9:24 a.m. - 2004-09-20
Yeah, I said I wasn't going here…but I few e-mails I have seen in the last week have irritated me enough to reconsider. Folks, it's time to talk about religion. Actually, what's funny is that the religious propaganda e-mails come from the same people who feel the need to inflict their political agenda on the rest of the office, too. Last Friday, a girl sent an e-mail to our entire office (which is pushing 200 people)…asking us to sign a petition to bring back the lame-ass TV series "Touched by an Angel." Allegedly, this was canceled because it mentioned God on TV. Gee, and I thought it was canceled because it sucked rocks! (Well, that wasn't the WHOLE point of the petition, but it was their reason for circulating it. They're trying to encourage the networks not to ignore their Christian viewers. Since when ARE they ignoring them?? Didn't they have some Jesus miniseries on not that long ago? And isn't Mel Gibson trying to get them to show his Jesus movie commercial-free?) No, what these e-mails are for is to make those of us who would rather watch sex and violence feel bad about it. Remember, the people circulating these so-called petitions are the same people who believe we should bomb the shit out of Iraq and support the president in all of his war-mongering, small-penis bullshit. Personally, and maybe this is just me, but I think some fake explosions and carefully choreographed beatings with fake blood pale in comparison to real death and destruction. But what do I know? I'm just a flaming liberal wussy. I don't like those stupid prayer-request e-mails either, but at least that is more understandable and is trying to help someone who is sick or injured; they are not designed to try and instill guilt into those of us who would rather eat broken glass than go to church.
My biggest problem with religion is that it never seems to serve its intended purpose. Since the beginning of time, people have constructed belief systems designed to explain the inexplicable and establish societal norms. In and of themselves, these goals are understandable. However, their application leaves much to be desired.
Think about it. Do you PERSONALLY know anyone whose religion causes any significant changes in their behavior? I think most people are either basically good or basically assholes. Religion gives the good a framework for being nice and doing things to help others. Religion gives the assholes moral justification for being assholes. Not only are they going to continue being rigid, judgmental, and stubborn, we've now provided them a "valid" reason for acting that way…and said reason is impossible to empirically prove or disprove. You can think someone is being hateful and call them on it. When you do this to a religious person, it will turn from an argument about why you shouldn't be a hateful piece of shit into a "but God says you're evil, so that means I have the right to act this way" argument. Even if you cite the lack of evidence supporting their belief system, they will use this to further their cause…you're supposed to have FAITH. If you don't, it means you're evil and going straight to hell. Pardon me, but I think actions speak louder than words. If you profess to espouse a belief system which provides rules for your conduct, you need to be trying to follow all of them, not just the ones which justify your current behavior.
That's the problem with religion-based debates as opposed to political ones. In a political debate, you can at least cite solid facts which support your position. In a religious debate, the facts themselves are not solid. The argument is about the existence or nonexistence of something which will probably never be proved conclusively.
Living in the Bible Belt, the religion with which I have the most experience is Christianity. I don't hate Jesus. He probably even existed in some form. I'm all for the "do unto others" philosophy of life. However, for every person who really lives the biblical teachings, there are five who are rampaging hypocrites or completely uptight sticks in the mud whose definition of "evangelism" involves guilt-trips and sanctimonious preaching at people.
What I'm trying to say is leave me off your list, kids. I am not signing any petition to put any more self-righteous shit on TV. Ya'll have your own channels. Watch them. Don't support the other channels. Don't buy stuff from the companies that advertise during the programs to which you object. But get over the e-mail stupid chain petitions….nobody reads them except the people who circulated them in the first place.