Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Woohoo Thus Far

A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away. He must have time to modify his shape.
Mark Twain

Well, it's Sunday Morning September 19 in the Year of Lord Help Us 2010.  Welcome True Believers, to this latest edition of Vigilantius.  Pope Gregory here with a brief (maybe) blog in which I look back at the previous blogification and touch on a coupla key themes.  Yes, as Yahweh rested on the Sabbath, so do I now here plunk meself down and muse upon my creation.  And I behold that it is iffy.

Oh, I am sorta kinda pleased, at least I'm doing this blog, which was the biggest step.  Now I only need to begin to take it more seriously.  Now that last statement may strike you a bit considering the heady subjects I've already tackled and friends, I've just peeled the first few thin layers off of this onion.  My use of humor I hope you find engaging and entertaining and hopefully disarming.  I'm dealing with some difficult ideas here and if we can have a good laugh about things that should be keeping us up all night in a cold sweat, then that will help us move forward.  A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

But one thing I have to tighten up is my grammar, or the lack thereof.  The other member of the firm has pointed out several serious breaches of grammatical etiquette, to my shame.  I do spend a fair amount of time writing and then editing/tweaking these posts before hitting that PUBLISH button.  But there always seems to be one or two or seven mistakes.  And I don't want to get into the idea that this is "just a blog."  There is always a chance that what I have to say could reach a mass audience, but not have that chance because of the bad grammar.  That sort of thing, however unfair, is a reality.  Write the great Uhmurkan novel if you like.  If you write it all on loose-leaf college-ruled notebook paper, in pencil, and tie it together with a rubber band and mail it off to a publisher, you've just wrote the great Uhmurkan bird-cage liner.

However, I do want this blog to have an open, organic, nigh-conversational tone to it.  I imagine myself talking to you, not you reading this.  I also want a stream-of-consciousness feel to the blog.  I don't sit down here in front of the pyooter and stare at the screen when I begin to compose a post (or maybe in your opinion a pile of compost), I know already what I'm going to be going on and/or going off about.  It's just a matter of getting some semblance of coherence to my ideas.  I also recognize the "rules" of grammar as guidelines and tools.  We must be careful to avoid fascism where it is unwanted or unnecessary and if the other arts used the same restrictive rules that literature likes to maintain we'd never of heard from Vincent Van Gogh or Orson Welles or Pee-wee Herman.

My motivations for the blog I have already expressed in previous posts.  I understand...not feel, or believe...that I have come to a place in my life, having been part of a repressive culture and religion and being able to move on to a larger, greater understanding of the human experience, where I feel that I have something important to say about Truth.  I do not know the Truth.  But there are certainly some Truths that we all can agree on, if we are willing to establish the facts.  The problem today is a great many people treat their beliefs as facts.

Take the Theory of Evolution, f'rinstance.  This a theory.  Not a law.  But the scientists whose careers depend on Evolution being accepted as the Truth, although they're all *chuckle* apparently altruistic, completely objective saints who continually have guilt over being paid for their public service, do not discuss it in these terms.  There is too much at stake for them.  Scientists are paid to come up with results, not constantly be researching or theorizing.  They must come to conclusions.  I mean, you must feel sorry for, say...paleontologists.  They spend hours and hours digging in the dirt with a toothbrush and come up with a few fossils and then they go back to their lab and they imagine a prehistoric animal to the extent they'll tell you what its diet was, what it looked like with flesh and skin and such on it and what its favorite color was.  Hard to blame them for making shit up.

What I'm trying to say here is we need to focus on what is true, not treat speculation and guesswork as Truth, and cease to insist you're using reason and logic and critical thinking when you're clearly just trying to buttress your ideology, when an objective observer can clearly see the thing is a house of cards built on a foundation of jello.  For example, my theory on homosexuality being a product of Evolution (yes, big E) is me speculating.  It is a plausible explanation, but I can't prove my theory into LAW.  What we do know is homosexuality isn't a crime, or a reason to abrogate a person's civil rights.  You wear pah-jah-mahs and they wear pah-jam-mahs, but that's no reason to call the whole thing off now is it, chief?

As I stated in a previous post, a significant portion of scientific endeavor is irrelevant.  Now I'm no flat-earther, but we need to use science to better mankind and deal with our current circumstances, not be so obsessed with exactly what kind of animal lived a few millions years ago.  I find this sort of science fascinating, the same way JRR Tolkien is a good read, but whether velociraptors or cave trolls actually existed in this planet's past means dishwater to us in practical terms today.  Finding out how the universe began and what's going on with it in current cosmological terms today has me rapt when I watch the Discovery and/or Science Channel, but that won't put food on the table of starving kids in Africa or Uhmurkah today.

