This actually doesn’t require any pithy comment on my part. I simply give you today’s burning stupid: Dragons are real because…the Bible.
Archive for the ‘Isn’t it absurd?’ Category
Facepalm: verb. to raise one’s hand to one’s face, typically expressing exasperation, frustration, disbelief, horror or general woe in the presence of the burning stupid.
Greetings web denizens, heathens, zealots and the rest of you!
So after my recent column and follow up commentary here on the Grant Rant Blog, I was lucky enough to receive this email. And by “lucky” I mean lucky in the same way one is lucky to have a root canal done by a blind, drunken dentist with no thumbs. And while I give its author credit for using his full name in the email rather than hiding behind a handle, Donny’s missive is still a fine example of the burning stupid. Here it goes, with my commentary:
Donny: when you tell God f****ts are okay —- you are telling him your word means NOTHING!!! Why sing the national anthem asking God to bless your land when he looks at it in disgust.
As readers of the rant know, I am an atheist. I don’t “tell” a god anything … well, except for Thor when there are frost giants about. I hate those guys. Anyway, if I allow myself to play a thought experiment for a bit, if the average Christian concept of god is true — an all powerful, all benevolent, all loving creature — why would it hate anything? Why would it possess so petty a human emotion? Why would it hate the honest expression of love between two consenting adults, straight or gay? I’ve never understood why some believers insist upon defining their god as someone who love you, and then proceeds to crank out of list of things it hates and will torture you for.
If the god Donny here believes in existed, and fortunately it doesn’t, it would have to be opposed on basic moral grounds for it would be, as Richard Dawkins pointed out, a deeply unpleasant creature: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
Donny: Look at all the tornadoes in Oklahoma – all because of a Gay pride parade. God destroyed Sodom & Gomorraha because he calls homosexuality an abomination………
Ah, yes, the 700 Club, human sexual behavior model of meteorology. I don’t have a degree in tornadology, but I am pretty sure that they are formed by the interaction of cold and warm air during a supercell thunderstorm in the part of the world that sees this type of weather event more than anywhere else.
Or by Thor. Take your pick.
All kidding aside, this sort of thinking is no different that a belief that throwing a virgin into a volcano will prevent an eruption. Fortunately, we aren’t living in caves anymore, we know for a fact that who we sleep with, or marry, or what food we eat, or crops we grow, or clothes we wear, or what days of the week we work doesn’t impact the weather. At all. To believe otherwise is to live one’s life under the gravest of misapprehensions.
By the way, since we are on the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, it is worth pointing out a bit of the story Donny has failed to mention. In it, two angels hit the city of Sodom looking for enough good people to prove to god that it is not beyond saving. But Sodom is kind of like the angry love child of Las Vegas and Mad Max’s Thunderdome. So naturally, the two supernatural tourists are chased down by a rape gang. They find shelter with a dude named Lot, but the gang isn’t about to let that stop them. They really want to a piece of these angels. Lot, being an upstanding and moral guy, offers to give his own teenaged daughters to the rape gang in exchange for leaving the two visitors alone….and Lot is the hero of the story! Seriously.
Donny: Today newspaper people don’t have the guts to report the truth most are cowards —– Canada is a disgusting country in the gutter with a f****t Premier and I am so glad I no longer live there.
You know, I am never one to believe in blind patriotism. It is, as Oscar Wilde said, the “virtue of the vicious.” Nevertheless, Canada remains a fantastic country with a proud history. We have our issues, our mistakes and missteps, but it remains one of the freest, safest, and best places to live on Earth. We should be proud that, for most of us, gay marriage is a non-issue and that our government had the courage to do what was right and make it legal several years ago. We should be proud that we have reached a point where the sexual orientation of our Ontario premier is simply not a relevant issue (except for good ole Donny here) save for the fact that is shows we are increasingly willing to judge people by their character and ideas and not by bigotry of a bronze aged religion.
