Haters Gonna Hate. But They Shouldn’t….

I got this link from my friend Sarah, who felt it was vital that everyone read it. She was, of course, right, and you should.

“I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay” by Dan Pierce. About beliefs, about acceptance and about how it can be really, really hard to love The Other, no matter what your religion tells you. It’s a good read, if a little rambly in bits, and tries to explore why it is we hate so easily without taking a moment to think about how that hate – based on such petty things as race or tattoos or religion or sexuality – can really screw up the lives of a lot of people.

Avoid the comments, as they rapidly devolve into a shit-slinging contest between Christian apologists and militant atheists. Which is pretty much a textbook definition of irony right there…

tattoo design

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I Dreamed I was in a Cult

And not one of the nice ones, either. Not one of the benign bother-you-at-the-airport cults [1] or the ones that quietly kill themselves when something weird shows up in the sky or that encourage you to buy Amway products.

No, this was a full-on Secret Murder Cult, with robes and a huge Aztec staircase and all that you could ask for in an evil, quasi-religious force. I don’t remember how I got wrapped up in it, as I am not usually prone to murder, but here’s how it worked: the facilities were billed as a retreat for the sick and dying, who would come and stay for a few days, get the whole shebang in terms of rituals and invocations, and eventually get brought to the top of this long, long staircase wherein they would be murdered. Men, women, children – everyone went under the knife eventually. And, of course, I helped.

Maybe it was because everyone seemed so sick and miserable that I thought, “Well, they’re going to die anyway, so as long as their deaths serve our nefarious purposes I suppose that’s all right. If I was sure what our nefarious purposes were….” Looking back on it, one thing I find interesting was the mixture of religious iconography that my brain threw together. The heads of the cult wore robes that resembled the brown robes of the Franciscans, but during ceremonial duties also wore the traditional Arab keffiyeh and spoke Hebrew. [2] The facilities had a distinctly Catholic look to them, except for the huge stone pyramid out back with the blood gutters. Not a traditional aspect of Catholic architecture, unless I missed something in CCD class.

The last group to come through before my cat woke me up [3] was from Africa. Their party consisted of a few morbidly obese, terminally ill, and fantastically rich people and their families. It was a big group, and I remember thinking, “This isn’t going to work.” We couldn’t let any of them live, after all. That would undermine the “secret” part of our secret murder cult.

And while I tried to work out the logistics of disposing of forty or fifty people, it started to bother me on a more moral level. The few sick people looked up at me when I passed with great hope, as though they really thought we were going to help them. Their families were excited by the prospect of a cure, in some cases actually dancing and talking about how much better their loved ones would be. Which is when it started to dawn on me that maybe – just maybe – mass murder was wrong.

But how to get out of it? I had helped, after all. If I went to the head of the cult and told him I was having doubts, I knew he would either be able to sweet-talk or threaten me into staying. I knew that if I ran under cover of darkness to the police, I would be just as indictable as everyone else, and likely spend the rest of my life in prison. I was still searching for a way out when my cat gently clawed me awake and I thought, “I dreamed I was in a cult….”

Of course, one would be tempted to wonder what this says about me, that my dream-self would have to eventually work his way to the conclusion that murdering people who had come to you for help is wrong. Damned if I know what it means, other than that my brain has too much time on its hands.

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[1] Do they still do that? I imagine Homeland Security would probably take a dim view to that in this day and age.

[2] Or at least what my brain thinks Hebrew sounds like.

[3] With his usual unerring accuracy at 5:00 AM. On my day off. Bastard.

A thought on the Chilean miners….

Boston.com’s Big Picture has – as always – an excellent spread of photographs of the rescue mission yesterday. And I know that one of my Big Internet Rules is “Don’t read the comments,” but I noticed a theme in a lot of them. For example:

“Thanks Boston Globe for bringing these pictures of hope, joy, courage and the protection given by the Lord to these miners. I am deeply touched by photos especially #32 of Mario Gomez who remembered at once to thank the Lord for making it.”

“… este es un milagro de Dios de un ser superior”

“Praise God!!!!!!! I feel this brings the world together!”

There seems to be this need to invoke God for this success, but here’s how I see it: assuming God as any place in this at all, He is the one who tried to kill them. A sudden, unforeseen cave-in sounds like the kind of thing a deity might do because He was bored or feeling capricious that day.

The rescue operation is a testament to the intelligence, creativity and skill of the human engineers and specialists who managed to design that capsule system and who had the foresight to put an emergency shelter in the mine. It is a tribute to the human miners, who were able to keep their heads about them and live together in, let’s face it, a hole for ten weeks without killing each other. It’s a credit to the humans of Chile who supported the effort, and who made sure that their government never even considered letting the miners die down there.

Giving all credit to God is an insult to the humans who actually did the heavy lifting.

Besides, what kind of malicious God would trap the miners underground for ten weeks just to see if they could be rescued? I mean, I might do something like that in The Sims, but those aren’t what experts refer to as “Real People.” If your God is the kind who tortures people for His own amusement, you might want to look into getting a better class of God.