As you know (“you” indicating the four or five people who regularly read this tripe), I find a great deal of mirth in shooting at sacred cows. One of my favorite things in life is to heap scorn upon the inexcusably stupid and to mock and belittle those with closed minds and a smug sense of superiority. I am especially fond of demolishing the sense of superiority among those who are profoundly undeserving of that attitude- most of them, in other words.
In general, I find that people who believe themselves to be superior are trying desperately to convince themselves. These are the folks who insist that black is white, up is down, and that the Emperor is fully clothed in the face of all evidence to the contrary because believing otherwise would somehow destroy the cozy little fictional universe they have created for themselves.
Pointing out that the Emperor is not, in fact, wearing any clothes is the duty of everyone whose brain cells are not obliged to make long-distance calls to communicate. Inexcusably stupid statements demand to be called out for what they are, and those making such statements should be verbally destroyed in public to (hopefully) teach them to engage their brains before removing the brakes on their mouths in the future.
Unfortunately, this only works with actual facts. As an engineer, I like facts. Facts are backed up by actual evidence and reproducible results. In other words, empirical data and objective evidence. These are the tools of rational thinking and the scientific method.
These are not the tools of faith and religion. There are a great many people on this planet who profess a belief in one deity or another who are fine people- good to their families, generous to the poor, and generally good citizens in every sense of the word. In spite of their mania, these people are generally not bad sorts to have around, invite over for a barbecue, lift a few glasses with, or date.
Sadly, a small but vocal minority of these people are wingnuts and whackjobs of the first water. When it comes to closed minds and undeserved senses of superiority, these people have it in spades. Since actual evidence for the existence of their Angry Invisible Skyman is not available, they refuse to believe that evidence to the contrary has any meaning. The scientific method demands proof and reproducible results before stating facts. These people of faith cannot produce proof, evidence, or reproducible results for any of their beliefs, so the scientific method must go. This sort of blinkered, philistine pig-ignorance leads to atrocities in the name of Angry Invisible Skyman.
Whenever possible, religious zealots try to enact their stupidities into law. This often leads to serious problems (pogroms, Inquisitions, Crusades, rebellions, massacres, etc), and always leads to manifold stupidities.
In a great many television shows, for example, the word god is bleeped out. Even when combined into god–damn, god gets deleted while damn is left alone. It is censored on almost every network. WTF? The god fetishists claim that it is wrong to take god’s name in vain. Last time I looked, the name of the deity christians, jews, and muslims worship is not god. It’s either Jehovah, Yahweh, El, or Allah (depending on which flavor of Angry Invisible Skyman you’re into). God is simply a title. Why not censor president, chairman, officer, or mayor, if you’re going to censor titles? Quite aside from the stupidity of forcing everyone within range of the television broadcasts to comply with one religion’s beliefs, this is just wrong on its face- even going by the god fetishists’ own rules.
A similar bit of stupidity has cropped up regarding images of the muslim prophet, Mohammed. Even according to the muslim sacred texts, Mohammed is not to be worshipped. But the fact that a couple of Danish cartoonists drew pictures of this historical figure sparked riots, death threats, and a great deal of general unpleasantness. Again, aside from the asinine attempt to make everyone comply with one religion’s beliefs, this isn’t even one of those beliefs. Ditto for a Wikipedia entry showing contemporary drawings- by muslim artists, no less- of Mohammed.
This sort of thing is stupid. I have a low tolerance for stupidity, but when someone wants to force me to practice their stupidity, I start looking around for a weapon. When someone screams that I must say, “Peace be upon him” after naming Mohammed, I promptly invite them to eat a bowl of dicks. If they persist, I like to throw pork at them and show them the bottoms of my shoes. When people shriek that I cannot speak the name of a certain zombie jew, I take a great deal of pleasure informing them that the man’s name was not Jesus, it was most likely Yehoshua or Joshua ben Yosef. I also enjoy reminding them that christ is another title- in this case Greek. This sort of thing gets the religious dumb-asses all spun up- every time.
Another persistently annoying batch of idiots are those who insist that the bible is the literal word of their god. Really? I’m pretty sure that English didn’t evolve as a language until the Middle Ages, and I’m absolutely certain that the authors of the original documents did not write in English. The original semitic languages did not have written characters for vowel sounds. The vowel sounds were inferred from context- thus YEHOSHUA would actually have been written as YHSH (actually HSHY, since the semitic languages are and were written from right to left). So if a Greek translator (for example) were trying to transcribe the original documents (more likely copies of copies of the originals), he would have to guess at the meaning unless he had the assistance of a native speaker who could also read. Since those people were generally the religious classes, this sort of help was unlikely to be forthcoming. Even assuming that the translator could speak as well as the natives and had no personal agenda to follow, the mere act of translation involves a great deal of approximation. I use this argument whenever some god-fetishist refuses to go away and insists on trying to “convert” me. It happens more often than you’d think.
Mind you, I don’t go out of my way (most of the time), to say and do these things. I rarely have to seek out the religiously stupid- they take the time and trouble to find me. If they continue to pester me after I’ve told them to go away, then I have no problem with abusing them to the greatest extent possible. Pointing out the ignorance and stupidity of the willfully ignorant and stupid is not impolite or cruel, it is a necessity. It is also a survival mechanism for our civilization. Allowing outspoken stupidity to go unchallenged is to be complicit in its ascendancy. I, for one, will not be a party to the destruction of our civilization and society at the hands of the religious barbarians in our midst.
Current status: Disgruntled
Current music: Pachelbel’s Canon in D