I think I speak for many of us, Donny, when I say we are quite happy you aren’t living here. But be warned, the world is an increasingly shrinking place. The march of freedom and equality is not so easily stopped and sooner or later, it will catch up with you. So unless you can find yourself a time machine to go back to 18th century (I suspect you’d be happy there) you’d might as well get used to it.
Read the bible Grant – read Lev. and see what your creator said and guess what 10 out of 10 people die and they face God…..and queers do not go to heaven by their own choice. Wake up Pal!!
I almost don’t have the energy to keep going with this. Yes, I have read it. More than once. It’s an awful book with worse writing than than Fifty Shades of Grey. (A book that would have been popular in Las Sodom Thunderdome, no doubt.) It is little more than an artifact of a primitive, fearful and paranoid culture that knew next to nothing about the world they lived in or the greater universe beyond it. They lived in a world where the only explanation for the things that nature does was the actions of an angry god and finding ways to sate that rage was a serious concern.
Fortunately, we’ve moved on since then.
Donny: “Wake up every day like you are broke and hungry and you will never be either.”…
Uh, no. If you wake up like you are broke and hungry, you probably are broke and hungry. If you are neither but pretend you are, you need serious help.
Greetings web denizens, heathens, zealots and the rest of you!
Please, Ottawa, please, please, please, please pour some water on the burning stupid. Can you PUL-EEZE think through a decision. I mean, just once? We don’t have very high expectations of you, Government of Canada. We mostly figure you go about making silly choices based on polls on when the next election is rather than what is actually good for the country. But we really do expect that every once in a while you use your collective brains before jumping down the rabbit hole. Especially when the rabbit hole is more like a massive sink hole that just swallowed a city.
You didn’t, think that is, which is why you are now in the embarrassing position of having pull big pile of tax dollars from Crossroads Christian Communications. Why? Well, because this charming evangelical group likes to go about talking about how gay people are the worst of sinners and blah blah blah. The usual, narrow minded nonsense some evangelicals get about when they want to stick their noses into other people’s bedrooms. Frankly listening to that clap trap has reached a stage where I figure it would be more pleasant to stick an angry hornet in my ear and then block my ear with a cork so the bug can never get out.
Why is giving them funding a problem? Well mostly because they use their government money to do missionary work in Uganda. Which is a charming country seemingly perpetually obsessed with finding new and fun legal ways to murder homosexuals for being gay. We here in Canada take a pretty dim view of that sort of thing, some religious fringe notwithstanding, and giving money to a group which likes to spend it’s time telling gay people how evil they are being to go work in a country that wants to kill gay people….is probably not the best idea.
Now to be fair, the government has yanked the funding for this group, thank Odin, but the point it probably should have looked into it a little more before writing the cheque in the first place. Maybe, I don’t know, looking at the group’s website which openly told homosexuals what big fat sinners they are? (In a move to not-so-suprising hypocrisy, the Crossroads Christian Communications yanked its “god loves you, but stop being such evil gay sinners, you evil gay sinners” screed from their website after the first phone call from the Canadian Press on the issue. A bit of Albertan wisdom for the folks at Crossroads: that is a big like fixing the barn door after the horses are gone.)
Simply put, Canadian tax dollars ought not to be given to groups that support, even in a broad sense, the political ideology of a murderous dictatorship.
Now, can I please have an aspirin? That hornet in my ear is really starting to cause me some pain.
PS. Crossroads is saying in news stories that it is in Uganda spreading the almighty’s love and using federal money for specific objectives (digging well and the like.) and not religious missionary work. It’s not a defense that is of much use. You don’t get to blast homosexuals at home, then take tax dollars and use them to do work in a country that is passing laws to kill gay people for being gay. You just don’t.
Greetings ghouls, ghost, zombies and the rest of you!
So staying in the spirit of Halloween, after having trashed some traditional Halloween monsters, I bring you something that is actually terrifying.
