Saturday, July 20, 2013

A logically-airtight system of belief.

I've been running through this in my head for the past few minutes. Let me get this straight, and allow me to think out loud (or, in print).
  • You create a system of religious belief which is derived from an extremely common pre-existing system.
  • This system you've created highlights, as its central tenet, that anything which occurs is the direct consequence of the existence of the source of your belief system, which you naturally believe to be true, because you're an adherent to the system.
  • It doesn't matter if the things that occur are "good" or "bad," they merely need to take place.
  • Again, the source of your belief system is the sole determinant of whether things happen or not.
  • And since things happen, they must have been caused by the source, thereby reaffirming the source's existence.
  • "Good" things -- that is to say, things which the majority of people approve, enjoy or like -- are easy enough to attribute to this source, due to its all-powerful nature.
  • "Bad" things, while deemed to be unpleasant to the majority of the populace, are also attributable to the source and thus prove that it exists because, well, the thing happened.
  • People tend not to like "bad" things. But you posit that these things prove that the source of your belief system indeed does exist, thus reaffirming your beliefs and thus your system.
  • If you showcase these "bad" things which have happened as, conversely, "good" things -- because they prove that your system of belief must be right -- people tend to get mad.
Alright, I think I got it.

The system of belief, of course, is the Westboro Baptist Church. They have about 40 adherents, which might be roughly the number of members in attendance at your local Elks Lodge meeting, but people around the world have only heard of one of the aforementioned small groups, and it ain't your local Elks Lodge.

The beauty of this system of belief is that, no matter what happens, you can point to the thing that happens and say, "Look, because God is the direct source of everything and makes everything happen, this all proves God exists. And because we know this fact, and we take pride in never deviating from it, unlike others, we're the ones who got it right."

Is this controversial when, say, a baby kitten sneezes in a cute YouTube video? Nope. God made kittens, and sneezes, and YouTube -- so we're all good, baby.

Is this controversial when, say, a US soldier dies in battle in Iraq? Yep. Americans tend to like their soldiers, and get bummed when they die; they tend not to celebrate dead soldiers as yet another affirmation that God exists and does things. But, not the WBC -- this is a time to show that, look, God did this, and therefore God is powerful, and you may as well just join up with us, because we're the only ones who look at a soldier's death this way, which is to say, the right way.

At this point, you have to make a choice. Do you...
  1. grieve the death of a fellow human being, which is arguably a somewhat natural human response, or
  2. put all that aside and take this opportunity to reaffirm the existence of God?
I think I may have said this before in a previous blog post, but it goes like this... if your system of religious beliefs makes you less human, it's probably not a good system to which to adhere.

Now, I'm not entirely certain why they chose the God Hates Fags thing. I can imagine that they probably figured out that homosexuality is a pretty controversial topic -- or at least it was, however-many years ago -- and that'd be their angle on the whole thing. I mean, sure, that list of bullet-points above hangs together on its own pretty well, but if you want to make things practical and comprehensible for Joe Sixpack, you've gotta give an example.

A: "Why does God do bad things to us?"
B: "God does bad things to us because... uh... hmm. Well, I know in numerous places in the Bible, it says that God loved the world and thus everything and everyone on it, but... there's this one little thing it says God's not too keen on, but we do it anyway."
A: "Oh, you mean eating shellfish? Way ahead of ya. Don't touch the stuff, myself."
B: "Well, yes, that could be. You get a bad shrimp, you're gonna be alternately shitting and puking for days. But crustaceans don't really add much zing to a religion, you know?"
A: "Yeah, I know. Besides, I like Red Lobster. How about all those fags, then, mincing-about?"
B: "A, it looks like we got ourselves a church here."
[A and B, both dudes,* furiously make out in celebration]

And thus, Fred Phelps and whoever-else was equally demented and happened to be around and agree with him, created the WBC. Hallelujah, indeed.
* also works for two chicks, trannies, ladyboys or two-spirited persons

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

It's summertime, bitches.

And in the words of Otto Mann, "Two months of Spaghetti-O's and daytime television!"

(N.B. I have always hated Spaghetti-O's and all other forms of canned pasta, and daytime television is ridiculous.)

I've made it a point to tell people these days, when they ask me what I'm doing this summer -- and people do it a lot, because they know I'm a teacher and they looooooove the fact we're not in school -- I've been telling them that I'm going to make it more of a point to see this great city I live in.

To wit, here are a few things I'd like to accomplish.
  • lots of breakfasts at out-of-the-way places
  • buying some nice light rye at Silverstein's
  • riding the entire length of the 501 Queen streetcar and taking a bunch of pictures
  • finally seeing the Scarborough RT
  • whole lotta baseball down at the Dome
  • random trips to places like Pacific Mall
  • Toronto Islands, anyone?
  • riding my bike more, especially on the off-street trails
  • reading books on patios while sipping beers
As you can see, it's a full summer. Barely enough time to take a 9-day solo baseball road trip, this time focused on Baltimore/DC.

Fun times ahead, for sure.