Rant


Not sure why I’ve got an urge to blog and photograph religious topics lately, but here comes another one.

Bobble Head Jesus, on dark background

Umm, actually I meant here’s another blog post, but the photo will do nicely as well.

Reading up more on The Satanic Verses controversy (once I was done ogling Olivia Wilde, that is), I came to the conclusion that I am blasphemy. No, that’s not a typo, nor is it a form of strange English spoken by a Russian dude. I simply mean that my existence is blasphemy. I am an atheist, and by simply being an atheist I am saying that the Christians, Jews, Muslims, Scientologists and Pastafarians are off their rocker and that their imaginary friends don’t actually exist. So, quite literally, I am blasphemy.

For instance, Massachusetts still has on its books this horrid throwback to the Dark Ages:

PART IV. CRIMES, PUNISHMENTS AND PROCEEDINGSIN CRIMINAL CASES

TITLE I. CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS

CHAPTER 272. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY, DECENCY AND GOOD ORDER

Chapter 272: Section 36. Blasphemy

Section 36. Whoever wilfully [sic] blasphemes the holy name of God by denying, cursing or contumeliously reproaching God, his creation, government or final judging of the world, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching or exposing to contempt and ridicule, the holy word of God contained in the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good behavior.

Of course, that law is un-enforceable in the United States, but it’s still something to consider that my mere existence is described as being punishable by jail time and a fine.

And of course Massachusetts is not the only place in the world that has this BS, as this helpful page illustrates. Oh shit, I wanted to visit the pyramids, but 6 months to 5 years in prison is sort of a deterrent. Well, I guess I’ll just have to settle for that pyramid-shaped flashlight in Vegas.

Currently listening to: Bon Jovi.

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Threats for breaking Morocco fast
A Moroccan man campaigning to change the law banning eating in public during the Muslim Ramadan fast says he has received 100 death threats this week.
Radi Omar denied that his group was anti-Islam. “We are in favour of individual freedom,” he told the BBC.

Under Moroccan law, eating in public during the hours of daylight, when Muslims are supposed to observe a fast, can lead to a fine and up to six months in prison.

Man… I’d complain that it’s wrong for a government to support a specific religion and “help” its followers adhere to their beliefs (by throwing them in jail), but same shit is being pulled by the US government as well.

Now, this may sound judgemental and all, but what is it with Islamic countries (Morocco is a self-described Islamic state) finding it necessary to police and enforce Islam? Where’s the sense of personal responsibility? If I eat at the wrong time and will be punished by god, what weight does (should?) any mortal punishment hold? And what about all the non-Muslims? But then again, I would ask that of multiple situations:

  • Eating in public – I don’t believe in your god, why can’t I eat?
  • Burqa – IIRC, wearing a burqa is required by law in some countries, even if the woman in question is not Muslim. Up until 2002, US servicewomen in Saudi Arabia had to wear a burqa when in public.
  • Portrayal of Muhammad – touchy subject, but as long as the portrayal is non-offensive, why should non-Muslims be barred from it? Qur’an condemns idolatry, but this once again is an issue for Muslims: if you’re Muslim and you’re worshiping an image of the prophet, you’re screwed. On the other hand, if you’re not Muslim, why can’t you look at an image of Muhammad?

Charles Darwin film ‘too controversial for religious America’

A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer.

Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin’s “struggle between faith and reason” as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie.

The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.

However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

creation_1479638c

Holy fuck. If the rest of the world didn’t think Americans were out their minds, then this – blocking a film because it deals with a historical figure who described one of the most influential scientific theories – will not help in the least. I’m curious as to the exact reasons that the Religious Right is opposed to this movie: if your faith can be shaken by 120 minutes of cute Paul Bettany and his hot wife Jennifer Connelly (playing Darwin and wife Emma, respectively), then maybe that says more about your faith than it does about the movie. And if evolution to you is as much a fairy tale as the Bible is to me, well then, you can just look at the film as a story of a confused and troubled man suffering from the death of his daughter. Big whoop.

This debacle brings to mind a somewhat related bit of controversy that recently swept the nation: the President’s speech to school-children. Now, that is old news, but I’d still like to comment on it. Unlike some people, I was perfectly fine with parents keeping their kids home, telling them not to listen to the Big Bad President or being prepared with a rebuttal after the speech was made. I actually think that that was a very good thing to happen. America’s Right helped emphasize a point I’ve been making for years, and that is of personal responsibility: if you don’t want your kids brainwashed by MTV, the liberal media, evolution-spewing “science” teachers, violent movies or whatever, stand up and ACT LIKE A PARENT. Which is what the Right finally did. I’m somewhat disappointed that they would pick this time to do it, but that’s their choice. It’s actually good parenting to talk to your children, find out what they were taught in school that day and reconcile that new-found knowledge with whatever baseline you happen to adhere to. Maybe the Religious Right should take the same stance with Creation: let your kids watch it, then at home explain that it was all horse-shit, non-sense and contained about as much truth as a Harry Potter flick.