I’ve often been asked why I don’t believe in the divine when I look out at the wonders and splendor of nature, from the beauty of distant nebulae to the miracle of birth. My usual reply is that while I am awed and humbled by the universe we live and all its mystery and beauty, it’s actually not a very nice place for us to live. If you think about it, most of our own planet – the only one we know of so far that can sustain life as we understand it – is inhabitable by us. We would drown, freeze, starve or just be eaten. To say nothing of earthquakes, monster storms, Glee, and other nasty natural temper tantrums. And that is our HOME. Wander out into space and without advanced tech we die from exposure, get fried by cosmic rays, get spaghettified by a black hole, nuked by gamma ray bursts, or just disintegrated in a super nova explosion.
Fun place the universe.
But even more to the point are the horrible, awful turns that evolution takes. I mean, for every beautiful deer or majestic polar bear there are awful parasites, viruses, bacteria all out to survive by, well, killing other species in a particularly nasty manner. Evolution is about, after all, survival by adaption, and there is no guarantee those adaptions will be cute. If you want to see nature in all her glory, you need to see her in ALL her glory before you go on about how a pretty rainbow proves the existence of a god.
So I present you to the Cymothoa exigua or tongue eating louse. A nasty piece of work by all accounts. It gets into the mouth of the fish, destroys its tongue and then takes the place of the tongue!!!! And the weird part is that the fish gets along just fine with this thing from the Alien movies as it’s tongue. Seriously!
Tell me this handsome fellow isn’t more horrifying than a zombie or the wolfman.
Greetings web denizens, heathens, zealots and the rest of you!
So, being that it is nearly Halloween, I’m doing a Halloween rant. Not because I want to, mind you. It’s because I’m told columnists have to write holiday related pieces around holidays. I would actually protest and say that Halloween is not actually a holiday per se, but I suspect I am going to be out voted.
So in the
forced march spirit of the season, here is my contribution to Halloween reportage: five Halloween monsters that actually aren’t that terrifying.(yes I am dying a little inside here)
Oh how far the mighty vampire has fallen.
I know, I can already hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth at this. Vampires. Nosferatu. Bloodsucking denizens of the night. Scary right? Ok, I will give you that the classic vampire – Dracula, Blackula, Count Chocula and probably Blade – scary as all get out. Fangs, super strength, hard to kill and sneakyer and more badass than a Ninja Chuck Norris.
Unfortunately, the tragically evil figure of the classic vampire has been replaced by his weaker, whiny, simpering and often inexplicably sparkly counter parts. The original Dracula was suave, if utterly lethal, ladies man. You know, like Shaft with fangs. (Was Shaft a vampire? Seems like he should be, right?) Plus he could only come out at night, which met going to sleep was a bad idea. Then came Twilight and the dawn of the emo vampire. Danger was replaced with teenaged angst and vaguely stop-staring-at-me-you’re-being-gross-and-creepy. Really, stop it. And they came come out during the day? What the hell is that???
Terrifying level: Two vials of blood out of five. They still have powers beyond the ken of mortal men, but are too busy crying in their extra-virgin Shirley Temples to know it.
4) The Mummy:
One the one hand, the Mummy has the whole undead thing going for him. Popular motif for monsters that. Basically if you want to be a true monster that will frighten the bejesus out of someone, you have to have died first. Think about it: vampires, zombies, Bettlejuice, Stephen Harper….all once dead, now undead. Or dead like. Or at least not very life like most of the time. Essentially mannequins that can ruthlessly hunt you down. (Note to self: pen screenplay about mannequins conquering a mall clothing store and making the shoppers stand in uncomfortable poses in windows. Bite me, Stephen King.)
Anyway, you know the deal with this guy. Mummified Egyptian bigwig, comes back from the dead because of a curse in hunt of a woman who vaguely looks like his dead girlfriend. Actually that is kind of Dracula’s M.O. too….anyway, I digress. He shuffles about like a drunken sailor to fix up his bandaged body and find said girl and then is eventually killed by a flash light.
