Friday, July 11, 2008

Christians? Crackers!

In December ’06, during my fourth month or so in the States, I had to do a “cultural breakdown” of some public event, and contemplate it at a level people generally don’t. I made casual reference to this in a blog entry at the time, but didn’t go too far into the polemical specifics, as I had yet to embrace representing the full extent of my beliefs on this blog.

It was supposed to be a 'cultural breakdown,' but since I winged it and was deulsionally tired, it turned into a ten minute lecture on why everybody should be agnostic.

The thesis of the presentation was that ‘faith‘ is just reframed superstition, and anyone who invokes it is openly declaring their lack of intellectual integrity. It was my first public denunciation of childish beliefs, and most greeted it with a stunned silence, or laughed at the absurdity of what the large Irish man was saying.

The presentation was borne out of the frustration I felt at being surrounded by so many people who seemed to punctuate their sentences with allusions to religious dogma, and the general lack of scepticism with which they approached all topics, as a system of binary oppositions seemed to define most; democrat/republican, pro-life/pro-choice, “global warming is real”/ “global warming is a scare-tactic by liberals”. I'm also keen to point out that I had yet to hear of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, or any others in the atheistic movement before moving ahead with my diatribe.

Anyhow – as part of my project, I attended a Catholic mass, went up for communion for the first time in years, (forgot what came after “Body of Christ” and said “cheers” instead of "amen"), and slipped the communion-wafer into my pocket, so I had something for show-and-tell. The presence of the communion-wafer on my study desk made my suitemates a little uneasy at first, but it didn’t take long for them to give up on my hell-bound soul.

Why am I bringing this up again? I just read a blog entry by the legendary PZ Myers, in which he highlights a story that is a reflection on the sorry state of our species, which tells the tale of young Webster Cook, who “smuggled a Eucharist[...] out of mass, didn't eat it as he was supposed to do, but instead walked with it”. This incident is hardly newsworthy on its own grounds, until you factor in the immensely stupid response of the religious, who have accused him of hate crime, condemned his “mortal sin” (sending him straight to hell when he dies), and are actively trying to get him expelled from school!

Let’s have PZ break it down:

That's right. Crazy Christian fanatics right here in our own country have been threatening to kill a young man over a cracker. This is insane. These people are demented fuckwits.

PZ Myers is an educated man. A scientist, even. Who teaches biology. Biology is a science which furthers our understanding of ourselves and the world, and is therefore important. And these people just made him say “fuckwit”.

Of course, as appalled as I am by this story, my overriding narcissism has to kick in, and I have to think about myself for a moment. When I made that presentation in Pittsburgh, I decided not to use the cracker at the last minute, thinking that my classmates would cry “offensive!” and not listen to what I was actually saying. Not only would I have committed a “hate crime” by removing the magical Jesus-bread (listen to how stupid your beliefs sound, Catholics!), but I would have used it as a prop in a 10-15 minute “hate-speech” against Christians. They probably would have tried to get me deported, and at the least, it would have destroyed my chances of staying a second semester.

Unsurprisingly, PZ Myers is now being attacked by the pitchfork-brandishing “fuckwits”, merely for reporting on the issue, and treating it with the reverence it deserved:

I have received 39 pieces of personal hate mail of varying degrees of literacy, all because I was rude to a cracker ... I even have one email that says I should be fired, that the author would like to kill me, and that I only criticize because Catholics are so gentle and kind.

2 comments:

Sully said...

I just thought of a much better title for this entry: "The Christ-Heist".

If only I hadn't rushed it out the door...

Jason said...

When you're burning in Hell and being poked by pitchfork wielding demons you'll wish you hadn't smuggled out the magical Jesus bread.

/demented fuckwittery.

PZM FTW.

The Christ-Heist does sound pretty good. Interesting blog.