you what to think,

    b) telling you what to do and

    c) telling you which choices you have.

    Cynics

    Cynics are expert pessimists.  Their argument can be boiled down to one succinct sentence: Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.

    They stand ready to give all kinds of reasons why it won’t work. They tell you everything they think is wrong with your ideas.

    Silver-Bullet Types

    Silver-bullet technocratic scientific types are “we’ll solve climate change so “don’t worry about it” people.  There is always a new innovation on the horizon promising inexhaustible cheap energy.  There is no reason to worry.  We are at the cusp of climate change’s resolution.



    This Manifesto is not intended to provide you with great detail about the Church of the Holy Shitters but let me provide the briefest of introductions.

    The Holy Shitters
    “An Environmental Religion”

     

    photo-2_2

    Our Ten Commandments

    As you might guess from this list, I’m not one to approach climate change from a gloom and doom, depressing perspective. I like insightful levity and sincerely believe there is reason for optimism.

    But in all seriousness we are in a pretty powerful shit creek right now. The currents we are in are swift and the water stinks!

    So I ask you to jump in my canoe, grab a paddle and start rowing with me. The more paddlers we have the better chance  of rowing out of this creek we find ourselves in.

    We’ll row in a new direction.  It is the ass-forward, waste-end first “Shitty Way of Life”  direction offered by the Church of the Holy Shitters!

    5d3784eb-f471-4187-af15-5026d99b8c2c

    Think about it.  We are in desperate need

    of this new environmental religion.

     


    Thanks for reading! 

    To learn more about our Church

    please sign up to receive our Newsletter.

    Together we’ll row towards a brighter future for ourselves and

    OUR CHILDREN!

    And We’ll
      🙂 Laugh Along 🙂
    Our Shitty Way!
    as we
    Seriously Tackle
    Climate Change

    I also hope you’ll pass this

    Manifesto

    on to your friends!  



    Coming Soon!

    My book entitled the

    Holy Shitters

    “An Environmental Religion”

    The Cateshitum

    containing a summary of the principles of the Church of the Holy Shitters in question and answer form.


    And Shortly Thereafter
    My 2nd book entitled 
    Shit Down & Crap Up
    Down World
    • A cave in the middle of nowhere yet an oasis of sanity in an otherwise insane world.   
    • a microcosm  of sustainable living in an ocean of the unsustainable.   
    • the current center of the Church of the Holy Shitters.

     


    It was a time of hope and promise yet great turmoil and disruption; a time of magnificent scientific discovery;  a time of rapid and remarkable advancement in human consciousness.  And it was all happening too slowly and too late.

    This is the story of less than a year in the life of twelve-year old Johnny Crapper.  As he flies into another world, he witnesses unfathomable events while learning unbelievable secrets about his family’s past along the way.  In the process, Johnny gains a deeper appreciation for his Shitty Way of Life, is introduced to love for the first time and is instilled with hope for a world crumbling around him.


     
    photo-2_2

    Remember:  
    “If we really want to straighten
    out all this crap we really need to think about shit.” 
    Holy Shit!

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  5. Pope’s Encyclical on the Climate – Fecal Reflections

    0

    September 1, 2015 by John Crapper

    encyclical

    1. a letter addressed by the pope to all the bishops of the church.

    2. (of a letter) intended for a wide or general circulation; general.

    3. a letter from the Pope to the Roman Catholic clergy on matters of doctrine or other concerns of the Churcht to be read from the pulpit.

    anthropocentric:

    1. Regarding humans as the central element of the universe.

    2. Interpreting reality exclusively in terms of human values and experience.

    You don’t get much more anthropocentrically centered than the Judeo-Christian belief that God created the entire world to serve man’s every need. There are plenty of passages found in the Bible that lend support and rationalization for this belief. Take for example the following verses.

    First Genesis 1:26 –

    Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ (from the New International Version (NIV)

    Then there is Genesis 1:28 (from the New International Version (NIV)

    God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

    Genesis 9:1-29 (from the English Standard Version)

    And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. …

    All of these versus lend credence to the notion that God intended man to be in control of the environment around him.

    It is not at all uncommon for ecologists to challenge anthropocentrism. Here at the Church of the Holy Shitters we steadfastly and routinely do just that.

    But it’s something else for the pontiff of the Catholic Church to do it. But that is what Pope Francis did in his latest Encyclical Letter – Laudato SI’. The significance of this letter cannot be overstated.

    And the Pope has plenty of biblical references to bolster his own argument challenging anthropocentrism. Here are a few examples:

    “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)

    “You shall not pollute the land in which you live…. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I also dwell; for I the LORD dwell among the Israelites.” (Numbers 35:33-34)

    “The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish together with the earth. The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth; its inhabitants suffer for their guilt.” (Isaiah 24:4-6)

    “You have polluted the land with your whoring and wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and the spring rain has not come.” (Jeremiah 3:2-3)

    I recently took the time to read this encyclical in its entirety. I wanted to know first-hand what the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics had to say about climate change and man’s obligations to resolve this man-made problem.

    +++ Note: All quotes of the encyclical letter are taken from the official transcript. It is quite a lengthy document but well worth the time to read. This diary, although lengthy itself, contains only a small portion of the territory covered in the encyclical. +++

    Pope Francis acknowledges the problem of anthropocentricity in just the second paragraph of his recent encyclical when he says:

    We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.

    And as you might guess the Pope couches this egocentric mindset in terms of sin.

    “For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”. For “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God”.

    And he accurately goes on to say:

    If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world’s population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.

    And he admirably identifies the importance of addressing the needs of the poor as it relates to climate change.

    Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever.

    He goes on accurately to list the problems of fresh clean water, the loss of biodiversity, the decline in the quality of human life and the increase in global inequality. He points out the breakdown of society and the weak response to date of addressing all these problems.

    He makes special mention of the increasing rate of change taking place in our societies.

    The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification”.

    And he does a good job of pointing out this rapidification is coupled with super-consumerism.

    But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.

    And finally, he points out the fallacy of blaming over-population exclusively for the problem.

    To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.

    No one can fault the Pope for analyzing the problem of climate change through the eyes of the position he holds; that of being the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. As I read the encyclical I kept this in mind as I traveled down the path of his logic. His insights and analysis of the problem of anthropogenic climate change is groundbreaking and a huge step forward for the Catholic Church and the community of faith as a whole.

    But that spiritual perspective must be recognized for what it is. A fundamental orientation of perception that filters all thought through the lens of faith. And this lens of faith limits and blinds the pontiff from clearly analyzing certain human aspects of this human caused problem.

    Reflections of Poop John the First, Church of the Holy Shitters

     

    The problems in perception I identified while reading the encyclical fell into the following two broad categories.

    1. The difficulty religion poses of reconciling the belief in the divine nature of mankind with man’s animal connections distorting man’s correct placement in the “natural grand scheme of things”.

    2. The divine nature of man orientation tends to blind a person’s perception inhibiting the close examination of man’s bodily functions and needs as they relate to the environment.

    The starting point for the Pope is that he believes in the wisdom of the Bible.

    The Bible teaches that every man and woman is created out of love and made in God’s image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26).

    The Pope argues from the perspective that the earth was “given to man”.

    “Not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given, but, man too is God’s gift to man. He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed”.

    He analyzes from a perspective of man being above nature.

    Human beings, even if we postulate a process of evolution, also possess a uniqueness which cannot be fully explained by the evolution of other open systems. Each of us has his or her own personal identity and is capable of entering into dialogue with others and with God himself. Our capacity to reason, to develop arguments, to be inventive, to interpret reality and to create art, along with other not yet discovered capacities, are signs of a uniqueness which transcends the spheres of physics and biology.

    And above other creatures.

    Christian thought sees human beings as possessing a particular dignity above other creatures; it thus inculcates esteem for each person and respect for others.

    And this elevation of human life leads to the elevation of our role in the grand scheme of things in the eyes of believers.

    Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.

    His religion insists that each human being is an image of God but this should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. But as he states, other creatures are not at the same level as humans. Because of our elevated, in the image of God nature, we have a special responsibility.

    This is not to put all living beings on the same level nor to deprive human beings of their unique worth and the tremendous responsibility it entails. Nor does it imply a divinization of the earth which would prevent us from working on it and protecting it in its fragility.

    And it puts the value of human life in a special category as indicated by the Church’s stand on abortion (and although not mentioned here birth control too.)

    Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? “If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away”.

    And finally he analyzes from the perspective of everlasting eternal life promising a new and better existence.

    At the end, we will find ourselves face to face with the infinite beauty of God (cf. 1 Cor 13:12), and be able to read with admiration and happiness the mystery of the universe, which with us will share in unending plenitude. Even now we are journeying towards the sabbath of eternity, the new Jerusalem, towards our common home in heaven. Jesus says: “I make all things new” (Rev 21:5). Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place and have something to give those poor men and women who will have been liberated once and for all.

    In the meantime, we come together to take charge of this home which has been entrusted to us, knowing that all the good which exists here will be taken up into the heavenly feast.

    So, although Pope Francis acknowledges the problem of anthropocentricity in just the second paragraph of his encyclical, he does not come to the conclusion that humans are not the central element of the universe. He therefore continues to interpret largely in terms of human values and experience. In his mind, the problem lies not in us realizing we are not all that special in the grand scheme of things but in us not acting as God wants us to act and being sinners and not living up to God’s expectations. We need to be more aware of God within ourselves and in the universe.

    The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face.[159] The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to discover God in all things. Saint Bonaventure teaches us that “contemplation deepens the more we feel the working of God’s grace within our hearts, and the better we learn to encounter God in creatures outside ourselves”.

    The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures.

    So, although the Pope does an admirable job attempting to put the anthropocentric orientation his religion demands in a different light he still has to maintain its anthropocentric elements. Consequently, he spent very little time delving into the issues most closely related to our “animal connections”.