Terrifying level: one ancient sarcophagus out of five. The Mummy’s problem is best summed up by Will Smith playing Muhammad Ali in the movie Ali: “That mummy has one eye and a limp. That mummy’s 643 years old. He can’t catch nobody. Look at him. You gotta fall down ’cause that’s the only way the mummy could catch you.” I did I mention he gets killed by a flash light?
When I was a kid, Jason was part of a 1980s generation of movie monsters that had every kid on my block scared out of their minds: Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street. Mike Myers from Halloween. Andie Walsh from Pretty in Pink. They were constantly butchering teenagers who had apparently been left alone by negligent baby boomer parents who figured there was nothing wrong with their kids spending the night in an isolated forest with no means to call for help. Where was FACS, that’s what I want to know.
Jason was basically the Mummy with a wardrobe upgrade and a knife. He was also flash light proof as I recall. But how he ever managed a single successful kill was beyond me. He had all the agility of redwood and the brains to match. And he made almost no attempt at stealth or speed. You mostly have to let Jason kill you. He is so unimpressive that I actually think the entire Friday the 13th film series is a metaphor about how nature culls the stupid.
But his great failing was his most iconic feature. The goalie mask. Look, I played hockey for a long time and really, if you want to know who, on any given team, will eventually snap and go homicidal, it’s the goalie. These dudes spend all their time putting their bodies IN FRONT of vulcanized rubber being launched at them at 100 miles an hour.
But Jason wore an old school goalie mask. As in Gerry Cheevers old school. Those masks have no peripheral vision. So all you have to do is step the side and walk away.
Terrifying level: Two hatchets out of five. Shambling, shuffling, only able to move in straight lines and might as well have vascular degeneration his eyesight is so bad. Still, he has a knife, which is more than any of the other entries on this list had.
2) The Blob
I would have loved to have been in on the meeting where the script writers pitched this one. If you don’t know, the Blob first appeared in a 1958 film called, well, The Blob. It is essentially a story about a really dangerous bit of mucous that slithers (is that right? can a blob of snot slither? It has no appendages to speak of or even a belly. I mean, a snake slithers….what’s the right verb to describe how a blob moves? Squishes?) and slimes people to death. Somehow, despite not having any clear means of locomotion or opposable thumbs, this heap of Silly Putty manages to consume most of a small American town.
Basically, pour a bunch of melted cheese and Jello on the floor, and there you go. That’s the Blob. Are you terrified yet? Not only that, but the Blob can really only strike during the summer months, because it reacts to the cold the same way anyone with any common sense reacts to gangnam style. You just lock up in terror and cannot move while your brain slowly shuts down.
Terrifying level: one bowl of runny porridge out of five. Seriously, the Blob would be the lamest monster of all time, but the original movie was Steve McQueen’s first leading role. And Steve McQueen’s cosmic level of badassry makes even the most awful movie better. You can argue with me on this point, but you would be wrong.
Oh for the love of….zombies??? Look, I don’t get the fascination with the zombie walks, and making dead presidents zombie hunters, and zombie remakes of classical literature. And I’m not talking about 28 Days Later zombies. I am talking about the only true zombie – shuffling, groaning, poorly dressed and mostly physically useless genetic defects who are so slow they make Jason and the Mummy look like Usain Freakin’ Bolt by comparison.
Essentially, take your shoe off, leave it on the ground and run away. That shoe has a 1000% higher chance of killing you when you later walk by and trip and fall than a zombie does. (Yes, math geeks, I know 1000% isn’t a real thing. But it should be.)
At least The Mummy and Dracula have motivation of sorts. Count Chocula wants to give kids juvenile diabetes. Jason has the foresight to carry a weapon. And the Blob has Steve McQueen (The Magnificent Seven, baby!!!) But the zombie? Look, aside from bizarrely being amazing dancers when Michael Jackson showed up wearing a Buck Rogers jacket, they just wondered around like cows, if cows ate brains. They cannot figure out how to open doors, or throw a rock or run. I mean, their limbs fall off while they are walking slowly after you for pity’s sake.
