The Coastal Post - November 1999

Religion Weakens Brain Structures

By Stephen Simac
"Organized religion is for weak minded people"...
Jesse Ventura, reform governor of Minnesota.

Ja, sure, as they say in Viking country. Quite apart from the issue of whether professional wrestling or six months of winter breeds strong minded people. I could say the same for this column.

Because it constantly offends readers, leaving them burning mad, with indigestion, and some gas, a small advisory is in order. Especially since the subject is religion, politics, and oh yeah sex. Taboo subjects for the dinner table.

In a long winded way, my stuff is not an aperitif or digestive aid, and if used as such, violates the warranty.

The question of whether organized religion is for weak minded people is more difficult to answer than have you stopped beating your wife. No, she loves a good whipping.

Let's start with the Bible, the literal word of God according to some of the brightest Baptists alive. To be charitable it reads like a fairy tale, old and new testaments, and like most fables is not suitable for small children.

I had nightmares from my catechism Nun telling me when the walls of Jericho fell after Joshua blew his trumpet, God's Chosen People dashed the heads of the children against the stones, because heathens should not be suffered to live.

It was the way she hissed it, that scared me, not the theme. I'd already tried to smash my younger brother's a few time.

Those nuns were scary and mean for the most part. (They call them Nuns because they don't get none, and they take it out on catholic kids.) It wasn't my fault that after we repeated the catechism, I asked her who made god? It's what my oldest brother, an altar boy, told me to say.

The flu hit our communion class, and catholic trainees were puking left and right like soldiers going to war. I spewed as we were lining up in the church to practice kneeling and sticking out our tongue for the priest. It was an omen.

My dad was the janitor the Nun announced let him clean it up. Seven Simac siblings got free catholic schooling and free lunches, because of his job. He had to clean the drive-in movie lot and a few other places because the church didn't pay much. We drove to the movies on Friday night and cleaned it with him on Sundays.

I still got to do First communion, they weren't turning anyone away from the wafer. Wafers are cheap, souls are priceless.

You had to let them dissolve stuck to the roof of your mouth, because you couldn't chew them, it was the body of Christ. A strange concept coupled with the bloody guy on the cross, which I pondered during mass. Better than dying of boredom. Latin was all Greek to me. My mom became an atheist when a mud slide in Chile buried a whole church full of Catholics during mass in '65. If God couldn't even protect his own then the whole thing was a lie she said. She could have rationalized the whole thing, if she'd been rational. When she quit we all quit. My dad hated priests worse than doctors. We started going to public school. I didn't miss it at all, except for those catholic school girl skirts. Our family dropped out of the religion thing for a while, not to say we weren't doing other things to weaken our minds. I used to bang my head against walls to relieve migraines, until I discovered medical marijuana works much better. I'm as weak minded as the next person, but no organized religions wanted me. I did join a disorganized cult but they don't know it yet.

My younger sister took up Christ's cross first, when we were at UF in Gainesville, Florida in '79. She became a Protestant, which the priests had used as if it were a dirty word.

I went to her church once. Everyone was nice if bland, the songs were tuneless and the collection basket came around twice. Even the refreshments were 50's stuff like jello with tiny marshmallows.

I don't know if it weakened her mind, she was always better at math than me. But it seriously impacted her sense of humor.

My youngest brother, he of the head injury, was born again a few years later, when we were living at home in Lauderdale. My parents were saints, but rather grouchy.

He was in a different sect, a charismatic one. It definitely weakened his mind, especially when he took up the cross, one with wheels.

He would wheel it on the beach in Ft. Liquordale during Spring Break. I'd be sitting there near some chicks, when my buddies would yell, "Hey Simac, isn't that your brother."

By god, it is, I didn't recognize him with the cross. No, no don't call him over here. He might start speaking in tongues, laying on hands and casting out demons. Insanity runs fast in my family, and this sure looked crazy.