    I found it also blinded him to certain aspects of the problem closely associated with certain bodily functions and needs. The most well-known of these is man’s sexuality. I don’t want to dive into this aspect of our “animal connectedness” but it is well known the Church’s stand on such things as birth control, pre-marital sex, a woman’s right to choose and the acceptance of the LGBT orientations. The Catholic Church basically struggles with all things sexually as evidenced by the belief in the Immaculate Conception and the requirement for both priests and nuns to be celibate.

    Much more under the radar of most people’s awareness was his ignoring of fecal matters. Although the needs of the poor was a main theme of his encyclical, sanitation was only mentioned cursorily stating simply that the poor need access to it.

    But it is a huge issue for the poor and it matters.

    It matters because 2.6 billion people don’t have sanitation. “Four in ten people have no access to any latrine, toilet, bucket, or box.” “Diarrhea—nearly 90 percent of which is caused by fecally contaminated food or water—kills a child every fifteen seconds.” “The number of children who have died from diarrhea in the last decade exceeds the total number of people killed by armed conflict since the Second World War.” “The 1.8 million child deaths each year related to clean water and sanitation dwarf the casualties associated with violent conflict. No act of terrorism generates economic devastation on the scale of the crisis in water and sanitation. Yet this issue barely registered in this encyclical.

    To take this brief look at sanitation one step further let’s look at the predominant modern sanitation system used in the world today. Each of us pays good money to have purified water pour into our toilets. We then do our business and flush it into the sewer system. We also pay hard-earned money to carry our excrement away to a sewage treatment plant. Along the way it is mixed in with all kinds of foreign substances including chemicals, solvents and medical waste. At our sewage treatment plants varying energy intensive expensive processes are utilized to separate out the contamination from the water to return it to its pure state to be recycled. The remaining sludge’s value, as a result of human excrement being mixed with other sources of contamination, is diminished. It must be further sterilized, with questionable results, before it can be used as a fertilizer. This never-ending expensive cycle of mishandled waste indicates just how out of touch we are with our true nature. It also points out to what lengths we will go to deny our bodily functions and ignore our relationship and dependence on nature.

    The final point I want to bring up in this regard was the lack of mention of Ecological Sanitation.

    Ecological Sanitation (Eco-San)

     

    Ecological sanitation (Ecosan) offers a new philosophy of dealing with what is presently regarded as waste and wastewater. Ecosan systems enable the recovery of nutrients from human feces and urine for the benefit of agriculture, thus helping to preserve soil fertility, assure food security for future generations, minimize water pollution and recover bio-energy. They ensure that water is used economically and is recycled in a safe way for purposes such as irrigation or groundwater recharge.

    The main objectives of ecological sanitation are:

    * To reduce the health risks related to sanitation, contaminated water and waste

    * To prevent the pollution of surface and ground water

    * To prevent the degradation of soil fertility

    * To optimize the management of nutrients and water resources.

    Again, Pope Francis deserves all the accolades he has received for stepping up and publishing this encyclical on climate change. It was a huge step forward for the Catholic Church and all faith-based communities.

    But, as head of the secular environmental religion Church of the Holy Shitters, I am obligated to point out its shortcomings from our perspective.

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  6. Dying With Dignity – WisePiper, Physician Assisted Suicide – GBCW – Saying Goodbye

    0

    July 27, 2015 by John Crapper

    WisePiper
    Note:  I’m the Washington State Community Builder for Daily Kos I was asked to post this on the site on his behalf.  I just thought I’d share with all of you.  Currently the post has over 400 recommends and over 150 comments.  The interview he gave on the Voice of Vashon is well worth the time to listen.

    WisePiper is going to the other side tomorrow morning. Today he asked me to say farewell and thanks to the Daily Kos community on his behalf. I hope he’s pleased with this post. Earlier today there was another diary posted about WisePiper. To WisePiper (updated with WisePiper’s response) His response is quoted below.

    From me to all of you… I sent an email this morning to another Kossack asking him to post a short GBCW update for me, because my party is starting shortly, and I’m literally running out of time.

    I logged in and saw your sweet post and had to respond.

    I want everyone to know that these last weeks have been everything I could have wished for. I have been so blessed to have had the opportunity to say farewell on my terms. The days have been filled with Mariners games, poker nights, quiet afternoons at the beach and raucous dinners with all my friends and my family,

    I was overwhelmed by the responses I received in my original GBCW diary back at the beginning of June. We are a very special community, and I will keep you all in my heart until my last breath.

    I had originally planned to take my cocktail tonight, but it must be ingested with an empty stomach. I’m not about to miss out on all the great food today, so I’ll be making my departure Monday morning.

    A volunteer from the organization Compassion and Choices will be coming by to mix the cocktail and oversee the process.

    I’ll drink my medicine, retire to the bedroom with my sons and their mother, and likely fall asleep within 5-10 minutes. Thereafter, I should be gone within the hour.

    I’m not having any second thoughts. I do not fear what I’m about to do. In the face of a terminal prognosis, I am choosing the time and manner of my death. I am dying with dignity, which is my right. It should be yours as well. Once again, I implore all of you to advocate for physician assisted suicide in the 46 states that don’t permit it. As I said in my original diary – No state should have the power to dictate how much suffering you and your loved ones must endure as you approach the end of your life here on earth.

    I was the other Kossack referred to above. Here is what he said and asked.

    It’s Sunday morning, and my going away party begins shortly.

    I’m literally running out of time to take care of last minute tasks. I had hoped to post a GBCW, update, but it’s not going to happen.

    I’m hoping you’ll find some time today to say farewell to the Daily Kos community on my behalf.

    If you can, please inform everyone of the slight change in plans: I need to have an empty stomach when I take my cocktail, and I want to enjoy the food and drink at the party. Consequently, I won’t be departing until Monday morning.

    My sons and ex-wife will be by my side when I drink it. A volunteer from the organization Compassion and Choices will be there to mix the cocktail and oversee the process. I should fall asleep within 5-10 minutes and be dead 30-60 minutes later.

    So, if you can, please post a short diary for me today expressing my appreciation to all the Kossacks who were so generous with their good wishes and warm thoughts when I posted my original GBCW on June 1st.

    I’ve attached a picture for you. This is the guy who was there at lunch with you the other day when you listened to my Voice of Vashon interview.

    If your plans today preclude you from writing a diary, I’d appreciate it if you could write a little something after-the-fact, just so everyone knows I’m gone and that you all were in my thoughts to the end.

    Thank you,

    Here is the diary WisePiper posted on June 1st: GBCW At that time, I didn’t know him but I read his diary. Here are a couple of quotes from it.

    I live in Washington State. Washington is one of three states that has legalized Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS). The others are Oregon and Vermont. (Montana has “decriminalized” PAS – a distinction I won’t belabor here.)

    As a resident of Washington, I have the legal right to look Cancer in the face and say, “FUCK you! YOU don’t get to dictate the time and manner of my death – I do.”

    To my fellow kossacks experiencing terminal disease in a PAS state, i invite you to envision what YOUR last day could be. And to those of you living in the other 46, I implore you to advocate and fight for PAS legislation. Death with Dignity should be a universal, fundamental right. No state should have the power to dictate how much suffering you and your loved ones must endure as you approach the end of life.

    His diary touched me profoundly. I commented:

    I’ll be thinking of you and will appreciate each moment a little more because of your sharing.

    WisePiper replied:

    John, I intended so many times to get across the water and go to one of the meetups, but it just never worked out. I’ll try to do it at least once in these next two months.

    This started our kossack friendship. We tried to meet in person but it never happened. But I know him and I’m a better person because of it. I have a memory cocktail I will cherish for as long as I live.

    He sent me an interview he did for Voice of Vashon. I strongly encourage everyone to listen to this cogent, riveting but heartbreaking interview. Thank you WisePiper. You truly are wise!

    cross posted at:  Daily Kos

    WASHINGTON STATE Open Thread

     

     

     

     


     

     

     

     

    This is a community series giving our Washington Kossacks a virtual meeting place to discuss issues of concern to our state and share what’s happening in our lives. Share your activist efforts, plug for your favorite candidate, share a LTE you’ve gotten published or educate us on the issues you are passionate about. Tell us an interesting or funny story, ask for advice from the community or share a recipe. Tell us anything that has happened out there. Nothing is off topic. Let’s connect, unite and act!

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  7. The Energy New Deal – 2018 – Part 3 of 3

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    December 11, 2014 by John Crapper

    Written July, 15th, 2025 – Poop John the First Memoirs

    It wasn’t long after the launch the the book The Holy Shitters that the shit really did hit the fan!  The ever-increasing pressure from parishioners of the Church of the Holy Shitters between the years 2016 – 17 on the power elites in the country was immense. The meticulous marketing plan devised prior to the publication of the book The Holy Shitters payed off handsomely.  It paved the way for it to go viral. Within 6 months disparate environmental organizations coalesced and rallied behind the concepts of the new consciousness espoused by the new Church. Suddenly large swaths of the population were looking at shit just a little differently and couldn’t be bullshitted anymore.

    The Church forced economists to rethink their basic assumptions. The Milton Friedman school of thought and the Keynesian school of thought were challenged by a new way of economic analysis. The Ass-forward, waste-end first, Soft and Fluffy economic theory continuously gained momentum and increasingly challenged old assumptions. Constant economic growth based on increases in consumption and consumer spending was questioned. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was ridiculed as a misleading measure of a nation’s wealth. The new concept of Gross Renewable Energy Product (GREP) emerged as the favored way to look at wealth generation.  It postulated that wealth be measured in terms of the energy needed to do things:  the ability to grow crops, to make products, to move goods, to improve efficiency, to pass on information, to help others.  The goal of an economic system, according to this economic theory, was to create more wealth by creating more energy from non-polluting renewable sources to enable mankind to do more with fewer resources and less pollution.

    The shit really hit the fan during the lead up to the 2018 mid-term election. It was the biggest wave election in the history of the country. Gone were the climate change deniers. Gone were the mouthpieces for the fossil fuel industry. In their place were candidates who believed in the promise of the Shitty Way of Life.

    In 2018 the President, bowing to public pressure, declared war during his State of the Union speech. This time it was not against a country or a mad dictator.  Instead, for the first time in history a country declared war on a thing.  The thing was our nation’s dependency on fossil fuel.

