Polymorphously perverse post on religion
The other day a buddy dropped by, and we ended up talking briefly about religion. And I said, "I wish that I could just discuss my views on religion openly on my blog."
But in hindsight, I realize two things, 1) it's so unnecessary because being the adherent of a particular faith kinda says it all in the first place, 2) when I do want to, there's enough stuff out there on the web that just covers it better than any nouns and verbs I could rub together to attempt to make a point.
I found this nice little comparison of the "Abrahamic" religions (the big three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christanity, and Islam), which is one of the better thumbnail guides I've ever seen. My only quibble is the supposed Christian view of "human nature" as "tendency towards evil." I don't think that's the larger view we hold, nor did my buddy. Other than that, it's a gem.
On that same site is a great rundown of the facts and fiction in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Especially nice is the tweaking of the central premise of the book:
- In The Da Vinci Code: A child of Jesus would undermine the critical notion of Christ's divinity and therefore the Christian Church, which declared itself the sole vessel through which humanity could access the divine.
- In Reality: Not necessarily. Official Christian teaching is that Jesus was fully God and fully man - if he had a child, it would be part of his humanity and would not necessarily endanger his divinity.
So there. (For the record, I enjoyed the book, because even though Brown may not be Shakespeare, he certainly knows how to put together a thriller. The movie was dull.)
At a party this weekend, some friends who are what I'd classify as (and they'd probably agree with me) non-denominational pagans were shocked that Christianity is the most popular religion in the world. I was shocked that they were shocked. But, nonetheless it made me look it up again, and here is the rundown of religions by adherents, if you're interested.
This year I had to request that the Mormon church excommunicate me because they would not stop harassing us at home.
I originally joined the church because the girl I was dating at the time said I had to be Mormon to marry her, which I thought I was going to do, so I started the classes.
Well, the relationship went bust, and what I was learning struck me as a big a pile of hooey as Scientology does (Joey and Ronny clearly made it all up; one for glory and chicks, the other for glory and cash, respectively).
So I showed up to my baptism with the intent to call it off, but they got real pushy, and I thought I'd get out of there faster if I just went along with it. There I was, in my white cotton clothes they provided, standing waist-deep in the baptismal font, looking at the cute, recently-dipped girls standing there in their wet and transparent white cotton clothes, vacillating between asking forgiveness for pervy thoughts and allowing myself to be baptized into a false religion.
Alas, my brilliant idea that going through with it would be the path of least resistance was way wrong. Those buggers showed up at my door everywhere I moved, and always ran down the list of where I'd been previously, just to show me they always knew where I was, the freaks. When I was single, it was just entertaining, particularly the time I asked them in and showed them verse and scripture as to why their religion was specifically something Jesus would've had a conniption fit about. They told me in the nicest way I've ever heard that I was going straight to hell.
And I thought that was the end of that.
But no, these two kids in their early twenties started showing up at my door this spring because they just built a HUGE temple in our town. (We hiss at it every time we drive by.) They said things to my wife like, "Did your husband ever tell you he was a member of our church?" and things even more inappropriate. Well, interrupting me in the middle of sitcom and a cold one is one thing, but scaring my wife is another.
One night, the doorbell rang, and there they were again. To say I put the fear of God in them would be to understate it a bit. I even used the phrase "if you ever darken my door again..."! I've never come unglued like that on anyone, especially a stranger. They were as white as their cotton shirts by the time they scampered away.
But that didn't take care of it. No, I had to formally request, via letter, excommunication from the local "Bishop." He even sent me an "are you sure?" letter, as if I were asking to close a computer program without saving. I shot back a "hell yeah" with a few "please insure your ilk never bother me again" hosannas.
Even after all of that, I got an invitation to a local "reading group" and found the titles a bit odd (didn't bother to go look them up first), and just called the number. Sure enough, it was the Mormons just wanting me to join their reading group, just a friendly little get-together with no pressure. I asked them if they were aware of my excommunication and my request for no further contact. Reluctantly, and belligerently, they said they did. I then inquired as to what it would take for them to leave me the hell alone. They said I didn't have to be rude about it.
I'm pretty sure this is close to the facial expression I had at that point.
Y'know, I appreciate the efforts some folks are trying to make to ensure we don't vilify Islam needlessly because of the actions of some of its followers. And, yes, the actions of a few do not represent the views of the majority, maybe. (Though this woman begs to differ, and I found her book convincing.) Yet, when it comes down to it, can you really deal with people who send hit squads after each other's children? It's the very definition of depravity.
Finally, this article by Ben Stein (former Nixon speech writer and the monotone-voiced guy who during roll call said the famous lines, "Bueller....Bueller") put the star on top of the tree for me this Christmas season. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Oh, and Merry Christmas!