Monday, September 28, 2009

A Note On Religion

As odd and remiss as it may seem, I have no interest in writing a blog dedicated to religion and my general disdain for it. I figured I would write a letter to the very nice elderly lady who dedicated her time near the end of her bus ride to proclaim that I should not say the name of Jesus Christ unless to honor him (understandable as I had used him as an epithet accentuating my point I was making to my friend as I so often do), therefore (and to her credit, unknowingly) dedicating her time to propelling me all the more closer to the rage-induced aneurysm that will ultimately bring upon my untimely demise someday. I simply told her I was not interested in having a religious debate across the bus aisle. However, since then, this event has been driving minuscule needles of annoyance into my prefrontal lobes, so I feel, like I said, that I must address this woman. Ahem.

Dear Old Woman on the 6U,

I would love to take into consideration your concern for my usage of the name of your so-called "Lord." However, as I do not believe that this Jesus figure was a "lord", let alone MY lord, I feel that I have every right to tell you to go fuck yourself. Why the strongly worded response, you ask? Because you have done what so many thousands of people do on a daily, if not hourly basis all around the world. You have made it your duty to shove your superstitious, self-righteous, and frankly, quite tawdry symbol of your laughably sophomoric belief structure down my gullet. You have placed yourself on an ill-advised (by your own narcissistic inner voice) pedestal; an infantile moral high-ground because, if you'll permit my saying so, you're afraid. You see, I still have my youth, so I can empathize. Maybe when I'm 116 and have the cholesterol of a beluga whale like you, I will have a better sense of my own mortality and the frailty of life itself. Maybe then I will fall to my knees and praise your so-called lord, admitting my own weakness and utter subservience to the awesome power of your Lord God and His Son. But that is not today and, now that I think about it actually, it will not be tomorrow, nor 50 years from now because I have something that some like to call brain activity. The contempt and revulsion I have for you and people like you is absolute on a gargantuan level and I find it very telling that my generation is increasingly atheistic, as well as intelligent, pragmatic, and generally curious about what we don't understand (as opposed to fearful), much more than yours. We see the world in a light you will never understand and if you weren't so arrogant in your silly beliefs, I would possibly have a shred of pity for you. All I can wish you is the best (which is more of a lie than whatever church you're part of has told you).

Sincerely, Alexander Rader von Sternberg.

Oh and p.s., fuck you for calling me "sweetie", you geriatric cunt. Only my mom is allowed to do that.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Arrogant Prick

I'm a very arrogant person. No, it is quite true. I take no issue with that assertion that is certainly made about me, whether it is to my face during a session of critical debate or after I've walked away from a group of people, beer in hand, smug smile on my face, at a party. But lately I've been thinking about the topic of arrogance, especially in the context of morality and culture. Uh oh.

We are first taught in elementary school that "tolerance" is the name of the game. Arguably, teaching tolerance and liberalism (read: freedom) is a very beneficial tool for youngsters to grow up with. It's what I was taught with and it is most likely what everyone I know was taught with; tolerance is king apparently. But I charge that tolerance is not what really is important. Tolerance isn't even a good word when you think about it. You always hear someone speaking "on behalf of" homosexuals with the language of "tolerance" and then of course there is thunderous applause (American liberals love applauding, almost too much...probably one big reason why they fucking bug the hell out of me). But do these people applauding even know WHAT they are applauding? They are applauding the idea of putting up with these people. That's what tolerance is; the last thing it means is embracing and accepting a lifestyle that is actually quite common. It means you're putting up with something you hate. Now of course a rebuttal would be along the lines of "well it's not realistic to have full acceptance." Why? I agree that humans by nature are intolerant, indulgent, and narcissistic creatures of habit, but that doesn't make usage of the word tolerance acceptable.

Now, arrogance. I posit that it is simply morally wrong to subject someone to the label of tolerance, just as it is wrong to torture and beat a young man to death since he was a filthy and morally defunct faggot. People who claim tolerance for homosexuality, for example, would probably be stricken with revulsion at the actual prospect of spending quality time with a gay man or lesbian woman, at least that is what I can imagine if all they are is tolerant. Anecdotal evidence is high here too: too many people I know that are quite liberally-minded, good people, express complete disgust at the mere CONCEPT of a transgendered individual. Sure, it can be seen as strange. But it shouldn't be tolerated. It should just be accepted. To say these things makes me sound arrogant, yeah? Sure. But wrong? No.

The issue I take with tolerance of homosexuality is a little gray, I must admit. Hate crimes do appear to be down in number, so maybe tolerance works. I personally think as gays have come out of the closet, it's become progressively more accepted. It certainly became popular with the Fashion of Bisexual Girls Movement (my term) that seemed to spike up again when I was in high school. Who knows. But I still take my "arrogant" viewpoint that tolerance is overrated. Tolerance leads to nothing constructive, especially when it involves another culture that truly is doing something wrong. Tolerance leads to, and I cannot stress this enough, apologies for atrocities, and that is something that no one with a steady, truly moral head on their shoulders can abide by. Like the invisible armor that is "religious belief" the phrase "that is their culture" becomes an impenetrable shield used by "tolerant people." So this must conclude with me asking is it arrogant of me to say that it is wrong when a woman in Afghanistan is discovered to having been raped she is subject to stoning for being the goddamn Whore of Babylon? Or is it arrogant of me to say that it is wrong for an Orthodox Jewish rabbi to circumcise an infant boy in the traditional way by taking the infant's penis in his mouth after making the incision to take off the foreskin, the rabbi thus possibly giving the infant any type of venereal disease he may be carrying (there are recorded instances of this). Or is it arrogant of me to say that it is wrong for those primitive cultures near the cradle of civilization to circumcise their (very) young women with a sharp rock and then proceed to sew her birth canal shut only to be broken by her husband on their wedding night, God knowing whenever the hell that might be? Or is it arrogant of me to say that it is wrong for the some of the people on the island of New Guinea to engage in rampant and frenzied acts of cannibalism? Or is it arrogant of me to point out anything that clearly tips the balance of anyone's moral compass (provided they actually have one) into one of shock and revulsion, as being wrong? I claim the negative. One could very easily make the argument that in the case of the examples I laid out that their primitivism and barbarism is due to Western exploitation and subsequent neglect, thus holding back these cultures from evolving past their primordial instincts and practices. Maybe. It sure didn't help. I also must remind anyone with that response that correlation, no matter how strong, never equals causation and this does not stop the fact that these things that are clearly wrong are still happening. Today.

I would hope anyone can recognize wrong-doing when it's right in front of their face, despite the filter of tolerance that may be in place. And I recognize I'm doing very little by talking about it, but to be honest, nothing can be done for cultures that are engaging in such backward practices. If they ever find themselves on the brink they will change (for that is the nature of humanity as well), but that day is not today, and I feel I will be hard-pressed to see changes for the better in my lifetime. In the meantime, I will continue to get pissed off by claims of tolerance and I will continue being called arrogant. But if the price I pay for recognizing what is right and what is wrong is being called an arrogant prick then I just say this in response: guilty.