    In announcing this declaration of war the President appealed to people’s sense of patriotism.  People were more than willing to participate.  They had demanded it in the first place.  He announced his plan to launch an Energy New Deal and convened an emergency session of Congress to enact the necessary legislation and grant him the necessary executive powers.  The goals of the program were to end our dependency on foreign oil and reduce our CO2 emissions to 350 ppm in 10 years.

    Implementation of the “ass-forward commuting program was the first step taken. The program required all commuters to fill up their cars with passengers on their way to work to maximize vehicle load capacity. Almost overnight gas consumption dropped about 40%. Commute times were reduced by an average of 50% into all major cities. Rush hour traffic congestion was a thing of the past. Freeway expansion projects were scaled back to reflect the reduced traffic flows. People lamented for a while about their loss of private time while traveling to and from work, but the feeling quickly faded replaced by positive ones from not having to be behind the wheel each and every day. Very quickly car pooling commuting patterns emerged as the same people tended to catch rides with the same people each morning. This led to the formation of a commuting neighborhood community which fostered new friendships and human connections.  Within six months it was hard to imagine going to work any other way.

    The government also required trade-in of all gas-powered cars for all-electric ones within the ten-year time frame.  A nationwide program to install rapid recharge electric outlets in all gas stations was begun. Similar to the ban on civilian car production during WWII, car manufacturers were ordered to immediately cease production of gas and diesel vehicles and concentrate exclusively on electric ones.  Vehicle design improvements were restricted to being made in the areas of efficiency and safety only.

    Research and development funding in all areas of non-polluting renewable energy sources were dramatically increased. At the same time nuclear fission electrical generation was scrapped due to the risks associated with its use and schedule was implemented for the systematic shut down of all existing nuclear power plants within the 10-year period.   There were to be no more Fukushimas , Chernobyls, or Three Mile Islands.

    A massive effort was launched to educate consumers on the hazards of consumer diarrhea and the negative impacts super consumption was having on the economy. Manufacturers were instructed to analyze their products from the waste-end perspective.  As a result, whole areas of the economy such as plastic products and luxury lines were drastically reduced. The days of producing anything and everything that could possibly be sold for profit were gone forever. The concept of Soft and Fluffy Consumerism was promoted through all media outlets. Manufacturing and production were encouraged in non-polluting energy areas. Workers displaced during this massive restructuring were retrained to be employed in non-polluting renewable energy generating endeavors.  Major efforts were made to produce products, grow food and buy everything locally.  Long haul shipments were severely restricted.  Products being imported from foreign locations were stopped if at all possible.  The “made in China” label disappeared from the nation’s stores.

    A compulsory national service program was launched requiring  young people to serve their country for a minimum of 2 years. Its goals were to further efforts to transition the country away from fossil fuel and mitigate the effects of global warming.  A huge thrust of the program was a massive reforestation program both in this country and overseas.

    Nationwide, public school curriculum was updated to reflect the ass-forward way of thinking in the fields of economics, environmental studies, and psychology.  Climate denial instruction was a thing of the past.

    Ecological Sanitation

    Ecological Sanitation

    An Ecological Sanitation Summit was held bringing world experts in eco-san technology together to discuss and develop an action plan for the massive restructuring needed to change the way mankind was handling its waste.  Transitioning sanitation systems from a flush away sewage treatment plant model to treating human excrement as a valuable resource promised to be a herculean effort.  It would begin immediately after the Energy New Deal’s goals were met.  Engineers immediately began work on the Salvation Head to replace individual toilets and the Salvation Headmaster to replace existing sewage treatment facilities.

    Six months ago the Ecological Sanitation Program (ESP) was officially launched on a massive scale.

     

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  8. The Birth of the Shitty Way – Part 2 of 3

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    December 4, 2014 by John Crapper

    It was 1992. My wife Kathy, Jonathan, Joanie and myself, all teachers at Ruamrudee International School, gathered together as we often did to talk about school, our lives and things happening in our world. Most nights we were drinking way too much beer while attempting to solve the world’s problems but on this particular night we were teetotalers.

    When I blurted out the Holy Shitters concept and began in earnest filling in some details I remember Kathy repeatedly saying, “How long have you been thinking about this? I don’t believe you’ve never told me about this before! The four of us, sober as could be, brainstormed for hours and hours that night expanding on the concept. Oh how I wish I had recorded our conversation. The creativity was sure flowing. The pope became the poop and the popemobile become the poopmobile. The genuflect turned into the squat. Holy water took on a whole new meaning as toilets became the imagined places of worship. It was a pretty “shitty” night.

    Almost two decades later I finally started to get serious about the concept and began writing the book. I could say I wish I would’ve started sooner but that is just water under the bridge now. It wasn’t the right time for a number of reasons.

    In 2010, when I started in earnest on the project, the world was a pretty ass-backward place. Barack Obama was President. When he took office in 2008 the US was experiencing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. There was an unpopular Wall Street bailout to save the financial system. A huge stimulus package was passed by Congress to prop up consumer demand and save jobs. On inauguration day there was a great sense of optimism in the country. That feeling quickly faded, however.

    In 2010 US dependency on foreign oil stood at 49% of the total having gone down from its peak in 2005 but still dangerously high. Drill baby drill was the mantra of the Republican Party during the mid-term elections. They were swept into power in the House of Representatives and gained seats in the Senate. They campaigned promising jobs, jobs, jobs but once in office passed laws that attacked worker’s rights to unionize, a women’s right to choose, Planned Parenthood and women’s access to contraception. They pushed for ever greater tax cuts for the wealthy while trying to gut the social safety net for the middle and lower income brackets.

    In 2012 approval of the Keystone Pipeline became a big issue and building of the first nuclear power plants since the accident at Three-Mile Island were approved. The Citizens United supreme court decision had opened up the floodgates of campaign contributions from billionaires and the Koch brothers were fully engaged in protecting their fossil fuel interests. During this time mankind’s relationship with the environment was as far away from “Soft and Fluffy” as it would ever be. For the US the early warning sign that something seriously wrong was happening to the climate came in August of 2005 with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina. It was the costliest national disaster in US history. In 2011 NOAA scientists reported that 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year for the global surface temperature since record keeping began in 1880. It was also the 34th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th century average. In 2012 long-term study showed that the biggest trees in the world were dying off rapidly as roads as they came under attack from severe droughts, new pests and diseases. Evidence of global warming was considered unequivocal, with scientists being more than 90% certain that most of it was caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. Yet organizations such as the Heartland Institute were busy disseminating misinformation and doubt about climate change and pushing to have a deceptive curriculum introduced in public schools to mislead youth in their science studies.

    Leading up to the presidential election of 2012 political gridlock was the norm and bi-partisanship was becoming a distant memory. The campaign itself ranked as the dirtiest mud-slinging campaign in the history of the country. Barack Obama ended up being elected to a second term but the policies he proposed were still largely obstructed since the House came under the control of the climate change denying Republicans while the Republicans in the Senate continued to use the filibuster to obstruct passage of legislation.

    The mid-term elections of 2014 were a disaster for both President Obama, the Democrats and the environment. Control of both the Senate and House of Representatives ended up in Republican control. Senator James Inhofe, the famous climate denier became chair of the Environment Committee in the Senate.

    In early 2016 The Holy Shitters was first published. The book offered new way of looking at the world and mankind’s place in it. The Church called it the ass-forward way of thinking. Once released word spread fast. Overnight the book and website went viral. Membership in the Church of the Holy Shitters grew exponentially. Progressive movements quickly coalesced under its banner and disparate groups began communicating and coordinating in innovative ways. Apassholes were appointed and began writing in their areas of expertise further defining and giving greater detail to the Shitty Way of Life.

    Pressure soon mounted on the established political structure calling for dramatic change. The stage was set.

     

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  9. The Shitty Life – 2025 – Part 1 of 3

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    November 25, 2014 by John Crapper

     

     

    Written June 5, 2025 – Poop John the First Memoirs

    Time to grab a beer and go to the backyard to relax.  I think I’ll begin work on my memoirs.  It’ll be fun to relive the journey.  Got to begin before my memory fades any further.  Can’t believe it’s 2025 and I’m 74 years old.  Can’t believe the Shitty Way of Life first mentioned in my book The Holy Shitters is now largely a reality.  Who would have thought!  This will be my last year as Poop John the First of the Church of the Holy Shitters.  Time for Poop John the 2nd to take over.  He’ll do a good job I think.  He grew up with ass-forward thinking and his whole life has been Shitty.  What a ride it’s been.  The Church is finally in a position to tackle the sanitation system.  That’s quite an accomplishment in just 10 years!  In some ways it seems like a blur.  In others it feels like an epoch journey.

    As I grab my beer before heading to the backyard I glance down at my wrist watch.  I grin noticing the power indicator showing the system is already generating more power than using.  The smart grid is sending the excess to the utility.  Looks like another day of positive cash flow.  This has been happening more and more these days and I’ve also noticed that the switchover is occurring earlier in the day too.  Those power generating enhancements we’ve been making every year are certainly making a difference.  At this rate the repayment date for the government loans will arrive much sooner than 2035.  When that happens, if I’m still around, I’ll have a nice big fat check coming in every month to supplement my retirement.   Won’t that be nice.

    Before I sit down at the picnic table I put up the umbrella.  The solar coated fabric instantly begins sending its own electric juice into the power grid.  Since scientists cracked the secret to nano power generation it has been amazing to see the array of new products on the market.  I simply love my Power-plus walking shoes.  The more I walk the more money I make.  That sure is an incentive to get off my butt!   Kids wearing them sure can generate a lot of power in a day’s time too.  The guy that thought about putting nano generators in carpet and tile sure hit it big time.  The Christmas shopping season generates more than good cheer these days!  I couldn’t believe it when I read that front-page article announcing for the first time that crowds at the midnight madness sales actually generated enough power to completely meet the electricity needs of the stores shoppers were shopping in.  The development and improvement of spray-on solar panels turned a myriad of products into electricity generators overnight too.  And let’s not forget the breakthrough when MIT scientists made solar panels from grass clippings.  Not long after that electricity-generating clothes  hit the market!  I knew this nation could do it.  Since the announcement of the “Energy New Deal by the President the pace of change has been astounding.