Terrifying level: zero rotten limbs out of five. Ultimately, the zombie is only slightly more dangerous than a goldfish left out on the kitchen counter. Or the Blob minus Steve McQueen.
Greetings web denizens, heathens, zealots and the rest of you!
A few days ago I wrote an editorial about IKEA’s decision to pretend women are invisible by removing them from the version of their catalogue in Saudi Arabia, a c0untry where women are treated mostly like chattel. Women cannot vote, get a job, or even open a bank account without the permission of a man. So to avoid offending Saudi sensibilities, IKEA digitally erased women from their catalogue. Starbucks has also gone down this road.
I find it appalling that a western company would, in the name of its singular pursuit of profit (which is all corporations exist to do) would contribute to the repression of women in the middle east. It appears, however, that not all of you share this view.
Consider the feedback from the Standard reader who goes by the handle “howdydo2″ who believes that while we might not like how women are treated in Saudi Arabia or some other middle eastern country, we have to accept and respect those nations’ cultural decisions:
not that i’m a fan of ikea, but unfortunately you have to respect other countries way of life. If you don’t like it, don’t live there. If you don’t live there, don’t tell them how to live
then don’t live there. For some reason western society thinks it is the only cultural way and should trump all. This is not the case, while i don’t agree with that countries view of women and culture, that is how it has been for hundreds of years and even to this present day. If you don’t like it, don’t live there
that is just it.. WESTERN free society, this is not the case over there and it is not your place to tell them how to live, think and feel. That country has its own culture, and it isn’t ours.
“i still stand by my stance that it is not our place in “western society” to dictate how other countries should operate and what is “culturally acceptable”. Thanks to western society we have destroyed the nuclear family, dad goes to work, mom takes care of the kids and house. Now both me and my wife have to work, mind you we still live comfortably for today’s standards, i would prefer my wife (or I, it doesn’t matter to me as long as one spouse is at home and one works) could stay home and take care of the home and children. No, instead families have to look at early daycare, nursery schools, jk/sk, etc, IF they can afford it. Its all ass-backwards.”
The argument here is basically that a) all cultural activities are relative. What is good for us, is good for us and what is good for them is good for them. And we cannot criticize or question the cultural activities of others and b) since we are not perfect, what right do we have to be critical of others.
Much of what I am about to say, in the interest of disclosure, is influenced by Sam Harris’ book “The Moral Landscape.” A good overview of his central ideas can be seen in his recent TED talk and it is well worth your time to watch it:
Firstly, howdydo2′s primary point is, I think, ignoring some critical facts. First, the idea that because a cultural has been doing something for hundreds of years is not an argument in it’s defense, nor does it suggest some manner of moral and ethical equivalence to any other point of view. I mean, if a culture was keeping slaves for hundreds of years, do we therefore shrug our shoulders and say “well that is what is good for them, even if we don’t like it?”
Are we to say the Taliban’s brutal suppression of women when they ruled Afghanistan is “ok” because, well, that is their culture? Or you know, this bit of the burning stupid?
Further, howdydo2 is not asking the question Harris asks. What does voluntary mean in a society where if a woman fails to act in a fashion that the men who run her society approve can be brutally punished, even killed? How is that “voluntary?” How is that person “choosing” to live in such a fashion? What howdydo2 and those who subscribe to this kind of cultural relativism don’t seem to grasp is that the women in this cultures don’t have a meaningful choice to make. It’s not even an option. So the entire argument of “that is their culture and if they don’t like it they shouldn’t live there” is hopelessly naive.
