Postcards to say something: 026 – As Others See Us, Darkly…
A renowned philosopher, Jason7463, once wrote the immortal words:
Thats the problem with atheistism,its so damned depressing.Basically says,your fucked so get used to it.
As is so frequently the case with deeper thinkers of this stamp, the wording, punctuation and homophone-swappage is fully sic. Still, let’s transcend that barrier, and look deeply into the void that is “atheistism as seen by Jason7463”.
Firstly there is “atheistism” to consider. I am grateful to Jason7463 for the peculiar wording he has employed in his exposition, as it serves to throw a common error into stark highlight. A person may be an atheist, but to consider atheism as an “-ism” in its own right is to overlook the derivation of the word. A- (meaning “not”) -theism (meaning “believing in a god or gods”) is not a belief, but the rejection of one. To imply that a belief must fill that void is to fall into error. This is usually illustrated by showing that baldness is not a hair colour, and that not collecting stamps is not, in and of itself, a hobby.
Now, is this “absence of belief in a god or gods” as damned depressing as Jason7463 claims? From personal experience and testimonial evidence available, I must say that the opposite applies in the majority of cases. This seems especially true when the subject has experienced belief.
Relieved from the stress of trying to reframe my entire existence to ensure its relative popularity with the invisible distributor of vengeance, largesse and misfortune, and all the forgive me this, show me the way that, and fitting the bigger picture against prophecy… not to mention the sizable cognitive dissonance between “Jesus said” and “Church does”, I am actually beginning to enjoy life.
Of course, we can safely dispense with the “damned” bit…
Basically says,your fucked… I don’t think so. If anything, now that I don’t rely on intangible (and let’s face it, non-manifest) means of support, I tend to plan all details of a project with the most pessimistic outcomes in mind. (The optimum and most likely are also considered: it’s a project management thing.)
The result is a tendency to be more mindful of circumstances and interdependencies: in short, to be careful. I may eventually wind up “fucked”, but entropy guarantees that for everyone.
…so get used to it. The fatalism implicit in such a statement is more indicative of the “let go and let god” type of person. Any situation has options: acceptance, avoidance, negotiation, or even aggression.
I’m alive for now. This is all the life I get, and I’ll play the ball as it lies, go to the clubhouse, or picnic on the fairway if I deem it suitable. I don’t have eternity to waste on harp lessons.
Life is mostly okay, and there’s plenty undone yet. “Used to it”? Only a person who missed a lot of interesting stuff could say that.
Postcards to say something: 010
An old friend, Anonymous Trad, sent me this. Like the lovely folk songs Mr Trad has been providing for a number of years now, the origin of this picture is shrouded in mystery.
As you look, observe the layers of meaning: an artist’s work is stolen and made into an image by people working to make an image, and somebody has come along and added yet another layer of meaning to the image.
And as for the big chairs? Takes a lot of chutzpah.
McJeebus – the Sappy Meal pick ‘n’ choose menu
Ever tried to stand on a stair that wasn’t there? Swiped at an optical illusion and (of course) missed?
If you have, you’ll be part-way to identifying with somebody I know. As a good, skeptical atheist person, my friend has been known to reply with questions and doubt, when buzzed by the whiny mosquitoes of constant evangelising. Indeed, my friend decided to put in some serious work on deprogramming…
…my younger sister. The irony is that she has the information. To her credit she has watched almost all of my atheist DVDs including ‘How the earth began’ and still chooses to believe in her god. Her faith seems impenetrable.
… Her attraction to Christianity is that she feels it provides answers to the randomness of life; it provides consolation and hope. She enjoys the warm of fuzzy of a sky daddy looking out for her. It helps her deal with death and believes it gives her moral guidance.
… Any anomaly I raise with her she may concede but ultimately puts it down to unquestionable faith. “I don’t have the answers but that doesn’t stop me from believing.”
Her church is youth based, Hillsong in its style, lots of singing and praise. It fills her needs to be loved and to extend love to others. It seems details are unimportant. Trying to discuss religion with her is like shadow boxing; an exercise in frustration. So I don’t bother. As long as the idea of god serves a purpose, she’ll hold onto the delusion.
At McJeebus™, the Church Of All Spirit, No Substance, we don’t mind if you ditch the pickle: bins are provided. Straight to the sundae every Sunday? No wucking Mc Jeebus™ Flurries!
It doesn’t really matter what the young footsoldier of Corporate Jesus believes. They don’t have to do more than the old Kenneth Hagin Cop-Out – ‘The Bible says it, I believe it and that settles it!’ – for that matter, they don’t need to know more Bible than a couple of soundbites such as you might find in a Darlene Zschech song. Certainly contextual reading is out of style. In the age of Twitter, it seems Jesus’s frontliners only need to be twits.
As long as the collections keep coming in, the recruiting happens (come on, how many kids/young adults go to Youth Alight or Plastic Shakers or any of the Jesus Lite™ MoshPits for the noise and proximity of potential jigginess? Lots, I bet!) and the Merch keeps selling, things are good.
Need footsoldiers for a demonstration of numbers, signatures for a development application (sign twice, it’s extra nice!), “volunteers” for those lucrative symposium/conference/rally/merch opportunity occasions? Just keep the excitement flowing, and hordes of young’uns will stack your chairs, stuff your envelopes, carry your (notes and cheques only, please) holey-bottomed collection buckets.
There’s a certain comfort for the management when questions aren’t asked. The members who are just there for the “Ooh! Ponies!” feeling don’t have a foundation to rock. By the time the Holy Spirit Of Endorphins™ has stopped stimulating them, they’re either settled-in as regular tithers (and breeders of NextGen McJeebus™ Consumers) and will sit quietly, or used-up, and should be swept aside for fresh meat. You don’t get to sit too long in Mickey Dee’s if you’re not buying, and woe betide the blow-ins who just want to use the dunnies.
If you’ve gotten this far down the page and haven’t blown an artery, you’re probably an atheist or agnostic. Good. Here’s some advice: don’t bother with the McJeebus Happy-Mealers. You won’t convince ’em of anything while they’re too busy chasing the sugar rush. Don’t waste your time: you can come back when they’re older and knackered from a constant diet of rubbish. They’ll eventually be out of the drive-thru: as Tanya Levin says of one of these churches: “There is a 50 per cent turnover every five years. Hillsong is renowned for having a very big back door.”
After pap like that, a diet of stone-ground skepticism will probably be very welcome.