    I sip my beer and glance down at Interbay.  Nestled between Queen Anne and Magnolia and home of the busiest train yard in all of Seattle, I think back to those foregone days when engines spewed noxious diesel fumes throughout the valley.  Now I admire the line of boxcars with solar panels, each contributing their own portion of electric power to the engine in front.  The longer the train the more power supplied to the engine.  The longer a car sits awaiting its cargo, the more power it stores up to be used by the locomotive.

    English: Solar panels on a roof

    I glance over at the residential district of Magnolia and notice the sea of solar paneled roofs.  Facing east their roofs generate most of their power during the morning hours.  I look up at our house and admire our own solar panels.  I am comforted knowing their perfect unobstructed southwest position with relation to the sun.  I know behind me virtually 100% of the houses in Queen Anne have the same panels on their roofs thanks to the government’s 100% loan program begun in 2018.  How smart it was to freeze utility bills at 2018 levels and reduce them by 50% of the value of the power generated by the solar system installed.   People realized immediate savings.  The ongoing utility payments plus the value of the other 50% credit for the electricity generated went to the government as repayment for the cost of the system.  A win/win for all parties concerned.  The utility companies sure fought hard to stop that program.  Once they readjusted to the new reality and realigned their business model they still survived in a smaller, leaner and cleaner configuration.  Just one of the many adjustments businesses had to make to come to grips with the Soft and Fluffy consumer mindset that emerged when the ass-forward way of thinking took hold.  Can’t wait until the full effects of this changeover are realized now that it’s being taught across the country in public schools.  We’ve only just begun to realize how Shitty our Shitty Way of Life can become!

    I take another sip of my beer and open up my I-Pad 15.  I remember when I bought my first I-Pad 2 in 2011.  What a whirlwind this all has been.  I remind myself that even though I am no longer going to be Poop John the First I will now have time to actually make real progress on writing my memoirs.  I look down at the blank screen and type the words Mooban Rinthong.  It instantly is underlined in red by my I-Pad but I know I’ve spelled it correctly.  It’s the place where I first uttered anything about my idea of the Holy Shitters to another human being.  It was on that balcony at our townhouse in Thailand so many years ago.

     

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  10. Religion, Respect, Faith & Our Environment

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    May 15, 2014 by John Crapper

     

    Faith-based religions occupy a special place in society that command unique privileges. First and foremost is respect.

    Douglas Adams (1952 -  2001) - "We don't have to save the world.  The world is big enough to look after itself.  What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it."

    Douglas Adams (1952 – 2001) – “We don’t have to save the world. The world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it.”

    There is an assumption in society that one’s faith is especially vulnerable to offense and therefore should be protected by a relatively thick wall of respect. Douglas Adams speaking about Richard Dawkins and the furor he causes when he speaks on religion at Cambridge shortly before his death:

    Religion…has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, ‘Here is an idea or a notion that you’re not allowed to say anything bad about; you’re just not. Why not? – Because you’re not!’ If somebody votes for a party that you don’t agree with, you’re free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says ‘I mustn’t move a light switch on a Saturday,’ you say, ‘I respect that’.

    Why should it be that it’s perfectly legitimate to support the Labour Party or the Conservative Party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows – but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe…no, that’s holy! …

    When you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn’t be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn’t be.1

    Richard Dawkins talking at Kepler's bookstore,...

    Richard Dawkins talking at Kepler’s bookstore. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    As Richard Dawkins says:

    “The whole point of religious faith, its strength and chief glory, is that it does not depend on rational justification. The rest of us are expected to defend our prejudices. But ask a religious person to justify their faith and you infringe ‘religious liberty’.”2

    Second, being a religion makes the people practicing it not crazy. As Sam Harris said in The End of Faith:

    “We have names for people who have many beliefs for which there is no rational justification. When their beliefs are extremely common we call them ‘religious’; otherwise, they are likely to be called ‘mad’, ‘psychotic’ or ‘delusional’…Clearly there is sanity in numbers.”3

    Third, when you are a religion your holy book becomes Scripture. There are still some people who are persuaded by scriptural evidence. Take for instance Jesus. A common argument, attributed among others to C. S. Lewis states that, since Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, he must have been either right or else insane or a liar:

    “Mad, Bad or God’. Or with artless alliteration, “Lunatic, Liar, or Lord’. 4

    Fourth, being a religion allows you to claim you have all the answers. There is no reason to look further. There becomes a much less need to know or reason to search further. Your faith provides you with the answers.

    The Church of the Holy Shitters claims no such special privileges. We intend to earn your respect and make no claim of being entitled to it. We intend to let our reason and logic speak for itself. We will not use faith as a means to claim sanity. We do not consider our holy book as scripture. It is a changing document subject to alteration by scientific discovery. Finally, our religion does not provide all the answers to our practitioners.

    Examining Conventional Religions and Morality

    Napoleon said,

    “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.”5

    Seneca the Younger said,

    “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”6

    Richard Dawkins said:

    “ Religious wars really are fought in the name of religion, and they have been horribly frequent in history. I cannot think of any war that has been fought in the name of atheism.”7

    Religion teaches us to not change our minds. It teaches us to not investigate or question or discover the how and why of things. Religion is anti-scientific.

    Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion said,

    “Fundamentalist religion is hell-bent on ruining the scientific education of countless thousands of innocent, well-meaning, eager young minds. Non-fundamentalist, ‘sensible’ religion may not be doing that. But it is making the world safe for fundamentalism by teaching children, from their earliest years, that unquestioning faith is a virtue.8

    The American Comedian Cathy Ladman observed that

    ‘All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt, with different holidays.’9

    One of the biggest problems with current religions is that they strive to grant humans unique and special status in the universe because they are human. Once again, this points to that attitude which so often gets us into trouble – “my shit’s better than your shit “. That “humans are special because we were created in the image of God” line of reasoning.

    Religion also allows groups of humans who all believe a certain way to put their shit above everybody else’s shit. Believe the shit I do or go to hell! This allows my group to categorize others as infidel or heathen. Religious faith is a force so strong that it allows sane, decent people to do utterly insane, mad things. Religion brings us shoe bombers and underwear bombers. It allows brothers to stone their sisters to death for being alone with a man.

    Religion just plain makes people do crazy shit! Take for instance Osama bin Laden. Why would he want to destroy the World Trade Center and all in it? Is it because he is evil? I think not. Sam Harris points it out bluntly.

    “The answer to this question is obvious – if only because it has been patiently articulated ad nauseam by bin Laden himself. The answer is that men like bin Laden actually believe what they say they believe. They believe in the literal truth of the Koran. Why did nineteen well-educated middle-class men trade their lives in this world for the privilege of killing thousands of their neighbors? Because they believed that they would go straight to paradise for doing so. It is rare to find the behavior of humans so fully and satisfactorily explained. Why have we been so reluctant to accept this explanation?” 10

    Osama Bin Laden with first virgin

    Osama Bin Laden with first virgin (Photo credit: iluvuflickr)

    Muriel Gray, a journalist for the Glasgow Herald made a similar point on 24 July 2005 with regard to the London bombings.

    “Everyone is being blamed, from the obvious villainous duo of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, to the inaction of Muslim ‘communities’. But it has never been clearer that there is only one place to lay the blame and it has ever been thus. The cause of all this misery, mayhem, violence, terror and ignorance is of course religion itself, and if it seems ludicrous to have to state such an obvious reality, the fact is that the government and the media are doing a pretty good job of pretending that it isn’t so.” 11

    The media and the governments of the world tell us we are fighting a war on ‘terror’ and the terrorists are motivated by pure ‘evil’. But this is not the case. They are motivated by righteousness, faith, and what their religions tell them to do.

    They are motivated by the same religious force that Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, an organization for the intimidation of abortion providers, is motivated by. Take this statement of his that illustrates this “My shit’s better than your shit.” attitude.

    “I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good …Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty. We are called by God to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.

    Our goal must be simple. We must have a Christian nation built on God’s law, on the Ten Commandments. No apologies.” 12

    He is truly a believer of his own shit! He is also rightfully classified as part of the American Taliban.

    Voltaire got it right long ago:

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” 13

    Yet we continue to accept the principle that religious faith must be respected because it is religious faith. Followers of the Church of the Holy Shitters believe in the abandonment of this principle. Having faith in shit is dangerous. It can lead you into doing some really weird shit!!

    God-fearing Communities

    There is a very rigid “my way or the highway” way of thinking in very religious communities. Fundamentalists tend to be absolutists. Absolutists believe there are absolute rights and wrongs. My way is right and your way is wrong. They use their religion to legitimize their absolute rights and wrongs. The only competitor is patriotism. As the Spanish film director Luis Bunuel said,

    “God and Country are an unbeatable team; they break all records for oppression and bloodshed.”14

    There is a great quote from Sean O’Casey which says,

    “Politics has slain its thousands, but religion has slain its tens of thousands.”15

    Bible thumpers also tend to attribute natural disasters to “the will of God”. A tsunami is not the work of a shift in tectonic plates but God’s wrath on “human sins”. Their entire “education” leads them to conclude that natural disasters are bound up in human affairs and paybacks from God for “breaking the rules”. Richard Dawkins, in The God Delusion points out

    “what presumptuous egocentricity it is to believe that earth-shaking events, on a scale at which a God (or tectonic plate) might operate, must always have a human connection. Why should a divine being, with creation and eternity on his mind, care a fig for petty human malefactions? We humans give ourselves such airs, even aggrandizing our poky little ‘sins’ to the level of cosmic significance!” 16

    This attitude in people that “my shit is so important”; that “my shit doesn’t stink”; that “God is watching out for my shit”, is exactly the type of thinking The Church of the Holy Shitters is vehemently opposed to. The kind of thinking that believes that man is made in the image of God. God has given man rules and regulations to live by. God is watching man’s every move. Step out of line and he’ll sweep man away in a tornado, flood, or massive hurricane. Keep your shit together or pay the price!!

