« Four Wheel Drive of the Apocalypse | Main | There Is No "Out of Proportion" »

The Idiots

There's a Hemingway story -- very brief, 3 or 4 pages maybe -- called "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen". In it, two tedious doctors discuss a 16 year old boy who'd come into their emergency room a few hours earlier and wanted to be castrated. He'd begged the doctors to free him from his impure urges. These sinful feelings came to the boy every night, you see, and the boy felt they were sins against the Lord, against purity itself. The doctors told him to get lost. A few hours later, the boy is brought into the hospital near death because of blood loss. Since the doctors wouldn't help him, see, he decided to perform a little self-surgery with a razor. Sadly, the boy's understanding of the facts of life was weak. He'd misplaced the seat of his lust. He'd misunderstood the meaning of the word "castrate", and so what he cut off was not his nuts but his dick.

You know, in my opinion, the trouble with Christianity -- at least as it is practiced in the U.S. -- is that it lets just any old unqualified person in. This is how you end up with high school students ignorant of the scientific method and thus contemptuous of evolution. This is how you end up with people thinking it is somehow crucial, above all else, that prayer be allowed in school. This is how you end up with preachers who feel that it is the fault of gays and feminists that we were attacked on September 11, 2001.

See, you take this thing that has the potential to address profound issues of human suffering, and you hand it out to people who have no idea what suffering is. You turn this potentially beautiful thing into an idiot religion. It just seems grotesque to me, and I'm not even a Christian.

I think people should not be allowed to be Christian until they have lived lives like Jesus Christ lived his. They should have to live as the least of us for as long as Jesus did -- 33 years or so. You know, maybe then their religion could become about something important again, with something deep and meaningful to say about human suffering, rather than being about voting Republican, or supporting Roberts for the Supreme Court, or telling gay people they can't commit themselves to each other before the law.

I dunno, maybe other religions should do the same thing -- have some sort of apprenticeship program for living as a human being first, and then, after a suitably long learning period, a guy can graduate to becoming a member of their religion. I can't say. I was raised in a Christian nation and can only see the particular idiocies of the way that religion is practiced here.

Honestly, Christianity in America today is no better than that idiot kid who thought he could solve his lust problem by cutting his dick off instead of his nuts. Their depth of misunderstanding of the real facts of human life is as profound as that poor boy's.

Except, come to think of it, assuming that kid did bleed to death (we never really find out in the story), I guess he did manage to solve his lust problem after all. Kind of his own personal Armageddon and Rapture all rolled into one, I guess.

Say, there's something we can all look forward to.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Idiots:

» Sneak's Wide World of Blogging 35 from Sneakeasy's Joint
This series is dedicated to the proposition that Blogging is a prime example of the saying Variety is the Spice of Life. Let's get to the good stuff! 1. I KNOW it's TUESDAY, but here's the Sunday Sermon, from The [Read More]


I'm thinking of the part in The Republic where Plato declares that philosophy will not be taught to the young, because they can't grasp the complexities. They're there to do what they're told, and let old people handle the heavy thinking. OK, maybe I'm being a little hard on the old boy, but I do remember that from the balmy days of my college years. (Of course, my first thought was, "Well, clearly I'm not old enough to get this, so why am I being expected to study it?" but I digress, I digress.)

I wonder how much of that was Socrates, and how much was Plato, reflecting on how the Athenians got burned by the behavior of people like Alcibiades and the Young Reactionaries who became the Thirty Tyrants.

I've never been sure how powerful a role philosophy played in Athenian politics. From the writings we have, it seems important, but I dunno. We only have the writings we have. I really don't know how to compare the influence of philosophy on Athenian politics and Christianity on modern day U.S. politics.

I'm all in favor of the young being deeply involved in politics. We all have a stake in our relationship to the state. We all have a stake in our relationship to the Cosmos, too, of course, but it just seems to me that you need to live in the Cosmos for a while before you start making pronouncements about other people's relationships to it.

I'm always reminded of these people on usenet who tell you all there is to know about sysadmining a unix system when they've never actually sysadmined one themselves. They have this disturbing tendency, if listened to, to break things for other people in particularly dangerous ways.