It was entertaining, although Dad cursed him and his religion out regularly. When I was really bored and broke I'd go with him and his born again buddy to their churches and revivals. This was during the Reagan years but we didn't talk politics.

They were holy roller, holy ghost, slain in the spirit, pass the basket, speak in tongues, gospel music, pass the plate again, wrap it up with a long sermon about why you need money to reach the heathens with bibles, then pass the basket one more time. A big toothed preacher with a gold watch squeezin' the Jesus turnips dry.

I never put in a dime but I had a good time. I danced in the aisles, went up to get slain, got zapped by the Holy Ghost, even got my demons exercised once. (I take em out jogging regularly now.) The one thing I didn't do, was go up on stage to get my hearing healed when the special healing ministry road show came to town. I didn't hear the guy.

Flopping around on the floor, frothing at the mouth, concerned Christians speaking in tongues over me was extremely entertaining. They never invited me back after I got up and dusted myself off, not particularly different.

I was into yoga and kundalini back then. My brother thought I was possessed by the devil and would practice speaking in tongues outside my door. I couldn't understand a word he said, evidence of a weakened mind.

I'd been doing yoga for years by then. It's the ancient science of self healing but I wasn't into all that Hindu cowdung wrapped around stretching and breathing. Who can believe in an elephant headed god, unless you've got some obstacles you need moved.

For years I tripped around doing the swami circuit, from ashram to ashram, mainly for the women. You had to stretch to get laid, but they're almost as horny as dancers.

My favorite guru was Swami Snatchadollar. Like most of those saffron robed dudes, he was screwing the teen age girls, while touting the benefits of celibacy for the spiritual path.

I got to know the pot suppliers and chauffeurs of the gurus through mutual acquaintances, but at least they weren't running guns, like the Hare Krishna's.

Buddhists are really simple minded, at least the western converts. It doesn't fit our condition. We already sit too much. The guys all have big heads and hunched over shoulders, the women wear sour grins for peace. With those big heads, you'd think they were pretty smart. Until you hear that the big schism in Buddhism is whether to sit facing the wall or away. Ooooh.

I thought the pagans sounded good, from the way the Christians talked about them, all the drugs and sex. But they turned out to be large lesbians and water brothers.

I don't really want to get into the Muslims, although a death threat does wonders for your sales, ask Salmon Rushdie.

I must be weak minded, because religion has always drawn me in. On close examination most religions seem cleverly designed to enslave people's minds, money and energy with fear, guilt, hope, longing and obedience to hypocritical authorities.

Package those up, use some strong symbols and well worn archetypes, declare direct transmission from the source of all, and weak minded people will flock.

Scientific dogma is not better. Science is the bastard child of the Catholic church, and much of what is discovered is never revealed to the masses. People who believe the latest announcement of scientific truth, have short attention spans. Just years before, it was considered heresy. The only sure scientific truth is that it will change as the former experts die off.

The weakest minds squeeze into the New Age and hodgepodge religions which sell tapes on enlightenment. The channeling stations actually are MKUltra projects, CIA mind controlled disinformation agents.

Enlightenment costs nothing to produce and retails for full price. There's so many cults sucking up cash from weak minded people looking for inner bliss. Promising everything with their brilliant smiles and their glad hands, like Johnny Golden selling Paradise.

Shouldn't they just take their meds? Enlightenment will reveal how pathetic their trust in these GollyGee snake oil saleswomen was. Never open a joint banking account with one.

My oldest sister, was an ESThole for a decade. That's where she met her worthless husband. EST was cooked up in Marin by Werner Erhard, if that's really his name. He sold it like Big Macs to a weak minded country.

They strung my sister along with workshop after workshop, like every other Enlightenment on the installment plan program she's ever spent her money on.

Those tired old promises keep pulling them in the carny tent, sell em tapes, videos, weekend workshop with warrantied enlightenment.

I'm starting a not so secret society, with a special handshake, rituals, crystals and all. God's talking to me, or is that my head injury.

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