    Here is a perfect example of the dangers inherent in this egocentric, fundamentalist, holier-than-thou attitude. In November, 2005, citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania voted out their entire fundamentalist school board because of the board’s attempt to enforce the teaching of ‘intelligent design’ in the town’s schools. When Pat Robertson heard about this he had a warning for the citizens of Dover.

    “I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover, if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God. You just rejected him from your city, and don’t wonder why he hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin, and I’m not saying they will. But if they do, just remember you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, then don’t ask for his help, because he might not be there.” 17

    Holy shit!!! Now that’s some scary thinking don’t you think?

    It is also really weird that Christians seem to focus so much on connecting sex and sin. Sam Harris is magnificently scathing in his Letter to a Christian Nation in this regard when he states:

    “Your principal concern appears to be that the Creator of the universe will take offense at something people do while naked. This prudery of yours contributes daily to the surplus of human misery.” 18

    Evolution explains belief in God

    Richard Dawkins presents a very compelling argument to explain the pervasiveness of religion and the belief in God through the process of natural selection. Natural selection builds children’s brains with a propensity to believe what their parents and elders tell them. This trusting obedience is useful for survival. The flip side of trusting obedience is slavish gullibility.

    “The inevitable by-product is vulnerability to infection by mind viruses. For excellent reasons related to Darwinian survival, child brains need to trust parents, and elders whom parents tell them to trust. An automatic consequence is that the truster has no way of distinguishing good advice from bad.” 19

    The parents say you must believe in our God. You must go to our church every Sunday. You must confess your sins to be saved. The children believe the parent. Very likely when they grow up they will pass these same beliefs on to their offspring.

    Just as geographically isolated populations evolve differently, different geographical areas develop different belief systems. These different arbitrary beliefs, regardless of whether or not they have any factual basis, will be handed down and believed with the same conviction from generation to generation.

    *****

    Holy Shitters respect the religious beliefs of other religions. Ours is strictly a secular, natural religion that only concerns itself with your life on Earth. We do not concern ourselves with your soul. However, when the spiritual religion a person believes causes them to distort their relationship with their natural world we are obligated to point out the flaws and problems with such beliefs.

    1. Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. pg. 42/43

    2. Ibid. 45

    3. Harris, S. (2004). The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason. New York: Norton. pg. 113

    4. Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. pg.117

    5. Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. pg. 313

    6. Ibid. 313

    7. Ibid. 316

    8. Ibid. 323

    9. Ibid. 195

    10. Harris, S. (2004). The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason. New York: Norton. pg.29

    11. Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. pg. 343/4

    12. http://adultthought.ucsd.edu/Culture_War/The_American_Taliban.html.

    13. Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. pg. 345

    14. Ibid. 266

    15. Ibid. 268

    16. Ibid. 270

    17. Pat Robertson, reported by the BBC at
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4427144.stm.

    18. Harris, S. (2006). Letter to a Christian Nation. New York: Knopf.

    19. Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. pg. 205

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  11. God and Beer?

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    April 3, 2014 by John Crapper

    BeerBenFinalThumb1

    Special note:  Exactly one year ago today I was attending my Mother’s funeral.  It is also my birthday.  My mother’s famous tagline, her go-to comment about many things was: “That’s a bunch of crap.” It is one of the reasons for my blogging name.
    I post this article today for a special reason.  My Mom suffered from dementia in her final years.  The last cognitive conversation I had with her happened over a beer.

    I was staying at her place watching over her and trying to calm her fears and offer reassurance.  She kept repeating the same concerns and worries and after a few days I decided I needed a beer.  I headed for the closest convenience store.  

    When I returned I asked Mom if she would like a little.  She immediately said yes. I poured her no more than a quarter of a bottle into a glass and handed it to her.  She proceeded to take a couple of sips.  

    Within a few minutes I noticed a marked elevation in her level of discourse.  Memories and sequences of events were suddenly back into focus for her.  She never even finished what I had poured but the little she had drank had worked some kind of magic on her mental processing and for the rest of the night she was back to her old self.  We talked into the wee hours of the morning.  

    The next morning her dementia had returned never to be lifted to the same extent again.

    It was a HOLY SHIT moment for me.  It is a memory I will always cherish.

    As Poop John the First of the Church of the Holy Shitters I’m always on the lookout for creative ways other churches are using to recruit members.   I’m also on the lookout for ways to connect holiness with our excrement since in our Church Shit is elevated to the highest of levels.

    Well I’ve had a revelation.  It was one of those moments where I stopped what I was doing and said, “Holy Shit, why didn’t I think of this!”  Some churches are trying to attract new members by creating a different sort of community around craft beer!    So I decided to look into all this further.

    Anyway, as it turns out I’ve discovered this practice is actually nothing new.  For centuries apparently, beer has brought people together in worship.  Not only that but interestingly some believe God actually inspired people to make beer too.  (I hope it wasn’t Budweiser!)   Here is what I found out!

    I picked these tidbits up from an article entitled 5 Things You Might Not Have Known About God and Beer.  

    Beer brewing goes back to the ancient Sumerians, who had a goddess called Ninkasi who developed a recipe for beer.  Pressed on a clay tablet dating back to around 1800 BCE it was called The Hymn to Ninkasi.  This goddess is a predecessor to Christian St. Arnold of Soissons, who was one of many Saints believed to bless and protect the people’s beer.

    Going back to the 18th century, Paulaner monks in Germany would brew and drink a heavy, malty  beer called Doppelbock for Lent. The  monks weren’t allowed to eat solid food through Lent, so the next best thing? Beer. The beer was so nutritious that it kept them nourished for the entire 40-day fast. The Paulaner Brewery in Munich still brews the Doppelbock beer today.  (If someone will lend me the money I’ll double back to Germany and spend Lent drinking Doppelbock.)

    Now let’s go to Ireland.  We all know they have just a little knowledge about beer and God.

    Arthur Guinness lived at a time when no one understood micro-organisms and how disease is spread. They routinely drank from the same waters in which they dumped their garbage and their sewage. Unknowingly, they polluted the rivers and lakes around their cities. People died as a result, and this made nearly everyone in Guinness’ day avoid water entirely. Instead, they drank alcoholic beverages.

    Usually, this was done in moderation and all was well. Occasionally, though, excess set in and drunkenness plagued the land. This is what happened in the years just before Guinness was born, in the period historians call “The Gin Craze.” Parliament had forbidden the importation of liquor in 1689, so the people of Ireland and Britain began making their own. It was too much temptation. Drunkenness became the rage. Every sixth house in England was a “gin house,” many of which advertised, “Drunk for one penny, dead drunk for two pence, clean straw for nothing.” It was a terrible, poverty-ridden, crime-infested time.

    To help heal their tortured society, some turned to brewing beer. It was lower in alcohol, it was safe—the process of brewing and the alcohol that resulted killed the germs that made water dangerous—and it was nutritious in ways scientists are only now beginning to understand. Monks brewed it, evangelicals brewed it and aspiring young entrepreneurs like Guinness brewed it. And they were respected and honored for their good works.

    Guinness also applied the teachings of God to his brewing business.

    Again from Stephen  Mansfield’s article in RELEVANT Magazine:

    The Guinness tale is not primarily about beer. It is not even primarily about the Guinnesses. It is about what God can do with a person who is willing and with a corporation committed to something noble and good in the world.

    Next let’s go to London to the Greenbelt Festival.  Here’s where people come together at Cheltenham Racecourse for a huge music festival to be inspired by God.  The beer is what sets this festival apart from others.  Take for instance an event entitled Beer and Hymns.  At it people gather under a beer tent, grab their beer and sing along to the words scrolling across a big screen.   With hands raised high, if not their heads, people are free to drink up and praise the Lord at the same time.

    Moving closer to home, it is believed that Benjamin Franklin was quite the beer lover. This may stem from a quote attributed to the founding father, stating,

    “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

    However, Chicago-based brewing historian Bob Skilnik went back to take a look at the real quote. He found that the quote actually reads:

    “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”

    So this beer quote, apparently, while well-meaning is not accurate.  But what the heck.  We already knew Jesus liked wine.  He could easily whip up a batch anytime he wanted by uttering just a few phrases.

    But it is comforting to now know that beer also has its place in saving souls.

    In some ways I can see beer’s appeal as a recruitment tool for the Church of the Holy Shitters.  It could certainly serve as a means of bringing people into the flock.

    But since our Church is focused on our inflated self perception and ego I’m not so sure beer assists in the promotion of meekness within us.  I’ve heard too many blowhards under the influence.   The whole idea just might be a “bunch of crap!”

     

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  12. Life After Death

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    March 27, 2014 by John Crapper

    The Church of the Holy Shitters does not believe in life after death as it is traditionally thought of.  But is it possible that a person can continue to exist after their death here on Earth?

     

    Since our Church is a natural one, we do not believe in a spiritual soul.  We do not believe you automatically exist as an entity after your life here on Earth is finished.

    But, we do believe it possible that a person can attain a kind of everlasting natural life.  Let me explain.

    Modern medicine has been doing some fabulous things recently.  Researchers are successfully building biodegradable scaffolds and seeding them with cells from a patient to make organs such as bladders and livers.  Artificial retinas are being developed using the latest in optic technology.  Stem cell research gives the hope and promise in the not too distant future of significantly renewing, rejuvenating, or outright replacing many worn out body parts.  That is what is happening here on Earth.

    Now let’s broaden this thinking out into our universe.  We believe we are not the only living creatures in the universe.  That is just ass-backward to think that way.  It is also logical to assume that there are higher intelligences out there.  So if we are capable of doing such marvelous medical wonders here on Earth, what might other creatures be capable of doing?  Could it be possible that somebody out there already has the capability of completely and perpetually “saving” a physical life?  We think it highly likely.

    Solar System Planets.

    Is anybody out there?

    Assuming that someone out there in our universe has the capability of perpetually rejuvenating a person to the extent that death can be forestalled indefinitely what might be its implications?