Finally, this sort of talk ultimately says that questions of human suffering are ultimately unanswerable and are all relative to their cultural context. We think the subjection of women is bad, the Saudi’s do not and there is no way to determine which is superior. Nonsense. Either the values of freedom and equality, the bedrock of our democracies in the west, have an intrinsic value or they do not. Either freedom, education, and the right the choose are things worth fighting for and promoting or they are not. Either democracy is superior to a tyranny or it is not. To claim that all points of view are equal is to say that nothing we value is worth very much at all.
No, as Harris points out, there are basic questions about human suffering and flourishing that HAVE answers. There may be multiple answers, but we can say with some certainty that women having no lives save for that which their
owners men allow is not a path to such flourishing. Moreover, IKEA and Starbucks and other corporations, by lowering themselves to embrace the cultural (and sometimes violent) misogyny of Saudi Arabia in the pursuit of greater profits are therefore endorsing those cultural practices. In other words, when IKEA erases women from its Saudi catalogue, it is saying treating women like pets is OK. And by doing so, IKEA was contributing to the suffering of women in that country.
That is unacceptable.
Greetings web denizens, heathens, zealots and the rest of you!
So still following up with the article I wrote about religion in school last week.
I had the opportunity to talk to the parent who is suing the Hamilton school board so he has the right to withdraw his children from lessons he deems are against his religious belief, particularly lessons that involve homosexuality.
Steve Tourloukis and I chatted for a while and he seems a decent and honest guy. I think he is totally wrong on this issue, but the conversation was very civil and, if nothing else, Steve isn’t out to convert the world or try and ruin public education.
He makes a good point, one that isn’t covered much in the press he is getting. The parents of other religions already get to remove their children from classes they find theologically offensive or are given a wide berth to avoid material that offenses their faith. Whether it’s Muslim girls not having to take gym class because shorts and a t-shirt violate their modesty rules, or JVS not having to listen to lessons that talk about Easter or Christmas, he says exceptions for the religious are already being made all over the school board. In fact, it’s in the board’s official documentation about religious accommodation. True, the board is careful to point out in this documentation, which can be found on the Hamilton-Wentworth school board’s website, that there are limits to religious accommodation and that it cannot do anything that violates provincial regulations.
Nonetheless, Steve believes what he is asking for is no different than what is already given to other parents for essentially the same reason.
While I think that he if he is successful in court it will have deleterious impact on the education system to properly educate students, he does have a point. In many ways, Pandora’s Box has already been opened. The question now is not to further warp public education, but to find a way to close the box.
Greetings heathens, zealots, web denizens, and the rest of you!
Ok, I know it often seems like I don’t take things seriously and I am always cracking wise about life, the universe and everything. But there is nothing particularly funny about the shooting in Colorado last night at a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
It’s one of those bizarre events that leave everyone with even a shred of human compassion wondering what in the name of Hades is going on with society. What would possess someone to walk into a crowded movie theatre, throw smoke bombs and start shooting random strangers?
Among today’s stories about gun control and terrorism and political outrage (Including this insane gem of a politician in the U.S who blames the shooting on the separation of church and state. The stupid burns all the time I guess.) are questions about how afraid we are. We at the Standard even have a poll asking if you’re too scared to go to the movies now.
Without making light of the tragedy in the U.S. – which is absolutely awful – can we please get a bit of a grip here?
Some facts worth considering before you refuse to go the movies out of fear that you too will be gunned down:
First, the crime rate in North America has, for well over a decade, been declining. This includes violent crime and gun crime. But, we in the press often give an impression that chaos is rampant and it’s like Mad Max out there in the big bad world. Which leads to a truly bizarre situation. The crime rate is down but the fear of crime is pretty high. People believe their streets are vastly more dangerous than they actually are, which impacts how people act in a whole mess of ways.
