It’s curious to me that religionists have reacted so harshly through the years to comic books, Dungeons and Dragons, Harry Potter and other magical fantasy – given that religion is magical thinking and primes the pump so to speak to allow people to believe in magic and any system of consolidating wealth and power does not like competition – but you’d think that religionists would steer clear of what is understood as magic fiction in order to avoid their own magical thinking being called into question.
After all, what’s the difference between talking animals in the bible and any fiction fantasy story? You’re suspending disbelief to accept the stories and premise of both books…
What’s the difference between Jesus turning water into wine and any D&D cleric’s spell to accomplish the same thing?
One of my favorite minor spells to use offensively was the any liquid to wine – my low level characters could stab their victim, shove a finger into the wound, cast the any liquid to wine and death magic is possible at the first level of casting. Naturally, at that juncture, most game masters would demand my character sheet and look over what other spells that they had approved and not considered their use as offensive rather than the presumed gimmicky character driven magic.
I played a dwarf with a drinking problem, he drank any and all liquids the party came across – he had a very high constitution, but ended up a 10 foot tall exceptionally charming dwarf after ingesting a wish potion. Naturally, this permanent change in his character was not often or really, ever at all helpful to the party. But I tend to only play characters until they’ve tapped out their entertainment value, I dislike obstructionist players as a rule.
I think that the inability to distinguish between degrees of fantasy and to see the humour of the juxtaposition is very telling about religionists. They simply have no sense of humour, nor sense of proportionality.
It’s all or nothing, black and white.
I think a hallmark of insanity is the inability to understand humour, because if delusional people could understand humour, they would understand how funny what they believe is and not hold it so dear and sacred.
Then they wouldn’t complain about being made fun of and they wouldn’t become so enraged and hostile and even violent when their delusions are challenged by statements of objective facts and objective reality. Or even other delusional realities or obvious outright fiction, such as the previous examples.
As illogical and quirky as insanity and delusional thinking may appear to outsiders, there is often an internal consistency, or at least a persistent consistency and refusal to deal with internal inconsistencies. Delusional people, after all, put great effort into explaining internal inconsistencies or apologizing for them by softening the edges, and in refuting facts and evidence that are contrary to their delusional belief. Lack of evidence is often cited as, if not evidence for, at least, nothing to diminish the claims, which must be given special consideration and often includes appeals to vague ancient authority.
Worst case, claim everything as proof and call it a done deal – everything that supports the claim is support and everything that doesn’t support the claim, still is proof because there’s not supposed to be any proof – it’s what you’re supposed to think.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different result, perhaps this explanation will convince the unbeliever who will then stop asserting irrelevant facts as if it’s not all part of the plan to appear as objective reality, thus, only a select in the know few, will know what’s really going on – and those who don’t know will be threatened by this special insider knowledge and try to silence us from spreading the word, stop us from being the hero who enlightens everyone.
Real martyrs never smile and never explain.
When the delusion is limited to a few people, it’s a form of insanity, but when large numbers share the delusion, it’s called religion.
Irony is high humour and requires being able to laugh at oneself – which believers cannot do – those who can, can generalize from there.
I had an Ah Ha moment reading an article which was about watching media dance around ethnicity and religion issues when an event like the Fort Hood shooting occurs.
Basically, that everyone is bend over and twisting around to avoid stating the obvious – that Muslim populations in Western countries that participated in the “War on Terror” after 9/11 are essentially goading these groups to become radicalized and violent. Essentially creating terrorists in our midst.
And this would seem to be a reasonable and even obvious conclusion – when you look at many examples in history of a minority group that’s oppressed, made to be second or third class – they tend to fight back and fight back with violence.
History and current events are rife with examples of one dominate religion or ethnic group stomping on the necks of a minority religion or ethnic group with the result being if not civil war, then prolonged violent outbursts, more suppression and the seemingly never ending cycle which basically stops progress and development in it’s tracks.
Except that I can think of two minority groups that are deemed at best second class citizens, who are limited in their participation and one of whom has active and vocal opposition in being included in basic rights.
And I belong to both minority groups: Atheists and Queers*.
Atheists are limited in their participation in Western society in that they are, if honest, unelectable to public office – not to mention being attacked as Christmas haters every December. Funny enough, Queers are electable in some areas, and so largely don’t share this handicap.
But what Atheists and Queers do share is a public portrayal as:
– lacking in any morals and ethics
– arrogance and self absorption
– perpetual teenagers rebelling against the authority of god, regardless of how old you are or how long you’ve been either or both.
These three charges are so patently foolish on the face of them, that I don’t even feel the need to delve deeper.
For the purpose of this post, what’s interesting to me is that neither atheists nor queers have used terror tactics to forward or achieve their respective agendas.
Both groups have used legal means – lawsuits, protest, education and awareness campaigns and grassroots community building/outreach.
Where atheists and queers part ways is that atheists are largely trying to have existing laws be enforced (that separation of church and state) and queers are trying to have existing laws be consistent with each other – equal access to and treatment under the law applying to all subordinate laws like marriage, military service, immigration, non-discrimination in housing, employment and basic rights that everyone else takes for granted.
So, I am not saying that religious and ethnic minorities do not have a hard time in Western countries.
For me, when gay marriage was up for debate in parliament, it was very difficult to listen to politicians and my Prime Minister say that I and my fellow queers are undeserving to fully participate in society for no clear reason that they could or would articulate.
I imagine it’s similar for law abiding Muslims to listen to politicians spew their war on terror rhetoric – and I tend to agree that you can’t fight terror by becoming a terrorist. This war on terror has been a bigger boondoggle than the US War on Drugs – too bad they don’t find a way to make Peace on these things or at least détente.
But, if queers and atheists – who span all religious and ethnicity – can avoid becoming what our accusers make us out to be – arrogant, immoral, perpetual rebels – then other groups and individuals in those groups can too.
* Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgendered and kinky straights. I hate using the acronym LGBT because to me it sounds like a sandwich, and with more groups wanting to be part of that group, then it just looks like a bizarre text thing or alphabet soup, so I prefer the more encompassing Queer.