    In this scenario life everlasting is not guaranteed.  Maybe the powers that be decide you have only earned X number of years more to live before you perish.  Maybe you have to have the resources to pay for the work.   Maybe there is a panel that decides if you are worthy of special dispensation.

    Prevailing model of the origin and expansion o...

    Timeline of the universe.

    What would be the criteria for making the cut?  Who would be significant enough to keep around indefinitely?  Possibly, individuals with superior intelligence would be worth preserving.  Maybe those that have a particular skill greatly in demand in the universe would be kept alive.   Maybe if one has led a sufficiently moral life they deserve to be continued.  Perhaps, taking things to the darker side, you are viewed as being sufficiently evil enough to warrant salvation.  Maybe there are multiple entities in multiple locations, elongating people’s lives for multiple reasons.

    One thing is for sure.  Under this scenario you would have to be viewed as valuable by somebody else sufficiently enough to warrant the special consideration.

    Level II Multiverse, Every disk is a bubble un...

    Are there higher and lower universes?

    Faith-based religious humans, conditioned to think they hold a special status in the universe, tend to assume that life after death is guaranteed.  They think this because they believe they have an indestructible soul that automatically exists after physical death.

    A merit based natural religion such as that practiced by the Church of the Holy Shitters has no such belief.  It’s a nice comforting thought, however, to think it possible to prolong one’s physical life through some kind of meritocracy.

    An artist's impression of a portal or door to ...

    Is anybody watching?

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  13. Ten Thoughts on Human Nature

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    March 20, 2014 by John Crapper

    Indian family in Brazil posed in front of hut ...

    (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Human Nature

    n
    1. the qualities common to humanity
    2. ordinary human behaviour, esp considered as less than perfect
    3. (Sociology) Sociol the unique elements that form a basic part of human life and distinguish it from other animal life


    John Locke said that people were reasonable by birth and Thomas Hobbs said they were violent and disorderly. Since neither is correct, we must sit on the fence with one foot on both sides and come to our own conclusion.

    I’ve always found it fascinating pondering what constitutes being human. What is our true nature? What is it that really makes us tick. What is it that motivates us?

    All of these questions are important ones when trying to affect change. It is especially true when trying to affect change in the way humans interact with the environment. I’ve reached some conclusions about what I think it means to be human. For me, they offer insights into explaining why we do the things we do. These ten thoughts are not meant to be a complete list of the nature of man. There have been volumes written on this subject and much disagreement. These are simply some reflections I have in this regard. They are posited for your consideration and thoughts.

    First off, although we hear the opposite all the time preached from the pulpits of our churches and pontificated from the politicians we elect, I do not think humans are peace loving. Just look at our history. At any given time throughout our past man has been at war with other men somewhere on the planet. I challenge you to find periods in recorded history that were totally peaceful worldwide.

    When I was a kid, my earliest play memories were those of playing cops and robbers. I can remember playing endlessly with the plastic miniature army sets strategically laid out on the ping pong table. My brothers and I had these cool rocket launchers we used to shoot each others soldiers. Kids today gravitate to the warring and fighting video games. Violence is always a top draw at the box office. Nothing like a good murder or violent thriller to entertain. War and war heroes are glamorized in print and movies. Military service is a cherished badge of honor. Witness the popularity of football and boxing, both violent sports. When I’m really honest with myself, I come to the conclusion that humans are really violence loving and not peace loving at all.

    Second, humans are pleasure seekers. We want to have a good time. We try to avoid pain. We try to avoid discomfort. We like to play games and have fun. We seek to do things the easy way. We strive for convenience.

    Third, humans are competitive. We love to win and we hate to lose. We compete in love and war. We compete in sports and games. We compete for the best jobs, best homes and best cars. We compete for status, wealth, influence and power. We compete for food, shelter and clothing. We compete for all the resources used in our economies. The most successful type of economy in the world is based on competition.

    Fourth, humans are self-preserving. We try to prolong life and forestall death. We try to survive as long as possible. Most of us believe in a life after death providing further evidence of our desire at preservation of self.

    Fifth, humans inflate our importance and standing in the world in which we live. We think we are above all other living creatures. We believe we were created in the image of God. We believe only we possess a soul that will live for all eternity.

    Sixth, humans think we can control nature and bend it to our will. We think we can win in the contest with nature. We believe our intelligence and technological knowhow will overcome our environmental problems. We fool ourselves into thinking we are the driver of nature’s bus.

    Seventh, humans tend to mentally deny their animal nature. We work hard to convince ourselves we are not animalistic in our sexual desires and needs. We are shameful of the fact that we take a dump just like all the other animals. We go to great lengths to hide our bodily functions from each other demanding privacy to do our business. Mention of defecation is not appropriate for proper discussion.

    Eighth, each one of us innately believes we are unique and special. Most of us, therefore, feel the need to have our own prodigy to carry on that unique specialness.

    Ninth, humans are tribal. We tend to classify into categories of “us” and “them”. If you are like “us” you are OK but if you are like “them” be suspicious. The “them” becomes the dangerous ones, the untouchables, and the enemies. The “us” becomes the friends, countrymen, allies, and chosen people.

    Tenth, humans are possessive. We like to own, have and possess. We like to call things ours. We like to have our own space; our own privacy. Taking this trait to the extreme many people become extremely greedy which is the unquenchable desire to possess and acquire.

    The above thoughts about our human nature have implications when crafting ideas and plans for solving our numerous environmental problems.

    Knowing who we are, what makes us tick, and what motivates us to do what we do is important if we are to succeed in altering our behavior and our dealings with nature.  Could we possibly be the lowest creature on Earth instead of the highest?  The answer, if the other animals could talk, might be different from ours.  Our ego just might be clouding our judgement.

    Probably the best example of the “my shit doesn’t stink” holier than thou, egocentric ass backward way of thinking humans have is encompassed in this one 3-word phrase:  “Save the Earth”.   Think about this for just a moment.  Man, who requires air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat in order to survive somehow thinks they are important enough to be tasked with the job of saving the planet.  Now I want you to conduct a little experiment.  Hold your breath for just 3 minutes.  This “Save the Earth” line of reasoning is just a little egotistical don’t you think?

    "Save our Planet, kill yourself." Ow...

    (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The only thing we are capable of saving is ourselves and current trends don’t point in that direction!

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  14. Our Perception Blinders

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    February 27, 2014 by John Crapper

     

    Many people walk around with “blinders” on; “blinders” are meant to be on horses, to keep their focus on the view that is directly in front of them, they block peripheral & rear vision; which is precisely why they were made for horses and …not humans. When wearing blinders one cannot see what’s going on around them or behind them, it limits the view to strictly what is in front of them (the obvious, the surface) and no more.

    Ever hear a word you swear you’ve never heard or seen before? You look up the meaning and make a note of it. Recently, ergo was one such word for me. Then after you learn and are aware of it you start hearing and seeing it everywhere.

    Ever drive down a street you have driven down a thousand times before and see something you’ve never seen before? You are convinced it just popped up out of nowhere. Then you learn it is a business or building that has been there for years and you scratch your head bewildered at your lack of awareness.

    I work with a woman for whom English is her second language. She is very intelligent and has done a wonderful job of mastering English to the point she has no problem carrying on a high-level conversation. Yet she still makes blatant grammatical errors that hurt the native speaker’s ears but go unnoticed by her.

    These examples shed light on a phenomenon each of us has going on inside our heads. We all go along in life wearing what I call our perception blinders. These are the lenses we use to see, process, make sense of and judge the world around us. They filter out things that don’t fit into our general belief system and they let in ideas that do.

    These blinders are part of our discrimination mechanism allowing us to determine who we like, what we like, how we like to spend our time, what actions are good and what actions we consider abhorrent. These blinders started forming almost immediately after our birth (some contend the process even starts before a person is born) and they continue to define themselves as we go through life. As we age our blinders tend to solidify and are subject to less change. We basically become more “set in our ways”.

    There are several sources forming our perception blinders in each of our lives. Where you were brought up is a major contributor. The society in which you live and the government that you live under play a huge role. How your parents raised you is another. The schools you attended and the teachers you had all influenced your perceptions of the world and the blinders you formed. Of course your friends and associates all played a significant role too.

    One of the largest contributors shaping and forming your life blinders comes from your religious beliefs. It dictates for you what is good and evil; what are the rules of life’s engagement. It defines the path you should follow to lead the “good life”. Your religion helps you determine where you fit into the big picture of existence. It helps you figure out what your role is in the grand scheme of things.

    Religion also allows you to classify people. You have the “good” people and the “bad people; the chosen people and the heathens; the saved people and the condemned people.

    Blinders tend to fight against open mindedness. They tend to restrict the possible. They fight against exposure and acceptance of the new. They tend to diminish empathy and compassion for the “other way”. They foster the “my way or the highway” mindset.

    It is impossible to function in this world without blinders. But we must realize the root of the word is “blind”. We must fight against the potential for the damaging blinding impact they can have on our thinking.

    As Holy Shitters we strive to jump out of the blinder box in our thinking. We attempt to accomplish this through our commitment to the ass-forward waste-end first way of thinking. Through our awareness of the Eat/Shit Shitloop Cycle and our practice of the Sacrament of Holy Shitting we strive to pry open ever wider the blinders we can’t live without!

    Blinders

    Blinders (Photo credit: snakepliskens)

     

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  15. Having Wisdom

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    February 20, 2014 by John Crapper

    Wise

    1. having the power of discerning and judging properly as to which is true or right: possessing discernment, judgement, or discretion;

      2. possessed of or characterized by scholarly knowledge or learning.

    I recently attended a seminar on brain health and what steps we can take to keep our brains in top notch shape. During it I learned that our brain’s functioning changes as we age. Some of the change is good and some, of course, is bad. One of the good things that happens is that we supposedly get wiser as we age. This little tidbit got me thinking about the whole issue of wisdom and what it means to be wise.

