Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thoughts on the raging of the heathen.

A friend recently directed me to this post in a certain blog that he found. I will now reproduce the post with my comments interspersed:

This op-ed piece is a severely dated response to a letter from the Christian Union in the campus newspaper, (which was in itself a response to an earlier letter taking them to task for some objectionable advertising). (Link to PDF)


My take on this, five months later:

Last semester, Ink contributor Donal O’Driscoll published a letter in An Focal ridiculing the Christian Union’s promotional poster that threatened infidels with the eternal torture that awaited them after death. In an attempt to clear up the “serious misunderstandings”, Saumel Watterson of the CU responded with a letter that consisted of a few biblical references and a shrugged explanation that consisted of little more than “just doing what the big man says - it’s not up to me!”.

More accurate would be, "By God's grace, I am not at all ashamed, but rather delighted, to confess the biblical doctrine regarding eternal damnation for the wicked reprobate."

This happened in early November. It’s old news – ancient, even. So why bring it up now? Utter, crippling disappointment at the lack of responses it received. How is it that in a university, a place for the nurturing of intellect, some fruitcake can write in with inanities such as “we deserve to be thrown into that lake of fire”, and not suffer any reprimand from the student body? I opted out at the time, as I had already appeared in the letters page twice that semester taking others to task for lesser crimes, but with mere weeks remaining of my academic career at UL, I cannot leave in good conscience without restoring equilibrium.

As a way of defending the muck that the Christian Union peddles, Sammy asks “if your friend was in such danger and didn't even realise it, you would not frivolously say to them, "Hey-diddily-hey, neighbour!" You would desperately try to warn them”. It’s possible that I’m being too hard on wee Sammo here, as he was more than likely hoping that a string of incoherent non-sequiturs would transubstantiate into solid rhetoric, but his god forsook him. I will commend his emo-tacular endorsement of the Bible for moral support when he splutters “I am a coward (though God is training me to be brave)”, even if it makes sane people like me want to scream things like “[obscenity]”

The CU obviously have a somewhat flattering view of themselves, given their poignant pontification on matters of truth, such as how “it often offends us, but we need to hear it”. This causes me considerable mirth as a person who embraces the truth, unlike moronic Bible-thumpers such as Samuel Watterson. I find the very fact that we attend the same university insulting, as he is either incapable of critical thought, or willing to ignore any shred of intellect that cries foul during his nightly sessions of talking to an imaginary friend whilst on his knees. Has he ever opened the book of “truth” that he claims to lead his life by? There are so many examples of outright contradictions between reality and the Bible, and within the holy book itself, that even the slightest indulgence would only serve to distract me away from ridiculing the dearth of intellect that one man has no shame in admitting to.

I suppose, being an avowed hater of the Bible, you would know much more than I, who only lives from the Bible more than my daily bread. But all the supposed inconsistencies that men like yourself endeavour to fabricate have been consistently refuted a hundred times over, in a hundred ways, since the completion of the Canon. Unfortunately, you don't have the "intellectual integrity" to look further than a Wikipedia article...

Again - maybe I’m being a little harsh here. After all, the Bible does attest to be the exclusive source of truth on supernatural matters. But doesn’t the Book of Mormon do that also? Come to think of it, the Koran makes the same claims. Which raises an interesting point; if Samuel Watterson were involved with the Muslim Union, would we be accosted with posters reading “strike terror into the hearts of yours and Allah’s enemies” as we strolled towards the cafeteria? Would the notice boards around campus implore us to “smite at the necks and cause a bloodbath of the unbelievers”?

Somebody needs to explain to the members of the Christian Union that just because something is old, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good source of moral guidance (you needn’t look further than the latest conversation with your racist grandmother for proof of this). Believing that bad people will burn in hell is backed up by as much proof as believing that martyrs get 72 virgins in heaven. The frankly [obscenity] insane notion that a round piece of bread turns into the flesh of Christ is every bit as likely as the [obscenity] insane notion that unhappiness is a result of some tosser called Xenu nuking the earth 75 billion years ago.

Agreed regarding transubstantiation - only I consider it more blasphemous. I would add however that "good" and "nice" people burn in hell, because such are mere hypocrites and "white-washed tombs".

If you think I’m being intolerant towards religion right now, you’re absolutely right – what’s wrong with intolerance towards irrational beliefs? Chances are you have a sufficient grasp of rationality that you avail of to dismiss nutters who predict the end of the world based on a message in their alphabet-os, or the homeless guy who claims to be Jesus Christ. Try directing that same rationality towards your cherished beliefs and then see how outraged you feel you’re entitled to be. Just because we’ve grown immune to Christian hate speech against non-Christians, it doesn’t mean it should be tolerated in any shape or form.

I’m aware that Christianity was vital in civilising western society, and the core of the modern, sanitized Christian philosophy is certainly something of merit, but the constant focus on death and empty threats of perpetual suffering are the pernicious aspects of religion that I could never endorse, let alone use as the basis to promote a social gathering. In the future, rather than waste finite resources of paper, ink, and students’ time, I suggest that Samuel Watterson and anybody who espouses his views save themselves the hassle of writing ill-conceived letters, and instead tattoo “I have no intellectual integrity” across their foreheads.

I'm glad he recognises that Christianity was a vital force in bringing civility. But I'm impressed that he cannot see the predictable results of rejecting this objective basis for morality and loving conduct. I would possibly consider advocating a governmental regulation that every profane atheist was tattooed in such a manner (except that I could not advocate pragmatism), since without God, there is no such thing as integrity (or any reason to hold it), let alone intellectualism. How can this man speak of rationality while he spends so much energy in trying to destroy the objective basis for it in his godless philosophy?

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