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Holy fuck! I seriously hope the these rules (try to read whatever isn’t obscured by the message) are not part of some corporate contract. I think that this is a list of rules at a church, for people working there. I certainly wish that’s the case. Though that’s still a lesser-evil stance. The fact that any organization has specific rules about “[riding] alone in a vehicle with a member of the opposite sex” is unsettling.

catholic

The comment under the image said:

I understand how hard it is to try to live your faith in a world where no one seems to believe the same things as you – be strong! I’m praying for you.

Just a few thoughts on this one, in addition to a bit of a ramble.

First, if you’ve found something that makes you happy, like Catholicism, good for you.

Second, it is regrettable that we must hide our true selves, for any reason.

Third, to the commenter, the problem here is not that others don’t believe in the same thing (this is not necessary!), but that believing in something different is frowned upon, or worse.

 

I’m sure everyone finds themselves in situations where pure personal honesty will be detrimental. I keep my beliefs to myself around certain people, mainly because it makes life simple and avoids un-necessary conflict. There are certain coworkers who don’t know that I’m an atheist. Most don’t know about this blog. The reason for it is that this makes life easier. Two of my coworkers (very brilliant people for whom I have a great deal of respect) are particularly religious, so I tend to keep religious discussion out of our non-work dealings. Others… well, they know exactly how opinionated I am on the subject of beliefs, faith and the “pointlessness” of life. (Though even in that case, there are overlaps, where not all people are privy to everything I think.)

Does this make me a hypocrite? Am I a sometimes-closeted atheist? Certainly. But it makes life easier, and so I go on with the charade.

Above I mentioned that it is regrettable that we must hide our true selves. In some cases, in certain parts of the world, the truth about our beliefs (or sexual orientation or political views or whatever) can be harmful and even deadly to ourselves or our loved ones. (Have you heard about one of the most popular extreme sports in Russia? Political humor.) This is quite different, though, from the choice that most of us make to hide ourselves. I can tell every person I know what I think about organized religion, Republicans and sexual repression (or expression), but this would make my life more difficult.

Below is a continuation of this post.

Getting right into the middle of the post immediately after the jump. This will be a bit about Japan and a religious ramble/question.

(more…)

I just stumbled onto this list of Game Commandments put out by Cracked. Some of the mentioned rules include:

#7. Thou shalt let us play your game with real-life friends.

The advantage that consoles have over, say, PCs, is that you can play from your comfy sofa. The reason the sofa is considered the pinnacle of furniture technology is because there’s room for other people on it.

#5. Thou shalt not force repetition on the player.

Well some video games are like tossing cards: sports games, fighting games, racing games. The fun is in repeating and practicing them. But other mission-based games are like having sex. There’s a specific progression and goal in mind, and repetitive interruption only ruins the mood.

#3. Thou shalt admit when enough is enough.

No one has ever liked an escort mission, ever, in the history of gaming. So why do they still exist?

The average gamer has killed more Nazis than the entire Russian army. Where the hell are the World War I games?

Read the article, it’s fairly funny, especially if you’re a gamer.

I have one complaint I’d like to add to the list, as well:

#8. Allow people to map their keys.

I can’t believe that so many of today’s games are so anal about their control scheme. Honestly, is there a good reason not to allow people to, for example, switch the jump and the shoot buttons in Crackdown? It’s not like those values are hard-coded in the game. And if they are, well, we’re all up the creek at that point.

Some of the older games allowed us almost infinite freedom when it came to changing controls. Now, there are usually “profiles”, settings that affect the entire scheme and not individual buttons, but it’s becoming more common for a game not to present the user with any options at all, save for the obvious “invert y-axis” setting.

Why?! Will it cost you more money? Will it take away from the overall experience? Sure, some people might be painting themselves into a corner when they remap the controls to DOA4 in such a way that some button combinations are impossible or even dangerous to attempt, and maybe in such cases some structure would be nice, but let us make that choice!

That is all. I will now go home and play GTA IV, a game that offers no ability to remap any of the controls.

This is going to be a fairly short entry, as there’s only one postcard this week that I want to comment on.

Oh, what a glorious religion Christianity is. No matter what a person does, no matter how good they are toward others or how close they themselves feel to god, they’re still terrified of hell because their parents imprinted them with this crap at an early age. Some people would say that pushing religion onto a someone so young is a form of child abuse. I agree.

To the author: try not to think about it. There’s no god, so you’re not going to hell.

If you really want to believe that god does exist, know that a benevolent god will not send a good person to hell, no matter what religion he subscribes to.

This is an assumption on my part, but I don’t suppose you think that god is evil. However, if you do believe that god is malevolent and only likes people who believe what your parents believe… Well, I don’t have much there. That god really seems like a dick. The only bright side (and it’s not bright at all) about that reasoning is that 99% of the world will join you in hell as well, so don’t feel too bad about it.

Umm, that’s probably 99.99999%. Or something. Basically, it your parents and half the people who go to your church.

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