    The human brain

    The first thing I must say is that the definition provided by Webster is a little too polished and nuanced for posting on the Holy Shitters website. It needs to be stated just a little more succinctly I think. So let me give you the definition according to Poop John the First of the Church of the Holy Shitters for the word wise. A wise person is a person who possesses the ability to see through the bullshit and find the truth. They do this through the pursuit of knowledge and learning and by practicing good judgement. The Sacrament of Holy Shitting can help in achieving wisdom by working towards reaching the state of Soft and Fluffy.

    When dealing with being wise the problems of personal bias and perception come into play. We judge according to our frame of reference derived from all our past experiences and education. The environment in which we exist plays a huge role in how we perceive the world and hence judge what is happening in it. Where we live plays an immense role. The religion we were raised in does also. Our family, friends, teachers, and co-workers all play a role in shaping our perception and judgement. So how can you be sure you’re currently wise and getting wiser with age? Isn’t it all dependent on the tint of those perception glasses you are wearing and the bank of knowledge you have incorporated through personal experience and education in both formal and informal ways you draw off while looking through those tinted glasses?

    Thus I must bring up another interesting term worth considering when contemplating wisdom. That word is:

    Many 18th c. treatments for psychological dist...

    Brainwashing

    As defined in Webster’s:

    1. A method of systematically changing attitudes or altering beliefs especially through the use of torture, drugs, or psychological-stress techniques.

    2. any method of controlled systematic indoctrination especially one based on repetition or confusion

    When I was in college, I worked under Elizabeth Loftus, a well-known researcher studying the reliability of eyewitness testimony. The basic conclusion of her studies was that eyewitness testimony is not very reliable. The perceptions of the witness changed based on the tone and orientation of the questions asked. Even though the witness saw something with their own eyes and heard it with their own ears, when questioned in various leading ways their recollection of the events they witnessed changed based on the bias in the questions. It is a surprising finding and sheds light on the dangers each of us has in our pursuit of wisdom.

    Let me give you one more personal example that illustrates this point. I work as an English as a Second Language Instructor teaching adult immigrants and refugees. One woman in particular who was in my class has excelled in her studies and is now on the verge of graduating from college. Even though she is immersed every day around native English speakers in the classroom she still makes obvious grammatical errors that just don’t seem to improve. Observing her I can tell that she doesn’t notice she is making an error. She just doesn’t realize it!

    A critical aspect of perception is awareness. We must be aware of our surroundings and be open to the stimuli we receive. We must strive to minimize our personal bias and the bias we receive from outside sources and attempt to judge with impartiality. We should basically try to keep an “open mind”. That is not easy to do. I tend to believe it is impossible to accomplish fully.

    We must also strive to fill our brains with knowledge from reliable sources. We must basically strive to screen out the bullshit we get bombarded with every day from sources that have an agenda. Fox News comes to mind as being a prime example of a misinformation source having an agenda. They, in my opinion, strive to change attitudes and alter beliefs through systematic indoctrination especially one based on repetition or confusion. Kind of sounds like brainwashing doesn’t it?

    The final point I wish to make on being wise is how our perception of ourselves and our place in the universe and the scheme of existence has a bearing on our perception and judgement of all things. People who believe they are god-like and on their way to heaven or nirvana if they follow the plan of righteousness as dictated by their religion are judging the world through glasses which dictate an “only this way” perception. They are blinded to other ways and are blocked from keeping an open mind by the constraints of their religion. They become “set in their ways”.

    Followers of the Church of the Holy Shitters believe that man is the lowest creature on the planet. When you start with this perception of yourself it tends to open your eyes to new ways of thinking. You realize you don’t have all the answers. You realize your place in the grand scheme of things. You realize that man cannot solve all our problems through our technology. You’re much more inclined to admit to yourself when you are a dumb shit. And realizing and admitting when you are a dumb shit is the first step in becoming truly wise!

    Ibn Gabirol who, as a poet and philosopher, back in the 1021-1070 said,

    In seeking wisdom,

    the first step is silence;

    the second, listening;

    the third, remembering;

    the fourth, practicing;

    the fifth, teaching others.

    The fool who thinks he is a fool is for that very reason a wise man; But the fool who thinks he is a wise man is rightly called a fool. – Dhammapada

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  16. Perfect Poopers

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    February 13, 2014 by John Crapper

    Perfect: Being without defect or blemish: a perfect specimen.

    Perfection: Broadly, a state of completeness and flawlessness.

    Is there anything more perfect than a newborn baby? Beautiful and innocent a newborn enters this life ready to be shaped and molded by the forces surrounding its world.

    When a newborn enters the world their poop literally doesn’t stink. It is called Meconium or Marmite and for the first 24 to 48 hours of life it has no odor.

    Also, when babies enter the world they are a totally shameless shitter. Newborns have no need for privacy. No need for restraint. Let it go and let it flow with abandon. Pure nature in action. We are all born perfect poopers.

    As it is with our newborn bodily functions it is with our mental functions. We are born tabula rasa ready to be molded and shaped by the outside world. We harbor no bias or ugly prejudice. We live in the moment and thrill at the smallest and simplest of stimuli. We basically come into the world in a perfect state.

    What happens to us along the way? As we get older things change. The molding process begins. Our parents teach us right from wrong. We are taught etiquette, good manners and decorum. Our environment conditions us to what is and what is not acceptable behavior.

    We are given constraints. Most of us are introduced into a religion where we are taught about the concept of God and our path to salvation. Some are told they are special, above the animals with a soul that will live for eternity. Others are taught certain people will go down and some people will go up after they die. Many are told that if they follow a path to salvation they have the promise of eternal salvation. Many are taught to think of others outside of their particular religion as heathens and pagans in need of conversion to their own. They are told others not in their religion need to be saved or shown the way to salvation because they are taught that their way is the only true way.

    SHAME

    (Photo credit: BlueRobot)

    As we each, in our own unique environment, learn how we are special we become a shameful shitter. That is a real shame. On the one hand we are taught we are made in the image of God and endowed with a special soul that lasts for all eternity. We marvel at our mental abilities and consider our bodies wonderful machines. We consider ourselves the pinnacle of creation, special in every way.

    Special in every way, that is, until it comes to our excrement. When it involves these basic functions we are taught to be ashamed. We are taught it is abhorrent needing to be flushed away and forgotten as quickly as possible. It is easier for us to use, handle and think about animal excrement, but when it comes to our own we coil at the thought of it being useful in any way. The idea that it just might be a valuable resource never crosses most of our minds.

    The common belief is we get wiser with age. I’m not so sure that’s the case when it comes to our fecal matters. We seem to go from a perfect pooping shameless shittter to an imperfect very shameful shitter. We go from a state where literally our shit does not stink to a state where we think our shit doesn’t stink. We increasingly become more full of shit and more ashamed of the fact that we take a shit! I’m not so sure that qualifies as getting wiser! What are your thoughts?

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  17. Commandment #5 – A Closer Look

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    November 7, 2013 by John Crapper

    photo-2 2

     

    The Church of the Holy Shitters 10 Commandments

    1. Thou shalt pursue the understanding of Shit.

    2. One who taketh a shit must giveth a shit.

    3. Thou shalt not act like your shit doesn’t stink.

    4. Thou shalt not poke one’s nose into other people’s shit.

    5. If thou hast nothing constructive to say than don’t say shit.

    6. Thou shalt not buy unnecessary shit.

    7. Thou shalt not giveth someone shit.

    8. Thou shalt conserve shit.

    9. Thou shalt not take other people’s shit.

    10. Thou shalt treat someone else’s shit the same way you would want your shit treated.

    I really have nothing further to add to this commandment of:  If thou hast nothing constructive to say than don’t say shit so I will just STFU (Shut the Fuck Up!).

    If you could make someone be quiet who would you STFU?  I’ll give you a couple of people on my list.  Please add yours!

    Limbaugh_Award_cropped

    Official portrait of Congressman .

    Diarrhea of the mouth is worse then diarrhea of the butt!

    (Shitbit by Poop John the First)

    Every day I live I am forced to add more names to the list of people I consider assholes!

    (Shitbit by Poop John the First)

     

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  18. The Rapture – Some Scary Shit!

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    October 31, 2013 by John Crapper

    Teachings_of_Jesus_39_of_40._the_rapture._one_at_the_mill._Jan_Luyken_etching._Bowyer_Bible

    Followers of the Church of the Holy Shitters concern themselves with how humans relate to the planet. Through our practice of the Sacrament of Holy Shitting we are constantly reminded of the Eat/Shit Shitloop Cycle and the importance it plays in our continued survival.

    Being a religion based in the natural, not the supernatural, does not mean we can afford to ignore the current teachings and beliefs of mainstream supernatural religions and how those beliefs impact their followers interaction with our planet. It is important for us to be aware of them, understand them and realize how they impact our shitty way of life.

    Take for instance the beliefs revolving around the concept of the rapture and the end of times.

    The rapture is Christian belief that forms a major part of the current teaching and expectations of fundamentalist and other evangelical denominations. In its most popular current form, the doctrine involves Jesus Christ returning from Heaven towards earth. In violation of the law of gravity, saved individuals — both dead and alive — will rise up in the air and join Jesus in the sky to enjoy a better life for all eternity.

    The main biblical passage supporting the rapture: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

    In the King James Version of the Bible, the text reads:

    1 Thessalonians 4:13-17: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

    The Rapture is a future event believed by most born-again Protestants. They believe that those born-again Christians who have died will have their bodies reconstituted and will ascend through the air, and meet Jesus Christ in the sky. This will be followed by a second mass migration of the born-again who are currently alive.

    As it is described in Evangelical literature, pilots would disappear from planes, truck drivers from their trucks; people from automobiles, etc. Some born-again Christians believe that a family will be eating dinner, when some of the members will float upwards from their seats, pass through the roof and keep rising through the air towards Jesus.

    As glorious as the Rapture experience will be for the saved, many Evangelical pastors, theologians and authors teach that the state of the billions of unsaved people will be truly frightening. From the prophetic books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation, they have concluded:

    There will be mass disorientation as those left behind as they try to make sense out of the sudden disappearance of tens of millions of people.