Second while shootings like this one, or the recent gang violence in Toronto, are epic, scary and understandably grab headlines for days, they are aberrations. In other words, your odds of being gunned down in some Columbine-like shooting or a gang war are very, very low. In fact, there is almost no chance that if you go to see The Dark Knight Rises tonight in St. Catharines that you will be shot. All things being equal, the most you will have to deal with is some annoying bozo sitting behind you talking too loud or kicking the back of your chair.
Third, these kinds of shootings – as with most things in life – are totally unpredictable. They don’t happen often – despite what happens when everyone stomps on the fear button with all their might – and when they do you have no way of knowing when or where. They have hit malls, schools, churches universities and now, a movie theatre. If you are going to avoid the movies because you fear some nut with a gun will kill you, then you might as well then avoid all potentially inclosed rooms anywhere and avoid contact with people. That would be your only way to avoid it. You might still get hit by lightning or a comet, mind you.
Finally, it is always worth remember that freaking out – what I like to call the headless chicken syndrome – is always the wrong response when something big and tragic happens. It solves nothing and does little other than keep people frightened and not thinking clearly. It can actually make things worse. And the so the question “are you afraid to go to the movies now?” doesn’t get regarded as irrational but totally reasonable. Which it isn’t. The question ITSELF plays on your fears.
This shooting is beyond awful. It truly is. And once we learn more about the shooter and what kind of crazy is going on his head it will seem all the worse. But there is no reason to rip up your movie tickets or start wearing body armour to the movies. Go see your movie choice, enjoy some time with family or friends. Relax. Keep your head. Think. Otherwise, the nut with the gun really does win.
Greetings heathens, zealots, web denizens, and the rest of you!
There is stupid. There is burning stupid. There is atomic radioactive stupid. And then there is this:
Apparently, according to an American think tank Heartland Institute – and I assume the word “think” is being used in the form of a joke. Yyou know how the young folks say something that is good is “sick”. Like that. - accepting climate change data is the same as being the Unibomber. How exactly? Well, Heartland isn’t exactly clear on that bit. Something about mass murders being on the fringes of society and those doing climate change science on also on the fringes. So anyone who believes climate change is happening is the same as a reclusive math genius who living in a ramshackle cabin scribbling out a nonsensical manifesto and making pipe bombs. Or something. I mean you can see the connections right?
This is a stupid beyond stupidity. It’s stupidosity exceeds all known levels of stupidism. It burns hotter than any flame. It is fusion level Three Mile Island meltdown stupid.
I defy anyone to defend it.
Greetings heathens, zealots, web denizens, and the rest of you!
Ok, I have some ranty mojo brewing today and I’m in need of a target. Fortunately, the world is a big place with more stupid than it is possible to catalog, and it was easy enough to find one. Just up the highway in fact. In Toronto, that mythical center of the known universe.
Specifically, a column by rabbi Dow Marmur, who evidently doesn’t like us heathens very much. The problem with we atheists, he says in a meandering column in the Toronto Star, is that we are pretty much like jihadists:
I’ve, therefore, consistently refused to engage in debates with atheists. They may consider me a cowardly man of little faith who’s afraid of exposing himself to the truth, but impartial observers will know that contemporary atheists are often even more fanatical than religious fundamentalists. Their zeal seems to know no bounds.
Interesting. Last time I checked, the most fanatical religious fundamentalists in North America try to have their dogmatic nonsense taught in science classes and are obsessed with telling women what they can do with their bodies, including a hilarious Republican bill that passed recently in Arizona that defined pregnancy as starting two weeks before conception. (no, that is not a punch line.) In even more extreme cases in North America, Europe, and of course, the middle east, the fundamentalist set is busy killing other people, often using that delightful method employed by the truly deluded, suicide bombing.
Marmur points to Alian de Botton’s weird newish book Religion for Atheists, where in de Botton says he wants to build atheist temples, as some manner of evidence that atheism itself is becoming a religion (which is why we are worse than the worst religious fundamentalists….you know without the bombs and such) and in fact, heathens have “religion-envy.”
