Army wants to assess “Spiritual Fitness”

It bothers me to no end religious people are convinced the only way to cope with difficult situations and circumstances is to believe in a higher power. It’s just something they claim without any real evidence to suggest it’s true. It merely sounds good to their deluded ears.

So imagine my complete lack of surprise when I heard the US Army has devised a survey designed to test the relative spiritual “fitness level” of soldiers in an effort to avoid mental breakdown of their employees. It turns out a bunch of soldiers have started killing themselves or having mental breakdowns during and after their tours, and rather than taking care of the core problem (namely that they are embroiled in a pointless war that sucks donkey dick), the top brass has decided a person’s spiritual beliefs is of paramount concern when determining their combat fitness.

As you might have guessed, a number of non-religious soldiers are outraged they are being judged based on their lack of belief in fairy tales. Justin Griffith, a self described “foxhole atheist” had to take a survey, and since he answered a hearty “no” when asked if he prayed or meditated during times of stress, he was told his “spiritual fitness may be an area of difficulty” (I would say that religionists have an “area of difficulty” when it comes to accepting reality, but I digress).

It continued: “You may lack a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. At times, it is hard for you to make sense of what is happening to you and to others around you. You may not feel connected to something larger than yourself. You may question your beliefs, principles and values.”

It concluded: “Improving your spiritual fitness should be an important goal.”

I’m so sick of this nonsense. Believing in religious bullshit doesn’t make one a better soldier; it just means you’ve made the conscious decision to favor spiritual gobbledygook over hard fact. No, I don’t feel disconnected to what is happening to others around me; I’m just sick and tired of them pushing their fucking nonsense in my face.

Griffith and others are convinced this is merely a way to discriminate against non-believers in an attempt to populate the army entirely with religious zombies, and I’m inclined to agree. For every testimony I’ve heard (yes, I’m aware this kind of evidence is flawed), the Army is extremely evangelizing when it comes to Christianity, and this fact alone scares the shit out of me. When you combine the toxicity of religion with the machinery of war, terrible things are bound to happen.

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Comments (14)

  • avatar

    Brandon

    I thought this was interesting: “Researchers have found that spiritual people have decreased odds of attempting suicide, and that spiritual fitness has a positive impact on quality of life, on coping and on mental health,” says Cornum.

  • avatar

    BumbleBee

    On the contrary, I think that religion definitely makes it easier to be a soldier. Many people use religion to disconnect from reality – if you kill someone, you aren’t removing them permanently from this world, you are “sending them to a better place.” Likewise, you might fear death less if you feel you are going to heaven, or that a powerful being will protect you. Atheists don’t have these luxuries of self-delusion to help them cope with making difficult decisions. Religion also heavily stresses obedience to authority, which probably makes it easier to carry out questionable orders.
    @Brandon – “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.” – George Bernard Shaw

  • avatar

    Jon

    If American TV is anything to go by (bear in mind, I’m an outsider so you’re all bloodthirsty savages to me!), I’m sure there’s a correlation between being ‘spiritually fit’ and morbidly obese.

    I know that was a cheap shot but goddamnit, if nobody else around here is going to reach for the low-hanging fruit, I’m gonna grab me a metric fuck-ton!

  • avatar

    Michael

    I am an American. I am a motivated and hard working individual. I actually wanted to join the military and I know I would have done very well as an officer. That said, looking back, I am overjoyed that a career in the armed service never materialized. As an enlightened atheist (and how can you not describe yourself as, “enlightened,” when you remove the vail of ignorance bordering on the retarded), I have learned that my compatibility with the military lifestyle would have been very low.

    How do I know? Considering this is teh webz, let’s just say I work pretty fucking closely with the military right now and I see it. The influence of religion. The references. The arrogant assumption that everybody must be christian. The bad beliefs and prejudices my co-workers (uniformed and civilian) hold. The right wing attitude. The irony between what they portend to believe and the way they act. The blatant disregard of the 1st amendment of the very Constitution they claim to protect. Every. Fucking. Day.

    Well, at least I like the core of my job. You should have my co-worker’s faces when they asked me what my religion was and I said, “Actually, I am an Atheist.”

  • avatar

    MDS

    It’s not hard to see why they want brain dead followers in the army.

  • avatar

    Michael

    If you believe in an afterlife, I wouldn’t want you protecting my ass. I want someone who values this life around-someone less likely to make a stupid decision because of their ontological views.

  • avatar

    joe dixon

    Have you the documentary, The Tillman Story? It’s about Pat Tillman, the American soldier who was killed by friendly fire and who the Bush Administration subsequently tried to turn his into a rallying point for its war in Afganistan. Anyway, from that movie we hear a 2006 interview with, Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich who criticized the Tillman family for their persistence in investigating the circumstances surrounding Pat’s death. The good officers direct quote:

    “I don’t know, these people have a hard time letting it (their son’s death) go. It may be because of their religious beliefs.”

    “When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don’t believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing, and now he is no more — that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don’t know how an atheist thinks. I can only imagine that that would be pretty tough.”

    So apparently, the military mindset is that atheist might actually object to there children being killed. Whereas, the religious are just fine and dandy with it.

