Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jen. I love when one of my far-gone ad absurdum libs provokes a serious, thoughtful response like this, that so nails the sad and tragic aspect of reality I was either running away with, or possibly from. So often I see something wrong and run with it. The truth is, it is not so funny. There is deep bitterness infusing the sick-sweet broth I stew my barbed skewers in, and that lip-smack tang of salt is all tears.

Life is hard, bitter; a sore trial and an unfair one at that. It does not seem like it should be so hard to see better, to know better - to reach out with hands not fists! If we could only take our common humanity as a starting point to work from and to rejoice in. But it is so easy to believe in life as a fight, and that means the enemy must be all around. We embrace hate and divisiveness because if we can make our enemy so damn strong, then maybe it can make some sense how hard life is.

I am truly a committed feminist. There is no joke, there. But as a friend of mine pointed out, too many feminists do not have equality at their heart's core for the cause, but enmity.

Thank you for making me look closer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Heck, I believe in God. And I agree with the Vegetable Assassin.

In pretty much everything but the insignificant details - people are too hung up on those! I mean, come on.

"God does not exist."

"God exists."

Two unprovable assertions! Pure leaps of faith - both of them. Irrational, to take it that far. And frankly, a waste of time to debate the irrational person who has overinvested so much personal stake in an unprovable assertion. Anybody who thinks that what they believe about the fundamental state of reality alters the fundamental state of reality - in either direction! - whoa. Those people are the mean kind of fun to have at parties.

"Proof of God does not exist." Now there's a sweeter statement. One I'd make every day, and I'm pretty confident no one can gainsay me. See, the reason I get along so great with atheists is because neither of our personal leaps of faith away from pure skepticism conflicts with observable reality. And ultimately, observable reality is where I interact with people. It's the best place I know!

And that's why I say I agree with you, Veg: because the realities you point out here are far from insignificant, and all too readily observable. They matter a great deal. We need to be banging out danger and warning. Because those who interpret religion as primarily a means to make this life unlivable (or less livable) use it as a wedge and a weapon against those who don't. Those for whom religion's main use is as a hittin'-stick to control others' lives don't limit themselves to true believers when they swing that stick around. That's not near a big enough stick for who they want to hit. They want the religion stick swung by government, and aimed at everybody. They want to enforce a moral order, where God is Caesar and heretics be not only damned, but prosecuted.

Of course, not all theists want that. Comparatively rational theists who value secular liberty make common cause with agnostics and atheists. We have all made a good bit of progress away from theocracy, but the hollering from certain quarters is still all in favor. Those opposed need to band together and pull together against that kind of impulse. It's us vs. them, and I know where I stand.

But let's be clear about the problem: the common root of all intolerance-based misery in the world isn't religion. Ultimately, it's xenophobia. The need to feel secure in one's chosen camp and demonize the other. To come up with some aspect that you can judge the book by - any aspect will do, but some are more obvious, others more powerful - draw the line on that aspect and say: this person is not like us. We cannot trust this person, we do not know them, we should not try to know them. This person is not worth knowing, is dangerous to get to know. The stranger who is not like us is less worthy of human consideration than we are. They might as well be called inhuman - devil, animal. Slave. Not a person. In the end the one not like us is the enemy, and this attitude makes compassion for the enemy an offense.

The human map has lines drawn all over. Religion. Patriotism/nationalism. Ethnicity, race. Gender, class, region - even neighborhood. To use any of these aspects to draw lines of hate and enmity is to misuse them. And we must be wary, for misuse of religion is particularly powerful, particularly dangerous. More powerful I'd say than any of those others - and that holds true whether it is being misused or merely used.

Even people who believe in God badly need to beware of religion's misuse. I'd say people who believe in God ought to feel that much more a duty and an obligation to confront their coreligionists, on religion's misuse.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I love Wise Blood! Hazel Motes is the coolest. I mean. Hm. Hard to put it. He's like my role model of people I don't want to be like?

I mean, he's kind of nuts, but he's sure got soul. It's a beautiful book with roots in the wormy dirt, and a reach to the top of the sky's dimly lit dome. Love it. Love the book; love O'Connor.

Now her other novel is also good (The Violent Bear It Away), and very much worth reading, but for me it is not nearly as good as Wise Blood.

It takes a weak woman to need a man who pretends to be her superior. But it takes a weaker man to do it. Sick, sick. Sick.

Of course, it takes a weak man to need a woman to be his inferior as well.

What I don't get is, surely men need wives more than women need husbands right? WOMEN! GET TOGETHER ON THIS.

Don't settle for men who are too intimidated to function in an equal partnership.