A great deal of science, sadly, is being produced by atheists whose whole motivation for their work seems to be to disprove *G*O*D* and those lesser expressions of consciousness, the more regional gods and goddesses like Yahweh and Hermes and Elvis.  And then we go down the Tree of Life to less sophisticated expressions of consciousness...that means US, we who are created a little lower than the angels.  We are, like the title of that great James Cagney movie,  angels with dirty faces.  We are the extras in the back of the stage while Romeo and Tybalt confront each other and we weep when Bacchus is torn to pieces...I mean when Mercutio is stabbed.  His death is a tragedy...and so some extent, so is the story of the universe.  I didn't mean to go so far into that last bit.  I'll elucidate later on such topics.  That stuff is a bit much for a Sunday Morning halfway through my first cuppa joe.

Regarding my focus on Xianity.  Xianity is currently the single most serious threat to personal freedom and democracy going right now.  There is a very serious and highly-organized sect of Xianity that not only believes that Uhmurkah was created as a Christian Nation, although our Constitution expressly forbids the government recognizing, or establishing laws based on, a particular belief, they feel we should "get back to" that place, although that place never existed.  In truth, Uhmurkah is an experiment to see if a nation founded on the idea that people can reason together for the betterment of the people can survive the human need to rule over others.

What is most ironic is that many of these jokers claim they are the true patriots.  But they are actually traitors to this country.  Uhmurkah is a nation whose government is based on compromise.  It is the system.  However, a certain political group, mainly based in the Uhmurkan Southeast, refuse to cooperate or compromise and because they are not in power anymore, they accuse the political party in power with tyranny.  The last time we had this sort of political environment, it led to the War Between the States.  And if something doesn't change soon, there is a real possibility this country may go to war with itself, instead it won't be one state against the other, it will be neighbor against neighbor...against those who love freedom and those who want to dictate to you how you should live because they claim their interpretation of their Big Book o' Myths and Legends gives them the right.

I'm not about to tell you to live according to the stories in my collection of Irish Tales of Terror or suggest that you be forced to worship Br'er Rabbit as your personal lord and saviour or that Harry Potter's parents died for your sins.  But I would and do respect your right to form a religion based on the Uncle Remus Stories.  BTW, this year's Tar Baby Festival has been cancelled, because it's unseasonably warm and the Tar Baby looks more like Jabba the Hutt than a baby.  Amen.

Faith is the evidence for things unseen...not a way to hide the Truth under a sheet so you can go on about your business like nothing happened.  The Truth right now is like White Elephants defecating in the choir lofts of the churches and Xians are trying to pretend there are no pallid pachyderms pushing out piles of poo there at all.  Faith is there for you to fill in the areas that you cannot be sure of.  It's theological drywall spackling.  And we cannot be sure of a great deal.  But many Xians are playing the tenuous game of having complete and utter faith in their religion while seemingly having zero certainty about what to expect out of Yahweh.  Here's an example:  when tornadoes came through my hometown in the spring of last year, here's some of the statements that were voiced by Xians:

Well, we are blessed that the tornado didn't touch our house.
Well, we are blessed that it just took the roof off our house.
Well, the house is a wreck, but thank Jesus no one was home.
Well, the house is gone, but thank god no one was hurt bad.
Well, our dog got swooped up and we can't find her but no one else was hurt and we don't know where our house is right now, we are so blessed to be alive.  (Although you'd go to Heaven if you die?)
Well, the house was completely destroyed and the mother and child were killed, but thank god the father wasn't killed, let's all keep him in our prayers.

You get the idea.  This isn't the sign of people who have a god they can count on, it's a sign of people that bless their god when things go well, whether your house is not destroyed by a tornado, or it's a sunny day, or the car repair bill wasn't too bad, or your child got over her sickness, etc and when things go pear-shaped...well, that's just the Lord's will and we've just got to have faith.  When I was an Xian, it was a wonder I got out of bed in the morning.  It's much more sane to realize the Shit Happens than to go about all day thinking you're blessed because you and your other Xian associates keep telling yourself that you are.  And anyway, the bible itself says it rains on the just and the unjust alike.  The bible itself is not the source of your idea that you're just so blessed alla time.  C. S. Lewis said, "It (prayer) doesn't change god, it changes me."  He was a true mystic and I consider a True Christian, as well.  May Yahweh rest his soul.

No, we need to have a better, surer understanding of the nature of the universe than it is governed by a god who appears to be capricious and bi-polar.  Even Einstein said that *G*O*D* does not play dice.  I'm at that place now of a clearer understanding and If I can at least cause you to contemplate other possibilities, maybe you can join the relative few of us who are trying to get off this karmic merry-go-round.  Let me buy you a Coke and teach you to sing in perfect harmony, metaphysically-speaking.

But this takes time.  I spent about 10-15 years transitioning from Xianity  It's not easy and I still am haunted by the past, by all the regret.  And I still find myself, like Michael Corleone in Godfather III, getting pulled back in.  It requires constant vigilance on my part to keep myself on the straight and narrow.  But I am hopping and skipping down that road now.  I guess what I'm saying is...we need to be off to see the wizard.  Hope that clears everything up.

Next time I'll talk about why, Rodney King, no...we cannot all get along.  At least not yet.


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