    A seven year period of disturbance and destruction, called the Tribulation will take place. Most denominations teach that it will follow immediately after the rapture but there are differing views on the timing as this graphic illustrates.

    English: Diagram of the major tribulation view...

    The Antichrist will rule the world. He will come from Europe, gain political control of the world (perhaps by heading up the United Nations), make peace with Israel, and then attempt to destroy much of humanity, concentrating on the Jews, and those new Christians who will have been saved since the Rapture.

    Armageddon will follow. This is a massive war – one larger than any the world has ever seen. Untold billions of people will die.

    The survivors will see Jesus rule the world for a period that will last a millennium, 1,000 years.

    When a person holds beliefs such as these it dramatically affects their personal responsibility for their interactions with the planet. For them the supernatural is in charge of the outcome of the planet and humanity. It is all predetermined. To a large extent it absolves them from caring about the physical and diverts their attention and efforts to working on their soul to ensure an afterlife is forthcoming.

    Take this argument by this anonymous commenter on the internet which expresses the end of days argument.

    “I don’t think you are going to find anything in the Bible that speaks about Jesus telling man to take care of the earth. Taking care of the earth is not the point in life and I don’t think any Christian should make it their point. Let me explain:

    First of all, I am not saying that we should trash the earth and do with it as we please. God did not call believers to be rude and disgusting. When Jesus walked the earth, it was His desire that men would come to know Him as their Messiah and once they know Him as Lord, to make Him known to the rest of the earth (The Great Commission at the end of the book of Matthew).

    We need to realize that the earth is dying and there is not anything anyone can do to stop it from decaying. Its going to get weaker and weaker until God is going to destroy it with fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10-12). After God destroys the earth and heaven, He is going to make a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1).

    The enemy tries and tries to pull people (believer and non-believer) away from focusing on the Lord, but rather focus on anything that is not the Lord (i.e. sin, pleasure, distractions, etc.). One distraction I believe is getting caught up with alternative groups and non profit organizations (i.e. save the dolphins, save the ozone, prevent forest fires, hug a tree, etc.). It seems like people put all of their attention on these things, but at what cost and at what end? It’s all going to burn and melt away, just as the Scripture has said. However, we can make a difference in people’s lives, so they don’t have to forever burn in hell. This should be the goal of every believer.”

    For followers of these religions it is easy to see why such problems as over population, climate change and pollution are not of concern.

    And there is scripture to support this argument.

     
    Revelation 21:1-5 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” and the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

    Rapture: The Blessed Hope for All Christians

    Rapture: The Scariest Most Ass-backward Shit for Holy Shitters!

    “Scary not in the sense that all this crap will actually happen.”

    but

    “Scary in the sense there are so many dumb shits actually believing this crap!”

    and

    “The implications that has on our ability to do something about all this shit!”

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  19. Commandment #4 – A Closer Look

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    October 24, 2013 by John Crapper

    photo-2 2

    The Church of the Holy Shitters 10 Commandments

    4. Thou shalt respect the privacy of other people’s religions.

    1. Thou shalt pursue the understanding of Shit.

    2. One who taketh a shit must giveth a shit.

    3. Thou shalt not act like your shit doesn’t stink.

    4. Thou shalt not poke one’s nose into other people’s shit.

    5. If thou hast nothing constructive to say then don’t say shit.

    6. Thou shalt not buy unnecessary shit.

    7. Thou shalt not giveth someone shit.

    8. Thou shalt conserve shit.

    9. Thou shalt not take other people’s shit.

    10. Thou shalt treat someone else’s shit the same way you would want your shit treated.

    The Church of the Holy Shitters believe strongly that people have a right to privacy. Being a Church that has Shit as its focal point we should state from the outset that we believe people have a right to poop in private.  We encourage our practitioners to partake in the Sacrament of Holy Shitting as often as possible. This sacrament requires a person to enter into a contemplative state while taking a dump. This is hard to do in public. This is why having a sacramental Shit is hard to achieve in a public restroom. But the privacy issue is not an issue of us being ashamed that we take a dump just like all other animals. We are not ashamed of people seeing us in the physical act of taking a dump.  Read below the fold to understand what we mean by commandment #4.

    What we are trying to do is maximize the number of Smart Shits we have through the practice of Holy Shitting. This requires privacy. Having someone poke their nose in while you are doing your private business pretty much assures you are going to have a dumb shit rather than a Smart Shit. This commandment is there to insure this does not happen.

    This commandment is also part of our Church laws to address another area where privacy is paramount. The Church of the Holy Shitters is the religion we practice. It is the Shitty way of life we have chosen for ourselves. It is an environmental religion.

    We believe a person’s spiritual religion is private.  It is the most personal relationship a person can have between themselves and the greater universe. How a person defines god in their mind, what spiritual religion they do or do not practice is none of our business.

    Our religion is a natural religion. We deal with our lives here on this planet while we are alive. We do not deal in the supernatural. We don’t care how a person believes in this regard if they keep it private. This commandment therefore demands they keep their spiritual religion to themselves. This Church is not the place for a person to try and save anybody else’s soul. You violate this commandment when you do this.

    Our religion does not preclude you from having another religion dedicated to saving your soul for an afterlife of some sort if you are inclined to believe in such things. How you square your spiritual religion with this natural one is for you to decide.

    At this point I would like to remind you that we have a vesting approach to membership in this Church. As you learn about our religion you can choose to be 100% vested in our ways of belief or just 10%. Generally speaking, I will venture to say that the more spiritually inclined you are the lower will be your percent you consider yourself vested in this religion. That is OK as we feel that if you end up being only 10% vested that is still a plus for our Church and the planet on which we all live.

    What is important for membership in this Church is that you keep your spiritual religious thoughts private. It is not my business how you “believe” and conversely it is none of your business how I “believe” in this regard.

    Remember one of the tenants of this religion states the following: “If you don’t take a shit, we don’t give a shit. We therefore also do not pry into people’s views on such topics as abortion and birth control. These types of ethical debates involve a time when an entity involved in the conflict is not taking a shit yet. Hence we don’t give a shit.

    When you start doing this and as long as you do this we care. As soon as you stop we don't.

    When you start doing this and as long as you do this we care. As soon as you stop we don’t.

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  20. Commandment #3 – A Closer Look

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    October 10, 2013 by John Crapper

    photo-2 2The Church of the Holy Shitters 10 Commandments

    1. Thou shalt pursue the understanding of Shit.

    2. One who taketh a shit must giveth a shit.

    3. Thou shalt not act like your shit doesn’t stink.

    4. Thou shalt not poke one’s nose into other people’s shit.

    5.  If thou hast nothing constructive to say then don’t say shit.

    6. Thou shalt not buy unnecessary shit.

    7. Thou shalt not giveth someone shit.

    8. Thou shalt conserve shit.

    9. Thou shalt not take other people’s shit.

    10. Thou shalt treat someone else’s shit the same way you would want your shit treated.

    # 3 – Thou shalt not act like your shit doesn’t stink:  Just what is this commandment instructing us to do?  What does this really mean?

    To answer these questions we must first analyze where you and I view ourselves in the grand scope of existence.  The prevailing thinking when placing man in the hierarchy of species is to put us at the very top.  We are viewed at the pinnacle of the chain of life on this planet and many would argue in the entire universe.  We are made in the image of God, endowed with an infinite soul and on our way to a life eternal in duration after our physical one here on Earth ends.

    Here is an excerpt written by John D. Morris, Ph.D for the Institute for Creation Research entitled Is Man a “Higher” Animal? illustrating this line of reasoning.

    …”Man is different. His “higher” characteristics have more to do with his intelligence, his ability to plan and consider the future, and ability to express emotions. Animal instincts and habits are remarkable, but something sets man apart.
    We find this difference explained in the record provided by the Creator of man and the animals. In Genesis One we see that the fish, the birds, the creeping things, the cattle, the beasts of the field, and the beasts of the earth were all created “after their kinds.” But when God created man, He created him “after His own image.” We often have similar DNA to the animals, similar body parts, similar functions, similar consciousness, similar blood, but the comparison disappears when man’s eternal spirit is considered. The animals have nothing like this. Something about man adequately reflects God’s nature in a way that the animals don’t share.

    God created man with the wonderful ability to reason and comprehend abstract thoughts. He alone can speak in a language which communicates his inner yearnings. Most importantly, man can truly love and respond to love, most particularly the love of God. He can recognize his own sinfulness, repent of it, and appreciate God’s gracious solution to his sin problem. He can respond to God’s love by choosing a life pleasing to Him. Animals, regardless of their cranial capacity, know nothing of this.

    Man is qualitatively superior to the animals in many important ways. But he is also quantitatively distinct from all animals.

    No, man is not a higher animal. Man is not an animal at all. He is the very image of God, and nothing less.”

    Because of this frame of reference we view ourselves as special  and therefore commanding a unique place in the universe.  We, in short, view ourselves as being pretty special.

    This perception of “specialness” leads us into dangerously  concluding we can do things differently.  This is especially true when it comes to nature.  Only we have a soul.  Only  we have the promise of eternal life.  This is a supernatural reference point of ourselves and leads us into believing we can control the laws of nature.  Our mental powers, coupled with our technology allow us to manipulate nature to satisfy our every whim and desire.

    The thou shalt not act like you shit doesn’t stink commandment reminds us to put a check on this line of reasoning.  It reminds us that not only are we not the highest creature inhabiting the Earth, but in fact we are the lowest creature currently inhabiting this Earth.

    It is our species that is polluting the air all creatures breathe and the water all creatures drink.  It is our species that is poisoning the soil with chemicals and pesticides.  It is our species overpoopulating the  planet.

    We must never forget that our shit does in fact stink..  We are not in control of nature but dependant on it for survival.  The sooner we come to terms with this fact the sooner we can begin to adjust our behavior so that we may continue to exist on this planet.

    When you don’t believe in life after death it makes you realize that the one we have here on Earth is pretty important!

    Where do you fit?

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Our climate is changing. I'm humorously serious about addressing it. I'm convinced my ego is the main culprit. My religion, Holy Shitters, demands I humble myself and celebrate the fact my shit stinks.
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