  • avatar

    joe dixon

    Check out Bill Maher’s interview with Richard Tillman from 2010.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Huyg8SiDa7k&feature=related

  • avatar

    Brandon (Men's Battle Plan)

    “So apparently, the military mindset is that atheist might actually object to there children being killed. Whereas, the religious are just fine and dandy with it.”

    How could someone object to their adult children being killed? These people’s “children”, have signed up voluntarily for a job where they shoot guns, throw grenades, drive tanks, know they may go to war someday?

    I think it’s funny that people even call their adult sons or daughter their child. They aren’t children. If my son or daughter ever signed up for military service, I would be proud.

  • avatar

    Joe Dixon

    @Brandon. “How could someone object to their adult children being killed? These people’s “children”, have signed up voluntarily for a job where they shoot guns, throw grenades, drive tanks, know they may go to war someday?”

    Yes, but people expect their adult children who willingly join the service to not be killed by their own troops, have that killing covered up by military brass and have the White House start a propaganda campaign around the death of their child. The Lt. Col. I quoted implied that the religious would be cool with this because the Holy among us will have the comfort of thinking their child is in heaven.

    Seriously, I put up a link to the brother’s interview. Why didn’t you watch that before you made your comment? Or better yet, go watch the documentary, The Tillman Story. This has nothing to do with a child (and, yeah, your kid stays your kid regardless of how old he or she is) going to war and getting killed as people do in war. They were objecting to the actions taken by the American government in conjunction to the death of said child.

  • avatar

    4everfred

    Is war not an end to an argument by force?

    The “other” side does not understand your reasons for wanting to win the argument so they fight back with words. Then it escalades to a physical fight and then finally to a situation where one side cowards by using force on the other side. Their argument is now backed up by a bully or an appeal to force.
    http://www.logicalfallacies.info/relevance/appeals/appeal-to-force/

    In other words, killing for your opinion on a given situation.

    The USA who at one time started the war in Iran by using the CIA to covertly take out a democratically elected prime minister (Mohammad Mossadegh) in Iran and put in their own dictator Mohammed Reza ( The Shah of Iran)

    The situation came to a head because British Petroleum (formally Anglo-Iranian oil company) was taking oil from Iran without hiring local people, while misinforming the people about the amount being taken and the price.

    When the prime Minister of Iran could not get BP to come up with more royalties, BP tried to get the USA involved. They could not convince them until there was another election and maybe the new President could be convinced to get involved. blah,blah,blah…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Mosaddegh

    I will shorten the whole story by saying that: If you can convince people to back up your argument, and you can find people to easily encourage (weak minded), then you have an easy way of building your “armed forces” to battle.

    If there was less “yes” men and more skeptical men, then war would not be the means to an end to the argument.

    I personally think that the human tribal leaders of today will still be here tomorrow. Nothing will change in the short term until CIVILisation somewhere in the future will realize when this big cruise ship earth runs out of resources and we have nowhere to dock and reload our supplies, then we will succeed in finally realizing that we are all “on the same ship together”.

    I hope this was not too much rambling.

  • avatar

    OneManRiot

    “I bothers me to no end that religious people are convinced that the only way to cope with difficult situations and circumstances is to believe in a higher power. It’s just something they claim without any real evidence to suggest it’s true. It merely sounds good to their deluded ears.”

    Isn’t this just the placebo effect, and therefore legit on some level?

  • avatar

    Brandon (Men's Battle Plan)

    “If you can convince people to back up your argument, and you can find people to easily encourage (weak minded), then you have an easy way of building your “armed forces” to battle.”-4everfred
    Wishful thinking.

    “The “other” side does not understand your reasons for wanting to win the argument so they fight back with words. Then it escalades to a physical fight and then finally to a situation where one side cowards by using force on the other side. Their argument is now backed up by a bully or an appeal to force.” -4everfred

    Let’s put your thoughts into this scenario: Let’s say there is a group of people that moves a house into your neighborhood. They start producing Meth and selling it on the street. You see them carrying guns and pushing. So you call in the local “army”, the police. Who have been trained in boot camp to protect, serve and defend.

    They get enough evidence to get a warrant from the judge to inspect the house for more evidence. When they arrive, one of the guys shoots two officers.

    At this point should we try to win the argument that meth isn’t good for people and shooting officers is against the law?

    I wish that people in this world would be reasonable and behave but they don’t. I wish that the USA would put a stop to the raping of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo by armed rebel groups. DRC is the “rape capital of the world,” with 15,000 women raped in eastern Congo in 2009.

    4everfred, shouldn’t someone “talk” to these armed rebel groups? What do you suggest we do here?

  • avatar

    Joey3264

    I cant help but wonder if this is a reaction to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell being repealed.
    They made such a huge deal out of it panicking about how the military will be feminized and all that dramatic crap, so they respond by trying to increase Christian majority. sounds like they would rather have the army filled with the emotionally crippled.
    I find it funny how they make it sound as if they are not trying to alienate or intimidate anyone with this test that clearly implies a “are you Christian? if not than you have a problem!” message. I think people are slowly starting to realize what the hell we’ve been doing to ourselves for the past twenty centuries, and they are just pissed that they know they no longer have the strangle hold on the public opinion anymore.

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