You can't really ban people from shooting their mouths off about administering unix systems, and you can't really tell people they can't be Christians until they've apprenticed as regular, shlubby human beings for a while. But still.

I guess it wouldn't be such a problem for me if there weren't so many idiots so willing to listen to people who make like they know what they are talking about when they clearly don't. Maybe they could just preface everything they say with IANAWHB (I Am Not A Wise Human Being)? Hmm. That seems unlikely.

I guess maybe my expectations of how human beings ought to behave are, once again, too high. You'd think somebody taking advice on his or her relationship to the Cosmos would want to insure the person handing out the advice actually had some real world experience with the question. But, no. The world is full of raped unix systems, laid open by idiots taking advice from other idiots. I don't know why I thought things should be different when people are installing and tuning their own religious beliefs.

Which only further convinces me that some sort of Technical Certification Program ought to be instituted for Christianity. It wouldn't guarantee the wise use of a powerful religion, but it might cut down on some of the idiocy.

It wouldn't guarantee the wise use of a powerful religion, but it might cut down on some of the idiocy.

And yet it seems that organized religion as a whole appeals most to the ignorant masses. I'm not saying that you have to be an idiot to be a spiritual person, but wow...how many idgets do you have to contend with to meet one person who latches on to a religion for the sake of personal growth rather than as a tool to fight against things the fear or don't understand (is that usually one and the same?).

I live just under the buckle of the bible belt and the zealots are constantly protesting something. It's like they wake up and say, "Who can I attack in the name of God today?" It's as if they are afraid that if they don't have a cause, they might...fade away.

They keep their faith in the papers on the news. "Look at me, I'm fighting EVIL! Come join me on my holy crusade against everything that doesn't fit into my exact idea of what American life should be like." Are they a congregation or an army of publicists for "Their" version of Christianity?

It's as if they are afraid that if they don't have a cause, they might...fade away.

Interesting way to put it.

I started thinking about this whole thing because it strikes me that Christianity, at least in America, is becoming more and more a crap religion. As I said, I'm not a Christian, I don't even believe in god, but none of that prevents me from seeing the powerful good Christianity can be. But it's just become, well, crap. At least in this country. Yes, I know there are lovely, intelligent, spiritually generous and wise people who are deeply committed to their Christianity, but really... the face of American Christianity is becoming just crap, in large part because of the sort of thing you describe.

I keep wondering if somebody is going to come by and accuse me of trying to force onto Christianity my notion of what Christianity ought to be. On the contrary, I think Christianity ought to reform itself, turn itself back into something spiritually important instead of politically influential. By all means people should invite their spiritual lives into their political lives... but they should do that personally, as individuals, and even so what inevitably follows from that notion is that if you are working from a crap religion, you are going to get crap politics.

So, maybe the thing to concentrate on is not saving the world from its sins, but saving yourself from a crap religion. I'm always amused by the .sig line I saw somewhere on usenet about how unlikely it seems that the Lord of the Cosmos, creator of spiral galaxies and quantum physics and time itself would concern him/her/itself with who I chose to share my weiner with.

I mean, come on people. This is the Cosmos you are living in, not some gossipy small town full of prying eyes and clucking tongues. Sheesh, get a religion, why don't you?

I think it's true what they say. Mixing politics and religion only demeans religion. Christians are turning Christianity into crap.

I'd settle for memorizing the the four books of the Gospels in their entirety.

It wouldn't work, of course.

Getting your balls cut off doesn't work, either. (See how corrupted you are by the anti-sex religous environment? You forget that, while reproduction is related to lust, it is not vital to it.)

Avendon said:

(See how corrupted you are by the anti-sex religous environment? You forget that, while reproduction is related to lust, it is not vital to it.)

I presume you are referring to my remark:

Their depth of misunderstanding of the real facts of human life is as profound as that poor boy's.

I should have made it clearer that I was talking about a set of facts of life wider than those that describe how sex happens. I intended the remark to refer to all my carryings-on about human suffering, etc. -- all the stuff that I think religion really ought to concern itself with rather than people's sex lives. Those I consider to be the facts of real human lives, not the made up lives of Perverts Feared By All Real Christians... which is probably how I should have said it in the first place.

What about the notion of confirmation?

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

In Memory

May 2006

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      


  • Technorati search