Ok, look, first de Botton strange book was greeted with disinterest by the atheist community, such as it even exists, and the most anyone could say about it was “uh, what?”
It’s true, there are atheists who seem to want to ape the group cohesion provided by most religions, but it’s an attitude I’ve always found puzzling. It’s why I don’t belong to any skeptic/atheist/humanist groups nor go to regular meetings. I don’t have any need to get together with people to talk about what I don’t believe in. I tend to, this rant notwithstanding, focus my commentary in his regard on attempts to breach the wall between church and state, or religious attempts to undermine basic freedoms like freedom of speech, or attempts to win converts by stealth (like the ongoing efforts of the Gideons to be given access to elementary public school children.) But sit around and talk about why I don’t believe in the existence of gods? Zzzzzz. Please. I’d almost rather watch Glee.
Marmur’s entire argument crumbles because it starts with a false premise. He treats atheism as though it’s a thing like Christianity or Scientology or Jedism something. The tacit assumption he makes is that atheism is a complete philosophical entity, with dogmas, and rules and holy books and, I would guess, priests or clerics or some sort that one obeys. And uses this argument as he defends the excesses and violence of religion:
Because religion is articulated and administered by human beings, it often falls short of its stated ideals — just like atheism.
Really? Really, Rabbi Marmur? And what ideals are those exactly? Where do I find them? Where, in the name of Zeus’ holy toga, do I find the “stated ideals” of atheism?
Look man, atheism is barely a thing at all. Not believing in a god or gods is all atheism is. Period. QED. End of frakkin’ story. The only reason we have a name for it at all is because historically everyone around us has been totally hell bent for leather on this whole god business.
I mean, even the name “atheism” is pretty stupid because it dignifies the thing that it denies. Look, I don’t believe in vampires or big foot either, right? But there is no need to run about calling myself am “anosferatuist,” or an “asasquatchist,” is there. The bottom line is that atheism is a religion like bald is a hair colour. The “ism” at the end makes it all sound fancy, I guess, but it isn’t.
I pretty well agree with Neil deGrasse Tyson on this front when he says “at the end of the day I’d rather not be any category at all.”
Even the so called “atheist community” is a disjointed lot that is only bound by the disbelief in the supernatural and generally shared respect for science, evidence and reason. There is also some broad agreements on the values of democracy, freedom of speech and the like. Beyond that, it is pretty well, to use the cliche, like herding cats. Disagreements abound. Yes, Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennet, Harris, PZ Myers and a few others are the most public and well known of the so called “New Atheists” (which is only new by the authors refusal to shut up when told.) but they constantly disagree. Tyson and Dawkins’s disagree over how to talk about science and religion in popular culture. Myers recently took Harris to task over issues of racial profiling at airports. And I’ve lost track of how many non-believers were sharply critical of Hitchen’s views on the Iraq war.
But I am sure Marmur will tell us where in that mess there are the “ideals” of atheism. Or is that the sound of cricket’s chipping?
About the only thing that Marmur gets right is that religion allows people to form a community of believers and atheism doesn’t do this. Well, yes. So what? De Botton’s goofy book aside, how is that supposed to an argument against atheism, or put more correctly, for religion? Does it demonstrate the existence of a god? Because that is what it would take, son. That pesky thing call evidence sort of matters.
Ultimately, Marmur’s entire argument seems to boil down to the idea that religion makes you feel good, and atheism doesn’t. I suppose that could be right. Atheism provides no guidebook, no bromide of any sort. Attempts to make it do so are as foolish as attempting to grasp quicksilver. To me, not having that kind of crutch is freeing. Yes, life can be miserable. It can suck. It will, as Rocky says. “beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.”
Speaking only for myself, I would rather harden myself to deal with it than rely on help that isn’t there because it makes me feel good to believe there is. I would rather deal with life as it is, honestly, and be miserable than to cling to some manner of false hope. If atheism is a thing at all, it’s living life on your own terms, taking the awful and the good as they come.